My new Internet page www.on-green-policy.com is now online. Please go and check it out. You’ll find noteworthy news ON a broad range of green issues linked to policy questions.

As my time is limited I’ll have to stop writing here but I’m sure www.on-green-policy.com will be a worthy successor.

Aurel Christian Schmid

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Thailand – Power to the Millionaires

Whoever feels rich people have too much influence in politics should continue to read, the others too.

According to data from the national corruption office, the newly sworn in 36 head strong government of Thailand consists mainly of US$-millionaires. Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former Prime Minister and media champion Thaksin Shinawatra (overthrown in a military coup, exiled and accused for corruption charges), herself has declared 8 cars, a rather nice house and almost 17 million US$.

Noteworthy! The governing party, the reds, was mostly voted into office by the poorest of Thai society and has its strongest supporter base in the rural poor north of the country. Therefore, it’s a valid question why do these neglected farmers support a bunch of millionaires who obviously have very little common with them? The answer could partly lie in the combined media and financial power of the Thaksin’s red party. Also, the “yellow” party is not necessarily any closer to the life and the worries of the peasants. The other noteworthy thing is that politicians actually have to declare their assets! A commendable practice that would suit well some self-declared western democracy champions. Now, the corruption agency and voters just have to do the next logical step and start asking where the money does come from.

Source: The Guardian

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Quality of Life – Good-Bye GDP

Everybody wants to be wealthy, which is usually measured in terms of GDP (GDP: the sum of all domestically produced goods and services). While this is important to our life, it is clearly not enough. Also, the value of existing goods and of nature is not taken into account, even they very important for the well being of people. Now imagine a big flooding, which destroys innumerable goods but doesn’t negatively affect GDP. Worse, due to the replacement of destroyed goods, GDP will even rise without those affected being any better than before. That’s obviously a big problem in measuring wealth and making an ever-increasing GDP the goal of economic policy is highly questionable.

In order to eliminate these shortcomings of measuring wealth, the Green party of the German state Schleswig-Holstein ordered an alternative measure to be calculated. One that includes sustainable energy production, the quality of air and water, criminality and various social indicators like income distribution among the states inhabitants. Result: In contrast to the traditional GDP measure, Schleswig-Holstein now is the top-performer in Germany. Despite having a relatively low GDP, its people enjoy an excellent quality of life.

Noteworthy! What would you prefer? Isn’t it obvious that this alternative wealth indicator is much more suitable for guiding our economic policy than striving for just increasing GDP? GDP certainly is an interesting economic figure but simply not suitable for this purpose. The German initiative is goodnews because it hopefully initiates more such statistics and eventually makes national and international actors move away from using GDP for calculating wealth.

Source: Zeit

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Income Inequalities – Germany Repeating the US Disaster

In Germany market economy is social, unions strong and income disparities refreshingly small. While not completely wrong, this is not quiet true anymore. New figures suggest that in the last decade despite rapid economic growth and exploding wages for already high-income earners, the lowest income class has suffered a significant net loss in purchasing power….

Shale Gas – Ecologically and Economically Unsustainable

Shale gas is booming in the US  and Canada and according to some sources is bound to become to most important source of primary energy. There are however some real concerns, concerning both its ecological and economical viability. Behind the overly optimistic assumptions, some insiders reveal worrying figures about rapidly falling production in many wells…

Indonesia – On the Shopping Spree

Indonesia’s middle class (more than US$ 3000 available income per year) is rapidly expanding. Only 1.6 million people in 2004, it is now about 50 million people and according to analysts it will be close to 150 million in 2014. And they put their income to good use. Indonesians bought 8 million scooters and 750’000…