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Friday, February 25, 2011
There’s a tectonic mindshift going on in the science of economics right now, but you probably wouldn't guess listening to economic professors, pundits, and politicians. Our whole Economic system is based on the idea that we live on a Planet with infinite resources. Oil reserves have dwindled and are likely even lower than we had been led to believe. Climate tipping points loom, melting glaciers, eroding coral reefs, and yet today’s economists argue incessantly about how economic growth can be sustained forever on a finite planet.
It's a similar situation as the one five hundred years ago when astronomers following Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the universe were tearing their hair out trying to make sense of all their calculations of the sun, moon and stars moving around above us in the night sky. It was only when Copernicus pointed out that we are not the center of the universe – the sun does not revolve around the Earth but rather the other way around – that all their convoluted calculations fell magically into place.
Today something eerily similar is happening in the science of economics: Economists and lay people alike are realizing that our human money economy is a subset of the Earth’s larger bioeconomy rather than the other way around. Over the next few years, as this monumental shift of perspective kicks in, all the economic, ecological and financial craziness of the industrial era will evaporate, and a new sustainable way of running our planetary household will have to magically fall into place. Here's how that system will look.