Economic and financial systems drive human impact on Spaceship Earth and even on space beyond the earth’s atmosphere as the above illustration of space debris shows. The great issue of our times is whether economic growth can be sustained as the environment, resources and life support systems of the planet are impacted and consumed at exponentially accelerating rates. A new story is needed. William E Rees offers his ‘new story’ – End game: the economy as eco-catastrophe and what needs to change

THE IDEOLOGY OF GROWTH – Schmelzer’s article traces the emergence of economic growth measured by GDP as mainstream policy around the entire world. This coincided with the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene Epoch after WWII; Genuine Progress Index (GPI) – an alternative to GDP; The serious absurdities of GDP. – Non-productive GDP growth (land price inflation); “Peak stuff” – consumer saturation point; GDP condemned; and again; Limits to Economic Growth – lecture notes; The decoupling delusion; Korten on stupidity of GDP; Review of Pilling, D (2018) The Growth Delusion; Growth addiction; GDP obsession; Controversial Ethiopian  dam project = economics vs. social justice; Beyond GDP – OECD Report Nov 2018 social well-being is hampered by GDP metric as a basis for policy; Urban explosion; Critique of Nordhaus Nobel Prize winner – (Foreign Policy article); Concrete galore;

CIRCULAR ECONOMY – Can a steady state or circular economy as a goal for societies ever replace the universal political desire to maximise the expansion of GNP? Doughnut economics – Kate Raworth’s model for a safe operating space between poverty and planetary boundaries. Raworth’s doughnut economics  critically reviewed as too upbeat. Local currencies offer one alternative to mainstream monetary economy; Mondragon – a cooperative Basque corporation owned by the workers; Localism – antidote to globalism; Wasteful fashion industry; Sustainable agriculture indicators; CE helping the poor

DE-GROWTH – is it possible?  De-growth aesthetics of existence Part 1– Samuel Alexander, Part 2;  Dematerialisation – shift from consuming stuff to services; Milankovic criticised; EU Commission critiqued; Escaping Growth Dependency – review; Managing Without Growth – review;

ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIESCommons-based Peer Production; Raworth ‘Doughnut Economy’ at WEF 2018; Sustainable competitiveness; Capitalism and Climate Change?; Economics of Enough – Trebeck & Williams;

CLIMATE ECONOMICS – Lord Nicholas Stern lecture Nov 2017 – global agenda, SDGs, carbon pricing, development bank investment in sustainable infrastructure, level of economic risk, zero emissions, sequestration, energy productivity, circular economy for low carbon future, market failures, urban population 2x in next 35 years to 7 billion, Commodification of Nature – pricing the natural environment; Divestment from fossil fuel corporations(video); Divestment vs. engagement?; Norway Sovereign Fund divests;

INEQUALITY Can the increasing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands be reversed? Is the increasing concentration of production and distribution in the hands of a few global brands desirable? There is a growing movement of pressure groups against wealth concentration: click here for examples. Positive money – this Tshort video (6 min), from a campaign to reform the financial system, critiques UK government misuse of quantitative easing following the 2008 Great Financial crash; Rich world exploits the poor;Land use demands for foodstuffs; Neo-liberalism – a con trick that worked (Chris Hedges, Nov. 2018) critical polemic cites David Harvey and Karl Polyani and links to rise of fascism & populism; Inequality gap growing – total global debt hit $247 trillion in the first quarter of 2018. Countries were, on average, borrowing about three dollars for every dollar of goods or services created; Krugman on Piketty & patrimonial capitalism (video); Hedges on cultural deification of wealth (video); Global Inequality is accelerating;

FINANCIAL SYSTEM How money is created – widespread ignorance; Steve Keen on Debt Jubilee and Positive Money; European Central Bank – finally recognises implications of climate change (Nov. 2018); Financial sector role in climate stability;

TECHNOLOGY;  Downside of digital (and other)technology; Biofuel for aviation – slow progress; driverless electric cars; Harari on AI +/- transformative power (video); Measuring technological impact – IPAT update;

MACHINE WORLD FOODToxins in fish from fish farms & processed meals (video)


GOOD NEWS falling fertility rates (Lancet study); Wellbeing Economy – resources for moving beyond GDP to ‘Doughnut Economics’ and safe operating space for planet & people; EU ban on single-use plastics;

Leave a Reply