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Matthew Stein and The Failure of the Free Market

Matthew Stein, author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, just published this article to The Huffington Post about the failure we’re witnessing of the free markets and trickle-down economics. Here’s an excerpt:
Unregulated greed will result in the demise of our planet just as surely as it is causing the collapse of our economy. There has been a morbid fascination lately in watching the “greed bubble” collapse, taking with it what is left of the equity in many American’s homes at the same time as their retirement investments evaporate before their eyes. If allowed continued free reign, the same unregulated greed that resulted in the Great Depression also led to today’s financial crisis and will just as surely take down the environmental systems of our planet. What is the “free market” anyways? It is the basic philosophy that the laws of “supply and demand” will automatically regulate the pricing, manufacture and supply of goods and services. “The Free Market” essentially puts our planet’s environmental resources up for sale to the quickest bidder who can consume and process those resources with maximum efficiency and speed to capitalize on available profits before the next guy gets to them first. Do we really want to continue putting our planet up for a once-in-a lifetime “fire sale”? Free market corporate decision makers are responsible to their stockholders for maximizing the profitability of their corporations. In today’s global market, unless a corporation is operating in a highly profitable niche market, this usually means mass producing products where labor is cheapest (essentially slave labor), environmental controls are at a minimum, and with little concern or regard for the future sustainability of the world. Spending extra money in any of these areas would cut into profits and may impair that corporate entity’s ability to compete with other corporations that are already operating without ethical concerns for the welfare of their workers, pollution of the environment, consumption of nonrenewable resources, and so on. Society often applauds and rewards the corporate warrior whose dedication to the “bottom line” dictates the cold-hearted decision to replace older workers nearing the top of their pay scale with younger associates who are willing to work longer hours for half the pay of their more seasoned counterparts, or lay off thousands of American workers as they close local manufacturing facilities while opening similar plants in offshore locations.
 Read the full article here.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..