Monthly Archives: June 2010

Creating a Game Plan for the Transition to a Sustainable U.S. Economy

(This article first appeared in Solutions, Volume 1:3 on June 11, 2010)

(Marc Fader/Solutions)

By Jeffrey Hollender,
Gar Alperovitz,
Christina Asquith,
Bill Becker,
Robert Costanza,
Elliot Hoffman,
Ellen Kahler,
David Levine,
Hunter Lovins,
Dave Rapaport.

The United States—indeed, the global community—is at a crossroads. We have a choice between two futures.

The first is business as usual. In an effort to continue economic growth in the conventional sense (growing Gross Domestic Product with little concern for distribution of wealth), we exacerbate all of the problems that GDP growth is increasingly causing. We fail to recognize that such growth in the developed countries is not improving human well-being. We fail to recognize that distributing our wealth more fairly would actually improve overall well-being. We do not address the growing climate and other environmental problems and continue to damage the ecological life-support systems on which we all depend, particularly the poor. We fail to anticipate and deal with the constraints inherent in our dependence on finite resources such as fossil fuels. It is a future that is not sustainable and also not desirable to the vast majority of humans.

The second future is much brighter: Extreme poverty is eradicated. Our energy economy in the United States and worldwide shifts to clean, renewable resources. Ecological design becomes business as usual, and humankind finally accepts its role as an integral participant in and steward of the environmental systems upon which true prosperity depends.

In short, we have a choice to become victims of the future or its architects. Read More »

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We’re Now Number 77 in Income Inequality

(This blog first appeared online on The Huffington Post)

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen can all too easily numb, but occasionally a few very simple numbers are worth pondering a bit more closely than others. Like these three:

The United States now ranks number 77 out of 142 countries in the United Nations Human Development Report’s latest estimates of income inequality–tied with Turkmenistan, Tunisia and Georgia.

In the 2009 OECD review of the 30 most advanced nations, the United States ranked 27th—ahead only of Mexico, Turkey and Portugal.

Over the last quarter-century, IRS data indicate that the top one percent of American taxpayers increased their share of the nation’s total pre-tax adjusted gross income from 10 percent in 1980 to 23.5 percent (in 2007).

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