Elinor Ostrom wins the Nobel Prize for Economics

Here at nef, we could think of plenty of deserving economists who would break the mould: Herman Daly, Manfred Max-Neef and indeed Professor Ghosh herself. But we're pleased that it's gone to Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to have won the prize.

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The Great Transition starts here

"Progress is the realisation of Utopias." Can you imagine Peter Mandelson saying that to the CBI? Would Gordon Brown produce such a quip at the World Economic Forum? Even Barack Obama might have problems with this level of political lyricism. Progress might be the realisation of ambition, enterprise, or even dreams, but not utopias.

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Ration Me Up #1: a visit to The Ministry of Trying to Do Something About It

Inside, it's more or less an empty room. Bare brick walls. No curtains at the windows. A drab patterned rug has been placed in the middle of the floor. And the only furniture to speak of is a kind of desk knocked together from three old suitcases.

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Ration Me Up #2: Clare Patey explains

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85 months and counting…

Of course, it's not that simple. The "Why should we, when you didn't and still aren't?" position may feel smugly strong to negotiators from the global south. But, it needs to be used with extreme caution. Played with too much zeal, while living on the frontline of climate change, they might find that the house of economic development which they hope to move into has burned down long before they get there.

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Ration Me Up #4: To flush or to surf?

On the Energy page of the ration book, there are ten coupons, each labelled "PC use 1/2hr /day". The "/day" means "per day", so you need to start by working out your average daily computer use. I sit in front of a screen for at least seven hours a day when I'm in the office, but at the weekends I try to have digital detox. So my average use per day, is about five hours. Which means I need between three and four coupons over the course of a month.

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84 months and counting…

In an interview to be broadcast on the BBC, he adds that growth and rising GDP are an "extremely harmful" way to measure human progress. Pachauri's determination to think about fresh solutions, from championing less meat-eating to challenging bad economics, is a lesson to commentators who affect weariness and distaste at yet another reminder of the extreme consequences of our lifestyles.

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Positively dangerous

American author Barbara Ehrenreich has been all over the British media this week as she pays a flying visit to the UK to promote her latest book Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World. And aside from a slight concern about her carbon footprint, I’m happy that she made it. My enthusiasm for Ehrenreich’s attack on positivity might seem odd given nef’s long-standing interest in well-being, but, in fact, Smile or Die does a lot to illustrate the problems with shallow, individualistic conceptions of happiness.

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Big Numbers : Consumption and Population

The rapid increase in people’s use of the productive capacity of the biosphere is shown here. The late 1980’s saw us consuming more than the world’s biocapacity could provide. In a mirror image, the populations of many supporting organisms are declining, making them less able to cope with or expanding footprint. More

82 months and counting . . .

The world is not run according to climate science. Amid the almost hysterical jeering since the Copenhagen climate summit, it’s a fact worth remembering. More

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