Sustainable Economics

Posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 10:34 pm in

Ha, how can can I talk about sustainability when I don’t have sustainable blogging practices. Sorry, I’ve been rather tied up with school recently. What ends up happening is I totally slack off on the weekends to balance all the work it seems I’ve done.

I am concerned that I might well be repeating myself sometimes in these entries. It would be interesting for me to look back and see which if any ideas recur the most.

For the present, two things about clean energy:

We sure hear a lot about it. From what I hear, it’s both great and only somewhat successful. Some success is better than none, though! It is important, in particular, to avoid something my textbook calls paralysis by analysis, or avoiding to make a decision until the perfect solution arises. The problem with this mentality, as I know all too well, is that such a solution never arises. But the fact remains that something must be done, and you’ll regret not doing anything.

The energy might be clean, but what about manufacturing? So called clean-energy is probably made with environmentally unfriendly methods (cars, cranes, smelting iron for wind towers). Environmentally “friendly products” may be made with dirty energy. The point is that the outward appearance of progress is most likely backed by the old infrastructure. This is not meant to stagnate that industry. Rather, we should lie in the hope that by encouraging this type of production, it will gradually become more complete in its sustainability.

Why do third-world countries need electricity? Why can’t they just take a step backwards into the indigenous days? I guess there could be a variety of reasons. Is it because there too many people? It is likely that we need the system we’ve created to sustain this many people. Worse, is it impossible because we’ve damaged the environment too much?

Also, I was just doing research for my history class on recent (1990+) U.S. economics. Hello, housing bubble. HOLY SHIT MY HEAD HURTS. I read the Wikipedia article on foreclosure. Apparently it’s when the bank takes back the house. But this article fails to convey this. It is strange how our education system fails to teach children about economics, law, and government from the start. They are quite important, and obscenely complicated. To me, anyway. My head is probably full of science. It’s a pity that we live in a system so complicated no one person can understand all of it. Now it might be that no one person has to, but how do we know if some bullshit conspiracy isn’t swindling the fuck out of us?

In beginning to devise a sustainable society, one first must consider the basic needs of a human. In this respect, why do we need technology in the first place? It doesn’t make us significantly more content with life. The methods in practice for thousands of years sufficed to give us food, water and shelter.

It’s possible to realistically find a rough amount of land that one person really needs. You need area on which to grow enough calories, and some more for shelter. You could do this by having massive farms and condensed housing (urban) – or you could have everyone living on a small farm (middle ages). You could also have small houses and use what already exists in nature (hunter-gatherer). For the farming model, there are two ways to distribute land, “capitalism” where the farmer owns his land, and sells his goods and buys what he can’t make, and “socialism,” where everything is owned by everyone.

They both have strong points, which we are unable to fully utilize, in the example of bailouts to help industries with idiotic business models, under the reasoning that they are too big and the economy would take to big of a hit. Because while the economy might be saved now, those idiots are still working toward a future where bailouts won’t save the economy. This is short-sided thinking, something humans seem to do automatically.

The problem with capitalism, according to Wikipedia according to socialists, is that it concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the few. Capitalism argues that they earned it. The base of the argument, however, probably stems from the poor conditions of the lower class which has plagued our history. As long as the lower class’ condition is good, I do not think they would care as much (there are those who act on principle alone).

I also got to thinking about the whole idea of “buying things.” It seems rather one-sided. You give money, you get a product. That product goes to a landfill. The money circulates around still. This relies on the continuous addition of products, without anything put back into the system! It is a linear relationship, and does not reflect the cyclical nature of materials. The ecological costs are not factored in either.

Some very fundamental parts of our system need to be rewritten. I would love to supply the world with an ingenious new society, but it’s so very complicated. Maybe in a later post!

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