What we learned this week

New Economics Foundation has a new report on Universal Basic Services, and how they could be used to address inequality and climate change at the same time. An “indispensable eco-social policy”, they call it.

Whirli is replicating toy-swaps online, with subscriptions for borrowing toys. Good for reducing clutter, keeping toys in circulation longer, and generally creating a more circular economic for toys.

Cory Doctorow explains how social media platforms fail: “first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.”

If you enjoy discovering new music, as I do, then you might want to drop in on the Environmental Music Prize, now in its second year and highlighting entries from around the world. Listen and vote.

“It may well be the case that the world we thought we were fighting to save is already gone,” writes Ben Martin at Green Economy Coalition. “But we still have a vast range of possible futures to choose from.”

Highlights from this week

The world’s most postgrowth president?

It’s a brave politician that talks about economic growth in anything other than worshipful tones. Italy’s Lorenzo Fioramonti is a rare example, though his time in government was brief for unrelated reasons. New Zealand, Wales and a handful of other countries have instituted policies that look beyond economic growth, though the politicians behind them weigh…

The Catch-22 of climate protest

Earlier this year Extinction Rebellion announced that they would take a break from civil disobedience for a bit in order to focus on building broader coalitions. They called instead for a peaceful and inclusive gathering in London. With no law-breaking involved, anyone who had been hesitant to get involved could no turn up and take…

Five tiny cars – and why they’re a good idea

I was given a Lego set when I was about four. It was a red car and it came with a mechanic who could fix it with a spanner. One of the things that I remember noticing about it was that there was only one seat. Cars in the real world always had four or…

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