The Economic Rethink

The Big Rethink to a Better World

Imagine people living without waste, with basic needs met, and in sync with the planet’s nourishing web of life. In our current maddening reality, it can be difficult to picture and achieve this better world. To start, we must help under-consumers (the malnourished and wanting) move up to a sustainable level of consumption while we assist over-consumers (the wasteful and indifferent) down. We must protect the remnants of wild nature and allow for damaged land, water, and sky to heal.

We reviewed more than a dozen scorecards that grade nations on their performance. In this report, we call attention to a short but meaningful list of shifts from around the world that begin to add up to what is necessary to save and restore our planet. We also looked at Brazil, host to global leaders at the June 2012 Rio+20 conference. How does Brazil (or your country) measure up? Remembering that the changes must be commensurate with the scale of the problems at hand, Brazil has a long way to go. We welcome your   suggestions.

Imagine again for a moment: if every country made the changes suggested herein, we   would be well on the way to a more socially just and ecologically sensible way of living – in just one generation. We hope this helps you picture a meaningful shift to a better world.

Read the Report here.


Learn more about the crucial issues in our report with these informative videos:

Defending the Rivers of the Amazon, with Sigourney Weaver: the Belo Monte Dam

A preview of John Liu’s film about the restoration of China’s Loess Plateau

An introduction to public banking with the State-owned Bank of North Dakota

Our report used several published indices to help guide our conclusions.  We thank the following groups for their useful and important work:


Report References

Who’s Rethinking?

1.     True Cost Economy

Truc, Olivier. “The Carbon Tax Has Proven Its Effectiveness in Sweden.” Truthout 2 July 2009. Accessed 1 June 2012 <>.

“Factbox: Carbon taxes around the world.” Special Broadcasting Service 15 May 2012. Accessed 15 May 2012 <>.

Komanoff, Charles. “China Moving Toward Price on Carbon?” Carbon Tax Center 23 Oct. 2007. Accessed 4 April 2012 <>.

2.     Carrying Capacity


3.     Public Banking

The Bank of North Dakota. 2009. Accessed 10 April 2012 <>.

4.     Over-Consumption Reduction

McGrane, Sally. “An Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time.” New York Times 8 May 2012. Accessed 8 May 2012 <>.

“Curitiba’s Innovative Answers to Universal Urban Problems.” PBS Dec. 2003. Frontline/World. Accessed 30 April 2012 <>.

5.     Organic Community Agriculture

“Havana: Feeding the city on urban agriculture.” Sustainable Cities 31 Aug. 2008. Cases. Accessed 11 April 2012 <>.

Willer, Helga and Kilcher, Lukas (Eds.) “The World of Organic Agriculture – Statistics and Emerging Trends 2012.” Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frick, and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn V 2.0 10/02/2012. Accessed 28 March 2012 <>.

Meirelles, Laércio. “Regulation of the Participatory Guarantee Systems in Brazil: A case Study.” IFOAM March 2010. Accessed 4 April 2012 <>.

6.     Government Integrity

Corruption Perceptions Index 2011. Accessed 30 April 2012 <>.

New Zealand’s Official Information Act 1982. Public Act 1982 No 156. 1 July 2011. Accessed 26 April 2012 <>.

Sarkis, Marcelo. “Access to Public Information in Brazil: What will change with Law No. 12.527/2011?” Good Law and Practice 16 May 2012. Accessed 16 May 2012 <>.

7.     Better Business Models

Mondragon Corporation. 2012. Accessed 30 May 2012 <>.

Brazilian Cooperative Organization. 2010. Accessed 30 May 2012 <>.

8.     Forests & Biological Diversity

“As the world’s wither, Dominican forests thrive.” Dominican Today 23 March 2012. Economy. Accessed 30 April 2012 <>.

Yale University Environmental Performance Index 2012. Accessed 15 March 2012 <>.

Clegg, Robin and Regina Cavini. “Brazil’s government grants amnesty to environmental criminals while weakening forest protections.” World Wildlife Fund 1 June 2012. Accessed 2 June 2012 <>.

9.     Restoration: Reforestation & Dam Removal

“Number of Trees Planted by Country.” United Nations Environment Programme 2012. Accessed 15 May 2012 <>.

Kober, Amy Souers. “Help us remove 100 dams in 2012!” American Rivers 3 Feb. 2012. Accessed 17 May 2012 <>.

“Restoring China’s Loess Plateau.” The World Bank 15 March 2007. Accessed 4 June 2012 <>.

10.   Renewable Energy

“Germany pledges nuclear shutdown by 2022.” The Guardian 30 May 2011. Accessed 6 April 2012 <>.

11.   Ecological Literacy

Godoy, Emilio. “’Water Schools’ Foster More Sustainable Habits in Mexico.” Inter Press Service News Agency 13 April 2012. Accessed 14 April 2012 <>.

12.   Rights of Nature and Earth Jurisprudence

“Rights of Nature Articles in Ecuador’s Constitution.” 2008. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“Act of the Rights of Mother Earth.” 2011. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra.” 2011. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

13.   Happiness Index

Gross National Happiness. Centre for Bhutan Studies 2012. Accessed 27 April 2012 <>.

Happy Planet Index 2.0. New Economics Foundation 2009. Accessed 24 April 2012 <>.

14.   Indigenous Rights

Fetterhoff, Christina M. “Peru Enacts Law of Prior Consultation with Indigenous Peoples.” The Human Rights Brief 5 October 2011. Accessed 2 May 2012 <>.

Salazar, Milagros. “Native Peruvians See Loopholes in Prior Consultation Law.” Inter Press Service News Agency 8 Feb. 2012. Accessed 2 May 2012 <>.

Romero, Simon. “Violence Hits Brazil Tribes in Scramble for Land.” The New York Times 9 June 2012. Americas. Accessed 9 June 2012 <>.

15.   Empowerment of Women & Population

Global Gender Gap Report 2011. World Economic Forum 2011. Accessed 2 April 2012 <>.

Gunnarsdóttir, Gréta. “Commission on the Status of Women – Statement by Iceland.” 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women 2 March 2012. Accessed 12 April 2012 <—statement-by-iceland/8681/>.

“Brazil: Girl Power.” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting 2012. Accessed 12 April 2012 <>.

16.   Income Equality

“Country Comparison: Distribution of Family Income – Gini Index.CIA World Factbook 2012. Accessed 30 March 2012 <>.

Palme, Joakim. “Income distribution in Sweden.” The Japanese Journal of Social Security Policy 5.1 (2006). Accessed 4 June 2012 <>.

Rights of Nature

“Rights of Nature Articles in Ecuador’s Constitution.” 2008. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“Act of the Rights of Mother Earth.” 2011. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra.” 2011. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.” 2010. Accessed 13 April 2012 <>.

“The Town of Halifax Corporate Mining, Bodily Trespass and Community Self-Government Ordinance.” 2008. Accessed 25 April 2012 <>.

Belo Monte Dam

“Tapajós Basin Dams.” International Rivers 2012. Accessed 8 June 2012 <>.

“Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam.” Amazon Watch 2012. Accessed  12 April 2012 <>.

Smith, Michael. “Brazil’s All-In Bet on Amazon Dams Jeopardizes Economic Growth.” Bloomberg Businessweek 11 April 2012. Accessed 11 April 2012 <>.

WWF-Brazil’s Sustainable Power Sector Vision 2020. World Wildlife Fund. Accessed 11 April 2012 <>.


Page 1

Indigenous Yanomami by christiancaron2000
Christ the Redeemer by VoiceBrazil
Orangutan by Randy Hayes
Rio Renato by Leonardo F. Freitas

Page 4

Belo Monte Map

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Rainforest by Randy Hayes