Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Offsetting Nature, Guardians of the Future, Sustainability Citizenshipand more...

Strangled by the Duopoly by John Hare and Rupert Read
John Hare and Rupert Read’s new report argues that any discussion of party funding that does not examine the wider crisis of UK democracy – including questions of electoral system, participation-rates and corporate power – is an exercise in deckchair-rearrangement. For this reason, this report goes beyond the narrow ‘traditional’ domain of party funding to consider the funding question in the context of the broader crisis. The public are being utterly consistent in seeking to end the corrupt culture of the big donors and to refuse to give further money to the governing parties that have ceased to represent anything more than a small minority of the population. John Hare and Rupert Read’s recommendations are consistent with that consistency........
Download Strangled by the Duopoly here (pdf, 1391 K)

Local Liquidity by Molly Scott Cato
All across the world local communities, like Bristol in the UK, are starting their own currencies to counter the problems caused by the financial crisis and the misallocation of money towards the gambling circuits of the casino economy and away from local economies. Molly Scott Cato frames the post-2008 financial crisis in terms of the failure of effective demand. Quantitative Easing has not only increased inequality, as indicated recently by the Bank of England, but has also created only ineffective demand. The report includes an authoritative account of the different types of local money that are in circulation across the world from Germany's hugely successful Chiemgauer to the currency issued by Banco Palmas in Brazil and Rotterdam's Nu-Spaarpas.
Download Local Liquidity here (pdf, 661 K)

Offsetting Nature by Mike Hannis and Sian Sullivan.
New planning rules, currently being piloted, allow the environmental impacts of increased development to be offset by purchasing conservation credits from habitat banks. This ‘green economy’ measure is presented as reconciling economic growth with environmental protection. Mike Hannis and Sian Sullivan explain where this controversial idea has come from, before asking what effects it might have and who stands to gain from it. They argue that by encouraging us to think that one bit of nature is much like another, biodiversity offsetting undermines the unique place-based relationships between people and nature, moving us further away from ecological sustainability.
Download Offsetting Nature (pdf, 1483 K) here.

Green House Post-Growth Project by Rupert Read
This paper introduces Green House’s ‘post-growth project,’ a new series of reports designed to show that an alternative to the false dichotomy between growth and austerity, is necessary, possible and desirable.

It is necessary because planetary limits will in any event end growth soon.

It is possible in that we believe (and the post-growth project reports will show) that we can now begin to plot a path to a post-growth world, and a vision of that world.

It is desirable because much about that world will actually be better than the world we now inhabit.
Download here Green House Post-Growth Project (pdf, 661 K)

Free Universities! by Molly Scott Cato
The government claims that massive increases in student fees are needed to help eliminate the budget deficit this Parliament. Yet because of the student loans system, the effect on the deficit will be minimal. In this provocative paper, Molly Scott Cato argues that there are wider motives behind the increasing marketisation of the higher education system, and drawing on experience in a number of other countries, argues that there are alternatives which would do much less damage to the basic ideals of higher education.
Download here (pdf, 845 K)

Guardians of the Future by Rupert Read
A Green House report by Rupert Read, prepared as a discussion paper for the Alliance for Future Generations, whose members have agreed to work "to ensure that long-termism and the needs of future generations are brought into the heart of UK democracy and policy processes, in order to safeguard the earth and secure intergenerational justice." The proposal in this report is intended to do precisely that, through a modification to the architecture of Parliament.
Click here to download (pdf, 830 K)

The Dog that Didn't Bark by Thomas Lines
With the publication of the Vickers Report in September 2011 there has been much debate about how to prevent further banking crises. Much of this has ignored the historical context. In this provocative account, Thomas Lines looks at the 28 years following the Second World War when there were no such crises. He concludes, drawing on a well known result on the stability of systems from ecological theory, that we need to reduce the interconnections between banks by introducing severe restrictions on interbank lending and derivatives trading, and reintroducing exchange controls.
Download here (pdf, 772 K)

Sustainability Citizenship by Andrew Dobson
Why should you recycle your rubbish? Because the government might fine you if you don’t? Because you are nudged into re-cycling by your Council providing you with a nice new green plastic bin. Or because you believe as a citizen that you owe it to your fellow human beings - in short that it is the right thing to do. In this provocative short essay Andrew Dobson argues that government obsession with financial incentives, or more recently with the politics of nudging people to do the right thing, is undermining the creation of an ethically-based sustainability citizenship. And it is only with the latter that we will make long-term changes to how we live.
To download Sustainability Citizenship click here. (pdf, 686 K)

Mutual Security in a Sustainable Economy by Molly Scott Cato and Brian Heatley
Welfare reform has been in the news for the last thirty years. In this stimulating discussion, Molly Scott Cato and Brian Heatley argue that it needs to be taken out of the context of a neo-liberal market economy and re-considered afresh against the reality of the coming sustainable economy. The results are radical, calling for a new definition of poverty, a system based on individuals, and the abolition of a retirement age. But there is a return too to traditional Green themes like a Citizen’s Income paid to all, thrift and more emphasis on traditional skills for self-reliance.
Click here to download Mutual Security (pdf, 1036 K)