World energy policy is gripped by a fallacy — the idea that coal is destined to stay cheap for decades to come. This assumption supports investment in ‘clean-coal’ technology and trumps serious efforts to increase energy conservation and develop alternative energy sources. It is an important enough assumption about our energy future that it demands closer examination. [...more]
Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich. [...more]
The severe economic crisis, now in its fourth year, is being used to batter the remnants of the social welfare state. Having decimated aid to the poor over the last 30 years, especially in the United States, the economic and political elite are now intent on strangling middle-class benefits, namely state-provided pensions, health care and education. [...more]
As the U.S. continues the incredibly wasteful misallocation of resources known as car production and everything that goes with it, the externalized costs in terms of global warming, oil spills, and human isolation as consumers, only mount. [...more]
Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare-the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it [...more]
Silly me. Here I had thought that world leaders would want to keep their nations from collapsing. They must be working hard to prevent currency collapse, financial system collapse, food system collapse, social collapse, environmental collapse, and the onset of general, overwhelming misery—right? But no, that's not what the evidence suggests. Increasingly I am forced to conclude that the object of the game that world leaders are actually playing is not to avoid collapse; it's simply to postpone it a while so as to be the last nation to go down, so yours can have the chance to pick the others' carcasses before it meets the same fate. [...more]
Globalization is killing Europe, just as it's already wiped out much of the American middle class.
Spain and Greece are facing immediate crises that many other European nations see on the near horizon: aging boomer workers are retiring with healthy benefit packages, but the younger workers who are paying for those benefits aren't making anything close to the income (or, therefore, paying the taxes) that their parents did.
I am about to make you feel uncomfortable. Sorry, but there’s no way of avoiding it if I’m going to tell this story as it should be told.
You are a human being; a member of the species Homo sapiens sapiens, although the second “sapiens” was only put there because we like to feel we are important. Remember that. There used to be other species within the genus “Homo” but they died out, or were possibly killed off, most recently a few thousand years ago when Homo neanderthalensis finally succumbed to the insurgent sapiens somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula.
It was the pivotal international conference of the new century. Tens of thousands showed up, including heads of state, officials at all levels of government, representatives of environmental organizations, and ordinary citizens from nearly 200 countries. Scientists had warned that, without a strong agreement to reduce carbon emissions, the consequences for civilization and the world's ecosystems would be cataclysmic. [...more]
Everyone agrees: our economy is sick. The inescapable symptoms include declines in consumer spending and consumer confidence, together with a contraction of international trade and available credit. Add a collapse in real estate values and carnage in the automotive and airline industries and the picture looks grim indeed. [...more]