Monday, December 31, 2012

Read all about it

'This book presents a powerful narrative overview of the human condition in the 21st century. In the decades ahead, our species must navigate the end of fossil fuels and economic growth as we've known ita tall order by any estimation. The risks are great, but so are the potential rewards if Rundgren's advice is heeded and humanity embraces a post-carbon, post-industrial culture.'
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, Santa Rosa USA, Author, The End of Growth

If you enjoy my posts, you now have the chance to get whole load by reading my book
Garden Earth - from Hunter and Gatherer to Global Capitalism and Thereafter. 
420 pages of facts, analysis and challenging ideas.

In the first step it is published as a paperback available from
Create Space

It is also available as an e-book for Kindle (also published in Japanese)

It will be published as a hard cover within a few month.

For the Swedish version look here
For the Japanese version look here

It is particularly rewarding that I managed to get it published still 2012, even if it was the very last days...
Enjoy reading.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Increase happiness productivity

Compare a litre of water in the swimming pool of a rich person with a litre used for drinking or for cooking in the house of a poor person. To make things worse, the cost of a litre of water that one has to carry by hand is often higher in the slums in developing countries than a litre conveniently poured from the tap by the rich, and the quality of the water is also mostly better for the rich. So the poor are discriminated against thrice over. Isn’t this perspective in itself enough to make one argue in favour of global redistribution of resources?

An increase in the absolute income by a certain sum does a lot more good—results in more well-being—for a poor person than for a rich person. One could discuss the ‘happiness productivity’ of a certain resource, that is, how to use a resource to deliver as much happiness or satisfaction or well-being as possible. 
Diener and Seligman 2005
There is no direct correlation between an individual’s or a country’s economic (material) wealth and their sense of happiness, satisfaction or well-being. This is an old observation. The more balanced defendants of capitalism also agree; for example, the economist Joseph A. Schumpeter says that people in industrial societies don’t have to be happier or experience more well-being than people in the Middle Ages. An American study from 2004 states that while economic wealth has increased threefold in 50 years (see figure), people’s feeling of well-being has been constant; in fact, mental health has deteriorated and social networks are weaker. Between 1958 and 1991, the average income of the Japanese increased sixfold; still, in 1991 they were as satisfied (or as little satisfied) as their parents were in 1958.

Material wealth doesn’t lead to more well-being; on the contrary, it appears that the human quest for more things is threatening not only our space on earth but, ultimately, also our own well-being. There is no reason to moralize over this; considering that scarcity has been the norm for millennia, no built-in barriers exist against over-consumption of food or things. But now the damage is evident, for the physical environ­ment, for society as a whole and for individual human beings. Both the values that hail consumption and the economic system that is driven by this consumption and that, at the same time, amplifies consumption have to be changed. And these two are strongly linked, one feeds on the other, therefore they need to be tackled simultaneously. Inequality adds to the equation by leading to people being more frustrated than they would be in a more just society. To compensate for this frustration they consume. Not only that, inequality itself drives comparison and competition, which had growth as its main expression.
(based on Garden Earth -From Hunter and Gatherer to Global Capitalism and Thereafter, my book that will be published next week)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do you like the cover?

The publication of Garden Earth is now imminent. This is the proposed book cover. Do you like it?

There is a poll on the right side for you to fill in. It is perfectly anonymous.

And you can also make more elaborate comments below.
What the book is about? Read here....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Don't cry for ISO 9001

In 2011, global uptake of ISO 9001 falled. There is just above a million firms certified to ISO 9001 globally. There have been marked drops in the uptake in North America and Europe lately. In Europe almost 40,000 fewer companies were ISO 9001 certified 2011 compared to 2010. In North America the number dropped from a high of 61,000 (ISO 9001 was never that big in North America) in 2006 to just 37,000 in 2011.

Also for the rather new ISO 22000 standard there seems to be little interest.

I will not shed any tears over this as I consider the systems being hyped and sometimes even counterproductive. See my earlier posts on the matter.

Quality management is a management fad elevated to divinity
How quality Management can result in low quality....
What gives value to an eco label

Read the whole ISO 2011 survey here 

And check Dilbert's view here:
Dilbert explanation 1
Dilbert explanation 2

Update: 26 February: It seems like all companies implicated in the horse meat scandal in Europe have had their ISO 9001 certificates...


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ten reasons to build another word

     The difference between reality and rhetoric in which all are said to be equal and to have the same opportunities is simply too great. Our use of both mineral resources and living resources, with their origin in photosynthesis, is now at a level that simply cannot be sustained.We have now reached a stage where we need to divert more attention to building a new world than to fixing the old one. 

1.   Our relationship with nature is characterized by over-exploitation of raw materials and natural resources. Certainly, history shows that we have a remarkable capacity to overcome the limitations of our natural environment. Nevertheless, our use of both mineral resources and living resources, with their origin in photosynthesis, is now at a level that simply cannot be sustained. This can be expressed in different ways such as that we are soon reaching ‘peak oil’; that our ecological footprint is already one and half Earth; that we are already using more than half of the entire biosphere; and that wilderness is now only marginal compared to human-dominated ecosystems.
2.   We know that the release of greenhouse gases, largely the effect of extraction of fossil fuels and degradation of natural resources, will lead to marked changes in climate, resulting in great human suffering and material costs. In addition, we have caused severe reduction of biological diversity, the very web of life on earth. We have manipulated other life processes, such as the nitrogen cycle, to such a scale and in such a way that it will most certainly lead to severe disruptions.
3.   We have unleashed 100,000 chemicals, but we have no idea how they affect us. We take medicines, eat food additives and indirectly consume pesticides we spray on crops. Drinking water and the air we breathe are full of man-made chemicals. We have very little knowledge about the long-term impact on us of the cocktail of chemicals we spread, and we know even less about how it affects our living environment.
4.   The production and productivity revolution, which we explain with entrepreneurship, the superiority of capitalism and an individual’s strive for personal gain can equally be interpreted as the result of one thing: access to external sources of energy, primarily fossil fuel. Use of energy is also the cause of many problems, most obviously the greenhouse effect. At least equally serious is that energy is the engine in almost any other resource depletion and degradation of ecosystem services. But the cheap energy sources are drying up and, more importantly, their efficiency is dwindling.
5.   With the commercialization of farming and the introduction of chemical fertilizers, we no longer have to reproduce our production ability and capacity within the system itself. To replenish natural capital, fertility, labour and genetic resources are bought over the counter, thus separating production and reproduction. This system is commercially efficient, but very inefficient in its use of energy; it is threatening the long-term fertility and capacity of the soil. Despite the emphasis on production, a billion people go to sleep hungry every day.
6.   The system does not have sufficient self-correcting feedback loops to keep in check income inequality; the only thing that can keep it running is a constant economic growth so that those at the bottom, after all, will be a little better off every year. This is not primarily an economic problem but a social and moral problem. The difference between reality and rhetoric (in which all are said to be equal and to have the same opportunities) is simply too great.
7.   The capitalist model of development was most successful in countries that industrialized first, followed by countries that had different comparative advantages in certain development stages. But large parts of humanity are outside of the development, including both the individuals who are left behind in industrialized countries and those whole countries that have no comparative advantages to exploit. Just like not all communities could make the transition from gathering and hunting to farming, many communities today cannot make the transition to a capitalist society because they lack the right conditions.
8.   The values, attitudes and mechanisms that form the foundation of capitalism are obstacles to the harmonious development of society. Competition is promoted at the expense of cooperation, self-interest at the expense of solidarity and commitment to others, private property at the expense of commons and exploitation at the expense of stewardship or nursing.
9.   The combined effects of those values, industrial technology, capital accumulation and market competition drive endless growth and consumption. It is certainly within human nature to be a little dissatisfied, to want more, to explore new opportunities. Without those properties, we would probably never become human beings in the first place. It is in society’s nature to contain these desires so that they continue to benefit us all. With the capitalist takeover of society, these restrictions don’t work any more, and we are all trapped in a treadmill of ever-increasing consumption. This consumption, driven by several of the factors mentioned above, has made us healthier, wiser, more beautiful and perhaps happier to begin with, but it has long crossed a line after which ‘more things’ do not mean more well-being.
10. That things are not a lot worse than they are is a result of the deep and strong properties of humanity and of our larger organism, our society. We do our best to mitigate the ills produced by our economic system. When old social institutions break down, we build new ones; when old values and culture lose their meaning, we develop new ones. Ultimately, we will also build a new world. We have now reached a stage where we need to divert more attention to building a new world than to fixing the old one. 

These ten points are from the introduction  of Garden Earth which is due to be published within a month. I will keep you posted...