The focus of my writing has changed. Humanity faces the biggest ever threat to its survival. There is growing awareness that governments are failing to take effective measures to prevent environmental catastrophe. Nor are they implementing sufficiently radical measures to address the current economic crisis or prevent further crises. All over the world, there are surging demonstrations against oppression, corporate greed and an economic system that enriches an elite minority; bears down on the mass of people; and is driving the world towards environmental disaster. Corruption is widespread. Politicians are failing to serve citizens and political processes are flawed. There are hundreds of new radical campaigns and coalitions offering constructive proposals and organising petitions and protests. How people can bring about a great transition is now the main focus of my work and writings.
Writings on this website are now divided into two sections: new writings and presentations: creating a just, sustainable and non-violent world (see below), and earlier writings: creating better workplaces which can be accessed by visiting earlier writings.
Occasionally I include the work of other writers, with their permission, whose work I consider particularly valuable. I shall add to new writings as I publish new articles.
(click any title to access the article)
Remembering Keith Panton: A True Servant Leader. This is the story of how I met Keith when we were both young men and formed a lasting friendship. He was not ambitious in the ordinary sense, just enormously talented. He cared about his employees and country. He became the first black Jamaican to become Chairman and Chief Executive. He saved Alcan Jamaica from closure and contributed to his country in many other ways. We remained lifelong friends. There are excellent servant leadership organisations in the UK http://www.greenleaf.org.uk/ and USA https://www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership.
Re-inventing Finance by Fran Boait. Originally published in STIR to Action magazine Autumn 2013. Despite George Osborne's overly optimistic diagnosis that "the economy has left intensive care", people living in the real economy know the crisis isn't over yet. We still have 2.5 million people desperately seeking jobs, and almost 1 million of those are aged between 16 and 24.
Ecocide - Polly Higgins's Proposal for A Fifth Crime against Peace. Polly Higgins has proposed an international law that will impose an international and trans-boundary duty of care on any person exercising a position of superior responsibility, to prevent ecocide i.e. damage to ecosystems. Learn more through her You Tube video and her book Eradicating Ecocide, which some say may be the most important book for 21st century.
The Energy Glut - the politics of fatness in an overheating world by Professor Ian Roberts. Ian links our growing use of oil with the pandemic of obesity and the rise of global warming. Here are his talk for Road Peace http://www.roadpeace.org/involved/support_us/the_energy_glut/ and his book, The Energy Glut.
Monetary Reform. My article on Positive Money illustrates that the way money is created is at the root of our environmental and economic crisis. Also, you may be interested in the talk on this topic given to Transition Town Berkhamsted by Dr Fran Boait of Positive Money.
Download the PowerPower presentation >
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Whilst in Hong Kong in May 2013, I visited this beautiful, peaceful place. Built on a hill, it was established by the two Kadoorie brothers whose father was of Persian origin as a haven where refugees could find work. It is described as both wild and tamed. Vegetables and fruit grow sustainably together with flowers. It is intended to encourage a better understanding of the threats to survival facing many plants and animals, including us, and shows what people can do to halt their destruction. "Everyone has a part to play, including you. Everybody can help to make a difference, every day, through small choices and lifestyle changes that can have big impacts to the general health and well-being of the planet. By working together, we can all protect our common future”. http://www.kfbg.org.hk/kfb/homepage.xml?lang=en Here is a friend’s article: http://www.ecotravellerguide.com/2013/08/getting-back-to-nature-in-hong-kong/
Growing food in your garden offers multiple benefits. Most important are the benefits to our wellbeing. Fresh vegetables from our garden can be healthier. They are beautiful, especially when grown amongst flowers. A garden that feeds and delights us can be a sanctuary that heals our spirit. Gardening is a meditation if we do it with mindfulness and work with instead of against nature. It is an expression of our creativity.
Increasingly we'll need to protect ourselves from rising prices and food shortages resulting from climate change, population growth and exhaustion of our planet's resources. The way we garden enables us to make a contribution to preventing the environmental catastrophe humanity faces unless we change our ways. These two articles, first published in Your Berkhamsted magazine, will tell you more:
Key Campaigns For System Change. Here are key campaigns for demanding decisive action on the most important issues of our time. They are grouped under eight key issues.
The Biggest Challenge in Human History. This is a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation prepared for the Global Teach-In, 25th April 2012. It sets out the current global system, as I see it, how it needs to be transformed if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe and offers proposals for a just, sustainable and non-violent alternative and how we can all help to bring it about.
The Wellbeing Economy, published by Compass 16th March 2012. We are at an exciting time in our history. "Conventional thinking is being challenged and a new consensus is emerging. There is growing revulsion at the current form of capitalism and the failings of democracy. We need to rethink globalisation and the pursuit of lowest cost so that food and work security and sovereignty can be provided and nations have more control over their economies."
A Better World is Possible review by Bethany Hubbard, published in The Ecologist 26th January, 2012. "Bruce Nixon's call to arms examines the perils of the global economic system, and challenges us to think sustainably," writes Bethany Hubbard. "I'd be the first to admit that sometimes I think the future of the world looks bleak. It's hard to remain optimistic when the economy's floundering and our resources are being gobbled up at an alarming rate. With protests popping up all over the globe, you can't help but wonder what finally made people get angry and take action. We seemed to go from complacent to furious overnight. Walk past St Paul's Cathedral and you're likely to spot several Guy Fawkes masks hiding the faces of Occupy London protesters. The three-month-old protest is intent on creating a 'future free from austerity, growing inequality, unemployment, tax injustice and a political elite who ignores its citizens.' Bruce Nixon's A Better World is Possible reflects the growing unrest and pinpoints the need for ordinary people to turn 'anger into effective action to bring about radical change."
A Better World, published by Resurgence November/December 2011. "Working in Jamaica in the 1960s had a lasting effect on me. It was Independence time. Hopes were high and Prime Minister Norman Manley and his artist wife, Edna, were inspiring partners in building a new nation. Today, it is hard going back there. The global system was against this small nation that gave so much to Britain. The lesson: global system change is needed."
The Economics of Well-Being, published by the New Economics Foundation (nef) 4th November 2011. "The purpose of an economy should be the wellbeing of all. We're all interdependent, humans and other life on the planet. People everywhere share the same need for love, happiness, security, good work, freedom, community and involvement in decisions affecting them. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Today, this is far from being the case."
We Must All Rise Up Peacefully, published by Positive News 6th May 2011. While politicians tackle the symptoms of an unsustainable economy, we need to call for a complete system change, argues Bruce Nixon "Listening to the debate about the financial crisis, I wonder if I'm living on the same planet as our political and business leaders. Haven't they heard of the far bigger threat: the environmental and ecological crisis? The current debate is about restoring continuous economic growth and carrying on as usual. Yet the growth mantra is completely dysfunctional."
Making Sense of the Global Crisis and Developing Leaders for Uncertain Times These two articles were published in the Croner Journal Developing HR Strategy, November and September, 2008, respectively.
From Old Economics to New Economics: Radical Reform for a Sustainable Future. Stephen Spratt, Former Director of the Centre for the Future Economy at nef, and Stewart Wallis, Executive Director of nef (new economics foundation), October 2007. This is one of the most exciting set of proposals I have read. Today we face huge threats, but also tremendous opportunities. Climate change, ecosystem collapse, growing inequality and injustice, leading to increasing violence, require an urgent response from us all and from our governments. We need a new approach, one that tackles these global and national challenges, but also addresses another key issue: our lifestyles in the developed countries threaten the future of the planet; yet they do not make us happy. The global economic system is unsustainable. It has now become the problem and is causing us potentially fatal harm This paper analyses this system and exposes the "economic myths" embedded in it. It offers proposals for radical reform of the global economic system and global governance.
All Rise: How Gandhi's thinking can help us in the 21st Century. Schumacher Society Challenge Paper, April 2007. This summarises Gandhi's thinking as a highly successful change agent and servant leader. It explores the extraordinary relevance of his thinking to our situation at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Sustainable Living in India. Article for Organic Way, Autumn 2007. This is an article about Vandana Shiva's Navdanya Organic Farm and International College for Sustainable Living in Dehra Doon, India and the work she is doing in saving seed and food diversity, supporting poor farmers, many of whom are women, their fight against agribusiness and "bio-piracy" and challenging the power of transnational corporations.
It's time we changed the system. This unpublished conference paper gives a challenging account of the biggest crisis in recent human history climate change, destruction of the ecological system on which all life depends. It argues that the underlying issue is an unsustainable global economic system which is fuelling climate change, exhausting the resources of the planet and failing to eliminate extreme poverty. The system also contributes to violence and insecurity. The article argues that we need to change the system; that whilst it may seem daunting, we can do it if everyone takes full responsibility people, governments and corporations. It requires a complete change in the way we live. And this might well lead to happier and more rewarding lives for all of us! The paper is used as a basis for articles, shorter conference papers, talks, discussions, PowerPoint presentations and workshops.
> Download low-bandwidth version (380K PDF, text-only)
> Download high-bandwidth version (8MB PDF, with photos)
Growth Isn't Working. Written by Andrew Simms and David Woodward, this report for the New Economics Foundation, January, 2006 is a key article demonstrating the fallacy of arguing that continuous economic growth is the answer to world poverty - apart from the disastrous effects on the planet "Spaceship Earth" on which all life depends.
Changing the System: the challenge for Servant-Leaders. Paper for the UK Robert Greenleaf Servant Leadership 10th Annual Conference, 31st October to 1st November 2007. Shorter version of the above paper.
Grasp the Opportunities for Sustainable Business. Article published in the October Network 2012 Newsletter. Version for entrepreneurs.
It's time to give your leadership! Article published in the Training Manager's Yearbook 2008. A similar article for change agents, consultants, learning and development practitioners and their managers.
Spotlight on Bruce Nixon. Interview by Sue de Verteuil, first published in the May 2007 issue of Emerald Now.
The Future of Money: If We Want a Better Game of Economic Life, We'll Have to Change the Scoring System. Article by James Robertson, included here with his permission, 5,000 word article in the journal, Soundings, issue 31, December 2005, on the practicalities of evolving a new political economy and its institutions, based on fairly sharing the value of common resources. The practicalities include: Firstly, changing the debt money system under which 95% of our money supply now consists of bank account money created as profit making loans by commercial banks; secondly, changing an unsustainable tax system that perversely taxes useful activities like work and fails to tax excessive use of environmental and other common resources; thirdly, providing a Citizens Income for people to use in their own interests. This would be sourced from some of the tax raised from the use of common resources, and would replace some of the money now spent on big government agencies and big business corporations to provide public services and public investment for citizens expected to stay dependent. These proposals are particularly relevant at a time when crippling indebtedness is starting to have major effects on the world economy. Source http://www.jamesrobertson.com/articles#articles