Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nature, Capitalism and the assignment of value (NakedCapitalism and AutomaticEarth)

Several years ago I adopted the saying "Let Nature be your Teacher" ~ William Wordsworth 1770-1850.  By coincidence  William died on my birthday (April 23)  which I thought was a more than a little interesting.  This quote embodies much of my thinking as it relates to modern society, and managing life and its events.

One of the burning questions in my mind for some time has been - why is there such an incredible focus on growth, managing it, encouraging it, and measuring it.  While the author makes many valuable statements (from my perspective), I believe that capitalism is not addicted to growth as it stated below - it IS growth, and it RELIES on growth.  Without growth - capitalism fails miserably.

The following are several excerpts from a piece discussing the assignment of monetary value to a variety of natural aspects of our world.

" ... an environmental economist is not a scientist, since no economist is. Math and physics are sciences, since they deal in formulas and laws that can pass the fallibility test. Economics deals with human behavior, which we don't know nearly enough about to formulate any such laws."

"Capitalism tends to express everything in dollars, and that’s where it fails: it has no other values, and therefore might as well have none."

" ... those who pin their hopes on technological developments in areas such as wind, solar and nuclear as coming from the smart resource management school, ... they fail to understand that this will not address the core issue, which is that capitalism is addicted to growth."

"Resource efficiency is the wrong metric," he says. "We should use nature as the measure, using nature's wisdom as a template for our economic systems."

"Capitalism doesn't function when it starts to contract and we can see that quite clearly right here in the eurozone. It's like pushing a giant monster underwater that's gasping for air. It goes nuts."

"The extinction crisis is the mother of all crises. There will be no society, there will be no economy, there will be no art and culture on a dead planet basically. We've stopped evolution."

As referenced at the end of the piece, the author does not believe we will have stopped evolution.  They argue that life is evolution and we/humans are only a piece of that process.  Their view is that if we are to continue on the current path, then we will merely become one of the multi-billion 'failed' species that has inhabited the planet from T=0. 

"We are not bigger than life itself."

Please Read Full Original Posts and More HERE  Naked Capitalism and Automatic Earth

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