Category: Economics

Cheap Oil Begets the Centralization of Power

The oil age allowed us to do the wrong things with unprecedented speed and efficiency. Oil is an almost ideal energy source. It is relatively easy to extract (until recently) requires little refining, and has an extremely high energy density. The only problem is that there’s not an endless supply of it. To get an idea of just how huge of an impact this has, consider if we were to […]

Read More >

To the Last Drop: Canada’s Dirty Oil Sands (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61X4IQqnmd0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> Part I

Read More >

Save Our Foodbowl From Coal Mining (NSW, Australia)

Please take one minute to send an email to protect our national food-bowl, the Liverpool Plains, and the rich groundwater supplies it depends on. This is an urgent request. BHP are planning on digging the largest underground coal mine in the world under our very best farmlands, on the Liverpool Plains in north-west NSW. Submissions on the groundwater assessment for this mine are due on the 23rd February — that […]

Read More >

The Meat Industry and Ideas for What We Can Do About It

Some practical ideas about the meat industry Spacious chicken houses — a stark minority (Photo by David Ashwanden) In many countries, the state of the meat industry is fairly well publicised: poor conditions for animals (see for example 1, 2), strange and unnatural foods and medicines getting into our food chain (see for example 3; 4), unclear labelling (see for example 5), and mass industrialised butchery (see for example 6). […]

Read More >

Loved to Death

By embracing their critics and colonising governments, corporations engineer a world of conformity and consumerism. How do you engineer a bland, depoliticised world, a consensus built around consumption and endless growth, a dreamworld of materialism and debt and atomisation, in which all relations can be prefixed with a dollar sign, in which we cease to fight for change? You delegate your powers to companies whose profits depend on this model.

Read More >

Supreme Court Backs Big Coal Over People (USA)

The Supreme Court just issued its ruling on McCutcheon V. FEC (see background on this case here if you’re not familiar) and it’s a disaster for our democracy. Five justices sided with Shaun McCutcheon, the climate-denying coal baron, opening the door for near-unlimited campaign contributions from individuals. We’re still figuring out all the implications of this decision – and ways to fight it – but in the meantime, one thing […]

Read More >

Loss Adjustment

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means? To understand what is happening to the living planet, the great conservationist Aldo Leopold remarked, is to live “in a world of wounds … An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the […]

Read More >

Charmian Gooch: End Anonymous Companies (TED video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFJ9WAHowcg?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals — from notorious drug cartel leaders to nefarious arms dealers — behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find and hold them responsible. But anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch hopes to change all that. At TED2014, she shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns and controls companies, to change the law, and to launch a new […]

Read More >

10 Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society

The best way to feel hopeful for the future is to prepare for it. The best way to feel hopeful about our looming energy crisis is to get active now and prepare for living arrangements in a post-oil society. Out in the public arena, people frequently twang on me for being "Mister Gloom’n’doom," or for "not offering any solutions" to our looming energy crisis. So, for those of you who […]

Read More >

All Give and No Take

Do those negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have any interest in democracy? Here’s a test. Nothing threatens democracy as much as corporate power. Nowhere do corporations operate with greater freedom than between nations, for here there is no competition. With the exception of the European parliament there is no transnational democracy, anywhere. All other supranational bodies – the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, trade organisations and […]

Read More >

The Benefits Claimants the Government Loves

Corrupt, irrational, destructive, counter-productive: this scarcely begins to describe our farming policy. Soil erosion in a maize field. Photo: Defra Just as mad cow disease exposed us to horrors – feeding cattle on the carcasses of infected cattle – previously hidden in plain sight, so the recent floods have lifted the lid on the equally irrational treatment of the land. Just as BSE exposed dangerous levels of collusion between government […]

Read More >

European Patent Office Blunder Leads to Grant of a New Patent on Conventional Breeding

Patent granted on watermelons. 20 February 2014 Munich. The company, H.M. Clause, which belongs to the French co-operative group, Limagrain was granted a European Patent on watermelons (EP 1816908). The patented watermelon plant is supposedly even more multibranching and smaller fruits than usual, but this cannot be an invented trait since it is part of naturally occurring biodiversity. The patent covers the seeds, the plants and the fruits. The plants […]

Read More >