Wednesday, August 08, 2012

conservation by other means: the world crisis in 1000 words or less

economic-undertow | Our crisis is the unraveling of modernity and associated industrialization due to resource/capital depletion (Hall,Kümmel). This is the consequence of a ‘culture of excess’ that refuses to accept limits: there is human over-population, too many machines along with extractive industrial agriculture. Failures in credit- political- and production sector marketplaces are the manifestation of resource/capital depletion. What is underway is ‘conservation by other means’.

Modernity is a long-running process (400 years). It has been too successful too long for it to continue. Modernity cannibalizes its capital, as such our crisis is irreversible. Conventional marketplace remedies such as debt jubilees/write-offs, re-distribution, bailouts, stimulus, austerity policies, monetary easing, etc. have no effect on outcome other than to worsen conditions. These are efforts to reclaim capital that no longer exists. Consequently, remedies accelerate unraveling process by increasing gross debt (claims against capital) while exposing remaining capital to consumption at higher rates. The capital ‘pie’ cannot be redistributed, only a new and much smaller pie is to be had and carefully tended. Our smaller pie of non-renewable resources is what we have to make use of, to last us and the rest of the world’s creatures until the end of humanity.

Economists insist that the crisis is one of debt and out-of-control finance. Rather, the crisis is a non-productive physical economy which monetizes resource waste. Pop culture promotes the process, management policy defends the process’ beneficiaries from any undesirable consequences.

Economists insist that capital is symbolic (money) rather than material. Capital = resources (Daly), all industrial money is debt. Abstract money is infinitely reproducible, material inputs are not. Existence of debt-money is incentive to waste even as input constraints unravel input-dependent enterprises (petroleum fuel, also topsoil, water and waste-carrying capacity).

Waste-based economy depletes the capital it requires. Adjusting the waste-based economy to operate at greater efficiency depletes capital more thoroughly at a higher rate (Jevons).


umbrarchist said...

Yeah, and the entire economics profession just happened to ignore Demand Side Depreciation WORLD WIDE for the last 60 years. So economists from none European countries get their economic theory from Europeans.

What sense does that make?