Hi and welcome to our weekly round up of news stories and other feeds which didn’t make it into the rest of the week.
How badly has the world economy been hit by covid-19? Dreadfully, according to the Mail. Here Ryan Morrison estimates the hit at $3.8 trillion. That is an enormous red hole in the world balance sheet.
But, never forget, it is just money. Everything we need to make a successful economy function is still there. All the ships, farms, planes, factories, IT systems, malls, roads and people haven’t gone away. They are the same ones we had before the virus struck. The job now is to get them running again.
One way to get an economy running is to look for new markets. The obvious place to go is space-it is limitless. Up to now, space exploration has been the province of visionaries like Arthur C Clarke, or cold war warriors. Sensible people say, understandably-“there’s no money in it!” The only profitable bit is near earth satellites. Now all that may be about to change. NASA hope to explore an asteroid out in the belt between Mars and Jupiter that seems to carry inestimable mineral wealth. Here’s Ryan Morrison again, for the Mail. Oh and by the way, it was visionary Arthur C Clarke who dreamed up the idea of geostationary earth satellites back in 1947. Try to live without them now!
We at LSS support every possible step in re wilding. It’s not about cuddly animals. it is about creating stable habitats which can soak up carbon dioxide. That contain chemical riches, like new antibiotics, in their plants and fungi. That may provide the basis for a new, sustainable economy, to replace the mess we’re in. Here is a lovely story from The Guardian, by Damian Carrington, about the return of wold bison to Kent in the UK
Still wandering in the shadowy borderlands between science and political economy, we come again to the idea of a universal basic income. Before the corona virus pandemic, it was dismissed as a hopeless idea by the experts. The only way to universal prosperity was to make as many people as possible work for as long as possible, for the lowest wages it was possible to pay them. And, anyway, the poor are always hopelessly lazy, so it was good for them. Suddenly governments around the world are shelling out astronomical sums to ensure the common good. So let’s at least consider-if it works once, could it work always, at some level? Here Nature briefings looks at Spain’s experiment.
Spain’s epic economics experiment
Last month, Spain launched a website offering monthly payments of up to €1,015 (US$1,145) to its citizens to spend however they choose. Economists welcomed it as the largest test yet of an idea called universal basic income (UBI). The government estimates that the scheme will cost at least €3 billion per year. Evidence from smaller trials of UBI indicates that the benefits could include better health and higher school attendance. But the scheme is not truly universal — it’s only for 850,000 of the nation’s poorest families. Critics worry that the income limit will create a disincentive to earn more that would act as a ‘poverty trap’ and tarnish the natural experiment. Nature | 6 min read
Well, that’s it for this weekend. Thanks for reading, we hope we have given you food for thought at Saturday Night Dinner. Drink responsibly!
#universalbasicincome #asteroids #rewilding