Category: Economics

Towering Imbroglio

Is the government preparing to dispose of our forests and other public land? Planning laws inhibit prosperity. That’s what we’re told by almost everyone. Those long and tortuous negotiations over what should be built where are a brake on progress. All the major parties and most of the media believe that we would be better off with less regulation, less discussion and more speed. Try telling that to the people […]

Read More >
1 Comment

Vandana Shiva Keynote Speech – Food Otherwise Conference (Netherlands, February 2014)

World famous author and activist Vandana Shiva gave an inspiring speech at the Food Otherwise conference in Wageningen, Netherlands, on 21 February 2014. "Monopolies, centralization and monocultures go hand and hand and they are the instruments of power. We have to create instruments of democracy, diversity, resilience."

Read More >
2 Comments

The Promise of the Commons

Regular readers may remember an article I posted back in 2010 — Kings, Conquerors, Capitalism and Resilience Lost — where I covered a little historical ground for one particular former ‘East Bloc’ country; a history shared by several countries in central Europe. The article outlined how previously resilient land-based communities — which had lived and even thrived for centuries in close relation to each other and the land that sustained […]

Read More >
4 Comments

Ripping Apart the Fabric of the Nation

In an extraordinary coup, farmers’ unions and the UK government have torpedoed the European Soil Framework Directive. “British soils are reaching crisis point”. Don’t take my word for it — this is a quote from a loyal friend of the farming industry, Farmers’ Weekly. You would expect farmers to try to protect their soils, which are the foundations of their livelihood, and many do. There are some excellent farmers in […]

Read More >
0 Comment

A Gathering of Silverbacks: Age of Limits 2014

Whenever such large shifts in temperature occurred in Earth’s history, they were not gradual but came in lurches. Resilience is the capacity of a system to continue providing essential functions after receiving that kind of shock. The first known use of the Infinite Improbability Drive was initiated by Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian on the starship Heart of Gold. Its major consequence was rescuing Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect from open […]

Read More >
0 Comment

Let’s Talk About Collapse

I’m a reasonably even tempered sort of a bloke, but recently I’ve been feeling a bit, well, shall we say, unsettled. The feelings began after reading David Holmgren’s essay Crash on demand. It was no less than a moral call for action. At first the article really irritated me and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it. It wasn’t even that I reckon calls for action based on morals […]

Read More >
23 Comments

The Impossibility of Growth

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other. Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1). Go on, take a guess. […]

Read More >
5 Comments

How a Commons Way of Life Helps Curb Climate Change

It offers an appealing alternative to more stuff and more money, which drives environmental destruction today. It’s easy to not think about the looming climate crisis. For one thing, it’s depressing to ponder the misery ahead if we don’t take drastic steps now to curb greenhouse emissions. It’s even more depressing when you consider that even the most modest steps to reduce carbon use in the US have been derailed […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Are We Bothered?

The more we consume, the less we care about the living planet. That didn’t take long. The public interest in the state of the natural world stimulated by the winter floods receded almost as quickly as the waters did. A YouGov poll showed that the number of respondents placing the environment among their top three issues of concern rose from 6% in mid-January to 23% in mid-February. By early April […]

Read More >
3 Comments

Democracy and Diversity Can Mend Broken Food Systems – Final Diagnosis from UN Right to Food Expert

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, today called for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned to ensure the human right to adequate food and freedom from hunger. “The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. However, it will not be enough to refine the logic of our food systems – it must instead be reversed,” […]

Read More >
1 Comment

This Collapse is a ‘Crisis of Bigness’

Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it’s a collapse. by Paul Kingsnorth The results of half a century of debt-fuelled “growth” are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair. To […]

Read More >
4 Comments