Add It Up

I received an email today from Rob Dietz, Executive Director of The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE). CASSE has now officially launched their new website! More great news: they have completely re-invigorated their blog, now known as The Daly News.  Herman Daly, the award-winning economist and incisive writer who developed the concept of the steady state economy, will kick off the new blog on March 1.

In addition to Professor Daly, the core rotation of authors at The Daly News includes Brian Czech (wildlife biologist, ecological economist, and author of Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train), Brent Blackwelder (former president of Friends of the Earth and founder of American Rivers), and Rob Dietz (environmental scientist and executive director of CASSE). (There is even a rumor that yours truly might be privileged enough to post along side these greats as a guest contributor!) You can access the blog on CASSE’s website or via RSS feed.

CASSE has also released an entertaining animated short called Add It Up that tells the truth about pursuing perpetual economic growth. The animation, produced by film students at the University of Southern California, is available on CASSE’s website and YouTube, as well as here:

For more information about these resources and other news about the steady state economy, please read the most recent edition of CASSE’s The Steady Stater newsletter (pdf)

Unite For Human Rights

Human Rights For All
Human Rights For All

Inalienable rights are written into our Declaration of Independence and are the foundation for our Constitution. The right to free speech, the right to practice a religion, the right to be a free, voting citizen – all pillars of our modern democratic society.

The truth of the matter is we might verbally support these rights, but we often overlook them in our actions. We support countries with unequal rights for men and women, laws against race and religion, and other policies that support inequality. When we purchase an item made in China we are by our actions supporting censorship and suppression of the press. When we pump gas into our car that was created with oil from theocracies we are supporting countries denying religious freedom.

If we wish to talk the talk of human rights and equality, we must also walk the walk. Today, bloggers around the world are uniting to bring focus to human rights. In the US we are a privileged few who have most (not all) rights granted to us. We are the largest, most powerful, privileged few and because of this we must provide the example for others in our actions – they do speak louder than our words.

Continue reading “Unite For Human Rights”

Financial Policy the Definition of Insanity

Abandon Ship!
Abandon Ship!

The old saying goes that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing again and again expecting different results.” There is talk now of more money needed to keep the big banks afloat. It has become apparent that Bank of America “needs” billions of dollars more (roughly $34 billion, with a B). If it didn’t work the first time, why should it now?

As we shake our heads in disbelief from that news, I should also mention the updated regarding the audacious bonuses that insurance giant AIG paid out after the government bailouts. Turns out AIG’s estimates of the bonuses paid were off by a littleby a factor of FOUR!!!

The total number is believe the be around $450 million in bonuses, given (for incredibly poor behavior) as “retention bonuses.” Seems to me their employees are not going to find jobs elsewhere, so a retention bonus is superfluous at best and deceptive at worst. That is nearly half a billion in taxpayer money given to greedy CEOs already worth more than the average American will make in their lifetime.

Continue reading “Financial Policy the Definition of Insanity”

Federal Reserve Transparency

The Fed is the Problem
The Fed is the Problem

The U.S. Federal Reserve is our nation’s bank, created at the beginning of the last century (big thanks to President Wilson) to centralize our banking system and stabilize our currency. It is quasi-public, having both private corporations and public agencies with controlling interest.

“The Fed,” as they call it on the street, controls our money, interest rates, “supervises” banking institutions, and has other means to inflict chaos into our economy. Despite being a blend of private and public the Fed keeps its business behind locked doors. It is hard for a government by the people, for the people to have a functioning banking system if they have no control or oversight of it. We should do something about it!

Continue reading “Federal Reserve Transparency”

Information Deformation

The US has Twice as many shopping centers as high schools

A blog that I frequent, Make Wealth History, posted this video and I feel that I must post it as well. We live in a society full of information that produces little knowledge. Why? Because we are inundated with advertisement, spin, and false information.

Media is yet a another part of our society that should be independent and not influenced by a need for profit. However we allow a few giant, greedy companies to tell us the “truth.” What we are told is only what will sell, not necessarily the whole story or the truth. There are good sources of information out there, go look for them! Watch this and think about it…

Continue reading “Information Deformation”

Say No to Bonuses

AIG paid more than 20 times the average US yearly income to executives in bonuses.

We own a substantial amount of companies that were on the brink of going under not to long ago. Now they are trying to defend what they call “retaining” bonuses: extra money to keep on executives. These are not the average “good-job, here’s a grand” bonuses that most professionals might be accustom. These are more than $1,000,000 bonuses. That is 20 times the average yearly income in the US – in a yearly bonus! 52 people who received these payouts are no longer with the company.

Continue reading “Say No to Bonuses”

The Great Disruption

The Great Depression

A fellow citizen sent me an article; one that I feel everyone should read. New York Times columnist and writer of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas L. Friedman (not to be confused with Benjamin Friedman) recently wrote about our dire times and what Paul Gilding calls “The Great Disruption” – “when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once.”

As Friedman notes in his article “The Inflection Is Near?“:

“We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese …

We can’t do this anymore.”

Continue reading “The Great Disruption”