John Bunzl asks ‘When will we take globalisation seriously?’

As James Robertson summarises in his latest newsletter, John Bunzl opens with a reassurance:

john-bunzl-agm-13“Don’t worry, Trump won’t be able to put much of his extremist rhetoric into practice.

“There are too many checks and balances in the U.S. political system. Both Congress and the Senate may be under Republican control, but the Republican Party is far from synonymous with Trump. And in a highly interdependent world our political leaders don’t have nearly as much power as we think.

Reassurance then gives way as we, the ‘Broad Middle’, are arraigned:

“No, the real danger now is not Trump, Brexit or the rise of the Far Right but the failure of the rest of us – the Broad Middle, as we might call ourselves – to take globalization seriously. The widespread distrust of the political mainstream may be stoked by immigration, unemployment and wealth inequality, but the deeper driver of all these issues is actually globalization. Or, to be more precise, unregulated globalization”.

He then quotes Gordon Brown’s analysis following the Brexit result: “The elephant in the room is globalisation – the speed, scope and scale of the seismic shifts in our global economy. And the most obvious manifestation of the world we have lost is the hollowing out of our industrial towns as a result of the collapse of manufacturing in the face of Asian competition. These towns are home to a disproportionate share of the semi-skilled workers who feel on the wrong side of globalisation and who opted to vote leave. Unable to see how globalisation can be tamed in their interests, they have, not surprisingly, become recruits to an anti-globalisation movement whose lightning rod is migration.”

And asserts that the deeper driver of all these issues is actually unregulated globalisation, itemising a few of the international agreements and regulations needed if the global economy is to work for all:

  • Binding agreements on climate change,
  • on raising fair taxes on the rich and the multi-national corporate tax avoiders
  • and re-distributing the revenue generated to poorer nations, allowing their peoples to make a decent living at home instead of having to migrate.

He says that instead of focusing on these objectives we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted by all manner of other peripheral concerns. While we, citizens, have immersed ourselves in identity politics, anti-war protesting, and the like, mainstream politicians have been treading water, unable to see the new globalized reality through their out-dated national glasses.

Only when we focus on binding global agreements will we be taking globalization seriously. For only then can we make common cause with the poor and the disaffected middle classes who should be supporting us but who, because of our distraction, have instead been lured to the political extremes.

That doesn’t mean a global government, only global cooperation

simpol-coverHis new book, The Simpol Solution, written with Nick Duffell, sets out the process by which the Broad Middle can make binding global agreements happen and make them stick. Noam Chomsky said , “It’s ambitious and provocative. Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try”.

And Simon Anholt commented, “I nodded until I got a crick in my neck. I haven’t read a book for years that I agreed with so deeply and so consistently – nor felt so keenly that these are messages the world needs to hear. The clarity, simplicity and profound importance of this book are beyond question. Please read it, and please encourage others to do the same.”

 

Read the full article here: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-bunzl/donald-trump_b_12879498.html

 

 

 

News from Pat Conaty – and his tribute to Richard Douthwaite

pat-conaty-bestPat’s work on Community Land Trusts was referred to recently in the West Midlands New Economics Group (WMNEG) blog: At the University of Salford, working with Community Finance Solutions, Pat  has been developing a national Community Land Trusts training programme that has been running courses since March 2011 for new groups and local authorities. He believes that Community Land Trusts offer a community led ‘bottom-up’ approach to housing issues and creative, ecological developments. There are signs of a growing interest in initiatives long advocated by the New Economics Foundation: local currencies, housing co-operatives and credit unions.

With David Bollier, Pat co-edited a report on how different democratic money and co-op capital systems can be united earlier this year. David worked for years with Ralph Nader in the USA. His summary blog follows and the report may be read in full here. He writes:

One of the more complicated, mostly unresolved issues facing most commons is how to assure the independence of commons when the dominant systems of finance, banking and money are so hostile to commoning. How can commoners meet their needs without replicating (perhaps in only modestly less harmful ways) the structural problems of the dominant money system? 

Fortunately, there are a number of fascinating, creative initiatives around the world that can help illuminate answers to this question – from co-operative finance and crowd equity schemes to alternative currencies and the blockchain ledger used in Bitcoin, to reclaiming public control over money-creation to enable “quantitative easing for people” (and not just banks).  

To help start a new conversation on these issues, the Commons Strategies Group, working in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, co-organized a Deep Dive strategy workshop in Berlin, Germany, last September.  We brought together 24 activists and experts on such topics as public money, complementary currencies, community development finance institutions, public banks, social and ethical lending, commons-based virtual banking, and new organizational forms to enable “co-operative accumulation” (the ability of collectives to secure equity ownership and control over assets that matter to them). 

I’m happy to report that a report synthesizing the key themes and cross-currents of dialogue at that workshop is now available.  The report is called “Democratic Money and Capital for the Commons: Strategies for Transforming Neoliberal Finance Through Commons-Based Alternatives”

Frances Hutchinson, James Robertson and Joseph Huber posted papers on the Democratic Money Initiative wiki which also includes the report by David Bollier and Pat.

New to the writer was a 2011 paper by our late colleague Richard Douthwaite: Degrowth, Money and Energy. The subject of degrowth has recently been drawn to our attention by WMNEG’s Jeremy Heighway, working in Leipzig as a translator in the field of renewable energy.

Pat Conaty writes:

“What strikes me about this wonderful paper is how he creatively frames an outline of the new money commons architecture and he approaches this challenge in a multi-level way from global to national to regional. He links insightfully the fossil fuel crisis to the crash in 2008 and also highlights what the late Margrit Kennedy drew attention to, the embedded interest costs in public services and other essential goods.

“What is marvelous about this paper is the way he shows how the work to build resilience through co-operative innovation in community energy, food sovereignty, community land trusts (are implied) and regional currency can be brought together in a synergistic way. He argues for a provisioning system as Mary Mellor and Frances Hutchinson set out so well in the Politics of Money book in 2002. But he also draws attention to the kilowatt hour forms of money and tethering ideas Shann Turnbull has been articulating.”

 

 

 

Rianne ten Veen’s research into globalisation and surveillance

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An induction day interview with Rianne has been recorded in Milton Keynes on audio tape. For the next three years she will be examining ethical issues surrounding new technologies used to administer humanitarian aid. Her previous practical work has been in disaster management, focussing on manmade complex emergencies.

Research title: “To what extent is the humanitarian sector contributing to the militarisation of global surveillance? An exploration of the iris scan (for Syrian refugees in Jordan) and UAV/drones (Somalia)”

Her research will deliver case studies on the impact of drones and the use of retinal scans. As news comes in of drones doing good work, such as delivering medicine, there should be some way in which people on the ground can differentiate those from armed UAVs.

One problem with the use of iris scans to determine who is entitled to aid is that only the head of the household is given a retinal scan and if s/he is ill, no food can be collected. Another is the possible misuse of databases storing such information or the consequences of the data leaks so often reported.

International aid is assumed to be spent on food and medical aid, but to what extent is that money remaining in the West to fund the development of such technologies, perpetuating the power divide?

Listen here: https://audioboom.com/boos/5126141-ethical-issues-of-new-technologies-in-humanitarian-response-a-chat-with-greennomad73

 

 

 

 

Colin Hines’ Guardian letter

colin-hines-6Colin has recently taken a lot of ‘flack’ because of his views on immigration rather than his economic prescriptions, but many post-election (Corbyn, Brexit, Trump) analyses now recognise the widespread anger on both counts.

Under the Guardian’s heading: Trump’s victory a wake-up call for Europe, he opens by saying that journalist Martin Kettle is correct (It is easy to hate the man, essential to learn from him, 11 November) that Trump will be the first president in recent times to be both anti-liberal socially and also economically.

Pointing out that the extreme right in Europe is going down the same electorally successful path, with policies geared to both limit immigration and replace globalisation, Colin sees them filling the vacuum left by the failure of the Democrats and the centre-left in Europe.

This was/is a failure to understand economic insecurity was the cause of voter dissatisfaction – and inadequately controlled immigration.

Trump and Farage offered a solution to worries about job losses with a promise to tear up trade agreements and oppose the TTIP and addressed widely held worries about levels of immigration.  Colin ends:

“To have any chance of seeing off next year’s otherwise inevitable electoral rise of the extreme right in the Netherlands, France and Germany will mean that the centre-left, continent-wide, will need to develop a vote-winning programme for tackling both economic insecurity and uncontrolled immigration between EU countries.

“It must begin by calling not only for managed migration, but also demand controls on the free movement of capital, goods and services to allow the rebuilding of national economies, and to bring an end to the damaging deification of open markets, which has bought us Trump and Brexit and maybe next year a President Le Pen”.

 

 

 

Globalisation-v-Localisation by Julian Rose

Summarised

The old model, which is still being forced along the aging and unbending tracks of tunnel vision determinism, teaches that ‘economic growth’ is the be-all and end-all of planetary prosperity.

Never mind that it is quite literally ‘costing the Earth’ – and will require another five Earth’s if all seven billion citizens are to achieve the supposed goal of attaining a ‘standard of living’ equal to that of post-industrial countries like Northern Europe.

The best way to visualise the activity of a marketplace which deals in finite planetary resources as though they were infinite, is a man in a tree steadily sawing off the branch he is sitting on. And yes, he’s three quarters of the way through that branch at the time of going to press.

But there is another paradigm pushing its way up through the morass of discarded steel and concrete which constitute the scrap heap earth economic order; and that is an altogether different baby, with its roots in pre- industrial revolution practices where the land and its resources were regarded with respect and awe, and held to be essential to the health and well-being of all who engaged with them.

Here, manual dexterity and a pedigree in good land husbandry were the hallmarks of sustainable living and the guarantee of good food on the table as well as a robust weatherproof home. The simple values adopted by countryside communities were largely sacrosanct because they were closely associated with life and death, for the whole family. One lived close to the ground and got to know that ground intimately as a result. Mistreat it, and one blew one’s life line to security and prosperity.

Stand these two models side by side – and reflect on which is the more responsible template for the survival of planet Earth, its flora, fauna and human inhabitants.

Those who hold that the status quo still provides the solution for an expanding global population, should do a bit of serious homework. They should consider the fact that 40% of the World’s best farmland has been rendered incapable of growing food, due to around 100 years of absolute exploitation of the soil by large scale, monocultural farming practices and the profligate application of millions of tons of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers; all of which deplete the life force of that most valuable of all resources: the top twelve centimetres of soil which all cultivated edible plants depend upon for their nourishment.

The true cost of industrial agriculture and the global market place it supplies, is not reflected in the price one pays for one’s food.

That remains a hidden cost which governments and corporations keep firmly under wraps, lest the truth should emerge about the mining operations that are taking place under the pretext of ‘efficient modern farming’. In the UK, some 60 tons of topsoil per hectare are lost from arable land every year – and bear in mind that it took millions of years for nature to build that topsoil. How could mankind have become so blindly profligate?

I have spent the last forty years nurturing back to life soils depleted by a reliance upon toxic substitutes to time honoured natural soil building methods known to all true stewards of the land. In the process I found that a living soil produces living food, and that living food only retains its life giving energies when sold and consumed within the immediate proximity of the place of production.  This is the secret of abundant health: in soil, plant animal and man.

It stands in supreme contrast with the lifeless, denatured fake food which some 75% of the supermarket addicted population of Europe – and 98% of the USA – depend upon for their daily depleted diets. So called ‘food’, which has travelled an average of more than 7,000 kilometres before arriving on the neon lit plastic shelves of your nearest superstore. A starkly powerful symbol of factory style mass production and the globalization of the food chain.

Emergent also, will be advanced renewable energy technologies that enable individuals and whole villages to go ‘off-grid’, thereby avoiding slavish reliance upon vast corporations. The same applies to materials for house building. Most will be drawn from natural resources like clay and straw, hemp, rammed earth and wood from sustainably managed forests.

In case readers should think I’m talking about some futuristic utopia, let it be known that models filling this description are already in operation all over the world. In the UK, alternative currencies are gathering momentum. The Bristol Pound, which is supported by the mayor, operates in over 100 small community oriented businesses in the City.   The Lewes and Totnes Pounds have been part of community life for more than 20 years, and such creative alternatives to mainstream trading are springing up in London, Liverpool and many other towns and cities throughout Europe.

We are, by necessity, returning to our roots, and all those who can read the writing on the wall, should set their sights on getting re-earthed before the fault lines of change finally swallow-up the outmoded and dysfunctional practices of yesteryear.

 

 

Read the whole article here: it first appeared on www.connorpost.com

 

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic agriculture, a writer, activist and President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. He is author of two acclaimed books: ‘Changing Course for Life’ and ‘In Defence of Life’ which can be purchased by going to www.changingcourseforlife.info  Further information about Julian’s unusual life and work is also available on this site.

 

 

News from Jackie Carpenter and the Trelay Farm Community

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On a summer evening:  a few people from the thriving community at Trelay, co-founded by Jackie. There are members of all ages, including the latest arrival born in April.

 

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In the middle of May Roger, Jackie, Paul and Julie visited Maddy Harland, the editor of ‘Permaculture’ magazine and her husband Tim, who have a forest garden in Hampshire. During the course they admired their garden and wonderful wildflower meadow.

Danny intends to create one in the GAP area at Trelay . They look forward to developing more than one forest garden at Trelay (eventually), planting an under-layer of soft fruit and perennial vegetables in the orchard and a wildflower meadow at the bottom of Marks Meadow.

A well-deserved holiday in Norway

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 The building of Trelay’s Guest Accommodation is under way

trelay-digging-trenchesGround source heat pumps are being installed: five large trenches were dug for the pipe coils (known as slinkies) which absorb enough heat from the ground to heat at least seven of our houses.

The water passes through two heat pumps, a large pump, which is sited between Hendra and Chylosen (16kW ), and a smaller one sited behind Edhanneith (6kW).

These provide both hot water and heating and are run from the electricity supplied from the solar panels when available. The heating is still electric but we estimate will need only about a quarter of the amount that conventional electrical heating would use.

All Friends of Trelay receive a newsletter periodically.

It is published by SWESE Trelay Ltd, Trelay Farm, St Gennys, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 0NJ and edited by Daisy Walker. Learn more at www.trelay.org, 01840 230 482

info@trelay.org

 

 

 

People from these countries visited the site January- October

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News from Shaun Chamberlin and David Fleming

david fleming times obitDavid: second from left

Shaun has now made David Fleming‘s unique masterwork Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, available to pre-order in the UK, click here.

It has been produced with an exceptional level of care and attention from Chelsea Green’s design team – who told Shaun they felt they were handling a classic. The book has a foreword from Jonathon Porritt, completed endnotes and (epic!) bibliography, full index, editor’s preface and several wood engravings selected or commissioned by David. Shaun has also edited a paperback version – Surviving the Future – in a more conventional read-it-front-to-back format, and at around a quarter of the length.

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lean-logic-2-testimonial

Shaun will be giving a Schumacher College talk with Rob Hopkins next week and there will be a week-long Schumacher College course on David’s work in February.

Last year Shaun lead authored a peer-reviewed academic paper on David’s TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) system, which was published in April. The Ecological Land Co-operative (which he chaired at the time) also raised over £300k in community finance and purchased a second piece of land, in Sussex, to make available their next set of eco-smallholdings: http://ecologicalland.coop/ . His article was published in STIR magazine introducing what the ELC is about: http://www.stirtoaction.com/article/the-law-of-the-land

And, cited in a May post on this website:

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Scientists for Global Responsibility

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Issues covered by articles in the 2016 newsletter of Scientists for Global Responsibility of which at least two networkers are members, include UK climate policy; the flaws of nuclear deterrence; climate impacts of space tourism; the risks of another Chernobyl/ Fukushima; ocean acidification; military science and technology; the Paris climate agreement; teaching science ethics.

UK climate policy unravelling The government claims that the UK is taking a leading role in tackling climate change – but support mechanisms for renewable energy and energy conservation are rapidly being cut. Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, examines what is going on.

Trident, deterrence and UK security Dr Philip Webber, SGR, summarises the flaws in the theory and practice of nuclear deterrence for the UK.

Statistically assessing of the risks of commercial nuclear energy As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Spencer Wheatley, Prof Benjamin Sovacool and Prof Didier Sornette argue that the risks of another major nuclear accident are much greater than the industry believes.

Ocean acidification: a threat to life Dr Wiebina Heesterman examines the other threat from carbon dioxide emissions: that of ocean acidification.

A new phase for ‘offensive insecurity’? Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, gives an overview of the UK’s new military and security strategies, and highlights the increasing focus on militarism.

Science4Society Week: SGR’s latest science education project Dr Jan Maskell, SGR, describes the activities for young people which our organisation undertook as part of its first Science4Society Week in 2015 – and looks at what is planned for March 2016.

The Paris Agreement: key points (no link) Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, summarises the most important aspects of the new climate treaty agreed in Paris.

The industrialisation of war: lessons from World War I Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, examines how technological innovation contributed to one of the most devastating wars in human history – and asks what lessons we should take from this.

 

 

 

 

Helena Norberg-Hodge meeting, Molly Scott Cato & other speakers

New Economy Convergence

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This one-day meeting in London will provide an opportunity to take part in the rising global-to-local movement and to discuss the strategies required to move away from a corporate-led growth economy towards diverse local economies in service of people and planet.

There will be news of inspiring initiatives worldwide aimed at resisting global trade treaties and reclaiming our communities, cultures and natural environment. Meet others who care about democracy, social justice, fulfilling and dignified livelihoods, nutritious fresh food, meaningful education and about passing on a healthy and diverse environment to our children.

Speakers include Helena Norberg-Hodge, James Skinner, Molly Scott Cato, and Rupert Read (read more about the speakers here). The short version of The Economics of Happiness will be screened, and the event will include world café brainstorming sessions.

Saturday, September 17th, 2016 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Friends House 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ (use Garden entrance)

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Tickets: £20 for a standard ticket; £15 for concessions. Full scholarships also available upon application; please email info@localfutures.org.

Book Tickets