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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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A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world's largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.
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Willy De Backer's curator insight, Today, 3:54 AM

By investing in expensive hydrocarbon projects, the brownies are undermining the future of our economies. But only few people and even fewer governments get it.

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Climate change policies pay for themselves, study says

Climate change policies pay for themselves, study says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
An MIT climate change study released Sunday indicates the cost of slashing coal-fired carbon emissions would be offset by reduced spending on public health. The EPA-funded study examined climate change policies similar to those proposed by the Obama administration in June.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Supporters of serious climate action keep using the costs of non-action framing to make their point. It will not work as the climate deniers do not really care about these costs. They oppose climate action for ideological reasons: defending 'our way of life'.

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Why the Robots Might Not Take Our Jobs After All: They Lack Common Sense

Why the Robots Might Not Take Our Jobs After All: They Lack Common Sense | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A leading scholar of labor markets says mankind has consistently feared technology’s toll on employment, and consistently been wrong.
Willy De Backer's insight:

The interesting debate on the impact of automation on labour markets continues with this good paper by MIT researcher David Autor.

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If I ruled the world: Martin Rees | Prospect Magazine

If I ruled the world: Martin Rees | Prospect Magazine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"We need an enlightened despot to save our vulnerable planet."

Willy De Backer's insight:
I tend to agree that our current 'democratic' system is unable to deal with climate chaos but an 'enlightened' despot always ends up being just a despot.
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Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change

Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The amorphous nature of climate change creates the ideal conditions for human denial and cognitive bias to come to the fore, says George Marshall
Willy De Backer's insight:

This excellent piece in New Scientist explains why our brains are 'wired to ignore climate change'. Is it Nature's fail-safe against our human idiocy?

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Secular stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures

"Six years after the Crisis and the recovery is still anaemic despite years of zero interest rates. Is ‘secular stagnation’ to blame? This column introduces an eBook that gathers the views of leading economists including Summers, Krugman, Gordon, Blanchard, Koo, Eichengreen, Caballero, Glaeser, and a dozen others. It is too early to tell whether secular stagnation is really secular, but if it is, current policy tools will be obsolete. Policymakers should start thinking about potential solutions."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very interesting piece in Vox.eu about the new economic reality: slow growth. Fascinating to see how these economists keep ducking the real tough question: is it possible that we have entered the post-growth era?

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France rebels against austerity as Europe's recovery collapses

France rebels against austerity as Europe's recovery collapses | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets
Willy De Backer's insight:

Is this the end of Europe's austerity fundamentalism? Don't count on it. European elites don't have a real alternative as they refuse to see that we have entered the post-growth era.

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The Global Economy’s Groundhog Day

The Global Economy’s Groundhog Day | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Just as Bill Murray’s character could not escape Groundhog Day without radically changing his life, we cannot expect different economic outcomes without fundamentally different growth models."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Good article by Ashoka Mody in Project Syndicate, criticising the belief that the global economy can return to the growth model of the past. But Mody still thinks a new growth model is conceivable. What if we have moved into the post-growth era? Then we do not need a new growth model but a new model to share prosperity in a world with planetary and social limits.

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GrowthBusters's curator insight, August 9, 10:59 AM

Great observations, though I think the proper response is to embrace the end of growth and begin developing a sustainable economic system.

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Germany tops energy efficiency score card

Germany tops energy efficiency score card | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Willy De Backer's insight:

Energy efficiency is good for competitiveness and jobs. Why is so little done then at EU level?

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What Piketty Forgot: The Crisis of Capitalism Isn't Just about Inequality

What Piketty Forgot: The Crisis of Capitalism Isn't Just about Inequality | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Piketty is right that our political economy favors the growth of inequality, and that inequality in turn poisons our politics. But while we should aspire to create a society that shares its prosperity, we need to address a much bigger gap than the one between rich and poor. We need to address the gap between what’s demanded by our planet and what’s demanded by our economy.."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting review of Piketty's book from the perspective of 'limits to growth'. The challenge is to combine economic policies which respect  the planetary limits but at the same time set social limits to inequality.

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Why sustainability leaders don’t impress Wall Street

Why sustainability leaders don’t impress Wall Street | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
If sustainable business practices create profits and shareholder value, why aren’t mainstream investors paying attention?
Willy De Backer's insight:

What about: because real sustainability is about real limits and Wall Street is about phantasy growth for ever?

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 4, 6:49 PM

Some new research by McKinsey & Company has uncovered part of the answer. The short version: Investors don’t have the data they need, or understand how sustainability connects to creating shareholder value. And companies don’t know how to tell a story that’s relevant to Wall Street.

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The Circular Economy meets The Access Economy

The Circular Economy meets The Access Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
What would we be capable of if we combined the existing strength of the Circular Economy with the emerging juggernaut of the Access Economy?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good article by Sharon Ede on the Resilience web site. One of the dimensions in the debate missing also is this article is the social implications of the sharing economy on traditional work arrangements. If thousands of taxi drivers or hotel workers lose their jobs, is that green progress? Is this the Achilles heel of the sharing economy?

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New Report: The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change

New Report: The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The Council of Economic Advisers released a report that examines the economic consequences of delaying implementing policies to reduce the pace and ultimate magnitude of these changes; the findings emphasize the need for policy action today.
Willy De Backer's insight:

This new White House report provides more evidence of detrimental impact of non-action, but still very little of policy action is likely to happen. Every decade of non-action adds 40% more to the bill later. Poor future generations !

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How on Earth? | Post Growth Institute

How on Earth? | Post Growth Institute | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050 “Combining passion and hard evidence, How on Earth is a fascinating, highly original book. It points to how not-for-profit organizations can play a major role in building a more caring and sustainable economy. […]
Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read book for anyone interested in the real, planetary limits-based future of business and economics.

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Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People | Foreign Affairs

Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People | Foreign Affairs | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Rather than trying to spur private-sector spending through asset purchases or interest-rate changes, central banks, such as the Fed, should hand consumers cash directly."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Innovative, provocative and probably politically unrealistic article in Foreign Affairs by Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan.

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Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression

Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Europe's self-inflicted wounds are making its recession worse than the worst of the 1930s.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good analysis of the never-ending Eurozone crisis. A few nice quotes: "how is Europe making the Great Depression look like the good old days of growth? Easy: by ignoring everything we learned from it." and

"They have made a desert, and called it the eurozone."

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Who made ideology a dirty word?

Who made ideology a dirty word? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"By demonising ideology and pushing it underground, today’s incumbent elites can claim to be above politics while pursuing and defending their own interests as though doing so was just a matter of common sense."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent blog post from the New Economics Foundation.

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In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Workers are their own bosses in the so-called sharing economy, but that flexibility also brings much uncertainty — and few of the protections of full-time work.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant article in the New York Times on the opportunities and dangers of the sharing economy.

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Sustainability’s strategic worth: McKinsey Global Survey results

Sustainability’s strategic worth: McKinsey Global Survey results | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Executives at all levels see an important business role for sustainability. But when it comes to mastering the reputation, execution, and accountability of their sustainability programs, many companies have far to go. A McKinsey & Company article.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting new McKinsey study misses the most important dimension: the acceptance of planetary and social limits to growth and how to adapt business to this sustainability imperative.

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Book Review: Is the Planet Full? edited by Ian Goldin

Book Review: Is the Planet Full? edited by Ian Goldin | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Ultimately, Is the Planet Full? argues that the world we live in may already be overpopulated due to our current institutional arrangements failing to adequately manage resources in an equitable and sustainable way. Goldin and colleagues highlight that counter to popular opinion “the planet may be far from full” (p.228), but only if we address key governance challenges in managing our societies, economies and environment."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review on a new interesting book about population growth.

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degrowth economy and ecology's comment, August 11, 5:13 AM
Full of stupids and idiots
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‘Responsible capitalism’ is nonsense – the left must offer a real alternative

‘Responsible capitalism’ is nonsense – the left must offer a real alternative | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The fact is that the leaders of erstwhile socialist parties have been talking the talk of responsible capitalism for a very long time. It was how they covered their tracks as they retreated from offering people a way out of the rat race of capitalism – rather than compensation for being losers in it – even in the postwar era. Those who imagine that the progressive reforms achieved in that era stand as proof today that a responsible capitalism is possible are sorely mistaken. On the contrary, the undoing of those reforms after just a few decades shows that a responsible capitalism is indeed a contradiction in terms."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read article in the Guardian for anyone interested in the question why the Left is powerless and why it lacks a real alternative narrative.

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New report raises concern about electricity and water

New report raises concern about electricity and water | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Water is used around the world for the production of electricity, but new research results show that there will not be enough water in the world to meet demand by 2040 if the energy and power situation does not improve before then.
Willy De Backer's insight:

"Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today. It is a clash of competing necessities, between drinking water and energy demand."

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How the Commission ‘blocked’ key environmental plans

How the Commission ‘blocked’ key environmental plans | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
EXCLUSIVE / Plans to crack down on endocrine disruptors and illegal timber being imported into the EU, were buried by the outgoing President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and his secretary-general Catherine Day, according to a senior EU source.
Willy De Backer's insight:

No surprise in this good article - Barroso and Day have never understood the importance of the environment for the economy.

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GE Is Avoiding Hard Choices About Ecomagination

"Every company and country is going to face some really hard choices very soon, and we’ll need to ask a core question: Will we turn to the future and put all we’ve got into building the clean economy? Or will we try to have it both ways?"

Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article by Andrew Winston on GE's ecomagination campaign supporting 'better' technological solutions for fracking or Canadian oil sands production. What ecomagination lacks is the commitment to imagine getting rid of fossil fuels altogether by changing our way of life.  

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Resource Insights: Why doesn't the 'long emergency' feel like an emergency?

It seemed as if the public might let go of this fossil-fueled fantasy after 2008. But because of the extraordinary financial measures deployed in an attempt to return us to business-as-usual, the global economic and financial system has been revived just enough to allow us to engage in a few more years of fantasizing--until our cumulative debts to nature and to one another catch up with us.

Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article by Kurt Cobb on how our elites are ruining our childrens' futures in order to keep up our eternal economic growth fantasies.

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