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Solid State Economy





Jinx
Money should be a means, not an end in itself.

In a world of consumerism run rampant we are quickly reaching the limits of our resources. Population growth, and corporate greed will strip this planet to the bone if we don't change something soon.

Corporate culture calls for the constant growth of the bottom line, and our national economies rely on the year after year growth of our GDPs, but growth that never ends is cancer.

I've seen the waste that comes from overproduction - Wal-Mart employees cutting up an overstock of children's socks because they weren't able to sell them and didn't want to lose profits by donating them to charity. Whole truckloads of food turned away and destroyed - not because the food was bad, but because it just wasn't perfect looking enough for the store shelves. Because the aim of big business isn't to clothe or feed people, it's to expand their bottom line.

Now, I've been a proponent of Libertarian ideals and a free market economy, but as time goes on I'm starting to see that unrestrained economic growth will be the death of us all. I can't in good conscious, as a libertarian, call for regulations and government controls to fix the situation, and I think those wouldn't be much more than a band-aid on a gaping wound anyway.

I think it's time we embraced the idea of a solid state economy, but, because I also believe in minimal government and free markets, I think the only way to do it and maintain those freedoms is to start with our children and what they learn in school. We have to teach our kids that money is not the goal, but simply a tool. We need to give them the ideas of sustainable economies and environmental stewardship, an embedded sense of the importance of family and community over the momentary endorphin boost of buying new stuff, a love of music and the arts, of debate and scientific discovery, and a real passion for life that does not involve the amassing of wealth or rampant consuming of stuff. If we change our schools, we could see real change in our world in about two generations. Our kids are already learning about environmental conservatism, they also need to learn new economic models to go along with that.

We also need to get the message across to big business that we don't want them wasting our future - and the only message that big business listens to is where the money goes. Vote with your wallet and buy only from companies that use environmentally sustainable methods of production, avoid companies that are overly wasteful, and don't fall for "manufactured demand". Buy durable goods rather than disposables.

Resist the corporate created culture of endless consumerism.

And educate yourselves on the issues:

http://steadystate.org/discover/definition/

http://www.nature.org/aboutus/campaign/

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3941

http://learningforsustainability.net/susdev/steadystate.php

http://sustainablepopulation.blogspot.com/


In my opinion, the only way we will ever reach a sustainable steady state economy without instituting a global socialist dictatorship is to instill these ideas into our culture and into our children. We must create a global culture that praises responsibility, holds art, science, and interpersonal relationships to be far more valuable than material wealth, where greed is shameful and wastefulness taboo.

Let me illustrate it this way: most people today wouldn't dream of sleeping with their own brother or sister. Not because of the logical rational that inbreeding raises the chances of the expression of unbeneficial recessive genes and mutations, but because it is such an ingrained taboo in our culture that it's almost unthinkable. It's the same with cannibalism. But there have been cultures where both of these things were considered normal and practiced regularly. These are the best examples of how powerful a cultural taboo can be if instilled early and throughly.

Bureaucracy and over-regulation lead to waste and inefficiency (you only have to look at the US government to see the truth of this), but embedding new ideas into our culture, while more gradual, will lead to a much freer society and a more sustainable planet.
ocalhoun
Jinx wrote:
Money should be a means, not an end in itself.

In a world of consumerism run rampant we are quickly reaching the limits of our resources. Population growth, and corporate greed will strip this planet to the bone if we don't change something soon.

Unless we find additional room to expand into, yes.



But how can your solid-state system be promoted through individual self-interest?
The waste you mention above is mostly done to promote the self interest of an individual or group; how could you convince them to act against their own best interests for the sake of something so abstract and remote from their personal lives?
Jinx
ocalhoun wrote:


But how can your solid-state system be promoted through individual self-interest?
The waste you mention above is mostly done to promote the self interest of an individual or group; how could you convince them to act against their own best interests for the sake of something so abstract and remote from their personal lives?


Well, first off, it's not "my" solid state system - I didn't invent the idea, I just think it's a good one.

The main thing is that every individual has to wake up to the fact that what is good for the planet as a whole is good not only for themselves as well, but for their children. The majority of the people on this planet are working and gathering wealth because they want to leave their children better off than they are. The problem comes in that we see wealth as the only measure of success, rather than quality of life or happiness. That is the idea that needs to change.

And we adults are generally too entrenched in our ways to readily change, that is why I suggest starting the change with our children, and why I stated that it will have to be a gradual change spanning at least a couple of generations, much like the civil rights movement changed our ideas about the equality of the races. It's not perfect, recent studies show that there is still a racial bias in our culture, but look at the outcry when a public figure uses the "N" word - attitudes are changing - no one wants to be seen as being racist, and within another generation or so the social taboo against racism will be even further entrenched into our culture.

Now, from an anthropological standpoint, this change was against the self-interest of the group in power - the white majority. Yet it came about anyway because the oppressed minority was able to argue from a position of moral superiority.

We can accomplish the same thing with solid state economics and environmental and population sustainability. It won't be easy, and it won't be fast, but it could happen.
standready
Well said and I don't have a solution because it seems that money and greed are all that matter to most these days.
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