Sunday, February 12, 2012

#43 / Money As The Measure

When city officials start promoting the conversion of farmland to shopping centers, it's usually because they are trying to "make more money" for the city. Looking at the picture in yesterday's posting, and thinking about how it would look to pave over all that farmland, my first impulse is to say that "money isn't everything."

Even if money were everything, however, it turns out that the kind of ecosystem biodiversity that is inherent in the natural world, and that is destroyed by "development" of various types, also has a value, and that when that value is measured by money, it may well make more sense, even with money as the measure, to leave the natural world alone.

It turns out, in terms of money, that we can hurt ourselves economically by our development schemes.

You can read all about it by clicking the image, or by clicking right here.

1 comment:

  1. I reject the move to monetize the natural world.

    Development is development, even environmentally "sensitive" development is development. Development is the problem, not the solution.

    Attempting to assign monetary value to the natural world and natural processes is just one more attempt to subvert what little is left to human service. Natural processes do not exist for human use and benefit. They exist for themselves.

    The statement: "In order to create truly sustainable relationships with natural resources, we may need to reconsider the way we acknowledge importance and the underlying beliefs that shape our systems." illustrates the depth of the problem. "Resources" refers to use by humans, be they natural or ... unnatural. The one underlying belief that shapes our system is ownership and use for human benefit. Until we can drop that particular bit of hubris, we cannot make any headway in living sustainably on this Earth.

    There is only one sustainable "use" of the non-human world, to never use resources faster than they are naturally replenished and never produce wastes faster than they are naturally dispersed. Any other form of use is by definition unsustainable.

    Further, the pamphlet states: "In the meantime, an economic shift in perception of natural sources can help to preserve those sources while more complex shifts in perception occur." This flies in the face of human history. Perceiving natural sources in economic terms merely hastens their depletion. The economy is at the mercy of whomsoever controls it, and those in control cannot turn their backs on the economic and politcal systems that maintain their access to power.

    Therefore, anyone who views the natural world as anything other than free sources of raw materials, space and profit is automatically opted out of the control system.

    The only possible path through to a sustainable human economy is to change from production for profit to production for use, the same economic system employed by all life forms on Earth, save Homo sapiens , accompanyed by a relaistic reduction in human population. No other species lives beyond its means as humans do. Therefore, until humans come back to the fold, living within natural cycles of resource availability, human society will continue to be unsustainable.

    Things that cannot go on forever, don't.


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