Greta Thunberg has a crisply articulated demand

I was a anti-nuclear arms proliferation activist from a very young age, 10 or 11, and took it seriously, nearly getting kicked out of school and organizing classmates to attend large demonstrations. I felt like I was tackling an existential risk to the human race and most of the living things on the planet Earth (30+ years later, I think I was right), and that the grownups around me were not taking this seriously, and that this was probably the most urgent thing for me to focus on as a result. Read the rest

Five steps for thinking about climate change without being overwhelmed by hopelessness

Environmental writer Emma Marris (author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World) offers a five-step process in the New York Times for confronting the climate crisis without being overwhelmed by hopelessness. Read the rest

A beautiful timeline of a future in which the climate crisis is met and overcome

Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist who has grown weary of the inadequacy of scientific discourse as a means of conveying the urgency of the climate crisis; instead, he's written an inspiring future history in which he traces the year-by-year steps that lead to a just climate transition: "a vision of what it could look and feel like if we finally, radically, collectively act to build a world we want to live in." Read the rest

Podcast: Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail editorial, Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things, where I reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for the Globe's end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can't predict the future, but might inspire it, and how the dystopian malaise of science fiction can be turned into a inspiring tale of "adversity met and overcome – hard work and commitment wrenching a limping victory from the jaws of defeat." Read the rest

Science fiction, Canada and the 2020s: my look at the decade ahead for the Globe and Mail

The editors of Canada's Globe and Mail asked me to reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for their end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can't predict the future, but might inspire it, and how the dystopian malaise of science fiction can be turned into a inspiring tale of "adversity met and overcome – hard work and commitment wrenching a limping victory from the jaws of defeat." Read the rest

One of the poorest, most desperate regions in Appalachia is experiencing an economic miracle thanks to fiber run by a New Deal-era co-op

Kentucky's Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative came out of a local electrification co-op set up during the New Deal, and in 1949 it was expanded into a telephone co-op with more federal infrastructure money. Today, the PRTC has used Obama FCC funding to expand into public broadband delivery, wiring up all of Jackson and Owsley Counties, some of the poorest places in America, using a mule called "Old Bub" to haul fiber through inaccessible mountain passes and other extremely isolated places. Read the rest

This Thanksgiving, don't have a political argument, have a "structured organizing conversation"

Union organizers don't have arguments with workers, they have "structured organizing conversations" -- conversations in which the organizer asks someone to think about what change they want to see, what the obstacles to that change are, and then asks them to think about whether that change will come about unless they form a union. Read the rest

Profile of Mariana Mazzucato, the economist who's swaying both left and right politicians with talk of "the entrepreneurial state"

Mariana Mazzucato (previously) came to prominence after the publication of her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State, which described the way that robust state spending on large-scale R&D was critical to the kinds of commercial technological "breakthroughs" that the private sector liked to take credit for, and argued that the decades-long drawdown in public spending on the theory that governments were bloated and inefficient had stalled economic growth and technological progress because private firms systematically underinvest in research. Read the rest

A layperson-friendly introduction to MMT, a heterodox school of economics that could finance a Green New Deal

Modern Monetary Theory (AKA MMT) is the latest incarnation of a long-running current in economic thought, once called Chartalism, which has gained prominence in recent years as an alternative to austerity economics, whose dictates have immiserated millions, destabilized world politics, and threaten the extinction of the human race thanks to climate inaction in the guise of "fiscal restraint." Read the rest

AOC really plays in Iowa

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, generally considered a conservative, red-state kind of place -- so much so that Iowa GOP operators made a series of public predictions that she would be laughed out of the state. The state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann called her "Doctor Ocasio-Cortez" and Sanders "Crazy Bernie": "She’s got a problem with our cows here!" while Iowa Senator Joni Ernst predicted that the pair would be booed offstage. Read the rest

Massive spike in young people registering to vote in the UK

The announcement of a UK General Election on Dec 12 -- the third in less than five years! -- was attended by predictable rises in the numbers of people registering to vote, but as official statistics show, the end of October saw a massive spike in voter registration among under 45s, led by under-25s and 25-34 year olds. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and AOC, in conversation

The Intercept's political editor Ryan Grim chaired a 10-minute, backstage conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens last weekend, just before AOC endorsed Sanders' bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race. The pair describe their theory of change and how they can get their agenda enacted. (I am a donor to both Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns) Read the rest

Crowdfunding a symposium on a green, postcapitalist economics in Brussels, Nov 11

On November 11, the Edgeryders nonprofit assocation is bringing me to Brussels for a day-long event called The Science Fiction Economics Lab, where I'll be jointly keynoting with Edgeryders economist Alberto Cottica, a lifelong science fiction fan, about radical futuristic economic ideas for a more cooperative, sustainable future. Read the rest

"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

Washington establishment freaks out as Modern Monetary Theory gains currency

Modern Monetary Theory (previously) is an economic philosophy based on the idea that all state spending is "deficit" spending, since money comes into existence when the government spends it, and when the government raises taxes, it does so in order to take that money out of existence, both in order to control inflation and to limit the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy. Read the rest

On Fire: Naomi Klein's book is a time-series of the shift from climate denial to nihilism to Green New Deal hope

My latest LA Times book review is for Naomi Klein's new essay collection, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, which traces more than a decade of Klein's outstanding, on-the-ground reports from the pivotal struggle to begin the transformational work needed to save our species and the rest of the Earth's living things from a devastating, eminently foreseeable, and ultimately avoidable climate catastrophe. Read the rest

My MMT Podcast appearance, part 2: monopoly, money, and the power of narrative

Last week, the Modern Monetary Theory Podcast ran part 1 of my interview with co-host Christian Reilly; they've just published the second and final half of our chat (MP3), where we talk about the link between corruption and monopoly, how to pitch monetary theory to people who want to abolish money altogether, and how stories shape the future. Read the rest

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