The author of this has originated the term ‘Extraeconomics‘ to denote a supplement to fossil fuel credit based economics, so as to repair the balance between depletion and replenishment of natural resources on Earth. As the author is not indoctrinated in the full breath of economic thought it is unlikely Extraeconomic will gain much traction. To increase understanding of it’s ideas a comparison with other alternatives suggested to economics may raise its profile. A thing necessary for succesfully combating global warming.
George Monbiot writes in the Guardian “It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up” subtitled “It’s the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity’s undoing”
He starts from the economic concept of ‘growth’ which he equates to an increase in material goods “Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year.”. This is a misunderstanding of economics, it is not about the increase in posessions, it is about the increase in GDP. If it where about the growth of the amount posessed this would get out of hand. Monbiot argues that a success of economics would mean ultimate collapse for lack of sustainability..
“the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible”
This is only partially true because 1. inflation can disposess people to the point there can be new ‘growth’ 2. As long as there are fossil fuels growth can continue, because growth is the expansion of the use of fossil fuels. This he aknowledges :
“Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels”
The below proves he read this blog, or that he can think..
“It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, with the accessible reserves exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.”
The destruction caused by fossil fuel exploration and consumption is appaling. The economic mechanism Monbiot however is not understood, not by the government of Equador, which asked money to NOT dril for oil in its forrests. We know that in the carboncredit economy money derives its value from its ability to secure fossil fuels, so money equals fossil fuels. Asking money to not dril for fossil fuels is asking fossil fuels to not dril for fossil fuels. Nobody is going to answer that request.
Monbiot continues with a more important aspect of economics, that it always exploits, and will always continue to find resources to exploit. This is because the process of exploitation consumes fossil fuels and those selling fossil fuels like the revenue (with which they can buy part of whatever is exploited). Gold mining is a prime example. A lot of the gold goes directly to those supplying the diesel to mine. Growth is the expansion of the use of diesel, oil, coal etc. causing increased revenuw streams (requiring the creation and destruction of money so prices don’t hint at the availability of resources). Monbiot repeats that the rate of this ‘growth’ is unsustainable, even if the force behind it kills us..
Monbiot then goes on to lament our distraction, that we can’t even discuss this consumptive madness. Its a passionate plea, but he offers no alternatives.
The biggest weakness introduced in thinking about the economy is that money is something separate from resources. They are temporary symbols for those resources, or they are supposed to be. The banking system however teaches us money can ‘buy’ anything any time and does not tell us how much money there is, how much can be created or destroyed at any time. The result is that people watch money thinking they are watching reality, and this is the biggest destration hiding the destruction described by Monbiot.
An even bigger weakness which extraeconomics solves is that there is only the market. This is the dream of economics. All things that exist come to the market, so any desires that could possibly exist can be met by applying money. This reality is the big prize for bankers. If you have money, you can do and access anything. It implies that everything belongs to the market, which is not true. The market is an abstraciton, so if we consider the owners of the market, they are people juse like you and me, and they surely not own everything. They usually control money, and use it to distract us long enough to let go of what we owned..
Extraeconomics solves the problem by doing two things 1. create resources 2. not bring them to the market. An extraeconomic territory creates forrest, carbon fuels, fish stocks, without offering it for sale. It does so using renewable energy, unpatented technology, without being tied into international law. Extraeconomics rules areas that might as well be on Mars. Economics does not work in these areas, and because it does not work whatever can be produced can compensate the exploitation of its fossil fuel driven machine.
Extraeconomic zones can reduce CO2 by growing organic materials for that sole puspose, as well as sustaining the people involved. As long as the materials are not economically exploited, the capture of CO2 remains effective.
Just like one can opt out of a religion, one should be able to opt out of economics. The first step is to use renewables productively. Examples are organic farming or manufacturing using wind energy. The extraeconomic aspect shows up because a person living on an organic farm, being able to pay taxes in produce, doesn’t need any money. he/she is outside the reach of the banks, and thus of the economic exploitation machine.
Money is a tool to distract us from guarding the material goods we need
Of course more is needed to stop the lawnmower that is going to raize to the ground every place on earth fueled by gas, petro, oil, diesel, coal..But understanding the distraction money is, and that not offering goods to the market, but distributing them locally will slow the lawnmower down, is a first step.