Monthly Archives: April 2008

Social Credit is not the answer

There are plenty of valid criticisms to be made of developed-economy monetary and banking systems. Finance capital seems to exert too much influence on our economies. Banks seem to make excessive profits. Excessive debt oppresses, and drives individuals, firms, and economies into a frantic search for income growth. The growth obession drives us into dysfunctional actions and outcomes.

Variations of “Social Credit” monetary theory (these days often described simply as ‘critiques of fractional-reserve banking’) often include reference to many of these criticisms, and appear to offer theoretical solutions. I assume that is partly why they are so popular among green movement supporters.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Barry, economic analysis, green politics

Update on dairy: More on the environmental consequences of the dairy boom

In a previous article I outlined the basic facts of New Zealand’s current dairy boom: the enormous financial returns on dairy production, the growth in the national dairy herd that have been spurred by these returns, and the consequent environmental impact of the ever-expanding numbers of dairy cattle. There is plenty to add to that original article both in terms of recent events and further information I’ve been able to find.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David

An alarming development: the dominance of the sustainability discourse in the green movement

What are the various discourses that circulate in the green movement? Geographer Andrew McGregor explored this question in discussions with five different groups from a variety of backgrounds within the green movement in Australia: The Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Sydney-based Earthworks programme, a second-year university course in environmental geography, and the Byron Environment Centre.

McGregor’s primary interest is to look at the ways in which environmentally concerned individuals have “come to construct and give meaning to nature” and the “social norms and conventions that constrain and enable what can be acceptably said.” He suggests that understanding which discourse(s) are dominant and acceptable in the green movement goes a long way to showing us “the future directions of the movement” (p.594).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under David, green politics, sustainability

Indigenous peoples, environmentalism and ‘wilderness.’ Part one – North America and Australia

‘Wilderness’ is a word that features very strongly in the vocabulary of environmentalists and conservationists around the world. In the United States the Wilderness Society, which currently has over 300,000 members, was founded in 1935 by Aldo Leopold and others to “bring to bear our scientific expertise, analysis and bold advocacy at the highest levels to save, protect and restore America’s wilderness areas.” The Wilderness Society (TWS) of Australia sees its mission similarly, as being one of “protecting, promoting and restoring wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.”

So just what do we mean when we speak of ‘wilderness’?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under David, green politics, social justice

Meat, biofuels, and world hunger.

More from the “Welcome to our future” files:

George Monbiot suggests that the best thing the world’s wealthy could do to ease world hunger (while reducing climate change impacts) is to eat less meat.

James Hamilton picks up on another big factor affecting food prices at the moment: diversion of food crops, especially corn in the United States, in order to produce biofuels. He notes that people in the U.S.

could have more food for the Haitians, more fuel for us, and still have something left over for your other favorite cause, if we were simply to use our existing resources more wisely.

(Thanks to Frogblog for pointing me to the Monbiot article)

Leave a comment

Filed under Barry, social justice, sustainability

In search of quality of life: progress, virtue and happiness

The vision of a ‘green’ society often focuses on quality of life and well-being for all its citizens. These ideas are evoked by way of a contrast with the quantity-oriented objectives of present day western consumer society: increasing personal financial wealth and individual consumption, economic growth and expanding business profitability. But just what is ‘quality of life’? Some interesting ideas and insights come from the perspectives of economics, philosophy and psychology.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under David, green politics, sustainability