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The shift in thinking about how to provide communities with safe water



One of the things that the [SDG] has done is really articulate the integration of things that typically are that to be quite separate.

Giulio Boccaletti is the global managing director for water at The Nature Conservancy. He talks with Circle of Blue about the Sustainable Development subgoal to protect and restore water-related ecosystems and how it represents a shift in thinking about how to provide communities with safe water.

In a series of Q&As with water experts, Circle of Blue explores the significance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for water, how they can be achieved, and how they will be measured. We spoke with Giulio Boccaletti about the 6.6 subgoal, which aims, by 2020, to “protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.”

Can you describe what is meant by a water-related ecosystem, and what it means for the SDG to focus on restoring them?

Giulio Boccaletti: One of the things that the [SDG] has done is really articulate the integration of things that typically are quite separate. In the past, you would have one group worrying about water access and drinking water, another group worrying about water infrastructure like reservoirs, and then a third group worrying about the ecological health of biologically-based systems. These seem to be pretty disparate issues. What the SDGs have done is bring all this together. It’s the recognition that making sure that wetlands are functioning, making sure rivers are healthy as ecological systems, that their function is intact, that outcome is part of the overall issue of delivering sustainable water services to humanity. That’s an important shift because it essentially recognizes what some people call natural infrastructure, that the most fundamental piece of water infrastructure we have is the stuff we inherited.That’s one way of thinking about what that last subgoal means. The other effect is that it actually turns the camera around. This is true for all the SDGs, but particularly the water one. If you look back to the Millennium Development Goals, they were very much focused on the delivery of services to the least developed countries. It was about equity and lifting people out of poverty through a set of goals, and water was a part of that. What this set of goals is doing is sustainable development writ large. It applies to the developing world as well as the developed world. Middle income countries like Brazil are having water resources issues, but equally California, which is probably the richest place on the planet. And it’s having the same issues.

What is different about thinking about water-related ecosystems as a whole—such as forests and wetlands—instead of just a river or lake on its own?
Giulio Boccaletti: It is essentially saying that the water sector is quite a bit broader than what people typically think. If you are a forest manager, you are in fact part of the water sector. It puts an emphasis on achieving outcomes of scale across the world, and the performance is very varied. For example, the forests of the West [United States], it’s not a developing country, but you have pine forests where there are all of those fires. All of those forests, which are artificially thick because of forest management practices, need to be ecologically restored and need to be thinned. By doing that you are probably improving the amount of water delivered to places like Arizona, to New Mexico, to San Francisco.
You hear a lot about natural “tipping points”.

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This goal aims to not only protect ecosystems, but also to restore them. How possible is it to do that at this point, and is there a window of opportunity to do so?

Giulio Boccaletti: I think the urgency is mostly about us. That’s the source of it. The good news about freshwater ecosystems is, in some ways, it’s a positive story. The Ohio River in the U.S. was way more polluted than it is today. Before the Clean Water Act was passed, the United States had watershed outcomes that were much worse than they are today. It’s not a one directional story. We know how to do this, we know how to restore an ecosystem. While we may not recover all of what was lost, and someplace like the Mississippi River may never look like it did 200 years ago, we can still restore a lot of its functions.Last year, when they released water down the Colorado River to restore the connection to the sea, the moment the water touched the Delta, it completely revived. In a way, that’s the most obvious demonstration of how nature is actually resilient. It’s not a question of whether you care about nature or not, which we do, but the bigger problem is our population is growing and we need a whole bunch of things that we will struggle to deliver if we don’t regain the balance between ecological needs and human needs. Having healthy ecosystems is a precondition of supplying sustainable services. I think that is the fundamental shift the SDGs are trying to frame.

The Decline of Freshwater Species
Populations of freshwater species have declined more dramatically than populations of terrestrial and marine species.
What challenges and opportunities are presented when the environment is considered as a major water stakeholder, as it has been in places like Australia and California?

Giulio Boccaletti: The challenge is that it introduces some degree of complexity. You might end up having a very simplistic view that nature is simply competitive to human uses. But in someplace like the Murray Darling, it is a very particular kind of ecosystem. Nature is used to periods of floods followed by periods of drought. I think there is a lot of opportunity to be very precise about what are the actual needs of nature.In setting up an institution, if you use Australia as an example, it manages it because of a market system that allows you to be quite precise. We don’t have that level of precision in most of the world, whereas they have an engineered system. We have the opportunity though to get really consistent and precise—what is it really that nature needs? The ecosystem services that nature provides, whether protection from floods, or nitrogen fixation in the environment, typically those processes, as natural infrastructure, fit the low-end of the water cost scale.

What areas are doing well in their efforts to protect water ecosystems, and where does there need to be improvement?

Giulio Boccaletti: It’s very spotty, and the answer is very contextual. Things that worked 100 years ago don’t necessarily work 100 years later, and, frankly, climate change throws a wrench in the plan. What might have been a perfectly viable setup in the environment isn’t when the statistic of rainfall is changing. That complicates it. There are some countries that have done better than others in part because it was easier or because they wanted to do that.This is one of the defining challenges for much of the developing world—will they be able to meet the recipes that are implied by the SDGs? If they did, what they would do is leapfrog from the path that much of the developed countries followed.

 is a news correspondent for Circle of Blue based out of Hawaii. 
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Has Ontario, Canada Figured out how to solve the job crisis?



Ontario Removing Barriers for Out-of-Province Skilled Workers

Government working for workers as it tackles labour shortage by making it easier for in-demand professionals and tradespeople to come work and live in Ontario

Quick Facts

  • There are 144 trades currently prescribed under skilled trades legislation in Ontario.
  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons in Ontario were aged 55 years or older.
  • Ontario currently recognizes 52 of the 55 trades covered by the Red Seal program. The three remaining occupations: Gas Fitter Class A, Gas Fitter Class B, and Oil and Heat Systems Technician, are not yet established as skilled trades in Ontario.

February 25, 2022

LONDON — The Ontario government will introduce changes that would help workers in over 30 in-demand professions move here with their families while continuing their careers. The changes, if passed, would tackle Ontario’s historic labour shortage – the largest in a generation – by ensuring out-of-province workers can register in their regulated profession or trade within 30 days.

“At a time when our government is building Ontario, it’s never been more important that we attract more workers to fill in-demand jobs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “To do so, we’re cutting red tape to make it easier for skilled professionals from across Canada to get the papers they need to work in Ontario, faster. This move opens more doors for workers to call Ontario home while contributing to our plan to build more roads, bridges, highways, homes and public transit.”

Unfilled jobs cost the province billions in lost productivity, and between July and September of 2021, there were 338,835 vacant jobs across Ontario, including many in the skilled trades. To give Ontario a competitive advantage, the government plans to introduce legislation that ensures workers from other provinces can get their credentials processed within a service standard of 30 business days. This would make it easier for engineers, auto mechanics, plumbers and several other regulated professionals Ontario needs to move to the province, fill vacant in-demand jobs and drive economic growth.

“Ontario is leading Canada’s economic growth, but I keep hearing from businesses on Main Street who can’t find the workers they need to grow,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “There are hundreds of thousands of paycheques waiting to be collected. That is why our government is working for workers and leading the country with changes that rebalance the scales and make it clear – we want more skilled professionals and tradespeople to come here.”

In addition, the government is proposing to recognize three fuel-related professions under the province’s skilled trades legislation, meaning Ontario will take steps to officially recognize all 55 Red Seal Trades. The Red Seal Program is a partnership between the federal government and provinces and territories that sets a common standard for apprenticeship training and certification and makes it easier for workers to move between provinces and territories. The full list of Red Seal trades, some of which will benefit from the 30-business-day registration period, includes construction electricians, tool and die makers and others. All these workers will play a crucial role in delivering the province’s infrastructure projects on time and on budget.

Further to these measures, the province is also working towards making it easier for workers who have completed fall protection training in another province to come to work in Ontario. This would include allowing them to start to work immediately after completing a refresher course from an accredited Ontario provider. The province’s new agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, is also harmonizing training standards for a dozen trades. This makes it easier for apprentices from other provinces to continue their training in Ontario.

These actions are part of Ontario’s ambitious plan to attract the best workers from across Canada and around the world by making the province the best place to live, work and raise a family. This follows legislation in the fall to remove unfair and discriminatory barriers against foreign-trained professionals, and the “Right to Disconnect” and the banning of non-compete clauses.

The proposed initiatives announced today build on other measures to support workers and their families that the government intends to introduce this winter, which will be unveiled in the coming days.

Related Topics

Education and Training

Learn about Ontario’s early years, education and training systems. Includes information on child care, elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities, skills training and financial aid. Learn more


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How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda



By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, January 5, 2022

Propaganda is most impactful when people don’t think it’s propaganda, and most decisive when it’s censorship you never knew happened.


When we imagine that the U.S. military only occasionally and slightly influences U.S. movies, we are extremely badly deceived. The actual impact is on thousands of movies made, and thousands of others never made. And television shows of every variety.

The military guests and celebrations of the U.S. military on game shows and cooking shows are no more spontaneous or civilian in origin than the ceremonies glorifying members of the U.S. military at professional sports games — ceremonies that have been paid for and choreographed by U.S. tax dollars and the U.S. military. The “entertainment” content carefully shaped by the “entertainment” offices of the Pentagon and the CIA doesn’t just insidiously prepare people to react differently to news about war and peace in the world. To a huge extent it substitutes a different reality for people who learn very little actual news about the world at all.

The U.S. military knows that few people watch boring and non-credible news programs, much less read boring and non-credible newspapers, but that great masses will eagerly watch long movies and TV shows without too much worrying about whether anything makes sense. We know that the Pentagon knows this, and what military officials scheme and plot as a result of knowing this, because of the work of relentless researchers making use of the Freedom of Information Act. These researchers have obtained many thousands of pages of memos, notes, and script re-writes. I don’t know whether they’ve put all of these documents online — I certainly hope they do and that they make the link widely available. I wish such a link were in giant font at the end of a fantastic new film. The film is called Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood. The Director, Editor, and Narrator is Roger Stahl. The Co-Producers are Matthew Alford, Tom Secker, Sebastian Kaempf. They’ve provided an important public service.

In the film we see copies of and hear quotations from and analysis of much of what has been uncovered, and learn that thousands of pages exist that nobody has yet seen because the military has refused to produce them. Film producers sign contracts with the U.S. military or CIA. They agree to “weave in key talking points.” While unknown quantities of this sort of thing remain unknown, we do know that nearly 3,000 films and many thousands of TV episodes have been given the Pentagon treatment, and many others have been handled by the CIA. In many film productions, the military effectively becomes a co-producer with veto power, in exchange for allowing the use of military bases, weapons, experts, and troops. The alternative is the denial of those things.

But the military is not as passive as this might suggest. It actively pitches new story ideas to movie and TV producers. It seeks out new ideas and new collaborators who might bring them to a theater or laptop near you. Act of Valor actually began life as a recruitment advertisement.

Of course, many movies are made without military assistance. Many of the best never wanted it. Many that wanted it and were denied, managed to get made anyway, sometimes at much greater expense without the U.S. tax dollars paying for the props. But a huge number of movies are made with the military. Sometimes the initial movie in a series is made with the military, and the remaining episodes voluntarily follow the military’s line. Practices are normalized. The military sees huge value in this work, including for recruitment purposes.

The alliance between the military and Hollywood is the main reason that we have lots of big blockbuster movies on certain topics and few if any on others. Studios have written scripts and hired top actors for movies on things like Iran-Contra that have never seen the light of day because of a Pentagon rejection. So, nobody watches Iran-Contra movies for fun the way they might watch a Watergate movie for fun. So, very few people have any notions about Iran-Contra.

But with the reality of what the U.S. military does being so awful, what, you might wonder, are the good topics that do get lots of movies made about them? A lot are fantasy or distortion. Black Hawk Down turned reality (and a book it was “based on”) on its head, as did Clear and Present Danger. Some, like Argo, hunt for small stories within large ones. Scripts explicitly tell audiences that it doesn’t matter who started a war for what, that the only thing that matters is the heroism of troops trying to survive or to rescue a soldier.

Yet, actual U.S. military veterans are often shut out and not consulted They often find movies rejected by the Pentagon as “unrealistic” to be very realistic, and those created with Pentagon collaboration to be highly unrealistic. Of course, a huge number of military-influenced films are made about the U.S. military fighting space aliens and magical creatures — not, clearly, because it’s believable but because it avoids reality. On the other hand, other military-influenced films shape people’s views of targeted nations and dehumanize the humans living in certain places.

Don’t Look Up is not mentioned in Theaters of War, and presumably had no military involvement (who knows?, certainly not the movie-watching public), yet it uses a standard military-culture idea (the need to blow up something coming from outerspace, which in reality the U.S. government would simply love to do and you could hardly stop them) as an analogy for the need to stop destroying the planet’s climate (which you cannot easily get the U.S. government to remotely consider) and not one reviewer notices that the film is an equally good or bad analogy for the need to stop building nuclear weapons — because U.S. culture has had that need effectively excised.

The military has written policies on what it approves and disapproves. It disapproves depictions of failures and crimes, which eliminates much of reality. It rejects films about veteran suicide, racism in the military, sexual harassment and assault in the military. But it pretends to refuse to collaborate on films because they’re not “realistic.”

Yet, if you watch enough of what is produced with military involvement you’ll imagine that using and surviving nuclear war is perfectly plausible. This goes back to the original Pentagon-Hollywood invention of myths about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and runs right up through military influence on The Day After, not to mention the transformation — paid for by people who throw a fit if their tax dollars help prevent someone freezing on the street — of Godzilla from a nuclear warning to the reverse. In the original script for the first Iron Man movie, the hero went up against the evil weapons dealers. The U.S. military rewrote it so that he was a heroic weapons dealer who explicitly argued for more military funding. Sequels stuck with that theme. The U.S. military advertised its weapons of choice in Hulk, Superman, Fast and Furious, and Transformers, the U.S. public effectively paying to push itself to support paying thousands of times more — for weapons it would otherwise have no interest in.

“Documentaries” on the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels are military-made commercials for weapons. “Inside Combat Rescue” on National Geographic is recruitment propaganda. Captain Marvel exists to sell the Air Force to women. Actress Jennifer Garner has made recruitment ads to accompany movies she’s made that are themselves more effective recruitment ads. A movie called The Recruit was largely written by the head of the CIA’s entertainment office. Shows like NCIS push out the military’s line. But so do shows you wouldn’t expect: “reality” TV shows, game shows, talk shows (with endless reunifications of family members), cooking shows, competition shows, etc.

I’ve written before about how Eye in the Sky was openly and proudly both completely unrealistic nonsense and influenced by the U.S. military to shape people’s ideas about drone murders. A lot of people have some small idea of what goes on. But Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood helps us to grasp the scale of it. And once we’ve done that, we may gain some possible insights into why polling finds much of the world fearing the U.S. military as a threat to peace, but much of the U.S. public believing that U.S. wars benefit people who are grateful for them. We may begin to form some guesses as to how it is that people in the United States tolerate and even glorify endless mass-killing and destruction, support threatening to use or even using nuclear weapons, and suppose the U.S. to have major enemies out there threatening its “freedoms.” Viewers of Theaters of War may not all immediately react with “Holy shit! The world must think we’re lunatics!” But a few may ask themselves whether it’s possible that wars don’t look like they do in movies — and that would be a great start.

Theaters of War ends with a recommendation, that movies be required to disclose at the start any military or CIA collaboration. The film also notes that the United States has laws against propagandizing the U.S. public, which might make such a disclosure a confession of a crime. I would add that since 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has required that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

To learn more about this film, view it, or host a screening of it, go here.

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Sharing Surplus: An Ethic of Care



A Call to Practice an Ethic of Care by Sharing Surplus

Bo Lind Knudsen
(Image by Bo Lind Knudsen)

Given the institutions that today´s dominant economic science and today´s prevailing common sense assume, sustainable good jobs for everybody, paid for by the wage funds created by the sale of products the employees contribute to making, will never happen. There will never come a day when there are enough employers finding it profitable to hire workers and pay them well to create sustainable good jobs for everyone who needs one.1

Consequently, in tomorrow´s functional world now being built from materials available in today´s dysfunctional world –speaking in terms of the flows of income identified by Adam Smith– satisfying basic needs and freeing people to pursue Maslow´s higher needs2 can only be completed (it can be taken part way by salaries paid from wage funds) by relying on transfers of surplus, typically from the non-wage flows of income Smith called profits and rents. Property income.

Surplus income, as distinct from most labour income, is still today typically profits and rents. Such income is a typical location where surplus, defined as discretionary income eligible to be transferred from where it is not needed to where it is needed, is often found. Whether or not some part of profit or rent is surplus, and how to use it, are matters for ethical deliberation.3 The deliberation has just begun, and is far from ending, when a given sum is classified as profit or rent. But since mere mortals cannot stand so much uncertainty and hard thinking, human cultures cut it short by practicing simple authoritative customs –determining for example which kin get which piece of meat when a hunter kills a deer. Modern societies (Weber´s Gesellschaften), organized principally by contracts and property rights,4 are customary too, but customary in a different way. They are basically organized by the property and contract rights (the institutional frame) that made possible Smith´s neat three-part division of income flows into wages, profits, and rents.

One can add to profits and rents twenty first century sources of surplus that Smith in the eighteenth century did not think of. One is the astronomical surpluses paid to powerful executives in a position to inflate their own compensation packages5. Another source is the small surpluses of middle- class people who retire on good pensions. There are many more, even though, as anyone who has reviewed her or his personal or family budget finds, there are no cut and dried simple rules defining what is and is not surplus available to be shared.

Taking a larger view, leaving the sphere of the science Smith founded altogether, one can consider all the ways a human being depends on other human beings (and on nature) for need-satisfaction, starting with the newborn´s first urge to suckle its mother´s milk.

It follows from Smith´s worldview that some people lose. They have no profits or rent because they own no income-producing property. They earn no wages because nobody hires them. In addition, mini businesses started with mini credits are never sufficient to turn all losers into winners because of lack of customers. And so on.6 The existence of losers that is a consequence of basic social structure has been going on for so long that it has come to be considered natural.

I find it morally intolerable not to aim for the inclusion of everybody in the benefits of social cooperation by means of sustainable good jobs for everybody or in some other way. It hardens hearts and poisons minds to take it for granted as a fact that there will be losers in the game of life. It implies not caring. It legitimates not caring as a moral norm.

That in life some win, and some lose was and is a “fact” unknown to those indigenous peoples whose social structures were and are organized by kinship7. It is a “fact” that was unknown in matristic societies before the rise of patriarchy.8 It was a “fact” that temporarily disappeared in Sweden and in Austria after World War II until globalization demoted social democracy from the status of humanity´s future to the status of a holding action slowing down the dismantling of yesterday´s welfare state in order to lower wages and taxes to levels compatible with being competitive in global markets.9

That some must lose is a “fact” created by the constitutive rules of market society, summarized by Darcia Narvaez as “competitive detachment”10 and by André Orléan as séparation marchande.11

Too many economists treat high growth, low inflation, and low unemployment as three measures of economic success, not always compatible with each other, so that it is necessary to accept less of one to get more of another. Too many economists settle for policies that deliberately create some unemployment because full employment would be inflationary, and because it would discourage growth by raising wages hence weakening the inducement to invest.

It might also be said that all economists teach that it is a fact that there are and must be losers in life, because any scholar who does not accept what Joseph Schumpeter called the institutional frame of economics –within which it can never be the case that there are enough employers who find it profitable to offer everybody who needs it steady employment at good wages-– is by definition not an economist.

This way of seeing the matter would place dissidents who study economics as critics more than as believers outside the camp of the economists. As long as we talk this way, they would not be true economists at all, because true economists believe and endorse the concepts that define their discipline. But we do not need to talk this way all the time. “Economist” would be far from being the only word that it is convenient to use in different senses in different contexts.

Sharing surplus, defined as moving resources from where they are not needed to where they are needed, is not a new idea. For Saint Thomas Aquinas writing in the thirteenth century –and echoed today by the teachings of Catholic and mainline Protestant churches—whatever you or I may own does not belong only to ourselves. It also belongs to whomever we are able to help with our surplus.12 Nor is it a forgotten idea. As we speak millions of people around the world are sharing –sharing money, time, expertise, food, clothing, and whatever they have and can spare—to help others.13 Governments and other large organizations also devote themselves to meeting needs because they are needs. Today, in 2021, I want to suggest that calling for renewed emphasis on this old and well-remembered idea has new meanings in the light of at least five contemporary game-changers:

Humankind´s number one existential challenge today is environmental, not social. If our species fails to reinvent itself to adapt to physical reality, the game will be over.
But environment and social justice cannot be separated, while neither can be separated from the systemic imperatives implied by the dynamic of accumulation that moves the system. The self-interest of powerful people who want to make money by making profitable investments, even when those same investments make doomsday more certain and more proximate, does not fully explain why solemn agreements to respect mother nature shrivel into dead letters time and time again. People want jobs. People need jobs. The system needs investments to keep going, while its basic structure implies a chronic tendency for investments (and jobs) to be too few.14

Existential crises call for objective reasoning and cooperation, and frequently crises call for self-sacrifice for the sake of the common good. But today, as in the 1930s, existential crises coincide with rising tides of unreasoning anger, shameless liars and manipulators, mass desperation, violence, and political insanity. So far, the recent political insanity that most threatens humanity´s future is in the United States. Mass desperation surfaces in behaviour like that of the economic migrants who crowd into leaky boats to cross illegally from North Africa to Italy, and in the behaviour of economic migrants who walk on foot from Honduras to the Mexico-United States border.

We have –or at least I would propose for discussion the thesis that we have—reached a point in history where nothing would better serve the objective interests of the rich than an end to poverty. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, both epidemiologists, have assembled statistical data in support of a related thesis: high income people benefit from living in societies where wealth is relatively equally shared when such societies are compared to others where the gaps between haves and have-nots are extreme.15 How to end poverty, in one form or another, is regularly at the top of the agenda of the meetings of the World Social Forum and those of World Economic Forum. Nevertheless, the dynamics of the system in place continue to call for government policies (like tax exemptions and subsidies …etc.) guaranteeing high profits that exacerbate inequality, in order to attract capital and in order to avoid capital flight. Systemic imperatives often call for keeping wages low (and often for more violent forms of repression of labour) in order to keep the selling price of exports competitive in global markets.16 In the past it has often been a no-brainer to conclude that the system favours the rich and oppresses the poor. Getting used to the idea that at this point in history the apparent winners are in the last analysis losers too, requires escaping from mental models that fitted the past better than they fit the present. What the dynamics of competitive capital accumulation tend to force entrepreneurs and governments to do –we just saw an example in point two above, regarding environment vs. profits and jobs– does not equal what it is objectively in anybody´s best interest to do. This reflection leads to seeing educational and organizational paths to change that avoid drawing a certain common pessimistic conclusion. That pessimistic conclusion is: A modification of the system fundamental enough to make sustainable dignified livelihoods for all possible, and to make escaping ecological catastrophe possible, could only be achieved by violent revolutions; but violent revolutions with such aims are no longer possible; and if they were possible they would not be desirable.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted fundamental problems. A post-Covid-19 world may be a world where greater awareness of fundamental problems catalyses greater ability to solve them. One has already been mentioned. It is the insecurity of the rich caused by the continued existence of the poor, manifest for examples in criminal violence and in the spread of contagious diseases. A second is the insecurity of the poor, manifested in lack of access to medical care and lack of resources to fall back on when lockdowns stop normal economic activity. A third is a central issue for the future: Will the new technologies that multiply productivity beyond anything known in the past17 be the intellectual property of a few billionaires, entitled by law to live in luxury while ignoring the vital needs of everyone else? Or will the benefits of what used to be called ““universal labour” (advances in knowledge) be truly universal? These questions have been brought to a head by the conflict between the legal right of pharmaceutical companies to withhold vaccines from those who cannot pay, and their moral duty to use their surplus to help those in need. A fourth fundamental problem has been caused by the bogus neoliberal twin concepts of economic efficiency and free trade. When Covid-19 struck, the peoples of the world discovered to their dismay that they had lost self-sufficiency and resilience. “Efficiency” and “free trade” had made virtually every country in the world dependent on China for antibiotics, and on a few suppliers for computer chips. And so on. To meet many vital needs, the peoples of the world depended on long and complex supply chains over which they had no control. Covid-19 made it a priority to study the ways of life of indigenous ancestors who knew how to live on the land where they were located, and who were bonded one with another in kinship groups jointly responsible for each other´s welfare.18

Where do we go from here?


1 This claim is supported by detailed analysis and evidence in Howard Richards with Gavin Andersson, Economic Theory and Community Development. Lake Oswego OR: Dignity Press, 2021. For analysis see especially chapters three and four; for an empirical illustration chapter five. The claim is generally in accord with schools of thought that see a chronic insufficiency of good employment opportunities as a permanent consequence of the basic structure of the system, and not only as a temporary consequence of, e.g. being in a downturn of the business cycle, adjusting to new technologies, governments and unions that are not business-friendly, underdevelopment, or exogenous shocks. E.g. Harry Magdoff, and Paul Sweezy, The Deepening Crisis of US Capitalism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969.

2 While denying or modifying the notion that higher needs must await the satisfaction of lower needs, one can improve on economics considering Maslow´s short list of what human needs are: physiological, safety, belongness and love, esteem (dignity), self-actualization and self-transcendence. A.H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, Volume 50 (1943) pp., 370-396.

3 See Dave Elder-Vass, Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

4 The classic account of how modern contract and property law grew out of earlier social forms in Europe is Sir Henry Maine´s Ancient Law. London: John Murray, 1861. For an account of how European institutions became global institutions see Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. London: Zed Books, 1998.

5 For examples see Andrew Sayer. Why We Can´t Afford the Rich. Bristol: Policy Press, 2015.

6 Kate Philip, Markets on the Margins: Mineworkers, Job Creation, & Enterprise Development. Woodbridge, United Kingdom: James Curry, 2018.

7 Wahinke Topa and Darcia Narvaez, Restoring the Kinship Worldview. Berkeley CA: North Atlantic Books, 2022.

8 Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess. London: Thames and Hudson, 2001.

9 Howard Richards with the assistance of Gavin Andersson, Economic Theory and Community Development. Lake Oswego OR: Dignity Press, 2021. Chapter Seven. Another way of looking at social democracy´s decline is to say that it proved to be incompatible with the neo-roman juridical framework that Max Weber identified in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft as a prerequisite for capitalism. Howard Richards and Joanna Swanger, The Dilemmas of Social Democracies. Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006. That framework established neo-Roman property rights and enforceable contracts. (Pacta sunt servanda). Globalization itself can be seen as made possible by the same basic legal principles, also called the same basic social structures, enforced on a global scale Howard Richards with David Faubion, Understanding the Global Economy. Santa Barbara CA: Peace Education Books, 2004. A new edition (2021) is available from Akhia Andersson.


11 André Orléan, L´Empire de la valeur: refonder l’économie. Paris: Seuil, 2011.

12 Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae. II II, Question 32, Article V, reply to second objection. (various editions)

13 People who practice caring and sharing report that they experience higher levels of happiness and health. See David Schroeder and William Graziano (editors), The Oxford Handbook of Prosocial Behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015; David Servan-Schreiber, Anticancer: A New Way of Life. New York: Viking, 2008.

14 “The weakness of the inducement to invest has been at all times the key to the economic problem.” John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. London: Macmillan, 1936 pp. 347-48.

15 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level. London: Allen Lane, 2009.

16 Ellen Meiksins Wood, Empire of Capital. London: Verso, 2003.

17 Peter Diamandis and Stephen Kotler, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. New York: Free Press, 2012

18 Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Practices. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

Source: Pressenza

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Right to Repair Bill Introduced in Congress



Hot on the heels of last week’s victory in the New York state senate, the fight for Right to Repair comes to the US Congress. Today, Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY) introduced the first broad federal Right to Repair bill: the Fair Repair Act.

“As electronics become integrated into more and more products in our lives, Right to Repair is increasingly important to all Americans,” said Kyle Wiens, iFixit CEO. Lawmakers everywhere are realizing the need to protect our Right to Repair—along with progress in the EU and Australia, 27 US states introduced Right to Repair legislation this year, a record number.

“Every year I’ve worked on Right to Repair, it’s gotten bigger, as more and more people want to see independent repair protected,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of Rep. Joe Morelle has been a champion for much of that journey, sponsoring legislation while in the Statehouse in Albany starting in 2015. Everywhere you go, people just want to be able to choose for themselves how to fix their stuff. You’d think manufacturers would wise up.”

Congressman Joe Morelle’s federal bill would require manufacturers to provide device owners and independent repair businesses with access to the parts, tools, and information they need to fix electronic devices.

“For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment,” said Congressman Morelle. “It’s long past time to level the playing field, which is why I’m so proud to introduce the Fair Repair Act and put the power back in the hands of consumers. This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve.”

“Right to Repair just makes sense,” said Nathan Proctor, U.S. PIRG Senior Right to Repair Campaign Director. “It saves money and it keeps electronics in use and off the scrap heap. It helps farmers keep equipment in the field and out of the dealership. No matter how many lobbyists Apple, Microsoft or John Deere and the rest of the manufacturers throw at us, Right to Repair keeps pushing ahead, thanks to champions like Rep. Joe Morelle.”

“At iFixit, we believe that big tech companies shouldn’t get to dictate how we use the things we own or keep us from fixing our stuff.” said iFixit’s US Policy Lead, Kerry Maeve Sheehan. “We applaud Congressman Morelle for taking the fight for Right to Repair to Congress and standing up for farmers, independent repair shops, and consumers nationwide.”

We’re pleased to see Congress taking these problems seriously. In addition to supporting Congressman Morelle’s Fair Repair Act, we urge Congress to pass much-needed reforms to Section 1201 of the Copyright Act, to clarify that circumventing software locks to repair devices is always legal, and to expressly support the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to tackle unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive repair restrictions.

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