In 1991, Cuba’s economy began to implode. “The Special Period in the Time of Peace” was the government’s euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as “art” in a movement he dubbed “Technological Disobedience.”
Lecture from Donella Meadows on sustainable systems, which integrates ecological and equity concerns. In this talk, she refers to the Daly Laws (see also Sustainability and the scale of the economy (Herman Daly). Here is another one of her lectures: Down to Earth (Donella Meadows). Meadows draws on systems thinking; an approach with historical roots explained in Cybernetics, self-organisation and power (Adam Curtis).
A helpful visual representation of money flows between government and private sector. The actual explanation of the thought process can be found here: part 1 and part 2. It is obviously a conceptualisation that simplifies much of what is going on. I therefore recommend also having a look at Money is created out of nowhere (Dominic Frisby), Money as debt (Paul Grignon) and Money as Debt II – Promises Unleashed (Paul Grignon).
There has been a lot of discussion about the viability of GDP as a measure of development (see The Genuine Progress Indicator, an alternative to GDP (Ron Colman)). Here, Morten Jerven discusses another issue with GDP, namely its unreliability (with a focus on Africa). Estimates of economic growth rates and per-capita income are basic to the operation of governments in developing countries and to nongovernmental organizations and other entities that provide financial aid. As Jerven notes, the current catchphrase in the development community is “evidence-based policy,” and scholars are applying increasingly sophisticated econometric methods—but no statistical techniques can substitute for partial and unreliable data. Similar arguments have been put forward regarding extreme poverty calculations (see What is happening to poverty? (Rammelt and Surace)).
A short history of agriculture with a focus on seeds.
David Korten is an economist, author, and former Professor of the Harvard Business School. His political activism has made him a prominent critic of corporate globalization.
US Senator attacks the system that sets minimum wage below a living wage, in effect welfare subsidising a corporation’s wage bill. It features Robert Reich, also seen in Income mobility or stickiness? (Horwitz, Reich and Pew).
The documentary is lengthy and repetitive, but it presents interesting recent examples of technologically-driven unemployment. These could be used as updates to New Technology: Whose Progress? (Frank Morrow), an older (but in my view clearer) documentary on the effects of automation and new technology on workers and the workplace. An even older documentary, Valley Town (Educational Film Institute of New York University), shows us that this process has been going on for a very long time.