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Blogger Charles Eisenstein takes us on a stroll through the modern economy. His explanation for its ambiguous marvels is that debt and interest operating in tandem (via financial instruments simple and exotic) increase our money supply, and, since nobody wants runaway inflation, the creation of goods and services must necessarily keep pace with the creation of money.
So where does that put us? Eisenstein says that puts us under overwhelming pressure to turn everything into a good or service. Consider, for example, the forest primeval. " While it is still standing and inaccessible, it is not a good. It only becomes 'good' when I build a logging road, hire labor, cut it down, and transport it to a buyer. I convert a forest to timber, a commodity, and GDP goes up. Similarly, if I create a new song and share it for free, GDP does not go up and society is not considered wealthier, but if I copyright it and sell it, it becomes a good. Or I can find a traditional society that uses herbs and shamanic techniques for healing, destroy their culture and make them dependent on pharmaceutical medicine which they must purchase, evict them from their land so they cannot be subsistence farmers and must buy food, clear the land and hire them on a banana plantation -- and I have made the world richer. I have brought various functions, relationships, and natural resources into the realm of money."
He continues, "Essentially, for the economy to continue growing and for the (interest-based) money system to remain viable, more and more of nature and human relationship must be monetized. For example, thirty years ago most meals were prepared at home; today some two-thirds are prepared outside, in restaurants or supermarket delis. A once unpaid function, cooking, has become a 'service'. And we are the richer for it. Right?
It's such a powerful case Eisenstein is able to make it without bringing up the bowl games.
" Deflation, the destruction of money," says Eiseinstein, speaking the word economists fear most, "is only a categorical evil if the creation of money is a categorical good. However, you can see from the examples I have given that the creation of money has in many ways impoverished us all. Conversely, the destruction of money has the potential to enrich us. It offers the opportunity to reclaim parts of the lost commonwealth from the realm of money and property."
A currency collapse is inevitable, Eiseinstein believes, and he concludes his essay, "Money and the Crisis of Civilization," posted at realitysandwich.com, by advising, " Anything we do to protect some natural or social resource from conversion into money will both hasten the collapse and mitigate its severity."
Yet another argument against those of us who aren't dancing in the streets because Canada's marvelous forests no longer seem quite so doomed to be turned into newsprint.