Is Economics a Green Issue?
by Susan Belchamber
Economics may not be the first thing you think about when asked to name the top "green issues" facing us currently. Most of us would have a whole other list to choose from: global warming, ecosystem destruction, peak oil – the issues go on and on… But, the economic crisis? Of course it’s a top concern, especially at the present moment, but it’s not really a “green issue” you might say. Or is it? The main question for you to consider is this: what if economics is actually one of the biggest green issues of all?
First off, let’s discuss capital. Naturally financial capital is the first thing that comes to mind. Especially In the midst of our economic crisis, it’s easy to forget that there is actually more than one form of capital. Might part of the answer be to remember just what these are?
Four forms of capital
-- Financial: cash, stocks, bonds, intellectual property
-- Physical: buildings, roads, infrastructure, ports, bridges
-- Social: community/family, social networks, quality of life
-- Natural: clean water & air, biodiversity, renewable resources
Yes, these are all forms of capital! Yet, even though we inherently know their value, in our over-zealous pursuit of financial capital we have been devaluing these other forms with unrelenting “efficiency”. Our obsession with the financial domain diverts our attention from all the others.
How has the over-emphasis on Financial Capital been allowed to over-ride our sense of what’s real, what’s valuable?
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