Economics Unmasked : Review

Jun 23, 2011 Comments Off on Economics Unmasked : Review
Philip B. Smith & Manfred Max-Neef's Economics Unmasked leans more towards conspiracy than cock-up as it compellingly spells out the disastrous effects of the 'free' market on individuals, communities and the planet.
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Future energy availability: ‘net energy’ and the Energy Internal Rate of Return

Jun 22, 2011 Comments Off on Future energy availability: ‘net energy’ and the Energy Internal Rate of Return
This week we are publishing two articles from Fleeing Vesuvius which focus on energy supply and use. Chris Vernon's paper explains why, although there is a lot of oil still left in the ground, its supply will contract very rapidly indeed and the world may have run out of oil to burn for energy by 2050. Tom Konrad argues that if a standard assessment tool, the internal rate of return, is used to compare the net energy yield of various projects, it shows which to prioritise for the energy transition.
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Energy & Food Constraints will Collapse Global Economic Recovery

Jun 20, 2011 4 Comments
We may rail against the regulators, politicians, and others who failed to understand and manage past risks, but we are just as culpable for our failure to engage with severe, well-signposted, imminent ones.
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Can we change the world in the kitchen?: Review

Jun 18, 2011 1 Comment
In this review of the book Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk, Dennis Lum outlines Asytk's suggestions for adjustment to a post-peak-oil future by means of re-valuing the informal economy, particularly those parts of it that are traditionally seen as women's work, together with locally-based industry and the cultivation of plants. He concludes that it is "a wise and thoughtful book filled with optimism and passion for a future that is anchored in realism if only we would embrace it".
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Proximity 2.0: Cutting transport costs and emissions through local integration

Jun 16, 2011 Comments Off on Proximity 2.0: Cutting transport costs and emissions through local integration
In this chapter from Fleeing Vesuvius, Emer O'Siochru describes how different activities should be situated beside each other to be more energy and carbon efficient. This flies in the face of current development planning which tends to focus on bringing similar activities closer together to reap the benefits of scale and agglomeration.
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A Green Job Guarantee For Ireland

Jun 11, 2011 Comments Off on A Green Job Guarantee For Ireland
What would happen if, instead of the European Central Bank providing liquidity to private banks in order to ward off financial collapse, it provided funding to mobilise a green workforce to tackle urgent environmental challenges? The salaries would effectively transfuse local economies and the scheme has precedence in the Common Agricutural Policy which already pays farmers to protect the environment. This Irish adaptation of the Job Guarantee developed by Modern Monetary theorists in the US is proposed by Emer O'Siochru in an article on the Smart Taxes Network website.
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What could a post-growth society look like and how should we prepare for it?

Jun 10, 2011 4 Comments
This was the theme of a massive congress held in Berlin last month. Brian Davey attended it and has written a report for Feasta in which he describes the role played by Attac and the Decroissance movement, Vandana Shiva's critique of economic growth in India, the vision of "Buen Vivir" put forward by representatives of indigenous communities of Latin America and the new relationship being forged between the greens and the left in Europe.
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Cultivating hope and managing despair

Jun 08, 2011 Comments Off on Cultivating hope and managing despair
from Fleeing Vesuvius. Psychologist John Sharry describes how societies are struggling to come to terms with the nature and extent of the changes facing them both now and in the future. Modern psychological models of motivation and change, and of how people deal with threat and loss, suggest strategies that can be used to help individuals change and to galvanise communities into collective action.
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How are rising CO2 emissions linked to a rising world population?

Jun 06, 2011 4 Comments
Many discussions on sustainability rarely mention the world's growing population and whether current or projected future levels are – or can be made – compatible with living within the limits set by the Earth's regenerative capacity. David Knight's paper shows that the growing population is not incompatible with lower levels of energy use, but that the rising levels of consumption in rich countries and “emerging” ones like Brazil, India and China certainly are.
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Why Pittsburgh real estate never crashes: the tax reform that stabilised a city’s economy

Jun 02, 2011 Comments Off on Why Pittsburgh real estate never crashes: the tax reform that stabilised a city’s economy
by Dan Sullivan, from Fleeing Vesuvius. Pittsburgh and Cleveland have adopted diametrically opposed strategies, with dramatically different results. In Pittsburgh, foreclosure rates are low despite the downturn, home prices are climbing slightly and construction rates are increasing. Cleveland, meanwhile, is struggling to stem a complete collapse of its housing market. The difference lies in the fact that Pittsburgh has had a site-value tax, which steadies the market, and Cleveland has not.
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Can unpaid co-operation produce better products than the profit motive?

May 30, 2011 1 Comment
Wikipedia and the Linux computer operating system were both created by unpaid volunteers using the internet, and both are out-competing their commercially-produced rivals, such as the Encyclopaedia Brtiannica and Microsoft. Are they examples of a new type of economy which has a lot further to go? Michel Bauwens, the founder of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation (P2P) believes so.
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The nutritional resilience approach to food security

May 25, 2011 Comments Off on The nutritional resilience approach to food security
by Bruce Darrell, from Fleeing Vesuvius. This paper describes practices for ensuring that we can continue to feed ourselves adequately in the future, with a focus on the need to ensure that the soil contains an optimal mix of nutrients. Very few soils have a perfect balance of minerals. As a result, their fertility is limited and the crops grown on them cannot provide all the nutrients people need. As people can get food from elsewhere at present, these local deficiencies do not matter too much. But this situation is likely to change.
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Can the world economy phase out fossil fuels by 2050 and still grow?

May 23, 2011 1 Comment
At the beginning of February, WWF – the World Wide Fund for Nature – issued a major study, The Energy Report, which claimed that a rising global demand for energy services could be met by a combination of greater efficiency and the rapid development of renewable energy sources so that fossil fuel use could be almost entirely phased out by 2050. Australian writer and university lecturer Ted Trainer, who has been analysing the ability of renewable energy sources to meet future needs for at least the past decade, gives his verdict on the study.
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