Why is it that no one in the mainstream talks about the fact that we live on a finite planet with finite resources?
By Darren Kaulback
Published May 07, 2009
I don't get it. I know we're in the middle of an economic crisis, global recession, depression - whatever you want to call it. And like many, I have a basic understanding of what's gone down. Everyday, I read and watch the experts hashing it out, throwing out theories and predictions for what the future may hold. Yet a few greener-types are the only ones that ever question the core assumption of the our current economic model.
The global financial system is predicated on the need for perpetual growth. Companies often lay off employees, not because they're losing money, but because they haven't made "more" money. But growth requires more and more resources and, in turn, more people to purchase more products.
Why is it that no one in the mainstream talks about the fact that we live on a finite planet with finite resources? It doesn't take an economics degree to determine that this high speed train is eventually going to derail. We will eventually run out of non-renewable resources. In this century? In the next? Whenever that is, it's inevitable.
But do we really need more?
The "fulfillment curve" suggests that after we obtain a few luxuries, fulfillment is achieved. And the more we consume, the less fulfillment we will have.
Our bodies also attest to this simple theory. If I overeat, I will gain weight. The food consumed on a full stomach never quite tastes as delectable as those first few bites.
Fulfillment Curve: fulfillment increases with spending until a maximum is reached, after which fulfillment goes into decline (Image Source: Treehugger)
Will the great minds that hold our economic fate in their hands consider our planet's limitations? When you look at The Big Three auto makers, you can see that this is not the first time "those in charge" have failed to see the broken track in front of them.
For the last decade, I've wondered how the North American auto industry could be so slow to respond to the obvious direction our society and culture are headed.
Obviously, my "obvious" and their "obvious" were two separate things. While they were making Hummers and vehicles built for more power, I was at the Toyota dealership, getting my Corolla, complete with $1000 green cash back from the feds.
So why is it then that there is no mainstream dialogue on the issue of Earth and its fixed assets? Is it simply human nature to avoid questioning the status quo? Is it greed? Shortsightedness? Or simply a lack of courage?
I think only thing we do need "more" of right now is conversation on the subject.
(This was originally published on Darren's blog, Raise a Little Green.)
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