The puzzling flattening of carbon emissions and the problem of global growth

maybe flat carbon emissions are actually telling us something “no one” wants to hear: that economic growth has faltered or even halted for a large portion of the world’s people and that we are going to have to deal with the consequences of that until we design a new system that can either grow for the benefit of everyone–a difficult proposition–or that can sustainably, equitably and successfully manage a steady-state economy–an even more difficult proposition.

Source: www.resilience.org

Must-read analysis of the growth and greenhouse emissions puzzle: "As long as the chimera of perpetual growth can be sold to the masses, no one will have to deal with the thorny issue of redistribution as the primary method for the economic betterment of the middle and lower classes."

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Islamic State is the cancer of modern capitalism

Ultimately, IS is a cancer of modern industrial capitalism in meltdown, a fatal by-product of our unwavering addiction to black gold, a parasitical symptom of escalating civilisational crises across both the Muslim and Western worlds. Until the roots of these crises are addressed, IS and its ilk are here to stay.

Source: www.middleeasteye.net

Brilliant analysis of the roots of Islamic State by Nafeez Ahmed. Must-read.

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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

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