Economics 101

History | References

“One cannot change an existing system; one must create a new system that makes the old system obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller.

Business as Usual
The love of money has been called the root of all evil. It is certainly the root cause of many of the socioeconomic and ecological injustices we are facing today. Our current economic model is known as growth economics or growth capitalism.  In this model nature itself is an externality. Because of this factor, growth economics has become a significant biosphere stressor. It is clear that infinite growth on a finite planet will not work. This conundrum has not been solved by proposals of sustainable growth (video) either.  If we are to alter our current trajectory toward a Hothouse Earth in the Anthropocene in which great theorists such as James Lovelock have predicted as many as 6 billion human deaths by the end of the century, we will need to discuss how to make our economy ecological.

In the following video presentation from ScientistsWarning.TV, Stuart Scott introduces our current economic framework known as neoclassical or limitless growth economics.

What is Economics?
Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. According to the American Economic Association, “it’s the study of scarcity, the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives, or the study of decision-making. It often involves topics like wealth and finance, but it’s not all about money. Economics is a broad discipline that helps us understand historical trends, interpret today’s headlines, and make predictions about the coming years.” In terms of climate change the predictions are dire and the changes needed radical.

Sustainable businesses aim to reduce their environmental footprint through initiatives that cut down on waste, inefficiency, toxicity, poor environmental stewardship and other unethical or detrimental practices. As identified by Victoria Hurth in the video lecture above, sustainable governments, businesses and organizations must adhere to the following 5 principles. They must:

1) serve a social purpose,
2) provide excellent governance,
3) support culture,
4) produce life enhancing marketing,
5) and; present sustainable leaders to the world that serve as steward’s of the biosphere.

What About the Green New Deal (GND)?
Many are now turning to the Green New Deal to bring change. Many others are still skeptical. The Green New Deal (GND) — a term purposefully reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s original New Deal in the 1930s, has gained a lot of following by progressives. It refers, in the loosest sense, to a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform not just the energy sector, but the entire economy.

It is meant both to decarbonize the economy and to make it a fairer and more just society by addressing healthcare and education related concerns. It may be a step in the right direction, but critics are already saying we are going to need stronger reform than this to get off of fossil fuels and save the future. One critical question is why doesn’t it push for a carbon tax? Critics are already saying it will be too little, too late. Still, most agree that it would be better than where we are now.

In this video discussing the Green New Deal (video) Tom Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network says “the earth, air and water have rights too.” Tom Goldtooth also says that a Green New Deal must reject corporate takeover and rather, center on indigenous and front line communities. Many groups are now beginning to back the GND.

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  • 7:05 pm Jan. 15, 2020 – S. Cairns – (Updated and edited content and references on Game Theory from discussion with Matthew Gahan and added definitions and links for several terms as requested by feedback received via comments requesting updates in order for content to be used in college level coursework on several topics including fiat money, neoliberal economics, and several others).
  • 4:35 pm Jan. 20, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Updated and edited content and references).
  • 2:00 pm Jan. 17, 2019 – Charles Gregoire – (Reviewed the page and fixed up small typing errors).
  • 1:35 pm Jan. 16, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Added Economics 101  References and History Sections and updated content).
  • 7:15 pm Jan. 02, 2019 – S. Cairns – (Added Economics 101 content write up and section content).

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Note: This page, as with all wiki pages, is a work in progress. It aims to introduce the concepts and problems with mainstream economics 101 and business as usual.

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