Category: Society

Degrowth and the Carbon Budget: Powerdown Strategies for Climate Stability

Samuel Alexander (1), Simplicity Institute Climate change is not ‘a problem’ waiting for ‘a solution’. It is an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon which is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. — Mike Hulme 1. Introduction In recent years the notion of a ‘carbon budget’ has entered the lexicon of climate science (e.g. IPCC, 2013; Meinshausen et al, 2009). This concept refers […]

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A Tale of Three Countries: Are Farm Subsidies Necessary?

Imagine if Tom Vilsack (whose Wikipedia biography does not list any experience whatsoever with farming or farmers prior to his appointment as the United States Secretary of Agriculture) emerged from his offices to find a cow tethered on the street outside and protestors informing him that it was his task to milk her. This was exactly what happened in Norway during 2012 protests to changes in agricultural subsidies for Norwegian […]

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Not Socialism, Not Capitalism… Distributism Seeks Community Power

Not socialism, not capitalism… distributism seeks community power. by Jay Walljasper, On the Commons Conservatives, progressives and everyone else likes farmers’ markets, local food, mom-and-pop stores and other qualities of a thriving community. Can they all connect around the commons? (Photo of the Barberton, Ohio, Downtown Farmers’ Market by the Barberton Community Foundation under a Creative Commons license.) In the early-to-mid-20th Century the Distributists — led by English authors G.K. […]

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Rashtriya Guni Mission – Promoting Traditional Medicinal Systems (India)

A mission to revive and promote traditional health care systems — Guni traditions — in India. Abstract Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare known to mankind. Much of the medicinal use of plants developed through observations of wild animals, and by trial and error. As time went on, each tribe added the medicinal power of herbs in their area to its knowledge base. With industrialization and urbanization, this […]

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The Pricing of Everything

The Natural Capital Agenda looks like an answer to the environmental crisis. But it’s a delusion. Below is the transcript of George Monbiot’s SPERI Annual Lecture, hosted by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. The lecture was delivered without notes, and transcribed afterwards, so a few small changes have been made for readability, but it’s more or less as given. You can watch the video […]

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Land and Freedom – Low-Impact Building in the “Other” Spain

The tsunami of construction that washed over Spain in the decade of the 2000s has drawn back, leaving behind some very odd jetsam. Unused airports, white elephant projects like the City of the Arts and Sciences in Valencia, uninhabited housing developments in the middle of nowhere — and massive debts, public and private. But nearly all that concrete has been poured into a few places: around the main cities, the […]

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Simon Anholt: Which Country Does the Most Good for the World? (TED video)

It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" […]

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Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life

by Silke Helfrich The market has always been with us. What’s new about life in the last three hundred years — and especially the last thirty — is that the buying and selling of goods is the overriding goal of human civilization. The market is seen not just as an efficient way to do some things — it’s increasingly heralded as the only way to organize our society. The market […]

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