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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Why sustainability leaders don’t impress Wall Street

Why sustainability leaders don’t impress Wall Street | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
If sustainable business practices create profits and shareholder value, why aren’t mainstream investors paying attention?
Willy De Backer's insight:

What about: because real sustainability is about real limits and Wall Street is about phantasy growth for ever?

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 4, 6:49 PM

Some new research by McKinsey & Company has uncovered part of the answer. The short version: Investors don’t have the data they need, or understand how sustainability connects to creating shareholder value. And companies don’t know how to tell a story that’s relevant to Wall Street.

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Economist receives rock star treatment

Economist receives rock star treatment | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The reception for his “Capital in the 21st Century” has led the French economist Thomas Piketty to Washington’s halls of power and New York’s media outlets.
Willy De Backer's insight:

More praise for Thomas Piketty in the NY Times

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 19, 1:03 PM

The one who points out a possible theory of function is hailed as a hero and villain for the public to see.

But the one who points out the impending collapse of civilization, based on evidence gathered from history, is left in obscurity.

 

I'm young, I get it.

 

But that doesn't make what I've said any less valuable or accurate.

 

But will anyone listen to me, even though I've basically got the essence of how to get out of this mess, from which either party could capitalize considerably from for generations to come?

Of course not.

 

I'm just a "kid" after all.

 

And these adults with so much negative experience are just going to keep doing what their brains have programmed themselves to do.

 

Think about it.

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The Rise of Anti-Capitalism

The Rise of Anti-Capitalism | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"A formidable new technology infrastructure — the Internet of Things — is emerging with the potential to push much of economic life to near zero marginal cost over the course of the next two decades."

Willy De Backer's insight:

As always, super-optimist Rifkin is great at analysing new trends in the global economy, but totally misjudges the negative implications. This is the guy who predicted the age of the "European Dream". Look where Europe is now! So by all means, read this NY Times article but put off your rosy glasses.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 16, 1:31 PM

Perhaps this era of free manufacture will break the current economic system (assuming that the businesses don't attempt to break it).

 

It still won't change the attitude with regards to money, society and the environment that's proving so caustic to our whole world.

 

This will be interesting to watch.

 

Think about it.

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Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent Naomi Klein article in New Statesman: "our entire economic paradigm is a threat to ecological stability. And indeed that challenging this economic paradigm – through mass-movement counter-pressure – is humanity’s best shot at avoiding catastrophe"

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Que faire du capitalisme dans la « transition écologique » ?

Que faire du capitalisme dans la « transition écologique » ? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

En résumé, et sachant que des arguments non écologiques que je ne mentionne pas ici sont aussi décisifs, je rejoins Edgar Morin : « On ne va pas le remplacer par un coup de baguette magique mais on peut REFOULER SA ZONE DE DOMINATION ABSOLUE ». Je complète ainsi : « en mettant hors de portée de sa logique de surprofits et de rente les biens communs vitaux, écologiques mais aussi sociaux (protection sociale, égalité des sexes…) ».

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good analysis by Jean Gadrey of the tension between the socio-ecological transition and capitalism.

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The Oil Drum | Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem

The Oil Drum | Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss real-world problems. In particular, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we are setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary.

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The power to 'create money out of thin air'

The power to 'create money out of thin air' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"If we can move on from Adam Smith’s 300 year-old flawed analytical system to a proper understanding of the powers and public goods we have, due to ignorance, outsourced to the private banking sector – then perhaps as both economists and citizens we might finally be able to understand the creation of money – by both central and private banks - ‘out of thin air’. Only with this understanding will it be possible to devise policies, regulation and strategies to tackle and once again subordinate global finance to the interests of society and the ecosystem."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant but sometimes a bit technical review by Ann Pettifor of the role of money and credit in the current economic crisis. Must-read article for anyone interested in how to tame the financial sector.

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System Innovation and a New ‘Great Transformation’: Re-embedding Economic Life in the Context of ‘De-Growth’

System Innovation and a New ‘Great Transformation’: Re-embedding Economic Life in the Context of ‘De-Growth’ | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"the parameters of a post-growth welfare regime might be expected to include a new social compact between ‘mutualized’ capital and partially de-commodified labour along with a greater role for bottom-up, communitarian forms of welfare provision. It is more likely than has been the case under conditions of growth that the selection environment may favour more ‘embedded’ forms of economic activity, insulating both social and ecological capital from the predations of unregulated markets.."

Willy De Backer's insight:

One of the best articles of 2012, not always easy to read but a great analysis of how the new limits to growth needs fundamental rethinking of the role of the state, communities, and social innovators fighting for social and ecological protection.

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Class in the 21st Century

"We are witnessing the birth of a new era: novel relationships of class and nation, of ideology, identity and mobilization, and of global left-wing politics are taking shape. The end of the Cold War brought no ‘peace dividend’, merely a new cycle of wars. The triumph of Western capitalism was not followed by universal prosperity, but by soaring inequality and recurrent economic crises: East Asia, Russia, Argentina, and now the ongoing Euro-American turbulence. The classic issues of concern for the left—capitalist exploitation and imperialism, oppressive hierarchies of gender or ethnicity—have reproduced themselves in the new century. The struggle will go on: of that we can be sure. But who will stamp their mark on it—the new middle class, or the plebeian masses? "

Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant long essay by Swedish sociology professor Göran Therborn on the historical birth, demise and challenging future of the working class as a political and social actor at global level.

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Global Noise takes on austerity: 'We are not going to be silent'

Global Noise takes on austerity: 'We are not going to be silent' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Demonstrators across the world are calling for an end to austerity as Global Noise protests kick off in more than 30 countries, including many in the Nobel Peace laureate European Union.

 

Is Global Noise the new "Occupy"? Opposition against globalised new class warfare will need more than just a narrative. It will need organisation.

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Creating 'Shared Value': Delivering On Social Values

Creating 'Shared Value': Delivering On Social Values | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Business leaders, said Porter, should focus on creating win-win outcomes that strengthen society as well as satisfy the profit motive. They can do so by reaching out to serve broader constituencies and by being attentive to long-term social impact."

 

The World Bank blog tackles Michael Porter's "Shared Value" concept but avoids the tough question: what if "shared value" approaches bite into corporate profits? If interests of shareholders clash with interests of society, which side wins in a world rules by the financial markets?

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How Huge Food Corporations Will Make Upcoming Food Price Hikes Even Worse | Alternet

How Huge Food Corporations Will Make Upcoming Food Price Hikes Even Worse | Alternet | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Now is perhaps a good time to reflect on the extent to which the entire American food system is built on one crop – corn. And within that one crop, we rely on a very narrow range of genetics; although there are more than 250 known genetic races of corn, the U.S. almost exclusively relies on just two of them. Because the U.S. is the world’s number-one producer, consumer and exporter of corn, global food prices are also linked to America’s ability to grow corn. This year, we are going to find out what happens when the crop fails in many parts of the country. Now is a good time to ask ourselves: is it smart to bet the global food supply on a few varieties of one crop grown in one country?"

 

Good article on Alternet on how food industry short-term profit-thinking is endangering our global food system.

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Sustainability problems galore but precious few solutions

Sustainability problems galore but precious few solutions | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
While the 250 high level participants at the University of Oxford's Resource conference are clear about why short termism is so dominant, there is no silver bullet that will save civilisation...

 

What seems to have been seriously lacking during this conference is the social dimension of the sustainability crisis. What will be collapse for some (the 99%) could be a bright "gated" green future for others (the 1%). The signs of a new class war we are seeing in the Great Depression will become more visible over time.

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The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth
Willy De Backer's insight:

Fascinating article by Nafeez Ahmed in the Guardian on 'open source everything' and the possibility of a revolution against predatory capitalism.

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Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine

Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Despite having made some disparaging remarks early on about the savagery of the United States, it turns out that Thomas Piketty is a garden-variety social welfare democrat in the mold, largely, of the American New Deal."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant critical analysis by James Galbraith of the new book of Thomas Piketty. A must-read.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 6, 1:43 PM

All economics is political, because all wealth is political.  Be it a controlling influence in our media, energy sources, food resources or home goods, etc, all ownership entails a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the owners and yields considerable effects upon our world through their influence in the political/gubernatorial levels of our world.  To that end, concentration of wealth and true economic capital (the actual stuff that produces and is produced) leads to a form of dictatorship that is as fragile and corruptible as any dictatorship.  It's not good for the polity to leave economic wealth so concentrated at the "top" levels of our society, because it leaves the system prone to collapses, revolutions and uprisings that cannot reliably be put down through military force of arms or deceitful tactics.  The rebels will just keep coming, until the perceived injustice is perceived to be over.

 

What this means, is that in order to realize a less centralized, more organic and more stable polity, the members of our government must throw themselves on the mercy of the general public and reverse the policies which have encouraged the economic system to act as a cancerous parasite on the rest of society, rather than as a benevolent and necessary tool to satisfying human needs first, and human wants second.  The centralized polity under the centralized economic system is already eroding in the streets.  If the government's members are going to save their own hides, at the very least, they might as well reverse the changes of principle and goal that was enacted in the 1980's under the Reagan administration and return government's function and role to those principles and goals that was under the Roosevelt administration (even if we don't do everything the same way that they do).

 

This cancerous tendency in American society has got to be ended.  Yet the only way that it is truly going to be ended, is if those who exhibit these kinds of self-destructive economic behaviors are removed from office, researched and then never allowed back into those places again by the rest of society.

 

Sadly, I don't see humans taking up arms to put these bankers, financiers, executives, lobbyists and politicians into the straight jackets in which they belong in time to save themselves.  A sad state of affair.

 

Think about it.

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Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Challenging Casino Capitalism's Punishing Factories

Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Challenging Casino Capitalism's Punishing Factories | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Henry Giroux: Cultivating the radical imagination, civic education and critical modes of literacy are central to producing an informed citizenry, but even more so to constituting any viable notion of politics.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant analysis of casino capitalism and its austerity and inequality excesses. "We live in an age of proliferating political zombies, disimagination machines and punishing factories. This is an age of full blown authoritarianism parading, ironically, in the name of freedom and liberty".

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China’s Corporate Crackdown

China’s Corporate Crackdown | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In recent months, the Chinese government has leveled a series of allegations of corporate misconduct – ranging from food-product contamination to price rigging and bribery – against multinational firms.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Simon Zadek's interesting article in Project Syndicate points to new developments in China's state capitalism.

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Three (more) things they don’t tell you about capitalism

Three (more) things they don’t tell you about capitalism | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Professor Ha-Joon Chang has two things in common with Karl Marx. Firstly he’s right in much of his economic analysis of the ills of capitalism and secondly his prescriptions of the solutions to these ills are lacking.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good article by Jules Peck of Citizen Renaissance

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Davos man thrives while the rest of us pay for his excesses

Davos man thrives while the rest of us pay for his excesses | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Davos is intellectually bankrupt. But the ideology it champions won't fall just by itself. Capitalism's dead end requires intellectual challengers, social movements and trade union leaders prepared to dare to reimagine their role."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good comment in the Guardian by Will Hutton.

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2013: a year to fight for scale in advancing sustainability

2013: a year to fight for scale in advancing sustainability | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Scale is the 'unreasonable challenge' we must meet to drive forward sustainability. Simon Zadek explains how to achieve this
Willy De Backer's insight:

Sustainability "gurus"Simon Zadek and John Elkington highlighting the need for "breakthrough" capitalism and scaling up of sustainability at the end of a year which saw the freakiest weather ever, the expected failure or Rio and Doha,  political elites' obsession with the financial debt crises and new class wars in Southern Europe.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, December 31, 2012 8:44 AM

Scale is the zeitgeist in the world of sustainability. And although it's not in Merriam-Webster's top 10, it gets my vote for the most used word of the year. And there is a lot of it about. Our planet entertains more than 7 billion people, we are awash with digital data, our use of energy use has increased from 35 exajoules in 1900 to 550 exajoules in 2010, life expectancy at birth has increased by 21 years since 1950 and almost a billion people watched the opening of the London Olympics.

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Reality economics

Reality economics | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Michael Hudson reviews  Norbert Häring and Niall Douglas, Economists and the Powerful (London: Anthem Press, 2012). Their books demonstrates "how economics was turned into a propaganda exercise for financiers, landlords, monopolists, insiders, fraudsters and other rent-seeking predators whom classical economists sought to tax and regulate out of existence. This state of affairs reflects the century-long drive of these free lunchers to fight back against classical economics by sponsoring self-serving fictions that depict them as earning their fortunes not in predatory and extractive ways, but by contributing to output as “job creators.”

Willy De Backer's insight:

Another absolute must-read from critical economist Michael Hudson.

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10 Steps To Transform Capitalism For The Better

10 Steps To Transform Capitalism For The Better | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Can capitalism be reformed for the better? John Elkington still believes it can and here are his interesting thoughts on how to do it.

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Businesses seeking success should look to nature for inspiration

Businesses seeking success should look to nature for inspiration | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Today's rapidly changing business environment calls for businesses that thrive in such environments: businesses more akin to living systems. These firms of the future learn and adapt; they aren't structured and siloed, which stifles learning and agility. They are bottom-up, decentralised, interdependent, multifunctional, self-organising units – unlike the centralised, top-down, hierarchically-managed monoliths of the 20th century. Organisations need to transform into units that are inter-connected, value-led and inspired by nature."

 

Good article at the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog making the case for a change of thinking in business models: away from competitiveness and proft-maximising and focussing on cooperation, networking and resilience.

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Commons: Alternatives to Markets and States

"...what is emerging fast is the alternative of a commons based economy. Peer to peer, social sharing, collaborative consumption, commons, economic democracy are all terms that cover economic activity that moves beyond the market and the state, based on cooperation and harnessing human creativity."

 

Excellent analysis by Derek Wall on the need to move to an economy of sharing, an economy of the commons as an alternative to failed socialism (state) and failed capitalism (market).

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Is a sustainable future within reach?

Is a sustainable future within reach? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
John Elkington finds inspiration in the ready and available solutions listed in the Sustainia100 prospectus...

 

Interesting post by John Elkington on the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog but strange that the "father" of the "triple bottom line" is seriously leaving out the social dimension of sustainability. Are the capitalist elites preparing their Green Army-protected sustainability islands in the midst of civilisation collapse?

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