Hand-made clothes for all

This Louis Vuitton ad features shoes which cost about 600 euros (US$700) in the shops. I don’t know how much Louis Vuitton pays for them, and I don’t know how much they will be paying Tony Blair to help sell them but I’d be surprised if the unit cost to the company is what: 60 […]

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From King Parakramabahu to ethical fashion

Some people blame the Enlightenment for our present troubles. The scientific revolution, they say, gave man ideas above his station. We frequently harm natural systems, goes the charge, because of our delusional belief that we are separate from, and have dominion over, nature. This myth of apartness, the charges conclude, dulls the responsibility we’d feel […]

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In the Palace of the Popes

Is culture something that’s produced to be sold, or a description of the ways people live? It’s an old question, but last week’s Forum d’Avignon (see also my story below) put a new spin on it: could the culture industries lead the way out of the economic crisis? The debate did not take place on […]

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Post-GDP: metrics, aesthetics, or ethics?

So on Friday I’m immoderating a panel discussion about “After GDP” at the Forum d’Avignon, a uniquely French event which brings the worlds of culture, economy and media together in the Palais des Papes. By way of throwing an advance stone into the pond, I wrote this short background article for Les Echos. The French […]

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epa!

The highlight of my visit to Musashino Art University’s 80th Anniversary was this stunning fashion show called epa! (Thanks, Tatsu, for the pictures). An incredible amount of fine handwork was involved in the clothes and acccessories, but what struck me most was the energy of the staging and choreography, and the pagan storyline: these reminded […]

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From FarmVille to TransitionVille

If I were a PsyOps specialist at Monsanto, I’d have invented FarmVille. More than 62 million people have signed up to play the Facebook game since it made its debut in June, with 22 million logging on at least once a day. It’s quickly become the most popular application in the history of Facebook. FarmVille […]

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Spacing in

As you may have read in this month’s newsletter, I’m a new fan of Spacing. This excellent new-paradigm magazine and multi-city blog (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Atlantic, including Halifax) features daily dispatches from the streets of these places on “just about anything that involves the public realm of our cities” Under that heading, they just posted […]

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Tech push and social pull

I’ve been reading a special issue of Innovations called “Energy for Change: Creating Climate Solutions” which claims to be “as thorough a survey of energy and climate solutions as has yet been compiled”. (I’m not putting a link here because the publisher – naughtily – has changed a contents page into an order page since […]

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Melons we can believe in

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told the US Congress last week that Japan’s debt path was out of control. Simon warned of “a real risk that Japan could end up in a major default”. [The IMF expects Japan’s gross public debt to reach 218pc of gross domestic product (GDP) […]

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