Category Archives: Societal!

Re-think!

 

Philosophers, futurists, authors, writers and even an American president are calling for a rethink of how modern society works or, more to the point, why it doesn’t seem to work. This video provides an overview of what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to create a different type of society.

CSR 3.0: A new global framework for responsible business

Publicerad den 13 mar 2013

Professor David Grayson CBE, director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, visits the RSA to demonstrate how a new wave of corporate responsibility coalitions are collectively self-regulating, promoting good behaviour and responding to societal challenges.

Chair: John Morrison, executive director, the Institute for Human Rights and Business

Source: http://www.thersa.org/

Green & Clean

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An excellent example of the role plants play in keeping our soil intact and even clean of impurities – Go Green and stay Clean!

S…. Forest in Japan

Puplished  9 of mai 2012

The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. The authorities sweep for bodies only on an annual basis, as the forest sits at the base of Mt. Fuji and is too dense to patrol more frequently.

Originally released in 2011 at http://vice.com

Locksmiths, firemen refuse to aid evictions in Spain

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Locksmiths and firemen in Spain are rebelling against a wave of evictions in the economic crisis by refusing to help bailiffs open ruined homeowners’ doors to throw them out.
AFP – Locksmiths and firemen in Spain are rebelling against a wave of evictions in the economic crisis by refusing to help bailiffs open ruined homeowners’ doors to throw them out.

“Families’ lives were being ruined and we were acting as executioners,” David Ormaechea, president of the Locksmiths Union, told AFP. “It was causing us tension and unease.”

A wave of evictions of mortgage-holders ruined by the recession has prompted several suicides and sparked a protest movement that last week brought a motion to parliament for a law to end the procedure.

With the locksmiths refusing to take part, some authorities have been asking the fire service to step in and break open the doors of those resisting eviction.

On Tuesday in the northwestern city of A Coruna, firefighters were called to help evict an 85-year-old woman who had defaulted on her rent.

A crowd of protestors gathered outside the apartment to block the eviction. When the firefighters arrived they refused to open the door and some of them joined in the protest.

Firefighters in other regions such as Catalonia and Madrid have since followed their example.

“We come to the aid of people in emergencies. It is contradictory to help the banks that are putting people’s lives in danger” by evicting them, Antonio del Rio, a labour union representative for the Catalonia fire service, told AFP.

“The only thing we do is help citizens,” said another Madrid fireman, Pedro Campos.

“We only enter a home when there is danger inside. Getting a woman of 85 out of her home is not a situation of danger.”

PAH, the campaign movement that brought the proposed law to parliament, says hundreds of thousands of people face eviction following the collapse of Spain’s housing boom in 2008.

The resulting recession has driven the unemployment rate over 26 percent, leaving many unable to pay mortgages on houses that have lost much of their value.

Regularly demonstrating on evictees’ doorsteps, PAH says it has blocked half a million evictions since 2009, in some cases enabling families to stay in their homes and pay rent.

Its bill, backed by a petition with 1.4 million signatures, proposes to end evictions and let insolvent homeowners write off their debts by surrendering their home.

Under the current law, a bank can pursue a borrower for the remaining balance of a loan if the value of the seized property does not cover it.

Source: France24

Un-Sustainability

 

Sustainability: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our behaviors towards our natural environment. We are able to create and maintain the conditions under which we, humans and nature can coexist in productive harmony. In sustainability we do permit fulfilling our social, economic and other requirements for present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have life; the air,  the water, materials and resources to protect human health, our environment and life itself.

The lottery of life ….

“Eeny Meeny Miny Moe”

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Where to be born in 2013
Nov 21st 2012 |From The World In 2013 print edition

Warren Buffett, probably the world’s most successful investor, has said that anything good that happened to him could be traced back to the fact that he was born in the right country, the United States, at the right time (1930). A quarter of a century ago, when The World in 1988 light-heartedly ranked 50 countries according to where would be the best place to be born in 1988, America indeed came top. But which country will be the best for a baby born in 2013?

To answer this, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of The Economist, has this time turned deadly serious. It earnestly attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.

Its quality-of-life index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys—how happy people say they are—to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too. In all, the index takes 11 statistically significant indicators into account. They are a mixed bunch: some are fixed factors, such as geography; others change only very slowly over time (demography, many social and cultural characteristics); and some factors depend on policies and the state of the world economy.

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Related topics
A forward-looking element comes into play, too. Although many of the drivers of the quality of life are slow-changing, for this ranking some variables, such as income per head, need to be forecast. We use the EIU’s economic forecasts to 2030, which is roughly when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood.
Despite the global economic crisis, times have in certain respects never been so good. Output growth rates have been declining across the world, but income levels are at or near historic highs. Life expectancy continues to increase steadily and political freedoms have spread across the globe, most recently in north Africa and the Middle East. In other ways, however, the crisis has left a deep imprint—in the euro zone, but also elsewhere—particularly on unemployment and personal security. In doing so, it has eroded both family and community life.

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– Where to be born in 1988
What does all this, and likely developments in the years to come, mean for where a baby might be luckiest to be born in 2013? After crunching its numbers, the EIU has Switzerland comfortably in the top spot, with Australia second.

Small economies dominate the top ten. Half of these are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro zone. The Nordic countries shine, whereas the crisis-ridden south of Europe (Greece, Portugal and Spain) lags behind despite the advantage of a favourable climate. The largest European economies (Germany, France and Britain) do not do particularly well.

America, where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place. Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) scores impressively. Among the 80 countries covered, Nigeria comes last: it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013.

Boring is best

Quibblers will, of course, find more holes in all this than there are in a chunk of Swiss cheese. America was helped to the top spot back in 1988 by the inclusion in the ranking of a “philistine factor” (for cultural poverty) and a “yawn index” (the degree to which a country might, despite all its virtues, be irredeemably boring). Switzerland scored terribly on both counts. In the film “The Third Man”, Orson Welles’s character, the rogue Harry Lime, famously says that Italy for 30 years had war, terror and murder under the Borgias but in that time produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance; Switzerland had 500 years of peace and democracy—and produced the cuckoo clock.

However, there is surely a lot to be said for boring stability in today’s (and no doubt tomorrow’s) uncertain times. A description of the methodology is available here: food for debate all the way from Lucerne to Lagos.
Laza Kekic: director, country forecasting services, Economist Intelligence Unit