Greek Crisis: Indicators of economic performance: 1974 – 2015

Greek flag - man holding Euro flag up top

The complete history of the Greek debt drama in charts

* By Matt Philips, Quartz, 30 June 2015. Full article and all charts available from Quartz  here

The value of any analysis depends, to a large extent, on the beginning and ending you choose.

So it is with Greece, which is seeing its simmering, half-decade-long debt crisis come to one of its periodic boils—and perhaps a final explosion.

Where to start? Records of Greek public debts stretch back at least as far as the Peloponnesian war—around 400 BCE. Should that be included? Or how about the fact that the modern nationstate of Greece has been in default for roughly half of the years since it gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1830s? (After all, some trace Greek resistance to taxation to the historical taxes levied by the conquering Turks.)

For simplicity’s sake, let’s just start in the years before Greece joined the euro. In the 1980s, and early 1990s, the Greek economy was a bit of a mess.

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Op-ed: John Whitelegg on Time Pollution

This out of control  bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own — one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr centur

How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And happily we now have the technical  tools (the technical virtuosity) to get the job done. We shall see this spelled out more clearly here over the course of the coming months, but before leaping ahead, let’s step back a bit in time and see what Contributing Editor Professor John Whitelegg had to say on this subject in the pages of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, way back in 1993.

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Op-Ed: Is Tallinn’s “free public transport” initiative doing its job?

tallinn free pubic transport 2celsius.netAs previously documented on World Streets the city of Tallinn, Estonia implemented Free Fare Public Transportation (FFPT) in January of 2013 for all registered citizens of the city. A year and a half into this policy voices from politicians, the media and academia presented an array of opinions in favour of, and refuting benefits of the policy. Thus in May of 2014 I visited Tallinn to conduct interviews with City staff, independent environmentalist consultants and academics alike for my master’s thesis in Urban and Regional Planning Studies at the London School of Economics. My research question was ‘Is Tallinn, Estonia’s free fare public transportation policy meeting its claimed motives as stated by the city’s municipal leaders?

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Behind transport policy and choices lurks the 800 pound gorilla of economics.

Wall Street signWhich, if you have not noticed, does not seem to be working particularly well when it comes to guiding us (decision makers but also the voters behind them) toward better policy choices, even in matters purely “economic” (money, prices, interest rates, income distribution, taxation, regulation, growth, etc.).

With this harsh truth in mind, we try to keep up on matters economic, and several of our collaborative programs have this as their aim. One, EXERNOMICS, you can follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exernomics/552738241538438 . Or directly via http://exernomics.ecoplan.org

Have a look and share your thoughts with us on this

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Go Lillestrøm! Pedestrians and cyclists receive “reverse toll money” in Norway

japan pedesstria cyclist dressedAs part of Norway’s ongoing European Mobility Week celebrations, around 10,000 NOK (€1,200) was handed out in the town of Lillestrøm to pedestrians and cyclists in “reverse toll money”. The money symbolised the health benefits of walking and cycling, including better fitness, improved air quality and more efficient transport.

Cyclists received around €12, while pedestrians gained €11. Calculations carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Health shows that active transport provides the state with a saving of 52 NOK (€6) per kilometer for pedestrians and 26 NOK (€3) per kilometer for cyclists. An average bike trip in Norway is 4 kilometers, providing a health benefit of 100 NOK (€12), while an average walking trip is 1.7 km, worth almost 90 NOK (€11)

The only thing I have to say about this is . . .  EXCELLENT!

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Editorial: No ZFPT without SCR (Systematic Car Reductions)

This is a simple fact! Free Public Transport (FPT) has no possible justification whatsoever unless your governing officials are willing to do something about adjusting the other half of the modal mix to bring down car ownership and use in the city strategically and as quickly as possible . . . SCR – Systematic Car Reductions.

canada-vancouver-road closed - smaller

The tools for achieving these necessary adjustments in the modal split are well known, experience-proven and widely used in cities of all sizes in many parts of the world. There is no possible justification that competent public authorities not be aware of these proven tools and policies. They include most notably: Continue reading