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Tag: economic contraction

The Econ Puzzle’s Debut

The Econ Puzzle’s Debut

This week marked the trimphant wrap-up of our Human Ecology class at Otis College of Art and Design.  It was a great group of students this semester, and their enthusiasm shone through in their final projects. We celebrated with people from Transition Mar Vista/Venice as well as people from other departments at Otis.  As teacher Elektra Grant expained so well in her introduction, it seems approprate that the “Human Ecology” class has so many stakeholders.

Collapse? Maybe not.

Collapse? Maybe not.

It’s all a matter of perspective. In a previous post I argued that economic contraction is necessary and in fact underway.  Is this “Collapse” — that scary term that so many authors love to throw around? I find the C word to be counterproductive.  Depending on where you are standing as the grand cascade of change ripples through, the ruthless C word might be how it all feels to you in the moment.  But the big scary C word disclaims all the brilliant aspects…

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Economic Descent, hopefully with skillful means

Economic Descent, hopefully with skillful means

This post is in response to one by Rob Hopkins, which was in response to one byDavid Holmgren.   In case I don’t use sufficiently ‘skillful means,’ please let me begin with stating: I am not advocating for intentionally creating an economic crash. Rob says about economics “once it starts getting even vaguely complicated, leaves me rather puzzled.” I don’t shy away from complicated, although I do strive to simplify things as I explain them, so that more people can understand….

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Powerdown: Let’s Talk About It

Powerdown: Let’s Talk About It

We’re caught in the squeeze right now. Climate change is advancing at an incredible speed. We know we should do something, but we lack the political will to do what it takes to hold it to 2°C. UN committees are now being counseled to prepare for 4°C of warming. To keep it survivable, there’s got to be a powerdown — starting today. Meanwhile green-tech enthusiasts cheer the rapid rate at which certain countries are installing renewable energy infrastructure. But reports are now surfacing…

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Revolt and Change our lives

Revolt and Change our lives

It’s a sign of a really good essay when bits of it linger with you for days after you’ve read it and it keeps popping up in your mind. Naomi Klein’s “Why Science is Telling All of Us to Revolt and Change Our Lives Before We Destroy the Planet” is one of those. Her theme? “Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that ‘earth-human systems’ are becoming dangerously unstable in response.” “Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually…

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The Beginning of Contraction

The Beginning of Contraction

“Understandably, everyone wants it to get “back to normal.” But here’s a disturbing thought: What if that is not possible? What if the goalposts have been moved, the rules rewritten, the game changed?” –Richard Heinberg Biocapacity and the limits to economic growth are already being painfully felt in some places, while in other places people might have the luxury cushion to go on pretending it isn’t so for several more years. Right now, people in some of the affluent social…

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Five-Planets-Worth-of-Consumption

Five-Planets-Worth-of-Consumption

There are three ways in which North Americans have managed to live at five-planets-worth-of-consumption. I am indebted to Sophy Banks and Naresh Giangrande for an explanation in the Transition Training here in Los Angeles in 2008, which really broadened my understanding. “Ghost acres” – taking from others. We have raped and pillaged the raw materials of other continents (leaving the people who live on those continents with far less than their fair share). We’ve consumed those goods here and persuaded…

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Borrowing money in times of Economic Contraction

Borrowing money in times of Economic Contraction

When my kids were younger they used to play a game in which everything they said was turned opposite. Up was down, hot was cold, yes was no. As we enter a contracting economy, virtually every assumption and expectation we have held about the grow-grow-grow economy is turned opposite. What was trending up is now down, investments that were hot are now cold. Advice that was good is now bad. “Yes, do it” has now become “no way.” The presumptions…

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