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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement Report

Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement Report | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement: Voices and Reflections from the Field is a snapshot of an emerging movement. This movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what often are seen as separate movements—environment, soci
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The End of the ‘Developing World’

The End of the ‘Developing World’ | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.

 

BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.

Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.

It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.

All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.

It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The terms "developing" and "developed" are certainly problematic.  But so too are just about any such terminologies.  "Fat" and "lean" have their own host of problems.  But the unmistakable issue is that the world is much more diverse and harder to characterize than a century ago.

 

My vote would be a scale of corruption.  Or a measure of the disparity of income between the richest and poorest in the country, or perhaps a measure of the wealth/poverty concentration. 

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Joanne Wegener's curator insight, March 7, 5:03 AM

Fat or Lean - what sort of world do we live in

An interesting discussion on the way we perceive and label the world.

Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, March 11, 10:15 AM

Hoy en día poca claridad de dónde exactamente queda y quiénes son? 

Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 13, 10:46 AM

UPDATE: this article (from the Atlantic) on the exact same concept would supplement the NY Times article nicely.  

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Who are the 1 percent? Two new views

Who are the 1 percent? Two new views | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Nobel Prize -winning economist Robert M. Solow has leveled a blast at a recent attempt by Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw to explain rising income inequality and the primacy of the 1% in the U.S. as the result of "just desserts" going to the talented people making important economic contributions to society.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While we certainly need innovation to tackle our vexing sustainability crises, the "one percent" are certainly more often a hinderance rather than a assistance in these matters.  At least in my opinion.  I do not find many "one percenters" or five or ten percenters for that matter in the cue to assist with new technological innovations that can bolster sustainability.  But I do find many of them on the status quo tip, arguing against technological or policy innovations to bolster sustainability.  Be it wealthy mining heiresses in Australia or fossil fuel advocating industrialists, most are actively seeking to hinder or reverse gains in environmental protection and social justice.  Unfortunately I concur that most of the ultra rich are indeed more Jamie Dimond and less Steve Jobs.

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Wealthy Businessman Compares Treatment Of The Rich To The Holocaust

Wealthy Businessman Compares Treatment Of The Rich To The Holocaust | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Venture capitalist Thomas Perkins wrote a letter to the editors at the Wall Street Journal, comparing the plight of the rich to the Holocaust, called "Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?"... and the WSJ published it.

Via pdeppisch
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Unbelievable.  Achieving sustainability is not possible when such a small majority control such a vast proportion of the overall wealth in our country/world.  And it certainly isn't possible when efforts such as those to return taxation rates to what they were for many decades is equated to the Holocaust.  

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Trading up from poverty

Trading up from poverty | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON, DC – A long-held tenet of international-trade theory is that, in the long run, increased trade correlates with faster GDP growth.

Via Schumacher Institute
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I understand all of the macroeconomic arguments, but am still not convinced that the World Bank is the best engine for economic development out there.  Globalization has (from my perspective and the studies I have examined) been quite wrenching and harmful in terms of local, traditional communities/cultures and in terms of overall environmental quality.  I like the fact the World Bank seems more focused on the lower 40% of the world's population (measured by income), but somehow I am not sure they will be particularly successful.

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2013's Best Performing American Cities

2013's Best Performing American Cities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
New rankings from the Milken Institute show just how diverse our tech economy has become.

To the casual observer, the narratives of economic growth in American cities seem fairly obvious: the Sunbelt is adding people, the Rustbelt is failing, and big cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and D.C. are coming back. But the reality is far more complicated once you start adding real-world statistics into the picture.

Each year, the Milken Institute’s "Best Performing Cities" index injects some much-needed clarity into the debates surrounding metro growth and decline. An "outcomes-based" ranking, the report takes into account both short and long-term growth in job numbers, wages and salary, and the concentration and size of high-tech industries — an increasingly important part of success in today’s knowledge-driven economy.

The result is a data-driven look at economic growth in America's 200 largest metropolitan areas.


Via Lauren Moss
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Malthus, Marx, and Modern Growth - Kenneth Rogoff identifies several obstacles to keeping living standards on an upward trajectory

Malthus, Marx, and Modern Growth - Kenneth Rogoff identifies several obstacles to keeping living standards on an upward trajectory | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

The promise that each generation will be better off than the last is a fundamental tenet of modern society. By and large, most advanced economies have fulfilled this promise, with living standards rising over recent generations, despite setbacks from wars and financial crises. In the developing world, too, the vast majority of people have started to experience sustained improvement in living standards and are rapidly developing similar growth expectations. But will future generations, particularly in advanced economies, realize such expectations? Though the likely answer is yes, the downside risks seem higher than they did a few decades ago.


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Fortune Magazine's Version of the 50 "most admired" corporations.

Fortune Magazine's Version of the 50 "most admired" corporations. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Very, very few of these businesses have any significant emphasis on sustainability.  A few do (e.g. Whole Foods, Unilever) but the vast majority read more like a Who's Who of non-triple bottom liners.  Really?  Wall Street Banks are among the "most admired" businesses in the world.  Come on.

 

Once again, Fortune Magazine shows why 1) it is near bankruptcy and 2) takes money to write stories that other outfits would classify as "paid advertisements" or "paid promotions."  

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Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013

Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698, according to an annual survey released Monday. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

For all the knocks on green jobs, they seem to be steadily increasing year over year.

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The onrushing wave

The onrushing wave | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Christian Verstraete's curator insight, February 3, 1:33 AM

Technology Innovation and jobs.

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Efforts to curb unbridled growth that's killing the planet

Efforts to curb unbridled growth that's killing the planet | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Yet instead of applause, voices from across the political spectrum - Berkeley activists and Beltway conservatives, Pope Francis and even some corporate CEOs - offer a critique of economic growth and its harm to the well-being of humans and the...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The efforts to incorporate natural capital into our economic thinking and policy are good, but much of this formal effort (as described by Gretchen in the piece) is very piecemeal and idiosyncratic to date.

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