The documentary Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh (John Page, Chris Breemen, Helena Norberg-Hodge & Eric Walton, 1993) provides an excellent introduction to the local, human scale traditions in Ladakh, and how local communities have been affected by the industrialised notion of “progress”. The observation that consumer culture as portrayed in advertisements and Western media appeals primarily to insecure teenagers is apt. I am tempted to qualify the observation from my autistic perspective: consumer culture is designed to target neuronormative teenagers, […]
The year 2008 was a momentous one. The ‘anniversary’ headlines are of course all about the financial crash. As Nick Mathiason in The Guardian put it at the time: “It was the year the neo-liberal economic orthodoxy that ran the world for 30 years suffered a heart attack of epic proportions.” While the global establishment panicked, governments rallied round and got the flatlining monitor back up again by pumping in trillions of dollars to stop the world banking system from […]
It’s no secret that there’s a divide between the global North and South. Most people know about the huge wealth gap between the industrialized and so-called “developing” worlds, and that rates of pollution, resource use, greenhouse gas emissions – and much more – vary widely between them. But there’s another gap, one that’s rarely discussed in the media, or even by NGOs. It involves changing attitudes to farming, to the land and the soil – something worth considering in this […]
There is a huge political divide between the Democrat Party’s leadership and its local voters. There is an equally huge political divide between the Republican Party’s leadership and its local voters. In a nutshell, the divide can be summed up like this. Voters from across the political spectrum oppose global corporate trade treaties like NAFTA and the current outrage called Trans-Pacific Partnership. Voters from across the political spectrum oppose bank bailouts using public funds. Voters from across the political spectrum […]
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti I have a secret that I usually keep locked up inside of myself, hidden from even those who know me well: I suffer from depression. At times it is a deep, bottomless depression, an intense loneliness, serious end-of-the-world-thoughts depression.
This piece is excerpted from Localization: Essential Steps to an Economics of Happiness, a new publication from Local Futures. Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of how disastrous the global economy is for people and the planet, I believe that the chances for meaningful change are greater today than ever before. The environmental costs of the current […]
“The Future is Fast. We are Faster.” This ubiquitous billboard for a tech company neatly captures the zeitgeist in modern-day Bangalore, and rapidly-urbanizing India generally. Today, Bangalore’s erstwhile appellation as India‘s ‘garden city’ seems sadly anachronistic. To arrive at the Visthar Academy of Justice and Peace Studies on the outskirts of Bangalore – where we would be lodging for the next three days for the 3rd Economics of Happiness Conference – requires a painstakingly slow creep through bumper-to-bumper traffic, past […]
Hopes were high as our leaders gathered in Durban late last year. But another round of prevarication, indecision, postponement and finally outright refusal to meet carbon targets has certainly left those of us concerned about climate change feeling very discouraged. Yet not surprised. Since the very first attempts at addressing carbon emissions, our governments have approached the problem in the same reluctant, reductionist way. We’ve been led to believe that reducing carbon emissions will involve sacrifice—that we have to tighten […]