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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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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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How Economic Growth Fails

How Economic Growth Fails | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"one of the major roles of energy products is to support the growing overhead of our economy; this is what the discussion about the need for “net energy” is about. Thus, we need energy products that are cheap enough that they can be taxed heavily now, and still produce an adequate profit for those producing the energy products. If we find ourselves mostly with energy products that are producing cash flow losses for their producers, as seems to be the case today, this is an indication that we have a problem. We don’t have enough “net energy” to run our current economy"

Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read article on the link between decreasing 'net energy, debt and the economic limits to growth.

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Who’s Nexit?

Who’s Nexit? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
As many as five other eurozone countries are flirting with trouble. Could one of them be the first to leave the common currency?
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Investors could lose $4.2tn because of climate change, report warns

Investors could lose $4.2tn because of climate change, report warns | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Investments in fossil fuel companies face serious risk from global warming, research by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows
Willy De Backer's insight:

Greek debt crisis is small beer compared to these figures, but still most capitalists will fight tooth and nail to prevent the dramatic measures needed - we need carbon austerity and different structural reforms.

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Fossil fuel industry must 'implode' to avoid climate disaster, says top scientist

Fossil fuel industry must 'implode' to avoid climate disaster, says top scientist | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
‘The age of carbon is over’ and a transition to a greener economy is inevitable, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, adviser to the German government and Pope Francis
Willy De Backer's insight:

These 'fossils' are not going to organise this implosion themselves. Divestment campaigns is needed but more radical strategies are asked for (law suits?).

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The ideologues of the Eurozone

The ideologues of the Eurozone | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The problem for the Euro project is that it has become captured by an economic ideology, and austerity is that ideology’s principle weapon. A self-confident and mature Eurozone would be able to tolerate diversity, rather than trying to crush any dissent. A Eurozone captured by an ideology will insist there is but one path, and that the imperative of austerity is too important to accommodate democratic wishes. Pursuing that ideology has brought the Eurozone to the brink, where it is prepared to force out one of its uncooperative members. Critics of austerity are not trying to destroy to Eurozone, but save it from the grip of this self-destructive ideology.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read analysis by Simon Wren-Lewis on how the austerity fundamentalist are killing the European project.

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The real challenge this week is to save the eurozone — FT.com

The real challenge this week is to save the eurozone — FT.com | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Europe’s leaders will have the unique opportunity to commit two mistakes in a single week. On Monday, Europe’s leaders will decide on the future of Greece. On Thursday and Friday, they will meet again to discuss, among other things, the future governance of the eurozone. The latter is more important in the long run: a healthy eurozone may even withstand a Greek exit from the single currency and prosper. But a crippled eurozone would be no less crippled if Greece were to remain a member. A dual failure would be a disaster.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Pretty pessimistic analysis by Wolfgang Munchau (FT) on Grexit and the future of the eurozone

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Greek debt crisis is the Iraq War of finance

Greek debt crisis is the Iraq War of finance | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Guardians of financial stability are deliberately provoking a bank run and endangering Europe's system in their zeal to force Greece to its knees
Willy De Backer's insight:

One of the best article on the real hidden agenda of the EU's financial elites. 'The EU is worried about political “moral hazard”, about what Podemos might achieve in Spain, or the eurosceptics in Italy, or the Front National in France, if Syriza is seen to buck the system and get away with it.'

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Smarter regulation for the sharing economy

Smarter regulation for the sharing economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
We need to rethink our notion of the sharing economy in order to make better regulation.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent summary of the regulatory challenges of the sharing economy.

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Questioning the Hype About Artificial Intelligence

Questioning the Hype About Artificial Intelligence | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Fresh fears about the singularity have prompted new critiques of what it will mean for humanity.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent analysis in the Atlantic about Artificial Intelligence and the over-optimistic and over-pessimistic narratives about this issue. Great conclusion: "The lesson of AI is not that the light of mind and consciousness is beginning to shine in machines, but rather the dimming of our own lights at the dawn of a new era".

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David Hain's curator insight, May 17, 8:51 AM

Important topic for 21c, well covered by the Atlantic.

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Weekend read: The trouble with growth

Weekend read: The trouble with growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Clearly, belief in the indispensability of economic growth, while deeply rooted in governments virtually worldwide, is quite recent. The common view that growth has always been an important objective of government is mistaken.

That growth is inextricably bound up with human nature is an even greater mistake, if it makes us think that there really is no alternative to economic growth. Understanding that growth is not a necessary goal of government policy is critical if we are to imagine alternative economic futures.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great, must-read article by Tim Jackson and Peter Victor - from the new State of the World Report 2015

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Larry Glover's curator insight, April 12, 7:47 PM
What we measure reveals both our worldview and our values. It is time to wildly revision what it is to be human... and in doing so to also revision what it is that makes life richly fulfilling. What is it we really want to grow in our lives?
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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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Slavoj Žižek on Greece: the courage of hopelessness

Slavoj Žižek on Greece: the courage of hopelessness | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The people of Greece are not being asked to swallow many bitter pills in exchange for a realistic plan of economic revival: they are asked to suffer so that others in the European Union can go on dreaming their dream undisturbed.
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Interview: Paul Mason’s guide to a post-capitalist future

Interview: Paul Mason’s guide to a post-capitalist future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Mason is not alone in believing that humanity is on the cusp of a profound technological revolution, of course. What makes his analysis distinctive, however, is the way he fuses an account of the technological mutations of what used to be called “late capitalism” with an attempt to identify, as Engels put it in the late 19th century, the “midwife of the old society pregnant with a new one.” This won’t be the industrial working class, as Marx and Engels thought, but what Mason calls the “network.” By creating millions of networked people, Mason writes, “info-capitalism has created a new agent of change in history: the educated and connected human being.”

Willy De Backer's insight:

Great interview in Prospect about Paul Mason's latest book 'Postcapitalism: a guide to our future'

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The end of capitalism has begun

The end of capitalism has begun | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The modern day external shocks are clear: energy depletion, climate change, ageing populations and migration. They are altering the dynamics of capitalism and making it unworkable in the long term. They have not yet had the same impact as the Black Death – but as we saw in New Orleans in 2005, it does not take the bubonic plague to destroy social order and functional infrastructure in a financially complex and impoverished society.

Once you understand the transition in this way, the need is not for a supercomputed Five Year Plan – but a project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance. I call it Project Zero – because its aims are a zero-carbon-energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary work time as close as possible to zero.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Absolute must-read article from Paul Mason in the Guardian on the transition to a post-growth, post-capitalist society.

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Greece needs a Plan C: for the commons and communal solidarity

Greece needs a Plan C: for the commons and communal solidarity | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Whatever the outcome of the referendum, tough times are ahead. To survive, Greek society will need to reinvigorate the commons and communal solidarity.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Written before the No referendum and Tsipras surrender to the politico-financial complex, this article shows the correct way for Greece: a plan C for a radical transformation of the economy based on communal action from below.

Syriza's mistake: to accept the austerians framing of the alternatives.

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A World Without Work

A World Without Work | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

We’re pretty good at noticing the immediate effects of technology’s substituting for workers, such as fewer people on the factory floor. What’s harder is anticipating the second-order effects of this transformation, such as what happens to the consumer economy when you take away the consumers.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant must-read analysis of the coming 'post-work' society in The Atlantic.

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Economics vs. the Economy

Economics vs. the Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Economic theories, though social constructions, can reflect reality to varying degrees. In the face of dire environmental challenges, adopting a realistic theory is key to the survival of global civilization. The neoliberal emphasis on limitless growth and monetary flows, a relic of nineteenth century thinking, abstracts away from biological conditions. By contrast, ecological economics—as distinct from environmental economics, which remains wedded to the neoliberal growth paradigm—understands the economy as...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant theoretical essay by ecological footprint founder William Rees but ending with unjustified optimism.

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Amartya Sen: The economic consequences of austerity

Amartya Sen: The economic consequences of austerity | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
There can be little doubt that Europe has needed, for quite some time, many serious institutional reforms – from the avoidance of tax evasion and the fixing of more reasonable retiring ages to sensible working hours and the elimination of institutional rigidities, including those in the labour markets. But the real (and strong) case for institutional reform has to be distinguished from an imagined case for indiscriminate austerity, which does not do anything to change a ­system while hugely inflicting pain. Through the bundling of the two together as a kind of chemical compound, it became very difficult to advocate reform without simultaneously cutting public expenditure all around. And this did not serve the cause of reform at all.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Absolutely brilliant must-read analysis by Amartya Sen of Europe tragic austerity obsession

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Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits

Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
f the global population is to live safely within the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet, we must be prepared – especially those of us in the developed regions of the world – to reimagine the good life by embracing ‘simpler ways’ of living based on notions of moderation, frugality, appropriate technology, and sufficiency.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Worthwhile read on how to live the good life within the planetary limits.

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Spain's CIC Tries to Build a New Economy from the Ground Up

Spain's CIC Tries to Build a New Economy from the Ground Up | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
CIC regards all of this as evidence that the state is no longer willing to honor its social contract with citizens. Accordingly, it has called for civil disobedience to unjust laws and is doing everything it can to establish its own social order with a more humane logic and ethic.
Willy De Backer's insight:

David Bollier on the Catalan Integral Cooperative, 'one of the more audacious commons-based innovations to have emerged in the past five years'

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