Archive for March, 2009

A heartening story from today’s Financial Times shows how human ingenuity can help tackle environmental problems: “Scientists are building a shoal of robot fish to be let loose in the port of Gijon [in Spain] to check on the quality of the water. “Modelled on carp and costing about £20,000 ($29,000) each to make, the […]

An excellent article in Forbes by Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow and director of the urban futures program at Chapman University, on how environmentalism creates shortages: “the new scarcity does not simply advocate humane ways to deal with shortages, but seeks to exacerbate them intentionally. This reflects a doomsday streak in the contemporary environmental ethos – […]

The World Bank has published Moving Out of Poverty, a follow up to its 2000-2 study on Voices of the Poor. Both studies are ostensibly based on the views of over 60,000 poor people. But it looks likely that the new study, like the original, is highly selective in what it chooses to define as […]

The following review by me appeared in the latest Fund Strategy (16 March). The debate about the future of capitalism is welcome in many respects. It raises the possibility of developing a deeper understanding of how the real economy works. This in turn would make it easier to find solutions to the present crisis. It […]

A tantalising glimpse into Barack Obama’s growth scepticism in the form of a review of books by and about Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), a Protestant theologian and Christian socialist, in the New York Review of Books. * Obama has described Niebuhr as “one of my favourite philosophers. The rest of the quote from an interview in […]

I have written the following letter to the Financial Times in response to yesterday’s particularly outrageous article by Richard Layard on happiness as a goal of public policy. There is much more I would have liked to have said but space is obviously limited in a letter to a newspaper: “Sir, Richard Layard is entitled […]

The ever astute Indur Goklany made what sounds like a fascinating speech to the International Conference on Climate Change in New York, judging by a report in Reason by Ronald Bailey (for my January 2007 interview with Goklany see the My Reviews section on the left hand site of the homepage). Evidently Goklany used data […]

I see that yet another documentary, Hooked on growth, is being made claiming that we should break our supposed addiction to growth. Surely it is time for Dave Gardner – the producer, director and writer of the film who describes himself as the “voice of reason in Colorado Springs” – and others like him to […]

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist and doom-monger-in-chief, has written an op-ed piece claiming the economic growth model must come to an end: “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 […]

Today’s Observer newspaper includes an article on how anxiety about the recession is “forcing the government to offer psychological help to millions of people facing unemployment, debt and relationship breakdown”. Evidently the plan: “will involve training 3,600 more therapists and hundreds more specialist nurses, psychotherapy centres will be established in every primary care trust by […]