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The sufficiency economy: envisioning a prosperous way down

 
"I address this subject having been convinced that the growth paradigm has no future and that some alternative vision is therefore needed as humanity begins its inevitable transition to a world beyond growth. I put forward the sufficiency economy as the most promising alternative model, although it is one that I believe may ultimately be imposed upon us whether we want it or not, for reasons that will be explained. We can go the easier way or the harder way, so to speak, depending on our attitudes and actions. "

 

Absolute must-read analysis by Samuel Alexander of the real economic alternative to the crisis.

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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Europe’s immigration bind: how to act morally while heeding the will of its people

Europe’s immigration bind: how to act morally while heeding the will of its people | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Liberal immigration policies can be enforced only by winning public support, not in spite of public opposition. Winning such support is not a chimera, there is no iron law that the public must be irrevocably hostile to immigration. Large sections of the public have become hostile because they have come to associate immigration with unacceptable change. That is why, paradoxically, the immigration debate cannot be won simply by debating immigration, nor the migration crisis solved merely by enacting migration policies. Anxieties about immigration are an expression of a wider sense of political voicelessness and disengagement. Until that underlying political problem is tackled, the arrival of migrants on Europe’s shores will continue to be seen as a crisis.
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Without any doubt, one of the best articles recently written on the refugee crisis in Europe.

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Don’t blame China for these global economic jitters

Don’t blame China for these global economic jitters | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
we have wasted the past seven years propping up a bankrupt economic model. Before things get any worse, we need to replace it with one in which the financial sector is made less complex and more patient, investment in the real economy is encouraged by fiscal and technological incentives, and measures are brought in to reduce inequality so that demand can be maintained without creating more debts.
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Not China but debt addiction of the West & misguided austerity policies are cause of the new coming Depression.

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The sharing economy is a lie: Uber, Ayn Rand and the truth about tech and libertarians

The sharing economy is a lie: Uber, Ayn Rand and the truth about tech and libertarians | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

'Uber is an ideological campaign, a neoliberal project whose real products are deregulation and the dismantling of the social contract.'

Willy De Backer's insight:

Good article explaining why Uber does not have anything to do with the #sharingeconomy & is not the #futureofwork.

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Who's right, commodities or the Fed?

Who's right, commodities or the Fed? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Either these commodities are about the turn the corner as renewed strength in the United States--the biggest buyer of commodities next to China--revives industrial metal and crude oil demand--or the Federal Reserve is misreading the tea leaves and crashing commodity prices signal a world and U.S. economy in distress.

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Good article on the FED's interest raise and the real economy implications

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False Promise | George Monbiot

False Promise | George Monbiot | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Governments urge us both to consume more and to conserve more. We must extract more fossil fuel from the ground, but burn less of it. We should reduce, reuse and recycle the stuff that enters our homes, and at the same time increase, discard and replace it. How else can the consumer economy grow? We should eat less meat, to protect the living planet, and eat more meat, to boost the farming industry. These policies are irreconcilable. The new analyses suggest that economic growth is the problem, whether or not the word sustainable is bolted to the front of it.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read analysis from George Monbiot. Even relative decoupling between materials use and economic growth is an artifact of false accounting. Growth and sustainability are incompatible.

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Leading a green lifestyle could help us be more satisfied

Leading a green lifestyle could help us be more satisfied | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
People will need to lead less materialistic lifestyles if we are to transition to a green economy, but the challenge in changing actual behaviours and lifestyles lies in overcoming our ingrained notions about consumption, success and happiness.

That's according to Ricardo García Mira from the University of A Coruña in Spain, who is leading an EU-funded project looking at how to encourage people to behave in a pro-environmental manner.

How will our individual lifestyles have to change over the next 10 years if we are serious about reducing climate change?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Another example of the great research done by EU institutions, which never then never reaches policymakers. How can we change this?

 

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Norman Warthmann's curator insight, November 8, 2015 5:16 PM

an example of the much needed research towards behavioural change!

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''Plan X'': Former Greek Finance Minister on the Movement to Democratize Europe

''Plan X'': Former Greek Finance Minister on the Movement to Democratize Europe | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Europe emerged as a cartel of heavy industry. It began with steel and coal, and then they co-opted the farmers, then they co-opted the bankers, and then the car industry and then eventually the service industries, and so on and so forth. It was an attempt to create stable prices, to limit competition, the opposite of the raison d'etre of the British state and of course the American state. So the idea was to stabilise prices and to stop the clash between German industry, French industry, northern Italian industry, Dutch industry - that kind of thing.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting Varoufakis interview, good analysis but vague on substance as to how to democratise the EU

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Marxism and Ecology: Common Fonts of a Great Transition

Marxism and Ecology: Common Fonts of a Great Transition | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
This essay unearths the deep ecological roots of Marx’s thought, showing how he brought an environmental perspective to bear on the overarching question of social transformation. From there, it traces the evolution of Marxian ecology, illuminating its profound, formative link to modern ecological economics and systems ecology. It concludes by discussing the wider project of building a social movement broad and deep enough to halt and reverse ecological and social destruction.
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Excellent analysis of the Marxist basis for the social-ecological transition.

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Social democracy: In the valley of death?

Social democracy: In the valley of death? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Is social democracy finished, a relic of 20th-century class society, as John Gray and others predicted three decades or so ago? Its twin historic tasks – to tame and humanise capitalism, while harnessing its dynamism – remain as valid and pressing as ever. But in this post-crash era, it needs to equip itself with new economic reform agendas.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent analysis by Nick Pearce in New Statesman of the UK Corbyn surge, but with lessons for the whole European Left

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Towards a social-ecological transition. Solidarity in the age of environmental challenge

Towards a social-ecological transition. Solidarity in the age of environmental challenge | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The primary aim of this short guide is to tie the ecological transition firmly to the simultaneous demand for social progress. As the authors see it, such social progress must be erected upon the tripod of equality, employment and social protection. These are the three pillars of the edifice required to produce a social-ecological transition. Simply put, the social-ecological transition answers environmental change with social progress.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good new guide by Philippe Pochet (ETUI) and Eloi Laurent (OFCE) on the need to link the ecological transition to the social justice agenda

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Common Wealth Trusts: Structures of Transition

Organizing common wealth so that markets respect its co-inheritors and co-beneficiaries requires the creation of common wealth trusts, legally accountable to future generations. These trusts would have authority to limit usage of threatened ecosystems, charge for the use of public resources, and pay per capita dividends. Designing and creating a suite of such trusts would counterbalance profit-seeking activity, slow the destruction of nature, and reduce inequality.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant article on the REAL structural changes our society needs.

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The Corbyn Phenomenon

The Corbyn Phenomenon | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A large proportion of the membership believe that Labour will not win again by accepting the current political narrative on austerity or immigration or welfare or inequality and offering only marginal changes to current government policy. On economic policy in particular they need to offer reasons for voters to believe that there are alternatives to the current status quo of poor quality jobs, deteriorating public services and infrastructure, and growing poverty alongside gross inequality at the top. That means, whether he wins or loses, working with the Corbyn phenomenon rather than dismissing it.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good analysis of the rise of Corbyn in the UK's labour party - lessons to be learned for the left!

 

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The Eurozone’s Pyrrhic victory over Greece

The Eurozone’s Pyrrhic victory over Greece | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
the third bailout agreement destroyed everything and resolved nothing. Sooner or later, Greece and its creditors will be back in Brussels to continue their ritualistic late-night crisis talks; except next time around, the risks and consequences of a disorderly Grexit will only be greater, for there will be no credible political force to contain it. The Eurozone may have temporarily imposed a Carthaginian peace upon the “unruly” Greeks this summer, but the lessons of King Pyrrhus still loom ominously over the smoldering battlefield: one more such victory would utterly undo the single currency.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Europe's new austerity diktat will not re-orient the Greek economy towards economic and ecological sustainability

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The best thing a business could do for the environment is shut down

The best thing a business could do for the environment is shut down | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A key finding of our research is that climate change poses a fundamental challenge to business as usual. While corporations frame climate change through the optimistic prism of innovation, technology and “green” products and services, the unpleasant reality is that our existing economic system fundamentally undermines a habitable climate.
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Brilliant must-read analysis on the climatechaos, capitalism and the future of business

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La Pologne n’est pas à l’abri d’une dérive fasciste

La Pologne n’est pas à l’abri d’une dérive fasciste | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
cette révolte des masses qui conduit à une forme d’autoritarisme politique et à une dictature populiste résulte des « politiques de non-reconnaissance » conduites un peu partout en Europe, selon la doxa néolibérale. Tous les fascismes européens ont commencé de la même façon : transformation d’un manque de dignité des masses populaires en fait politique pour retrouver la fierté nationale. On peut craindre que le fascisme qui a déjà pris une forme d’exercice de pouvoir et une méthode de gouvernance renaisse en Pologne.
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Excellent article in Le Monde on the fascist revolution in Poland and the importance for EU democracy

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The Church of Economism and Its Discontents

A successful transition will depend on a diverse collection of efforts, including urging negative population growth; supporting sustainable consumption and degrowth; promoting the commons paradigm; working with religion to foster an ethic for an equitable and sustainable planet; furthering justice; improving the sciences; promoting agroecology; facilitating local markets; encouraging progressive forms of corporate ownership, governance, and practice; and warning of limits and the possibilities of tipping points. We will need all of these efforts and more to shift to a socially just and environmentally sustainable world. We will even need the insights of economists, but with a diversity of forms of economic thinking. We will need markets, but we will have to be far more aggressive in telling the “invisible hand” where to go. Hopefully, exposing the interrelationships between economism and the Econocene will help us see the depth and breadth of the problem and the role each of us can play in a collective solution.
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Brilliant must-read article by Richard Norgaard on the role of 'economism' and the need for a radical transformation of our economies.

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Paris climate summit: the climate circus comes to town

Paris climate summit: the climate circus comes to town | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The climate circus would be farcical, if the fate of billions were not at stake
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Read this Guardian article to understand the non-importance of COP21

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Unilever Finds That Shrinking Its Footprint Is a Giant Task

Unilever Finds That Shrinking Its Footprint Is a Giant Task | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Unilever has pledged to cut its environmental impact in half while improving the health of one billion people, but sustainability is turning out to be complicated.
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Excellent NY Times article on the challenges for sustainable business.

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There’s no perfect answer to the migrant crisis – and we must face that

There’s no perfect answer to the migrant crisis – and we must face that | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The right wing is cruel to reject the humanity of those whose lives depend on our succour. Yet the pro-refugee politicians will not win the day if they fail to address the deeper causes of the crisis. Accepting the refugees today has to be accompanied by a rapid end to the Syrian war; an end to the US-led wars of regime change; more cooperation in the UN security council; and long-term investments in sustainable development. The flood of refugees will abate to a manageable level only when people everywhere, including in poor and unstable regions, see a safe future for themselves and their children in their home countries.
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One of the best analyses yet of the migrant crisis by Jeffrey Sachs

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Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power

Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Europe’s socialists face a dilemma. They are at last waking up to the unpleasant truth that monetary union is an authoritarian Right-wing enterprise that has slipped its democratic leash, yet if they act on this insight in any way they risk being prevented from taking power.

Brussels really has created a monster."

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Portugal: austerity trumps democracy - the next stage after Greece. Who is next?

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Exxon’s Climate Concealment

Exxon’s Climate Concealment | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
like the tobacco industry — Exxon chose the path of disinformation, denial and delay. More damagingly, the company set a model for the rest of the industry. More than 30 years ago, Exxon scientists acknowledged in internal company memos that climate change could be catastrophic. Today, scientists who say the exact same thing are ridiculed in the business community and on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read NY Times piece written by Naomi Oreskes

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, October 11, 2015 8:58 AM

Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation.

Government and academic scientists alerted policy makers to the potential threat of human-driven climate change in the 1960s and ’70s, but at that time climate change was still a prediction. By the late 1980s it had become an observed fact.

(...)

that employs thousands of scientists and engineers and whose core business depends on their expertise — could be that confused about the science. We now know that they not only understood the science, but contributed to it.

As early as 1977, one of Exxon’s senior scientists warned a gathering of oilmen of a “general scientific agreement” that the burning of fossil fuels was influencing the climate. A year later, he had updated his assessment, warning that “present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

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Michael Porter of HBS on the Social Progress Index | Harvard Magazine

Michael Porter of HBS on the Social Progress Index | Harvard Magazine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

What are the ingredients of a healthy, inclusive society—one that offers its citizens opportunity, happiness, and a positive quality of life? According to Lawrence University Professor Michael E. Porter, models of human development based on economic growth alone are incomplete; nations that thrive provide personal rights, nutrition and basic medical care, ecosystem sustainability, and access to advanced education, among other goods—and it is possible to measure progress toward providing these social benefits.

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Excellent article on Michael Porter's Social Progress Index and the development of tools to go beyond GDP

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Death to 'austerity'. Long live sustainable abundance!

Death to 'austerity'. Long live sustainable abundance! | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Greens are united in opposing neoliberal 'austerity', write Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine. But there's another kind of austerity to which we are committed - that of living within ecological limits. But base the transition on social, economic and environmental justice, and there will be nothing austere about it. The future we're working for is one of sustainable, life-enhancing abundance.
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''Casino Capitalism'': Economist Michael Hudson on What's Behind the Stock Market's Roller-Coaster Ride

''Casino Capitalism'': Economist Michael Hudson on What's Behind the Stock Market's Roller-Coaster Ride | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
the real problem is that we're in a nonrecovery in America, and Europe is in an absolute class war of austerity. That's what the eurozone is, an austerity zone. So that's not growing. And that's really what's happening. And all that you saw on Monday was just sort of like a shift, tectonic shift, is people realizing, "Well, the game is up, it's time to get out." And once a few people want to get out, everybody sees the game's up.
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Post-Capitalism by Paul Mason review – a worthy successor to Marx?

Post-Capitalism by Paul Mason review – a worthy successor to Marx? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
As a slice of futurology this book is no better than its many, equally speculative rivals. But as a spark to the imagination, with frequent x-ray flashes of insight into the way we live now, it is hard to beat. In that sense, Mason is a worthy successor to Marx.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review of Paul Mason's latest book in the Guardian.

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