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Podcast: George Monbiot; How Did We Get Into This Mess ?

This podcast was recorded on 16th March 2016 at University of Edinburgh,for the Ragged University project by request. With thanks to Elaine and Tarlochan at Wordpower Books, and thanks to Stuart for being welcoming with technical support. Elaine from Wordpower Books, Scotland’s Independent and Radical Bookshop introduces the event they have produced in conjunction with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.

The main lecture is George Monbiot who is launching his latest book – How Did We Get Into This Mess. The Twitter hashtag which was set up was #thismess.

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The Moral Marketplace by Doreen Soutar

As Kermit famously said, it’s not easy being green. And ironically, as ethical consumption gets more popular, it has also become more difficult to judge which products are ethical and which aren’t. In this article, we start by looking at the part emotion plays in purchasing decisions and the gradual demand for greater product morality. We assume that sellers – spookily enough – are highly interested in selling us stuff, and getting our money is what gets them out of bed in the morning.

We end up at the shocking conclusion that we will only get more ethical products if we give our cash to sellers that treat their produce as if it is worth something to them. Bet you weren’t expecting that!

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Local Third Places and Re-Imagining Economies as Sustainable

Professor Ray Oldenburg has spent many years analysing the social function of what he has coined ‘third places’. His books work to highlight the need for juncture places; places we meet and chew the cud with others in our community and network. Rather than the idea of social separate from economic, he recognises that the two lenses of seeing the world as being intimately bound and tied to each other.

The economic and the social cohabit the same landscape acting as a function of each other; this at least has been a reality, and is a necessary truth if we are to understand our world as a humanized place rather than as a machine of production. This perspective meets readily with Alfred Marshall’s statement ‘Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life’; this casts the study as something more human and rich than dry and merciless profiteering at any cost. Read more