David Graeber: ‘So many people spend their working lives doing jobs they think are unnecessary’

technology has been marshalled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. Huge swaths of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they believe to be unnecessary. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

Looking forward to reading Graeber’s new book.

See on Scoop.itThe Great Transition

Things Are Unraveling At An Accelerating Rate

This vast expansion of debt on the backs of marginal borrowers and the expansion of risky investments has greatly increased the systemic risk of losses from defaults arising from over-extended borrowers.

No wonder every attempt to further expand debt-based consumption is yielding diminishing returns: net income is stagnant virtually everywhere in the bottom 95% of the populace, and further declines in interest rates are increasingly marginal as rates are near-zero everywhere that isn’t suffering a collapse in its currency.

The diminishing returns manifest in three ways: the gains from each round of central-bank tricks are declining, the periods of stability following the latest “save” are shrinking and the amplitude of each episode of debt crisis is expanding

Source: www.peakprosperity.com

How the growth of global debt is fueling the zero-growth economy – good article from Peak Prosperity

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Higher Education and the Politics of Disruption

As higher education’s role as a center of critical thought and civic engagement is devalued, society is being transformed into a “spectacular space of consumption” and financial looting.

Source: www.truth-out.org

Absolutely brilliant essay by Heny Giroux about the devastating assault of neo-liberal market-first ideology on universities and higher education

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Only Less Will Do

The math of compound growth leads to absurdities (one human for every square meter of land surface by the year 2750 at our current rate of population increase) and to tragedy.

Source: www.resilience.org

Brilliant essay by Richard Heinberg on the need for planned degrowth. "…while climate change is the mega-crisis of our time, carbon is not our only nemesis. If global warming threatens to undermine civilization, so do topsoil, freshwater, and mineral depletion. These may just take a little longer."

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‘Syriza wins time—and space’ by Étienne Balibar and Sandro Mezzadra

By definition, going beyond capitalism lies outside of any government’s field of possibilities, in Greece or anywhere else. That is something more than urgently rescuing European capitalism from a catastrophe that would also be our own – it is a perspective on the horizon of prolonged social and political struggles that cannot limit themselves to the institutional terrain.

Source: www.versobooks.com

Interesting views but the main question is ducked. What is the project these new social and political struggles should fight for? My answer: how to prosper and redistribute in a post-growth economy? Little of this in Syriza reform proposals to the Eurogroup.

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Schuld und Sühne in Griechenland

Dazu aber, von der schleichenden Selbstentmachtung der politischen Instanzen, von den Souveränitätstransfers hin zu den Agenturen des Finanzregimes, vom schwindenden Einfluss des Wählers auf politische Entscheidungsprozesse und vom unheimlichen Gewicht mehr oder weniger arkaner Expertengremien (Euro-Gruppe, EZB-Rat) – dazu hören wir von Politikern, aus Griechenland wie Deutschland, im achten Jahr der Finanz-, Geld-, Banken- und Wirtschaftskrise, kein einziges gescheites Wort.

Source: www.wiwo.de

Good article (in German) on the real problem in the Germany-Greece standoff: power is no longer in hands of political players but financial markets.

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How Greece Got Outmaneuvered – The New Yorker

Once Wolfgang Schäuble, the flinty German finance minister, realized that Varoufakis couldn’t play the Grexit card, he knew that he had him where he wanted him. The German government point-blank refused even to consider a Greek request for an end to the bailout and a new bridging loan, and it quietly encouraged the E.C.B. to issue a series of warnings to the Greeks. And then, a couple of days ago, after Varoufakis had reversed course and asked for an extension of the current bailout, Schäuble rejected that request, too, forcing the Greeks to make even more concessions.

Source: www.newyorker.com

Another very good analysis of the Greece-EU deal.

See on Scoop.itThe Great Transition

Coppola Comment: Greece and the EU: a question of trust

This, in a nutshell, was the obstacle. Syriza wanted a new arrangement in which the rest of the EU would trust it to deliver on its promises. The rest of the EU wanted Syriza to prove its trustworthiness by completing the current programme. Deadlock.

Source: coppolacomment.blogspot.co.uk

Balanced and interesting analysis by Frances Coppola of the deal between Greece and Eurozone leaders. But by trying to win trust from the austerity elites, could Syriza lose trust of its voters?

Seems to me, the endgame has just been postponed by four months.

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The Energiewende did not lead to more coal or CO2 emissions

Critics of renewable energy have mocked the Energiewende, claiming that it has led to an increase in coal power and related CO2 emissions in Germany. But Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ show that this is a myth. German coal generation and CO2 emissions rose not because of but in spite of the Energiewende. They would have been even higher if Germany had not phased out its nuclear power and embarked on its remarkable renewable energy path. “There is no dark side to the Energiewende”

Source: www.energypost.eu

Excellent article on the German Energiewende and its impact on coal use.

See on Scoop.itThe Great Transition


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