Archive for August, 2009

Ian Abley, the project manager for Audacity, has produced a useful schematic to help understand the regressive tendency for capitalism to go green. It divides thinkers on the issue into four broad categories depending on their views on population and productivity: misanthropists (in favour of low population and low productivity), anti-machine-survivalists (greens whose main focus […]

This blog has long recognised the increasingly explicit character of Malthusianism. In recent years it has become routine to blame overpopulation for many of the world’s problems. But there is a wider implicit Malthusianism that also needs to be tackled also. This implicit Malthusianism is apparent in a comment in this week’s Economist and related […]

After writing about Teddy Goldsmith on Thursday a profile in Prospect magazine of Zac Goldsmith, his nephew and protégé, caught my eye. Zac wants to follow his grandfather in becoming a Conservative member of parliament so is standing in Richmond, a wealthy suburb of London, at the next election. According to the article: “Goldsmith has […]

I do not feel any sadness at news of the death of Teddy Goldsmith, one of the pioneers of green thinking in Britain, but his obituaries are revealing about the nature of environmentalism. Goldsmith launched the Ecologist magazine in 1970, and was its long-time editor, as well as the Ecology party (later the Green party). […]

John Beddington, the British government’s chief scientific adviser, argues the world is facing a “perfect” storm of crises by 2030: rising population, rising food demand, rising demand for water and rising demand for energy. Taking its cue from him the BBC has produced several pieces on the subject for its website and for broadcast. It […]

After slating the New York Times on Sunday it is only fair to point to an exceptionally good article debunking the idea of peak oil in today’s issue. Michael Lynch, an energy consultant and the former director for Asian energy and security at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, systematically […]

This is my comment from this week’s Fund Strategy. Despite the changes in recent years the West has yet to fully grasp the importance of China in the world economy. Although it is seen as immensely more influential than it was a decade ago it is still not studied sufficiently closely. The headline figures understate […]

Anyone who is interested in the redefinition of development should read today’s special issue of the New York Times magazine on “Why women’s rights are the cause of our time”. On a naïve reading such an initiative might appear welcome: the importance of development and women’s rights is being recognised. But a closer inspection shows […]

Evidently pants made of stinging nettles are the Next Big Thing for greens. The idea is being promoted by Jean-Paul Flintoff, a Sunday Times contributor and author of Through the Eye of a Needle: The true story of a man who went searching for meaning and ended up making his Y-fronts, in an item in […]

I welcome the news, courtesy of Duncan Green’s Oxfam blog, that there is a backlash against microfinance. He cites several papers, written from various perspectives, arguing that microfinance does not work. Among the criticisms: it has failed to reduce poverty, it has never been included in a successful national development strategy, it ignores the role […]