Categories
Economy

Diagrams and dollars (Devin Smith)

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).

Categories
Development

Global Wealth Inequality (Grain Media)

An animated infographic on wealth distribution and wealth transfer in the world (here are others: Record inequality between rich and poor (OECD)What is happening to inequity? (Me)The 99.99% versus the 0.01% (The Guardian)).

Categories
Development Economy

Unreliable GDP stats lead to misguided ‘evidence-based’ policies (Morten Jerven)

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)).

Categories
Development

Seeds of Freedom (The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network)

A short history of agriculture with a focus on seeds.

Categories
Development Economy Environment

Conversation with Economist David Korten on When Corporations Rule the World

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.

Categories
Development Economy

Welfare for Walmart

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).

Categories
Economy Technology

Will Work For Free (Maveric Media)

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.

Categories
Economy Environment Technology

The $250,000 Synthetic Hamburger (CBS News)

Global meat production rose from less than 50t in 1950 to about 275t in 2010. This growth has caused unaccounted environmental and social damage (see the $200 Hamburger (Raj Patel)). Recently, the most expensive hamburger in the world was produced by extracting stem cells from cows. Muscle tissue was grown in laboratories with the hope that this will someday solve the problems of growing meat consumption. The total cost of the project: €250,000. In the $200 Hamburger (Raj Patel), we saw that the environmental costs of a 50-cent fast food hamburger was 400 times its price at the register. It makes you wonder about the true price of the new synthetic hamburger. Are we solving problems or just trying to dig ourselves out of the hole that we created?

Categories
Development Economy Environment Technology

2013 Jack Beale Lecture on the Global Environment (David Suzuki)

Dr David Suzuki presents the 2013 Jack Beale Lecture on the Global Environment, on the topic of Imagining a sustainable future: foresight over hindsight. In a wide-ranging talk the Canadian scientist and broadcaster discusses the environmental movement’s successes and failures, explores human evolution and the threats to our future, outlines the problems of a globalised economy, criticises the Australian government’s climate change policies, and points to a sustainable way forward.

Categories
Economy Environment

Coral reefs under rapid climate change (Ove Hoegh-Guldberg)

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has studied oceans from Mexico to Antarctica and is leading the creation of an online virtual diving experience into the Great Barrier ReefHere’s a short 6-minute TED talk. For more details see this review article of the scenarios for coral reefs under rapid climate change or his more elaborate video presentation here.