Notes for a candiate on prosperity

Oct 11 notes for a candidate

10/11/09

We present for your perusal some thoughts on what it will take to move Rhode island towards a more sustainable prosperity.  We present  first a series of things to think about.  Some are overarching concepts, some are  minutia.  Some point to specific actions, others just leave you wondering.  You will not necessarily agree with everything in the points to ponder.

Points to ponder

The role of government is to represent the voiceless and those with no power so as to prevent their destruction and abuse and to foster their prosperity.

You can not end poverty without healing ecosytems, you can not heal ecosystems without ending poverty.

Bringing food security into a central postion in your economy and economic thinking changes much of the game, and creates paths to prosperity in the 21st century.

Everything we do to prevent global warming that eliminates fossil fuel use and fosters democracy and justice will be better for our economy than any other use of that money.

Practically any other use of the money spent on the military industrial complex and the empire will provide more benefits to the community and economy than spending it on the military industrial complex.  The benefits of war and the war machine flow to a very small percentage of the population, who unfortunately are willinng to kill, even members of their own community,  to maintain their power.

A huge percentage of the money spent on the war machine is spent to maintain the flow of oil.  In a world threatened by global warming, killing people for oil makes even less sense than otherwise. Leave the oil in the soil.

The housing bubble and the Wall St bubble were driven, at least in part, because ecological collapse, deforestation, emptying oceans, dead zones in the oceans, loss of agricultural lands and soils, global warming, depletion of oil and other minerals, and the fact that more than half the people on the planet live in cities, makes it much harder to find quick financial profits in the real economy and therefore the manipulation of money becomes all the wealthy can do to make themselves wealthier.  In the past they cold build something, so the wealthy went into farming, manufacturing, or starting a service.  Now they only manipulate money, causing a string of bubbles that leave most of us poorer.

There is already way too much stuff on this planet.  The economy is bigger than the planet can handle.  The way to a general prosperity is to shrink the economy and move it towards greater equity.

Sept 25 was overshoot day in 2009 which means that is the day people on earth taken  all of the biological prduction for the year for their own use.  This means that pepole use over 130% of the yearly planetary productivity for themselves, which leaves less than nothing for all other life. Ity is only the immense size of the earth, and its increddible productivity, that have allowed us to over draw the bank account for so long.

The routine transportation of goods, includng the basic necessities of life, thousands of miles makes the entire economy more subject to disruption, more fragile, and less likely to benefit the community.

Investment in loal production for local needs perovides more benefit tothe community and the more money recirculates in a community before leaving town, the better.

Forests precede civilization, deserts follow.  An old sayng, but one that shows itself to be true every day with shrinking forests and growing deserts across the globe.

Global warming threatens the irrigation water that feeds more than half the world.

Organic agriculture is a great carbon sequester.  Turn what we now consider waste into compost and we can build soil and feed our communities and create work to employ people while reducing our carbon footprint.  Small farmers around the world would like to again have the opportunity to feed their communities and countries again with techniques that do not deplete soil and water resources rather than to farm in ways that deplete soils growing commodities for global markets.

A transportation system built aroudn the private automobile destroys resources at a faster rate than any other through road building, sprawl, deforestation and wasteful building tchniques.

A variety of the key minerals used in all high tech devices are becoming rarer and harder to find, are a key factor driving some of the cruelest and most vicious wars on the planet, and/or are being subjected to export controls so that the homes of the mines can maintain supplies for domestic production.  Primary examples are coltan and rare earths, but oil could also be included in this group.  Even common metals and minerals (iron, copper, silica) are tapping out and are therefore being exploited in less and less rich deposits, increasing the pollution associated mining and using more energy and other resources to achieve the same level of production.

A society that primarily uses debt to boost its economy can never become sustainable as the economy has to grow faster and faster just to pay the interest on the debt.  The speed up appears to be refected not jsut in the economy, but appears to bleed over into the lives of everyone incuding children.

Anytime the rich have to militarize cities to protect them from the workers when they meet, they are doing the wrong thing.  If globalization was such a good thing the rich would not need armies to protect it.

Immanuel Wallerstein in his work points out that the growth of global capitalism has been dependent upon the exploiting of new forests and thei incorporation of new workers into the capitalist system.  The rate at which deforestation and the growth of cities has climbed over the last 100 years , to the point where we ahve lost more tan half the global forest and more than half the people on the planet now live in cities and are part of the global capitalist system says we shall reach the end of growth soon.

Or choices then become see the economy shrinkage bring great suffering and further ecosystem destruction or inbtelligently plan for shrinkage and greater equity.

There is enough right now on earth for everyone if the distribution was not so inequitable.

Rhode Island remedies

to be continued

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