Archive for January 2012

A new world: sustainability and the service sector   Leave a comment

It’s said that Australia once “rode on the sheep’s back” and is now heavily reliant on our ability to dig very large holes in remote locations to extract valuable mineral wealth. However, it may come as a surprise to many that a large and increasing proportion of Australia‘s economic activity now comprises the delivery and consumption of services.

Current figures estimate the services sector accounts for approximately 80% of the nation’s GDP and about 85% of national employment1. Indeed, as those of us reflecting on our expenditure patterns realise, most of our income is spent on financial, health, education, communications, IT, entertainment, travel and other services.

Economic history tells us that as an economy grows and develops, it changes its structure. Just as a growing tree constantly changes the shape, size and configuration of its branches, a growing economy changes the proportions and interconnections amongst its basic sectors – agriculture, industry, and services.   Read the rest of this entry »


Posted January 27, 2012 by equilibrium in Climate Change & Sustainability

Building a better future   Leave a comment

A lot of time over summer was spent reading papers, books and watching the news. Maybe it has always been the case, but it seems to have become the fashion for academics, activists, lobbyists and politicians to let us know how everything has, to pardon the expression, “gone to shit”.  In an attempt to put a positive spin on things, Matt Ridley, an English journalist, writer, biologist and businessman, has come out with “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves”, a roller-coater history lesson about the extraordinary trajectory of humankind.

While I found myself shaking my head in disagreement at some of his arguments, it’s hard not to have a happier view of the world when reaching the final page, despite all the predicted doom and gloom we keep getting bombarded with:  Malthusian population explosions, poverty, epidemics and pandemics, peak-oil and peak-phosphorous, acid rains, deforestation, urbanisation, financial melt-downs, over-consumption, food crisis, resource price volatility, and the big one on many people’s lips, for believers and sceptics, human-induced climate change. The list is long, and growing. Read the rest of this entry »