Economy and social issues around the worldwww.cipec.org  is a collection of articles looking at economic, social and environmental issues. The contention of this website is that we live in an increasing interconnected world. It is by understanding these  connections that we are able to build better and better models of reality.

It is not always fruitful to look at things in isolation, even in purely scientific terms. Ever since schrodinger’s cat, it is has become apparent that context is vital. Even the fact that something is observed is enough to change the results of an experiment. When dealing with more complex things than possibly dead cats in a box it becomes more apparent that the way an experiment is set up, the way it is described, the bias of the observer are all condemning the results to subjectivity.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The notion of immutable truth is a hang up from Platonic theory. Rather we have to look for correlations, versions of the truth, working truths, useful insights.

By looking at a range of issues from several stand points it is hoped that the reader will go away from www.cipec.org with food for thought and possibly new perspectives. Perhaps these new perspectives will nudge the reader to taking positive action about environmental issues, social problems, economic injustices.

If not then perhaps the reader would care to comment and by doing so make a valid contribution to the debates taking place on this site.

As said Anacharsis:

“Wise men argue cases, fools decide them.”

Save energy by using the right windows

vinduerLike many of you, I live in a old house. I used to have a pretty big heating bill as my house really couldn’t keep the heat inside. Last year I hired a company to go over the house and find the places where it was leaking heat. This process is called a thermal mapping, and uses a special digital thermal camera to generate an infrared map of my home. On that map we can easily see which parts of the outside, is leaking the most heat.
It turned out that most of the heat was getting out through my old windows. 80% of the energi loss came from the windows, which made sense as they were about 30 years old and in pretty bad shape, well the glass was still there though, in case you were wondering.

I then hired a local company called Vinduer, to come and replace all the windows in my house. It was a bit expensive, but I wanted the job done right, and I am not much of a DIY type of person. I also wanted some quality windows that would last for a long time, and would isolate my home as good as possible.
After Vinduer had replaced all my old windows, I have them do a new thermal mapping, and the result looked much better. 3 months late I could also see the affect on my heating bills. It had been lowered by a whooping 25% and the period had been even colder than the months earlier. With this saving it wouldn’t take more than a fews years before I had saved the amount of money I paid Vinduer to change all my old house windows, so not only would I later on save money, I would also do something for the environment.

I am pretty sure there at quite a few of you in the same situation, you got an old house with 20-30 year old windows. By replacing those windows you would likely save money in the long run, but you would also use less heat, which is a good thing, when you consider the amount of pollution and CO2 it takes to warm a home these days. If all of us could lower the amount of energy we used by changing to the right windows, then it would make a huge impact on our planet, and could really be something to help lower the CO2 amounts. The energy we use to heat our home, is really something that leads to massive amounts of CO2 emition.

But the windows arn’t always the only part of the home that could be changed to save energy, according to Gratistagtjek, a lot of the time it’s the roof that’s an issue, with their Nyt Tag app, they have found that a lot of the problems come from leaky roofs, so imagine if you could both get a new roof and new windows, then you might be able to cut your energy use in half, now that would be quite something. Of course it would take several years before it would be economically beneficial, but the effect on the enviroment would start from day one after you replaced the roof or windows.

Source:
gratistagtjek.dk
WEB: http://www.gratistagtjek.dk/

The Environmentally Friendly Way to Stay Cool

We all know how hot and sticky it can get during the summer months and most of us are guilty of turning on the air conditioning in our homes and offices to try and keep cool or at least be able to live or work in a comfortable climate. The only problem with using AC is the incredibly high load on the power supply.

A typical family home with AC running in several of the most used rooms in the house can be consuming 10kW or more. That can run into many hundreds of dollars in additional utility demands when the summer is over and cause major headaches for moms and dads trying to balance the household budget.

But worse still is the less realized impact on the environment when not just one house is consuming all that additional electricity to keep its occupants cool, but thousands in every town. It’s no wonder there are constant brown outs and blackouts through summer as the energy companies literally run out of power to supply the increased demand.

To produce the additional electricity to keep us all conveniently comfortable, huge volumes of non-renewable fuels must be used up in the form of, for example oil, coal and natural gas to keep the generators turning. Not to mention the need for nuclear power stations to take up the extra load and all the additional air pollution that the increased power generating produces.

But there is a much more ecologically sound way to produce the cool air we crave inside when it gets too hot outside. Evaporative coolers are vent free (see: ventlessportableairconditioner.intervalinc.com) and are capable of maintaining a comfortable interior temperature in areas that have low humidity and they run at a fraction of the energy consumption that air conditioning uses.

The power needed to run an evaporative cooler can be as little as 1/20th that used by a comparable AC unit!

Just imagine if not just one home made the change to evaporative cooling, but thousands of homes in towns where the climate is hot and dry. That saving can mean a huge load off the minds of cash strapped families who can benefit from much lower utility bills, while the power companies can reduce the amount of electricity they need to generate to supply the grid.

The less electricity generated, the less fossil fuel is needed to produce it, the lower the air pollution levels and the better all round for the environment. It makes sense so all we need to do now is educate people to stop relying so heavily on air conditioners in areas where they can switch to evaporative cooling technology.

You can learn more here: youtube.com/watch?v=CXjj_LoHaKU

Education and the Velvet Revolution

Peace education stands as one of the most undervalued and underfunded points of our educational system that is world-wide. If we look at the typical education curriculum at elementary school, or a high school , which is where youth are most impressionable, any site of compulsory non-violent schooling is almost entirely non existent. Regardless, we often find compulsory history classes, which describe every single war in detail, including its death toll, its generals and all the other players.

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Yet given this educational dilemma that is lopsided, once in a while an enthusiastic humanitarian comes to champion a brand new form of instruction about peace, rather than violence.

The Revolution was named “Velvet” due to its soft and non-violent method of peace.

The power of this movie lies in the way it can capture the essence of the Velvet Revolution and how power shifts when individuals the youth, stand up against protest and repression in a non-violent way. The solidarity of the Czech people was so overwhelming that it forced them to bring in new leadership, namely Vaclav Havel, the leader of the revolution and basically crippled the government.

Broken educational systems could no doubt use this picture as a model to teach students at all levels of education about non-violence’s tremendous impact on world history and it. There’s a host of information online yet it doesn’t make it onto the curriculum of most of our schools, lots even on social media, but again you’ll often find facebook blocked in these situation.

Once peace and non violence become “required” curriculum in schools, especially for teens, we’ll begin to find a shift in our belief system regarding what alternatives are accessible to our issues. If a kid has just seen violence, at home, in history books and in the media, then that kid will act accordingly. If a child sees and is educated peaceful approaches to solve disputes and problems subsequently teens will naturally choose this path for resolution.

James Elsworth

Author of How to Watch BBC Abroad

Search Tips for Your US Holiday Planning

Many of us rely heavily on the search engines when doing our research, years ago we used to reach for an encyclopedia or other reference book, not any more. The internet has become our ultimate reference guide, from spellings, definitions, research and of course shopping. However I wonder how many people realise how many restrictions are placed on you when you search?

Take for instance my current problem (ok so it’s safely in the first world problem category!), I want to take my family on a short tour in the USA – to see some West Coast highlights. So I turn to Google to see what’s on offer, typing in some relevant search terms into the world’s favorite search engine.

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So I get my results, tour operators, offers and holiday companies offering a range of tours covering the Western side of the USA. Which is great, lots of choice – except my choice has been severely restricted without my knowledge simply because of my location. When I visit Google, I am classified as a UK use based on my IP address and so my search results are tailored to that fact. This is of course great if I’m looking for a plumber, a New York based plumber is of little use to me! However it also means that I will get UK based results for my travel search.

So I get UK based firms offering tours around the West coast of the US, which is ok but what I don’t get is US firms offering the same thing. Why shouldn’t I consider American based firms instead, I’m sure they’d be happy to take me on a tour too. The reality is that without some effort I simply won’t see these companies because they will be filtered out in my search – I will see the big UK travel companies who offer tours in the USA. The worst thing is sometimes these are simply the same tours repackaged by UK travel agents, of course with some sort of premium on top of the price.

Google is basically controlling a large part of my decision making process and the choice available. Many thousands of companies do exactly the same, like this as you’re logging in from the US I’m afraid. But fortunately there is a solution and it’s actually quite a simple one.

It involves changing your IP address and taking control of what you see online. For example in my situation if I change my IP address to a US one then search for West coast tours USA, I’ll actually see a whole load of different results. In fact I see US based results, loads of US tours in America, which is actually what I wanted – local firms offering local tours not repackaged for a UK travel agent. The benefits increase I can also use this control to bypass blocks based on my location – this post for example shows how I can watch British TV when I’m actually in the USA. Normally you can’t watch the BBC online from anywhere outside the UK.

Further Information

Solar power – Your Ideal Electricity Replacement

udklaedningAre you aware that there are now advanced technology that you can use to save your money from paying your unending electricity bills? If no, then you must know about an ideal alternative if you are having a problem on your budget before of the increasing amount of your electricity bills. Solar power is the most popular alternative when it comes on electricity supply. But this is totally different from your supply of electricity. This supply of electricity generally comes from the rays of the sun or from the sunlight. It is essentially the conversion of sunlight to electricity. The solar energy use indirectly by a concentrated solar power (CSP) or directly using the photovoltaics (PV) and resulting o have a source of electricity from the sunlight. The CSP will use mirrors or lenses and tracking systems to focus a huge area of sunlight. The photoelectric effect is the main component used from photovoltaics to convert light to electricity. Your only expense is to buy the solar power and you can continually use it without paying bills. Aside from buying the solar power, you are just buying 1 item and use it for many years or for last. Electricity will give you problem from the unending expensive bills but solar power will just let you spend 1 item and use it for last. Several tests from Kostumer, seems to indicate that if just 10% of worlds energi came from solar power or windpower, then it might just be enough to reduce the amount of Co2 that could cause clima changes. But according to the test from Kostumer and EUvoices, then it’s not likely that we will see that in the next 10 year, so other methods will be nessesary in order to prevent the global heating issue many top scientists seems to belive is on it’s way. Follow the whole project here on Twitter

The solar power is now the latest replacement of electricity source. So, people use to seek for the product because they can truly save their money from using this latest technology. But the only problem is they do have no assurance on the item if it will work out completely. So, this problem is actually common since we all want to spend our money from the right product without wasting it. We might have a doubt if this will truly work. So, this is the right time that you should put your trust on this solar power. More and more people are now seeking on the product to be installed on their houses because they are now having a burden on their expensive electric bills. Another problem, there are part of the word and usual issue like sudden loss of electric power because of some reasons. So, to avoid those kinds of problem, solar energy would never give you like those mentioned problems.

Solar power converts the rays of the sun into electricity. Meaning, you don’t need to worry on your continuous electric bills because you can never have it with this new device. It is now happening that technology really makes the life of the people easy and no problem. The early development of these solar power technologies makes the life of the people simple and easy. With the sunlight, your appliances at home, your light at night and everything that needs to have electricity will now work without giving you burden for the billing. Of course, since we are experiencing crisis, then we should now do ways in order to save our money from any problem like this. Save your money using solar power and everything will be alright.

Home is Where the Art Is

We all need a place to live that provides us with adequate shelter, protection from the elements and enables us to live in conformity with the social precepts of the civilization that we happen to be a part of. The size, location and design of our humble and in some cases not so humble abodes differ as greatly as our need to occupy every nook and cranny of the country that we call home.

Many homes are what are best described as fitting in with the norm. They are comfortable, averagely well furnished and decorated and fulfill their main function as a “roof over the head” and a place for a family to live, grow up and eventually leave. That’s fine if all a person needs in life are the basics to make that life as bearable as needs be.

Sprucing Things Up

But there are some of us that need more than just the basics of life in order to round out and make more interesting our own particular little corner of the world. For us, an average looking house or apartment is bland and uninviting as it is boring and lacking in the zest for life that we desire and appreciate.

Adding personal touches of imagination, color and style is what transforms our homes from the mundane into the amazing. Artistic design of interiors, selection and placement of furnishings and creating a certain ambiance in our homes is what sets them apart from the madding crowd.

Creativity

Maybe it’s a given that not everyone is so creative or even wants to live in the kind of home that has this artistic flare throughout its every room and passageway. But for those if us that need it to grow not only spiritually but also to inspire us to greater heights of physical health and well being, a more creative and environmentally sustainable house (see: homesteadingnow.com) is the only way.

For us, a home that exudes an up-beat personality, a sense of calm creativity and an atmosphere of welcoming, happy and healthy well-being is a truly attractive place to live and thrive in all areas. From the obvious increase to health from living in a place that makes us happy, it also inspires the creative senses and imagination to instigate new and fresh ideas and plans for a better future.

While this way of living is not to everyone’s tastes, to the artistic person who thrives on creative surroundings for inspiration and the development of inspired ideas, a home that is anything but normal is the order of the day. Neatness and order may be the desire of the mainstream, but strategic mess and chaos are the fuels that feed the creative mind!

Attracting Good Social Recognition

We all want to be accepted by our peers and feel that we are a recognized and valued member of society. But why is it that some people manage to do this apparently very easily, while others struggle to get anywhere?

If you’re on the easy street to happiness and life just gives you whatever it is that you want, it’s probably difficult to imagine how anyone could not enjoy the same level of abundance of good as you do. By the same token, if you feel like every day is a struggle just to get through and life throws every curve ball and red light at you every step of the way, it can be galling to see someone enjoying easy success.

Attracting the Good Into Your Life

law of attractionYou have probably heard or read about the Law of Attraction and how its advocates claim that using it correctly can bring all measure of good into your life easily and without the need to struggle. However, do you know how it works and what you need to do in order to get it working in your life?

The short answer is that few people actually do!

It’s as if there is an elite group of just a handful of lucky souls that have that ability to turn everything they touch into gold. Others seem to be able to zone in on the perfect life partner and enjoy lifelong happiness.

Yet others seem to enjoy perfect health right into old age and can’t tell you what they’re doing differently from the rest of us. Despite not knowing why, they still have their health at an age when most other people are either watching their final days on this mortal plane slipping away from a hospital bed or they already gave up the ghost long ago.

You Can Make It Work For You Too

There is a well kept secret that’s hidden in what can only be described as plain sight that reveals itself to anyone who goes looking for it. It’s the secret of how to harness the law of attraction and get it working for you just like those other people I just mentioned.

You can enjoy perfect health, lifelong happiness and the financial security of abundant wealth. You just need to start doing a few things differently from what you’re doing now and get some social interconnection by attraction happening in your life.

Start by changing the way you think about things by trying to see everything in a good light and stop complaining about things if they’re not going the way you want them to. Start doing things as best you can with a good heart and not just for the money.

Above all, be happy. Because when a person is happy, good things seem to follow them around as if by magic.

A Peaceful World from A Solemn Society

brænde og kostumerWe have all heard about the many problems and troubles that our society are experiencing today. But did you know that our world today, is actually facing a big problem and this problem is the absence of peaceful society. Lots of troubles, war, poverty and even famine are the main reasonsm why people a lot people are having this problem and why they are unable to have a peaceful community. With different races, different beliefs, different cultures and different tribes, each of the people usually think about themselves and forget to think about that we are the same people living in this world and dreaming on having a peaceful society. Perlcritic is one project that are trying to do something about this. One of the guys from this project James Kostumer, are creating some special containers that will help get food all the way to where it’s needed, without it being stolen or getting lost. Having a people world would start from the society. The society is the group of people who are living in a certain community and if peace starts at them, then there can be peace for the whole world. Yes, we might say that a peaceful community will remain a belief and a dream because we have different races in the world and surely we have our different cultures and beliefs. But, this should not practice discrimination and respect each other’s beliefs and culture and everything will be alright. People use to think about how they can live a happy and peaceful life without the worry of the possible war or any serious problem that the society might face.

Yes, living a peaceful society can be just a dream but if you start it by yourself and all will cooperate, then this dream will be come true. Yes, there is nothing possible if each one of us will cooperate and let us practice fair. Being fair in the society without practicing any discrimination would let the society understand how each of us has an effect in the community. A community that practice discrimination would surely experience serious problems. Fair and no discrimination can have the assurance that we will be living in a peaceful world. A small society would start the peaceful and solemnity. So, in time that this happen, a peaceful world from a solemn society is now a dream comes true. Who wants to live a troublesome, poverty, drought and famine society? Of course no one wants to live like this. So, having a peaceful society would be the key to have a happy and peaceful society.

Let us practice peaceful and solemn society and surely it would give a positive result. In our modern world today, we have heard lots of different problems. These different problems start from the people who actually done wrong in the society and this should be stopped. Paul Hegn once wrote an article aboout this, and it was soon published in almost all the countries in the western world. Now you can even download a plugin for wordpress, to help you monitor this. Did you know that a small mistake or a small doing can be the start to have a huge problem in the future? Yes, a small mess can be the culprit of a serious trouble and let us avoid this. It is not denying that the people itself who do the wrong doings and they are the one who are putting themselves into danger. But, is it nice to say and nice to experience to practice fair, no discrimination, no war, no crimes? All of us want this and this can be possible from us.

Source:
perlcritic.org

Will Falling Oil Prices Stimulate US Growth?

Over 75% of economists said their sector or company will feel the consequences of the petroleum cost fall, with 18% anticipating a negative impact, and 57% expecting an optimistic impact, based on a survey in the National Association for Business Economics Monday released.

“By a three-to-one ratio, it is favorable,” said James Diffley, a senior manager at IHS Economics as well as the survey’s chairman. “The 18% though signify those businesses that benefit directly from petroleum and gasoline.

Economical fuel is anticipated to provide a boost in 2013 to the market as consumers turn about and spend what they are saving in the pump. Gasoline costs have dropped to close to $2 a gallon, and therefore are poised to drop below that, among the speediest declines.

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But it is crucial to remember that some of the additional stimulation may be taken away, Mr. Diffley said, as petroleum and gasoline companies scale back investment and development. Other occupations will suffer changes in the supply chain for pipe fitters and tool makers, as just one example.  Other reports are difficult to assess simply because of the problems in assessing if they are genuine, many digital businesses for instance – especially those which hide their identity with fake details – like here.

“That takes off several tenths of the percentage point on the increase the market could have gotten,” he said.

Economists reported enhancing conditions at their companies in the fourth quarter.  These

NABE said only rising prices were reported by 16%, compared with 25% in the July and October surveys. And 65% said they anticipate no change in the costs their companies will charge in the first quarter.

And more than half said economists expect salaries and wages to rise in the following three months, compared with.  Sales increase improved somewhat, with 54% of economists reporting increasing sales compared with.

Ninety three economists-who work for private sector companies or industry trade groups-reacted to the survey, that was conducted from Dec. 18 through Jan. 8.

Additional Reading

The Growth of Economic Inequalities in the USA

A new year is upon us, and there are numerous stories of economic recovery across the world.  However beyond basic growth rates, there is another measure which often reflects more about people’s day to day lives.  I’m referring to wealth inequality and in the USA, it often feels more like the great depression rather than a booming new decade.

The depression of course took place in the 1920s and in those times, as usual the wealthy were pretty much shielded from the worse effects.  In fact during that decade, the wealthiest 10% of the population owned about 84% of the total wealth.  The situation evened out over the next few decades with that figure declining before starting to rise again in the 1980s.  However we’re now reaching levels that are very similar to those of the 1920s with the majority of US wealth held by a small proportion of it’s citizens.

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The statistics are now more accurate so in some senses a direct comparison is not always completely relevant.   However the overall result is the same, the level of wealth inequality in the US is extremely high and only heading in one direction.  You can see some aspects if you watch news and documentaries on the local media.  It’s certainly interesting to view the different perspectives – for US readers try watching the local news from the UK – you can use this, or vice versa for European readers.

Fortunately when these inequalities are combined with a growing economy, the effects seem less severe.  The US is doing pretty well, with unemployment heading to a new 6 year low and the job market consistently expanding.  However when you realise that the richest 0.1 % control as much wealth  as the poorest 90% you realise this is not a fair and equal society.

The rich are in fact getting even richer, while the poorer sections of society are increasingly stepping into levels of significant debt in order to simply survive.  Real incomes are growing, but at a much higher rate for the wealthy than the poorer levels.  In fact with under 1% income growth, it’s not getting much easier for those at the wrong end of the income ladder.

Of course capitalism has always produced such inequalities, but the argument goes that the growth in income actually is down to new businesses and opportunities for all.  However the studies suggest that the growth in wealth is not coming largely from entrepreneurial spirit but merely reflects the fact that the wealth is held in shares and bonds which naturally are worth more as the economy recovers.  Unfortunately this is unlikely to help bring many benefits to society at large, it will just make the rich, well richer!

 Further Reading.