Editor’s note: eco bros
Posted October 4, 2016
The link between sustainability and gender
After using my girlfriend’s body lotion for a quite a while, I decided one day to stop borrowing and go pick some up for myself at the local drugstore. Without thinking, I gravitated towards the men’s section and was met with a sea of labels, like Every Man Jack, before ultimately settling on Bulldog Skincare for Men. The bottle informed me this was specifically tailored to “man skin,” ensuring that the customer’s fragile masculinity remained intact and well-moisturized. Regular body lotion is for women, but Bulldog is Man’s Best Friend.™Continue Reading...
Empire of things
Posted September 22, 2016
Frank Trentmann outlines the history of consumption and its resonance today.
Denunciations of modern consumer culture have become a staple of the modern environmental movement, the product of an insatiable and corrupting need for more that is driving the planet beyond its limits. On the other side lies the neoliberal view that individual choice is an inherent good that’s driving economic growth. It’s a simplistic summary, but a useful one nonetheless.
Into this debate wades historian Frank Trentmann. His latest book, Empire of Things, is an exhaustive attempt to catalogue the global advance of goods over the past six centuries. In following cultures of consumption around the world, he complicates common misconceptions that consumerism is a modern, western export imposed upon the world. He argues that in West African societies, for example, there were distinct and pre-existing consumer cultures. Another underlying narrative consistently emphasizes the importance of broader factors beyond individual choice, such as consumption patterns influenced by company towns and work camps or government action.Continue Reading...
Blowing hot air
Posted June 16, 2016
Clean energy's Trump card
Posted March 30, 2016
Tax avoidance and corporate social responsibility
The last several years have seen a parade of increasingly cringe-worthy explanations from various multinational corporations seeking to justify their complicated tax avoidance schemes.
When pressed about Apple’s sophisticated offshore tax avoidance regime on CBS’s 60 Minutes last December, CEO Tim Cook dismissed the accusations as “total political crap. There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.” At a hearing in front of a British parliamentary committee this past February, Google tax chief Tom Hutchinson asserted that the company wasn’t unfairly gaming the system. “We are paying the right amount,” he said.Continue Reading...
The simplest way to tackle poverty
Posted March 16, 2016
Proposals for a guaranteed minimum income have been gaining momentum over the past few years. What's all the fuss about?
There was a brief moment in time when both the Republican and Democratic nominees for the U.S. presidency supported a guaranteed minimum income (GMI).
Economists and politicians from across the political spectrum had begun to warm to the idea in the 1960s as a poverty reduction measure – from Nobel laureate and free-market evangelist Milton Friedman to left-leaning economists like John Kenneth Galbraith. A petition in the spring of 1968 calling for its adoption was signed by over 1,000 economists, bolstering similar conclusions from multiple presidential and state commissions.Continue Reading...