February 6, 2009

In Search of Zero

By admin

This article in the Ecologist asks the question:  is it time to change the 20th century economic paradigms?

Wholeheartedly, we say ‘yes’.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Since the Collapse of 2008, economists are rushing to announce a new era of neo-Keynesianism: lack of regulation in the finance industry has led us to the brink and only massive government intervention can put us back on track.

Sadly, this time the tracks are gone. The great economic paradigms simply took too much for granted. They assumed that economies run on money and labour, but ignored the roles of energy and ecosystems. They assumed that because population, resource extraction, and available energy had grown throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, they would grow in perpetuity once the proper relations between money, market forces and government regulation were worked out. Almost no one stopped to think that limits to Earth’s atmospheric carbon sinks and supplies of fossil fuels, topsoil and water might impose ultimate limits on economic activity.

To sum up, perpetual growth is not something that we should aspire to.  In fact, as we enter an age of declining values, "zero" will likely become the next best thing.

The fact is that our system is very, very broken.  Worse off, we’re paying the people that broke the system to try to repair it.  It’s an old saying, but that’s like hiring the fox to do a head count with the chicken coop.  It just doesn’t work.  In fact, some people are going so far as to suggest that a financial coup d’etat has occurred while we were watching.