"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Flaws in our Economy - We cannot sustain our present financial systems

There is massive wastage in our consumer society, both from personal consumption and in our industrial processes. Alarming statistics can be found of physical waste:

Americans apparently waste or cause to be wasted nearly 1 million pounds of materials per person per year…[and] this does not account for wastes generated overseas on [their] behalf…the amount of waste generated to make a laptop computer is close to 4000 times its weight.*

There is a beautifully sustainable cycle within nature. Dead bodies provide food for living creatures, plants photosynthesize and produce oxygen from carbon dioxide and animals use that oxygen in their respiration of which the by-product is carbon dioxide. At school we learnt all about this and called it the Carbon Cycle, little suspecting that 50 years later this would have such a fundamental significance for the future of the world!
If we can see the Earth as a single living entity involving complex interrelationships and a finely tuned balance of all life, as envisioned for example by James Lovelock, should it not be logical for a sustainable economy to mimic that natural world, indeed be a part of that world, where everything is recycled, everything has a further use elsewhere. We would then be able to build a system that is totally cyclical and sustainable and environmentally sound.But we are very far from doing that at the moment.
Evolution biologist and futurist Elisabet Sahtouris once posed the question: doesn’t it seem crazy and so obviously illogical that our household finances and the study of how we make a living (or economy) should be so totally divorced from the study of how other species make a living (or ecology)?

This seems so simple and obvious but it also seems that we cannot see it!

*Paul Hawken and Amory and T. Hunter Lovins,1999, p. 52 cited in The Path to Living Economies – a collaborative Working Document of the Social Ventures Network

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