Modern monetary theory – populist rhetoric or a credible alternative?

January 1, 2020

Modern monetary theory (MMT) has gained increasingly widespread academic and political interest. Its upward popularity trend seems to follow the formula “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”[1]. Or so, at least, an MMT-optimist might think. This blog was first published by Brave New Europe on 1 January 2020.

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Think Cosmically, Act Globally

August 17, 2019

The theme of the Great Transition Initiative’s August Forum is THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY! Brian Tokar, a writer-activist in the social ecology tradition, led off with his response to this topic. You can read a selected set of responses to the topic and to Tokar here. This blog is a republication of my response.

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Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution – Beyond Quantum Irrationality

July 26, 2019

Science, truth and realism are under attack in the early 21st century. ”Quite literally, parts of our society appear to be losing their grip on the boundary between reality and fantasy.” The problem lies also with science itself. “When fundamental physics itself get hijacked by an anti-realist philosophy, we are in danger.” Humanist academics have contributed to the current predicament by drawing anti-realist conclusions from quantum mechanics and by holding that science is no more than a social construction. Thus interests of power and business tend to prevail over truth and realism. Einstein initiated the quantum revolution, but he “did not become one its leaders, because his realism required that he reject the theory as it was developed in the late 1920s”. Einstein left the revolution unfinished, in spite of making moves in the right direction. Lee Smolin aims at nothing less than the completion of Einstein’s project in realist terms.

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The Climate Movement: What’s Next?

July 9, 2019

The uncertain future of Earth’s climate depends on whether negative or positive feedback loops dominate. While we know that also complex (and partly unknown) rhythmics and negative feedback loops play a role, the evidence strongly suggests that global warming is now accelerating through multiple self-reinforcing mechanisms. For example, the melting of ice in the Polar Regions contributes to global warming because sea ice reflects much of the sun’s energy back into space, while dark water absorbs it. Hence, there is no automatic planetary homeostasis, at least not in the human scales of time. The stability of climate requires reflexive self-regulation consciously aiming at homeostasis. The planetary future does not just happen but has become increasingly something that ‘we’ make of it. But who is this ‘we’?

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