Development Economy Environment

The cat chasing its tail (Me)

There is evidence that economic growth in the last 50 years is positively correlated with:
– increasing inequity (based on UN and World Bank data)
– environmental degradation (based on Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center data)
Is attempting to solve these problems through further growth like the cat chasing and biting its own tail?

Development Economy

The top 1% (Fault Lines)

According to this Al Jazeera news report, the richest one per cent of Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country’s income and control 40 per cent of its wealth. Also, the gap between rich and poor has widened over the last 30 years. For a great animation of the data, see The 99.99% versus the 0.01% (The Guardian). This is not just a news report, see below for several academic publications on the wealth gap in the US. Many would argue that income inequality isn’t a problem, as long as there is equality of opportunity (see for example Steve Horwitz in Income mobility or stickiness? (Horwitz, Reich and Pew)). For a reaction to that assumption, see: McNamee, S. J., & Miller, R. K. (2004). The meritocracy myth. Sociation Today, 2(1).

For more research on the gap, see: Saez, E. (2009). Striking it richer: The evolution of top incomes in the united states (update with 2007 estimates). Working Paper Series, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley. The CATO institute published a paper saying such figures are exaggerated, see: Reynolds, A. (2007). Has US income inequality really increased? Policy Analysis, 586, 1-24. However, a more recent academic publication confirms the Al Jazeera news report and states that “in 2004, when the wealthiest 1 percent of households received 16.9 percent of all income, those households held nearly double that portion of all net worth (34.3 percent) and even more of all net financial assets (42.2 percent). Stated differently, these extremely affluent households own more than 34 times the average share of wealth and more than 42 times the average share of investment resources. The top 10 percent of households holds 71.3 percent of the wealth… These few people are the winners. At the losers’ end of the distribution, the greater part of the people, amassing 80 percent of households, hold only 15 percent of the net worth, mainly in owner-occupied housing. This concentration of wealth at the top has increased for decades.” (see Goldsmith, W. W., Blakely, E. J., & Clinton, B. (2010). Separate societies: Poverty and inequality in US cities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.)

Own production

Climate change simply explained

Here are two animations I helped co-produce as part of our work with the University of New South Wales Leadership Networks for Climate Change. The animations aim to communicate some very basic understandings about climate change. The first deals with human versus natural emissions, the second with weather versus climate.


The Worst Mass Poisoning in History

Rammelt, C. F. (2009). Poster presentation: The Worst Mass Poisoning in History, Arsenic Contaminated Drinking Water in Rural Bangladesh. Sydney: UNSW Well-Being Research Showcase.
Own production

The Largest Mass Poisoning in History, Arsenic Contamination in Rural Bangladesh

This documentary is the result of a collaboration between the Arsenic Mitigation & Research Foundation and the Environmental Policy & Management program at the University of New South Wales. It provides an introduction to the arsenic calamity in Bangladesh and to some of the efforts to address it.

The Largest Mass Poisoning in History (2008). Videorecording. J. Merson and C.F. Rammelt. Dhaka, AMRF, Sydney, EPM Graduate Research Program at UNSW, JMA Production.