Archive for March, 2008

Fund Strategy has run my review of James Heartfield’s Green Capitalism in today’s issue. Terms such as “ethical”, “responsible” and “environmentally friendly” are used so often nowadays in the investment world that it almost seems churlish to question them. Who would want to present themselves as unethical, irresponsible or hostile to the environment? Yet James […]

Kevin Watkins, now at Oxford University’s global economic governance programme but formerly at the United Nations Development Programme and Oxfam, had a comment in yesterday’s Guardian on the scourge of traffic accidents in developing countries. Sadly he used the opportunity to take a side swipe at economic growth while also implicitly calling for more external […]

A substantial feature in Monday’s Wall Street Journal on the new “limits to growth” illustrated, if anything, the limitations of the free market critique of environmentalism. The article – which unfortunately it not freely available on line – started with the correct observation that the Cassandras have always proved wrong on limited resources. But it […]

Moisés Naím has an ambivalent article in Foreign Policy (March / April 2008) entitled “Can the World Afford A Middle Class?”. His short answer is “yes, but it will be awfully expensive”. Naim makes the correct but obvious point that the economic development of the likes of China and India will involve the use of […]

Last week’s (15 March) Economist seemed to confirm some of the points I made in my recent spiked article about China being viewed as a “green peril”. The front cover branded China as the “new colonialists” for its hunger for natural resources. The headline of one of the articles on its survey of China’s use […]

Now that it is the Easter holidays I can catch up on some of the supposedly great issues of our time. The first is plastic bags. In Britain the campaign against these useful items has had the support of Gordon Brown, the prime minister, and the Daily Mail newspaper. However, Dick Taverne of Sense About […]

Jeffrey Sachs has a new book out. Yet, judging by an extract in Time magazine (24 March), Common Wealth for a Crowded Planet repeats many of the themes of his previous work (see links to “my reviews” in the left hand column): “The defining challenge of the 21st century will be to face the reality […]

The New York Review of Books (3 April) has an article by Sue Halpern, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, reviewing books on happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar, Daniel Gilbert, Jerome Kagan, Sonja Lyubomirsky and Eric Wilson. There is too much to summarise in a short note but points worth noting include the fact that […]

Thomas Pogge argues in the Winter 2008 issue of Dissent that sacrificing economic growth is a “moral imperative”. His argument, which has many elements to it, is based on professed concern for the poor and for the environment. To begin to tackle his arguments lets take four of his points on China and work out […]

Yesterday I appeared on Colourful Radio, which describes itself as ‘talk radio with soul”, discussing the Progress lecture by John Hutton, Labour’s business secretary, where he apparently praised affluence. I cannot currently find a copy of his speech on the internet but according to a BBC article the Blairite minister said “more millionaires” are needed […]