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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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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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IEA Investment Report - What is Right; What is Wrong

IEA Investment Report - What is Right; What is Wrong | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Recently, the IEA published  a "Special Report" called World Energy Investment Outlook. Lets's start with things I agree with: 1. World needs $48 trillion in investment to meet its energy needs to ...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting reading by Gail Tverberg of the latest IEA investment report highlighting in particular the difficulty to finance the energy investments needed in the next 20 years.

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Economy on the edge: seeking a world that works for the 100%

The global economy is on the edge with 85 people having as much wealth as 3.5bn of the world's poorest. We need a new story of an economy that doesn't trash the planet
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent Guardian article by Hunter Lovings, Robert Costanzo and others on the new ecological economic paradigm which can take the planet away from the edge.

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Boom or bust time for critical thinking?

Following the massive bailouts, stimulus spending and quantitative easing of recent years, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and went back to sleep, says Richard Heinberg. But the coming global energy crisis will likely provide the jolt that wakes everyone up again.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good interview with Richard Heinberg in Eurozine - the problem with economics and limits to growth

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The age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex is ready. Are you?

The age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex  is ready. Are you? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: The risk of climate conflict is real, but securitising the planet falls into the trap of those who profit from global conflict
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great Guardian article on the growing interest of the military in the climate chaos issue. "The securitisation of climate change - and with it the entire planet - is not leading to meaningful transformative action to transform the social relations necessary to mitigate and prevent dangerous global warming. Instead, while climate change accelerates, the corporate-military-industrial complex accelerates profits."

 

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Homeworking may actually be less sustainable than commuting

Homeworking may actually be less sustainable than commuting | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The carbon costs of heating a home office are offset only if they replace a car journey of at least four miles or a train journey of 16 miles, a report suggests, writes Tim Smedley
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting Guardian article based on report by the Carbon Trust.

 

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EU twisting facts to fit political agenda, chief scientist says

EU twisting facts to fit political agenda, chief scientist says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A big challenge for the next European Commission will be to disconnect its evidence gathering processes from the “political imperative” that’s driving policy proposals, according to Anne Glover, the EU’s chief scientific advisor.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Strange article. Was she really that naive when she accepted this job. Politics will ALWAYS beat science. Politics is about power. And if she makes this evaluation now, she has one good way to react; resign.

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An energy system without fossil fuels is technically possible

The Danish Energy Agency has published an energy-scenario report and five sub-analyses on the energy system of the future and the challenges that need managing up to 2050 as fossil fuels are phased out and replaced with renewable energy.
Willy De Backer's insight:

The big ambitions of a small and competitive country. The fossils' PR and lobbying machine will need to work overtime.

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Public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy: towards a post-crisis growth strategy for Europe

Public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy: towards a post-crisis growth strategy for Europe | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"...the Commission has launched a public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU's long-term growth and jobs plan"

Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting title for this Europe 2020 strategy consultation. With a bit of reshuffling, you get what it should REALLY be about: towards a post-growth crisis strategy. The reality of the 'end of growth' still escapes EU leaders.

Read this Green European Foundation publication to know about Europe's real challenge: http://gef.eu/gnd/new-publication-a-post-growth-society-for-the-21st-century-an-executive-summary/

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The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us

The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The Techno-Anthropocene has an Achilles heel: energy (more specifically, the failings of nuclear power). The Lean-Green Anthropocene has one as well: human nature."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting perspective on the Anthropocene debate by Richard Heinberg but I keep struggling with this new Age of Man narrative. It seems to me as much  a token of our human hybris as a concept with dangerous ideological connotations.

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Three Strategies For Managing The Economy Of Access

The Internet has shredded vertical value chains, created vast new horizontal value chains, and spawned a generation that prefers access to ownership. To survive in the emerging Economy of Access, firms will need radically different strategies and management.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good Forbes article on the "sharing economy" or economy of the commons, based on Rifkin's new book 'The zero marginal cost society'. But lacks, as most writing on this new paradigm, some critical reflections on the social implications of these new trends.

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Inequality: it will take more than bestsellers to break the spell

Inequality: it will take more than bestsellers to break the spell | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
How do we translate interest in Piketty's new book into policy action ?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good question in this New Economics Foundation article, but I am afraid the answer is not very satisfactory. Getting more people to vote will not change much. I live in Belgium where we have mandatory voting but still the silent majority votes for parties which will increase inequality in Belgian society.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, May 3, 4:17 AM

Very good question in this New Economics Foundation article, but I am afraid the answer is not very satisfactory. Getting more people to vote will not change much. I live in Belgium where we have mandatory voting but still the silent majority votes for parties which will increase inequality in Belgian society.

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Ex-Treasury adviser: no real recovery - growth 'hype' masks crash risk

Ex-Treasury adviser: no real recovery - growth 'hype' masks crash risk | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: GDP stats reveal same brand of unsustainable debt-led growth behind worst financial crisis since Great Depression
Willy De Backer's insight:

The reality behind the so-called economic 'recovery' - the 'economists' are still not getting it, Your Highness.

"The misnamed 'recovery' is merely "a return to the debt-led and consumption-driven growth of the pre-crisis era…"

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Eli Levine's curator insight, May 1, 5:11 AM

When people don't have money to spend, debt naturally increases.  When debt increases without having compensation to cover for the debt, you're set up for a situation where people will be called for their money, not have money available to pay up, and thus, all planned profits and growth forecasts go down the tubes.  A tall, ever-growing building cannot be supported without a deep foundation beneath it.  Even then, the environment and technological limitations will prevent the building from growing larger than both the environment and the technology can support it.

 

Think about it.

 

Because this isn't some trumped up "government debt" argument that's being used here while the deficeit is decreasing.  This is debt at the root microlevels of the economy: individual households and the like.

 

If the UK falls, everywhere else is going to fall as well.  We're so interconnected that a failure in one node will lead to critical losses everywhere else.  All for the sake of the rich people's delusion that money is worth something beyond a means of exchange.  All for the sake of conservatives' ideological belief that government presence anywhere is an inherently bad thing.

 

And they won't learn a thing from these mistakes.

 

Think about it.

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World's energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts, report warns

World's energy systems vulnerable to climate impacts, report warns | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Generators from nuclear reactors to coal-fired power plants will feel the brunt of the weather changes
Willy De Backer's insight:

Guardian article on the vulnerability of the energy sector to climate chaos.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, June 21, 9:39 AM

The vulnerability of energy systems to natural shocks was shown starkly when the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan had to be closed down following the 2011 tsunami, which prompted governments around the world to review their nuclear policies.


The World Energy Council (WEC), which compiled the study along with Cambridge University and the European Climate Foundation, urged generators to examine their vulnerability to climate change, saying that with suitable adaptations – such as protecting power plants from water shortages and building resilience into power networks – the worst of the problems could be avoided.


Christoph Frei, secretary general of WEC, said governments must play a key role in ensuring the world's vital infrastructure is protected: "Climate change is certain to impact the energy sector. We need robust and transparent policy frameworks to unlock the long-term investments that are urgently needed to deliver the future we want. Leadership will be required at all levels."

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Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses

Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A new study estimates the trillions of dollars of protection that ecosystems provide, although not everyone buys the premise.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Defenses provided by ecosystem services like coral reefs etc. are worth $142.7 trillion a year but our current economic system is destroying these services at a rate of 16.2 trillion dollars a year.

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IEA Says the Party’s Over

IEA Says the Party’s Over | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great analysis by Richard Heinberg of the international Energy Agencies recent 'World Energy Investment Outlook'. World needs at least 48 trillion dollars investments through 2035.

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Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy'

Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: Early warning of civilisational collapse by early to mid 21st century startlingly prescient - but opportunity for transition open
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review of the latest study by Prof. Ugo Bardi for the Club of Rome on how climate change and resource constraints will force us to rethink our way of life.

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Envisioning a Successful Steady State Economy

Envisioning a Successful Steady State Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

How do you envision a successful economy without continuous growth?

Willy De Backer's insight:

Another great article from Herman Daly (ex-World Bank) underlining that we need to "limit the economy’s physical scale relative to the containing ecosystem. The way to do that is to leave a large part of the ecosphere untransformed, to limit our absorption of it into the economic subsystem─to keep a large part of the earth ecosystem in natura—as a source for low-entropy matter/energy inputs and as a sink for high-entropy waste, and as a provider of life support services. In this context, laissez-faire takes on a new meaning─it is the ecosystem that must be left alone to manage itself and evolve by its own rules, while the economy is carefully constrained in aggregate scale to stay within the limits imposed by the ecosystem. To stay alive and produce, we must use environmental sources and sinks. But the rate of use must remain within the regenerative and absorptive capacities of the ecosystem. That quantitative limit on resource throughput at a sustainable volume will automatically get reflected in market prices, effectively internalizing the social value of sustainability imposed by limits on resource extraction. The metabolic throughput from and back to the ecosystem cannot keep growing."

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Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU energy strategy

Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU energy strategy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Ukraine crisis forces bloc to seek diverse sources of gas, but green groups complain ignoring renewables is a mistake
Willy De Backer's insight:

The EU's latest energy security strategy bets big on 'sustainable' production of fossil fuels ignoring the climate impacts of more gas.

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Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Industry's over-inflated reserve estimates are unravelling, and with it the 'American dream' of oil independence
Willy De Backer's insight:

Is the American shale bubble going to bust? Nafeez Ahmed provides the facts. But do facts matter for policymakers?

"Despite the mounting evidence that the shale gas boom is heading for a bust, both economically and environmentally, both governments and industry are together pouring their eggs into a rather flimsy basket." Or: the power of lobbying...

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Eli Levine's curator insight, May 24, 3:02 PM

The big problem with using a finite energy source: you're eventually going to run out of it.

 

Nature is telling us that it is way past due for us to be getting off of the fossil fuels through the effects we are experiencing from climate change.  The universe itself seems to be telling us that it is time to get off fossil fuels through this development.  Conservatives can't realize and accept that there does come a point when you HAVE to make ACTUAL changes to your regimen in order to survive.  Corporatist Libertarians don't seem to be able to accept or realize that you NEED government to take a proactive role in bringing this about; that the market will not make the changes fast enough or thorough enough to bring about the changes that we need in order to make a significant enough difference in order to survive.

 

Both of these sides are driven by ideology primarily, not by science or fact.  Most of the Liberals and self-described "Progressives" also live only on the plane of ideology and not in the empirical reality that is around them.  This is how they have been so ineffectual at getting anything done to counter the Right and the Corporatist Libertarians when they have the basic outlines of the solutions that people both want and need in order to be well and survive in reality.

 

This is how the species is going to be made to go through a resetting phase, where hopefully, those with the poor brain types will be driven out or killed off by nature in the process of trying to survive and failing to do so.  Quite honestly I don't want to go through this phase myself.  That is why and how I am so vocal with my opposition to both the stupidity and senselessness of all sides in the political arena save for true Progressives and people who put facts and science ahead of personal belief, ideology or identity.

 

Think about it.

 

Because will you likely be among the survivors who are left to pick up the pieces and all of the nonsense that comes with that?  Or will your clueless, ignorant and nonsensing brain lead you and yours into a natural death?

 

Think carefully, because you don't have a choice in the matter.  That is just an illusion and nothing more.

 

Think about it.

Michael Stuart's curator insight, May 31, 8:10 PM

Perhaps some plays, but each is different, Eagle Ford Shale Play in Texas continues to exceed expectations.

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Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers

Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday said.
Willy De Backer's insight:

This is not new - the military have been warning for years but who is listening, and more importantly what will be their recommendations? A change of lifestyle? Very unlikely; more likely, more military to secure the rich and powerful.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, May 14, 6:14 PM

If you don't believe the hippies, believe your own people in the military industrial complex. 

 

Sorry conservatives, but, in the grand scheme of the universe, in spite of all the power and control you've managed to accumulate, you're still an inferior grade of organism for survival on this planet, and you all belong in mental institutions for diagnosis and treatment.

 

You're otherwise a danger to yourselves and a danger to others.

 

Think about it.

Larry Glover's curator insight, May 15, 9:35 AM

Climate destabilization has been on the military's radar for years as a growing security threat...still political inaction remains. Question becomes, whose short term interests are served by supporting denial and inaction? 

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Pfizer's bid for AstraZeneca shows that big pharma is as rotten as the banks

Pfizer's bid for AstraZeneca shows that big pharma is as rotten as the banks | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Mariana Mazzucato: Global pharmaceutical companies are dodging the risks by loading R&D costs on to taxpayers
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article in The Guardian by Mariana Mazzucato.

"... just like the banks, big pharma socialises the risk, but privatises rewards. The few drugs that are coming out would not have emerged without taxpayer-funded research. Yet the taxpayer then pays twice: first for the research then for the high prices, justified by the supposedly high risk that big pharma is taking on. This is almost surreal: what risk? And what about taxpayer risk?"

This is Corporation 1920. What we need is Corporation 2020 (see the work of Pavan Sukhdev: http://www.corporation2020.org/

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The Collapse of Western Civilization

The Collapse of Western Civilization | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The year is 2393, and a senior scholar of the Second People's Republic of China presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment, the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies, entered into a Penumbral period in the early decades of the twenty-first century, a time when sound science and rational discourse about global change were prohibited and clear warnings of climate catastrophe were ignored.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Looking forward to reading Naomi Oreskes new book on the demise of the West and the 'carbon industrial complex'.

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Our manifesto for Europe

Our manifesto for Europe | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"European Union institutions no longer work. A radical financial and democratic settlement is needed

Willy De Backer's insight:

This new "manifesto for Europe" written by 15 French intellectuals (Thomas Piketty, Daniel Cohen, Guillaume Duval, Jean Quatremer and others) is a must-read for all real Europeans, who believe Europe needs a new start.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, May 3, 9:28 AM

Europe could do well by examining how the US handles its federal system.  There are some things that need to be standard throughout and some things that can be left up to the states to decide.  Ultimately it needs to be a collaborative approach from on high down below ( a kind of magnanimous humbling of thinking and feeling) in order to achieve the best possible results for all of Europe.

 

Yet the conservatives and ideologues are going to protest anything that extends consciousness beyond their petty national  or ethnic boundaries.  A shame, because humanity has so much more to offer itself than just a huddled mass of rival tribes sharing in common problems and conditions with no common method for resolving them on a case by case basis.

 

Think about it.

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Corporate America's sustainability gains 'not enough,' says Ceres

Corporate America's sustainability gains 'not enough,' says Ceres | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Fresh analysis of 613 of the largest U.S. companies says incremental progress is a good start — but a new report shows it's time to pick up the pace.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Most corporations still see sustainability as a "nice to have", not as a critical necessity for their long-term future. "Incremental progress in tackling global climate change and other sustainability threats is simply not enough". We need Pavan Sukhdev's "Corporation 2020" .

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