Economy of Assets
We know that the moment the universe began to exist, so did life. But what characterises what is life? We can say that life is movement; matter itself is in movement, all it takes is to analyze a single atom to understand this reality. For there to be movement it is necessary, however, for there to be energy.
Without Energy there can not be life, evolution, development, growth. Every activity and every event constantly needs energy.
We constantly have to supply our planet with energy and if this finishes, every form of life will die. We know that we have two forms of energy available: non-renewable energy sources and renewable ones. With regards to the former, it is evident that we cannot use them endlessly and it is therefore necessary to apply methods of saving, recovery, recycling; with regards to the latter, borrowing from Einstein “God does not play dice with the universe”, we can equally affirm that we cannot improvise their use without knowing every aspect and component in detail. We are, in fact, an integral part of a World that has some inviolable laws; if we infringe them we interfere with our own lives.
In any case, it is certain that both forms serve the same purpose: to power and sustain Life.
Because of the Limit of the Philosophical, Scientific, Humanistic and Technical Knowledge, there are two conflicting realities in the world: The Human ecosystem and the Biological ecosystem; the first with mechanisms and relationships which are often not connected and individualistic; the second with interdependent relationships and in continuous dynamic equilibrium. Here the common aspect is also the need for energy.
The fundamental difference between the two models is that the human one has followed mechanistic systems of supplying energy that are very rigid, not very adaptable to the different environmental conditions and very polluting (not very efficient). The biological systems have used a self-evolutionary criterion with more efficient models and more adaptability to the environmental conditions. In synthesis, it can be evinced that natural systems tend to make energy an asset through the greatest possible diversification in forms and substances. Men such as Aristotle (384-324 B.C.), St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), among others, had already become aware of these aspects in an incredibly clear way. The differentiation manifests itself in different forms and substances such as:
1. at the molecular level (as in DNA)
2. through biodiversity;
3. through the diversity of the human races;
4. through the diversity of the crops and traditions;
5. through the diversity of the knowledge;
6. through the diversity of vocations (talents).
7. and so on.
All this confers greater strength and solidity to the Life system.
Modern civilization (above all the western type) has instead placed worldly things on two levels: things that can used to make a profit and those which are not useful for this aim; by acting in this way it has produced a suffering world, producing less power (it has reduced the world’s assets).
The assets of the Planet are the product of the accumulation over long epochs of energy (solar, geologic, etc.) through diversity, and diversity is an asset of the planet. Just as a well-built and well-furnished house can receive a high rent, so too an environment with many assets can produce greater wealth.
With our model of development we have instead reduced these assets by reducing diversity:
1. in living species – 844 species extinct in 500 years;
2. in cultivated species – of 250.000 edible ones- 500 are currently used – 3 (rice, wheat and corn) practically feed 90% of the world’s population;
3. in land, desertifying 70% of it;
4. in resources, consuming (or jeopardizing) 70% of them;
5. in the human races – with the loss of some genomes;
6. in cultures – due to economic globalization;
7. in traditions – with the false progress of the Enlightenment;
The fictitious wealth of our time is based upon the reduction of the original environmental assets through their monetization. Such accumulation is defined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is seen (in a senseless way) as an index of the wellbeing of a nation.
This concept is a real economic paradox that will induce the financial system itself to undergo an unprecedented crash. Our civilization behaves like a skier who has built up speed and can no longer stop himself.
To reverse this absurd way of evaluating the wealth of a system, the concept of wealth itself will have to be substantially remodelled. True wealth (also as a philosophical and epistemological concept) is the Patrimonial economy.
But to create a Patrimonial Economy a system that promotes the diversification of forms and substances must be created. Promoting and calculating the value of every single component. All the while following the principles of Vocation and Talent by making each component of this planet play the role ascribed to it.
Recovering the productive ability of our territory;
Promoting the energy potentialities of our territory;
Recovering the potentialities and the talents of our young people;
Recovering and rediscovering the culture, the traditions, the history and the art of the place;
Recovering and relaunching arts and professions;
Because a territory and a society that are not able to produce these patrimonies are destined to degrade.
This policy will tend to set Economy and Ecology on the same plane and not on a conflicting one,
substantially reconsidering our vision of the world where Politics, Science and Society lie on the same plane and are complementary and coplanar.
How do we carry out all of this?
In culture and upbringing, by educating young people (in the family, in school and in society) to understand that every single art, culture, profession, tradition, territory, race, etc., are the real wealth (also economic wealth) of the world;
In the territory, by reorganizing it according to its vocation and potentiality;
In scientific research, by placing before it a new and epistemological question, where the aim is not the market but the assets of humanity.
Giving Matter back the ability to become complex.
Robert Kennedy had already become aware of this in 1968, in a speech which deserves to be cited completely for depth and richness.
“Let us be clear at the outset that we will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure the national spirit by Dow-Jones Averages, nor national achievement by the gross national product.
For the gross national product includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors, and jails for the people who break them. The gross national product includes the destruction of the redwoods, and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads, and it even includes research on the improved dissemination of bubonic plague.
The gross national product swells with equipment for the police to put down riots in our cities; and though it is not diminished by the damage these riots do, still it goes up as slums are rebuilt on its ashes. It includes Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.
And if the gross national product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike.
It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It allows neither for the justice in our courts, nor the justness of our dealings with each other.
The gross national product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor devotion to country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile; and it can tell us everything about America–except whether we are proud to be Americans.”
Three months later (1968) Robert Kennedy was murdered;
In 1972 the first conference on the environment was held
In 1987 the Brundtland Report;
In 1992 the Rio Conference;
In 1997 the Kyoto Conference:
Just to name the fundamental steps of a historic dimension which still has to be written.
We can no longer afford that people without scruples, science and conscience govern the world without this Logic.
We have reached the threshold of that historical step where the horizon is so wide that the secrets of matter go beyond the finite to reform in Infinity.