Monday, 23 April 2007

Summary of Mike Nickerson, Life Money and Illusion

(Lanark ON: Seven Generations Publishing, 2006)

The book compares growth economics and sustainable development economics.

p. 23 and see webpage for his basic principles

Well-being can be sustained when activities:
#1 Use materials in continuous cycles.
#2 Use continuously reliable sources of energy.
#3 Come mainly from the qualities of being human (i.e. creativity, communication, coordination, appreciation, and spiritual and intellectual development.)
Long-term well-being is diminished when activities:
#4 Require continual inputs of non-renewable resources.
#5 Use renewable resources faster than their rate of renewal.
#6 Cause cumulative degradation of the environment.
#7 Require resources in quantities that undermine other people's well-being.
#8 Lead to the extinction of other life forms.

270 these principles are similar to Dr. Carl-Henrik Robert's eight conditions in The Natural Step
54 Ernest Haeckel 1869 ecology: relationships between organisms and their environment. Two limitations: the law of the minimum limitations of carrying capacity, resources, space or sunshine; the law of tolerance: of climatic differences, competition, toxics.
Exponential growth, limits and crashes
Violates ecological principles – see above
101 Herman Daly "The growth ideology is extremely attractive politically because it offers a solution to poverty without requiring the moral disciplines of sharing and population control."
103 Example of the Persian story of the inventor of chess. The King's reward was doubling a grain of wheat on each square, which would have cost him his kingdom to weed on the last square would fill a train of boxcars circling the equator 25 times.
191 the money paradigm assumes that well-being depends on continuous growth
192 culture of waste: mass marketing, consumer debt, planned obsolescence [planned waste], landfills are assumed to be limitless
198 [E. J. Mishan] A man who falls from a hundred-story building will survive the first 99 stories unscathed. Were he aS sanguine as some of our technocrats, his confidence would grow with the number of stories he passed on his downward flight and would be at a maximum just before his free-fall abruptly halted.
222 the 1992 collapse of Canada's East Coast cod was based on increasing "success" as subsidized big boats and harder fishing brought in more fish. There was no warning from economic statistics. [fish stock statistics were falsified too - DM]
268 for decades public services have been reduced to accommodate the demands of exponential capital growth
304-313 the historical evolution of the capitalist faith, the Faith of the Bottom-Line: GDP need only increase and all that is good will follow
321 At the 1992 Earth Summit 'development' was confused with growth: and thereafter the old economics reasserted itself using the rhetoric of aiding the underdeveloped, and was taken over by the money-serving mechanisms of corporate globalization.
342 call it the bloating economy or Global Monopoly Game or
371 the overdeveloped world
342 Every step of economic expansion comes at the expense of wildlife habitat and the health of ecosystems: biologist Brian Czech, Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train (2000)
343 If material acquisition were truly the dominant value of the human species, then surely capitalism would find it unnecessary to spend $450 billion a year to propagate it throughout the world: David Korten, The Post-Corporate World (1995)
385 The poor whose lands have been taken over to grow cash crops to pay interest on foreign debts are destitute in the service of bloating economies elsewhere. The debt traps, which they did not choose to enter, leave them unable to afford the education and eldercare heard that would stabilize their populations.
389 growth everlasting: growing until we drop.
389 env problems: lead in Rome, horse piss & manure in 19th c London, (MMT gas additive) Ethyl v Canada case under NAFTA, climate change, sea level, China's change to meat/grain 10/1 ratio, Three Mile and Chernobyl, depleted uranium
361+ debunk motor culture. End highway subsidies, which David Roodman estimates at $5.9 billion a year in Canada, $111 billion a year in US: and and and The Natural Wealth of Nations [1998]. 369 The ecological footprint of Canada's auto fleet is 21 billion acres,10 times Canada's landmass, and twice the area of crop pasture and forest land worldwide. Causes environmental degradation, dictatorships and war: John Bacher, Petrotyranny (2000). The Curitiba example in Bill McKibben, Hope, Human And Wild.
372 MK Hubbert Peak in oil predicted between 2001-2010
67 Limits and historical crashes. Mayan empire 800 AD: after deforestation came desertification malnutrition and conflict. Viking settlements in Greenland died at as climate cooled. The desertification of the Sahel. Poisoned land around Chernobyl. (Lester Brown) drawdown of Ogalalla aquifer and North China plain.
77 [Dalhousie University] commercial fishing depletes a new species by 80-90% within 15 years.
Commodification of land money and labor (ex Polanyi, The Great Transformation)
134 pressures to increase farm productivity lead to economies of scale with ever greater areas being worked by fewer people, leading to reduced sensitivity to the needs of the soil and a depopulated countryside.
Money speculation intensifies boom and bust; devaluation lowers the cost of work done in the country; as speculators flee the unfortunate country may have to raise interest rates to encourage capital to return, the opposite of what the country needs.
Minimizing labor costs creates other costs unemployment, jobs less than a living wage, depression and desperation, law enforcement, legal fees, medical expenses, alcohol sales and detox. These are mistakenly added to GDP.
164 in Athens sixth century B.C. when debtors could not pay, to recover their money the rich took farms and citizenship away and in some cases sold the dispossessed into slavery.
165 debt cancellation occurred in market crashes in which enormous amounts of debt is wiped out e.g. 1837, 1857, 1892-93 when 4000 banks and 14 000 commercial enterprises collapsed, 1907, 1929.
206 IMF SAPs undermined Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Argentina. (Chossudovsky) Entire countries have been destabilized as a consequence of the collapse of national currencies, often resulting in the outbreak of social strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war.
186 Canada did create its own money when dealing with the challenges of World War II. Money was created by the Bank of Canada and lent to the government at 1.5-2% interest.
188 London Times vs US greenbacks in 1864 "If this mischievous financial policy, which has its origin in North America, shall become indurated down to a fixture, then the Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous without precedent in history of the world. The brains and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That country must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe."
207 After seeing what the IMF did to the Asian tigers, Joseph Stiglitz believed that the hidden agenda of the WB-IMF was consolidation of economic control around the world. He also cites corrupt politicians selling off electric and water companies to gain billions in commissions, and the oligarchs stripping assets from Russian resources, driving half of the population into poverty. The next stage is the hot money and cycle: real estate and currency speculators come in the then clear the first kind of troubled draining a nation's reserves in two days. The IMF raises interest rates to 30 or 50 or 80%, which quote demolish property values, savage industrial production and during national treasuries". The third step is market-based pricing in food water and cooking gas leading to the IMF riot. Step four is free trade by the rules of the WTO and WB, opening markets which Stiglitz likens to the Opium Wars (Quoted in Gregory Palast, Armed Madhouse 2006).
210 GDP does not speak for the well-being of the people... It speaks for the well-being of money.
221 absurdities of GDP: French storm damage 1999 boosted GDP by about 8 billion. Deaths, debts and uninsured losses were not counted.
211 at the April 2001 G-8 meeting, so much tear gas was used on the demonstrators that local supplies were exhausted and more had to be rushed in. According to an inside observer, the organizers felt the meetings had gone very well.
214 US$3.65 billion bailout in 1998 of LTCM by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, international banks and brokerage houses. See also Black Monday 1987, Mexico's near default, Argentina's repudiation, and Asian meltdown 1997.
230 a great deal of recent GDP growth comes from fixing mistakes from the past, boring resources from the future and move ring voluntary activities into paid work (Redefining Progress
Goals of eco-economics
124 economics is 3/5 of ecology: natural resources [materials - processing - distribution] waste
145 Marjorie Kelly in The Divine Right of Capital suggests rewriting profit equals revenue minus costs as, employee income plus retained earnings equals revenue minus predicates capital income plus cost of materials, and suggesting that providing employees with money to live and purchase products is the purpose of the company and that the cost of capital is a cost to be minimized. Or more fairly capital income plus employee income equals revenue minus costs of materials. She also suggests employees on boards, profit-sharing, a the public service mandate in corporate charter, new kinds of social benefit statements, new mechanisms of accountancy, ways to impeach CEOs
172 creating local currencies such as LETS rated
223 a Genuine Progress Index of well-being
225 accounting for the value of unpaid and voluntary work
250 full-cost pricing: include environmental externalities and social effects
254 tax shifting: rate of taxation would be equal to the cost of the damage. Tax avoidance would be encouraged
225 a balance sheet for natural resources: renewable resources accounted according to their rate of renewal, non-renewables accounted for in recycling, pollution, or loss when used. Pollution would be counted by volume, toxicity, and they asked if the environment to absorb it. See the IISD Dashboard of Sustainability red warns when a country exceeds environmental capacity, green and in when it satisfies MDGs. See also
234 the ecological footprint developed by Dr. Mathias Wackernagel and Professor William Rees. Canadians use 7.8 ha -- about 15 football fields, surpassed only by Australians at 9 and Americans at 10.3. See and
228 in health: rather than providing money for treating people who are already sick, reduce causes of illness
235 if advertising fell silent what would people want?
a Newfoundland teacher asked pupils to list things they wanted in life. They mentioned houses cars travel etc. which would increase the size of their footprint; then she asked him to list the things they valued most: a special relative or friends, playing games, pets, favorite foods, and warm summer days.
235 Buckminster Fuller during the World Design Science Decade of the 1960s, researched World Resources Inventory: Human Trends and Needs, Utopia or Oblivion, and Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.
237 essential criteria: everyone can participate, community's role in well-being is recognized, environmental limitations are respected.
237 efficiency is defined as less wasteful and less energy-intensive production, and gives meaningful work to everyone
239 respectful, caring relationships – psychologist Duncan Blewett, The Frontiers of Being (1969): the law of feeling -- when someone does something positive for someone else the person tends to feel good about themselves. Children are raised in an atmosphere love, acceptance, and encouragement are less likely to get sick and more likely to heal quickly. Community cohesion is strengthened by positive interactions. Cohesion is a foundation for personal security, well-being and better health.
241-2 limited inequality: British and Canadian studies show that differences in wealth within the community affect well-being of individuals more than absolute levels.
242 Local scale business
243 proportional representation, democracy, legitimacy
256 carbon tax e.g. Netherlands taxes on lead mercury cadmium copper and zinc. Other tax shifts are documented by Lester Brown in Eco-economy.
258 Henry George taxes on land by site and location. Land dedicated as reserves for forests, wetlands and other habitat would have lower taxes.
261,269 garbage tax and a Green Dot fee on packaging would encourage a better design and discourage excess packaging. Tax resources, not income. Resource intensive goods would become more expensive, labor intensive ones less expensive. Goods that last would have greater appeal ...
269 extended producer responsibility e.g. Xerox photocopiers, Interface Carpets. Europe Asia and Canada have take-back legislation covering automobiles, computers, and hazardous household products.
261 tradable permits for pollution and resource extraction, e.g. carbon trading. Daly and Cobb, For the Common Good suggests permits be required for resources whose limits are in sight (eg oil) and extraction be limited to 2% of proven reserves, and that permits be auctioned off . Each year less would be offered, increasing incentives for efficient usage.
264 end vicious subsidies e.g. fishing, irrigation, electricity, automobile driving. Shift subsidies to improve energy-efficiency of owned and rented facilities
267 wind co-op's
271 international action to introduce sustainable policies simultaneously
271 the Tobin tax: >0.25% on speculated dealings, ie those within a short period of time. As dollars a day in there speculative trading cause says 80% of all transactions are resold within seven days or less. At 0.2% this would cost speculators 48%/year. This tax favors long-term investments over dealings in financial markets for short-term gain. This could raise double the amount needed to wipe out worst forms of world poverty by providing basic energy water and sanitation for the poor .See
275 monetary reform (Chapter 13) e.g.
277 global currency, local currencies LETS
278 debt-based money
279 Bank of Canada loans at nominal interest [virtually interest free] for infrastructure and health
281 demurrage, a small fee regularly subtracted from the value, incentive to use rather than store [reverse discounting] Bernard Lietauer and Stephen Belgin, Of Human Currency: New Currencies for a New World (2003) and
287 Keynes' Bancor with international trade account balancing through ICU; revived in the 2000 Noordwijk conference as Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, with an international Currency to be backed by carbon dioxide emission permits. Http://
The bibliography cites Richard Douthwaite, Short-Circuit, The Growth Illusion, The Ecology of Money and FEASTA Review
315 ch 15 about goals - How To Get There from Here: A Question of Direction
324 Rudolf Steiner' s threefold social order: economic, political, cultural
60, 62, 326, 330-3, 357,386, 408-11,413 life perspective or liFe based pursuits: healthcare and education, culture, voluntary simplicity and cooperation, using the Internet to bypass the media
343+ a public opinion revolution: for steady state instead of a bloating economy
338,367 vs media propaganda/managing public opinion/Manufacturing Consent/: the examples of the Lusitania and NAFTA.
GM plot against public transit 1922-46
354-356 Rupert Sheldrake diagrams = a sustainability frame of reference (6 points, 8 actions)
363 the headlights of the car and the heat from the rocks were both delayed sunshine. Cf. Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunshine (1998)
380 energy efficiency in Hypercars and energy conservation (negawatts eg in CFL): see Hunter and Amory Lovins, Natural Capitalism
382 ESCOs energy-saving companies and WASCOs water saving companies
366 efficient public transport: Lewis Mumford said cities have always been limited in size by the speed at which people have been able to travel to perform the essential tasks and import fresh food: The City in History

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