Reading The Affluent Society is a revitalising and empowering shot in the arm for anyone
questioning in any way what JK calls the 'conventional wisdom'. The book, first written in
1958 and then reissued as a new edition in 1998 is an astonishing tour de force, debunking
and deconstructing the tenets of the 'central tradition' of economics.
It's very easy to look around and conclude that human beings are subject to unending desires which are never satisfied. Many of us have an apparently unquenchable thirst for the latest gadget or fashionable knick-knack. So how has this come about? Is the tendency towards over-consumption an unavoidable part of human nature, deriving from the laws of evolution, as some have suggested?
In response to an appeal on this website, two people, Ciaran Mulloy and Ruth Barrett, have volunteered to work together for the next two or three weeks digging out data for a National Welfare Index which will show the extent to which Ireland's national well-being is being affected by government policies. The data will be processed by another Feasta member, Hans Diefenbacher, who has already prepared a similar index for Germany. The results will appear early next year.
The Environmental (Ecological) NGO is an umbrella group of Irish NGOs which includes Feasta, and this submission to the Irish National Sustainable Development Strategy discusses the urgent need for a change in Irish governmental policy on the environment. It emphasises the need for effective risk management, a focus on wellbeing rather than GDP as a goal, recognition of commons rights in addition to information, communication and participation rights, and decentralised and democratised energy and carbon capture.…