Greek Crisis: Why Greece’s Lenders Need to Suffer

Originally posted on Sustainable Development, Economy & Democracy:

These first excerpts from an article by Adam Davidson published in The New York Times Magazine on 28 July 2015 deserves the closest attention of anyone who wishes to have a balanced understanding of the events shaping what we call here the “Greek crisis”.

Bond traders goldman SachsThere is definitive proof, for anyone willing to look, that Greece is not solely or even primarily responsible for its own financial crisis. The proof is not especially exciting: It is a single bond, with the identification code GR0133004177. But a consideration of this bond should end, permanently, any discussion of Greece’s crisis as a moral failing on the part of the Greeks.

GR0133004177 is the technical name for a bond the Greek government sold on Nov. 10, 2009, in a public auction. Every business day, governments and companies hold auctions like this; it is how they borrow money. Bond auctions, though, are not at all…

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International networking to support Sustainable Penang project

Lyon, France. 1 August 2015. The following is a working draft in progress. We post it at this time to invite our readers’ views, correction and eventual additions. It is part of our ongoing volunteer work to support the Sustainable Penang project.

International networking

flags at UNUp until the present time virtually all of the networking and exchanges under this project have taken place within Penang and Malaysia more generally. However as of mid-2015, the leader of this mission has concluded that the role and participation of international organizations and various specialized agencies is going to be critical to bringing about a better informed and more coherent transport and land use policy in Penang.

These State and other concerned local organizations have a great deal of catching up to do, and all of this will become much easier if they take advantage of international partners and sources to ensure that their policies take advantage of past experience and leading practices in other places. The problem is not so much one of money, as it is of knowledge, vision, strategy and leadership.

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More on Illich, Energy and Equity

Further to our recent posting on “Climate Change 101: Thinking about Illich, Energy and Equity” we have just received he following commentary from Chris Bradshaw (See author note below.)

Eric,

Illich book covve - toward a history of needsI used your post to re-read — after, I estimate, 25 years — this delightful essay. I own two copies, one which is part of “Towards a History of Needs” published four years later in 1977).

In that volume, there is an introductory note, which might be useful to add (see end, along with the forward for the 1974 publication — Perennial Library — of this essay by itself). Two things come from these two extras: a) this essay first appeared in Le Monde (yes, probably in French), and b) his defined audience included, equally, the under-developed world.

He, of course, missed global warming as an issue that would fit nicely next to “energy crisis.”

I would add that he missed the link between high-speed and high-power and the formalities of control — rules, regulations, resources — that also disenfranchise those with less speed and power.

Peter D. Norton’s recent book, “Fighting Traffic” does a yeoman effort to show how the transition from “transit” to “transport” in North American cities took place 1915-1935.

I will continue to muse over Illich’s brilliant thinking.

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From Streetsblog: Uber’s Making Traffic Worse

Uber’s Own Numbers Show It’s Making Traffic Worse

Photo: Wikipedia

Uber blasted out an Excel spreadsheet to reporters this morning, accompanied by a story and editorial in the Daily News, with data providing a snapshot of how many Uber vehicles are on Manhattan streets south of 59th Street, New York’s central business district. While Uber claims the data shows its vehicles aren’t responsible for congestion in the city core, transportation analyst Charles Komanoff has crunched Uber’s own numbers and estimates that the service has actually reduced traffic speeds in the central business district by about 8 percent.

– – – >  Full text of original available here

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Greek Crisis:”Greece must sign a deal now”

Originally posted on Sustainable Development, Economy & Democracy:

Greece line in front of bank 28jun15

In the following op-ed, thirteen prominent economists of Greek origin from around the world call on Greece to sign a credible agreement with the Europeans immediately.

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/29/greece-must-sign-a-credible-agreement-with-the-europeans-now-commentary.html 

What would be crucial elements of a good agreement?

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Climate Change 101: Thinking about Illich, Energy and Equity

ivan illich picIn the context of ongoing work on a new book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the starting point for policy and political decisions in the field often described as “urban transport” absolutely has to open up with considerations not of vehicles and infrastructure, technology and entrepreneurship, nor even of people and cities, but on the very bottom line our starting place must be climate and GHG emissions. And the other half of the climate coin is energy, and in fact equity.

So may I suggest that this could be  a good time for us to have another look at Illich’s incisive and important 1974 book “Energy and Equity”.  And I ask you, how do you think these remarks and views stand the test of time? We need to bear in mind the political (Vietnam, Cold War, Allende,  voter registration, 1968, etc.) currents of the time, along with the Oil Crisis, Club of Rome, The Limits of Growth,  etc., discussions, concerns and panics of the early seventies.  But none of this detracts from the singular vision that this exceptional observer and finest of men has given us.

So here you have it. The whole thing. Print it out. Mark it up. Share your thoughts. Let me take a single phrase from the book to get the ball rolling: “Participatory democracy postulates low-energy technology. Only participatory democracy creates the conditions for rational technology.” (And this almost two decades before the phrase “sustainable development” first appeared on the radar screen.  So off we go through the looking glass and into the future with Illich as our guide!)

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