Archive for the 'Economics' Category

How to Survive—and even Thrive—in this Recession

March 30th, 2010

Things are looking bleak in many parts of the world. Even some of the wealthiest parts are experiencing the consequences of the severity and persistence of the downturn. The chances of a further significant decline, both in the market and in the real economy, are now perhaps 50-50. According to some estimates, up to one-fourth of all commercial properties are in trouble; and 1 in 5 homes remains in danger of foreclosure. The effects of the stimulus program, weak at best, are now being offset by sharp declines in state and local government spending. The need for new economic policies is obvious, and yet such policies are not forthcoming.

In New Jersey, Governor Christie has taken an axe to the state budget, apparently with the approval of many voters; but he has not followed through on his commitment to stimulate the economy at the same time. On the contrary, he is looking to seize funds from the Clean Energy Program (which are ratepayer contributions, not tax revenues), which will cripple that fledgling industry; when he promised during his campaign to support renewable energy as the future engine of NJ’s economy. Is it possible to do both at the same time?

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Why Nuclear Energy is Still a Really Bad Idea

June 14th, 2009

After all the literature and public policy discussion and decision-making of the past 50+ years, it is hard to believe that there is still an industry – and a lobby – advocating for the expenditure of vast sums of money for the use of “controlled” nuclear reactions anywhere on this planet, let alone in the densely-populated Northeast.

But nuclear advocates have found new hope in the argument that nuclear power is “carbon-free.” New organizations have been formed to promote nuclear as “clean, affordable, and safe.” Continue Reading »

Paying for Reform

November 13th, 2008

If we think about the challenges facing the new Obama Administration, at the top of the list has to be prioritizing the actions that are desperately needed, in so many different areas, and integrating them into a coherent strategy that will put the country back on track, that will get the economy going again, and will once again inspire both sacrifice and greatness.

Should the administration move first on health care, or on the environment, or on housing, or on the economy? Clearly the answer is that it has to do all of these. The question most often asked in the media, though, is how to pay for it.

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Financial Permaculture Course and Green Business Summit in Hohenwald, TN

November 3rd, 2008

I’ve just returned from a five-day workshop in Hohenwald, TN, a remarkable and inspiring event that sought to provide both an introduction to “financial permaculture” and the launch of several new enterprises – including a green incubator – in rural Lewis County (population <15,000).

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The Upside of a Down Economy

October 12th, 2008

There’s not much good news in the slow-motion global market crash we’ve witnessed over the past couple of weeks, but what is positive is the growing recognition that what matters is not the mostly fictitious Wall Street economy of credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities but the “real” economy and the disastrous consequences of deregulation for the folks on Main Street. The fact is, as NYU economist Nouriel Roubini has pointed out, ordinary people have pretty much run out of money, stopped buying cars and homes, watched their retirement savings get cut in half, and begun to pull whatever they have left out of the stock market. We are witnessing a worldwide panic that will not be halted by Wall Street bailouts or technical manipulations of the money supply; we need fundamental reform of the economic system, and a reinvestment in infrastructure, jobs, and sustainable energy and other technologies.

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The Trickle-Up Economy

October 1st, 2008

We are currently living through the worst financial crisis since the great depression. This is a result not so much of a failure on Wall Street as a failure on Main Street in terms of the subprime mortgage mess. Mortgage brokers, many of them very local businesses, wrote no-doc loans for eager buyers and placed them with banks and finance companies, who in turn re-sold them to other lenders and institutional investors in “bundles,” which these lenders resold to private investors in the form of fractional securities.

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