Jamaica in the 1970s: Govt. investments in development (health, education, housing, agriculture). Imagine a well-running hospital, educated personnel, well-equipped, affordable. Debt is now 150% of GDP. State funds are committed to service debt. So imagine the same hospital 40 years later, no maintenance, insufficient(ly) trained staff, expensive medicine/treatment…
The Chiemgauer is a regional currency that has seen a boom during the global financial crisis.
Hazel Henderson discusses the need to abandon GNP as an indicator, as it entirely misses the mark and does not measure quality of life.
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).
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.