Our bright digital lives: some critical thoughts

By Basile Boulay

We find ourselves at a strange crossroads. Never have we been more aware of the devastating impact of consumer goods on the environment and never have we been so dependent upon them. Technological innovations are embedded in the daily lives of even the most critical among us, and both usage of and demand for devices grows exponentially, leaving us to contemplate the ravages of climate change on our brightly lit screens. Understanding our relationship with modern technologies as well as conceptualising a coherent framework for a collective liveable future requires us to engage with difficult questions while avoiding counterproductive moralising pitfalls. In this blogpost, I suggest that a critical political economy outlook coupled with an effort to reconceptualise the ‘good life’ could be a useful starting point.

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What do the global supply chain disruptions tell us about the world economy?

By Intan Suwandi

Lockdowns and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to what is being referred to as the “first global supply chain crisis.” The supply chain disruption has made havoc since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 90 percent of the 1000 Fortune multinational corporations having a tier-one or tier-two supplier affected by the virus in February 2020.  By mid-April 2020, 81 percent of global manufacturing firms were experiencing supply shortages. Also in the same year, hundreds of US companies reported that their suppliers only operated at an average of 50 percent capacity, which resulted in longer final product lead times and a negative impact between 5.6 to 15 percent on their revenues. Although recent reports indicate that the situation has become less severe, many analysts still think that the “supply chain nightmare” is far from over, and it is predicted that supply chain disruptions will continue until late 2022.

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Social protection and social cohesion are key for climate action

By Daniele Malerba

The current energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine has shown that long-term climate mitigation needs to be coupled with the reduction of poverty and inequality; it is obvious that climate change is a global problem, and one that needs to be addressed in combination with social justice. In a recent article in an EJDR  special issue, we make the case that the relationship and effects of social protection and social cohesion are critical in this sense.  Social cohesion is defined as “the vertical and the horizontal relations among members of society and the state as characterized by a set of attitudes and norms that includes trust, an inclusive identity, and cooperation for the common good”

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Food transformations and (un)sustainable diets: Taking consumption seriously in development research

By Arve Hansen

The world is in dire need of more sustainable and healthy food systems. The development field has much to say on the topic but has historically had a clear focus on either food supply or food deprivation. The potential benefits and positive spill-over effects of eating healthier and more sustainably have, however, led to increasing and wider attention to the demand side of food. Recent research suggests that the sustainability potential of dietary change is considerably larger than that of improving production. If we could just change what people eat, and at the same time avoid some of the ongoing nutrition transitions in low- and middle-income countries, it would have a massive ripple effect in entire food systems.

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The ecological consequences of ‘economic development’: the expansion of gold mining in the Volta Grande do Xingu

By Amélie Foko’o Magoua, Anna Chevalier, Cassandra Ajufoh and Tomaso Ferrando

On June 5th, a group of inhabitants of the agrarian reform settlement Ressaca in the Brazilian state of Para organized a collective action to take back public land previously turned over to Belo Sun Ltd, a Canadian mining company. The action, conducted with the support of indigenous communities and actors from across the Amazon region, aimed at vindicating the right of people to the integrity of their territories and opposing the way in which regulators, politicians and private companies were sacrificing them in the name of gold extraction and global trade in natural resources. Moreover, the action was a clear signal against the limits of national legal processes and a consequence of a frustrating visit to public and private actors in the European Union.

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