ECONOMY

Posts in "Economy"

The Last Death-Defying Honey Hunter of Nepal

Three hundred feet in the air, Mauli Dhan dangles on a bamboo rope ladder, surveying the section of granite he must climb to reach his goal: a pulsing mass of thousands of Himalayan giant honeybees. They carpet a crescent-shaped hive stretching almost six feet below a granite overhang. The bees are guarding gallons of a sticky, reddish fluid known as mad honey, which, thanks to its hallucinogenic properties, sells on Asian black markets for $60 to $80 a pound—roughly six times the price of regular Nepali honey.

Link: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/07/honey-hunters-bees-climbing-nepal/

How Mushrooms Could Repair Our Crumbling Infrastructure

The U.S. has one of the most advanced economies in the world. And yet the concrete infrastructure that supports it—the roads, bridges, sidewalks, and so on—is slowly crumbling. This deterioration requires complex repairs, causes long delays, and in the most severe cases can lead to structural failure.

Link: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608717/how-mushrooms-could-repair-our-crumbling-infrastructure/

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here’s what it looks like now.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country’s northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

https://www.upworthy.com/a-juice-company-dumped-orange-peels-in-a-national-park-heres-what-it-looks-like-now

The Economics of the Jetsons, Or Why Don’t I Work 9 Hours a Week?

Matt Yglesias has an interesting observation about The Jetsons:
George Jetson enjoyed a nine-hour workweek—thee hours a day, three days a week. Mike Konczal rightly connected this to JM Keynes’ essay on “The Economic Possibilities For Our Grandchildren” (PDF) highlighting the consequences of a super-abundance of material prosperity.

http://www.angrybureaucrat.com/2011/05/economics-of-jetsons-or-why-don-i-work.html

China is about to get its first vertical forest

The Nanjing vertical forest will be higher than its Milanese predecessor, with two neighbouring towers at 200 and 108 meters tall.

World Economic Forum | about a year ago
They could be the breath of fresh air that pollution-choked cities desperately need. Vertical forests – high-rise buildings covered with trees and plants – absorb carbon dioxide, filter dust from pollution and produce oxygen.

http://ewn.co.za/2017/05/05/china-is-about-to-get-its-first-vertical-forest

Why grid based battery storage is already a no-brainer in Australia

Have you heard the line recently that grid-based battery storage is “coming”, but is not quite “commercial”, but might be in a few years time, or even a decade or two?

It’s a common misconception. But if you wondered about the overwhelming response to the recent tenders by South Australia and Victoria for the country’s largest battery storage installations, here’s why: The technology is already in the money.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-grid-based-battery-storage-is-already-a-no-brainer-in-australia-85967/

Notable women: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who should be on banknotes

 

‘In the spirit of ‘Because of Her, We Can’, we visualise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women honoured on national material.

When acclaimed artist Gordon Andrews designed Australia’s vibrant series of new decimal banknotes in 1959, he wanted to break traditions of stiff patriarchal Prime Ministers or Australiana cliches, and instead, focus on the arts, the environment and architecture. In doing so, he made sure to give prominence women and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

However, only one Indigenous woman exists on Australia’s banknotes.”

 

Launching Today: “Atlas Of Utopias” – real-world examples by Transnational Institute

Worldwide, mayors are increasingly a progressive and fearless voice advancing bold agendas on climate change, welcoming refugees and trialling new forms of democratic participation. …

Can a group of cities really offer any fundamental solutions to a crisis created by the immense power of corporate capital?

To try and answer this question, the Transnational Institute in 2017 launched Transformative Cities, asking communities to share their stories of radical transformation, in particular in the areas of water, energy and housing. With hundreds of examples, these are now arrayed in an ‘Atlas of Utopias‘. http://transformativecities.org/atlas-of-utopias/

The Atlas of Utopias is a global gallery of inspiring community-led transformation in water, energy and housing. It features 32 communities from 19 countries working on radical solutions to our world’s systemic economic, social and ecological crises. http://transformativecities.org/atlas-of-utopias/

TNI also asks you to VOTE for your favorite of many examples, for an award to be announced June 06! More to come.

(Courtesy Peer 2 Peer Foundation, Transnational Institute (TNI). Thanks to TNI for header, post images.)

 

The Atlantic: “American Futures” series

A reporting project from the Atlantic: “American Futures”, cites Civic Governance, Talent Dispersal, Schools, Libraries, Manufacturing, Downtowns, and Conservation as positive change in the USA. A book is in process.

America is becoming more like itself again. More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware. Even as the country is becoming worse in obvious ways—angrier, more divided, less able to do the basic business of governing itself—it is becoming distinctly better on a range of other indicators that are harder to perceive. The pattern these efforts create also remains hidden. Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself 
– James and Deborah Fallows, American Futures

www.AmericanFutures.org

Postal Banking for USA

Under Gillibrand’s proposal, Americans could cash paychecks and deposit money in accounts free of charge at each post office location. Deposits would be capped at the larger of two amounts ― $20,000, or the median balance in all American bank accounts.

The postal banks would be able to distribute loans to borrowers of up to $1,000 at an interest rate slightly higher than the yield on one-month Treasury bonds, currently about 2 percent.

A postal banking system would be an alternative to the for-profit payday lending system, in which people routinely pay triple-digit fees to borrow money for bills that come due before their next paycheck. The average payday loan of $375 typically costs a borrower an additional $520 in interest and fees, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

More than one-quarter of Americans households (34 million homes) are either “unbanked” ― meaning they lack someone with a bank account altogether ― or “underbanked” ― relying on payday loans or other so-called alternative lenders to supplement the services of a traditional bank.

Their predicament shows how expensive it is to be poor in America. The average underbanked household has an annual income of $25,500, and spends nearly 10 percent on alternative financial products and associated fees, according to a 2011 KPMG study.

Meanwhile, France’s Banque Postale moves to expand its services in 2019:

French state-owned Banque Postale, part of the French postal service, said on Tuesday it would launch its online bank “Ma French Bank” in spring 2019.
Header Photo by Tim Evans on Unsplash