theguardian.com 28-1-2022 Boots, shoes and the real inflation rate felt by Britain’s poorest people – Readers on the ‘Sam Vimes “Boots” theory of socioeconomic unfairness’ about how price rises disproportionally affect those who are worst off
theguardian.com 26-1-2022 Terry Pratchett estate backs Jack Monroe’s idea for ‘Vimes Boots’ poverty index – Campaigner has used the idea drawn from Discworld novels to register the disproportionate effect price rises have on the lower paid – by Alison Flood
maroonmacro.substack.com/ 27-1-2022 Does the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing Really “Print Money”? And Does it Drive Inflation in the Real Economy?
socialeurope.eu 27-1-2022 Inflation: raising rates is not the answer – As inflation has re-emerged, so have calls for general monetary tightening. Wiser counsel should prevail – by Jens van’t Klooster, Hielke van Doorslaer
#agency- attention, consciousness, IDentity #commons #democracy MONEY #finance- repo #monetary/fiscal #inflation #markets – ALTcurrencies- #CBDC, #crypto- bitcoin #internet- big tech, web, metaverse ECONOMICS– #hetero research #ortho mainstream #housing #INEQUALITY #population #work- trading, gig #trade #science ECO-logical crises- #climate, #biodiversity #sustainability #energy- nuclear, greenwashing #food, farming, agriculture #”green”GDP-GROWTH, decoupling, techno fix, Bill Gates #green techno, re-use #growth, eco-crisis, #GDP #plastic POLLUTION– futures, microplastics, export #green investment, ESG #greenwashing #pre-HISTORY– ID, gender, archeology, anthropology – Dawn of History by D. Graeber, D. Wengow #ancient to classic #classic to modern #global justice- colonialism, ecology/earth sciences, eco-crisis, monetary/IMF #slave trade, racism #hidden history
themarginalian.org 12/2021 I Feel, Therefore I Am: Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on Consciousness and How the Feeling-Tone of the Body Underscores the Symphony of the Mind – “Ultimately, we are puppets of both pain and pleasure, occasionally made free by our creativity.” By Maria Popova
“A purely disembodied emotion is a nonentity,” William James wrote in his revolutionary theory of how our bodies affect our feelings just before the birth of neuroscience — a science still young, which has already revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos inside the cranium as much as the first century of telescopic astronomy revolutionized our understanding of our place in the universe…”…
sciencenews.org 1-2022 ‘Feeling & Knowing’ explores the origin and evolution of consciousness – Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discusses his latest book
consciousness is generated by a variety of structures within an organism, some neural, some not. What’s more, feelings — mental experiences of body states — help connect the brain to the rest of the body. “The feelings that we have of, say, hunger or thirst, or pain, or well-being, or desire, etc. — these are the foundation of our mind,” Damasio says. In his view, feelings have played a central role in the life-regulating processes of animals throughout the history of life.
In Feeling & Knowing, Damasio suggests that consciousness evolved as a way to keep essential bodily systems steady. This concept is also known as homeostasis, a self-regulating process that maintains stability amid ever-changing conditions. Consciousness emerged as an extension of homeostasis, Damasio argues, allowing for flexibility and planning in complex and unpredictable environments.
Science News spoke with Damasio about why feelings are crucial to understanding consciousness, why consciousness is not exclusive to humans and whether it’s something a computer could ever have. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
>agency, consciousness, identity
psychologytoday.com 18/12/2021 Two Streams of Conscious Awareness, described as self and pure awareness. Gregg Henriques, Vanessa Lancaster
…”The self stream involves how we make meaning out of the world and how we attach interpretations, hopes, and fears to our experience. The pure awareness stream refers to the basic experience of “isness,” or simply being in the world without memory or desire. Anchoring ourselves in pure awareness allows us to observe how our identities attach meaning to things in the world…”…
>agency, consciousness, attention – work
theguardian.com 2/1/2022 Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen by Johann Hari
… a journey that transformed how I think about attention. I travelled all over the world in the next three years, from Miami to Moscow to Melbourne, interviewing the leading experts in the world about focus. What I learned persuaded me that we are not now facing simply a normal anxiety about attention, of the kind every generation goes through as it ages. We are living in a serious attention crisis – one with huge implications for how we live. I learned there are twelve factors that have been proven to reduce people’s ability to pay attention and that many of these factors have been rising in the past few decades – sometimes dramatically. …
…When neuroscientists studied this, they found that when people believe they are doing several things at once, they are actually juggling. “They’re switching back and forth. … This is called the “switch-cost effect”. It means that if you check your texts while trying to work, you aren’t only losing the little bursts of time you spend looking at the texts themselves – you are also losing the time it takes to refocus afterwards, which turns out to be a huge amount …
realised that to heal my attention, it was not enough simply to strip out distractions. That makes you feel good at first – but then it creates a vacuum where all the noise was. I realised I had to fill the vacuum. To do that, I started to think a lot about an area of psychology I had learned about years before – the science of flow states. Almost everyone reading this will have experienced a flow state at some point. It’s when you are doing something meaningful to you, and you really get into it, and time falls away, and your ego seems to vanish, and you find yourself focusing deeply and effortlessly. Flow is the deepest form of attention human beings can offer. But how do we get there? …Prof Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Claremont …who was the first scientist to study flow states and researched them for more than 40 years. …
I returned to the world determined to integrate the lessons I had learned in my everyday life. When I was reunited with my phone and laptop after taking a ferry back to where they were stashed in Boston, they seemed alien, and alienating. But within a few months, my screen time was back to four hours a day, and my attention was fraying and breaking again. In Moscow, the former Google engineer James Williams – who has become the most important philosopher of attention in the western world – told me I had made a crucial mistake. Individual abstinence is “not the solution, for the same reason that wearing a gas mask for two days a week outside isn’t the answer to pollution. It might, for a short period of time, keep certain effects at bay, but it’s not sustainable, and it doesn’t address the systemic issues.” He said that our attention is being deeply altered by huge invasive forces in wider society. Saying the solution was to just adjust your own habits – to pledge to break up with your phone, say – was just “pushing it back on to the individual” he said, when “it’s really the environmental changes that will really make the difference”. Nigg said it might help me grasp what’s happening if we compare our rising attention problems to our rising obesity rates…
…“Obesity is not a medical epidemic – it’s a social epidemic. We have bad food, for example, and so people are getting fat.” The way we live changed dramatically – our food supply changed, and we built cities that are hard to walk or cycle around, and those changes in our environment led to changes in our bodies. We gained mass, en masse. Something similar, he said, might be happening with the changes in our attention.
I learned that the factors harming our attention are not all immediately obvious. I had been focused on tech at first, but in fact the causes range very widely – from the food we eat to the air we breathe, from the hours we work to the hours we no longer sleep. They include many things we have come to take for granted – from how we deprive our children of play, to how our schools strip learning of meaning by basing everything on tests. I came to believe we need to respond to this incessant invasion of our attention at two levels. The first is individual. There are all sorts of changes we can make at a personal level that will protect our focus. I would say that by doing most of them, I have boosted my focus by about 20%. But we have to level with people. Those changes will only take you so far. At the moment it’s as though we are all having itching powder poured over us all day, and the people pouring the powder are saying: “You might want to learn to meditate. Then you wouldn’t scratch so much.”…
…Today, about 35% of workers feel they can never switch off their phones because their boss might email them at any time of day or night. In France, ordinary workers decided this was intolerable and pressured their government for change – so now, they have a legal “right to disconnect”. It’s simple. You have a right to defined work hours, and you have a right to not be contacted by your employer outside those hours. Companies that break the rules get huge fines. There are lots of potential collective changes like this that can restore part of our focus. We could, for example, force social media companies to abandon their current business model, which is specifically designed to invade our attention in order to keep us scrolling. There are alternative ways these sites could work – ones that would heal our attention instead of hacking it.
Some scientists say these worries about attention are a moral panic, comparable to the anxieties in the past about comic books or rap music, and that the evidence is shaky. Other scientists say the evidence is strong and these anxieties are like the early warnings about the obesity epidemic or the climate crisis in the 1970s…
If the people warning about the effects on our attention turn out to be wrong, and we still do what they suggest, what will be the cost? We will spend less time being harassed by our bosses, and we’ll be tracked and manipulated less by technology – along with lots of other improvements in our lives that are desirable in any case. But if they turn out to be right, and we don’t do what they say, what’s the cost? We will have – as the former Google engineer Tristan Harris told me – downgraded humanity, stripping us of our attention at the very time when we face big collective crises that require it more than ever.
But none of these changes will happen unless we fight for them. Just as the feminist movement reclaimed women’s right to their own bodies (and still has to fight for it today), I believe we now need an attention movement to reclaim our minds. I believe we need to act urgently, because this may be like the climate crisis, or the obesity crisis – the longer we wait, the harder it will get. The more our attention degrades, the harder it will be to summon the personal and political energy to take on the forces stealing our focus. The first step it requires is a shift in our consciousness. We need to stop blaming ourselves, or making only demands for tiny tweaks from our employers and from tech companies. We own our own minds – and together, we can take them back from the forces that are stealing them.”
The above is an edited extract from Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari
aeon.co 10-2020 The Challenge of Reclaiming the Commons from Capitalism – by Dirk Philipsen
“A basic truth is once again trying to break through the agony of worldwide pandemic and the enduring inhumanity of racist oppression. Healthcare workers risking their lives for others, mutual aid networks empowering neighbourhoods, farmers delivering food to quarantined customers, mothers forming lines to protect youth from police violence: we’re in this life together. We – young and old, citizen and immigrant – do best when we collaborate. Indeed, our only way to survive is to have each other’s back while safeguarding the resilience and diversity of this planet we call home.
As an insight, it’s not new, or surprising. Anthropologists have long told us that, as a species neither particularly strong nor fast, humans survived because of our unique ability to create and cooperate. ‘All our thriving is mutual’ is how the Indigenous scholar Edgar Villanueva captured the age-old wisdom in his book Decolonizing Wealth (2018). What is new is the extent to which so many civic and corporate leaders – sometimes entire cultures – have lost sight of our most precious collective quality.
This loss is rooted, in large part, in the tragedy of the private – this notion that moved, in short order, from curious idea to ideology to global economic system. It claimed selfishness, greed and private property as the real seeds of progress. Indeed, the mistaken concept many readers have likely heard under the name ‘the tragedy of the commons’ has its origins in the sophomoric assumption that private interest is the naturally predominant guide for human action. The real tragedy, however, lies not in the commons, but in the private. It is the private that produces violence, destruction and exclusion. Standing on its head thousands of years of cultural wisdom, the idea of the private variously separates, exploits and exhausts those living under its cold operating logic…”…
goodreads.com 2020 Democracy For Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics – by Peter Geoghegan
‘If you’re concerned about the health of British democracy, read this book – it is thorough, gripping and vitally important’ Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland.
Democracy is in crisis, and unaccountable and untraceable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Politicians lie gleefully, making wild claims that can be shared instantly with millions of people on social media. Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and populists in many other countries are the beneficiaries. Peter Geoghegan is a diligent, brilliant guide through a shadowy world of dark money and digital disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond. He shows how antiquated electoral laws are broken with impunity, how secretive lobbying bends our politics out of shape, and how Silicon Valley tech giants have colluded in selling out democracy. Geoghegan investigates politicians, fabulously well-funded partisan think tanks, propagandists who know how to game a rigged system, and the campaigners and regulators valiantly trying to stop them. Democracy for Sale is the story of how money, vested interests and digital skulduggery are eroding trust in democracy – and a powerful account of what must be done about it.
theguardian.com 8-2020 Democracy for Sale by Peter Geoghegan review – the end of politics as we know it? The openDemocracy journalist delves into the web of power, money and data manipulation that is bringing our electoral system to its knees – by John Naughton
theguardian.com 23-1-2022 My Jeremy was made scapegoat for Greensill affair, says Lady Heywood – Suzanne Heywood attacks ‘cynical attempt to shift blame’ for lobbying scandal on to her late husband, the former cabinet secretary – by Toby Helm
reuters.com 13-1-2022 Credit Suisse files five insurance claims on Greensill-linked funds – By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
…”Switzerland’s second-largest bank has been working to recover assets from the collapse of some $10 billion in funds linked to insolvent supply chain finance firm Greensill. read more It has so far recovered some $7.2 billion of the funds. The bank has been focusing on some $2.3 billion in loans provided by Greensill, which imploded in March, to three counterparties including commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, SoftBank-backed Katerra, and coal miner Bluestone, for which late payments have accrued…”…
businessinsider.com 22-1-2022 John Hussman, a notorious market bear who called the 2000 and 2007 crashes unloads on the Fed for creating ‘the most extreme financial bubble in US history’ — and warns of a 70% drop in the S&P 500 just to return to normal valuation levels – by William Edwards
businessinsider.com 2017 ‘Wall Street has gone completely mad’ — One market bear forecasts a decade of stock losses – by Joe Ciolli
By multiple measures, US equity valuations are close to the highest on record. Investor and former professor John Hussman doesn’t think this is a sustainable situation, and forecasts that stocks will see negative returns over a 12-year period. Hussman’s perma-bearish views have seen mixed success in the past, and a good number of Wall Street strategists are bullish on US stocks through 2018.
> finance- fiscal/monetary, markets
maroonmacro.substack.com 19-1-2022 -39- Repo Review: Sponsored Repo
“In this issue of Monetary Mechanics, I am going to talk about the effect of the explosion in sponsored repo on the broader short-term interest rate complex, as well as how it fits into the broader development of money markets in the post-GFC financial system. … My objective here is to attempt to provide a high-level overview of the most fundamental features of sponsored repo to attempt to uncover and understand what (if any) effect this practice has on the rest of the global financial system. I will do my best to place sponsored repo within the proper context relative to the rest of the US repo market complex, and also to impart some informative, interesting, and useful insights about sponsored repo that may not have been fully fleshed out by other people. …”…
the economist.com 1-2022 Why capital will become scarcer in the 2020s – Populism, climate change and supply-chain fixes will raise the long-term cost of capital
the economist.com 11-2021 The World Ahead 2022 – Will the world economy return to normal in 2022? – If it does not, a painful economic adjustment looms -by Henry Curr
>fiscal/monetary – ECB, EU
politico.eu 1-2022 Europeans confused about ECB’s role, survey finds – A poll shows respondents often had a far more wide-ranging view of the ECB’s mandate than is actually the case. By Johanna Treeck
>fiscal/monetary – BoE
reuters.com 17-1-2022 Bank of England to get more powers over clearing and settlement By Huw Jones
theguardian.com/ 23-1-2022 Fears grow that US action on inflation will trigger debt crisis – Poor country repayments to creditors are running at highest level in two decades – Larry Elliot
…”Heidi Chow, the executive director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: “The debt crisis has already stripped countries of the resources needed to tackle the climate emergency and the continued disruption from Covid, while rising interest rates threaten to sink countries in even more debt.”…”…
theguardian.com 20-1-2022 Blame Covid: why UK inflation is at its highest for 30 years – After three decades of stability the virus has done for the cost of living what wars did in the past – by Larry Elliott
Economists such as Bootle (The Death of Inflation) came to see the 1970s and 80s as the exception rather than the rule. Historically, periods of high inflation have tended to be during wars, when governments run the economy as hot as needed to ensure national survival and ignore the risks of overheating. The first real sustained inflationary pressure in the UK after the Napoleonic wars came when the first world war broke out. According to the Bank of England, a basket of goods costing £10 in the year of the Battle of Waterloo would have cost just £7.72 at the time of the assassination at Sarajevo. In the intervening period, inflation averaged -0.3% a year. … it has been clear for a while that it would take something exceptional for inflation to make a comeback. Something that would throw a spoke in the wheels of globalisation, make governments keener on self-sufficiency and persuade central banks of the need to embark on massive stimulus projects. Something like a global pandemic, for example.”
theguardian.com 12-1-2022 Highest US inflation in 40 years signals end of ultra-cheap money – Analysis: the Fed and other central banks have to raise interest rates, but they’d be advised to do it slowly – US inflation at 7% for first time since 1982: live updates – by Larry Elliott
ALTcurrencies – CBDC – finance, banking >digital money news
cnbc.com 20-1-2022 Fed releases long-awaited study on a digital dollar but doesn’t take a position yet on creating one – by Jeff Cox
The Federal Reserve on Thursday released its long-awaited exploration of a digital dollar but took no position on the issuance of a central bank digital currency. Instead, the central bank’s 40-page document explores a plethora of issues and notes that public comment will be solicited. Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who has been nominated as vice chair, is the biggest advocate for the project, while other officials have expressed skepticism.
cointelegraph.com 19-1-2022 BIS general manager: Central banks generate trust, not big techs or “anonymous ledgers” – According to the boss of the international institution owned by central banks, it is central banks that are best positioned to shape the future of money – by Kirill Bryanov
…”ln a speech entitled “Digital currencies and the soul of money,” Agustín Carstens, the general manager of the Bank of International Settlements, criticized private stablecoins and decentralized finance (DeFi), touting central bank-led financial innovation as the best possible path to the future of money. … The economist’s argument revolved around the institutional foundations of money and how, even in the digital age, central banks remain in a position to provide trust in money and ensure “an efficient and inclusive financial system to the benefit of all.” Alternative designs of monetary systems that emerged throughout history, according to the BIS’ top official, “have often ended badly.”…”…
cointelegraph.com 18-1-2022 ‘The risks outweigh the benefits’ of a Swiss CBDC, says SNB governing board member – “This does not mean the SNB is not interested in CBDC, but our focus is to look at the role that wholesale CBDCs could play,” said Andréa Maechler. by Turner Wroght
economist.com 11-2021 The World Ahead 2022 – A three-way fight to shape the future of digital finance has begun – Regulators must preserve its potential while guarding against risk – by Rachana Shanbhogue
coindesk 13-1-2022 House of Lords Committee Sees ‘No Convincing Case’ for UK CBDC – “While a CBDC may provide some advantages, it could present significant challenges for financial stability and the protection of privacy,” the committee said. By Jamie Crawley
thetimes.co.uk 13-1-2022 Britcoin is a ‘risk to stability of the banks’, say Lords – Peers condemn plan to create UK digital currency – by Patrick Hosking
“The creation of an official digital currency in Britain could increase the risk of a run on the banks in an economic downturn, an influential House of Lords committee has found. The committee, whose members include Lord King of Lothbury, the former Bank of England governor, expressed serious reservations about the introduction of a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, dubbed “Britcoin” by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor…”…
>ALTcurrencies – commercial, crypto, bitcoin
davidgerard.co.uk 26-1-2022 Facebook’s Libra is still dead — Diem to be sold off for spare parts
26th January 2022 – by David Gerard
economist.com 1-2022 The race to dominate the DeFi ecosystem is on – Why Ethereum is losing market share
theguardian.com 15-1-2022 Will blockchain fulfil its democratic promise or will it become a tool of big tech?
by John Naughton
>ALTcurrencies – big tech, web, metaverse
theguardian.com 25-1-2022 I’ve seen the metaverse – and I don’t want it – The tech world has been overtaken by the seductive idea of a virtual utopia, but what’s on offer looks more like a late-capitalist technocratic nightmare – Keza MacDonald
…”… I have seen what virtual worlds can do for people. I have spent my entire adult life reporting on them, and what people do in them and the meaning that they find there. So the fact that I’m now the one standing here saying that we don’t want this, feels significant. Meta has patented technology that could track what you look at and how your body moves in virtual reality in order to target ads at you. Is that the future of video games and all the other virtual places where we spend time – to have our attention continually tracked and monetised, even more so than it is in real life? The virtual worlds of games and the early internet used to be an escape from the inequalities and injustices of the real one. To see the tendrils of big tech and social media extending towards the places that have been a refuge for me and millions of others is disturbing. I don’t trust these people with the future. The more I hear about the metaverse, the less I want to do with it.”
theguardian.com 20-1-2022 How Facebook took over the internet in Africa – and changed everything – Western users are logging off, but across the continent the social media company is indispensable for everything from running a business to sourcing vaccines. How did it become inescapable? by Nesrine Malik
wired.co.uk 19-1-2022 Europe’s Move Against Google Analytics Is Just the Beginning – Austria’s data regulator has found that the use of Google Analytics is a breach of GDPR. In the absence of a new EU-US data deal, other countries may follow. by Matt Burgess
euronews.com 12-2021 What is Web3 and why are Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey attacking the ‘next phase of the internet’?
…”…Don’t we already have Web3? The idea of a decentralised Internet has been in the works for the last decade with the explosion of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and there are arguably some early Web3 applications that already exist. Big tech companies are already betting big on it and even assembling Web3 teams. But we are not officially in the Web3 world.
Can Web3 be egalitarian? A decentralised and egalitarian Internet may sound far-fetched but it already appears doomed to fail. The people currently pouring in tens of billions of dollars into Web3 services are tech companies, software developers, venture capitalists and hedge funds. Meanwhile, many current blockchain networks are not equally distributed and are in the hands of venture capitalists and early adopters. Crypto company Hashed raised €175 million and venture funds Kraken Ventures Fund and Brinc have also raised millions.”
markets.businessinsider.com 25/12/2021 Wall Street is pumped about the metaverse. But critics say it’s massively overhyped and will be a regulatory minefield – By Harry Robertson
Wall Street is hugely excited about the metaverse, calling it the next big theme in investing that could change the world. – But critics say the idea is hugely overhyped, and question whether virtual worlds will really take off. – Others say the whole idea is one big regulatory minefield, where platforms will have to closely monitor harassment and hate speech. “The metaverse is the talk of Wall Street, with investors desperate to jump on the trend that many think could be the future of the internet. Jefferies has said it could be the biggest disruption to human life ever seen. Meanwhile, Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood has said it’s a multitrillion dollar opportunity. But critics have warned the metaverse is getting wildly overhyped, and companies are applying the tag to any old project that involves gaming, virtual reality or non-fungible tokens. They say any metaverse will be fiendishly difficult to police, and will be one big regulatory nightmare…”…
qz.com 12-20221 How Metaverse could change the way people work and live – By James Heskett
Futurist Cathy Hackl has described the Metaverse as “alternate digital realities where people work, play, and socialize.” That reminds us of the things that were promised us by futurists at the time of the development of the internet, many of which have exceeded expectations and some that have not. For example, it wasn’t so long ago that livestreaming was thought to be a luxury possible only when the capacity of the internet could be expanded to accommodate storage and uploading capabilities demanded by the new services. Now it’s commonplace; we take it for granted. …
The question here is how we can expect the Metaverse to affect productivity. Will it follow patterns associated with many new technologies—that is, disappoint us for a number of years? Or will the innovations in how we work and collaborate in the Metaverse be so profound that real (whether measured or not) gains in productivity will occur relatively soon?
businessinsider.com 12-2021 Big Tech poses a threat to a decentralized metaverse, according to the founder of The Sandbox – Big Tech poses a threat to the open metaverse, The Sandbox’s co-founder told The South China Morning Post. Sebastien Borget said the metaverse is about leaving the internet’s old guard behind via decentralized technologies. The Sandbox has been in the spotlight as virtual land deals accelerate. by Carla Mozée
>hetero econ research
worldeconomicsassociation.org 12-2022 Real World Economics Review
Pandora Papers and tax havens: what do they tell us? – Mitja Stefancic
Brazilian Foreign Policy: crisis and preliminary effects on International Cooperation and Development –
Patrícia Andrade de Oliveira e Silva and Pietro Carlos de Souza Rodrigues
On Diane Coyle’s Cogs and Monsters – Lars Syll
Combatting Global Warming: The Solution to China’s Demographic “Crisis” – Dean Baker
Regulation of international capital flows in developing countries: institutional and political challenges in their implementation – Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid and Lorenzo Nalin
gaiageld/Neue Wirtschafts Woche 1-2022 Heiner Flassbeck’s Schuldenbremse, Ulrike Herrmann zur Ampel, Quantum Ökonomik, Plurale Ökonomik, Gamm’s Geld, QE + Mehr!
taz/youtube/UlrikeHerrmann 12-2021 Ulrike Herrmann und Ulrike Winkelmann: Die Ampel steht – und jetzt?
taz/youtube/UlrikeHerrrmann 2017 Ulrike Herrmann, taz: Vom Anfang und Ende des Kapitalismus
>economics hetero research/ development, global justice, colonialism
d-econ.org 17-1-2022 THE CONTINUING MODE OF COLONIAL REPRESSION – By Sunanda Sen
This blog post is an excerpt from Professor Sunanda Sen’s talk … It is an overview of the broad themes from the considerable body of their work on the continuing mode of colonial repression and its workings in the contemporary phase of capitalism. Professor Sen’s work is located in the rich tradition of critical investigation of colonialism by scholars from the Global South.
>economics – all around DSGE mainstream, orthodox, macro
economistwritingeveryday.com 16-1-2022 Empirical Austrian Economics? by Vincent Geloso
“David Friedman recently got into an online debate with Walter Block that could be seen as a boxing match between “Austrian economics” and the “Chicago School of Economics”. In the wake of this debate, Friedman assembled his thoughts in this piece which is supposed (if I understand properly) to be published as a chapter in an edited volume. Upon reading this piece, I thought it worthy of providing my thoughts in part because I see myself as being both a member of both schools of thought and in part because I specialize in economic history. And here is the claim I want to make: I don’t see any meaningful difference between both and I don’t understand why there are perpetual attempts to create a distinction. …”…
>housing, home, property, renting – inequality<
inews.co.uk 12 /2021 I’m being evicted from my flat with an 8-week old – our lack of renters’ rights has hit home by Adela Ryle
“This country is no place for anyone other than the few rich landlords who profit from that most basic of needs – the need for home …Some basic protections would make all the difference. Increased renters’ rights … So would more investment in affordable housing, increases in the national living wage and changes to the mortgage market to discourage property speculation …This country has become unliveable. It’s no place for a baby. It’s no place for families; for couples; for those who live alone; for those on benefits; for the poor; for the young. Until the Government listens and our broken housing market is mended, it’s no place for anyone other than the few rich landlords who profit from that most basic of needs – the need for home…”..
theconversation.com 13-1-2022 Inflation inequality: Poorest Americans are hit hardest by soaring prices on necessities January by Jacob Orchard
fastcompany.com 2020 ‘We were shocked’: RAND study uncovers massive income shift to the top 1% – The median worker should be making as much as $102,000 annually—if some $2.5 trillion wasn’t being “reverse distributed” every year away from the working class. – By Rick Wartzman
oxfam.org 17-1-2022 Ten richest men double their fortunes in pandemic while incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall
New billionaire minted every 26 hours, as inequality contributes to the death of one person every four seconds
The world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion —at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day— during the first two years of a pandemic that has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty. “If these ten men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all the people on this planet,” said Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher. “They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people. In a new briefing “Inequality Kills,” published today ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, Oxfam says that inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds. This is a conservative finding based on deaths globally from lack of access to healthcare, gender-based violence, hunger, and climate breakdown. …”…
notes + references
Download the “Inequality Kills” report and summary and the methodology document outlining how Oxfam calculated the statistics in the report. Oxfam’s calculations are based on the most up-to-date and comprehensive data sources available. Figures on the very richest in society come from Forbes’ 2021 Billionaires List and Forbes’ The World’s Real Time Billionaires. Figures on the share of wealth come from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2021. Figures on the incomes of the 99 percent are from the World Bank. According to Forbes, the 10 richest people, as of 30 November 2021, have seen their fortunes grow by $821 billion dollars since March 2020. The 10 richest men were listed as: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault & family, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer and Warren Buffett. All amounts are expressed in US dollars.
According to the WEF’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2021“, the pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 years to now 135 years.
The COVID-19 crisis cost women around the world at least $800 billion in lost income in 2020, equivalent to more than the combined GDP of 98 countries. 67,000 women die each year due to female genital mutilation and murder at the hands of a former or current intimate partner.
According to England’s Office of National Statistics, during the second wave of the pandemic in England, people of Bangladeshi origin were five times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the White British population.
According to the OECD, Black people in Brazil are 1.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than White people.
The proportion of people with COVID-19 who die from the virus in developing countries is roughly double that in rich countries.
Despite strong recommendations by the IMF and OECD, very few rich nations have said they intend to introduce or increase taxes on wealth.
The richest one percent of the world’s population are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth. Download Oxfam’s “Confronting Carbon Inequality Report.” The carbon footprints of the richest 1 percent of people on Earth is set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement in 2030. The poorest half of the global population will still emit far below the 1.5°C-aligned level in 2030. Download the study “Carbon Inequality in 2030”, commissioned by Oxfam based on research carried out by the Institute for European Environment Policy (IEPP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
>inequality- QE, Matthew Effect
newrepublic.com gmcopy 19-1-2022 How the Fed Supercharged Inequality – Journalist Christopher Leonard’s new book, “The Lords of Easy Money,” follows the unintended consequences of quantitative easing. by Chris Lehmann
msn.com 1-2022 The End of Natural Population Growth?
ft.com 15-1-2022 Baby bonuses: still a good investment for governments?
visualcapitalist.com 12/2021 China’s Aging Population Problem – The one-child policy defined China’s demographic transition for over three decades. But to combat an aging population and declining birthrates, the government scrapped the policy for a new two-child policy in 2016. Despite this massive change, China still faces a growing demographic crisis. by James Eagle
towardsdatascience.com 10-1-2022 Where is the population center of the world? Where we find a circle on the globe where 50 percent of people live inside the circle – Paul Hiemstra
…”Inspired by a Real Life Lore youtube video I went looking for the smallest circle one can draw on the Earth where 50 percent of people live inside the circle, and 50 percent outside. The center of that circle could be dubbed the population center of the world. …”…
sciencenews.org 1-2022 A century of quantum mechanics questions the fundamental nature of reality – The quantum revolution upended our understanding of nature, and a lot of uncertainty remains – by Tom Siegfried
mindmatters.ai 6-2021 A PHYSICIST’S DEFENSE OF REALITY, DESPITE QUANTUM PHYSICS – He explains why Eddington’s solid table really IS solid, even if, at the highest resolution, it is mostly empty space In the wake of quantum physics, King’s College philosopher of physics Alexander Franklin is concerned to stress that “everyday reality is not illusory but emergent”:
forbes.com 9/2020 Quantum Physics May Upend Our Macroscopic Reality In The Universe by Elizabeth Fernandez
…”But on the macroscopic scale, things are more “normal”. At least, we think. But perhaps quantum physics also affects us, as macroscopic observers. And recent research published in Nature Physics says for even macroscopic observers, quantum physics may call our reality into question. …”…
bigthink.com 12/2021 Is the universe actually a fractal? – On larger and larger scales, many of the same structures we see at small ones repeat themselves. Do we live in a fractal Universe? By Ethan Siegel
A fractal is a mathematical shape whose structures repeat indefinitely as you zoom in deeper and deeper. In our Universe, many of the structures we see on small scales also show up repeatedly, on larger scales – Is it possible that we live in a fractal Universe, and that this continues all the way up and all the way down?
>work, employment, gig economy
theguardian.com 11-2021 Gig-working in England and Wales more than doubles in five years – This article is more than 2 months old – Percentage of workers paid by platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo jumps from 6% in 2016 to 15% now – by Sarah Butler
…”The number of adults in England and Wales working for gig economy companies has reached 4.4 million and is now two-and-a-half times bigger than in 2016, according to a report highlighting the rise of insecure working practices. Almost 15% of working adults now get paid by platform such as Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon’s delivery arm Flex, compared with about 6% in 2016 and just under 12% in 2019, according to research for the TUC union carried out by the University of Hertfordshire and the consultancy BritainThinks. Prof Neil Spencer, who co-authored the research, said it indicated that gig work made up a substantial part of the UK’s economy and added: “I expect it to grow.”…”…
ft.com 1-2022 What the “slackers’ manifesto” forgets
>work, employment, finance, banks, trading
cityam.com 19-1-2022 Four-day working week pilot launches in UK with 100-80-100 model: Full pay and productivity but 80 per cent of the time – By Michiel Willems
nymag.com 12/2021 Good-bye, Goldman Sachs – Getting a job there was a dream. The pandemic changed my perspective. By Nathan Risser
…”…The most accurate representation of life within the walls of an international investment bank is actually the thriller Margin Call, set on the cusp of the global financial crisis at a firm that closely resembles the one I worked for. Goldman is a quiet place where serious decisions are made and a veneer of calm hides the inherent drama of what is happening beneath. People speak in buzzwords and jargon, and poker faces hide what they’re really feeling. I had quickly learned to fit in, but, during lockdown, my shell wore thin. My ability to put on a front was tested to its limit and, eventually, failed. …
Without the camaraderie and perks of office life, I realized I had become a simple input-output moneymaking machine. Deliverables that normally had 24-hour turnarounds were expected before lunch on the same day. Normal business hours were scrapped as seniors moved their schedules to fit their personal needs. Some logged on at five in the morning, others slogged it out until midnight, and juniors like me were caught in between. Quality of life deteriorated for us all in different ways. My peers were pulling 100-hour weeks in cramped apartments with no ability to blow off steam at the pub. Senior staff had to generate revenue while taking charge of their children’s education and dealing with an increasingly demanding book of clients. This was the case in many companies, but in February 2021, the well-being of Goldman employees became a hot topic after a group of junior analysts presented their managers with a survey decrying their working conditions. …
Throughout my time at Goldman, like all employees, I had my ups and downs and moments of extreme stress. I wasn’t the best at dealing with it. I suffered bouts of depression that, at their worst times, led to suicidal thoughts and sessions with the on-site psychiatrist. The first thing the psychiatrist told me was that I wasn’t alone, that many employees sought counseling. That made sense, I thought at the time. Goldman employees are exceptionally driven and hardworking. But when I read the leaked analyst survey, I felt others had put into words what I hadn’t been able to. On the penultimate page is a list of quotes from junior employees. One in particular hit home: “My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.” I realized there was a connection between the way I was working and how I felt. It was hard for me to admit to myself that I was suffering mental-health problems. When you’ve had it drilled into you that you’re a winner, that you are at your desk because you’re the best, and that any obstacle can be overcome if you just work hard enough, any admission of weakness becomes taboo…hen I resigned, I don’t think anyone was surprised. One of my bosses started planning my work handover. The other told me I was doing the right thing. On the day I left, I went into the office one last time. Around a third of my team had trickled back in. I took the card everyone had signed that said “Sorry you’re leaving,” grabbed the detritus from my desk, and walked out. I wish I could say that all my worries melted away, but I was scared. While it’s a high-stakes, risk-loving industry, finance is also one of the safest places an indebted, uncertain graduate can end up…
As I stood at an empty underground station, months of feeling there was no route out of the career I had so enthusiastically signed up for came flooding back. I got on the train and told myself that, however long it took, I was starting over. I was going to stand on escalators, resisting the urge to run, for as long as it would take to become myself again.”
economist.com 11-2021 The World Ahead 2022 – Rivalry between America and China will shape the post-covid world – Each side is striving to show the superiority of its system of government – by Zanny Minton Beddoes
theguardian.com 12/2021 Telling people to ‘follow the science’ won’t save the planet. But they will fight for justice – The climate emergency has clear themes with heroes and villains. Describing it this way is how to build a movement – by Amy Westervelt
People don’t need to know anything at all about climate science to know that a profound injustice has occurred here that needs to be righted. It’s not a scientific story, it’s a story of fairness: people with more power and money than you used information about climate change to shore up their own prospects and told you not to worry about it.
That story is backed up by not only the internal memos of various oil companies, and the discrepancies between those internal communications and what they were telling the public, but also by their patents. In 1973, Exxon secured a patent for an oil tanker that could easily navigate a melting Arctic. In 1974, Texaco was granted a patent for a mobile drilling platform in a melting Arctic. Chevron got a patent for its version of a melting-Arctic-ready drilling platform that same year. Shell was a bit behind; it got its melting-Arctic drilling platform design patented in 1983.Climate change is affecting fisheries all over the world, of course, and displacing entire communities.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways, from rising seas to intensifying storms and wildfires. The World Bank predicts more than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next three decades because of extreme weather events or the disappearance of their homelands. In 2020, 30.7 million people were internally displaced by disasters, over three times more than conflict and violence (9.8 million people). That displacement – like other climate impacts – is hitting communities in the global south first, and will disproportionately affect poor and working-class people all over the world.
Meanwhile, in the same decade during which scientists’ warnings about climate change have grown more dire, social science researchers have discovered that there is almost no correlation between public understanding of climate science and risk perception, and thus little to no relationship between grasping the science of climate change, believing the scientists’ warnings, and doing anything at all about it.
There is a relationship, though, between Americans’ awareness of inequality or injustice and their willingness to support social change. A Norwegian study surveying the impact of various climate stories found that those with heroes and villains had “a large persuasive impact” on readers. A study of students in six countries found that a justice framework spurred young people to act on the climate.
news.sky.com 17-1-2022 Climate change: Global warming ‘could reach 4C by end of this century’ after COP26 fell short of its aims, say experts – Researchers from the University of Exeter and the Met Office analysed worldwide policies and found that on the “current trajectory” the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is slipping out of reach.
dailymail.co.uk 15-1-2022 The Met Office warns of armed militias roaming a UK ravaged by climate change in doomsday report – The Government-funded UK Climate Resilience Progamme issued the report. Researchers considered what would happen in the event of climate change. The report predicts the collapse of law and order in the event of catastrophe. – By Glenn Owen
independent.co.uk 1-2022 Scientists discover ‘surprising’ cause of Europe’s little ice age in late medieval era – Change in ocean currents – similar to phenomena seen today – likely cause behind substantial cooling, US scientists say – by Harry Cockburn
>eco crisis- biodiversity
naturte.com 19-1-2022 Biodiversity faces its make-or-break year, and research will be key – A new action plan to halt biodiversity loss needs scientific specialists to work with those who study how governments function. Related Articles:
- China takes centre stage in global biodiversity push
- Fewer than 20 extinctions a year: does the world need a single target for biodiversity?
- The biodiversity leader who is fighting for nature amid a pandemic
- The United Nations must get its new biodiversity targets right
dw.com 1-2022 What to expect from the world’s sixth mass extinction – Humans alive today are witnessing the beginning of the first mass extinction in 65 million years. What does biodiversity loss mean for us and the environment? read on GMpage
tweaktown.com – 2022 The ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ is already underway, experts warn – Scientists stress we are in the midst of a sixth global mass extinction event, dubbed the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction. by Adam Hunt
onlinelibrary.wiley.com 2022 The Sixth Mass Extinction: fact, fiction or speculation? By Robert H. Cowie,Philippe Bouchet,Benoît Fontaine
ABSTRACT : There have been five Mass Extinction events in the history of Earth’s biodiversity, all caused by dramatic but natural phenomena. It has been claimed that the Sixth Mass Extinction may be underway, this time caused entirely by humans. Although considerable evidence indicates that there is a biodiversity crisis of increasing extinctions and plummeting abundances, some do not accept that this amounts to a Sixth Mass Extinction. Often, they use the IUCN Red List to support their stance, arguing that the rate of species loss does not differ from the background rate. However, the Red List is heavily biased: almost all birds and mammals but only a minute fraction of invertebrates have been evaluated against conservation criteria. Incorporating estimates of the true number of invertebrate extinctions leads to the conclusion that the rate vastly exceeds the background rate and that we may indeed be witnessing the start of the Sixth Mass Extinction. As an example, we focus on molluscs, the second largest phylum in numbers of known species, and, extrapolating boldly, estimate that, since around AD 1500, possibly as many as 7.5–13% (150,000–260,000) of all ~2 million known species have already gone extinct, orders of magnitude greater than the 882 (0.04%) on the Red List. We review differences in extinction rates according to realms: marine species face significant threats but, although previous mass extinctions were largely defined by marine invertebrates, there is no evidence that the marine biota has reached the same crisis as the non-marine biota. Island species have suffered far greater rates than continental ones. Plants face similar conservation biases as do invertebrates, although there are hints they may have suffered lower extinction rates. There are also those who do not deny an extinction crisis but accept it as a new trajectory of evolution, because humans are part of the natural world; some even embrace it, with a desire to manipulate it for human benefit. We take issue with these stances. Humans are the only species able to manipulate the Earth on a grand scale, and they have allowed the current crisis to happen. Despite multiple conservation initiatives at various levels, most are not species oriented (certain charismatic vertebrates excepted) and specific actions to protect every living species individually are simply unfeasible because of the tyranny of numbers. As systematic biologists, we encourage the nurturing of the innate human appreciation of biodiversity, but we reaffirm the message that the biodiversity that makes our world so fascinating, beautiful and functional is vanishing unnoticed at an unprecedented rate. In the face of a mounting crisis, scientists must adopt the practices of preventive archaeology, and collect and document as many species as possible before they disappear. All this depends on reviving the venerable study of natural history and taxonomy. Denying the crisis, simply accepting it and doing nothing, or even embracing it for the ostensible benefit of humanity, are not appropriate options and pave the way for the Earth to continue on its sad trajectory towards a Sixth Mass Extinction.
newscientist.com 12/2021 E. O. Wilson: Extraordinary scholar who warned of biodiversity crisis – Naturalist and ant expert Edward O. Wilson, who died on 26 December, made at least five seminal contributions to ecology and was passionate about finding a more sustainable way for humans to live on Earth – By Doug Tallamy
razib.substack.com 19-1-2022 Setting the record straight: open letter on E.O. Wilson’s legacy – Response to Scientific American’s “The Complicated Legacy…” Razib Khan
gaiadiscovery.com 2015 NEOLIBERAL NIGHTMARE: CAN GEOGRAPHY HELP SUSTAIN THE WORLD? The concentration of current political thinking on development and “progress” is not the best way to care for our planet, argues Mark Maslin –
…”So the geographic understanding of the world’s current and future social and environmental challenges suggests the very economic theories that have dominated global economics for the last 35 years are not fit for purpose. What is required is proactive and aggressive redistribution of wealth, both within and between countries. This could be via provisioning of free essential services, such as access to clean water, health care and education. Progressive taxation is essential to rebalance inequalities and this in turn reduces costs, as it has been shown that small social divisions within a country lower the health care costs and raise longevity. Outdated institutions, such as the World Trade Organisation, need to be dismantled and governance structures fit for the 21st century created to accelerate sustainable development. This is where ‘geography’ can make a difference by envisioning new political systems of governance, enabling collective action and with more equal distribution of wealth, resources and opportunities.”
Follow Mark Maslin’s Tweets. Tagged: Climate Change, Environmental Degradation, Geography, Global Inequality, Global Poverty, Neoliberalism, Wealth Redistribution – KW Economic Development, Geography, Mark Maslin, Neoliberalism
scmp.com 15-1-2022 Why Asia must reject the Western economic model, and Amazon’s ‘broken system’ – a sustainability leader speaks – Chandran Nair, founder of Hong Kong think tank the Global Institute For Tomorrow, opened the first environmental consulting firms in a number of Asian countries – He tells Kate Whitehead Asia needs to think for itself when it comes to sustainability issues and not rely on Western consultants who know little of the continent – By Kate Whitehead
>energy -nuclear, greenwashing
edition.cnn.com 20-1-2022 Ditching fossil fuel subsidies can trigger unrest. Keeping them will kill the climate – Julia Horowitz
…”…The situation in Europe looks particularly perilous in the coming months. Natural gas prices have soared, and tension with Russia over Ukraine could send them even higher. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government faces mounting criticism over plans to raise a cap on household energy bills in April.Government technocrats “know they need to get rid of” subsidies, said Glada Lahn, an energy policy expert at the think tank Chatham House in London. “But politically, it’s difficult.”
An end to subsidies: The value of government subsidies for fossil fuels dropped to $375 billion in 2020, their lowest in the past decade, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the International Energy Agency.Yet that decline was mostly tied to the plunge in energy prices, which meant governments didn’t have to pay as much to suppress costs for consumers. In 2021, subsidies shot back up again, IISD’s Wooders said.There are two main categories of subsidies for fossil fuels — those for consumers, which bring energy costs below market rates to lower the burden on the public, and those for producers, which can be harder to track, since they include tax breaks, loan guarantees and access to cheap credit. About three-quarters of global fossil fuel subsidies are for consumers.In countries rich in oil and gas, consumer subsidies are often part of the social contract. Wealth from the energy sector is channeled to the government or business elites, so subsidies are seen as an important mechanism for redistributing those benefits more broadly.Still, research shows that these policies tend to disproportionately benefit higher income segments of the population, since wealthy people are more likely to own cars that need gas and to use more electricity.They’re also a major impediment to slashing emissions, which needs to happen immediately to fight the climate crisis. …
… An IISD study published last year found that removing fossil fuel subsidies for consumers across 32 countries would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6.1% by 2030. In some countries, emissions would drop by more than 30%.”Phasing out the subsidies would provide more efficient price signals for consumers, and spur more energy conservation and measures to improve energy efficiency,” the IEA said in its roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions.
…”What’s really going on [is] people are angry about inequality, about inflation and a lack of political freedom,” said Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Kazakhstan’s government opted to restore the price caps for six months.It’s just one example. After Ecuador’s government announced the removal of fuel subsidies in late 2019, the country experienced a wave of protests that occasionally turned violent. The government ultimately reversed course. India, Indonesia, Yemen and Jordan have also been rocked by unrest tied to the rollback of fuel subsidies over the past 15 years.Nigeria’s government is trying to remove gasoline subsidies for consumers this year. While the subsidies mean prices at the pump are among the lowest in the world, the World Bank has reported that they mostly help the wealthiest members of the population and entice smugglers. Still, large-scale protests one decade ago and the failure of previous attempts underscore how fraught the process will be. …”…
economist.com 15-1-2022 Charlemagne – Europe’s energy crisis will trigger its worst neuroses – A surge in gas prices is the stuff of nightmares
irishtimes.com 13-1-2022 Green’ nuclear power or greenwashing? by ÉAMON Ó CIOSÁIN,
“Sir, – The current heave by the nuclear lobby and certain member states to have nuclear power approved as somehow environmentally positive by the EU is an audacious piece of greenwashing. In terms of moving toward a new energy economy, nuclear power cannot be viewed as transitional given that the timescale from construction to storing of waste stretches to thousands of years. Recent letter writers to your columns have sidestepped this issue, as well as avoiding mention of disasters such as Fukushima (still ongoing) and others.
Much is made of the fact that radioactive fuel is not a fossil fuel whereas large-scale use of fossil-based energy is needed for nuclear generator construction. In addition to nuclear and fossil pollution in this industry, there is the dirty issue of mining uranium in some of the poorest and most unstable countries in the world.
There are question marks over two new nuclear reactor prototypes being promoted in present European plans. The French EPR reactors (only two and still in construction) have been bedevilled by endless cracks and soldering problems. The EPR in Finland is now 12 years beyond its deadline and costs have risen from €3 billion to an estimated €12 billion. Small modular reactors (the other prong of the French strategy being lobbied for in Europe) are in their early days and their cost and operational quality are as yet uncertain.
Wind power is often criticised as being unreliable and requiring backup. So is nuclear power. At the time of writing, the four largest reactors in France (among others) are out of service and coal-fired stations are likely to be used so as to avoid winter power cuts. Across Europe, older generators are being closed down, reducing availability. Reliable? “
economist.com 11-2021 The World Ahead 2022- Energy investment needs to increase—so bills and taxes must rise – Shortages and greenflation will end the age of idealism on energy policy – by Patrick Foulis
>food, farming, agriculture
independent.co.uk 22-1-2022 Could Ethiopia’s ‘false banana’ be a wonder crop in face of the climate crisis? – What is Ethiopia’s ‘false banana’? -Why are they so resilient in the face of climate change? – So why are they only grown across a relatively small area? – by Louise Boyle
The United Nations warns that over the next 30 years, food supply and food security will be severely threatened if more is not done to tackle global heating, and crops’ vulnerability to increasing extremes such as prolonged droughts, heatwaves, flash-flooding and insect infestations
johnikerd.com 2020 Agroecology: Science, Farming System, or Social Movement? – by John Ikerd
Agroecology: Science, Farming System, or Social Movement?
…”The report concludes: “What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods. Data shows that these systems can compete with industrial agriculture in terms of total outputs, performing particularly strongly under environmental stress, and delivering production increases in the places where additional food is desperately needed. Diversified agroecological systems can also pave the way for diverse diets and improved health.”…”…
carbonbrief.org 10-1-2022 Rich nations could see ‘double climate dividend’ by switching to plant-based foods
“Adopting a more plant-based diet could give rich countries a “double climate dividend” of lower emissions and more land for capturing carbon, a new study says. Animal-based foods have higher carbon and land footprints than their plant-based alternatives, and are most commonly consumed in high-income countries. The study, published in Nature Food, investigates how the global food system would change if 54 high-income countries were to shift to a more plant-based diet. …”…
>green GDPgrowth, decoupling, techno fix, Bill Gates
corporateknights.com 30/4/2021 Bill Gates’s climate fixes don’t add up – While Microsoft’s co-founder should have a head for numbers, his latest book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, fails on climate math – By Lloyd Alter
Two centuries of burning fossil fuels has put more carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere than nature can remove. As that CO2 builds up, it traps excess heat near Earth’s surface, causing global warming. There is so much CO2 in the atmosphere now that most scenarios show ending emissions alone won’t be enough to stabilize the climate – humanity will also have to remove CO2 from the air.
The U.S. Department of Energy has a new goal to scale up direct air capture, a technology that uses chemical reactions to capture CO2 from air. While federal funding for carbon capture often draws criticism because some people see it as an excuse for fossil fuel use to continue, carbon removal in some form will likely still be necessary, IPCC reports show. Technology to remove carbon mechanically is in development and operating at a very small scale, in part because current methods are prohibitively expensive and energy intensive. But new techniques are being tested this year that could help lower the energy demand and cost.
news.sky.com 20-1-2022 Climate change: Shell carbon capture facility ‘secures just 48% of hydrogen production emissions’ – Emissions at one of the only sites in the world that uses carbon capture and storage alongside hydrogen production raises questions about so-called ‘blue hydrogen’, according to a new report. – by Helen-Ann Smith
>green techno, re-use
theverge.com 14-1-2022 Clean energy tech needs to be designed for recycling, experts say – Too many adhesives impede disassembly today – By Maddie Stone
Companies like Apple and Samsung aren’t the only ones making high-tech devices that are hard to take apart and recycle. So are the manufacturers of critical clean energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicle (EV) batteries — and unlike the consumer tech industry, which is slowly starting to reverse some of its unsustainable design practices, there isn’t much being done about it. …
“Design for recycling hasn’t really come to that market yet,” says Andy Abbott, a professor of chemistry at the University of Leicester who recently co-authored a review paper on de-bondable adhesives and their potential use in clean energy.
Instead, Abbott says, manufacturers tend to “overengineer” their products for safety and durability. Take EV batteries, which are composed of anywhere from dozens to thousands of individual, hermetically-sealed cells glued together inside modules and packs. While the heavy use of adhesives helps ensure the batteries don’t fall apart on the road, it can make them incredibly difficult to take apart in order to repurpose individual cells or recycle critical metals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel.
“At the moment, because everything is bonded together, lots of batteries end up getting shredded,” study co-author Gavin Harper, an EV battery recycling expert at the University of Birmingham in the UK, tells The Verge. “The material is mixed together, which makes subsequent steps in the recycling process more complicated.”
>GDP growth, eco-crisis
theguardian.com 31/12/2021 How the politics of prosecco explain what took the fizz out of the Democrats – Joe Manchin torpedoed his party’s key bill for the same reason Italy protected the sparkling wine – the local growth model by Mark Blyth
…”The stories of prosecco wine and West Virginia coal are classic examples of a regional “growth model”. Growth models describe the “how we make money” bit of an economy, plus the political and electoral coalition that supports it. Think of all the social, political and regulatory structures that build up over time around making and selling a certain good, and all the folks whose jobs and incomes depend upon it. Think of Germany and car exports. From workers to unions to production hubs, to supply chains, to institutional investors, there is an entire ecosystem that supports this way of making a living and the identities and interest it supports. When that is challenged, those who benefit from the model do not sit idly by. Now think of Treviso, Italy, where they make prosecco.
Last year a sociologist called Stefano Ponte unpacked the growth model behind prosecco. As Adam Tooze has noted, by some estimates “nearly one-third of [West Virginian] GDP in 2019 can be attributed to fossil fuels [which] makes decarbonisation a mortal threat”. Now add to this the fact that West Virginia has the lowest labour force participation rate in the US and huge healthcare issues stemming from chronic illness and opioid abuse, and you end up with a fiscal nightmare kept afloat by current growth model. Given this, the notion that the best-paid jobs in the state ($77,000 a year) will be traded away by the state’s leading elected official for some promises on “retraining” and a “Green New Deal” is simply not credible.
Growth models are hard to change. Those who profit from them fight to defend them. From Alaska to the Dakotas, to Texas and Louisiana, the core of the GOP electoral coalition, all these states have carbon-heavy growth models. Like the Italian wine industry, they are a creation of the state in the 20th century. They are embodied with myths and are supported by powerful coalitions. Few in Treviso are keen to dismantle the prosecco growth model. Why should West Virginia, and with it the other carbon states of the US, be any different?…”…
goodreads.com 2015 – The Little Big Number: How GDP Came to Rule the World and What to Do About It (2015). Dirk Philipsen
In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP only measures output. It ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don’t count. The world can no longer afford GDP rule–GDP ignores real development. Dirk Philipsen demonstrates how the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.
>pollution/ chemical, plastics
ig.ft.com 20-1-2022 Smaller and Smaller Gadgets are creating an Epic Deluge Of Trash – I tried to fix my wireless earbuds. It did not go well – By Alexandra Heal
A while ago my wireless earbuds gave up on me. The left one suddenly stopped recharging. I tried to go on without it, but the right died of heartbreak soon after. I stuffed the pair in a drawer and forgot about them, my mild frustration tempered by a new excuse to avoid running. When I found them again recently, laid to rest in their little black charging case, I felt a bit bad. My broken EarFun Air Pro Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation True Wireless Earbuds were just one of three-quarters of a billion pairs of similar devices sold globally since 2017. Stored in their charging boxes and laid side by side, it’s estimated this many earbuds would stretch around the circumference of Earth.
By 2026, a decade after Apple released the first mainstream wireless earbuds, nearly all of these 750 million AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds and the rest will, given their lifespan of two to five years, probably be defunct. And the leftover mass of plastic, copper, circuit boards, magnets and batteries will join the planet’s trove of e-waste, which is expanding at a speed recycling can’t keep up with. Of the 54 million tonnes of e-waste generated globally in 2019, less than one-fifth was formally recycled…”…
theguardian.com 17-1-2022 Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists – Study calls for cap on production and release as pollution threatens global ecosystems upon which life depends – by Damian Carrington
…”Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread….
“There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team. “The pace that societies are producing and releasing new chemicals into the environment is not consistent with staying within a safe operating space for humanity.” …
The researchers said stronger regulation was needed and in the future a fixed cap on chemical production and release, in the same way carbon targets aim to end greenhouse gas emissions. Their study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology There are growing calls for international action on chemicals and plastics, including the establishment of a global scientific body for chemical pollution akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. …”…
>plastic pollution – futures
thetimes.co.uk 23-1-2022 Hopes high for global deal on plastic pollution – A legally binding treaty that requires nations to reduce production and improve recycling could be signed next month – by Ben Spencer
bbc.co.uk 17-1-2022 Plastic crisis needs binding treaty, report says By Roger Harrabin
…”The air we breathe now contains plastic micro particles, there’s plastic in Arctic snow, plastic in soils and plastic in our food. It’s reported, for instance, that about 20 elephants in Thailand have died after eating plastic waste from a rubbish dump. The authors urge nations to agree a UN treaty with binding targets for reducing both plastic production and waste. “There is a deadly ticking clock counting swiftly down,” said the EIA’s Tom Gammage. “If this tidal wave of pollution continues unchecked, the anticipated plastics in the seas by 2040 could exceed the collective weight of all fish in the ocean.”
The United Nations has identified three existential environmental threats – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – and concluded that they must be addressed together. Multilateral agreements on biodiversity loss and climate have existed for nearly 30 years (although they have failed to halt CO2 emissions or protect the natural world)…”…
irishtimes.com 17-1-2022 Recycled plastic prices double as drinks makers battle for supplies – Rising cost of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) threatens sustainability targets set by companies – by Judith Evans
bbc.co.uk 15-1-2022 Waste reduction: ‘Refill just one bottle and cut plastic use‘ By Kate Scotter
…”The UK-wide #justonebottle campaign is encouraging people to do their bit for the environment by refilling just one bottle they already have at refill shops, rather than buying a new one – reducing the use of plastic in the process. This could be refilling a bottle of washing-up liquid , shampoo, conditioner or handwash, for example. How does it work and why get on board?…”…
salon.com 12-2021 Beyond reusing and recycling: How the US could actually reduce plastic production – Whether it’s a cap on production or a market mechanism, it’s likely to meet industry opposition – By Joseph Winters
“A panel of experts last week made a simple, common-sense recommendation for dealing with the U.S.’s plastic pollution problem: Stop making so much plastic. “Not producing waste in the first place is the best thing you can do environmentally,” said Jenna Jambeck, a professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering and a coauthor of a high-profile report that was released last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
It’s an idea that environmental activists have espoused for years. Beyond recycling and reusing the 42 million metric tons of plastic that the U.S. tosses out annually, they say, we should reduce the tide of plastic that is manufactured in the first place. Plastic production is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissionsand pollution that harms frontline communities, and plastic waste clogs ecosystems around the world. Making less plastic would help on all three fronts.
Now that the recommendation is coming from the influential National Academies, advocates are hopeful that federal policymakers may give it greater credence, raising a major question: What would a national strategy to phase down the unsustainable production of plastic look like?…”…
>plastics – microplastics
theguardian.com 12-1-2022 Tumble dryers found to be a leading source of microfibre air pollution – Hong Kong scientists design simple filter system to capture the harmful microplastics – but there’s a catch – by Mabel Banfield-Nwachi
…”…He described the findings as “essential” for managing microfibre emissions, which are known to damage human health and the environment. “Once we know the source, we can begin to control it using simple methods,” said Leung, the lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Microfibres are a common group of microplastics – plastic pieces less than 5mm in length. During washing and drying, friction causes materials to shed these fibres. Because of their small size, many slip through the filters in tumble dryers and are released into the environment, where they have been found in water, food and even the placentas of unborn babies. These tiny plastic particles have been found in even the most remote regions, from the Arctic to high up in the Earth’s troposphere. …”…
medicalnewstoday.com 8/1/2022 IBD and microplastics: Is there a link? by Timothy Huzar
…”People are exposed to microplastics throughout their lives. Scientists are still unsure about the health effects of this exposure. In a recent small study, researchers found that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) had more microplastic in their stool than people without IBD. In a new small-scale study, researchers have found an association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and greater amounts of microplastics in stool. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. However, the study does not demonstrate that microplastics cause IBD. Corroborating the findings and then identifying an explanation for the link requires further research…”…
theguardian.com 12/2021 Companies race to stem flood of microplastic fibres into the oceans – New products range from washing machine filters and balls to fabrics made from kelp and orange peel by Damian Carrington
…”Microplastic pollution has pervaded the entire planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. People are known to consume the tiny particles via food and water, as well as breathing them in. Microplastics have been shown to harm wildlife but the impact on people is not known, though microplastics do damage human cells in the laboratory. Fibres from synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic and polyester, are shed in huge numbers during washing, about 700,000 per wash cycle, with the “delicates” wash cycle actually being worse than standard cycles. An estimated 68m loads of washing are done every week in the UK. New data from 36 sites collected during The Ocean Race Europe found that 86% of the microplastics in the seawater samples were fibres. “Our data clearly show that microplastics are pervasive in the ocean and that, surprisingly, the major component is microfibres,” said Aaron Beck, at the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. Grundig, which launched its fibre-catching washing machine in November, said the system caught up to 90% of synthetic fibres released during wash cycles. The filter cartridges are made from recycled plastic and last for up to six months, after which they can be returned free of charge…”…
>plastic waste export
theguardian.com/ 31/12/2021 ‘Waste colonialism’: world grapples with west’s unwanted plastic – Germany and UK are big exporters of plastic, much of which lies rotting in ports in Turkey, Vietnam and other countries by Ruth Michaelson
theguardian.com 24/12/2021 Latin America urges US to reduce plastic waste exports to region – Study finds exports to region doubled in 2020 with practice predicted to grow as US invests in recycling plants – Joe Parkin Daniels
reusethisbag.com 15/9/2021 Ranking the Countries that Pollute the Oceans With the Most Plastics – by Douglas Lober
“…Across the United States, sweeping measures have taken place to lower our plastic consumption to prevent the items from ending up the ocean. In addition to dirtying the planet, plastics are deadly for ocean life . Straws, bags, and bottles all kill marine life and pollute the aquatic ecosystem. If we want to fully eradicate plastics in the ocean, we need to dedicate resources to stopping the pollution of plastics in the ocean in the places that are the worst offenders. We analyzed new academic research published in April 2021 on which countries emit the most and least plastics into the ocean. As it turns out, 81% of all ocean plastic in the world emanates from countries in Asia. This is mostly from plastic trash in rivers that empty into the ocean. The Philippines alone accounts for 36.4% percent of the world’s plastic ocean trash and India makes up 12.9%. In fact, less than 1000 rivers, that are mostly in Asia, are the source of over 80% of plastic in the oceans. The United States contributes just 0.2% of the plastic trash in the oceans. Before diving into the data from the staff here at ReuseThisBag.com let’s spend a moment on the data and methodology…”…
>green finance + investment, ESG , greenwashing – energy, natural resources -fossils
esgtoday.com 19-1-2022 Dow Jones Launches Sustainability Data, ESG Scores for Investors -by Mark Segal
prweek.com 19-1-2022 More than 450 scientists call on PR, creative agencies drop fossil fuel clients The open letter, released through Clean Creatives and the Union of Concerned Scientists, calls for an end to campaigns that “obfuscate or downplay our data and the risk of the climate emergency.” It’s the latest salvo between Clean Creatives and Edelman. by Aleda Stam
…”… The letter, signed by more than 450 scientists, said it is a major challenge to … overcome advertising and PR efforts by fossil-fuel companies that “seek to obfuscate or downplay our data and the risk of the climate emergency. …In fact, these campaigns represent one of the biggest barriers to the government action [that] science shows is necessary to mitigate the ongoing climate emergency and avert total disaster,” the scientists said in the letter. … Clean Creatives, an environmental activist campaign led by nonprofit Fossil Free Media, vowed to send the letter to firms including Edelman and holding companies such as WPP and Interpublic Group, as well as their largest sustainability-focused clients, such as Unilever, Amazon, Microsoft and The North Face. The call for action comes not long after a peer-reviewed study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change in December identified hundreds of campaigns by PR, advertising and marketing firms designed to obstruct climate action. …”…
thisismoney.co.uk 16-1-2022 Is now the time to put fossil fuels back in your portfolio? Your investment could even HELP the planet – Oil, gas and mining companies provide some of the market’s highest dividends. However, their environmental impact means they are mired in controversy. Some do both harm and good, for example by mining materials for electric cars. Others are cleaning up their act, and investor funds could assist in this. Debate rages among investors about whether to put money in ‘cancelled’ firms – by Danielle Levy
bbc.com 19-1-2022 The environmental case for buying a coal mine – by Richard Fisher.
…”…It is an idea that has slowly gained traction around the world. A growing number of campaigners, economists and legal scholars now believe that there is an environmental case for getting involved in the fossil fuel market: buying up coal mines and acquiring drilling rights, in order to do, well, nothing. It might even work out cheaper than other efforts to cut carbon emissions. It’s a counter-intuitive proposal, not without significant legal and political obstacles, but could it actually work? The environmental case for buying fossil fuels can be traced back at least a decade to the economist Bard Harstad of the University of Oslo. Harstad had come across a little-known paper from 1993 arguing that climate-concerned nations would need to do something about the problem of “carbon leakage” in the fossil fuel market, if they wanted their climate treaties to work. …”…
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oilprice.com 23-1-2022 New ESG Wave Hits Wall With Disinterested Investors
The ESG trend has transformed markets in recent years, but some funds may have become slightly too obsessed with it. – Some of Europe’s biggest ETF providers have changed the indices that some of their products track, a move that is causing resentment among fund selectors. – Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF recorded a massive 64.31-percent gain last year. By Irina Slav
wsj.com 17-1-2022 Credit Suisse Shows Flaws of Trying to Quantify ESG Risks – Swiss bank has endured repeated scandals and executive departures, but done well on many scoring systems designed to spot nonfinancial risks – by James Mackintosh
bloomberg.com 12-1-2022 Not Everyone Likes ESG – If you are the chief executive officer of a public company, there are various environmental, social and governance things you could do. You could, like, switch your widget factory to use..”… By Matt Levine
greenbiz.com 5-1-2022 The year ahead in ESG: More scrutiny, better boards and the growth of greenwash – By Grant Harrison
The world of ESG and sustainable finance saw some truly eye-popping numbers last year, such as $130 trillion via the Global Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) committed to using science-based guidelines to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, or the $35 trillion invested in some form of ESG strategy by mid year.
Big numbers should foster commensurately big changes, right? Well, the Mauna Loa observatory read 420 ppm of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere; the International Energy Agency (IEA), a group not historically known to align with activists, stated that coal development must cease quickly if we’re to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by midcentury. Meanwhile, the world’s largest asset manager continues to hold an exposure of around $1.2 billion in India’s largest coal firm.
As the highly contentious Carmichael mine gets its first shipment of coal ready for export, BlackRock has, as of this writing, not changed its position. This set-up encapsulates a theme I’ll be hyper-focused on in 2022: substantive actions from the ESG ecosystem of institutional investors, ratings agencies, corporate reporters and financial institutions that yield measurable progress in line with their lofty, and commendable, commitments. …”…
cleantechnica.com 31/12/2021 That Inedible Dish Called The EU Taxonomy – Greenwashing Galore – Greenwashing is not a problem for the green transition, it is THE problem. By Luca Bonaccorsi
…”…Environmentalists know all too well the limitations of disclosures. When T&E succeeded in making carmakers publish the vehicle’s emissions on ads, we thought people would naturally choose the ones with lower emissions. Then SUVs came along, and buying a 2-tonne tractor to face the ‘jungle’ in Paris or Milan or Berlin became more important than the quality of the air people were breathing. With sustainable finance, lobbyists didn’t even grant us the right to print the truth on the label, in small print, on the last page. Not even that. The result is that the Taxonomy has gone from being a pioneering and bold attempt to clean up finance, to a dangerous tool for greenwashing – a polite word for fraud. Are there lessons to be learnt for 2022? Two at least. First, greenwashing is not a problem for the green transition, it is THE problem. One that calls for appropriate measures. Second, we cannot expect institutions to address the transition by consulting the very same lobbyists that are fighting against it. And if institutions fail to address greenwashing, it’ll be down to us, civil society, to straighten things up. Are you ready for another year of fights.”
economist.com 8-1-2020 The EU’s green-investing “taxonomy” could go global – But will it steer capital towards deserving projects?
economist.com 8-1-2022 The meaning of green- The EU’s green rules will do too little to tackle climate change – Relying on investors to save the planet using a “taxonomy” has limits
erm.com 10-1-2022 ERM named as a leading ESG & Sustainability Consultancy in new independent research
ERM, the world’s largest pure play sustainability consultancy, has been named as a leader in the ESG & Sustainability Consultancy industry, according to new independent research.
The Verdantix Green Quadrant: ESG & Sustainability Consulting 2022 report is based on a comprehensive assessment of ERM’s services, extensive briefings with ERM experts and in-depth customer interviews conducted by Verdantix analysts. It benchmarks leading industry firms according to 15 different capability criteria.
dbag.co 4-2021 How is the ESG trend changing private equity? – Investors expect commitment
“An anonymous survey, conducted among the investment managers of approx. 50 medium-sized private equity companies by the German industry magazine FINANCE and Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (FINANCE Mid-market Private Equity Monitor), reveals that opinions on this topic vary widely. Even the supposedly easy question as to how important ESG criteria are for limited partners (LPs) when fundraising yields very different answers. On a scale from 1 (unimportant) to 10 (very important), the average answer of surveyed investment managers was 6.7. However, the individual responses varied widely – ranging from 1 to 10. Nevertheless, a median of 7 suggests that most LPs attach great importance to ESG topics…”…
bloomberg.com 31/12/2021 BlackRock Made ESG the Hottest Ticket on Wall Street – Stampede into sustainable funds got push from model portfolios – main result is ‘giving them more fees,’ says former executive – By Cam Simpson , Saijel Kishan
“Almost two years have passed since Larry Fink, the chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., declared that a fundamental reshaping of global capitalism was underway and that his firm would help lead it by making it easier to invest in companies with favorable environmental and social practices. Lately, he’s been taking a victory round …”…
fastcompany.com 1/1/2020 Science, conscious consumers, and next-gen founders will drive ‘ESG’ innovation in 2022 – Members of the Fast Company Impact Council say business and cultural forces will help push environmental, social, and governance leadership.
news.artnet.com 31/12/2021 The Most Important Archaeological Discoveries of 2021, From Unknown Dead Sea Scrolls to Middle Eastern Cattle Cults These discoveries have forced us to reevaluate what we think we know about the history of humankind. By Sarah Cascone
> pre history- archeology, ID, gender
theguardian.com 156-1-2022 Archaeology’s sexual revolution – Graves dating back thousands of years are giving up their secrets, as new ways to pin down the sex of old bones are overturning long-held, biased beliefs about gender and love by Emilie Steinmark
…”…For a decade, the assumption about the Lovers’ sex remained unchallenged. Then, in 2019, Lugli and his colleagues decided to try a newly available technique for determining the sex of human remains using proteins in tooth enamel. To their surprise, the Lovers were both male. The pair suddenly became potential evidence of a fifth-century same-sex relationship. …”…
psychologytoday.com 27/12/2021 The Role of Cannibalism in the Extinction of the Neandertals – Could a Neandertal taste for Neandertal have hastened their downfall? by Frederick L. Coolidge
Anthropologists continue to debate why Neandertals, a now-extinct species of human, died out approximately 30,000 years ago. A new model suggests the practice of cannibalism may have contributed to the Neandertals’ extinction.
Although individuals can benefit from cannibalism, especially in resource-poor areas, the species as a whole may not.
Neandertals may have practiced cannibalism even when other resources were plentiful, though the reason why is not fully understood.
anthropology-news.org 2020 Anthropology at the Crossroads The art and science of anthropology is to recognize culture as a system that we humans use to act intentionally and to make sense of the world around us. – by Victor de Munck
…”… I think the theories of such famous scholars as Daniel Kahneman (2011), Daniel C. Dennett (1991), Ruth Garrett Millikan (2010), and even Paul Gilbert (2010) fail because they seek to understand the mind, and more specifically collective cognition, without taking culture into account! We anthropologists are better off because we do have a theory of collective thought. The mind is more subtle to have but two gears for thinking: slow and fast. Probably all mental states not produced by immediate sensory input, are infected with culture. To use Robert Levy’s theory of hypocognition and hypercognition, it is likely that the speed of thinking, except that which is reflexive (like pain or distress), depends on the degree to which perceptions are culturally hypocognized or hypercognized. One can see this as a continuum (not just emotions)—the more hypercognized, the more elaborate and the more cultural symbols can be infused into the thought, therefore the slower the thinking. What Kahneman and other psychologists miss is a thoughtful well-developed theory of culture…”…
spectatorworld.com 12/2021 Anthropology has turned its back on its legacy – At its best, the discipline taught us that our follies are as universal as our aspirations by Peter Wood
…”Not every anthropologist fell into one of these ditches. It is still possible to find a sturdy, well-written ethnography. But they are increasingly rare. A specialization has also emerged of anthropologists who study the history of the discipline, which brings to mind Hegel’s dictum, “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.” Anthropology had its day. Right now it is a very popular undergraduate major and it has given us such celebrated figures as the late David Graeber, the anarchist who helped to organize the “Occupy” movement and whose posthumous book, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, offers a codification of every pernicious trend that characterizes the discipline during its dotage. …”…
>archeology, anthropology, history, inequality – Dawn of History by D Graeber, D Wengrow
nybooks.com GMcopy 13-1-2022 The Roots of Inequality: An Exchange – David Wengrow, reply by Kwame Anthony Appiah
In response to: Digging for Utopia : In The Dawn of Everything David Graeber and David Wengrow search for historical examples of nonhierarchical societies to justify their anarchist vision of human freedom. But must we find our future in the past? by Kwame Anthony Appiah
“In The Dawn of Everything David Graeber and I present a new history of humanity, based on the latest findings in our fields of archaeology and anthropology. These findings challenge long-held assumptions about the origins of inequality, the nature of freedom and slavery, the roots of private property, and the relationship between society and the state. They present fresh opportunities for a dialogue between archaeology, anthropology, and philosophy, but Kwame Anthony Appiah in his review of the book prefers to challenge the empirical basis of our work. He argues that we distort our sources in order to present an artificially rosy picture of our species’ past and its prospects for greater freedom. …”…
Kwame Anthony Appiah
…”…Yet this procession of caveats, I fear, risks obscuring The Dawn of Everything’s real triumphs. It is the work of two remarkable scholars, and almost every page is energized by their intelligence, imagination, and surly sense of mischief. When it comes to confident claims about dense large-scale settlements free of rulers or rules (or, for that matter, the Haudenosaunee attitude toward commands), readers might well adopt Gertrude Stein’s mot “Interesting if true.”
But as I hope I made plain, there’s much more to the book than that. Graeber and Wengrow’s argument against historical determinism—against the alluring notion that what happened had to have happened—is itself immensely valuable. Readers who imagine foragers on the Sahlinesque model of the San will encounter foraging societies with aristocrats and slavery, while the book’s account of the Poverty Point earthworks is a riveting study of collective action. We get an intriguing proposal about the nature of the state. And this is just to begin a long list of fascinations. That “kaleidoscope of social possibilities” emerges vibrantly from these pages.
If readers should be a little cautious—possibilities may not be probabilities—they should be much more than a little grateful, as I am. “This book is mainly about freedom,” Graeber and Wengrow tell us, but it’s also for freedom. I’m glad of that; oddly enough, freedom needs advocates these days, and few have been as eloquent.”
nybooks.com 16-12-2021 Digging for Utopia by Kwame Anthony Appiah
In The Dawn of Everything David Graeber and David Wengrow search for historical examples of nonhierarchical societies to justify their anarchist vision of human freedom. But must we find our future in the past?
>history- ancient to classic, civilisations
discovermagazine.com 14-1-2022 5 Lost Civilizations – Conflict, climate and economic collapse often brought these mighty empires down. By Allison Futterman
theguardian.com 12-2021 The Greeks by Roderick Beaton review – a global history – This survey reflects the depth and complexity of Greece, a small country with a world-conquering ethos – by Katherine Fleming
…”…After decades as a diplomat, Seferis returned to his homeland in 1962. He was pained to see how the country had changed, largely as a result of having given itself over to tourism. The summer of his return, he had a vivid nightmare of a future in which he stood among a throng on the Acropolis. To his horror, he discerned that the crowd around him was there for an auction: the Greek government had given the Parthenon to the highest bidder, an American toothpaste mogul. The dream was prescient: in 2010, at the peak of the financial crisis, two German politicians set off a furore by proposing that Greece repay its debts by selling off its ancient buildings and its islands. The suggestion led to outrage, and a boycott of German goods. But on a more symbolic level, it touched on questions such as: who owns the Greek past? How is that past connected to the modern Greek present? And, most fundamentally, who are the Greeks?
With this remarkable historical account, Beaton points us towards answers. This dazzling series of peoples with their many civilisations, identities and traditions have animated the world – and they continue, as always, to be on the move.”
>history- classic to modern
time.com 12/2021 Why It’s Time to Shed Some Light on History’s ‘Dark Ages’ by Matthew Gabriele, David Perry
The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right. Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right
The Idea of the ‘Dark Ages’ Is a Myth. Here’s Why Medieval Scientific Progress Still Matters
theguardian.com 9-1-2022 The Bright Ages by Matthew Gabriele and David Perry review – the colourful side of the dark ages – This revisionist history of medieval Europe takes apart the myth of a savage, primitive period, but there are so many more great stories to be told – by Peter Frankopan
>global justice- colonialism, ecology/earth sciences
theverge.com 4/1/2022 Colonialism still influences the earth sciences today – and that’s a big problem for research – Western biases still pervade research – By Justine Calma
“Colonialism is so entangled in earth sciences that its ugly legacy still influences research today. Scientists are struggling to undo the damage that colonization has had on their fields, which have been dominated mostly by white men from wealthy nations over the years. The latest evidence is a study published last week in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution finds that 97 percent of fossil data in a major, global database comes from authors based in North America and Western Europe— indicating that scientists from western nations hold a global “monopoly over palaeontological knowledge production.” The authors say it’s a symptom of researchers from those nations “parachuting” into other countries and taking what they find away with them. Once researchers return to their home institutions, their findings are often inaccessible to people from the places where the research was conducted…”…
>global justice- colonialism, eco-crisis
theguardian.com 16-1-2022 Amitav Ghosh: European colonialism helped create a planet in crisis – Indian author says pillaging of lands and killing of indigenous people laid foundation for climate emergency – by Hannah Ellis-Petersen
While he is still known best for his novels, most notably the Booker-prize nominated Ibis trilogy about the opium trade in the 1800s, it was to a “planet in crisis” that Ghosh turned his attention in his latest work of nonfiction, The Nutmeg’s Curse.
Spanning horrific incidents of European settler colonial violence carried out across Asia, America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa, Ghosh maps out how the pillaging of those lands hundreds of years ago – and the systematic extermination of their indigenous people – laid the foundation for the climate crisis that threatens the world today.
“Why has this crisis come about?” said Ghosh. “Because for two centuries, European colonists tore across the world, viewing nature and land as something inert to be conquered and consumed without limits and the indigenous people as savages whose knowledge of nature was worthless and who needed to be erased. It was this settler colonial worldview – of just accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, consume, consume, consume – that has got us where we are now.”
Yet as Ghosh sat down to write the book in March 2020, he had no idea that the ideas that had begun to take shape in his head would begin to manifest so dramatically off the page. Suddenly the pandemic hit and New York, where he lives, was one of its hardest-hit cities. “That experience really shaped the book, because the pandemic is the most visible aspect of the planetary crisis that’s unfolding us around us,” said Ghosh. “I think the pandemic more than anything else made it perfectly clear that this is a crisis you can’t hide from. Money will not protect you, power will not protect you, we’re in the midst of it already. It gave it a terrific sense of urgency.”
For Ghosh, the survival of our planet hinges on returning to interacting with Earth as a living being to be listened to, understood and respected. “The indigenous peoples of the Americas have been saying for decades that our past is your future and now that’s exactly what’s proving to be the case,” he said.
>global justice- colonialism, eco-crisis, monetary/IMF
theguardian.com 14-1-2022 Here’s how to repay developing nations for colonialism – and fight the climate crisis
Michael Franczak, Olúfẹ́mi O Táíwò
…”The IMF allots voting rights and emergency funds according to an outdated and unfair quota system established in 1944, before most colonies were free. Let’s change it … Activists pushing for global reparations for colonialism and slavery are often accused of asking for the politically impossible. At the international scale, however, reparations are more plausible than one might think. That is because an international mechanism to move resources to the formerly colonized world in a politically feasible fashion already exists: the policy instrument of “Special Drawing Rights” (SDRs) managed by the International Monetary Fund. Calls for changing SDR allocation are not new, nor is the idea that SDRs could function as reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery and colonialism. Professor Cynthia L Hewitt of Morehouse College argued for exactly this strategy as early as 2004. What is new is the political possibility opened by growing awareness of the global climate crisis, which requires solutions that are not only practical but historically just. SDR reallocation, as the Barbadian prime minister, Mia Mottley, suggested in her “stinging” speech at Cop26, is both. …”…
>history- slavery, slave trade -global justice
theguardian.com 23-1-2022 Eighty years late: groundbreaking work on slave economy is finally published in UK -Seminal work by scholar and future politician Eric Williams, shunned for decades, is issued by mainstream imprint – by Donna Ferguson
theguardian.com 7/1/2022 White Debt by Thomas Harding review – the history they didn’t want you to know – A brilliant account of the Demerara uprising, a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Britain’s relationship to slavery by Nesrine Malik
The word Demerara probably means nothing to you, other than being the name of a large-grained golden brown sugar. But Demerara is a place, or it was. Part of what is now called Guyana, Demerara was a British territory rich in sugar plantations. It was one of the most lucrative colonies, owing to the high yield of the land and high productivity of the enslaved people who worked on it, productivity extracted via exceptional brutality. The enslaved outnumbered the white colonists significantly, so it was thought that their treatment needed to be particularly harsh, so as not to encourage rebellion. That came anyway, in 1823.
Thomas Harding tells the story of one of the lesser known uprisings of the colonial era, but his book is not just a work of narrative nonfiction, it is an attempt to illustrate that Britain needs to acknowledge the country’s “white debt”, how much of its greatness it owes to the exploitation of enslaved people. …The uprising happened after that abolition, because despite the fact that the British parliament passed a law in 1807 prohibiting the Atlantic slave trade, the shipping and selling of enslaved people between British colonies was still permitted and Demerara became a thriving market. Harding argues that the Demerara uprising played a larger role than it is given in changing British attitudes towards slavery. But more broadly, the whitewashing of the violent suppression of the uprising at the time, in the British press and parliament, feels sickeningly contemporary. White Debt is full of details that will send a chill down your spine.
>slave trade– racism
goodreads.com 2021 White Thinking: Behind the Mask of Racial Identity – by Lilian Thuram
stanchionbooks.com 2020 What does it mean to be white? Beyond just a skin colour, is it also a way of thinking? If so, how did it come about, and why? In this book, drawing on history, personal experience and activist literature, the former footballer and World Champion Lilian Thuram looks at the origins and workings of white thinking, how it divides us and how it has become ubiquitous and accepted without challenge. He demonstrates how centuries of white bias and denial justified slavery and colonialism, and have reinforced norms and structures of oppression, limiting the roles and horizons of both non-whites and whites alike. Crucially, while White Thinking is a critique of ingrained structural inequities, it calls for an inclusive approach to solving the problem, and aims to raise awareness and imagine a new world in which all of humanity is given equal weight.
‘White Thinking patiently demonstrates… how European societies, through their creation of Black people, also invented White people.’ Le Monde‘Strikes another blow in his battle against racial stereotypes.’ La Vie
‘This book is not interested in repentance or white guilt but in the ability to face up to historical reality and to the fact that others might have a very different understanding of that history.’ Revue des deux mondes
‘He is almost unique amongst retired sportspeople, having left his old life behind him in the dressing room. Today, the activist has replaced the footballer.’ Libération
The author: Lilian Thuram, born in Guadeloupe in 1972, had a prestigious international career in football for the French national team – World champion in 1998, European champion in 2000, World Cup finalist in 2006 – and played for elite European clubs such as Juventus and Barcelona. In 2008, he created the Lilian Thuram Foundation to educate against racism, and he has become a high-profile activist himself. He is the author of various non-fiction books.
theguardian.com 2021 Anna & Dr Helmy by Ronen Steinke review – the Schindler of the surgery room
This meticulous account of the Arab doctor who sheltered a Jewish girl in 1930s Berlin is a remarkable story of subterfuge and courage – by Tim Adams