Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Ending and Reversing Global Warming: "Does our generation have the gumption? It is time to find out."
Will humanity do what's necessary? For individuals, that means making sacrifices and sticking to them, forever. For politicians, that means an end to the indulgence of the fossil fuel industry; investing in renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage; radically transforming transport; halting deforestation; and dropping the remorseless pursuit of economic growth above everything else.
... It will arguably be the largest project that humanity has ever undertaken — comparable to the two world wars, the Apollo programme, the cold war, the abolition of slavery, the Manhattan project, the building of the railways and the rollout of sanitation and electrification, all in one. ...
The history of humanity is one of stupidity, denial and dawdling followed by heroic rearguard action to prevail against all odds. The climate crisis is close to that inflection point. Does our generation have the gumption? It is time to find out.
⇧ What we can learn from China's fight against environmental ruin
Deforestation has declined and forest cover has exceeded 22%. Grasslands have expanded and regenerated. Desertification trends have reversed in many areas, and while mostly driven by climatic change, restoration efforts have helped.
Soil erosion has waned substantially and water quality and river sedimentation have improved dramatically. Yellow River sediment loads have fallen by 90% and the Yangtze is not far behind. Agricultural productivity has increased through efficiency gains and technological advances. Rural households are generally better off and hunger has largely disappeared.
While the context of China's path to sustainability is unique, other countries can learn from its experience. Nations must commit to sustainability as a long-term, large-scale public investment like education, health, defence, and infrastructure.
We do not wish to pretend that China is a global poster child of sustainability. Very serious pollution of its air, water, and soils, urban expansion, vanishing coastal wetlands and the illegal wildlife trade still dog the world's most populous nation.
The article was written before China closed its doors to the West's plastics for recycling. China said too much of the plastic was contaminated. China is currently responsible for most of the world's plastic-pollution runoff into our oceans.
⇧ Can CA catch a break? "Strongest Santa Ana winds in years are sweeping through LA"
"Although recent rainfall has wet fuels, wind gusts of 45 to 65 mph by Monday morning will quickly dry out fuels across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties," says the Weather Service. "Widespread minimum humidities between 4 and 12 percent are likely Monday and Tuesday with poor overnight recoveries."
⇧ Renegade Inc: No Man's Land
How would you work this into your apartment complex? Could you have a community food garden that your tenants work and from which they share the bounty? Rather than watering the lawn, how about watering the various crops?
Why should you never trust an economist who has clean shoes? Well, the likelihood is that these academic number crunchers view the world solely from behind their desks. They never get out to see the real economy, instead they view it as they think it should be... For our survival it's vital that we all treat land, nature and the environment as the source of all our wealth - not a disposable asset of globalisation. But how have we arrived at a place where we have become so totally disconnected from the land and the natural environment? Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by one of the pioneers of the new economy movement Helena Norberg-Hodge to discuss how we can reverse this unnatural paradox.
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⇧ Why Wall Street is putting millions into beating California rent control
⇧ LA Voters to Consider Creating Nation's First Municipal Public Bank (Video)
A Los Angeles ballot measure could put the city one step closer to creating a public bank, which Phoenix Goodman of Public Bank LA says could help the city "transform banking from a source of evil" to a force that fights climate change and inequality.
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⇧ Gary Shilling Warns Fed Tightening Could Trigger A Recession
I'm always interested in what Gary Shilling has to say and write. I'm on board with him here at least 90%.
My view is that he didn't focus on the geopolitical/military issues.
I'm not as confident China will cave soon enough.
I also think the Fed's insider interest is the bankers.
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⇧ The impact of the US-China trade war on East Asia
This type of analysis could help policymakers in East Asia (and beyond) identify the potential winners and losers among domestic producers from the US-China trade war. Governments could help the former replace Chinese exports in the US markets through measures such as facilitating access to imported inputs, which are heavily used by East Asian exporters, and ensuring the availability of finance, including trade finance, required for the additional production and exports. At the same time ,assistance to potential losers to reallocate their production and/or their labour could help minimise the domestic costs of the trade war.
"The extent to which investments may relocate towards other countries to serve the US market would partly depend on each country's ability of producing the same set of affected products for the relevant market and perceptions about the duration of the trade war." Note that the "value of the index is highest for Taiwan." China is extremely upset with Taiwan, which is a democracy that China claims is part of China. I never agreed with the "One China Policy." It seems my thinking is coming back into vogue now that Xi has clamped down on any prospects for democracy in China. The US could leverage Taiwan by helping it import parts or even more finished products into the US.
⇧ Trump's Stimulus Trumps his Trade Policy
I framed this as an argument that Trump's trade policy hasn't had the expected effect on the trade balance, as the evolution of the trade balance has been driven by macroeconomic factors—the dollar's strength, U.S. demand growth, and foreign demand growth. It equally could be presented as an argument that the overall macroeconomic effect of Trump's coming tariffs will be fairly modest so long as the Fed is free to react to any drag on U.S. activity from the tariffs. The aggregate effect on the economy of even relatively aggressive trade action—as Goldman Sach's economic research team has argued—ends up being fairly small in a standard macroeconomic model, absent a mistake by the Fed or a shock to "confidence." The sectoral effect, of course, remains significant (ask soybean farmers in the Dakotas). And, well, it is also worth remembering that the impact of the tariffs on China would also be expected to induce changes in China's policy mix. If China responds by using fiscal policy to stimulate domestic consumption demand, that's good for the world. But it stabilizes output by loosening monetary policy, that would typically be expected to result in a weaker currency —which would offset some of the impact of the tariff on China while shifting some of the pressure over to China's trade partners.
Tariffs and the Fed: The tariffs do not have to stop at 25%. They can go as high as Trump wants. The Fed is strengthening the dollar while the Chinese are subsidizing Chinese exports. If the Fed overdoes it, there will be a recession and a rolling back by the Fed. Meanwhile, Trump will have had to double down on the tariffs if China doesn't cave.
Furthermore, Trump's tax cuts, so far, will disappear for the lower classes. The upper class will do what it always does: save. Therefore, the tariff war is not something Trump should have started unless ready to see all the way through or end up looking like a mighty bad idea.
⇧ The Secret Is Out! Cows Are Not The Problem... It's How They're Raised.
These methods can also help reverse climate change by pulling excess carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back in the soil where it can be used. ...
... Regenerative agriculture practices can quite literally regenerate the land by rebuilding the soil, leaving it far better than our generations found it.
⇧ Italy will not go the way of Greece any time soon: "Leave Italy alone: The EU wants fiscal austerity in a sinking economy"
⇧ Fed Policies' Continued Effects on Short-Term Liquidity Markets
Your eyes might glaze over when trying to read the article. I can't help that. If you don't learn this stuff, you remain in the dark.
Everything the Fed did, it did it for the bankers. When asked why it didn't do the same for the People, the Fed responded that it couldn't because it didn't have the legal mandate. Think about that.
The only thing that kept the Fed from bailing out everybody was that the law didn't allow the Fed to do it. If the law had said the Fed could have, then it could have. We would not have had tens of millions suffering through a lost decade and worse.
Why is the law the way it is? That's extremely easy to answer. If the law were to allow the Fed to create all the money needed by the entire economy at any moment needed, then lending would obviously not be needed, ever. In that case, the bankers wouldn't make dime one off lending at interest. It's that basic. It's not mysterious. It's not complicated.
The one and only excuse given for the Fed is that politicians would create too much money and cause price inflation. However, if the economy were completely democratic, the People would decide how much price inflation there'd be and would plan enterprise to meet requirements and the People's wants. That would completely control inflation and deflation.
That would be freedom.
⇧ Here's How That One Mexico Beach House Survived Hurricane Michael [above and beyond building codes]
I was once banned from a real-estate forum for matter-of-factly expressing that coastal building codes are not nearly strong enough. It rather surprised me.
Lackey didn't say how much he and King spent to build the home, but he did disclose that they spent 15 to 20 percent more to go above and beyond standard Florida building codes.
⇧ Italian PM to EU: 'No room' for modifications on budget
If interest rates are low and Italy is facing a recession, then now is the time to do the opposite of austerity. It's called Keynesianism, and it works very well. It's what kept the US from having a depression worse than the Great Depression. It would have ended the Great Recession and accelerated the recovery had the stimulus been 10 times its size and properly targeted at those with a huge propensity to spend after paying down debts and putting a bit aside for a rainy day.
⇧ 'Apartment Patty,' who blocked her black neighbor from entering their building, defends her actions
If it wasn't racist but equally applied to everyone, let it go. Restore her.
⇧ Trump turns attention to budget cutting after slashing taxes
... the U.S. government ended the 2018 fiscal year with a $779 billion deficit, the Treasury Department said on Monday, as Republican-led tax cuts squeezed revenues.
In an interview with Reuters, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his party would take a hard look at spending on domestic programs next year in an effort to rein in the red ink.
"We had to negotiate with the Democrats and spend more on the domestic side than I would have preferred," McConnell said of the current budget.
As I wrote many years ago, the deficit hawks are a cover for the privatizers at the direct expense of everyone who's better off when social spending is left alone. The only thing McConnell will do is make the lives of the poor and middle class that much worse. He'll do that because he's in office to serve the superrich.
If Trump hurts his own base (the people who voted for him because of his populist words), he'll regret the result. Many people who voted for Trump are interested in economic progressivism.
⇧ How Not to Debate the Tax Plan
A forward-facing spending plan could galvanize voters around a vision for the future instead of a protest vote against Trump and the Republicans. It could also help deal with everything from crumbling infrastructure to deepening inequality to climate change, putting Americans to work in the kinds of well-paid jobs that both get the economy moving and give workers more bargaining power.
There are tons of corporatist-Democrat public-office holders. They vote in the House and Senate the way their biggest corporate donors want them to. What's best for the whole economy isn't even entertained. It's deliberately ignored.
⇧ America's Worsening Geographic Inequality
... the study shows how the economic performance of different parts of the United States has diverged in recent years. In other words, after years of richer and poorer areas edging closer to each other in terms of economic performance, the trend has reversed since 1980. You can see the lines of the chart come together between 1960 to 1980 and then grow apart thereafter. This is true of each and every region of the country, east coast and west coast, Rust Belt and Sun Belt, and parts in between.
The oil embargo slammed the US economy. The deregulators and globalization "free-traders" rolled into power. It's been downhill for the American middle and lower classes ever since.
⇧ Who Bought the $1.6 Trillion of New US National Debt Over the Past 12 Months?
All yields for maturities of three months and longer are now above the rate of inflation as measured by CPI (2.27%), with the three-month yield at 2.30% today and the 10-year yield at 3.16%. By comparison, the S&P 500 dividend yield is currently only 1.86%.
For the US government, this mix of rising interest rates and ballooning debt is going to get increasingly expensive.
But yield investors — a beaten down bunch — now have options beyond the sheer "financial repression" of the past 10 years. Read... Amid Market Rout, Decade of "Financial Repression" Ends, Capital Preservation Suddenly is a Thing.
China can't sell off too quickly. If it doesn't it will weaken the US dollar, which will make Chinese goods that much more expensive.
⇧ Here's how to park your scooter in SF
He said, "Don't leave your roller skates on the stairs." He learned to say that the hard way.
He also said, "Put them away when you're done with them. Don't leave your toys lying around."
⇧ City blames half of new congestion on Lyft, Uber
... the report alleges that population is to blame for only half the change; the other half is all ride-hailing: "When compared to employment and population growth and network capacity shifts (such as for a bus or bicycle lane), TNCs accounted for approximately 50 percent of the change in congestion in San Francisco between 2010 and 2016."
⇧ Lyft endorses Wiener's California transit housing bill
...Wiener's plan did get an unlikely endorsement today: Lyft CEO Logan Green sent a letter of support for the bill to the senator's office.
The message, which a Lyft spokesperson emailed to Curbed SF, reads in part:
"For too long, we've built cities around cars at such low densities and access to transit that people have no choice but to own cars and drive. As a result, we've created a housing crisis that manifests as a transportation crisis."
⇧ Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick — even the IMF says so
Let us get it straight. Neoliberalism has ripped you off and robbed you blind. The evidence of that is mounting up — in your bills, in your services and in the finances of your country.
⇧ The Slope of the Yield Curve and the Near-Term Outlook
The yield spread between long-term and short-term Treasury securities is known to be a good predictor of economic activity, particularly of looming recessions. One way to learn more is through a careful scrutiny of the historical variation of such yield spreads and how they relate to the current slope of the Treasury yield curve. The results suggest that the recent flattening of the yield curve implies only a slightly elevated risk of a recession in the near term relative to any other month.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that no two yield curves are created equally. Tariffs, corporate tax-cuts, deficit cuts, and the Fed going forward will all play a huge part in whether or not we go into a recession and how soon and how deeply. It is complete folly to look at the history of the yield curve in isolation. It's not causative.
⇧ Weekly mortgage applications tank 7.1% as interest rates surge to a near 8-year high
...affordability was weakening even before rates began to rise, as tight supply pushed home prices sharply higher. The combination now of high prices and rising rates is clearly throwing cold water on the heat in housing earlier this year.
⇧ Democrats Pounce On Mitch McConnell For Blaming Debt On Social Security, Medicare
Finally, mainstream Democrats have no choice but to get on board with what we've been saying for decades.
The one and only reason McConnell is against Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is because his donors don't get a cut, a cut that actually would make all three worse, not better.
I'm not writing this as any sort of partisan. I'm writing it because I do not want individuals down economically and financially and I don't want the whole economy further harmed, and both would be, by more backward-privatization schemes.
⇧ No, Trump's Tax Cut Isn't Paying for Itself (at Least Not Yet)
When the tax law passed, members of Congress had all sorts of evidence suggesting it would accelerate America's growing budget deficits. The Joint Committee on Taxation and the Tax Policy Center predicted that the new law would add at least $1 trillion to deficits over the next 10 years, even after accounting for additional economic growth. The Penn Wharton Budget Model predicted it would add $2 trillion. The most optimistic mainstream model that analyzed all the provisions of the new law, from the Tax Foundation, predicted it would add about $450 billion to the deficit after accounting for additional growth.
Republicans dismissed those warnings. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expected the new law to more than pay for itself — it would help to reduce future deficits. It's possible that optimism could turn out to be right, but only if the tax cuts unleash a sustained boom in productivity and economic growth, and with them, much higher revenues than we saw this past fiscal year.
That won't happen even if the Fed stops clamping down. The Trump numbers do not balance out. The uber rich are not going to spend in ways that offset the tax cuts for the federal budget. Of course, the deficit hawks knew that all along. They even knew we knew. They don't even care that we knew and still know. They're not hiding it that the tax cuts were solely to be used as the excuse to slash the government no matter how good the government programs are that are to be slashed.
⇧ China's Factory Heartland Braces for Trump's Big Tariff Hit
In China's manufacturing heartland around the Pearl River Delta, Donald Trump's 10 percent tariffs are causing little concern. The 25 percent duties that loom next year are another matter.
Ben Yang, a furniture maker producing contemporary designs out of his facility in Dongguan -- about 30 miles from Hong Kong -- says that if those higher charges materialize from January as planned, the U.S. share of exports from his Sunrise Furniture Co. could plunge from 90 percent to less than a third.
The government has effectively shelved its campaign to curb indebtedness and added limited stimulus measures, and the approach of tariffs has actually helped boost sales abroad as exporters rush to beat the higher charges.
"The pain is short term," said Yu. "We can adjust our sales strategy, and expand our businesses in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. That can easily make up the loss."
More countries will get on board with the US, though, because China is turning increasingly totalitarian. Trump will lean on everybody.
⇧ Full Employment and Freedom
The early versions of what would become the Humphrey-Hawkins Act called for the creation of a Job Guarantee Office and established the government as the "employer of last resort" to ensure that all who wanted a job had one, at prevailing wages and where they were located.
I remember that, and I remember the specious reason put forth for why it couldn't be done.
The specious reason was the Phillips curve chiseled in granite saying that we can't have full employment without runaway price inflation. We can have full employment without runaway price inflation. All that's needed is balancing productivity to the amount of currency in circulation in the Main Street economy, not finance capitalism, not Wall Street.
What we need is economic democracy. It doesn't mean everyone would vote against the mixed economy and for total governmental/public ownership of everything. The proportion of private to public ownership would be a democratic decision arrived at after a completely transparent and thorough debate followed by a direct vote by the People.
⇧ As affordable housing crisis deepens, states begin to take action
As my consistent readers know, I'm for housing that's affordable to the workers who serve the given community. I'm also for subsidizing the tenants and the developers and owners to the extent necessary to house everyone in decent housing regardless of income or employment.
⇧ Trump's trade war is forcing Beijing to retreat from its own anti-debt battle
⇧ How Cyber Security Threats are Growing
The sensors in these devices will use little power, have long-life batteries and monitor everything from agriculture and traffic movements to public transport, offices and homes.
"They will be used to help run factories, optimise logistics, manage inventories, avoid traffic jams, schedule timetables and prevent machines breaking down," Calderwood says. "We already produce over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and 90 per cent of all the data that exists in the world today - text, photos, measurements, everything - was created in the last two years."
⇧ Massachusetts Gas Blasts Linked to NiSource Unit's Work Orders
Workers removed a section of pipe containing sensors needed to regulate pressure in the system. The system then mistakenly registered a drop in system pressure and compensated with a surge of gas into the pipes beyond maximum levels ....
⇧ Hurricane Michael's Cost: $25B With up to $8B in Insured Losses
Hurricane Michael will probably end up causing at least $25 billion in economic losses.
About $3 billion of that will fall on the federal flood insurance program and private insurers may get hit with $9 billion to $10 billion in claims ....
⇧ Report: Homes in Fire-Prone Areas Hike Missoula Firefighting Costs
You have people building in highly flammable landscapes that have traditionally burned and are adapted to fire and need to burn and will burn.
⇧ Controlled Burns Seen as the Lesser of Two Evils
"We need it all. More thinning. More mechanical treatments. More prescribed burning," Bailey said.
I've known this for many, many decades. I'm not alone, but we weren't listened to. We were instead attacked.
As for bad air during controlled burns, government should provide proper air masks and filtration systems, even air-conditioning (refrigeration), for those who need it.
⇧ Michael Highlights Florida Panhandle's Weak Building Codes
Contractors cut corners, using flimsy particle board under roofs instead of sturdier plywood, and staples instead of nails.
The codes call for shatterproof windows, fortified roofs and reinforced concrete pillars, among other specifications.
⇧ Study: Tornadoes Shifting Path Towards East Coast
As the Great Plains dry out, there's less moisture to have the type of storms that spawn tornadoes, Gensini said. Tornadoes form along the "dry line" where there are more thunderstorms because there's dry air to the west and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to the east.
⇧ Devastating Hurricanes Spur Attention on Disaster Preparation
"Hurricane Michael's devastating impact on Florida can only strengthen the urgent and profound case for better building code adoption and enforcement," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson ....
... Insurers have typically argued for more stringent codes and standards, while home builders and realtors often warn higher up-front costs could deter buyers.
It's better for people to rent well-constructed properties in safer areas than it is for them to own what will likely blow, burn, or wash away, etc., in riskier places with inadequate building codes. People are more important than more money for some.
⇧ Study: Offshore Wind Farms Can Reduce Hurricane Precipitation
By the time a hurricane actually makes landfall, these arrays of turbines have been operating for days and days, extracting energy and moisture out of the storm. As a result, the storm will be weaker. Literally.
⇧ Blockchain Can Block Insurance Fraud [What About Drawbacks?]
... challenges such as government oversight, maintenance requirements and legal issues, like potential transfers of personal data, also must be met.
There is also the cost of computer hardware and massively increased energy consumption due to duplicating entries in the chain throughout the network.
⇧ Study: Houston Needs $2B More in Federal Funds to Fix Harvey Housing Damage
⇧ The Neighborhoods Buried In Student Debt
Personally, I think the student-loan industry is a racket and should be outlawed. Public colleges and universities should be as free as public high schools. Not educating our offspring without charging them is shooting the economy in both feet. It makes absolutely zero good sense.
⇧ For Overspending Governments, an Alternative View on Borrowing Versus Raising Taxes
Critics say Modern Monetary Theory is a recipe for reckless spending, runaway prices and, in the extreme, economic collapse as in Venezuela. If the government borrows on the scale advocated by MMTers, "the outcome, I believe, will be inflation. And they don't believe that," says Joseph Gagnon, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. Brian Riedl of the conservative Manhattan Institute dismisses a jobs guarantee as "fantasy-land economics" that would require higher taxes and devastate industries like retail and fast food that would be paying less than government-provided jobs.
I am not an MMTer. I'm not for government borrowing but for government money creation without borrowing: no national debt, no deficit, no interest payments. That said, the "conservatives" don't believe what they're saying. They know that before the Obama stimulus, they were claiming it would cause hyper-inflation. Well, did it? No.
By the way, the title of the article is mistaken. MMTers aren't offering an alternative to borrowing. They're saying, "Borrow." However, I don't think many MMTers were for the corporate-tax cut. Most of them knew from history that the corporations wouldn't invest much but do massive stock buybacks to drive up executive compensation.
As for public jobs as last resort devastating retail and fast food, that's what the libertarians said would happen if the minimum wage were to go to $15 in Seattle. Well, they were wrong. Public jobs of last resort would pay the minimum wage.
Besides, if needed work gets done via public jobs and if more people can get on their feet via being paid to do that work, what's wrong with that? It's actually a form of workfare.
⇧ Boston mayor outlines plan to protect waterfront from rising seas
Let's stop the warming by stopping the burning of carbon fuels. That makes more sense, not that cities can do nothing. Warming will continue before we curb it. Melting will continue. Oceans will rise and rise. But if we do nothing to stop the warming, it will be a nightmare, a possible dystopia.
⇧ The Global Dollar Shortage is Here — And It's Becoming A Big Problem
... thanks for Econ 101 teaching us supply and demand — the constantly shrinking pool of dollars is making the dollar's value appreciate. And that means dollar-denominated debts are becoming harder to service.
And since the Fed isn't easing anymore — pumping cheap dollars into the system — debtors can't pay back all this outstanding debt (remember $1 dollar for every $20 of debt).
"But can't they continue refinancing new, cheaper debt to pay back old debts?"
That's exactly the problem. The 3-month USD LIBOR rate's rising (as shown in the first chart in this article) — making it expensive to borrow dollars. Thus forcing debtors to pay more for their short-term funding.
And it's only going to get more expensive going forward.
The difference between all the dollar denominated debts outstanding — and the cheap money flows required to pay them back — is pushing the world into a new financial crisis.
Hence — the dollar shortage problem i.e. there are just simply not enough dollars to go around.
That is — under the current monetary policy of tightening. . .
This is why I'm insistent that the Fed will reverse into easing — like pushing rates negative and heavy money printing — much sooner than many think.
Well, we can hope. However, they are often rather slow on the draw and even befuddled by the basics.
⇧ Social Security Does Not Add To The Federal Deficit
The article doesn't mention that the US government has borrowed from the trust fund.
⇧ Venice residents jeer as LA mayor lays out plan for 154-bed homeless shelter
Things don't get better by doing nothing. What do the people who are complaining against helping the homeless expect the homeless to do?
Plenty of homeless people have been severely traumatized. They need help, not a kick in the face.
Surely, a government of, by, and for the People can help its most vulnerable.
54 of the beds are to be for homeless youth. Is that a bad way for government to spend money? I don't think so. In fact, I think everything that can be done to lift the poor and homeless should be done.
Money is no obstacle. The only obstacle is the political will to do it.
⇧ These NYC neighborhoods have the most bedbug violations
The bad news, according to Localize.city, is that the bedbug problem might not actually have lessened. They believe that tenants are increasingly going directly to their landlords instead of filing official complaints, and that may have contributed to the decline in reported violations.
Why do they think that? Why would tenants do that unless landlords are getting rid of the bedbugs?
⇧ Chicago voted best big city for a second time by Condé Nast Traveler readers
Chicago often makes endless headlines because of gun violence. Apparently, that doesn't stop travelers from liking the place.
⇧ This house is made entirely out of recycled rubbish
"Trash is an abundant and highly valuable source of premium grade plastics, metals and fibres, all perfectly good materials to be used and reused time and time again", he explains. "And with its supply rising by 70% each year, the cost-efficiency of trash as a scalable resource is already hugely viable."
We should have, and could have, embarked upon the circular economy in the 1970s and been there by the end of the 1980s. Only fools stood in the way. They still do.