The Feasta Review, number 2



feasta website

Edited by Richard Douthwaite and John Jopling


Introduction: Why the growth tiger is unsustainable and what can be done about it.


Unprecedented growth - But for whose benefit? by Elizabeth Cullen

Average incomes in Ireland have doubled over the last 15 years but far from people being better off as a result, this doubling has been accompanied by a startling deterioration in the nation's health and its societal bonds. This was because of increased inequality, the direct result of government policy.

Lack of long-run data on Ireland's social health by Ana Carrie

An attempt to produce a composite index showing how sixteen indicators of the well-being of the Irish population had moved over the past two decades was defeated by a lack of long-run data. They are not being recorded.

The freedom to be frugal by Molly Scott Cato

Raising the incomes of the poor in relation to those of the rich would improve the health and life expectancy of the less-well-off. Unfortunately, however, if the poor are enabled to catch up by growing the economy, their gain will be at the planet's cost.

Human economics: Putting human health before profit by Frank Rotering

The current economic system sets out to maximise profits. Suppose we had a system that set out to maximise human well-being instead, measuring it in terms of human health? Such a system was outlined on a Feasta e-list and provoked a lively debate. This is a summary of the proposal that emerged.

Commentary on human economics by Douglas McCulloch

It might not be possible to base a new economics on maximising human health because health is actually quite hard to measure, says a professor of health economics. His verdict? Rotering's 'rather satisfying theoretical construction cannot work.'

The 2001 Feasta Lecture by David Fleming

THE LEAN ECONOMY: A vision of civility for a world in trouble
The depletion of oil and gas, the degradation of the environment and the decline of social capital all threaten to collapse the market economy. Fleming argues that such a collapse cannot be averted and that public policy should concentrate on laying the foundations for the political economy that could rise from the ashes.

GM: An unnecessary technology by David Fleming

The benefits claimed for genetic manipulation are largely illusory and are far outweighed by the disadvantages and dangers the technology carries. Despite this, it is being pressed by powerful companies with the support of governments. Fleming explains why and says it can, and must, be stopped.

Panel: Big biotech's plans for domination run into difficulties by Michael O'Callaghan

The 2002 Feasta Lecture by Stan Thekaekara

PEOPLE FIRST: Justice in a global economy Stan Thekaekara's approach to economics has been heavily influenced by the tribal people of the Nilgiri Hills in Southern India with whom he and his wife Mari have worked for the last 20 years. As a result, he questions a lot of the basic building blocks of western thought, such as the right to own land and the purpose of work.

Just Change by Stan Thekaekara

'Just Change' is a novel cooperative structure linking producers, consumers and investors across the world as an alternative to leaving their relationships to be governed by market forces.

Globalisation: Who benefits? by Stan Thekaekara

Thekaekara refutes the claim that globalisation brings about a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. It doesn't and it won't. Globalisation, like colonisation, is about economic growth, not equity or justice.

Why localisation is essential for sustainability by Richard Douthwaite

The global economy has an in-built tendency to increase inequality. It is also inherently unreliable and the monoculture it creates puts excessive pressures on the environment. We should therefore attempt both to change the way it works and to build local alternatives to it.

Petrodollar or Petroeuro? A new source of global conflict by Cóilín Nunan

The current political and economic rift between the US and the European Union has been called a 'clash of civilizations'. Its major cause is a struggle over the gains to be had from producing the world's leading currency.

Green taxes: The German experience by Hans Diefenbacher, Volker Teichert and Stefan Wilhelmy

The Irish Government has dropped plans to achieve a major reduction in the country's greenhouse gas emissions by introducing an ecotax on the carbon content of fossil fuels. In Germany, similar taxes created over 60,000 new jobs but reduced CO2emissions by less than 1% in the first two years.

Panel: Quotas as an alternative to carbon taxation

Feasta believes that green taxes should only be used for making minor adjustments to, say, the use of plastic bags or traffic flows. Where it is imperative that limits be observed, quotas are much better.

Using common resources to solve common problems by James Robertson

Public revenue should be raised from the use of common resources. Today's taxes are unfair and illogical. They penalise value added - the positive contributions people make to society - but fail to penalise value subtracted.

A practical look at interest-free banking

The Swedish JAK bank operates successfully without charging interest on the loans it makes to its members or paying interest on their deposits. It represents an important step towards a more sustainable economy.

Panel: Why interest-free banking matters

A democracy for an ecological age by Mark Garavan

Economic dogma has limited the scope of political debate and action to such an extent that modern industrial societies are currently unable to avert the looming environmental crisis. But there are a number of practical ways in which the Irish political system could be adjusted to enable changes to be made.


Political economy should be the name of the game by Margaret Legum

Too many aspects of economic life have been insulated from political control.

On productivity by Nadia Johanisova

A Socratic dialogue between a Buddhist Lama and a mainstream economist.


Growth:The Celtic Cancer,
the second Feasta Review, can be ordered online from Green Books, priced at £9.95 plus postage and packaging.
Green Books banner 1

Graphic design by JDK Design

Website design and maintenance by Caroline Whyte

Search Sitemap feasta website FEASTA REVIEW volume 2