THE SIMPLER WAY:

WORKING FOR TRANSITION FROM CONSUMER SOCIETY TO
A SIMPLER, MORE COOPERATIVE, JUST AND ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY.

Ted (F.E.)Trainer,

Social Work, University of NSW, Kensington 2052.

 

SUMMARY

1. THE GLOBAL SITUATION

Global problems cannot be solved without huge and fundamental change, because they are directly caused by our present socio-economic system.

The basic cause of the problems is over-consumption -- the grossly unsustainable demand for high material "living standards" in a world of limited resources. We cannot keep up the present levels of production and consumption and resource use for long, and there is no possibility of all the world's people ever rising to these levels. People in rich countries have these high "living standards" only because we are taking much more than our fair share of the available resources and depriving the majority.

Even though present levels of production and consumption are unsustainable this economic system must have constant and endless increase in output, i.e., economic growth. A sustainable world order is not possible unless we move to much less production and consumption, and much less affluent lifestyles within a steady-state economic system.

Our second major mistake is allowing the market to determine our fate. An economy which relies heavily on free market forces will inevitably allocate most of the world's wealth to the few, produce inappropriate development, destroy the environment, and ignore the needs of the majority. What is done must be determined by what humans and ecosystems need, not by what is most profitable in a market.

Underlying these faults is a culture based on competition, individualism, acquisitiveness, wealth and luxury. There must be a value change to much more concern with cooperation, sharing, helping, caring, collective welfare and living more simply.

Technical advance cannot solve these problems. It cannot make a big enough difference to levels of resource use and ecological impact. It cannot eliminate the need for radical change in our "living standards", values and economy.

Consumer-capitalist society cannot be fixed -- reforms to it will not solve the problems. Its basic structures and systems must be replaced.

2. THE SOLUTION.

We cannot achieve a sustainable and just world order unless we change to,


- Simpler lifestyles, much less production and consumption, much less concern with luxury, affluence, possessions and wealth.

- Small, highly self-sufficient local economies, largely independent of the global economy.


- More cooperative and participatory ways, enabling people in small communities to take control of their own development.


- A new economy, one not driven by profit or market forces, and  a zero-growth or steady-state overall economy,  which produces much less  than the present economy.


- Some very different values, especially cooperation not competition, and frugality and self-sufficiency not acquisitiveness and consuming.


The Simpler Way is about ensuring a very high quality of life for all without anywhere near as much production, consumption, exporting, investment, resource use, environmental damage, work etc. as ther e is now.  There are many rich alternative sources of satisfaction other than material acquisition and consuming.  Consider having much time for arts and crafts and personal growth, living in a rich and supportive community, having to go to work for money only two days a week,  living in a diverse and productive leisure-rich landscape, having socially worthwhile and enjoyable work with no fear of unemployment...and knowing you are not contributing to global problems. There is no need to sacrifice modern technology to achieve these benefits.

The fate of the planet depends on whether initiatives such as the Transition Towns movement can provide many impressive examples of sustainable, just and pleasant ways showing people in consumer society that there is a better way.

The main purpose of this website is to provide information which will help people in their efforts to educate about the need for change to The Simpler Way.

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LIST OF DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE

1. ISSUE SUMMARIES:

THE SIMPLER WAY; Our global perspective.

SUMMARY (2 pages.)
SUMMARY (6 pages.)
FULL/MAIN ACCOUNT
(14 pages.)

OUR UNSUSTAINABLY AFFLUENT SOCIETY.

OUR UNSUSTAINABLY AFFLUENT SOCIETY (5 pages)

THE LIMITS TO GROWTH ANALYSIS.

SUMMARY. (3 pages.)

LIMITS (short account. ( 6 pages.)
MAIN ACCOUNT    (c. 24 pages.)

THE ENVIRONMENT PROBLEM.

THE ENVIRONMENT PROBLEM. (11 pages.)

THIRD WORLD DEVELOPMENT

Short account (8 pages)
More detailed... MAIN ACCOUNT   (22 pages.)

THE ECONOMY -- BASIC SOURCE OF THE PROBLEMS.

BRIEF SUMMARY. (2 pages.)
THE ECONOMY; A CRITICAL SUMMARY.  ( 7 pages.)
THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM; A RADICAL CRITIQUE (47 pages. 111KB)

Parts 1.Growth. 2.Market. 3.Money. 4. Economic theory.

THE NEW ECONOMY (34 pages.)

OUR EMPIRE

OUR EMPIRE; The essentials. ( 2 pages).
OUR EMPIRE; ITS NATURE AND MAINTENANCE
(c. 27 pages.)

PEACE AND CONFLICT

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT, from the perspective of The Simpler Way. (6 pages.)

SOCIAL BREAKKDOWN, COHESION, QUALITY OF LIFE.

SOCIAL BREAKDOWN (12 pages.)

THE ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY.

BRIEF OUTLINE.  (4 pages.)
THE ALTERNATIVE, SIMPLER WAY. (This is the detailed, 20 page account.)

THE TRANSITION TO THE SIMPLER WAY.

THE TRANSITION PROCESS.

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PIGFACE POINT; An educational site in the Sydney region introducing people to limits to growth and alternative society themes.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SITE.

A GUIDED TOUR OF THE SITE, IN PICTURES.

There are about 150 pictures here, plus notes outlining the ideas we deal with on the approximately 3 hour guided tour. They are in 14 sets of about 7-11 pictures each.

Set 1,Set 2, Set 3, Set 4, Set 5, Set 6, Set 7, Set 8, Set 9, Set 10 , Set 11, Set 12, Set 13, Set 14.

 

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2. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

ON KEY THEMES.



These are in general large collections of quotes showing that there is extensive supoport for the critical or "simpler way" view.

THE LIMITS TO GROWTH: Collected Documents. (43K)

ECONOMICS: Collected Documents. (249 K)

GLOBALISATION; Collected Documents... contents, and links to sections.

The whole 615 K collection

THIRD WORLD DEVELOPMENT.

OUR EMPIRE; Its Nature and Functioning: Collected Documents

INEQUALITY.

PEACE; From The Simpler Way Perspective.

THE SUSTAINABLE, ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY: Collected Documents

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 THE WAY IT COULD BE. This is a c. 293 page novel describing the experiences of a person who visits a fictitional settlement that has adopted Simpler Way principles. it is available here in 6 half-day parts, or in a single (2.06 MB) edition. This might be a more convenient "story" form for some people to become acquqinted with the detail of The Simpler Way.

A 5 page outline.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

All in one piece, 2.06 MB.

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3. ARTICLES: ALPHABETICAL INDEX.


Papers from a radically critical position on limits to growth, the economy, Third World, the environment, and the alternative society, etc.

Several of these documents overlap, and different versions of the same account (e.g., short and long) are sometimes given for use with different audiences.  Please use the version that suits your purposes.
                ____________________________________

A NORMAL WORK DAY

...A normal work day in consumer society and in The Simpler Way...indicating the variety and satisfqction we could have.

ACADEMIC JARGON

     The Sokal Affair; A note. On the pretetious gobbledegook academics often engage in.

AFFLUENT SOCIETY

 Our Unsustainable Affluent Society; Outline of the ways  consumer society  uses and wastes resources.  ( 5 pages.)

How Cheaply We Could Live.  (C 30 pages.) Summarises  how very non-affluently we could live, with a  high quality of life. Much the same as Ch.4 in The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, Envirobook, 2010.

The Problem of Affluence. Critical statement of the quest for affluence as the fundamental mistake underlying global problems.(6 pages.)

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture; Conventional vs Alternative; a three page contrast between the two approches.

ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY. (i.e., the  form a sustainable society must take.)

The Simpler Way alternative society is discussed in detail in The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, Enviorobook, 2010.

The Alternative, Sustainable Society: The Simpler Way. This is the most complete statement, in the summaries above... c. 20 pages.

 The Alternative..Brief Outline....4 page summary.

THE WAY IT COULD BE. This is a c. 250 page novel describing the experiences of a person who visits a fictitional settlement that has adopted Simpler Way principles. (it is in 6 half-day parts. )

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

There are two accounts of the way I live, making much the same points, in order to show the benefits of the alternative way The second goes through a fairly normnal day, then adds the benefits commujnity woujld add. The first mixes the two themes.

My (Delightful) Day. ( 15 pages.) This is intended to illustrate the benefits of living a simnpler way, but is not meant to stsate how everyone shouyld live. My circumstances, and preferences, are not typical. For a general account of the kind of alternative all could enjoy, and its benefits see Your Delightful Day.

Your (Delightful) Day. The kind of daily life we could all have, working little of the time for money, having much time for arts and crafts and community activities, being secure in a supportive community etc. Whether or not we will achieve the transition depends mostly on whether we can persuade people to see The Simpler Way as liberating us for a much higher quality of life.

"How cheaply we could live."  Overlaps largely with "The Alternative, Sustainable Society", but focuses on resource and dollar savings.
 
The benefits of The Simpler Way. Two pages.

The New Economy. (30 pages)

ANARCHISM

Anarchism; A note on connections with The simpler Way. ( A basically Anarchist political philosophy underlies The Simpler Way.)

The Spanish Anarchist Collectives. The remarkable achievements of the workers collectives during the Spanish Civil War; indicating how ordinary people can organise and run local economies without the state or bureaucracy.

ANZAC DAY.

"Why ANZAC Day is so disturbing." This is a commentary on the failure to think carefully about the causes of war.

BENEFITS OF THE SIMPLER WAY

A two page list.

There are two accounts of the way I live, making much the same points, in order to show the benefits of the alternative way The second goes through a fairly normnal day, then adds the benefits commujnity woujld add. The first mixes the two themes.

 The Way I Live,  (8 pages.)

My (delightful) day. ( 15 pages.)

Your (Delightful) Day. The kind of daily life we could all have, similar to My (delightful) day, above.

CAPITAL.

"Thinking about capital", Two page article explaining that often capital does not need to be borrowed for development, especially by nations.

CAPITALISM

CAPITALISM; A Brief Critical Outline.

Is A Humane Capitalism Possible? Short argument that is is not possible to reform capitalism so that it ceases to generate huge global problems.

See also itmns under Econonmics, The economy , Development, and The Case Against the Market.

CARTOONS.

Cartoons plus commentary, putting the critical perspective on several core themes in the critical perspective on the economy and on Third World development.

CONVENTIONAL VS APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT; THE ESSENTIALS. A two page list of contrasting points. Several items on Third World.development are under Development below.

CONFLICT/WAR/PEACE.

PEACE; From the Perspective of The Simpler Way. A short statement of the connections between overconsumption, global economic injustice, and inevitable and worsening global conflict.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT; Collected Documents. Quotes relating to the above themes.

CRIME

A note on crime fromthe Simpler Way perspetive.

DEBT

Money, Banking, Debt and Interest...and locl currencies.  Outline of some basic themes. (14 pages.)
Notes on the history of debt. Four pages.

DEVELOPMENT (...of the Third World)

The following items all put much the same critical perspective. See also Globalisation, and Our Empire.

Third World Development: Short outline of the critical perspective. (c 4 pages.)

Third World Development, Main more detailed account,( revised slightly in The Transition to a Sustsainable and Just World,Ted Trainer, Envirobook, 2010.)...c 16   pages.)

Development ...Their Way and Ours. (6 pp.) A brief contrast between conventional and alternative development, focused on the production of eggs in industrial egg factories with huge overhead dollar and energy costs, and the village/household chicken pen way.

Third World Development DOCUMENTS;   Large collection of extracts. Extensive evidence for the critical position. Contents page at the beginning. (Most of this material was collected to the early 2000s; not since.)

APPROPRIATE Third World Development, a four page list of principles. See also second half of the paper "What does development mean; A rejection of the unidimensional concept".

PEDRO' DEVELOPMENT. This is a play/role reading, attempting to present 17 issues briefly in a form suitable for high school students.

EARTH-BUILT HOUSING

Cheap, earth-built housing.  (Material for this section  is being  developed.)
ECONOMIC GROWTH.
The case against growth.

ECONOMIC RATIONALISM. (The Neo-Liberal agenda, the Washington Consensus.)

This theme is central within the analyses inthe Economic System section below. Additiobnal short items are,

 "The Neo-liberal agenda; What is really going on."  The Neo-liberal assertion of need for free markets etc should be seen as a push by corporae rich to take over even more of the world's wealth.. (2 pp).

"Economic rationalism has not failed." (4 page article.)

 "Illustrating the nature of neo-liberalism." The essential refusal to "cross-subsidise" or achieve non-economic goals (i.e.,  only profit maximisation matters) is evident when Maleny "town bank", and provision of shipping pilots, are considered.  (2 p.)
 

ECONOMIC SYSTEM 

 "The economy; A two page summary. This is a very  brief statement of The Simpler Way perspective on the economy.)

 THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM; A RADICAL CRITIQUE (47 pages.) This is the detailed discussion, in four sections,:

Contents ; i.e., sub-sections in the four sections below.

Growth. (However a c. 10 pp more recent crit of growth is in The Case Against Growth.) below.

Market forces and production for profit. (However a more recent crit of the market is in The Case Against the Market. below. See also notes on Polanyi and Tawney.

Money, interest, debt.

Economic theory.

Two specific critical analyses, drawing out themes in above accounts:

The Case Against Growth.

The Case Against the Market.

Capitalism; A brief critical introduction.(3 pages.)

Chapter 4 of The Trasnsition to a Sustainable and Just World, Envirobook, 2010 provides a recent detailed critique of the economy, much the same as above 47 ppl account. See also Ch. 6 on Third World development.(Book outline.)

The new economy; 34 page account of The Simpler Way economy (also detailed in Ch.4 of The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World. (Book outline.)

ECO-TOURISM

The difference between tourism (bad) and ecotourism (good.)

EDUCATION

Education; Outline of a Rdically Critical View.

Education; How should we Conceive It?

Education in the Alternative, Sustainable Society.

These three educational issues are discussed somewhat more briefly in the book, The Transition to a Sustsainable and Just World, 2010, Chapter 9.
 

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS FOR USE IN SCHOOLS ETC. The following items are  specially intended for use by teachers wishing to present The Simpler Way.

 Several short issue summaries are listed above, c. 2 - 4 pages.

Pedro's Development.  A role reading making clear the unsatisfactory  nature of the conventional approach to development.

CARTOONS.Several cartoons plus commentary, putting the critical   perspective on core themes in Third World development.

EMPIRE. (...i.e., the empire which delivers high living standards to rich countries.)

Our Empire; Essential Themes (2 pages)

Our Empire; Its Nature and Maintenance. (c 23 pages.)

Our Empire; Collected Documents. (c 80 pages.)

ENERGY

See Renewable Energy, below.

ENVIRONMENT.

Saving the environment; What it will take. ...This is a 10 page argument that the environbmental problem can't be solved in or by consumer capitalist society; it can only be solved if there is transition to The Simpler Way.

FEMINISM.

Connections between feminism and The Simpler Way.


GLOBAL ECOVILLAGE MOVEMENT.

  "The Significance of the Global Ecovillage Movement."  A 10 page article   arguing that in view of the global crisis the Eco-village movement   is extremely important, because it must provide examples of the   sustainable alternative to consumer society, but also arguing that   the performance of the movement to date is not as satisfactory as it   should be.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT; From the Perspective of The Simpler Way. A short statement of the connections between overconsumption, global economic injustice, and inevitable and worsening global conflict.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT; Collected Documents. Quotes relating to the above themes.

GLOBALISATION


Globalisation:A Summary. c.10 page overview.
 
See within The Economic System; Why It Must be Scrapped; ( Brief statement of the basic The Simpler Way account.)

"Two common mistakes about globalisation";   Paper arguing that    globalisation is inevitable given capitalist society, and that the    limits to growth analysis means there can be little international   trade in a sustainable world order.

 "The Neo-liberal agenda; What is really going on."  The Neo-liberal assertion of need for free markets etc should be seen as a push by corporae rich to take over even more of the world's wealth.. (2 pp).

GLOBALISATION; DOCUMENTS; Large collection of quotes, evidence, notes.  Contents page.
 

GREED

"The problem of affluence"

GREENPEACE Energy (R)evolution Report; A critique.

This report has been influential, being the core reference in the IPCC's 2011 report which is being taken to show that renewable energy can meet most of the world's 2050 demand for energy. This critique details reasons for regarding the Greenpeace report as making little or no contribution to the issue, not establishing its claims, and of giving a mistaken impression re the potential of renewables. For the negative case on their potential, see Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive society. ..(276KB)

GREENHOUSE PROBLEM.

The TSW case against the possibility of solving the greenhouse problem centrres on the limits to renewable energy. The most recent statements of this case are under RENEWABLE ENERGY, below.

The greenhouse problem; Why you won't solve it. A somewhat dated 6 page argument that consumer-capitalist society cannot solve the problem. It will not be possible to sustain anticipated energy demand on renewables and without using a lot of fossil fuels. A stronger case can now be put; see undr RENEWABLE ENERGY, below.

The Garnaut, IPCC and Stern Reports: Flawed energy analysis underlying mitigation optimism. This is a 15 page radical critique, arguing that the three highly influential reports all fail to consider the reasons why renewable energy sources cannot replace fossil fuels. It is now somewhat dated; better data has been used in the more recnt items on the limits of renewables, see under RENEWABLE ENERGY, below.

GROWTH

The case against growth. See also within The Transition to a Sustsainable and Just World, Ted Trainer, Envirobook, 2010 ,(Summary) Chapter 4 is a critique of the economy.

Thoughts on the NSW CASSE project for a trasition to a steady-state economy. (6 pp.) Argues that most do not recognise the magnitude of the task. Some very radical implications are listed.

See also the De-Growth topic above..

"HELPING DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE".   

An article explaining how community workers are in an ideal position to help develop alternative/sustainable communities

HOW CHEAPLY COULD WE LIVE WELL    (27 pages.)

An attempt to assess the very low dollar, energy and footprint costs that might be associated with a high quality of life via The Simpler Way. It seems that present costs might be cut by 90%.

HUMAN NATURE.

Notes arguing that there is nothing in our "nature" that prevents us from developing a satisfactory society.

IMPERIALISM

Accounts of the empire which delivers high living standards to rich countries.

Our Empire; Essential Themes (2 pages)

Our Empire; Its Nature and Maintenance. (c 23 pages.)

Our Empire; Collected Documents. (c 80 pages.)

INEQUALITY

Documentary evidence on degree of inequality in society, and accelerating increases, see Economics: Collected Documents; Section 10.

INTEREST

MONEY, BANKING, DEBT AND  LOCAL CURRENCES.

IPPC

A critical analysis of the 2011 IPCC Working Group 3 report on the potential of renewable energy. This report is being quoted as establishing that renewables couldmeet most of the world's energy demand in 20-50. This critique ag=rgues that the reportr does not establishn this, and is quite unsatisfactory for a number of reasons.

A critical discussion of the IPCCs 4AR (2007) analysis of the poetntial for mitigating CO2 emissions is given in The Garnaut, IPCC and Stern Reports: Flawed energy analysis underlying mitigation optimism. This is a 15 page radical critique, arguing that the three highly influential reports all fail to consider the reasons why renewable energy sources cannot replace fossil fuels. It was published as Trainer, T., (2010), “A critical discussion of the Stern and IPCC analyses of carbon emission mitigation possibilities and costs, “ Energy & Environment, Vol. 21, No. 2, 49 – 73.

(On the limits of renewables, see Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive society. ..(276KB)

A critical analysis of the 2011 IPCC Working Group 3 report on the potential of renewable energy. This report is being quoted as establishing that renewables couldmeet most of the world's energy demand in 20-50. This critique agrgues that the reportr does not establishn this, and is quite unsatisfactory for a number of reasons.

LEFT ANALYSES...critique of..

For a 25 pp critique of the left fromn the perspective of The Simpler Way, see A limits to growth critique of the radical left; The need to embrace The Simpler Way.


LETS

 
 "We need more than LETS."  An article arguing that a Letsystem is    valuable but far from sufficient for local economic renewal. For what is needed see "Can we set up a cooperative community firm?"


LIMITS TO GROWTH ANALYSIS, THE


 The Limits to Growth, The basic Simpler Way account. (c 25 pages.)

The Limits to Growth. (2 page outline)

LOCAL CURRENCIES

Money, banking, debt and local currencies.

LOVINS, Amory

A short critical comment on Reinventing Fire, 2012.

For a critical paper on the "technical fix" position put by A. Lovins et al in the book Natural Capitalism see "Natural capitalism cannot overcome resource limits", paper by T. Trainer. The reductions discussed in the book do not show that "factor 4" reductions in overal materials and energy use can be made, and more importantly the book's assumptions re energy availability, especially gas and renewables, are highly challengeable. A wider and more recent critique of the Technical Fix view see “But Can’t Technical Advance Solve the Problems?”

MARKET FORCES, MARKET SYSTEM  
 Argument against allowing the market to dominate, see The Case Against the Market ( main short statement). See also within Ch. 4 of The Transiton to a Sustsainable and Just World, T. Trainer, Envirobooks, 2010 (summary,) and within The Economic  System, and within The Third World. See also Notes on Karl Polanyi's book, The Great Transformation, for a critique of the market.

MARX.


 What's Marx about? A three page list of basic ideas.

 "Why Marx matters",

An Introductory  Outline of Marxist Theory. (c. 16 pages.)

A limits to growth critique of the radical left; The need to embrace The Simpler Way. A 25 page critique, arguing that the traditional radical left fails to take limits issues on board, and this means their view of the alternative sustainable society, and of the transition theory and practice, are seriously mistaken.

MONEY

Money, banking, debt and local currencies.

MORALITY: The subjectvist perspective.

A short outline of this perspetive is at The Nature of Morality; The Suvbjectivist Perspective.

The first three chapters from the book The Nature of Morality, Ted Trainer, Avebury, c. 1980.

MY (DELIGHTFUL) DAY.

An indication of the way I spend my day at my bush homestead,intended to illustrate the way we could live in a Simpler Way society...many varied things to do, with low resource and dollar costs.

Much the same themes are explained in Your Delightful Day, aimed at persuading people that they would find life in The Simpler Way far more enjoyable than in the consumer rat race.

NEO-LIBERAL AGENDA (THE)

    "The Neo-Liberal agenda; What is really going on."

          See also Economic System, and/or Economic Rationalism, above, and The Case Against the Market.

OUR EMPIRE

Accounts of the empire which delivers high living standards to rich countries.

Our Empire; Essential Themes (2 pages)

Our Empire; Its Nature and Maintenance. (c 23 pages.)

Our Empire; Collected Documents. (c 80 pages.)

PEACE AND CONFLICT.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT; From the Perspective of The Simpler Way. A short statement of the connections between overconsumption, global economic injustice, and inevitable and worsening global conflict.

GLOBAL PEACE AND CONFLICT; Collected Documents. Quotes relating to the above themes.

"If you want affluence, prepare for war", Ted Trainer, Democracy and Nature,8, 2, July, 2002. An academic paper explaining how rich world high "living standards" involve us in taking far more than our fair share of world resources, and therefore in support of oppressive regimes, use of terror and heavy military activity to maintain the unjust globl economy.

"Why ANZAC Day is so disturbing" A commentary on the failure to think carefully about the causes of war. Includes most of the themes in the "If you want affluence..." paper above.

PEDRO'S DEVELOPMENT

This is a role play reading, putting the critrical perspective on Third World Development.  Suitable for High School and Tertiary students.

PERMACULTURE

 
 "Why bother with Permaculture?".  A two page article by T. Trainer, arguing the global significance, and limitations of Permaculture.

Pigface Point

Difficulties file

Case under Community classification.

 

POLANYI, Karl

Notes on Polanyi's book The Great Transformation, 1944.

QUALITY OF LIFE

The quality of life is falling; see within SOCIAL BREAKDOWN.

RELIGION AND THE MARKET SYSTEM; Notes on the significance of Protestantism for the emergence of the market system; See notes on religion and the market

RENEWABLE ENERGY

These items put the case that energy intensive consumer-capitalist society cannot fun on renewable energy sources.

The main versions of the argument are,

Renewable energy: SHORT ACCOUNT... an 8 page overview of the case.

Can the world run on renewable energy? A revised negative case.This is an improved version of the article published in Energy Policy, 2010. c. 22 pages. (Published in Humanomics, 20123.) It is a longish academic paper putting a (simple and easily followed) numerical case based on estimated future output and costs...concluding that the capital cost would be far beyond affordable.

Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive society. This is a lengthy collection of evidence and notes (66 page, 331 KB) supporting my current understanding of the field. It is updated occasionally. This is much more satisfactory than the 2007 book, below.

The above items are much better analyses than the 2007 book, below.

Other items on the limits of renewables:

"Can renewables etc. solve the greenhouse problem? The negative case." Energy Policy, 2010, 38, 8, pp. 4107-14. The above "revised negative case" is a much improved versionof this approach, based on better data. The above revision concludes that the capital investment sum would be much less than in the original study, but still unaffordable.

"Can Australia run on renewable energy? The negative case." , (2012.) This c.20 page analysis applies the approach in the above articleon the world situation to the Australian situation, concluding that the capital/investment cost would be too high, even with Australia's very favourable renewable energy resouces. The published version is at file:///Network/Servers/infpmfs002.ad.unsw.edu.au/Staff02/z7301193/Desktop/MANUSCRIPT%201/CANA%20PUBLISHED%20VERSION.html

The limits to solar thermal electricity. ...a c.20 page analysis.

Can Europe run on renewable energy? A negative case. Energy Policy, 2013. This is very similar to the short, 8 pp. account above. Europe's prospects asre very poor, mainly due to lack of biomass.

The 2007 book, Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain A Consumer Society, Ted Trainer,
Springer, Dordrecht, 2007. The above 66 pp summary is much more useful now; including newer evidence and analysis.

Papers critical of reports claiming the world can run on renewable energy.

A critique of the IPCC on the capacity of renewable energy to mitigate the greenhouse problem, published as Trainer, T., (2010), “A critical discussion of the Stern and IPCC analyses of carbon emission mitigation possibilities and costs, “ Energy & Environment, Vol. 21, No. 2, 49 – 73.

Critical comments on Zero Carbon Australia, M. Wrignt and G. Hearps, Melbourne Energy Institute, 2020. This report argued that Australia could be converted to run entirely on renewable energy by 2020. The critical 5 page commentary argues that the report is a valuable contribution to the discussion but its assumptions are highly challengeable and its conclusion is not valid. (2010.)

Critical Comments on The Energy Report by WWF and Ecofys.

GREENPEACE Energy (R)evolution Report; A Critique. This report has been influential, being the core reference in the IPCC's 2011 report which is being taken to show that renewable energy can meet most of the world's 2050 demand for energy. This critique details reasons for regarding the Greenpeace report as making little or no contribution to the issue, not establishing its claims, and of giving a mistaken impression re the potential of renewables.

A critical analysis of the 2011 IPCC Working Group 3 report on the potential of renewable energy. This report is being quoted as establishing that renewables couldmeet most of the world's energy demand in 20-50. This critique agrgues that the report does not establish this, and is quite unsatisfactory for a number of other reasons.

"A critique of the proposals by Jacobson and Delucchi for world renewable energy supply", (Published in Energy Policy, 2011, 44 (2012) 476–48.1

Jacobson and Delucchi replied to this critique. For a reply to their reply see "100% renewable supply? Comments on the reply by Jacobson and Delucchi to the critique by Trainer.", Energy Policy, (detail?) 2012.

Critical comments on the Elliston, Diesendorf and MacGill proposal, three papers 2012 -2013, arguing that renewables could provide all Australian electricity.

Some critical notes on the Global Energy Assessment’s Renewable Energy chapter.

Some critical comments on 100% renewable electricity for Australia … the report from AEMO (the Australian Electricity Market Operator).

 

RESOURCES

Theory and evidence on resource availability/scarcity; see section within The Limits To Growth.

The unjust distribution of global resource consumption; see within The Limits To Growth, or The Third World.

"SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT; WHAT IT WILL TAKE" This is the main argument, in 10 pages...the environment pr lem cannot be solved in consumer-capitalist society.

 This is also the title of a book by T. Trainer, UNSW Press, 199, not now recommended..

SOCIAL COHESION, SOCIAL BREAKDOWN. See the summary statement on

Social Breakdown .

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

This is a discussion of the failure to attend to the alarming global situation, attempting to understand the phenomenon and its causes, ending with thoughts on what might be done.

SOKAL AFFAIR.

     The Sokal Affair; A note on the inexcusable obscurity of much social-sciece literature..

SOLAR ENERGY

See items at Renewable Energy above.

SPANISH ANARCHIST WORKERS' COLLECTIVES

A short account of the remarkable self government of large regions in Spain, by ordinary working people, during the 1930s, showing how participatory democracy can run economnies.

SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SIMPLER WAY.

A 17 page discussion of ways in which The Simpler Way would have benefits for our morale, world view, sensitivity, personal development, etc.

STERN REPORT (on the greenhouse problem).

For a critical analysis see The Garnaut, IPCC and Stern Reports: Flawed energy analysis underlying mitigation optimism. This is a 15 page radical critique, arguing that the three highly influential reports all fail to consider the reasons why renewable energy sources cannot replace fossil fuels. (On the limits of renewables, see the items listed under RENEWABLE ENERGY.

SUBSISTENCE

A note on the meaning of the (much misunderstood) term. The Simpler Way is a subsistence economy, in terms of the conception adopted here.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

For the general TSW view see THE ALTERNATIVE, SIMPLER WAY. (This is the detailed, 20 page account.) For its impliations for Third World development see MAIN ACCOUNT   (22 pages.)

"What is sustainable development?" Brief critique of most discussions of sustainability, stressing enormous reductions required before a sustainble society would be possible.

 The Alternative, Sustainable Society:The basic Simpler Way account.

For the Third World, see Third World development; Conventional v s simpler way. ..an 8 page contrastbeteween key elements.

Appropriate Third World Development; a four page list of principles.

TAX

Many big corporations pay little tax. See section in Globalisation; Documents.

TECHNICAL-FIX OPTIMISM

...the faith that technical advance will avoid the need to move to simpler ways.

“But Can’t Technical Advance Solve the Problems?) This is the main critical analysis of the belief that technical advance will enhable continues pursuit of affluence and growth.

Amory Lovins is probably the best known tech-fix advocate. A short critical comment on his book Reinventing Fire, 2012.

THE DEMATERIALISATION MYTH

"The dematerialisation myth"; paper by T. Trainer arguing that the economy is not moving towards reduced materials and energy use per unit of GDP. (Somewhat dated now. For a more recent and convincing account see “But Can’t Technical Advance Solve the Problems?)

THE CASE AGAINST THE MARKET.

The case against the market.

THE LIMITS TO GROWTH

The Limits to Growth; A Summary. (2 pages.)

 The Limits to Growth, the basic The Simpler Way account; outline. (25 pages.)

 THE LIMITS TO GROWTH; DOCUMENTS. Collection of evidence, quotes etc.

THE NATURE OF MORALITY

The Nature of Morality. A c. 6 page summary of the Subjecivist perspective on morality; i.e., contradicting the very common assumption that there are objective moral "facts" and entities (such as rights), and explaining that morality can be analysed solely in terms of human wishes, preferences and created rules.

The first three chapters from The Nature of Morality, Ted Trainer, Avebury, c 1980.

THE NEW ECONOMY. 34 pp.

THE PROBLEM OF AFFLUENCE (6 page article. )

THE QUALITY OF LIFE

 The quality of life is falling; see within Social Breakdown .

THE RADICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE LIMITS TO GROWTH ANALYSIS FOR THE DESIGN OF SETTLEMENTS.

This an approximately 20 page academic paper. The document HOW CHEAPLY COULD WE LIVE WELL  ? is a more recent , detailed and satisfactory account.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GLOBAL ECOVILLAGE MOVEMENT


  "The Significance of the Global Ecovillage Movement." 

A 10 page article   arguing that in view of the global crisis the Eco-village movement   is extremely important, because it must provide examples of the   sustainable alternative to consumer society, but also arguing that   the performance of the movement to date is not as satisfactory as it   should be.

THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SIMPLER WAY.

A 17 page discussion of ways in which The Simpler Way would have benefits for our morale, world view, sensitivity, personal development, etc.


THE TECHNICAL FIX POSITION.

For a critical paper on the common "technical fix" view that technical etc. advances will solve the problems and we can go on with a society committed to growth and affluence see “But Can’t Technical Advance Solve the Problems?

This tech-fix view is argued by A. Lovins et al. in the book Natural Capitalism: see "Natural capitalism cannot overcome resource limits", paper by T. Trainer. The reductions discussed in the book do not show that "factor 4" reductions in overal materials and energy use can be made, and more importantly the book's assumptions re energy availability, especially gas and renewables, are highly challengeable. Lovins has more recently elaborated his case, in winning the Oil End Game, and Reinventing Fire, 2012.


  THE TRANSITION (to a sustainable society.)

The Transition Process. This is the main SHORT statement, dealing with the implications of the global situation for thinking about transition theory and pracice. It argues that the coming conditions of severe limits and scarcity, and the need for radicallty different ecsocieties, set clear im;plications, and make most previous thinking and action inapproppriate now.

A friendly critique of the Transition Towns Movement. (2010.)The movement is extremely important; we can't get to a satisfactory society without such a movement...but the present form it is taking will not get us there; it is reformis and does not (yet) reflect recognition that huge and radical system changes are required.

The window of opportunity will be short. (3 pages.) As problems intensify there will be a strong tendency for ruling class and the middle class to move to repressive ways,in an attempt to deal with the dissent and chaos. We will not have much time to get alternative ways established before a new fascist or feudal era prbhably sets in.

THE TRANSITION TO A SUSTAINABLE AND JUST WORLD, Envirobook, 2010. A 330 page book detailing the global predicaament, theclaim that the problems cannot be fixed in consumer-capitalist society, the nature of the alternative, The Simpler Way, and discussing transition theory and strategy, ending with a recommended strategy. Outline, 2 pp.

Things we might do. Ideas on practical actions people can take here and now to increase awareness of Simpler Way themes.

THE THIRD WORLD; See under DEVELOPMENT above.

THE TRANSITION TO A SUSTAINABLE AND JUST WORLD. This is a 2 p. outline of the book with this title, by Ted Trainer, Envirobooks ,2010.

THE TRANSITION TOWNS MOVEMENT

Transition Townspeople; We need to talk about transition. This is a 2014 revision of an earlier friendly critrique of the movement, arguing that it is extremely important ...but will not achieve much unless it changes its goals markedly.

THE WAY I LIVE.

There are two accounts of the way I live, making much the same points, in order to show the benefits of the alternative way The second goes through a fairly normnal day, then adds the benefits commujnity woujld add. The first mixes the two themes.

 The Way I Live,  (8 pages.)

My (delightful) day. ( 15 pages.)

THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY WILL BE SHORT

The windon of opportunity will be short. The reasons why society is likely to become very repressive when global problems intensify. (c. 4 pages.)

THE WAY IT COULD BE

This is a presentation of The Simpler Way in the form of a "novel" -- a 220 page fictional account of a jourrnalist's three day visit to a town that practises The Simpler Way. It is an attempt to present the vision detailed at this website, in a different form, hopefully accessible to non-technical readers as an exploration of the alternative vision. (Critical feedback that might enable improvement of this account would be welcome.)

Part 1. Morning of Day 1.

Part 2. Afternoon of Day 1.

Part 3. Morning of Day 2

Part 4. Afternoon of Day 2.

Part 5. Morning of Day 3.

Part 6. Afternoon of Day 3.

THOUGHTS ON THE TRANSITION

WAR.

See PEACE AND CONFLICT above.

"WE NEED MORE THAN LETS "

 An article arguing that a Letsystem is valuable but far from sufficient for  local economic renewal.

WELL DONE GW.

A short article arguing that US Presiddnt G. W. Bush has achieved much that people in rich countries should be grateful for...i.e., he has secured the empire they benefit from.

"WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?"

Brief critique of most discussions of sustainability, stressing enormous reductions required before a sustainble society would be possible.

"WHY BOTHER WITH PERMACULTURE?

An article discussing the global signifce, and  limitations of Permaculture.

"WHY MARX MATTERS"

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY WILL BE SHORT.

The windon of opportunity will be short. The reasons why society is likely to become very repressive when global problems intensify. (c. 4 pages.)

YOUR (DELIGHTFUL) DAY.

Your (Delightful) Day. The kind of daily life we could all have, working little of the time for money, having much time for arts and crafts and community activities, being secure in a supportive community etc. Whether or not we will achieve the transition depends mostly on whether we can persuade people to see The Simnpler Way as liberating us for a much higher quality of life.

ZERO CARBON AUSTRALIA...Critical comments on the 2010 report arguing that Australia could run entirely on renewable energy by 2020.