It’s still true: you can’t eat money

August 23, 2009

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.” – Cree Saying. This quote, possibly the biggest cliché in the environmental literature, inspired Jared Diamond’s seminal work “Collapse“. But humans seem to succumb to boredom fairly quickly, so the real crisis, which is after all about something as mundane as food, has slipped off of the radar. The global meltdown of the banks, a grand Greek drama of the folly of the gods... More

What is ‘free’ about the web?

May 23, 2009

Perversely, Web 2.0 has become synonymous with an American mythology of freedom. But information technology works best in small well-organised political units with high levels of social protection. So there is every reason to believe that the net works best with another notion of freedom – the security of knowing that failure will not have catastrophic consequences. The risk-taking and entrepreneurial culture of the wild web frontier is more likely to occur where there is a social safety net to catch you if you fall. By Daniel Taghioff Watch Jeff... More

A House of Cards

December 1, 2008

There are those among us who, whilst not willing to admit this publicly, probably deep down take the view that with 6+ billion people on this planet, we can probably afford to lose a few under climate change. Certainly if you look at something like the Stern Review, which uses a “willingness to pay” index to value lives, it is clear that some lives are seen as much cheaper than others. This is quite an extreme expression of a “Them” and “Us” mentality. It is also a profound mistake, because... More