purpose – values – wellbeing

What now? Donella Meadows on paradigms

Yesterday, I posted on a 1970s talk by Donella Meadows, above is a 1990s one. Speaking at the University of Michigan, Dana offered a tour de force introduction to system dynamics. At the end, she was asked the classic question, Tolstoy's question: "What is to be done?" I'm always interested in how people will respond [...]

Interview with Dale Jamieson

"I did not write this book in order to save the Earth," begins Dale Jamieson in his new book, Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed -- and What It Means for Our Future. "My goal is to make you think." Seeing the book reminded me of this 2009 interview, [...]

Crowding-out: Intrinsic and extrinsic values

The nation seeks locations for toxic waste sites. Would you be willing to accept one near your community? How about if there were a financial compensation, a cash incentive -- would that change your mind? In the 1990s, one nation facing these questions was Switzerland, and, in a contingent valuation survey, the incentives on offer [...]

Ezio Manzini on quality

"Quality is a very powerful driver of change," emphasized Ezio Manzini in this May 2012 talk at Social Innovation Generation. Manzini is director of the Milan Polytechnic Interdepartmental Centre for Research on Innovation for Sustainability and will keynote the Compostmodern conference later this month. Beginning at ~30:00: My impression is that until now, the predominant, [...]

Wendell Berry: It all turns on affection

"The great mistake that we make," says Wendell Berry, "is when we assume that the land can be abused to improve the people -- or that the people can be abused to improve the land." Berry spoke last week on the Diane Rehm show about his new collection of stories, and about his 2012 Jefferson [...]

Identity tree — spheres of relation and concern

The golden rule admonishes treating others as one would like to be treated. But which others? We tend to draw distinctions in our identifications with others, relations with others, or concerns for others. Distinctions like family or not family, human or not human. In this diagram, I visualize common distinctions as spheres of relation or [...]

A practical syllogism for climate action

A fill-in-the-blank question, in the form of a syllogism, that I picked up years ago from philosopher and essayist Kathleen Dean Moore. Premise 1: Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real. Premise 2: {What statements might go here?} Conclusion: Humans must take action to halt AGW.

Jobs and wellbeing

Work is pain; money is pleasure. Or so mainstream economic theory would have it. But our experiences don't quite match the theoretical models. Picture the proverbial old guy who just couldn't retire. Turns out, he's not that odd. People value the activities of production along with the joys of consumption. And each in nuanced ways. [...]