PICTURE: Within a Steady State Economy, the interests of the Earth are kept in balance with the interests of the society that has created the economy – not the other way around.
Value and values, nature and capital
THE EARTH AND ITS ECOLOGY are considered to provide an endless supply of materials to fuel endless economic growth.
That which doesn’t pass through the market, is blind-sided and dismissed as “being of little or no value” according to conventional economics. This includes, as Marilyn Waring notes, all household work and the most valuable nutrient for a new born child – breast milk.
Formula, involving a market transaction, gets counted as being of value, breast milk, according to this formula, has no value – no monetary value. It’s all that counts when living in a world where the economy is considered of greater importance than the society – of which it should be in the service of.
While ever this economic paradigm persists – and we support it – we’ll keep witnessing the decline of ecological systems and the extinction of precious species. The current economic system that is degenerative, exploits resources considering them to be infinite in spite of us all knowing that on a finite planet that is simply not the case.
The need for a circular economy, a donut economy, a steady-state economy, a regenerative ecological economy, is long overdue, but still remains out of reach. These will remain out of reach until sufficient of us push back and call out the absurdities of the current irrational rationale that drives the growth at all costs way of doing business. In reality it is bringing us all undone and it is treating the earth as if it were a business in liquidation, to quote Herman Daly, former World Bank senior economist, and founder of the Steady State Economic model.
MMM … Issue 37, April – May 2023