What exactly about capitalism means it extracts and exploits?


Not crony capitalism, not raw capitalism, not capitalism in the hands of wrong people but capitalism itself is the cause of the environmental degradation and social misery we see around us. Capitalism offers the rules if you like, the players play by those rules, and the results are what we see. If I am going to say something this bold, I need to be really specific and present good arguments. Let me attempt that, but you will have to bear with me through some details. This is not rocket science, but the whole subject area has many branching ideas so you will need to look hard to see the path through the subject matter.

Continue reading “What exactly about capitalism means it extracts and exploits?”
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Shop your way to fossil freedom

Sixteen-year old Greta Thunberg is asking good questions like “why are we doing nothing about climate change?” She tells it like it is as we stand unmoving – no group wanting to give anything away. Unions rightly take the stance that workers should not pay with lowered standards. Some want to play with small tax adjustments to see the poor OK.

The New Green Deal says “never mind the economics of it – we’ll just invest in the planet we want.” That is good, but you need to make sure people have the money to pay for those new high speed rail services and electric buses.

So. No easy solution? Perhaps there is.

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We are a long way off from the true art of the deal

Everyone knows, don’t they, a good deal is where a cake is sliced up evenly. If the other gets too much we get too little. Wise leaders and experienced negotiators think differently. If are to come out of this Brexit situation in a good way we need to give our trust to these wisest leaders and sharpest negotiators. And we need to think differently. Radically.

Stephen Hinton 2016, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

Everyone knows, don’t they, that we we Brits need a good deal from Brexit – one that is good for us and does not give the EU an advantage over us? A bad deal will mean everyone in the UK gets a drop in standard and the EU will rise, doesn’t it? Well, not everyone thinks that. Continue reading “We are a long way off from the true art of the deal”

Opinion: The problems in Sweden are the problems in the world

With the coalition of the left’s 144 seats in parliament and the right-wing block’s 143, and with the ultra-right wing Sweden Democrats left out of the block, many might be wondering whatever happened to the cozy social democratic, progressive Sweden held up as a model of a modern welfare state. You need to look back in histoty to see why this is a watershed moment.

Stephen Hinton 2016, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

With the coalition of the left’s 144 seats in parliament and the right-wing block’s 143, and with the ultra-right wing Sweden Democrats left out of the block, many might be wondering whatever happened to the cozy social democratic, progressive Sweden held up as a model of a modern welfare state. Continue reading “Opinion: The problems in Sweden are the problems in the world”

We need peace not growth. Just do a search and replace.

We did the following thought experiment: we replaced the word growth  or economic growth with peace in excerpts from statutes and statements from some main global organisations. Take a look. Is it in improvement? Maybe you agree with us that Peace is the thing we need to focus on!

Continue reading “We need peace not growth. Just do a search and replace.”

OPINION: Business as usual destroys more capital than it creates.

The problem with Business schools is that they teach what has been learned from two centuries experience based on the availability of increasingly vast quantities of energy and cheap raw materials, along with licence to basically release waste straight out into the environment. An out-of-date mindset. We have moved on.

Stephen Hinton, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

Business schools purvey the amassed experience of successful entrepreneurs from the last few hundred years. The problem with that is this experience is based on the availability of increasingly vast quantities of energy and cheap raw materials, along with licence to basically release waste straight out into the environment. This two century’s worth of “business” experience treats nature as an unlimited resource store and waste dump. An out-of-date mindset. We have moved on. There is a need for a new way of doing business: a system that takes into account the limitations of the planet and needs to maintain human well-being. That system is called circular economy. Continue reading “OPINION: Business as usual destroys more capital than it creates.”

Opinion: rethink “technology” to save the planet

Photo: Maj-Lis Koivisto

What we call “technology” is actually a narrow  description of a practice including mechanics, electronics and computer science. This confusion is hampering human development, especially when the expectation is on not developing financial and social technology but demanding mechanical solutions when simple agreements could suffice. Modern technology is failing, we are not addressing the challenges in front of us. Our very use of language in this case is holding us back and preventing us from thinking clearly.

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OPINION: upgrade the monetary system and pay people to do the right thing

Stephen Hinton 2016, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

 

Money and markets are powerful tools in developing our world, most would agree. However,  the negative effects, some might say unintended results of their application are painfully apparent. These include environmental degradation, unequal distribution and crowded, unhealthy cities. To achieve a sustainable future, and the Sustainable Development Goals in particular, all options for changing the economic system should be on the table.   Should we abandon industrial capitalism and our present monetary system altogether? Should we introduce a form of sustainable five-year planning regime? Continue reading “OPINION: upgrade the monetary system and pay people to do the right thing”

We are not running out of energy; capitalism is.

Stephen Hinton 2016, photo Maj-Lis Koivisto

Most of the energy used in the world economy comes from non-renewable sources. Analysts fear that the expanding extraction of energy will not keep up with the expanding economy and …well… the the economy will deflate like a balloon and everyone will be worse off. Worst for the poor who have very little already. Or they fear that the climate will collapse because we are pouring too much carbon dioxide into it just to stay alive. Either way, the economy is so dependent on energy, they say, that we will go into a period of recessions and undermine peace is many ways. Not strictly true in my opinion  that there is too little energy: there is enough energy to keep everyone fed and housed within planetary boundaries. It’s just that there is not enough to keep capitalism going. And it is the failings of capitalism that we need to address if we are to make this peace project real, not energy supplies. Continue reading “We are not running out of energy; capitalism is.”

OPINION: Accounting needs to adapt to the circular economy

Photo: Maj-Lis Koivisto

We often hear about how hard it is to change the course of large ships, and as an analogy our current economic system seems to be hard to turn away from its course of counter-sustainability. However, large tankers DO make it into port. I would like to offer the idea that our economy can change course too. As with large ships, we need to understand and master the controls. Very few talk about accounting and sustainability. That is a shame, as several built-in features (and some easy to build in) could offer a way to turn the economy around. It’s not rocket science and it would be a big leap forward!
Continue reading “OPINION: Accounting needs to adapt to the circular economy”