On climate change

We live our comfortable lives in the shadow of a disaster of our own making. That disaster is being brought about by the very things that allow us to live our comfortable lives. Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet In view of the recent unfortunate events in western North America – such asContinue reading “On climate change”

On supermarket shopping

The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. Joel Salatin,Continue reading “On supermarket shopping”

On the abuse of logic

Here, in a sentence, is the moral case for fossil fuels, the single thought that can empower us to empower the world: Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous – because human life is the standard of value, and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life. AlexContinue reading “On the abuse of logic”

On management and control

The I of the basic word I-Thou is different from that of the basic word I-It. Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923) In this week’s essay, I want to discuss the concept of management: not just the management of a company or other organisation, but the notion of control in general. We really, really likeContinue reading “On management and control”

On the fall of Rome, part two

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper. T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men” Last week, we took a (very brief) look at how and why the Roman empire in the west fell, or rather faded away. The executive summary is that while there were certainly external pressures, the empire’sContinue reading “On the fall of Rome, part two”

On the fall of Rome, part one

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Percy Bysshe Shelley, “OzymandiAs” Those who worry about the impending collapse of our industrial civilisation often compare it – the United States in particular – to the Roman Empire. Even pieces like this one which attempt to deny the parallelContinue reading “On the fall of Rome, part one”

On economic growth

Yes! There will be growth in the spring! Chance, the gardener in the film Being There (1979) It is a truth universally acknowledged that economic growth is a good thing. Well, not quite universally, but it’s the view you’ll find in the mainstream media and on the lips of pretty much every politician and pundit.Continue reading “On economic growth”

On desperation

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays Desperation is not, of course, to be confused with despair. Both are marked by the absence of hope, but whereas despair is passive, desperation is active. People sunk into despair tend to do nothing; desperate people will doContinue reading “On desperation”