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Eurozone stagnation is a greater threat than debt

Eurozone stagnation is a greater threat than debt | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
It would be wrong to think last week’s global market gyrations signal a return of the eurozone debt crisis. Sovereign bond spreads in the eurozone did not move by much, except in Greece. What happened last week is something rather different.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, October 19, 2014 11:04 AM

Interesting that the 'secular stagnation' narrative is convincing more economists and pundits. How long before they will recognise that we have entered the post-growth era?

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Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid

Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"Our economic and financial system is based on assumptions of continued growth. Currently growth is highly dependent on energy and a surplus thereof as provided by high EROI energy sources. Our available energy sources, however, are providing less and less energy returns on the amount of energy we put into them. Therefore the amount of surplus energy available is declining. Thus, given the dependence of growth on energy, growth will decline too. The little remaining health of our financial systems, however, relies heavily on assumptions of continued growth and rather high ones at that, but those assumptions will increasingly turn out to be false if Boyd’s prediction of declining EROI is true".


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, April 12, 2014 10:13 AM

Great article on the link between society's diminishing energy return on energy investment and the current economic and financial crisis. A must-read for all austerians and post-Keynesians. This time it IS really different.

Eli Levine's curator insight, April 13, 2014 6:35 PM

Indeed, our ability to "grow" economically and socially is bound by the environment, our population size, cosmological conditions, food production and our state of technology.  Should we honestly "grow" for the sake of "growing", if it comes at long term as well as short term harm?

 

Things that Capitalism under its current logic, does not answer and does not wish to answer.

 

Think about it.

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Climate Change: The Wrong Top Priority for Environmentalists and Conservation Professionals

Climate Change: The Wrong Top Priority for Environmentalists and Conservation Professionals | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"While climate change is a legitimate threat, prioritizing climate change was driven largely by (relative) political convenience and the constant jockeying for agency funding, NGO membership dues, and foundation grants. Meanwhile the failure to prioritize economic growth, the mother of 21st-century threats, is driven by shallow political thinking and the personal interests of "leaders" getting paid the big bucks at the heads of government agencies and environmental NGOs."


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, January 25, 2014 3:13 AM

Controversial but absolutely correct analysis by Brian Czech on why the debate about the conflict between economic growth and sustainability should be the real framing for the transition debate.

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When Wealth Disappears

When Wealth Disappears | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
We are reaching end times for Western affluence. We must accept economic honesty and recognize that promises made during good times can no longer be easily kept.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, October 13, 2013 2:06 PM

Brilliant must-read article from NY Times.

"In his “Future of an Illusion,” Sigmund Freud argued that the faithful clung to God’s existence in the absence of evidence because the alternative — an empty void — was so much worse. Modern beliefs about economic prospects are not so different. Policy makers simply pray for a strong recovery. They opt for the illusion because the reality is too bleak to bear. But as the current fiscal crisis demonstrates, facing the pain will not be easy. And the waking up from our collective illusions has barely begun."

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Governance in the Long Emergency

Governance in the Long Emergency | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"Might there be more agile, dependable, and less awkward ways to conduct the public business in the long emergency that do not require authoritarian governments, the compromises and irrational messiness of politics, or even reliance on personal sacrifice?"


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, May 17, 2013 1:29 PM

I am afraid the answer to the above question is 'no'. Nevertheless one of the most interesting chapters in the latest Worldwatch Institute's State of the World. Title of this year's book 'Is sustainability still possible?'. Easy answer: no way.

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Ignoring natural capital could see countries' credit ratings downgraded

Ignoring natural capital could see countries' credit ratings downgraded | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"A report by the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) says loss of soils, forests, and fisheries, as well as rising resource costs, are likely to become increasingly important to a nation's economic health – and may therefore affect its ability to repay or refinance sovereign debt."

 

This excellent report makes the link between the world's financial debt crisis and the global ecological debt crisis. The debate on austerity gets a completely different dimension if you look at this double challenge.


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Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse”

Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse” | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"So we have no historical precedents for anything greater than 1% per annum reduction in emissions. We’re saying we need nearer 10% per annum, and this is something we need to be doing today. And therefore, we can draw a very clear conclusion from this, that in the short to medium term, the way for the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world to meet their obligations to 2°C, is to cut back very significantly on consumption. And that would therefore mean in the short to medium term a reduction in our economic activity i.e. we could not have economic growth."

 


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Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’

Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’ | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse. Resource squabbles and waves of food-induced migration will threaten global stability and global growth. This threat is badly underestimated by almost everybody and all institutions with the possible exception of some military establishments."

 

Joe Romm summarises the latest article by guru investor Jeremy Grantham in his Quarterly Newsletter. "The global economy is a Ponzi scheme".


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What Makes Countries Rich or Poor?

What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Jared Diamond's review of the excellent book Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson looks at the complex mix of factors that make countries succeed or fail.


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Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value

Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
If Shared Value is to offer real, long term transformation it must address the flaws of capitalism, look beyond incrementalism and not just align commercial and societal goals, says John Elkington...

 

Good critique by sustainable business expert Elkington of the Shared Value approach developed by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer. But Elkington's own "triple bottom line" is as flawed as Porter's. Both of them do not put "ecological limits" at the heart of the transformational agenda.


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Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics

Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Growth. It's not about plant growth, hair growth or growth in quality of life, it's about economic growth. And the kind that is measured in GDP. However, Rio+20 might mark a paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth.

 

This article on Rio+20 in the Huffington Post demonstrates clearly how difficult it is to end our obsession with "growth" as the number one political priority. "Intelligent" growth, a "paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth"... do all these phrases really put us on track for a new destination or do we just blind ourselves with nice rhetoric?


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Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics

Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

"A post-growth agenda is not necessarily about making sacrifices, but about superceding a broken economic model that is failing to make us better off. 

At its best, the well-being agenda is not just a sideshow to neoliberal economics: it points towards a new economics, one which values equality, stability and community rather than simply growth for growth’s sake."


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Willy De Backer's curator insight, April 26, 2014 2:44 AM

Good Open Democracy article on the growth versus well-being debate.

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What We Know: American scientists' warning on climate chaos

What We Know: American scientists' warning on climate chaos | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
What We Know helps us understand the science behind the realities, risks and response to the climate challenge.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, March 18, 2014 1:58 PM

The scientific community is getting more vocal and outspoken(about time), but the more policy makers will understand what they will need to do (questioning the Western way of life), the more they will hide themselves in ideology and denial.

Eli Levine's curator insight, March 18, 2014 4:33 PM

The whole thing is about to break down, unless there is a significant coup against the existing private interests and their hold on policy makers' decisions.

 

One has to wonder how mentally healthy these people are who think that wealth is more valuable than health, regardless of the reasoning or justification for that wealth.

 

Think about it.

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Malign Confusion About Growth, Economic Growth or "Degrowth": Which Way Forward?

Malign Confusion About Growth, Economic Growth or "Degrowth": Which Way Forward? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
climate scientists have suggested that intentional ''de-growth'' is the only hope to stop the rising emissions associated with economic development and growth.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, December 31, 2013 4:39 AM

Long but excellent must-read analysis by Michael Hoexter of New Economic Perspectives on the need for degrowth strategies to tackle climate chaos.

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GDP Growth and Diminishing Returns

Tighten your belts. A new paper suggests the optimum gross domestic product (GDP) may be only $7,000 per person.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, July 10, 2013 1:57 PM

good article on 'beyond GDP' inspired by new paper in Ecological Economics.

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Zero-growth is the 'new normal'

Zero-growth is the 'new normal' | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

US economic growth will be less than 1% in the next fourty years according to a new analysis by famous American investor Jeremy Grantham. The contrarian investor sees resource scarcity and higher resource prices as well as demographic factors as the main reason why our global economies will continue to struggle for new economic growth.

 

As always the gloomy predictions of Mr Grantham's piece make a lot of sense but will be neglected by the "don't worry, be happy" myopic political and economic elites.


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The economics of oil dependence: a glass ceiling to recovery

The economics of oil dependence: a glass ceiling to recovery | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Expensive oil will hamper the chances of exiting the economic crisis according to a new report by the New Economics Foundation.


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The End of Economic Growth

Another impressive presentation by Richard Heinberg of why we have now entered the post-growth era and what will be the implications for our societies.


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Degrowth, expensive oil, and the new economics of energy

"Expensive oil ... does appear to be suffocating the debt-ridden, global economy, just as it is trying to recover ...

 

Unfortunately, mainstream economists, including those in government, seem oblivious to the close relationship between energy, debt, and economy, and this means they are unable to see that expensive oil is one of the primary underlying causes of today’s economic problems. 


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New Inclusive Wealth Index shows lower growth and future risks for major economies

"Some large economies show significantly lower growth when natural assets such as forests and water are factored into growth indicators, an index showed on Sunday, a few days before an international sustainability summit starts in Rio de Janeiro."

 

Interesting new report from two of the UN's environmental institutions shows that the Beyond GDP debate needs more and faster progress.


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New report: Taking environmental limits seriously: The need to reshape environmental policy

New report:  Taking environmental limits seriously: The need to reshape environmental policy | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Despite this large untapped potential, a sufficient degree of decoupling may not be achieved. As part of a precautionary strategy, policy and society should therefore also reflect on conditions of social and political stability under conditions of low economic growth.

 

This new report from the German Advisory Council on the Environment is one of the few reports which looks beyond the "decoupling" paradigm and puts forward ideas to adapt economic and social practices and institutions for a coming post-growth world.


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Tim Jackson: Let’s Be Less Productive

Tim Jackson: Let’s Be Less Productive | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The relentless drive for productivity may have some limits; if our economies don’t continue to expand, we risk putting people out of work.

 

Excellent article by Tim Jackson ("Prosperity without growth") pleading for less productivity and more quality of life to deal with our growth crisis.


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