Categories
Economy Technology

Valley Town (Educational Film Institute of New York University)

A very old documentary showing the damage visited on the people of a Pennsylvania steel town by the deployment of new technology. Director: Willard Van Dyke. Script: Spencer Pollard, Willard Van Dyke. Photography: Roger Barlow and Bob Churchill. Music: Marc Blitzstein.

Categories
Economy Environment Technology

Natural Capitalism (Amory Lovins)

An interview with Amory Lovins on the concept of Natural Capitalism. It has received the following critiques:

Categories
Economy Environment Technology

Waste equals food (Michael Braungart & William McDonough)

A documentary on the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design concept of Michael Braungart and William McDonough. It present ideas about how to ‘close’ cycles in our production/consumption systems. They have received the following critiques:

Categories
Economy Environment Technology

Moving Forward (Zeitgeist)

Video clip on ‘intrinsic obsolescence’. See also Pyramids of Waste (Cosima Dannoritzer) on ‘planned obsolescence’.

Common arguments against the idea of intrinsic obsolescence:

  1. You won’t build a table using the best materials (just strong enough, with best materials you can afford, with the time you have).
  2. Consumers decide how long they want things to last, some consumers decide they want to buy a cheap watch that won’t last as long.
Counter-arguments:
  1. Cost efficiency mechanism is ignored. Regardless of your intent, you can’t produce the best quality from an environmental perspective in the market system.
  2. For some products (disposable bags and cups) the inferior quality is clear, this is what you buy. Is there a strategic need for a cheap watch? What about the resources and waste?

 

Categories
Economy Environment Technology

Pyramids of Waste (Cosima Dannoritzer)

Documentary on planned obsolescence. See also Moving Forward (Zeitgeist) that talks about the economic roots of planned obsolescence, which they call ‘intrinsic obsolescence’.

Categories
Development Economy Environment

Capitalism’s Threat to Democracy (David Korten)

David Korten talks about the dangers he sees emerge from our economic system. The creation of real wealth, Korten argues, by satisfying true human needs, strengthens individuals, promotes the well-being of local communities, and protects the environment, the foundation of all living things.

Categories
Development Economy

Hunger in America (Raj Patel)

Raj Patel discusses hunger in America. The new documentary “Finding North” says one in every four American children suffers from hunger. Nearly 30 percent of American families, more than 49 million people, often go without meals.

Categories
Development Economy

Examining the case for a shorter working week (London School of Economics & New Economics Foundation)

As the economic crisis deepens, the London School of Economics and the New Economics Foundation suggest that this is the moment to consider moving towards much shorter, more flexible paid working hours – sharing out jobs and unpaid time more fairly across the population.

Categories
Development Economy Technology

In Praise of Idleness (Bertrand Russell)

Excerpt from ‘In Praise of Idleness’ by Bertrand Russell: “Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralising. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?”

Categories
Economy

Money as debt (Paul Grignon)

Money As Debt is an animated feature by artist & videographer, Paul Grignon. He gives an explanation of today’s DEBT-MONEY SYSTEM in terms that are easy to understand. See also the follow-up video: Money as Debt II – Promises Unleashed (Paul Grignon).