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