f the global population is to live safely within the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet, we must be prepared – especially those of us in the developed regions of the world – to reimagine the good life by embracing ‘simpler ways’ of living based on notions of moderation, frugality, appropriate technology, and sufficiency.
Worthwhile read on how to live the good life within the planetary limits.
Fresh fears about the singularity have prompted new critiques of what it will mean for humanity.
Excellent analysis in the Atlantic about Artificial Intelligence and the over-optimistic and over-pessimistic narratives about this issue. Great conclusion: "The lesson of AI is not that the light of mind and consciousness is beginning to shine in machines, but rather the dimming of our own lights at the dawn of a new era".
CIC regards all of this as evidence that the state is no longer willing to honor its social contract with citizens. Accordingly, it has called for civil disobedience to unjust laws and is doing everything it can to establish its own social order with a more humane logic and ethic.
David Bollier on the Catalan Integral Cooperative, ‘one of the more audacious commons-based innovations to have emerged in the past five years’
Clearly, belief in the indispensability of economic growth, while deeply rooted in governments virtually worldwide, is quite recent. The common view that growth has always been an important objective of government is mistaken.
That growth is inextricably bound up with human nature is an even greater mistake, if it makes us think that there really is no alternative to economic growth. Understanding that growth is not a necessary goal of government policy is critical if we are to imagine alternative economic futures.
Great, must-read article by Tim Jackson and Peter Victor – from the new State of the World Report 2015
Given the various problems associated with existing basic income schemes, not least of which is funding, issuing social dividends from user fees on shared resources could be a sensible alternative to the tax-funded benefit programs considered above. The social dividend approach would address a number of the concerns that drive proponents of a citizen’s income, such as providing a non-labour supplement to falling wages and incomes, or reducing social and economic exclusion.
Brilliant must-read analysis of the basic income debate looking at social and ecological alternatives to the current neo-liberal hegemony.
What we are talking about is a new conception: The idea of the Partner State. At its essence, the Partner State is an enabling state. It facilitates and provides the maximum space and opportunity for civil society to generate goods and services for the fulfillment of common needs.
It is a State whose primary orientation is the promotion of the common good, not private gain. And, in contrast to a view of the citizen as a passive recipient of public services, the Partner State requires a new conception of productive citizenship. Of citizenship understood as a verb, not a noun.
the growth in net energy appears to have slowed while EROI of fossil fuels continues to fall. That has led to greater competition for the available net energy and a general rise in fossil fuel prices from 2000 onward. There have been fluctuations, sometimes violent ones, tied to the so-called Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 and to the softening of the world economy in the past year which led to steep declines in oil prices (something which may be telling us there is another recession in the offing).
Excellent article by Kurt Cobb on the real reasons behind the world’s low-growth (maybe even degrowth) problem.
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.
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."
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.
Brilliant analysis of the roots of Islamic State by Nafeez Ahmed. Must-read.