Higher dimensional thinking, the end of paradox, and a clearer understanding of reality
October 26, 2014
March 17, 2014
From extraction at the front of a linear materials economy, to waste at the end and pollution all along it, centralizing profits while externalizing costs is endemic to every part of this economic system. With the integrity of the commons not represented on anyone’s profit and loss statement, the more of the cost of operations can be externalized to the environment and others, the better the profit margins.
Hence, the agricultural run off, the mercury in the ocean, the deserts and landfills taking the place ecosystems once inhabited, the “waste” marine life accidentally killed in drift nets and long lines, and the general blind eye to the immense suffering induced in the pursuit of narrow success metrics.
If the cost of a landmine included the cost to remove it afterwards (let alone to try and remediate the irreparable harm to human life caused in its use), there would be no land mines. Real cost accounting would mean the military industrial complex would operate at an astronomical loss. Without the majority of the cost being unaccounted for, i.e., paid for by somebody else, war would be the least economically viable solution to address conflicts, which would motivate the development and utilization of other strategies. (As it is, the military industrial complex is the largest single sector of global economics. Without threats of war necessitating military manufacturing, global economics as we know it would collapse. What it the consequence of having a global economy that actually requires continuous war, where the fiscal interest of the most powerful organizations in the world is directly opposed to peace?)
If the cost of a hamburger included the cost to clean the water used in its production, to sustainably manage the soil used for growing feedstock, to remove the methane and CO2 produced from the atmosphere, to tend to any resultant health issues in the people consuming it as a result of the antibiotics, hormones, or steroids used, to remove the pesticides from the environment, etc. (not to mention the cost of suffering to the animals or intrinsic value of life taken, which is impossible to calculate a value for), current methods of industrialized animal agriculture would be the most expensive method for producing food ever attempted.
In order for the strategies we develop for feeding people to be sustainable, they have to inventory and internalize all the costs associated. That imperative is not incentivized or even possible (for a provider to maintain competitive status) within the current valuation system.
If we inventoried and internalized all the externalities within the value and profit equation, economics would spontaneously incentivize behaviors that supported sustainability and thriving.