“This new study explores the implications of a major financial crisis for the supply-chains that feed us, keep production running and maintain our critical infrastructure. I use a scenario involving the collapse of the Eurozone to show that increasing socio-economic complexity could rapidly spread irretrievable supply-chain failure across the world.” (Source: Feasta)
Excellent new report from Irish think tank Feasta on the interconnectness between global energy insecurity, economic supply chains and the financial system. Worth reading full report.
Dmitry Orlov wrote an excellent summary of this important FEASTA study.
"Politics lags behind the facts. We live in an era of deep technological and economic change that has not been matched by a similar development of public institutions responsible for its regulation. The economy has been globalised but political institutions and democracy have not kept pace. In spite of their many peculiarities, differences and limitations, the protests that are growing all over the world show an increasing discontent with the decision-making system, the existing forms of political representation and their lack of capacity for defending common goods. They express a demand for more and better democracy."
This week saw the publication of two interesting manifestos. A “Manifesto for Economic Sense” by Krugman and Layard on the economic crisis and this one in Open Democracy by David Hayes on the need for global democracy. Both manifestos are correct diagnoses of two aspects of the "great disruption" but both also are very disappointing in terms of alternatives. New 21st century Keynesianism and a World Parliament are solutions which are still seriously chained to the failing capitalist paradigm.
"In a more rational world, political leaders might come together in a special forum to acknowledge the nature and severity of the crisis and to establish the institutional and procedural basis for a worldwide “Survival 2100” project." (Source: Solutions)
Author William Rees is the co-father of the ecological footprint. His absolute must-read "Project Survival 2100" article in Solutions is surely one of the best efforts to define the contours of a blueprint for the real sustainability revolution humanity needs. It is way more realistic than the superficial and unambitious gobbledegook of the Future we want Rio+20 final declaration.
“Liberal democracies in the West today are struggling to avoid – and in doing so are exacerbating – a crisis of identity, which puts the existing social contract at risk and threatens their implosion.” (Source: Project Syndicate)
Excellent analysis by Wolfgang Reinicke at Project Syndicate about the erosion of our liberal democracy as a result of shifted power structures due to globalisation.
“Discussions at the World Economic Forum meeting focused largely on growth and left sustainable transformation at the periphery, says Chandran Nair…” (Source: the Guardian)
Chandran Nair of the Global Insitute for Tomorrow hits the nail on the head with his evaluation of the Davos summit: political and business elites still shy away from the real and radical transformation. How could it be different as they have created the problems with their fundamentalist quasi-religious belief in uneconomic growth?
"Large-scale social mobilisation, including street protests and parallel activities, is the only thing can save the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) from ending in nothing but frustration, according to activists and analysts."(Source: – IPS News).
Interesting article on Rio+20 but wrong recommendation. Why would we need to save Rio+20? There are other ways of fighting for a new economy based on ecological and social justice. Let’s not spend too much of our precious energy on wrong lost battles.
“At Davos this year, the world’s economic and political leaders stand warned: do globalization better, or it will be derailed by the growing legions of the discontented.” (Source: Project Syndicate)
Excellent analysis by UN Special Food Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter of the failures of capitalist globalisation.
The big question is whether globalisation can "be done better" under current rules of free and fast movement of big capital, easy delocalisation for industries and consumer demand for low prices of consumption products. How can governments do globalisation better whe they have no grip on the systems and values of production and consumption. This is where we really need a complete overhaul of existing capitalism but who will drive this?
"Representatives from around the world gather in Rio in June to try to hammer out goals for sustainable development at a U.N. conference designed to avoid being tripped up by the intractable issue of climate change." (Source: Reuters)
Reading this article makes you realise Rio negotiators have no clue on the real sustainability challenges.
Although it might make “diplomatic” sense to keep climate change off the agenda at Rio+20, the interconnectedness of the world’s sustainability challenges makes this a complete nonsense. The verticalisation or departementalisation of political problems at national government level as well as in international fora is something which urgently needs some rethinking.
Furthermore, when I read in this article the following quote from Brazil’s main Rio+20 negotiator, I have to despair about the ability of our political elites to understand the real transition that we will need to manage:
“Sustainable development is an easier sell globally than climate change, even though sustainable development is a way of tackling global warming and other environmental issues, he said. Climate change is an (issue) that has very strong resistance from sectors that are going to be substantially altered, like the oil industry," do Lago said. "Sustainable development is something that is as simple as looking at how we would like to be in 10 or 20 years." (my highlighting).
Sustainability “easier to sell” because it is a “long-term” problem? Do these so-called “leaders” live on another planet? What part of of the “ rethinking our global economy, governance, democracy, growth and business to be able to operate within the planets’ limits” do they not understand? Do they not see the need to start the emergency preparedness now?
“Fear among international experts of a major geopolitical disruption over the next 12 months has risen significantly to 54%, just as confidence in the state of global cooperation has dropped, according to the World Economic Forum’s third Global Confidence Index.” (Source: World Economic Forum)
Can the Davos elites please do some soul-searching to understand how their long-time support of Washington Consensus policies has led to this fragile world?