I have for many years been a follower of the de-growth movement which
“emphasizes the need to reduce global consumption and production (social metabolism) and advocates a socially just and ecologically sustainable society with well-being replacing GDP as the indicator of prosperity. Degrowth highlights the importance of autonomy, care work, self-organization, commons, community, localism, work sharing, happiness and conviviality.”
My own views on de-growth tie in with my anti-capitalism and mutual aid proclivities. However, it is possible to be a de-growth capitalist as this interesting article by Barry Schwartz explains. He blames the push for efficiency for many of our ills. He notes in particular that “unproductive” expenditures would have served us well this year:
“Why hadn’t we stockpiled key supplies and machines, built up hospital capacity, or ensured the robustness of our supply chains? The reason, of course, is that it would have been seen as inefficient and profit-robbing. Money spent on masks and gowns gathering dust in a warehouse could always be put to more ‘productive’ use in the marketplace. Likewise, employing more people than needed under ‘ordinary’ circumstances, or making products yourself rather than relying on international supply chains, would have been seen as inefficient. One lesson, then, is that to be better prepared next time, we need to learn to live less ‘efficiently’ in the here and now.”
He suggests that:
“[w]hen making decisions, instead of asking ourselves which option will give us the best results, we should be asking which option will give us good-enough results under the widest range of future states of the world … The term used to describe this approach to decision-making is satisficing. And satisficing with an eye toward a radically uncertain future might be called robust satisficing. Satisficing is a form of insurance – insurance against financial meltdowns, global pandemics, nasty bosses, boring teachers and crappy roommates.”
Of interest to Vancouverites:
“if people thought about their homes less as financial investments and more as places to live, full of the friction of kids, dogs, friends, neighbours and community, there might be less property speculation with an eye toward buying and selling houses merely for profit.”
An interesting read.
It might seem tedious to keep harping on this year after year, but frankly I think giving up smoking after 35 years of two-pack-a-day slavery to the habit was the smartest and bravest thing I ever did. And I know for a dead certainty that I would not be here writing this today if I had continued smoking the way I did.
So I’ll keep celebrating my freedom, year after year!
The Mono Awards celebrate the best black & white photography in Australia & New Zealand. The Guardian has a selection of this year’s finalists. These were my favourites:
A bright orange salamander silently slithers
the length of the soft-pink stone-chip wall,
making faster speed than I could in this heat.
I sit, staring, mesmerized by this costumed athlete,
this splendid natural explosion of colour,
this distraction from the dull monochrome of my life.
With a desperate reluctance, I crack open the velcro
ties that bind me to the lizard, drawing back my focus
to include my companion and the unfinished wine.
“Let’s review where we are,” she says. “Yes,
let’s do that,” I reply from a distance, forgetting
where we’ve been in this conversation and why.
She clears her throat and continues: “You and I
seem to be headed nowhere, neh?” She pauses,
examining me for confirmation. Perhaps I nod.
“As a couple, I mean. We have to come to terms
with that. We have to face the true nature of our failure
you and I. We are not meant to be, that’s the point.”
I say: “I see.” I feel her eyes burning me, expecting more.
Across the street, the afternoon shoppers flow in and out
of department stores and groceries and fish merchants.
“Well?” she presses. “Am I right? What do you think?”
I sip the wine, close both my eyes, and imagine
the cool cave where the salamander rests.
Toots Hibbert was the first to bring us reggae. I was privileged to see him play many times. He died of covid-19 complications yesterday. A legend, he will be missed.
On this day in 1940, the Lascaux caves in central France were discovered by four teenagers. As they entered the long shaft down into the cavern, the boys saw vivid pictures of animals on the walls.
When the site was made available in the later 1940s, this cave art was wildly popular with the public. More importantly, it allowed everyone, both public and scientists, to understand more clearly that the so-called “cave men” were far more than the mindless brutes of previous imagination.
At about 17,000 years old, the Lascaux images are far from being the earliest known cave art today — several caves in Europe and Indonesia have art from about 40,000 years ago, and a recent “sketch” on a rock in South Africa may be much older. However, the enormous trove of images (more than 900 animals identified) at Lascaux combined with the encouragement of tourist traffic to the location has allowed this cave complex to become the best known of all cave art.
The discovery at Lascaux marked an important anniversary in our understanding of who we are and where we came from.
In order to get the first 100 copies of my book printed and shipped, I have set up a GoFundMe page:
All funds donated will be used solely for printing, shipping, and distribution costs, and are received with enormous gratitude.
Each donation of $30 (and multiples thereof) will be rewarded with a signed copy of the book.
Please excuse the over-large image on the page. I have not found a way to edit it for size. The image should look like this: