It’s cooperation stupid

It's cooperation stupid

The argument of this pamphlet is that we should jettison the assumption that humans are selfish, first and foremost. Instead, we should start from the assumption that most of the time, most people want to be cooperative.


We should also assume that the most enduring, productive, adaptive solutions to our shared dilemmas will also be the fairest, because fairness breeds cooperation. Only when cooperative approaches manifestly fail should we turn to solutions that hinge on self-interest.

Drawing in evidence from infant development studies, evolutionary science and the course of human history from the prehistoric to the modern, Charlie Leadbeater argues that society – including our political leaders – can and should embrace and foster humankind's integral cooperative spirit and redress the individualistic, transactional model of modern capitalism.

'Humans are more cooperative than other species because we are capable of more fine-grained forms of cooperation: we are prepared to cooperate with strangers, over large distances and times, overcoming obstacles of language and culture. This deeply wired capacity for cooperation will be more important than ever to enable us to create shared solutions to complex challenges, from global financial regulation to ageing and climate change.

'Yet most of our systems, institutions and models of public policy lock us in to a miserable, impoverished view of ourselves as untrustworthy and selfish. These approaches actively crowd out cooperation, supplanting cooperative solutions with systems that rely on material incentives. They remake the world in their own image.'

Looking at three issues as examples – bankers and their bonuses, the UK riots of 2011 and the ongoing immigration debate – Leadbeater concludes that cooperative models of organisation and problem-solving offer the best hope of deepening understanding and producing fair and good outcomes.

Published in partnership with Co-operatives UK


Net zero energy property

Net zero energy property

Net-Zero Energy Buildings Take Hold in U.S.

Buildings that produce as much energy on-site as they consume are becoming more common

By Lacey Johnson and ClimateWire  | March 7, 2012 | 1

Some new buildings aim to produce as much energy as they consume.Image: Wikimedia Commons/Daderot

A weak economy and rising energy prices have led to a buzz over building efficiency. Light bulb regulations, LEED and Energy Star ratings for homes and appliances, stricter construction codes, and government incentives are all parts of a national effort to cut energy waste in the building sector.

Nearly 40 percent of the nation's energy is consumed by homes and commercial buildings, which means that making them more efficient would not only save money but also drastically reduce carbon emissions. So a handful of builders are taking the idea one step further: Why construct a building that uses less energy when we can make one that uses no energy at all?

That's the philosophy behind "net-zero" buildings, and they have been springing up all over the country in recent years. By the purest definition, a net-zero building produces all the renewable energy it needs on site, drawing no more power from the grid than it gives back.

Considering that a shack in the woods is technically net zero, the concept isn't exactly new. But advances in technology over the past decade have made it easier to design sophisticated buildings that produce 100 percent of their own energy. At least 21 commercial buildings in the United States meet net-zero standards, according to a study released yesterday by the New Buildings Institute and the Zero Energy Commercial Building Consortium.

They run the gamut from offices to libraries to elementary schools. Researchers identified eight more unverified buildings that may also be net zero and an additional 39 that would classify if they installed more on-site renewable energy systems, plus dozens more under construction.


Passivhaus UK

Passivhaus UK

You Just Don't Have The Bills You Would Have In A Normal House”.
tuesday, 06 march 2012 17:06

  UK’s ITV News, 2 March 2012, reports on Build with CaRe’s Refurbishing Europe

"You just don't have the bills you would have in a normal house”.  This was the delighted response of one resident of Hastoe Housing Association’s new passivhaus certified homes at Wimbish in Essex filmed by ITV News.  ITV filmed at Wimbish and in Norwich following the release of the Build with CaRe report Refurbishing Europe last month by UEA’s Bruce Tofield and Martin Ingham (see

Presenter Emma Baker explained that there’s only one radiator in the house – in the bathroom – and this has yet to be turned on by the family with two small children who moved in over eight months ago.



In Norwich, Andrew Savage of Broadland Housing Association described how a cold and damp Victorian semi-detached home had been transformed through refurbishment with new insulation and triple-glazed windows.  Once again, there’s not just the benefit of greatly increased comfort but also of far lower bills – so important in these financially difficult times.  As Andrew explained, attention to detail is key, but, done well, such transformation of damp and unhealthy homes is essential if we are to tackle fuel poverty, a major problem in many EU countries.


Filmed at Wimbish, Bruce Tofield told Emma that, today, progress just isn’t fast enough either building new to passivhaus standard or in refurbishing the millions of homes and buildings that must be improved across the EU if we are to meet demanding targets to help tackle climate change.  Member state governments and the EU must work together to accelerate progress – as Refurbishing Europe recommended.  The transnational learning made possible by Build with CaRe shows how much can be achieved very quickly.



New prosthesis links give touch and feel Interface scaffolds" could wire prosthetics directly into amputees' nervous systems By David Szondy 16:31 March 4, 2012 Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have announced a breakthrough in prosthetics that may one day allow artificial limbs to be controlled by their wearers as naturally as organic ones, as well as providing sensations of touch and feeling. … Continue reading New prosthesis links give touch and feel

The future house boat

Loads of water near the Olympics site!  Beautiful Modern Water Villa Sets Sail in Amsterdam There are hundreds of canals criss-crossing through Amsterdam which make the city uniquely suited for living on the water. This new modern houseboat at De Omval makes houseboats on Lake Powell in the USA look like redneck McMansions. … Continue reading The future house boat

I have been mentioned in a parliamentary report!

Last year I submitted the following to the JCHR.  It has now been published!   Written Evidence submitted by Clive Durdle (IL 6) I understand a clear right to independent living cannot be achieved currently because the main responses are institutionalised. We are continuing to use and build "total institutions" and have policy proposals like … Continue reading I have been mentioned in a parliamentary report!