For any readers who want a refresher course, or who are hearing about this idea for the first time, let me refer you to my blog post called, "Worldview 101."
Together with Yogi Sugiawan, formerly of Kyushu University, and Robi Kurniawan of Tohoku University, Mr Managi has calculated the future trajectory of natural capital under a variety of scenarios. In a future of continued high energy demand, carbon emissions can be expected to grow by 7% in high-income countries and by 44% in the rest of the world over the next two decades.
In such a scenario, the world will continue to grow wealthier, but natural assets will diminish rapidly as a share of its portfolio. A typical person in one of today’s high-income countries will have 21% less natural capital at their disposal in 2040 than they do today. In other, poorer countries they will have 17% less.
According to these projections, only 12 countries will increase their stock of natural capital per person over the next two decades. And in 39 countries, including resource superpowers like Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, the stock will fall by over 30%. Financial capital tends to accumulate. Natural capital seems destined to do the opposite.
The valuation of natural capital has become not only popular, but also necessary, as our world becomes more and more unstable from anthropocentric activity. The integration of natural capital into company balance sheets is an inevitable step towards valuing nature and natural processes on par with human progress and economic growth. If natural capital were incorporated into every country’s GDP and every company’s financial account, then who then would be the world leaders? I’m sure the global economic landscape would become a very different picture, and perhaps, a more stable, equitable, and beautiful one (emphasis added).
The idea expressed just above, from the Bard article, is founded on a belief that a properly structured "market" will lead to good decision making, and that such a "market," if things are just valued properly, will lead to a world worth living in.
I do not agree!
If we consider the World of Nature and "Natural Capital" only as an "input" to what we do, which is then seen as the measure of value - and I think that this is basically what both The Economist article and the Bard article are doing - then we fail to grasp our actual position in the "Two Worlds" we inhabit, simultaneously.
ALL value comes from the World of Nature. Our human world depends on it. We need to measure our actions and calibrate them to the requirements of the World of Nature. Any other course, because based on such an impaired understanding of our human situation, will lead to a catastrophe in the human world in which we most immediately live. "Market forces" won't save us, no matter how we structure the market. We need to save ourselves, and the world we have built, by refusing to do things in our world that destroy the Natural World, and the "Natural Capital" upon which all we do depends.
Like.... we need to stop burning hydrocarbon fuels. Period.