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SUSTAINABILITY EVSS 695: Fall 2012 Fisher Class 11: Deep Economy.

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Presentation on theme: "SUSTAINABILITY EVSS 695: Fall 2012 Fisher Class 11: Deep Economy."— Presentation transcript:

1 SUSTAINABILITY EVSS 695: Fall 2012 Fisher Class 11: Deep Economy

2 Main Pts to Open Book  New “happiness” research intersects with environmental realities concerning the limits of growth  “growth is no longer making most people wealthier, but instead generating inequality and insecurity” (p1)  “More” and “Better” no longer go together (although it may for some in developing world)  We need a radical shift toward local economies  Not the end of capitalism or markets  but markets are no longer to be worshipped as infallible, efficiency is no longer the highest goal  We have to change our orientation toward what constitutes progress.  Perspective is neither “liberal” nor “conservative” (more communitarian).  Broader Q: Is Communitarianism the answer to protecting ecosystems, our happiness and physical survival?

3 Communitarianism  A theory or system of social organization based on small self-governing communities.  An ideology that emphasizes the responsibility of the individual to the community and the social importance of the family unit.  Important element in building ‘social capital’ as the foundation for democracy and citizen participation

4 After Growth  Growth changed the economic (and social) philosophy post WWII – “a cult of growth”  Argues that capitalism didn’t have to become so “extreme”  focus on more is better growth  we need not think of things so deterministically.

5 3 Arguments against Growth 1. Political: growth as we now do it is creating more inequality and more insecurity  Why? Decline in unions, centralization of corps, trade agrs, tax cuts, etc. 2. Physics and Chemistry: end of oil and pollution  Peak Oil and declining fossil fuels  Costanza: real costs vs. externalities 3. Psychological: growth no longer makes us happy  Focus on “well being”  New kind of utilitarianism

6 Year of Eating Locally  50 % of world’s expenditures are from the food system  Growing interest in local farming, and connecting urban space to farmland  Same time, huge food conglomerates taken over (seed to distribution)  massive waste and insecurity of system  Heavily reliant on both Water but also Petroleum – advocates non-petroleum agriculture  Cuban Agriculture  Cut off with Cold War, and became more self-sufficient (not sole exporter of sugar)

7 All for One, or One for All  Critique of the West’s & America’s hyper-individualism  Process of individual liberation  Protestant Reformation  Fossil fuel reliance  With technology we are no longer free  Divided us  tolerate massive wealth inequality  alternative to hyper-individualism is not state-socialism, nor is it simply a liberal model of more growth more equitably distributed. NEED: individualism at the local level in building local economies

8 Wealth of Communities  Rethink our relationship to commodities, and community property  Local communication, local energy production, and renewed economic production (and local currency??)  Decentralizing governance and minimizing econ interference and subsidies  “could it be that this modernity, this hyper-individuality is a phase through which humans need to pass before they can figure out its limitations?”

9 The Durable Future  Comparison of China (unfettered growth) with other counter models.  Movement from rural spaces of relative autonomy to urban shanty towns  Can the world live like Americans and be built on China’s model for unfettered growth?  Europeans are more communitarian…use half US energy, live smaller scales and are generally happier.  Move to local economies, with local communications, and farmer’s markets

10 Video  McKibben: Deep EconomyDeep Economy

11 Natural Capitalism: Problem - Solution  Problem: resource extraction/use, using nature as a limitless resource, and externalizing waste and pollution  We have a “broken economic compass” (market is chalk full of distortions and perverse incentives)  Result: leads to environmental degradation and depletion of resource that ultimately negatively affects social/human systems  Solution: Reverse logic  Nature is scarce, people are abundant (away from limitless nature and scarce labor)  How?: Change system of production to address production-consumption cycle (away from cradle to grave) and address waste at all stages of the process. Engage a “Whole Systems Approach.” Do this by mimicking ecological system.  Result: “Abundance by design”  replenishing nature’s reserves

12 4 Central Ideas for Natural Capitalism 1. Increase resource productivity  “radically reduce the throughput in the system” 2. Biomimicry – mirror ecological systems in design  Change what is in the throughput (i.e. the materials themselves) 3. Shift away from production of goods to flow of service and value (using #1 and #2)  Key: synergistic incentives between production and consumption (not perverse)  Keep your stuff and sell the service 4. Reinvest in environment (natural capital streams)

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