Tag Archives: economics

Earth Overshoot Day and Not-For-Profit Enterprise

I wrote this post for the Post Growth Institute and it was originally published here.

In 2015, 13 August is Earth Overshoot Day. The day marks the estimated calendar date when humanity’s demand on the planet’s ecological services (which produce renewable resources and assimilate wastes) outstrips what the Earth can supply. This means that for the rest of the year, we are taking more than is regenerated, operating in Overshoot. Last year, Earth Overshoot Day was August 19th. We first went into Overshoot in the late 1970s, and since then the day has crept ever earlier on the calendar. This means we are using the ecological resources of just over 1.5 Earths.

Meeting the challenge of providing for all humanity’s needs within the limits of what our Earth can provide will require a radical restructuring of the global economy. In this post I will discuss how a post-growth economy based around not-for-profit enterprise can help us get to One Planet Living. Continue reading

Degrowth explained with orange juice. Yes, orange juice.

So I came across this super cute 4-minute video from Grist which explains the concept of degrowth using the analogy of a stall selling class A delicious orange juice. I think you’ll like it, and it’s especially good if you’re new to the idea.

As far as I’m aware the degrowth concept stems largely from the work of ecological economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (among others) and is now a full blown international movement. Apart from specifying that advanced economies need to contract rather than just stop growing, it seems to be little different to the idea of post-growth and exhorts many of the same solutions and attitudes.

Aw man I really want some sweet OJ now…

Labour and Nature: Power in Numbers

This post originally appeared on postgrowth.org, I wrote it for the Post Growth Institute blog, and wanted to repost it here as well. 

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“Good jobs! Clean environment! Green economy!”

That is the rallying cry of the BlueGreen Alliance, an impressive coalition of environmental organisations and labour unions in the US, with over 15 million members. Their existence is part of a growing synthesis between the labour and environmental movements, which is based around two core ideas: 1), that building a sustainable society has the potential to create millions of decent ‘’green-collar’’ jobs, and 2), that the effects and even the mitigations of climate change will have serious impacts for workers and will hit the poorest hardest, unless they have a voice in the debate, ensuring their right to a ‘’just transition”.  Continue reading

Post Growth Institute

postgrowth
Okay, so I may have been slacking on my blogging lately, but I’ve been crazy busy in the rest of my life. My dissertation and other university coursework is taking up a lot of time, and I’ve been volunteering with my local Green Party each week, campaigning to get our Green MP re-elected. But the most exciting reason why I’m extra busy, is that I’ve become a core member of the Post Growth Institute.

If you haven’t heard me mention them before, they’re an international group exploring how we can chart a course to a shared sustainable prosperity beyond our addiction to growth-mania.  Continue reading

Not-for-profit enterprise: A talk

So last week I was waxing lyrical about this talk I was about to go to, called “Is the post-growth economy already here?” by Donnie Maclurcan, from the Post Growth Institute. It was part of a UK-wide speaking tour, in promotion for a new book (How, On Earth?) by Donnie and one of the co-directors of the Institute, Jennifer Hinton.

The cover of How, on Earth?

The cover of ‘How, on Earth?’

So I went to the talk, and I really enjoyed it. Let me walk you through some of the key points, and the bits I thought were most exciting. You can also read the blurb for the talk, for some background, here.

Near the start of the talk, Donnie Maclurcan stated that we have two major global crises, which are completely interconnected.

One is the ecological crisis. The fact that each year we’re now using more resources than can be replenished, and creating more waste than can be assimilated. This is leading to widespread species loss, dangerous climate change, land degradation and the rest. As he’s the executive director of the Post Growth Institute it’s not surprising he doesn’t believe in the fantasy story of infinite economic growth.

The other crisis is spiralling financial inequality. He quoted the well-publicised but ever sickening statistic from Oxfam, that the world’s richest 85 people have the same combined wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion*.

The two are connected because rising inequality leads to over-consumption, through status envy and competition. And in a neoliberal economy where growth is prioritized above all else, consumption will be tightly culturally linked with the idea of success.  Because that’s what’s needed to keep the growth engine going.

Anyway, Maclurcan thinks the solution to the two problems is not loads of regulation, nor flashy brands of ‘creative capitalism’, but not-for-profit enterpriseContinue reading

How, on Earth?

I’m very much looking forward to attending a talk this Thursday, entitled Is the Post Growth economy already here? By Donnie Maclurcan, executive director of the Post Growth Institute. He’s coming to my city as part of a UK-wide tour promoting a new book he’s co-writing with Jennifer Hinton, co-director of the same Institute.

Cover of the forthcoming book

Cover of the forthcoming book

This book is called How, on Earth? Flourishing in a not-for-profit world by 2050, and will be published in April next year. You can pre-order it here. The book centres around the concept of the not-for-profit enterprise, which earns money to pay for its resources and to pay all employees a fair wage, but reinvests any profits straight back into its social cause, or into improving the enterprise, rather than letting them accrue to shareholders.

If you fail to see how a profit-less model could possibly be a good thing, you might need a bit of background. Continue reading

Universal Citizen’s Income

Have you heard of the universal citizen’s income?

Otherwise known as universal basic income, it refers to this (so far) theoretical policy where every citizen in a country is given enough money to cover their basic needs. It doesn’t matter if they’re working or not, how much they earn, what their health status is, – as long as they’re an adult and a national citizen, they get the same amount. Everyone does.

Do you think it sounds crazy? I kind of do too. But this article by the ever knowledgeable Another Angry Voice has made me doubt my initial incredulousness.  Continue reading

Video: The big picture behind the credit crunch, and what to do about it

Hey there.

Just want to share this 12-minute video I came across on Sustainable Man. It really succinctly explains how the economic crash of 2008 is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and how due to the depletion of key resources we’re in for a very tough time indeed. Don’t worry, around half way in it saves you from alarm and possible depression by turning to the more proactive question of “what can we do about it?” The solutions explored in the rest of the video are just a teeny tiny teaser of the awesome stuff people are working on all around the world, so be sure to do some more research. For ideas on what to punch into google you could check out my post The Big Bumper Book of Solutions

Share with your friends, especially people who don’t already know about this stuff, and start a conversation!

Also don’t you think the illustrations are brilliant?

 

 

Enough is Enough – Video

As I wrote in my glowing review, Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neil is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The book outlines an idea for a steady state economy – a truly sustainable economy that puts wellbeing before profit. When I read the book and found out about this concept, it was pretty much a life changing experience. I was ecstatic that other people were actually working on the ideas that were already half-baked in my mind. It filled me with hope. Today I found this video on Youtube which gives you an 18-minute taster of Enough is Enough, the limits to growth and the steady state concept. If you haven’t read it, watch the video for a quick summary. Then order this brilliant book from your local bookshop!