For a More Progressively Evolving Society

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why: Iceland's Strong Economic Recovery after Complete Financial Collapse in 2008

By Martin Zeis for Global Research 

Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimmson was interviewed over the weekend (26./27.01.2013) at the World Economic Forum in Davos on why Iceland has enjoyed such a strong recovery after it’s complete financial collapse in 2008, while the rest of the Western world struggles with a recovery that has no clothes.

Grimsson gave a famous reply to the financial MSM reporter, stating that Iceland’s recovery was due to the following primary reason:
„… We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing here in Europe. …“

When asked whether Iceland’s policy of letting the banks fail would have worked in the rest of Europe, Grimsson replied:
„… Why are the banks considered to be the holy churches of the modern economy? Why are private banks not like airlines and tele-communication companies and allowed to go bankrupt if they have been run in an irresponsible way? The theory that you have to bail-out banks is a theory that you allow bankers enjoy for their own profit their success, and then let ordinary people bear their failure through taxes and austerity. 
People in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run. …“
Whole interview with Grimmson (02:56 min):
This article originally appeared here  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Corporations, Not the Poor, Profit From $75 Billion Tax Payer Funded Food Stamps Program

I'd like to predicate this guest article by identifying some key principles operative within PROUT's attention to this most basic necessity of food.  

Food is a key industry, a basic necessity, and access to it an imperative right. Provided by the Universe to all its beings, commerce concerning it should hold these truths to be self-evident and imperatively respected. 

What factors could we say are essential to commerce concerning food? 

Being a basic necessity, an essentiality of life, commerce involving food should operate on a no-profit / no-loss basis; 

Food production, distribution and consumption should be, as far as possible, provided through cooperative enterprises, which addresses all fair trade concerns;

Food should be cultivated and consumed as locally as possible; 

Food should not be exported elsewhere until or unless there is excess food after everyone has been fed and has steady supply and ready access to food within a dominion;

Organic processes must be employed in soil cultivation and fertilization;  

Natural means, including companion planting, should be used as the method of pesticide abatement; 

These and more factors and concerns address through the PROUT paradigm can be explored HERE.

Corporations, Not the Poor, Profit From $75 Billion Tax Payer Funded Food Stamps Program

food_stamps“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City[1]” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps[2]” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.
Though the food stamps program was always meant to be a “safety net” to provide temporary assistance, Schweizer pointed out that it has “become an insider game of power and profit” for corporations who are attempting to get a slice of the $75 billiion provided by the taxpayers.
Schwiezer pointed out that as the food stamps budget increases, so do the market shares of the nations’ top companies who are attempting to get a piece of the action.
The GAI president points out that the food stamps program was intended to provide basic foods, but has grown to include all types of things including soft drinks and fast food. We have also pointed out that the food stampsprogram has been used to purchase guns, drugs and pay for strippers and massage parlors, not to mention that the USDA has targeted illegal aliens for the program.
The fraud of the food stamps program has grown since EBT cards were issued in 2002, which gave no reason for either government or corporations to look to reform the system or limit the fraud.
J. P. Morgan, which administers many of the EBT cards, like other companies, gets a cut from each transaction provided via the food stamps program. The entire system is a fraud and immoral.
Not only do corporations profit from this corrupt system, but companies like Coca Cola and Kraft Foods have “lobbied against laws” that would make sodas ineligible to purchase with food stamps Schweizer said.
He also said “”a nutrition program designed to provide supplemental nutrition to people having a hard time making ends meet” has become a stimulus and jobs program that politicians have tried to expand with no resistance. In fact, it was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) who brazenly suggested that welfare stimulates the economy.
Schwiezer rightly points out that this kind of thinking is nothing more than “traditional Keynesian argument, that you spend government money and somehow it multiplies.” He then goes on to state that there is not economic evidence to support that claim.
While House Republicans were threatening to cut the food stamps bill last year, the gravy train just keeps rolling.

When economies collapse with food and water scarce, who will protect your meager resources? 

What are we leaving to posterity with the negligence and avarice we indulge in today, and how will our children be forced to deal with the consequences? 

Explore this and other articles covering alternative economics, ethical leadership, economic democracy, and a society without the weal and woe of social and economic vicissitudes HERE

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather

When extreme weather events occur the Climate Commission is consistently asked questions about the link to climate change. This report unpacks our current knowledge about different types of extreme weather events: extreme temperatures, rainfall, drought, bushfires, storm surges, cyclones and storms.
Download key facts from the report.
Download summary table of the report.
Download images from the report.
Watch a short video about the report.
Download quick facts for each state:

1. Climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of many extreme weather events, adversely affecting Australians. Extreme events occur naturally and weather records are broken from time to time. However, climate change is influencing these events and record-breaking weather is becoming more common around the world.
Some Australian examples include:
  • Heat: Extreme heat is increasing across Australia. There will still be record cold events, but hot records are now happening three times more often than cold records.
  • Bushfire weather: Extreme fire weather has increased in many parts of Australia, including southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of South Australia, over the last 30 years.
  • Rainfall: Heavy rainfall has increased globally. Over the last three years Australia’s east coast has experienced several very heavy rainfall events, fuelled by record-high surface water temperatures in the adjacent seas.
  • Drought: A long-term drying trend is affecting the southwest corner of Western Australia, which has experienced a 15% drop in rainfall since the mid-1970s.
  • Sea-level rise: Sea level has already risen 20 cm. This means that storm surges ride on sea levels that are higher than they were a century ago, increasing the risk of flooding along Australia’s socially, economically and environmentally important coastlines.
2. Climate change is making many extreme events worse in terms of their impacts on people, property, communities and the environment. This highlights the need to take rapid, effective action on climate change. 
  • It is crucial that communities, emergency services, health and medical services and other authorities prepare for the increases that are already occurring in the severity and frequency of many types of extreme weather.
  • The southeast of Australia, including many of our largest population centres, stands out as being at increased risk from many extreme weather events – heatwaves, bushfires, heavy rainfall and sea-level rise.
  • Key food-growing regions across the southeast and the southwest are likely to experience more drought in the future.
  • Some of Australia’s iconic ecosystems are threatened by climate change. Over the past three decades the Great Barrier Reef has suffered repeated bleaching events from underwater heatwaves. The freshwater wetlands of Kakadu National Park are at risk from saltwater intrusion due to rising sea level.
3. The climate system has shifted, and is continuing to shift, changing the conditions for all weather, including extreme weather events. 
  • Levels of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels have increased by around 40% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, causing the Earth’s surface to warm significantly.
  • All weather events are now occurring in global climate system that is warmer and moister than it was 50 years ago. This has loaded the dice towards more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.
4. There is a high risk that extreme weather events like heatwaves, heavy rainfall, bushfires and cyclones will become even more intense in Australia over the coming decades. 
  • There is little doubt that over the next few decades changes in these extreme events will increase the risks of adverse consequences to human health, agriculture, infrastructure and the environment.
  • Stabilising the climate is like turning around a battleship – it cannot be done immediately given its momentum. When danger is ahead you must start turning the wheel now. Any delay means that it is more and more difficult to avert the future danger.
  • The climate system has strong momentum for further warming over the next few decades because of the greenhouse gases that have already been emitted, and those that will be emitted in future. This means that it is highly likely that extreme weather events will become even more severe in Australia over that period.
5. Only strong preventive action now and in the coming years can stabilise the climate and halt the trend of increasing extreme weather for our children and grandchildren. 
  • Averting danger requires strong preventative action. How quickly and deeply we reduce greenhouse gas emissions will greatly influence the severity of extreme events in the future.
  • The world is already moving to tackle climate change.  Ninety countries, representing 90% of global emissions, are committed to reducing their emissions and have programs in place to achieve this. As the 15th largest emitter in the world, Australia has an important role to play.
  • Much more substantial action will be required if we are to stabilise the climate by the second half of the century. Globally emissions must be cut rapidly and deeply to nearly zero by 2050, with Australia playing its part.
  • The decisions we make this decade will largely determine the severity of climate change and its influence on extreme events that our grandchildren will experience. This is the critical decade to get on with the job.
This artical originally appeared here