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04/05/2010 15:25 ew Internationalist july/august Issue 434
I pu t i n a new vege t able g a r den t h i s year, ambit i ousl y t oo b i g , I’m sure. But it feels good to watch the thin green shoots battle with the birds, the bugs and the hot sun. This is growth I can live with – productive and life-affirming. The other kind, the one that rules our economic lives, is more disturbing.
As the iconoclastic US writer Kenneth Boulding once quipped: ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a f inite world, you’re either a madman or an economist.’
There are lots of people who understand that, at least implicitly. In my neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, our local park has become a laboratory for reclaiming public space, an alternative vision of the way the world could be. There are volunteer gardens, an outdoor bake oven, an organic farmers’ market and Friday night community suppers.
Like the enthusiasm for local food systems and ‘ downshifting’, our park is a small part of the transition which is slowly emerging. Thousands of people are thinking creatively and building new lives with a smaller environmental footprint – a post-growth world in the making. You’ll f ind more examples in this issue.
You’ll f ind another kind of creativity in our ‘Southern Exposure’ photo feature as Bangladesh photographer Shahidul Alam uses his art to expose the impunity of the state’s notorious Rapid Action Battalion. Another feature from the New Economics Foundation (a terrific source of information on the need to challenge economic growth, by the way) looks at how to define and measure poverty accurately.
As with economic growth, you’ve got to measure what counts, not just count what you can measure.
Wayne Ellwood for the New Internationalist Co-operative main FEATURE Zero Growth
4 Nature’s bottom line Economic growth is an idea whose time has passed, argues Wayne Ellwood.
7 Growthbuster – A fresh Breaze An Australian town goes green.
By Fiona Armstrong.
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8 Greed at the top Consumer culture has caught fire in India, writes Urvashi Butalia.
10 On the road to zero growth Illustrations by
Henrik Drescher, text by Wayne Ellwood.
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13 Growthbuster – Coffee in the clouds Roxana Olivera looks at local opposition to foreign mining companies in Ecuador.
14 Oops, no brakes! Without growth the economy collapses. What’s the solution? Rowenna Davis asked Oxfam’s Duncan Green and researcher Tim Jackson for their opinions.
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16 Workers of the world, relax Slowing growth could help us work less, l ive better and save the planet. So what’s not to l ike about that, wonders Zoe Cormier.
19 Vive la décroissance! Julio Godoy talks to French de-growth guru Serge Latouche.
20 Growthbuster – System change,
not climate change Climate change activists look at the big picture. Report by Jess Worth.
Regular Features 2 Letters Sleepwalking into fascism; the challenge of the tar sands; and a name change for Iraq? PLUS: Big Bad World Different party, same game in
3 Letter from Cairo A stroll on a sultry summer night leads to an unexpected encounter for Maria Golia.
25 Currents BP under f ire in Colombia; why the Western demand for leather causes misery for India’s cows; and one activist’s brave stand against Israeli violence.
27 Only Planet Gort and Klaatu get set to barter in Marc Roberts’ cartoon.
28 NI Jumbo Prize Crossword 29 Southern Exposure Special Caught in the crossfire – a
Bangladeshi exhibition hits the headlines.
32 Mixed Media A HotDocs special from Canada; music from Jordi Savall that will leave you awestruck; and a ‘magical realist book on world politics’.
21 How poor is too poor?
Global poverty has seen a dramatic decline, says the World Bank. But is this so? David Woodward of the New Economics Foundation critiques the way poverty is measured and proposes an alternative to the dollar-a-day ‘poverty line’.
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34 Essay: Predators and scavengers Richard Swift on the nature of the human beast.
36 Country Profile: United Arab
Front cover: Andy Kokotka. Magazine design: Andy Kokotka. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.