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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2020 edited
     
    Two related short articles:

    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-three-ways-the-crisis-may-permanently-change-our-lives-133954
    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-worlds-response-has-slashed-co2-emissions-heres-how-to-keep-them-down-134094

    "Research in the social sciences has long made the observation that socio-political change often occurs in sudden bursts: a social system remains stable for a long period of time, until an external shock disrupts it and sets in motion a new trajectory."

    Just another false dawn? Or is the monolithic 'system' not as resourcefully stubborn as it's seemed?
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2020
     
    I think home working could well take off in some sectors, once firms realise they can still make money doing it. It was that promise after all, that was going to be the new dawn norm according to pioneers of the computer age all those years ago.
    As for the rest, Global tourism will subside for a while because of lack of money, and the jitters. However, the need for jobs will override everything else IMO including grandiose social change.
    The socio- political "clicker " effect to which you refer has long been theorised but on balance I fear the world is too diverse, and with too many vested interested to make it happen.
    But;--- every cloud has a silver lining?
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2020 edited
     
    I think this is an ideal opportunity for governments to fundamentally overhaul the laws on tax, reliefs and benefits. The careful fine tuning and tinkering of the current rules to keep in sync with the economy is going to be put way out of kilter over the next tax year, and probably longer.

    In particular this is the ideal time to change the tax structure of global companies to ensure that they pay the correct tax relevant to where their business activity is (location of customers and staff) and not where they choose to take profits (could be anywhere).

    short term I would like the government to pay a chunk of the council tax (band A equivalent) for all houses - anything here to help ordinary people keep their houses in the short term is good.

    remove the personal tax free allowance and replace it with a fixed monthly payment for all. The obsession with taking people out of tax is simple headline grabbing. This could simplify the benefit system and remove the high marginal tax rate for those on benefits as well as the disincentive to take on short term work.

    Merge NI, and employers NI, with income tax

    There will be many people that will have no job and no prospect of work through no fault of their own - and others that will be able to continue earning without a hitch. We will need to shut down all non-essential work and human contacts in the short term - those in work will have to be more generous in the near future. And I think the government will have to force a limit on interest rate for debts - car loans, credit cards etc and allow 'holidays for repayments'. If they don't repossessions will be the effect for many years to come.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2020
     
    Posted By: goodevansI think this is an ideal opportunity for governments to fundamentally overhaul the laws on tax, reliefs and benefits.

    I think this is a laudable goal, but I don't think it's clear that making major changes to legislation during emergencies is good policy. Emergency legislation is often ill-considered and sometimes has very long-lasting negative consequences.

    If there is already such a plan and it's just a matter of getting it approved whereas it would face more opposition in more normal times, then fine, but trying to develop the details of such a plan in current conditions? I suspect it may be better to concentrate on steering the ship of state rather than rebuilding it as well.
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2020
     
    I don't think anyone is going to want to go on a giant cruise liner again are they?

    After observing the beneficial effects on the environment of stopping all air travel it makes solving global warming seem very easy now. There's obviously no climate change emergency, and the solution is readily apparent - just abandon air travel. It seemed a good idea once.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    It's a bit more than just air travel, but yes.

    All over China, sat images are showing dramatically shrinking zones of air pollution - even the prosperity-chasing China pop won't willingly go back there, having tasted fresh air. Similar effects all over, even here in open countryside - everyone will have tangibly tasted very sudden benefits and transformed quality of life, in many ways (as well as the fear isolation and inconvenience) and will know that it's readily possible, not just an idealistic dream.

    Immediate experience is always infinitely powerful, compared with sober weighing of hidden dangers.

    However, 'The System' has shown itself highly skilled in subverting one hopeful, radical trend after another, turning it to profit.

    From Douglas Ruskoff this morning https://gen.medium.com/we-wish-to-inform-you-that-your-death-is-highly-profitable-22c73744055c

    "As far as the ultra-wealthy are concerned, the virus to be afraid of is less a medical challenge than a memetic one. We are waking up to the fact that we’ve been slaves to an exponential growth curve for the past 40 years, at least, and really much much longer. And we’re witnessing how the same exponential growth that gave the billionaires their fortunes is responsible for the fact that 40% of Americans have less than $400 in the bank for an emergency. The need for exponential growth also explains how we surrendered basic manufacturing and food resiliency to tenuous global supply chains. Sure, we can go back to work, but we can’t even make our own respirators."
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    Posted By: fostertomeven the prosperity-chasing China pop won't willingly go back there, having tasted fresh air

    They've been going on holiday for years and going back and carrying on. I expect they'll carry on now for the same reason - they need to work to earn money to live.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    But a suddenly huge constituency around the globe will be asking how that can be done without pollution - which it can - just needs popular demand.

    Corbyn's massive-borrowing Keynsian pitch seemed to have been conclusively voted down, especially by Tory sympathisers, but only days later here's Boris doing exactly that (the borrowing), so everyone knows that massive investment to do what's necessary can after all be financed before it's 'earned'.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    What, you mean like printing more money.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020 edited
     
    Almost every bit of money that exists has been printed, mainly by the banks, occasionally (e.g. Quantitative Easing) by governments, and issued to someone as a debt, to be repaid (or rolled over), with interest. None of it was 'earned', by individuals, cos or govts, before it was printed. All new 'earning' or 'wealth creation' has already been printed.

    Central banks attempt by indirect means to control the supply of 'new' money (Thatcher's ministers talked of little else) e.g. to avoid inflation, or to enforce a bout of Austerity. For governments it's a matter of ideology and policy (not of 'earnings') - for banks it's a matter to prudence (will it get paid back).

    'Making money' or 'creating wealth' (for biz folks), and even 'earning money' (for the rest of us) consists, one way or another, of getting hold of money and leaving someone else holding the debt. All growth of 'wealth' is thanks to the printing of new money - the only question is who gets the money and who ends up with the debt. No co or individual can increase their wealth without someone else increasing their debt.

    When a co or individual borrows money, it counts as a 'charge', not as part of their wealth. Only when a co or individual gets hold of money debt-free, does it count as part of their wealth.

    The only way the interest gets paid is by constant growth. So all calls for zero growth equal collapse of the present money system.

    'Money as debt' is an artificial system, an accident of history. There are several spendid alternative money systems that could be adopted - it's all just a convention, an agreement.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    and presumably convincing every other country to do the same.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2020
     
    It's looking like it may not be voluntary.
    • CommentAuthorKenny_M
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Real change requires existing power structures to be broken. Its long been recognised that its the wealthy who are the biggest energy users, and its the wealthy who are generally in control. I'm not sure how coronavirus will change this in the long term.

    The reduction in pollution due to coronavirus is temporary, and as soon as its over there will be a massive rush on for people to get their holiday fix. Wealthy airline owners, shareholders etc will convince the government to bail them out and if the demand is there then the airlines etc will just go back to business as usual.

    I've long felt that the only thing that will reduce energy usage and pollution is individual energy/carbon accounts/rations. For the poorest in society this would change very little, but the wealthy, powerful and influential would feel a huge impact to their lifestyle, and that is really the only reason it is not likely to happen.

    Coronavirus might result in a few more people working from home long term, but beyond that I don't see any more than a temporary shift in behaviour.

    If on the other hand you forced the wealthy to use the same amount of energy as as the poorer in society, they would not want to change their behaviour, so they would start to go out of their way to invest in low carbon technology and travel options.

    Note, that by wealthy I don't just been the uber-rich, I mean any of us who can afford to go on multiple holidays in a year, travel regularly with work etc. Having said that, if you told a billionaire they could only use as much carbon as me, then they would suddenly become a tremendous force for change in order to maintain their lifestyle.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    In terms of measuring wealth on a global scale, 99% of the UK population probably class as wealthy.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Posted By: Kenny_MI've long felt that the only thing that will reduce energy usage and pollution is individual energy/carbon accounts/rations. For the poorest in society this would change very little, but the wealthy, powerful and influential would feel a huge impact to their lifestyle, and that is really the only reason it is not likely to happen.

    Agree with the idea. I like the variation where a carbon tax is imposed and all the proceeds are returned to the population, an equal share to each person. That way heavy users, whoever they are, pay; there's an incentive to decarbonise whatever process causes it to be paid; and the poor get slightly richer.
  1.  
    Discussion of the pros/pitfalls of the UK's carbon tax here: : https://www.carbontax.org/where-carbon-is-taxed/#United%20Kingdom
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Yes, the UK's carbon tax is nothing like what I support. It isn't directly apparent to people when they incur it, or even that they do, and it doesn't directly support equality. The British Columbia example is much closer:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/04/how-to-make-a-carbon-tax-popular-give-the-profits-to-the-people

    (and yes, I just linked to the Grauniad :bigsmile: )
  2.  
    There seems instinctively to be a difference between "real" growth (good) and fictitious growth (bad).

    An economy consisted of people who lived on one side of a hill, perfect for raising sheep, and people who lived on the sunny slopes on the other side who grew wheat. One side lived on roast lamb, stewed lamb, lamb chops, cold lamb. The other lived on fresh bread, stale bread, toast.
    Then a visitor suggested that if they invested in a hand cart they could trade with each other, and everyone would suddenly have enriched their diet and improved their standard of living. However you measured it, that would have been economic growth.

    How would they pay for the handcart? Perhaps its maker (you could call him the industrialist, or banker) would receive payment in the form of some lamb and bread, until his investment, or loan, had been paid off.
    You could call that "interest".
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime3 days ago edited
     
    Good example but how does
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThere seems instinctively to be a difference between "real" growth (good) and fictitious growth (bad)
    illustrate it (or vice versa)? Spell it out.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeHow would they pay for the handcart?

    Given the arable farmers would already be skilled in metalwork and woodwork to make tools to plant and harvest their grain, and the sheep farmers would likely be able to construct fences, as well as the houses they all lived in, I'd think that the community had more than enough skills to build themselves a handcart or three and wouldn't need a separate 'banker'.
  3.  
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThere seems instinctively to be a difference between "real" growth (good) and fictitious growth (bad).

    I would choose a different example, e.g. a carpenter makes doors and windows for the houses for people to live in and gets wealth by barter items. = real growth (good). A city wallah shuffles stocks and gilts and gets wealth on the difference without any value add to anything = fictitious growth (bad)

    Money comes into play in the carpenters example because that allows the barter to extend beyond the 2 people concerned (or stored for another day) but money should only be used if it is valued against something tangible - which today it is not.
  4.  
    Perhaps the farmers could hire in the handcart only the days when they need it. That way it gets utilised more often, by other people for the rest of the time, and crucially the farmers don't have to commit their time or capital or their available credit to buying handcarts, when they could spend them more effectively on seeds or barbwire.

    The handcart maker doesn't want to own it either, she wants to sell it so she can buy materials to make her next handcart.

    The handcart haulage company have a valid and productive economic function, even though they are a service industry. They make everyone else more productive.

    Likewise they need some money to buy the handcart. They can rent the money from a bank, same as everyone else is renting handcarts. The bank have a valid and productive economic function, even though they too are a service industry. They make everyone else more productive.

    The only people I can't shoehorn into this story are the estate agents, can't see why they exist.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    You would, however, need a team of sociologists in a local university, studying them all...

    gg
  5.  
    Incidentally, the money the bank is providing to the handcart industry, comes from the deposits of all the farmers' savings.

    So in late summer the bank's money is backed by tangible stuff - barns full of grain and sheep. But by late winter that's all been eaten and the currency is no longer backed by anything tangible, only by the bank's promises for next year's harvest, as it has been since at least the Middle Ages in the UK.

    Everyone is at risk that the bank might go bust and everyone's savings become worthless. Or a boom in handcart production causes a shortage of money to lend, hence inflation. The farmers hedge their bets (hoho) by spreading their savings in several banks. The farmers and banks can all lend each other money, to move it where it can be most productive at lowest risk. The farmers are too busy ploughing to work out where exactly that should be each day, so they need a broker to keep track of that for them.

    The brokers have a valid and productive economic function, even though they too are a service industry. They make everyone else more productive. Just nobody quite understands exactly how, and is a bit scared and jealous of them, so they tend to get a lot of badmouthing and end up in the village stocks pelted with rotten veg.

    To the estate agents and sociologists, add also the people who used to phone about claiming PPI or imaginary accidents, the Mediaeval economy didn't need them.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenOr a boom in handcart production causes a shortage of money to lend, hence inflation
    Doesn't the shortage of money prevent the boom in production? materials can't be bought, for a start.

    But don't the banks then conjure new money out of thin air?
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenthe money the bank is providing to the handcart industry, comes from the deposits of all the farmers' savings
    Only a tiny proportion of it, these days. Is this legitimised fraud, lending out multiples (1000s-fold) of the 'real', asset-backed money that's been deposited, hoping they won't be caught out? Or is it a welcome vote of confidence in a prosperous future, which only requires 'future money' to be made available now, to come true?

    At present, the criterion that 'legitimises' this 'fraud' is that new money is only created when someone is agreeing to add interest when they pay it back.

    (So banks' primary activity is marketing to persuade people to take up loans - the 'material' they apparently supply - money - is in fact limitless and free to the banks, via the 'monopoly' that society grants them).

    There must be some way, other than money-as-debt, that can legitimise this 'pay-it-forward' way of lubricating the wheels of economy-as-useful-creativity. The problem is that it would put the
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungarycity wallah shuffles stocks and gilts and gets wealth on the difference without any value add to anything
    out of a job - the UK's USP (City of London) would then collapse.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTime2 days ago
     
    Has anyone discovered coal under the wheat fields yet ?

    That should solve this hand to mouth lifestyle of the peasants, allow them to build schools and hospitals, work a 5 day week, take some leisure time, enjoy looking at the sheep across the valley on a Sunday afternoon, and the poor peasants looking after them 7 days a week - ohh and relegate handcarts to the "used to be useful" pile.

    Regards

    Barney
  6.  
    The difficulty with attempts to analyse what it really happening, and so devise a better system without the ills of the present, comes once you allow that services can be a "good" economic activity.
    It sounds OK, having people who help others to cooperate productively, who facilitate loans so that those with a surplus can be put in touch with those needing capital to develop good ideas. But then it all gets out of hand, and you discover that jobs exist that most people cannot begin to understand, and have no means of knowing whether they are really "good" or simply confidence tricks.

    My handcart maker who discovered the wheel and brought it to people who ploughed with wooden plough shares pulled by humans was obviously initiating a massive increase in national wealth, benefiting everyone, with no apparent environmental or other costs. Yet it effectively doubled economic growth in one year.
    At what point did it all go wrong?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    Debt - The First 5,000 Years
    by David Graeber

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Debt-Updated-Expanded-First-Years-ebook/dp/B00Q1HZMCW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=debt+-+the+first+5000&qid=1586261344&sr=8-1

    Takeaways -
    Barter was not the 'primitive' way of trading - it only began when westerners intruded.
    Pre westerners' arrival, 'currency' had such sacred meanings that the very last thing it was used for was trade/repository of purchasing power.
    Money-as-debt can only survive with constant economic growth, or inflation - i.e. growth in the total money-value of all the 'stuff' in the world. All appeals for zero-growth entail the collapse of the present money system.
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    I'm currently reading "The value of Everything" by Mariana-Mazzucato. It is basically about good and bad growth. I'm learning a lot but not a particularly easy read. Maybe it is because I didn't know much to start with?!

    https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Mariana-Mazzucato/The-Value-of-Everything--Making-and-Taking-in-the-Global-Economy/23499355
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime1 day ago edited
     
    Always into suggestions for next book to read, I had a look at its review https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v40/n22/david-woodruff/profits-now-costs-later. Not sure I want any more shrill exposure of what's wrong with the system.

    As far as Philip Green's concerned, Steve Coogan's toe-curlingly good film Greed is the Philip Green story by a fictional name, hopefully adding him being eaten by a lion, with Asim Chaudhry as Frank the Lion Tamer, who also starred in the brilliant film Eaten by Lions!
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