Thursday, December 22, 2011
Prejudice Comes from a Basic Human Need and Way of Thinking, New Research Suggests
Where does prejudice come from? Not from ideology, say the authors of a new paper. Instead, prejudice stems from a deeper psychological need, associated with a particular way of thinking. People who aren't comfortable with ambiguity and want to make quick and firm decisions are also prone to making generalizations about others. - Science Daily
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A Multilayered Anti-Pattern
The problem is that we are adapting to the wrong things — to images, or to short-term greed, or to the clutter of mechanics. These maladaptations are known as “antipatterns” — a term coined not by Alexander, but by software engineers. An antipattern is something that does things wrong, yet is attractive for some reason (profitable or easy in the short term, but dysfunctional, wasteful of resources, unsustainable, unhealthy in the long term). It also keeps re-appearing. Sounds like our economy and wasteful lifestyle? - Michael Mehaffy and Nikos Salingaros
|CC Gjøvik, an example of a multilayered antipattern|
The permaculture focus is on tracking patterns in nature and design, to create pleasure for ourselves and to find good examples for the world. Patterns work in a multitude of connections with their surroundings, and the more connections there are, the richer are the pattern languages the patterns are part of.
Unfortunately, although our pattern languages might have a deep poetry, not all people feel attracted to their harmony (meaning "the quality without a name"). Today’s disconnected people are attracted by antipatterns, this is because they are profitable or easy in the short term, and human nature is greedy and lazy. We are short term thinkers — in a world of competition the winner takes it all, and today’s capitalism is all about materialism.
Antipatterns are dysfunctional, wasteful of energy and resources, unsustainable and unhealthy in the long term, and they violate the human scale. Still, they are so seductive in their grand scale, and we are overwhelmed by their appearance and shiny surfaces. In fact, we have even made them our new temples!
|Entering the consumerist temple|
Monday, December 19, 2011
One definition of self-organization: “Self-organization is the spontaneous often seemingly purposeful formation of spatial, temporal, spatiotemporal structures or functions in systems composed of few or many components.” Self-organization is visible in many cases in nature. Self-organizing systems are adaptive and robust. They can reconfigure themselves to changing demands and thus keep on functioning in spite of perturbations. - P2P-blog
No doubt, self-organization is the future of mankind and the end of today's totalitarian democracies!
Real Wealth: Howard T. Odum’s Energy Economics
|An oil product|
The great conceit of Industrial man imagined that his progress in agricultural yields was due to new know-how... A whole generation … thought that the carrying capacity of the earth was proportional to the amount of land under cultivation and that higher efficiencies in using the energy of the sun had arrived. This is a sad hoax, for industrial man no longer eats potatoes made from solar energy; now he eats potatoes partly made of oil. - Howard T. Odum
Read the article: Real wealth: Howard T. Odum’s energy economics
Monday, December 12, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
ECONOMY: Ecological Economics by Joshua Farley
Many people would agree that the central desirable end of economic activity is a high quality of life for this and future generations. Conventional economists argue that humans are insatiable, and therefore economics should focus on endless economic growth and ever-increasing consumption. Considerable evidence, however, suggests that humans are in fact satiable-there is a point beyond which increasing consumption does not make us better off.
Market economies—in which the prices of goods and services are determined by the interplay of supply and demand in voluntary exchanges—play a critical role in the modern world. Market forces determine the quantity of oil pumped, minerals mined, forests cut, and fish caught. They determine the industries to which these resources are allocated, how much labor and capital are employed to convert them to market products, and who gets to consume those products.
In theory, competitive markets1 allocate factors of production—resources like energy, raw materials, land, labor, and capital—toward the most profitable goods and services and, in turn, allocate the goods and services toward those who value them the most, as measured by their willingness to pay. The competitive markets described in textbooks in theory maximize monetary value while ensuring that consumers are able to purchase market products as cheaply as they can be produced. What’s more, competitive markets achieve all this through a process based on free choice and decentralized knowledge, without centralized coordination.
The Great Depression, however, revealed huge flaws in market economic theory. Markets sometimes left vast numbers of skilled laborers unemployed, left machinery idle, and left food to rot on farms while the poor went hungry. The Great Depression helped economists understand that sometimes markets required government intervention to function well and to allocate resources appropriately. Confronted with this crisis, economists developed the field of macroeconomics, which explained how governments could use monetary and fiscal policies to keep economies healthy and growing.
When macroeconomics emerged, however, practically no one was aware of the coming challenges of global climate change, peak oil, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, or overpopulation. Economists focused on the problem of how to convert seemingly abundant natural resources into apparently scarcer economic goods and services. Since then, production of economic goods and services has increased more than eighteenfold in the United States, and nearly as much in the world as a whole. We have learned that intact ecosystems provide vital life-support functions upon which we, like all other species, depend for our survival, and that human activities threaten the planet’s ecosystems.
Unfortunately, market systems largely fail to account for the impacts of ecosystem degradation on human welfare. The ecological and resource crises we currently face are orders of magnitude more serious than the Great Depression, as they threaten not only the economic system but also human survival. We must develop a new type of economics that addresses these shortcomings.
Read the full report:
Thursday, December 8, 2011
A very interesting article on fractals on the blog of Philip T. Keenan: Koch Snowflakes
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