June 2008

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South Africa's Electricity Crisis: Beyond the Price Debate

Picture: thepetitionsite.com Michelle Pressend - The rising price of electricity has dominated the media and many public debates in the last month. Indeed, concern about Eskom’s proposed 53 percent tariff increase was at the centre of discussions at the Energy Summit, which took place on 16 May 2008, in Sandton.  The 'price issue' is a critical debate because it has huge implications for people's affordability and access to electricity, particularly the 'energy poor' in this country - 30 percent of South Africans do not have...

A Global Warning About Global Warming

Leonardo DiCaprio argues that human addiction to oil has brought us to the brink of destruction. Our burning of oil and other fossil fuels has dumped over seven hundred billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, causing global warming. At the same time, big corporations and politicians have not done enough to save us. They have gained too much money and power off our addiction to oil, making them resistant to change.

Why the New Round of the Kyoto Protocol is a Long Way From Being Signed and Sealed

Picture: safecom.org.au Saliem Fakir - The key to the success of the Kyoto Protocol, which is meant to protect us from climate change, is dependent on collective global action. Collective action is a product of enlightened self-interested power using its soft power to garner the world’s support and leadership. It too, requires a shared system of values and beliefs. But whatever there was of this enlightened self-interest before 9/11 has gone to the wind. When you run the world economy and geo-politics on the winner takes...

A Car That Runs on Water

Japanese company, Genepax has invented a car that runs on water. The company says that any kind of water, including rain and sea water will do. Once water is poured into the car, an energy generator takes hydrogen from the water releasing electrons that power the car. It takes just a litre of water to keep the car's engine running for about an hour at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour. Genepax has plans to mass produce the vehicle.

John Cusack's War Inc.

John Cusack talks about his new movie War Inc., a comment on corporate profiteering that has become the hallmark of the war in Iraq. He refers to the war as a "disastrous free-market utopian enterprise", and labels the free market of today, nothing more than a "vast protectionist racket". Privatisation has gone too far argues Cusack, pointing out that there are as many contractors as there are soldiers in Iraq where everything is outsourced, including torture. This,...

The Drift Away From the Western World

Picture: blog.lib.umn.edu Saliem Fakir - Even in the purview of John Stuart Mill’s political economy, the insight was not lost on him that opportunities for cultural and intellectual exchange lay so pregnant with potential and concurrent with the growth of commerce between trading countries. Mill wrote: “..commerce is the purpose of the far greater part of communication which takes place between civilized nations. Such communication has always been, and is peculiarly in the present age, one of the primary sources of...