Category: Economics

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). […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Charmian Gooch: End Anonymous Companies (TED video)

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 era of openness […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Holmgren’s ‘Crash on Demand’: Be Careful What You Wish For

Originally published on TransitionNetwork.org It is a rare occurence that I disagree with David Holmgren. One of my heroes, and the co-founder of permaculture, I generally find his intellect formidable, his insights on permaculture revelatory, and his take on the wider patterns and scenarios unfolding around us to be deeply insightful. But while there is much insight in his most recent paper, Crash on Demand, it also raises many questions […]

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Muddying the Waters

How the government’s farming policies have produced a perfectly designed system for flooding your home. It has the force of a parable. Along the road from High Ham to Burrowbridge, which skirts Lake Paterson (formerly known as the Somerset Levels), you can see field after field of harvested maize. In some places the crop lines run straight down the hill and into the water. When it rains, the water and […]

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A Shorter Working Week is Possible

Click for full view Marcin Gerwin: It was predicted in the 1930 by the economist John Maynard Keynes that thanks to the technological innovations, people in the twenty-first century will not have to work more than 15 hours a week. But here we are in the twenty-first century and many people in the industrialized world are in a hurry all the time and they have very little free time left. […]

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