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It’s the interest, stupid! Why bankers rule the world

It’s the interest, stupid! Why bankers rule the world | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest.

 

The case for a public banking systems which re-invest its profits in prosperity instead of high bonuses.

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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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A new theory of energy and the economy - Part 1 - Generating economic growth

A new theory of energy and the economy - Part 1 - Generating economic growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
How does the economy really work? In my view, there are many erroneous theories in published literature. I have been investigating this topic and have come to the conclusion that both energy and de...
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Brillliant must-read analysis by Gail Tverberg of the link between economic growth, energy and debt.

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Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, January 24, 1:48 PM

"In order for economic growth to occur, the wages of workers need to go farther and farther in buying goods and services. Low-priced energy products are far more effective in producing this situation than high-priced energy products. Substituting high-priced energy products for low-priced energy products can be expected to lead to lower economic growth."

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Institutions need to radically change for the Anthropocene epoch

Institutions need to radically change for the Anthropocene epoch | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The problem with existing institutions is that they developed in a very different kind of world. They are subject to all kinds of path dependencies, and are quite capability of generating feedback that reinforces their own necessity. So the institutions of global finance have successfully positioned themselves as ‘too big to fail’. The institutions of global environmental governance have failed to produce a comprehensive global treaty on anything since the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer in 1987 – but that aspiration remains the focus of the efforts of most concerned actors, be they governments or environmental NGOs.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article by John Dryzek on LSE blog on the failure of current institutions to address the challenges of the social-ecological transition.

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Podemos party's plan to 'stimulate consumption' needs more ambition

Podemos party's plan to 'stimulate consumption' needs more ambition | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The economic policy of Spain’s rising leftwing party signals a new model of prosperity, but it could go further
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting look by degrowth expert Giorgios Kallis of the new economic model put forward by the Spanish Podemos party. But Kallis' analysis should go further too. The key challenge for any new economic model will be a democratic one: how to set, monitor and enforce ecological limits to growth.

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Slavoj Žižek on the Charlie Hebdo massacre: Are the worst really full of passionate intensity?

Slavoj Žižek on the Charlie Hebdo massacre: Are the worst really full of passionate intensity? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
What Max Horkheimer had said about Fascism and capitalism already back in 1930s - those who do not want to talk critically about capitalism should also keep quiet about Fascism - should also be applied to today’s fundamentalism: those who do not want to talk critically about liberal democracy should also keep quiet about religious fundamentalism.
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Brilliant must-read analysis by Zizek of the Charlie Hebdo killing: "Fundamentalism is a reaction – a false, mystifying, reaction, of course - against a real flaw of liberalism, and this is why it is again and again generated by liberalism. Left to itself, liberalism will slowly undermine itself – the only thing that can save its core values is a renewed Left."

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Greece: Syriza close to office, elites close to panic

Greece: Syriza close to office, elites close to panic | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Greece could be about to elect the most radical government of the left in Europe since the 1930s - the outcome could shape European society for decades to come
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article on the importance for the Left of a Syriza victory in Greece and its impact on other EU countries.

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Syriza can transform the EU from within – if Europe will let it

Syriza can transform the EU from within – if Europe will let it | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Syriza has repeatedly declared its intention to keep the country within the economic and monetary union, and to avoid unilateral actions. There is little doubt that its leaders are committed Europeanists who truly believe that they could help transform the EU from within.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article in the Guardian on the political crisis in Greece and its implications for the EU. Must-read article to counter all the scaremongering which EU elites will launch to sabotage Greek democratic vote.

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Degrowth – A Vocabulary for a New Era: Review

Degrowth – A Vocabulary for a New Era: Review | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
To the extent that degrowth is an involuntary process then another set of issues arise – will the society and economy withstand the process without catastrophic breakdowns and what can the many kinds of projects and policies described in this book do to make energy descent a survivable process for the population? A great many people will be finding that their lifestyle packages are severely stressed and breaking apart and this will generate a great deal of fear and ‘negative’ emotions.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Fascinating, must-read debate between Feasta's Brian Davey and  Giorgios Kallis on the framing of #degrowth. Can we manage degrowth or do we prepare for collapse?

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Is the Lima deal a travesty of global climate justice?

Is the Lima deal a travesty of global climate justice? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
As it stands, 21 years of tortuous negotiations may have actually taken developing countries backwards on tackling climate change. From an imperfect but legally binding UN treaty struck in 1992, in which industrialised countries accepted responsibility and agreed to make modest but specific cuts over a defined period, we now have the prospect of a less than legally binding global deal where everyone is obliged to do something but where the poor may have to do the most and the rich will be free to do little.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Finally, an honest and insightful evaluation of the Lima failure by Guardian journalist John Vidal.

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Michael Hudson: U.S. New Cold War Policy Has Backfired

German Chancellor Merkel seems to be ignoring German and other European economic interests. Still obsessed with her hatred of the East German Communist regime, she sees in Russia only an enemy, not an economic market and supplier of raw materials and customer for German manufactures and technology. Likewise, her political love for the United States deems it Europe’s natural friend, without taking into account how its New Cold War policy toward Europe – “Let’s you and Russia fight” – undercuts European continental interests and exacerbates its austerity.
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Brilliant analysis by economics professor Michael Hudson of US and EU foreign policy towards Russia and its geopolitical consequences.

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Six Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question

Six Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
most liberals have just moved a giant boat-load of denial down-stream, and that this denial is as harmful as that of conservatives. While the various aspects of liberal denial are my main overall topic, here, and will be addressed in our following five sections, they add up to the belief that we can avoid the most catastrophic levels of climate disruption without changing our fundamental way of life. This is myth is based on errors that are as profound and basic as the conservative denial of climate change itself.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Refreshing must-read article on the denial strategies of progressives who believe in climate change but are not willing to accept the inconvenient truth that we will need to change our way of life.

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On peut créer des millions d’emplois utiles dans une perspective durable

On peut créer des millions d’emplois utiles dans une perspective durable | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
La transition écologique et sociale, si elle est à la hauteur des exigences, et même en y intégrant la sobriété matérielle et énergétique, c’est beaucoup de travail à venir pour réparer, prévenir, prendre soin, à l’opposé du productivisme destructeur de biens communs et… d’emplois.

En revanche, le travail dans la sphère de l’économie devrait occuper sensiblement moins de place dans la vie des individus.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant analysis by French economist Jean Gadrey. Social-ecological transition can create millions of jobs.

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CO2 emissions must be zero by 2070 to prevent climate disaster, UN says

CO2 emissions must be zero by 2070 to prevent climate disaster,  UN says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
‘Negative emissions’ are needed globally by second half of century to stave off dangerous climate change, say UN scientists
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good article by Arthur Neslen in The Guardian.

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Use and Abuse of the “Natural Capital” Concept

Use and Abuse of the “Natural Capital” Concept | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Big problems certainly arise when we consider natural capital as expressible as a sum of money (financial capital), and then take money in the bank growing at the interest rate as the standard by which to judge whether the value of natural capital is growing fast enough, and then, following the rules of present value maximization, liquidate populations growing slower than the interest rate and replace them with faster growing ones. This is not how the ecosystem works. Money is fungible, natural stocks are not; money has no physical dimension, natural populations do. Exchanges of matter and energy among parts of the ecosystem have an objective ecological basis. They are not governed by prices based on subjective human preferences in the market.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent must-read article by Herman Daly, the father of ecological economics, on the monetary valuation of 'natural capital'

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With sub-$60 oil, fracking and tar sands losses threaten the whole financial system

With sub-$60 oil, fracking and tar sands losses threaten the whole financial system | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A new financial crisis is threatening to dwarf the 'subprime' mortgage debacle, writes Paul Mobbs. Cheap money from central banks has fuelled some $1.3 trillion of risky investments in high-cost 'unconventional' oil and gas. Now, with oil sinking below $60, all that paper is turning to junk - and that's putting the entire economic system at risk
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Brilliant must-read analysis in The Ecologist on the fracking Ponzi scheme and its future downfall.

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The Oil Price Fall: An Explanation in Two Charts

The Oil Price Fall: An Explanation in Two Charts | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
It's not really about shale or the Saudi decision not to cut production. It's about a relatively ordinary oil-production surplus that happened at the same time that QE ended.
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Interesting view on the fall of price of oil.

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Engaging with oil companies on climate change is futile, admits leading UK environmentalist

Engaging with oil companies on climate change is futile, admits leading UK environmentalist | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
After years working on sustainability projects with BP and Shell, Jonathon Porritt says he came to the conclusion it was ‘impossible’ for today’s oil and gas companies to adapt to the need to exit fossil fuels
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Of course, they have too much to lose. all talk about responsible capitalism and the like is naive.

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Green economics versus growth economics

I have already noted that a central component of Piketty’s answer to the current crisis is more of the same – that is, more growth, the proceeds of which can then be ‘redistributed’. The harsh truth, however, may well be, at the level of public policy debate and democratic discussion, that growth is in practice an alternative to egalitarian redistribution, an alternative to any serious effort to create a more equal society. The promise of growth is a replacement for the need to share. That is how growthism has ‘superseded’ socialism: ‘left-wing’ politicians join right-wing politicians in the mantra that everyone benefits from a growing pie,
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read critique of Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st century' starting from a 'limits to growth' perspective: 'The true condition for redistribution may well now be recognition that we can’t rely any longer on growth.'

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Will Europe survive 2015, the year of all elections?

Will Europe survive 2015, the year of all elections? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In 2015, European voters could decide if the European Union will survive. Elections in Britain, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Portugal and Estonia will answer two big questions. First, has disenchantment with the EU reached a tipping point? Second, is the 20th-century model of big political parties based on a collective mass and centrally run party now over?
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Only one answer to both excellent questions posed in this Guardian article: an affirmative 'YES'. Time to reinvent the EU and re-boot democracy.

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Infinite happiness

Infinite happiness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Measuring happiness and letting it grow infinitely just as we used to do with GDP does not absolve economic activity from its ecological and societal impacts.
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Thought-provoking article on the need for new 'beyond GDP' indicators questioning the 'happiness' as the new economic goal narrative. Reichel is right that 'beyond GDP' debate has diverted the discussion from issue of growth, but throws away baby with the bathwater. When shelving GDP, we need an alternative. Maybe happiness is too subjective as a goal. What about 'quality of life'?

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Please Steal Our Fossil Fuels

The main threat to a prosperous low-carbon future is the waste that low fossil-fuel prices encourage. If some extra-terrestrial thief stole two-thirds of the world’s oil, gas, and coal reserves, we could still enjoy the household appliances, information technology, heating, lighting, and mobility that define the modern world.
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How Superstar Companies Like Apple Are Killing America’s High-Tech Future

How Superstar Companies Like Apple Are Killing America’s High-Tech Future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
all of the technologies in the iPhone ­– things like touch-screen technology, GPS, and so on — originated with government spending, funded by taxpayer money.

That’s why a company like Apple should be using a substantial portion of its super-profits to support government investment in the next generation of innovation. Instead, the company runs an entire division devoted to finding ways to avoid taxation.
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Owning is the New Sharing

Owning is the New Sharing | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
There are many ways to own. Simply giving up on ownership, however, will mean that those who actually do own the tools that we rely on to share will control them. People who want an economy of genuine sharing are coming to recognize that they must embrace ownership — and, as they do, they're changing what owning means altogether.
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Will the sharing economy be hijacked by capitalism? On owning and sharing in a changing economic reality

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Debating the Sharing Economy

Debating the Sharing Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
There is little doubt that the prosharing discourse is blind to the dark side of these innovations. At the same time, the critics are too cynical. There is potential in this sector for creating new businesses that allocate value more fairly, that are more democratically organized, that reduce eco-footprints, and that can bring people together in new ways.
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Absolute must-read article on the sharing economy by Juliet Schor looking at the light as well as the dark sides of this new economic reality.

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Growth: the destructive god that can never be appeased

Growth: the destructive god that can never be appeased | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
To try to stabilise this system, governments behave like soldiers billeted in an ancient manor, burning the furniture, the paintings and the stairs to keep themselves warm for a night. They are breaking up the postwar settlement, our public health services and social safety nets, above all the living world, to produce ephemeral spurts of growth. Magnificent habitats, the benign and fragile climate in which we have prospered, species that have lived on earth for millions of years – all are being stacked on to the fire, their protection characterised as an impediment to growth.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read article By George Monbiot on the delusion of economic growth

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Emmanuel Baeten's curator insight, December 28, 2014 7:22 AM

Powerful article by George Monbiot.

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The Coming Blackout Epidemic

The Coming Blackout Epidemic | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
“We need a fundamental re-think about how electricity is generated and distributed and who controls this,” said lead author Prof Hugh Byrd of Lincoln University, a specialist in international energy policy and urban sustainability. “It is not in the interests of the privatized power industry to encourage less electricity consumption.”
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Great must-read article by Nafeez Ahmed on the looming power crisis in 'developed' countries

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