Links. Sustainable ice cream, energy. Real household consumption. Great apes.
1) Amazing companies, sustainable ice cream edition.
On the upside: Ben and Jerry’s is an ice cream company owned by Unilever. They use milk produced by CONO, a farmers cooperative in the Netherlands. CONO is owned by about 600 farmers and has developed, together with Ben and Jerry’s, the ‘caring dairy‘ concept, a sustainable production concept based upon scoring multiple dimensions of eleven sustainability indicators (soil, erosion, fertilizer, water, profit, family, the local economy, energy, animal welfare, biodiversity, sustainable crops). CONO members who take part in the program get more for their milk and take part in a program which continuously searches for ‘best practices’ and helps farmers to introduce these best practices. This works.
On the downside: not all CONO members like the lack of independence inherent to the program (CONO is sensitive to these critiques, by the way). It can be understood as a case of ’empire’ as described by Wageningen University professor Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, the new way to control labour as well as capital which takes part in global value chains:
Throughout the world we are witnessing the emergence of a new, powerful mode of ordering, that implies a far reaching re-patterning of both the social and natural worlds. Following Hardt and Negri (2002), Chomsky (2005), Stiglitz (2002, 2003) and others, I will refer to this new mode of ordering and the associated forms of governance as ‘Empire’. In politico-economic terms the emergence of Empire strongly associates with the sharply increased mobility of enlarged flows of capital over the globe. Central to Empire as form of governance is control and appropriation. For Empire as mode of ordering the creation of controllability is central; this often requires a far reaching reordering of the social and the natural.
2) Countries where a lot of energy is produced in a sustainable way do not experience more interruption time an can, like Denmark (where 39% of electricity is produced using the wind), even be number two when it comes to this variable.
3) DSGE models, used by the Troika to investigate the consequences of austerity policies, state that government consumption, like government financed health care, is useless. Statisticians are smarter. Here you will find Actual Individual Consumption, an international comparison of consumption which takes national differences in government and household consumption into account. Remarkably, consumption in Lithuania is about as high, per capita, as in Greece while Polish consumption per capita is about two thirds of German consumption (in PPP, i.e. corrected for differences in the purchasing power of income).
4) Chimpanzees are nasty, aggressive, competitive animals. Their very close cousins Bonobo’s are, to the contrary, very much a ‘hippy=ie ape’, literally making love, not war like Chimpanzees. Humans are related almost exactly as much to chimps as to Bonobo’s… But the differences between Chips and Bonobo’s evolved in about one million year, while humans started to evolve in a separate way about five millions year ago, so we probably should not attach too much value to this.