In the world, at the limits to growth

May 14, 2011 5 Comments
We imagine Ireland is in crisis, yet crisis is relative. Most people in the world would envy our material austerity and be thankful for our endlessly 'collapsing' health service. But with our expectations thwarted and in the anxiety of uncertainty, we are focussed inward. Yet we remain as deluded as ever.
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Site Value Tax: taxation for a sustainable society

May 11, 2011 Comments Off on Site Value Tax: taxation for a sustainable society
The land market currently distorts our economy. Unlike investment into tools, machinery, computers, new factories and capital equipment, greater investment into landholdings creates no new wealth. An annual Site Value Tax on the value of zoned land would help build a sensible and realistic land market, encouraging landowners to develop and maintain their land or release it for sale. Smart Taxes has just released a brochure which provides a clear overview of how such a tax could be implemented in Ireland, as well as the improvements it would bring about.
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The psychological roots of resource overconsumption

May 10, 2011 Comments Off on The psychological roots of resource overconsumption
The psychological roots of resource overconsumption

by Nate Hagens, from Fleeing Vesuvius.Humans have an innate need for status and for novelty in their lives. Unfortunately, the modern world has adopted very energy- and resource-intensive ways of meeting those needs. Other ways are going to have to be found as part of the move to a more sustainable world.

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Building a greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sinks development programme into the CAP

May 09, 2011 Comments Off on Building a greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sinks development programme into the CAP

This submission was made by the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network. It describes a possible framework for a Rural Environmental Protection-type framework which would reward farmers for practices that were likely to lead to their reducing their GHG emissions and also increasing the carbon content of their soils and the biomass growing on them. It suggests that best farming practice is re-assessed in the light of its climate effects and sequestration potential and re-defined if necessary. Farm payments would be made conditional on the adoption of these new best practice standards. No attempt would be made to pay farmers for …

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Breaking free from enforced dependency

May 07, 2011 Comments Off on Breaking free from enforced dependency
“Enforced dependency” is the term sociologists use for the creation of a class or group of people who are forced to rely on another more powerful class or group for the essentials of life. Tina Evans thinks that the global economic system has deliberately created this sort of dependency as one of its a key organising aspects.
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Smart Taxes releases fisheries report

May 03, 2011 Comments Off on Smart Taxes releases fisheries report
Smart Taxes has concluded its research report on fisheries conservation. The report, conducted by Edward Fahy, recommends that the lower rate of excise duty taxation for marine diesel be removed when vessels fish in recovery zones with active gear.
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Shale gas drilling to begin in Ireland

Apr 21, 2011 3 Comments
The development of techniques which allow the extraction of gas from some carboniferous rocks known as shale has completely transformed the world's natural gas market. The gas price has fallen and in one case in the US, a terminal that was built to import gas is now being used to export it.
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Should the United States try to avoid a financial meltdown?

Apr 17, 2011 Comments Off on Should the United States try to avoid a financial meltdown?
Should the United States try to avoid a financial meltdown?Appendix to the US edition of Fleeing Vesuvius. Many Americans believe that the US cannot avoid hyperinflation or a catastrophic financial crash. Tom Konrad‘s position is slightly different. He thinks that while a crash is possible, the system is more likely to end with a whimper rather than a bang and that any progress towards [...]
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High oil prices kill growth prospects

Apr 09, 2011 1 Comment
by Richard Douthwaite. The price of Brent oil reached $122 per barrel last week (April 6th) and JP Morgan have forecast that it will hit €130 in the next few months. Energy prices at these levels mean that Ireland can say goodbye to any hope that it can grow its way out of its debt crisis. Because government spending cuts mean that domestic demand is almost certain to fall the country's only hope of increasing its national income is to earn more from overseas. That wiil be hard if the global economy is depressed but if the global economy grows, the world...
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A three-step emergency plan for Ireland

Apr 07, 2011 Comments Off on A three-step emergency plan for Ireland
A three-step emergency plan for Ireland

by Richard Douthwaite, from Fleeing Vesuvius. This plan for bringing Ireland out of its current financial crisis brings together many of the ideas described in the book. It suggests two ways of introducing debt-free money into the economy. It then explains how the financial system could be restructured by means of new banking regulation and the use of equity partnerships, and finally it advocates a move towards energy independence in Ireland.

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The economy – is stupid!

Apr 07, 2011 Comments Off on The economy – is stupid!
by Lothar Luken. Just had a crash, wrote off two cars. Now where's my medal for stimulating the economy? Two replacement cars have been bought; one driver seen by a doctor; an assessor coming to inspect the wreckage; state keeps motor tax for the old cars; insurance (UK-based!) pays scrapper for wreck crushing. Nice stimulus package - according to official theory.
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The Transition Towns Movement; its huge significance, and a friendly criticism

Apr 06, 2011 Comments Off on The Transition Towns Movement; its huge significance, and a friendly criticism
by Ted Trainer. The only way the alarming global sustainability and justice problems can be solved is via a Transition Towns movement of some kind. At present the rapidly growing movement is inspiring, but there is an urgent need for critical thought about vision, goals, and means. There is a serious risk that without this it will not make a significant contribution to solving our problems.
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Preface to Fleeing Vesuvius by Eamon Ryan (Irish edition)

Apr 05, 2011 Comments Off on Preface to Fleeing Vesuvius by Eamon Ryan (Irish edition)
Preface by Eamon Ryan (Irish edition)Managing a retreat is the most difficult of all political tasks. It is always easier to offer something new rather than to try to take back an existing benefit. But when it comes to our use of fossil fuels, which have provided huge benefits to our society, it is now time for an organised retreat. We need to retreat because the emissions from burning coal and gas threaten the climate system upon which our lives depend. We also need to do so because we face a peak in global oil production and we have to start changing our food and transport systems to cope with the decline in oil supplies that will follow.
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