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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 New Rules of the Road: A Progressive Approach to Globalization

The New Rules of the Road: A Progressive Approach to Globalization | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The new president needs a fresh approach to trade.
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Great article on how trade policies need radical change to prevent more anti-globalisation populism.
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From Planetary Boundaries to national fair shares of the global safe operating space — How can the scales be bridged?

From Planetary Boundaries to national fair shares of the global safe operating space — How can the scales be bridged? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Willy De Backer's insight:
How can the global concept of planetary boundaries be translated into national or regional (EU?) policy targets - must-read academic article
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Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality | McKinsey & Company

Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality | McKinsey & Company | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The real incomes of about two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies were flat or fell between 2005 and 2014. Without action, this phenomenon could have corrosive economic and social consequences.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Perfect storm of postgrowth economy, rising inequalities, climate chaos, energy descent explains Trump, Brexit and rise of terror and new modern fascism. Big question: can we still tackle this or have we passed the point of no return?
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We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It?

We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In just two decades, the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half. Now $3 trillion of debt is at risk.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Another brilliant must-read analysis by Nafeez Ahmed of the financial collapse of the global oil industry and how it will bring down the capitalist economy.
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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, April 24, 11:14 AM
"In February, the financial services firm Deloitte predicted that over 35 percent of independent oil companies worldwide are likely to declare bankruptcy, potentially followed by a further 30 percent next year—a total of 65 percent of oil firms around the world. Since early last year, already 50 North American oil and gas producers have filed bankruptcy. 

The cause of the crisis is the dramatic drop in oil prices—down by two-thirds since 2014—which are so low that oil companies are finding it difficult to generate enough revenue to cover the high costs of production, while also repaying their loans. Oil and gas companies most at risk are those with the largest debt burden. And that burden is huge—as much as $2.5 trillion, according to The Economist. The real figure is probably higher.
(...) the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half. And it continues to decline. 

This is because the more fossil fuel resources that we exploit, the more we have used up those resources that are easiest and cheapest to extract. This compels the industry to rely increasingly on resources that are more difficult and expensive to get out of the ground, and bring to market."
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Despair Fatigue

Despair Fatigue | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Politicians, journalists, lobbyists, CEOs, and corporate bureaucrats rarely talk to anyone except each other. They constitute a distinct intellectual universe. Within this universe, economic policies are designed primarily for political marketability; economic science exists largely to provide impressive diagrams and equations to sell them with. Phrases designed in think tanks and focus groups (“free markets,” “wealth creators,” “personal responsibility,” “shared sacrifice”) are repeated like incantations until it all seems like such unthinking common sense that no one even asks what the resulting picture has to do with social reality. True, the bubble logic can be maintained only by a certain studied ignorance of how the economy really works.
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What Cuba Reveals About the Gig Economy

What Cuba Reveals About the Gig Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
it is naïve to think that we can extract the merits of the sharing economy without investing in the infrastructure and social welfare state that undergirds that economy.
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Satyajit Das: Age of Stagnation or Something Worse?

The world is entering a period of stagnation, the new mediocre. The end of growth and fragile, volatile economic conditions are now the sometimes silent background to all social and political debates. For individuals, this is about the destruction of human hopes and dreams.
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Brilliant extract of the latest book of former banker Satyajit Das; The Age of Stagnation.

'Authorities have been increasingly forced to resort to untested policies including QE forever and negative interest rates. It was an attempt to buy time, to let economies achieve a self-sustaining recovery, as they had done before. Unfortunately the policies have not succeeded. The expensively purchased time has been wasted. The necessary changes have not been made.'

 

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Digitally disrupted GDP

Digitally disrupted GDP | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Digital technologies are having dramatic impacts on consumers, businesses, and markets. These developments have reignited the debate over the definition and measurement of common economic statistics such as GDP. This column examines the measurement challenges posed by digital innovation on the economic landscape. It shows how existing approaches are unable to capture certain elements of the consumer surplus created by digital innovation. It further demonstrates how they can misrepresent market-level shifts, leading to false assessments of production and growth.
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Interesting article on how the digitalisation of our economy impacts GDP measurement and leads to wrong policies.

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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.
Willy De Backer's insight:

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.
Willy De Backer's insight:

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
Willy De Backer's insight:

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.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent NY Times article on the challenges for sustainable business.

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How three-day weekends can help save the world (and us too)

How three-day weekends can help save the world (and us too) | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
shorter work weeks are not just good for your well-being, they are great for sustainability and future-proofing the economy too.
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Must-read article on the need for working time reduction
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Work and the ‘platform economy’: Lessons from Scandinavia, Germany and France

For progressives the narrative on the digital economy should be clear: they must embrace digital technology to boost growth, increase productivity and employment and change labour law and social protection rules where necessary. But taking a look across the European political landscape shows that in most countries the centre left mostly offers rhetoric, not reality, and often not even that. In particular, on the issues of labour law and social protection, one of the natural habitats of the left, there are hardly any answers on the table as to how some of the most dynamic and innovative but at the same time disruptive businesses can be integrated in Europe’s economic and social structure.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Good article on why and how the Left and trade unions should lead the debate on digitalisation & the future of work and social protection
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Henry A. Giroux | Anti-Politics and the Plague of Disorientation: Welcome to the Age of Trump

Henry A. Giroux | Anti-Politics and the Plague of Disorientation: Welcome to the Age of Trump | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The American left and progressives have no future if they cannot imagine a new language that moves beyond the dead-end politics of the two-party system and explores how to build a broad-based social movement to challenge it. One fruitful beginning would be to confront the fact that our society is burdened not only by the violence of neoliberalism but also by the myth that capitalism and democracy are the same thing. Capitalism cannot rectify wage stagnation among large segments of the population, the growing destruction of the ecosystem, the defunding of public and higher education, the decline in life expectancy among the poor and middle classes, police violence against Black youth, the rise of the punishing state, the role of money in corrupting politics, and the widening gap in income and wealth between the very rich and everyone else.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Brilliant analysis of the current anti-politics populism and the need for a new radical left
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Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.
Willy De Backer's insight:
Brilliant must-read analysis of neo-liberalism and why the left's neo-Keynesianism is not the answer
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Hoog tijd voor Plan B. Hoe de Europese Unie en de euro nog te redden zijn

Hoog tijd voor Plan B. Hoe de Europese Unie en de euro nog te redden zijn | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
De 'nieuwe' derde optie die bestaat voor Europa, is kort samen te vatten: eenheid in verscheidenheid. In een tijd waarin goederen en diensten steeds meer op maat kunnen worden gemaakt, past geen Europese Unie die pluriformiteit en diversiteit tussen lidstaten als een probleem ziet, en begrotingsbeleid en fiscaal beleid steeds meer wil uniformeren en centraliseren.
Willy De Backer's insight:
One of the best analyses I have read in years about the existential crisis of the European union. Less centralisation, more integration through a new way of working together.
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How Establishments Fall — Leadership in the Age of Rage

How Establishments Fall - Leadership in the Age of Rage - Medium

'intelligentsias manufacture unrealities in eras of decline because their position at the top of the heap depends on doing so. If they are to validate decline as real, then they undermine the very order in which they are at the top. Who knows what might happen then? People might begin to blame them for having been agents of decline in the first place. Thus, their first and greatest incentive is to push the myth that there is no decline. Whatever the intelligentsia in an age of decline does, it cannot validate, prove, even often discuss, the possibility of decline as real, actual, happening, true.'

Willy De Backer's insight:
excellent analysis, very applicable to what is happening at EU level these days
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Monetizing Nature: Taking Precaution on a Slippery Slope

Monetizing Nature: Taking Precaution on a Slippery Slope | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
In embracing the monetary valuation of nature as a strategy for mobilizing support for environmental conservation, environmentalists are resigning themselves to a political status quo that can only comprehend value in terms of money and markets. By viewing ecosystems and their services through a pecuniary lens, monetization profoundly changes our relationship with nature, and, if taken to the point of commodification, can subject the fragility of nature’s balance to the destructive logic and volatility of markets.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good article on the dangers of putting a price on ecoservices.

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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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