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

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Fossil fuel promises 'being broken'

Fossil fuel promises 'being broken' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The Overseas Development Institute says G20 nations spent almost £56bn ($90bn) a year finding oil, gas and coal. It comes despite evidence that two thirds of existing reserves must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change."

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Capitalism Is a Tumor on the Body Politic: What's the Alternative? Beyond Mid-Election Babble

Capitalism Is a Tumor on the Body Politic: What's the Alternative? Beyond Mid-Election Babble | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The only major difference between these parties is that the Republicans wage naked class warfare without any apologies or political concessions while the Democrats offer a few painkillers to soften the blow. In some cases, Democratic leaders such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama outdid their Republican counterparts in consolidating class power, while imposing enormous hardships and misery on the poor and middle class.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant analysis by Henry Giroux of the US mid-term elections and the role culture and education in political paradigm changes

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Society must call business' bluff on its fixation with profit maximisation

Society must call business' bluff on its fixation with profit maximisation | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Executives have no choice but to cut themselves off from their own humanity when they choose to pay the lowest wages possible, destroy ecosystems and damage community cohesion.

The only reason this ruinous idea of running a business is allowed to continue is because enough executives still collude with each other to justify it and society has not yet called their bluff.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent must-read article in the Guardian's sustainable business section.

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Are We Hard-Wired to Think We Can Grow Forever?

Are We Hard-Wired to Think We Can Grow Forever? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Trailblazing behavioural economists like Daniel Kahneman have discovered that human beings are highly irrational creatures prone to delusion, cynicism, and short-termism. In ecological economics, Bill Rees has argued that our mental genetic presets have hard-wired us for overconsumption and ecological doom. And now, according to a new theory by Ajit Varki and Danny Brower, perhaps it all stems from an overarching psychological predisposition to denial.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good article in the Daly News on why we are not willing to accept the post-growth paradigm.

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Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, November 2, 12:38 PM

Ecological economist Bill Rees argues that our ancient “triune” brain is hard-wired for short-term rewards, and those rewards have been amplified by the abundance of our fossil fuel driven economy. Our brain, which runs on an outdated OS, has leveraged its propensity for denial to construct a myth of perpetual growth wherein we can grow the economy and achieve short-term rewards forever.

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9 Significant Scientific Findings too Recent to Be Included in the New IPCC Report

9 Significant Scientific Findings too Recent to Be Included in the New IPCC Report | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its landmark synthesis report this weekend. The IPCC reports are the most comprehensive, authoritative consensus on climate change. However, the cut-off date for literature for each Assessment Report was in 2013 , so it’s worth taking stock of recent scientific advancements and climate-related events that have occurred since then.

Check out nine findings that illustrate how the trends documented in the IPCC continue to take a toll, and in some cases, may be underestimated.
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Why the IPCC synthesis report is already outdated and the situation worse than the report will dare to describe.

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The Looming Financial Crisis

As the prospect of global financial crisis beckons once again, will our elected leaders finally accept the need for an entirely new economic approach that breaks away from the primacy of growth and profit – or will their hand be forced by a resurgence of mass public protest?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article - "any solution will require a decisive break away from the myopic pursuit of economic growth, the maximisation of corporate profit, and the relentless promotion of consumerist values. As campaigners have long been demanding in response to the convergence of crises we face, we urgently need a new economic paradigm – one in which wealth, power and resources are shared more equitably and sustainably within nations and internationally."

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

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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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Suffizienz als Teil der Energiewende

Suffizienz als Teil der Energiewende | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Es zeigt sich, dass unsere Lebensweise die Freiheitsrechte vieler gleichzeitig Lebender und erst recht unserer Kinder und Enkel in bedrohlichem Ausmaß einschränkt. Absolute Grenzen für Ressourcenverbrauch und CO2-Ausstoß sind geradezu zwingend notwendig, wenn man den Freiheitsgrundsatz zu Ende denkt. Die Einsicht in die Notwendigkeit ist nicht eine Behinderung der Freiheit – es ist ihre Bedingung.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good article (in German only) about the need to see sufficiency as the key to the energy transition.

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Green jobs debate should look beyond short-term benefits, says UKERC report

Green jobs debate should look beyond short-term benefits, says UKERC report | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
renewable energy and energy efficiency create up to 1 job per gigawatt-hour more than fossil fuels and when the economy is underperforming, such as during a recession, it is sensible to focus government expenditure on these labour-intensive sectors.
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Good report on jobs in renewable energy sector from UK energy think tank.

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Job Growth, but No Raises

Job Growth, but No Raises | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Since the recovery began in mid-2009, inflation-adjusted figures show that the economy has grown by 12 percent; corporate profits, by 46 percent; and the broad stock market, by 92 percent. Median household income has contracted by 3 percent
Willy De Backer's insight:

Economic growth has become uneconomic and antisocial. Not to mention the ecological impacts.

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Like Daedalus, we should use our judgment to thrive within limits

Like Daedalus, we should use our judgment to thrive within limits | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Andrew Simms: Let’s kick the carbon habit and shift to benign sources before the civilisation wrecks its own life support systems
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Must-read article by NEF's Andrew Simms.

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Fossil fuels 'must go by 2100' - IPCC

Fossil fuels 'must go by 2100' - IPCC | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100, if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says.

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BBC article on the adoption of the IPCC's synthesis report.

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The Revolution That Wasn’t: Why the Fracking Phenomenon Will Leave Us High and Dry

The Revolution That Wasn’t: Why the Fracking Phenomenon Will Leave Us High and Dry | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
the so-called “shale revolution” has more in common with the California Gold Rush and the Dot-Com Bubble than a new golden age of energy abundance. The implications of this are profound. If the “shale revolution” is nothing more than a temporary respite from the inevitable decline in US oil and gas production, then why are we rushing to rewrite our domestic and foreign policy as if we’re going to be “Saudi America” for the rest of the century?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article from the Post-carbon institute. For all those who think Europe also has to walk the yellow brick road that leads to nowhere.

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