Author: Crissie Brown

Morning Feature: The Great Disruption, Part I – The Crash

If Paul Gilding is correct, both our severe recession and our violent weather are symptoms of the same underlying problem: “The earth is full.” (More) The Great Disruption, Part I – The Crash This week Morning Feature looks at Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption. Today we examine what he says is the underlying problem: the human economy exceeds the earth’s resources. Tomorrow we’ll see why and how he thinks we’ll solve climate change by the year 2040. Saturday we’ll explore his predictions for a new economy by 2100. “The earth is full.” The Great Disruption begins with that sentence, and that is the core of Paul Gilding’s entire thesis. The study of our ecological footprint was pioneered by Professor William Rees of the University of British Columbia. It expresses our use of the earth’s annual resource yield as a function of area. As of 2006, our worldwide ecological footprint was 1.4 Earths. That’s a problem, as we have only one. Gilding likens ecological footprint to an interest-bearing account. Other than energy from solar radiation, the earth is a closed ecosystem. Everything we do requires resources from within that system. In Gilding’s analogy, the earth is a giant bank account, and it’s the only one we have. Each year that account yields 1 Earth-year of resources. But at our current population and lifestyles, each year we spend 1.4 Earth-years of...

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Campus Chatter – July 7, 2011

Today in history, greetings, and social banter here. (More) Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas today (1494). Also, Charles I assented to the Petition of Right (1628), Richard Henry Lee presented the Lee Resolution to the Continental Congress (1776), the Gazeta de Buenos Ayres premiered (1810), President Benjamin Harrison attended a baseball game (1892), the Steel Workers Organizing Committee was founded (1936), and the Supreme Court overturned contraception bans in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). And Mount Pinatubo erupted (1991). Good morning!...

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Campus Chatter – July 6, 2011

Today in history, greetings, and social banter here. (More) England crowned Richards I (1189) and III (1483) today. Also, the U.S. officially adopted the dollar (1785), Louis Pasteur successfully tested his rabies vaccine (1885), steelworkers fought Pinkerton agents in the Homestead Strike (1892), Jackie Robinson refused to move to the back of a bus (1944), Althea Gibson won at Wimbledon (1957), Malawi declared independence (1964) and became a republic (1966), and American cyclist Davis Phinney won a road stage victory in the Tour de France (1986). And 14 firefighters died in the Storm King Mountain fire (1994). Good morning!...

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Morning Feature: Nutshell – Plutonomy

Firing or cutting the pay of government workers is part of a Republican plan to depress wages. It’s not a conspiracy theory. Their staff commentary said so. (More) With no guest writer today, Morning Feature takes a nutshell look at plutonomy: an economy that relies on the investment and spending of the wealthy. Back in March, GOP staff of the Joint Economic Committee published a report titled Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy. It offers academic support for the GOP’s Cut-and-Grow economic policy, which focuses exclusively on spending and regulatory cuts and rejects infrastructure investment or tax increases to boost our economy. It’s worth reading in its entirety, along with critiques by Derek Thompson at The Atlantic, Andy Kroll at Mother Jones, and former Federal Reserve vice chair Alan Blinder in the Wall Street Journal. A key paragraph in the report comes on page 7, in a discussion of “non-Keynsian” (i.e.: supply-side) factors that purportedly boost economic growth: 1. Decreasing the number and compensation of government workers. Generally, government workers are well-educated and have significant skills. A smaller government workforce increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs. In other words, our economy will grow when businesses can pay workers less. This plan won’t increase the number of total jobs for specific education and skill sets. It’s just that fewer of...

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Campus Chatter – July 5, 2011

Today in history, greetings, and social banter here. (More) Issac Newton published his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica today (1687). Also, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition (1775), Venezuela declared her independence (1811), the Salvation Army was founded (1865), police fired on striking longshoremen in San Francisco’s “Bloody Thursday” (1934), President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (1935), Hormel Foods introduced Spam (1937), the United Kingdom enacted the National Health Service Acts (1948), and Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon (1975). And Dolly the cloned sheep was born (1996). Good morning!...

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