It’s time to demolish the myth of trickle-down economics – World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum recently reported that:

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During the era of globalization, average annual income of the poorest 10% of people has risen by less than $3 each year.

The gap between rich and poor is reaching new extremes. Credit Suisse recently revealed that the richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together.

 

This occurred a year earlier than Oxfam’s much publicized prediction ahead of last year’s World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past five years. This is just the latest evidence that today we live in a world with levels of inequality we may not have seen for over a century.

Source: It’s time to demolish the myth of trickle-down economics | World Economic Forum

Life in Debt Valley

In one of the poorest parts of Britain, people still find ways to get what they want and to live their dreams. 34-year-old Maria is doing everything she can to find a job and keep her head above water as a single mum with a mountain of debt. Sue, a carpenter by trade, struggles to keep the bailiffs at bay while trying to find a way to give her daughters a holiday to remember. And Julie, burdened with a weight problem and a family tragedy, turns to local weight loss guru Linda to help her deal with both.

While many Valleys residents are living a hand-to-mouth existence, some businesses are thriving. Linda’s slimming class does a roaring trade in this obesity hotspot while pawnbroker David turns a tidy profit off the back of other people’s need.

Remember The Mold That Lead To Penicillin?

Returning from holiday on September 3, 1928, Fleming began to sort through petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus, bacteria that cause boils, sore throats and abscesses. He noticed something unusual on one dish. It was dotted with colonies, save for one area where a blob of mold was growing. The zone immediately around the mold—later identified as a rare strain of Penicillium notatum—was clear, as if the mold had secreted something that inhibited bacterial growth.

From http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/flemingpenicillin.html

Pale only by the e-learning market (2015 – US$75billion), the global antibiotics market (2015 – US$40billion) grew from Dr Alexander Fleming’s mold.

It’s only a cut of the hidden world of fungi technologies that play an important role in our lives and economics. What can fungi technologies do in our present world?

Various mushroom varieties possess potent anti-microbial properties.

 The author notes that a,

“moldy cantaloupe sent to an army research lab in 1941”,

…led to the identification and extraction of strains of penicillium chrysogenum that led to the commercial synthesis of penicillin.

Mr. Stamets’ own research led to the discovery that the extract of mycelium from the mushroom Fomitopsis officinalis,

“protects human blood cells from infection by orthopox viruses including the family of viruses that includes smallpox.”

Specific varieties of mushrooms possess antiviral activity against such viruses as,

  • hepatitis B

  • herpes simplex

  • HIV

  • influenza

  • pox

  • tobacco mosaic virus

A useful table lists various mushrooms and their antiviral activities.

Several varieties of mushrooms are sources of other medicinal compounds including triterpenoids and glycoproteins. Pages 38-39 provide a cross index of Mushrooms and Targeted Therapeutic Effects including mushroom activity against specific cancers.

Mr. Stamets presents strong evidence that fungi from old growth forests have potential as sources for new and vital medicines. And he emphasizes the essential importance of preserving this priceless resource.


Part II – Mycorestoration

In Mycorestoration the author presents his original thought, theories and research into how mycelium and their fruit, mushrooms, can be harnessed for uses that support the health of humans and our ailing planet.

In this fascinating section of the book, the author presents the reader with “fungal opportunities underfoot”.

These original concepts are presented in four forms:

  • Mycofiltration

  • Mycoforestry

  • Mycoremediation

  • Mycopesticides

– Mycorestoration

is defined as the selective use of fungi to repair or restore the weakened immune systems of environments.


– Mycofiltration

uses mycelium as a membrane to catch and filter upstream contaminants including microorganisms, pollutants and silt. Talk about filtration capacity, Mr. Stamets says that “more than a mile of mycelial cells can infuse a gram of soil”.

The text illustrates how we can use mycelium on farms, in our own urban and suburban environments, in watershed districts, in factories, on roads and other stressed habitats to filter protozoa, bacteria, viruses, bacteria, silt and chemical toxins.

Mycelial mats, called “bunker spawn” mature in months and can be used for years to prevent downstream pollution. Mr. Stamets discusses his own research in microfiltration and presents directions for building and installing mycelium microfilters.


– Mycoforestry

is the use of fungi to sustain forest communities by preserving natural forests, recycling woodland debris, sustaining replanted trees with the goal of strengthening the forest ecosystem.

Mr. Stamets emphasizes that contrary to conventional thought our forests are not “renewable” resources and discusses how carbon cycles that fuel the food chain can take centuries, if not thousands of years to establish.

For example, in Oregon a honey mushroom mat found on a mountaintop covered over 2400 acres and is thought to be about 2200 years old. “Nurse” logs in this forest increase soil depth and enrich the habitat for the fungi, plant and animal kingdoms.

The reader must wonder how many regions like this exist on planet earth today.

According to the author, acceleration of this process is possible by using wood chips as a spawning medium for fungi. This method has the potential to prevent forest fires because as mycelium grows on the wood chips they draw moisture to the forest floor in a sponge like way.

Mr. Stamets urges forest pathologists to develop strategies that utilize mycelium to improve forest health.


– Mycoremediation

is the use of fungi to degrade or remove toxins from the environment.

According to the author fungi can be used to degrade heavy metals including lead, and mercury, industrial toxins including chlorine, dioxin, PCBs and organophosphates.

This potential is viewed in the perspective of the hierarchy of organisms in the fungi, plant, bacterium and animal kingdoms, a hierarchy which begins and ends with fungi.

Photos in this chapter illustrate diesel contaminated soil “under attack” by oyster mushrooms which thrive on the contaminated soil and regenerate it by neutralizing the contaminant. When they die and rot they provide a healthy environment for new plant growth. The contaminated soil in which mushroom growth was not introduced remained just that, barren and contaminated.

The goal of mycorestoration is to match fungi species to contaminants to enable the “destruction of toxins that enable other restoration strategies”.


– Mycopesticides

involve the use of fungi to control pest populations, including carpenter ants and termites. Mr. Stamets relates a personal story of how he used mycelium as a natural pesticide to rid his house of carpenter ants.

He has applied for patents to use this biotechnology which protect groundwater and habitats from damage by conventional toxic pesticides, as a natural method of eliminating termites, ants and flies.

He calls the technology “green mycotechnology”.

Source: Are Fungi The Earth’s Natural Internet?