Puppy love

This is my second report back from Ecuador, where I am spending nine months trying to better understand the realities on the ground of countries that do well in the Happy Planet Index. Are people here as happy as they say they are in surveys and, if so, what can we learn in the West about achieving good lives that don’t cost the Earth?

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Why Osborne’s plans are causing me sleepless nights

I found it hard to sleep last night. While I dreaded hearing the announcement of the public spending cuts back in October, I dread the government pretence of a ‘fair’ tax structure, perspective on ‘growth’ and half-hearted attempt to ‘rebalance’ the economy even more. This government seems to think it’s ‘fair’ to give with one hand and take more from the other, enough to pay lip-service to green growth and sufficient to create a few miserly business incentives in a few areas to re-balance our severely South East and service-sector lopsided economy.

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The strange tale of the Liberty Dollar

There are not many blogs which understand the significance of the emerging multi-currency world we are all going to live in. So it is a good thing that the nef blog is here to report on a deeply unsettling currency story from the USA. Last Friday, a jury in North Carolina found Bernard von NotHaus guilty on four counts of counterfeiting in a few minutes. The trial had been going on since 7 March.

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Fear and frying in Ecuador

This is my first report back from Ecuador, where I will be spending nine months trying to better understand the realities on the ground of countries that do well in the Happy Planet Index. Are people here as happy as they say they are in surveys and, if so, what can we learn in the West about achieving good lives that don’t cost the Earth?

I have to admit, this first report doesn’t provide immediate answers.

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Wilfred’s Challenge: in search of well-being in Ecuador

Might we see thousands of Britons flocking to Latin America in search of the good life?

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Survival of the fattest-headed

There is something symbolic, in a grotesque way, of the struggling Japanese reactor built on a serious geological faultline.

It is quite extraordinary that such idiocy could be allowed in an advanced country like Japan.  Yet there it is, a proud exemplar of all those other idiocies that our culture nods through – from collateralised-debt obligations to arms sales to Gaddafi.

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Tesco is outflanking my high street

There's nothing especially remarkable about where I live. Sandwiched between two south London "villages" and bordered by noisy, busy throroughfares, it could be considered a bit of a no-man's land. And yet it boasts a wonderful parade of local shops of the kind that is all too rare in the capital today.

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Is this the end of the nuclear renaissance?

While the world watches on, aghast at the horrors unfolding in Japan, two explosions at Japanese nuclear reactors triggered by the earthquake is making an already desperate situation worse. But the events have also re-ignited discussions about the future role of nuclear in the global energy mix. More

Why prices really rise

Every quarter, another letter from Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Every quarter, another round of hand-wringing over the inflation level.  There is no doubt about it: prices are going up – and not just food and petrol either.

We may be a society that is ruled by old-fashioned economists, but Britain – and England in particular – is a place where the public discourse is remarkably uninformed by basic economics.

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Measuring well-being in the UK

I enjoyed speaking at the recent APPG on Measuring National Well-being and taking part in the lively discussion on this important topic. At the meeting I emphasised the multidimensional nature of well-being and how it encompasses the economy as well as social and environmental issues.

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