This week Forbes
asked Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, a
non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, what his pick for the year would
be. Chris chose the work of Nic Marks and the Centre for Well-being here at nef
on National Accounts of
Well-being, an idea he thinks can make “powerful, positive and measurable
differences in how we create the future”.
Organic food has taken a
battering in recent years. The recession
has undermined their extraordinary growth. The big food producers have organised a huge lobbying campaign against
the benefits of organics. There is a
continuing and quite wrong assumption that agricultural systems need to be big
to feed a growing world population.
But as it turns out, this is
not the case.
The biggest study ever
carried out comparing organic food to conventional food has just been finished
by the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, and the results are pretty explosive.
Back in 1994, now 17 years
ago, nef published a ground-breaking
report by Tim Cooper called Beyond
Recycling: The longer lifeoption. It looked forward to a new sector of the
economy emerging that would make a great deal of recycling unnecessary.
Ironically, this new repair
sector had been a prominent feature of our high streets until two generations
ago, when tailors and cobblers, used to rub shoulders with grocers and
The Transport Select Committee’s (TSC) report on High Speed
Rail (HS2), published this morning, offers their views on the proposed £32
billion pound rail scheme. The conclusion
states that “we believe there is a good case for proceeding with a high-speed
rail network”. More
A fresh arrival in austerity-stricken Athens over the
weekend, as John Humphrys joins the ranks of IMF inspectors and faceless ECB
technocrats currently descending on Greece. He’s in town to present Radio 4’s
flagship Today programme,
where the “glorious weather” stands in stark contrast to grey November London.
Lucky Mr Humphrys.
Unlucky Greece. In a series of interviews, Greeks are told
they were “foolish”. Their pensions are “staggeringly generous”. Greece “spent
too much for too long”.
Latest research on Top
Pay in the UK was discussed at a seminar at LSE’s Centre for Economic
Performance last week. Some of the findings which reinforce previous work in this
area include that it is employees, not entrepreneurs, who have benefited most from
increases in the concentration of income at the top; that the grab by bankers
is way in excess of top CEOs; and that you won’t get rich by working in the
“Plain men,” said Keynes, who
think themselves devoid of influence – sensible, common sense types, in other
words – “are often the slaves of some defunct economist.”
This is a useful quotation
which I for one use a great deal to explain our stance regarding conventional
economics. We are not against the
honourable progression of imaginative and intuitive economics. We are emphatically against the defunct
version, which has taken root so deeply among those who govern us that they are
now powerless to tackle the looming economic disaster.