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Global Warming vs. The Economy

16 July 200803:19PMrants

I'm sitting here in front of the television watching politicians argue the benefits of their new proposed carbon trading scheme. This is to be followed by a report on the massive economic impacts of a scheme, followed by the opposition leader knocking it as 'just another tax'.

Except, if you think about it, this is all a bit stupid. After all, the economy isn't real.

Just think for a bit. The economy is a series of social constructs for the transfer of value from one person to the other.That's just the thing though. It's a construct. It has no substance, and while people's actions because of it can change things in the real world, the economy itself has no effect on anything except what we choose to act on. This quote from Terry Pratchett sums it up quite well:

"All right," said Susan, "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable."

No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"

Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.

"They're not the same at all!"

Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through with the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act as if there were some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

"Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point—"

My point exactly.

The economy's like that. Another of those 'big lies'. Nothing really has any innate value, all value (monetary or otherwise) placed upon anything is just that- placed upon it. The universe neither knows nor cares about the price of eggs.

Nothing radical there (unless the past few thousand years had somehow escaped your notice.) But apply this to the situation playing out around the world with respect to climate change. Suddenly we have people honestly wondering which is more important: an intangible system of social constructs, or the fate of a (very) large amount of our planet's biosphere, which we just happen to inhabit.

And so it will be that the politicians will sit around, arguing about fuel prices and inflation, while the ice caps melt, the cities flood, and the world burns around them.

Don't get me wrong, the economy has its uses. Our whole society would probably collapse without it (I say probably because there's no way of knowing without trying... heh heh), but really, we are arguing about our own fate and that of our entire environment. For crying out loud, get some freaking perspective!!

Whoa. Heavy stuff there. I should probably stop thinking and go to bed. Before my brain asplodes. But seriously, think about that for a while. Figure out your priorities. It's everyone's future, after all.

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