American Interdependence Day

Today is American Independence Day and there’s lots of celebrating going on (not to mention the volatilizing of hundreds of millions of pounds of different chemical compounds in the atmosphere). So it’s a big day in the USA today. But truthfully I’d rather wish everyone—American or not—a Happy Interdependence Day!

So instead, I wish you all a day to celebrate our Interdependence with countless other species—with the blue-green algae that make the oxygen you breathe; the bacteria that make up more of you than you do; with the plants that make up your food (either directly or indirectly); the animals that are sacrificed so many of us can eat (or wear) them; the ancient beings that made up the coal, gas, and oil that we’ve become dependent on (in the bad sense); the future beings that will care for us when we’re old and that will inherit (and hopefully heal) the horrible ecological and societal wounds we’ve inflicted; and last but not least, our family, friends, extended communities, and the millions of people we don’t know who provide us with food, medicine, energy, goods, and services. In this complex civilization we live in, we are all deeply interdependent—interwoven with countless lives day in and day out.

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Post-growth, Degrowth books from Verso – C$8.39 for ebooks

I just ran across these three books that followers of this site might find interesting.

Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it.

“Capitalism is clearly destroying the planet. If socialists want to offer a real alternative to profit-driven catastrophe, they need to rethink deeply ingrained assumptions and abandon ruinous habits. Building a society that operates within ecological constraints requires an unleashing of our political imaginations, and this book helps us do just that. You may not agree with every word of this bold and provocative book, but it raises urgent and necessary questions that the left must grapple with before it’s too late.”

The reality of runaway climate change is inextricably linked with the mass consumerist, capitalist society in which we live. And the cult of endless growth, and endless consumption of cheap disposable commodities, isn’t only destroying the world, it is damaging us and our way of being. How do we stop the impending catastrophe, and how can we create a movement capable of confronting it head-on? In Alternative Prosperity, philosopher Kate Soper offers an urgent plea for a new vision of the good life, one that is capable of delinking prosperity from endless growth. Instead, Soper calls for renewed emphasis on the joys of being that are currently being denied, and shows the way to creating a future that allows not only for more free time, and less conventional and more creative ways of using it, but also for fairer and more fulfilling ways of working and existing. This is an urgent and necessary intervention into debates on climate change.

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New book: The Future is Degrowth

Aaron Vansintjan writes: I am very excited to share that the book The Future Is Degrowth: A Guide to a World Beyond Capitalism, by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and myself will be released by Verso Books this Tuesday, June 28.

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Inflation as a Political Power Play Gone Wrong – Other News – Voices against the tide

A half-century long strategy, led by corporations, Wall Street, governments, and central banks, is coming undone. As a result, the West’s authorities now face an impossible choice: push conglomerates and states into cascading bankruptcies or allow inflation to go unchecked.

ATHENS – The blame game over surging prices is on. Was it too much central-bank money being pumped out for too long that caused inflation to take off? Was it China, where most physical production had moved before the pandemic locked down the country and disrupted global supply chains? Was it Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine took a large chunk out of the global supply of gas, oil, grains, and fertilizers? Was it some surreptitious shift from pre-pandemic austerity to unrestricted fiscal largesse?

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Genuine Progress Index (GPI): A Better Way to Guide Our World

From: Mike Nickerson <Sustain5>
Sun., 19 Jun. 2022 5:12
Subject: GPI; A Better Way to Guide Our World

In a recent talk, Ron Colman made the case for using a spectrum of social, environmental and economic indicators to guide society through these challenging times.

It is absurd to add the costs of weather related disasters to GDP and think we are better off, while that same GDP measure completely ignores pollution, the depletion of natural resources, inequality and the work of raising families. A Genuine Progress Index (GPI) reveals much more.

With moving clarity, Colman explained why, when assessing how society is doing, we need to track emerging problems and opportunities as well as ongoing volumes of production and consumption.

Dr. Colman’s talk, and the discussion following, are at:

I highly recommend that you watch this video. We may yet elect to open our eyes to the circumstances surrounding us. It would greatly enhance our future prospects.

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Neoliberal economics | Red Pepper

In the first of a Red Pepper series on ‘neoliberalism’, Gregk Foley traces the birth of an economic ideology

Neoliberal economic theory emerged after World War II, spearheaded by Austrian economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, and later by America’s Milton Friedman.

The objective was to create a market that was truly free, global, and limitless – for capital, if not for human beings. The principles of individual liberty, rights to private property and a free market were radically reasserted, and it is this aspect that underscores the ‘neo’ [new] in neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism’s translation from theory to practice is associated with three figures. Firstly, in 1973, Chile’s democratically-elected leader Salvador Allende was overthrown by a CIA-backed coup and replaced with Augusto Pinochet, a military dictator who allowed a group of Friedman-educated economists known as the ‘Chicago Boys’ to turn Chile into a laboratory for neoliberal policy.

Later, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher translated neoliberalism’s hostility to the state into a rallying-cry against ‘big government’ interfering in people’s lives.

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Why Won’t “Overpopulation” (Finally) Go Away?

An email from April 26, 2016 – still (or more) relevant today!

“…a focus on “overpopulation” distracts attention away from what is the most serious issue to be confronted right now: overconsumption of natural resources fueled by an economic system that demands continual growth, not in order to sustain the global population so much as to accumulate tremendous wealth in the hands of a very few people. Until this obscene inequity, and the economic system driving it, is adequately addressed all the attention to overpopulation in the world will do nothing to halt our environmental crisis.”

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It’s time for a social business model for patent-free global drug production

An example of a social and economic model not beholden to the “Church of Growth” attended by the pharmaceutical transnationals

Preparing for the next pandemic will require more than a commitment from delegates at the World Health Assembly. It requires a structural shift toward a fairer framework of global health, where power is distributed more equitably via a social business model of vaccine and drug production. Social business is the form of business which is built on the principle of solving human problems in a sustainable business way, where owners are not interested in taking any profit except for the return of the original investment amount over a period of time. It’s a non-dividend company aimed at solving social problems, not personal money-making. Muhammad Yunus May 28, 2022

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NYTimes: Why Do We Swallow What Big Oil and the Green Movement Tell Us?

Why Do We Swallow What Big Oil and the Green Movement Tell Us?

If you can’t install the transmission lines — to get that sun and wind power from the vast open spaces where it is generated to the big urban areas where it is needed — and if you cannot set aside more land to install the scale of solar and wind farms you need to replace coal, gas or nuclear, it doesn’t matter that your renewables are cheaper on a per-kilowatt-hour basis.

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Nearly half existing facilities will need to close prematurely to limit heating to 1.5C, scientists say

Nearly half of existing fossil fuel production sites need to be shut down early if global heating is to be limited to 1.5C, the internationally agreed goal for avoiding climate catastrophe, according to a new scientific study.

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