We love the book called ‘What’s the Economy For Anyway?
No wonder Craig was so engrossed in it on his flight back from London. We think that this book should immediately replace standard Economics texts in schools. It was actually co-author David Batker who was the geologist in the coalmine that Craig read about.
He couldn’t help questioning the mining of three from ten coal seams; not due to safety, not due to logistics but rather, the mining company actually walked away from a large percentage of a resources due to ‘accounting rules’, so as to maximize current year earnings, which is simply a number on a piece of paper.
We liked the way the authors saw similar logical limitations between the mine’s accounting rules and the economic measures of GDP ‘Gross Domestic Product’ and GNP ‘Gross National Product, which are alternative ways to measure all goods and services produced in a given year.
Early on, limitations in GDP in terms of foreign production resulted in GNP being developed by Simon Kuznets, who, the authors note at page 16 warned that
“The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from the measurement of national income.”
We wish it was as obvious to today’s politicians as it was the late Robert Kennedy, and we think its shocking that they blindly use a system without heading the warnings of the man who created it.
As the author’s note, the horrific BP Deepwater oil spill would contribute much more to GDP than if the oil was actually refined and sold as usual. How crazy is that? What a great example, well done David Batker and John De Graaf, we couldn’t recommend this book more highly.
We hope it’s that obvious to readers as it was to Craig, we need to replace GDP and GNP and their soul-less inhuman focus on just numbers, with new measures and new systems.
Let’s Save Resources
We need to properly value and cost our resources and reward decreases in the use of those resources. As Craig notes, strategies that reduce resources will often have ongoing savings and we think, when still measuring things with numbers, he is on the right track with this idea of a ‘Reverse Multiplier, although we are not sure what economics teacher Phil Overton would say.
We need to give more weight to local production as it connects production and consumption, creates local more sustainable jobs and requires less transport and so creates less pollution. Isn’t it obvious?
Globalisation only helps multi-national corporations, so it’s about time politicians were called upon to explain why they don’t act in people’s best interests.
As Craig realized on his flight home from the UK, local farming is the ultimate example of this. Getting people involved in small local farms has many benefits and synergies. Saving energy on transport is just a start, if people eat freshly grown plant based foods, the health savings will be enormous and as Ben Barkham of Home Harvest told David in his interview, his clients experience a ‘spiritual benefit’, an overall increase in their well-being as a result of being involved in growing and harvesting their own food.
We need systems that take these kinds of ‘intangibles’ into account. As discussed in the following clip, we need to stop and ask why humanity, as a collective, is doing such stupid things? And, as Charles Eisenstein tells us, money will always be behind such stupidity.
People are not just disconnected machines and
Nature is not just random.
Sacred Economics with Charles Eisenstein