Sonntag, 25. Januar 2009

Starting point, revisited: economy

This post is, once again, centered around the link to another website. It is a website that, had I known it at the time, would also have made a good starting point - possibly even a better one than the one I mentioned back then, because its contents are comparable, but its style is more to my liking. Here it is: .

It features the "Crash Course", a set of 20 short videos, just over three hours in total, that cover a range of topics centered around the "three Es" economy, environment and energy. If you think three hours is a lot, think again. This stuff should be important enough to sit down for an evening or two, maybe with some friends, and give it a look.

I'm admittedly stepping on somewhat thin ice here in the sense that a large portion of the crash course is dedicated to criticizing aspects of the (American, first and foremost) economy, and economy is certainly not my main domain of expertise. I have been asking myself some questions recently - questions like: How stable can a currency be that's not backed by any "real value" (e.g. gold standard)? Is the total amount of money that exists fixed, or can it be created and destroyed at will? Can it work in the long term to run a country with continually rising national debt? Do we "have" to have inflation and economic growth all the time, or have we just gotten so used to living with them that we have forgotten that things could also work otherwise?

The crash course gives some answers to these questions - answers that challenge many aspects of mainstream economics and of principles at work in the economy and politics of our nations. I guess it would be fair to contrast Chris Martenson's answers with those that a "conventional" economist would give. I have had someone who has studied economics tell me that he begs to differ with Martenson's views. Unfortunately, I am at no level of economic education to discuss this at eye level with them. In fact, I am hoping to find the time at some point this year to grab a basic economics textbook and try to understand the fundamentals of the theories myself. For the time being, I can just say: I found the crash course interesting. I recognize that people more knowledgeable in economics than me find it misleading. I still think that more people should see it - obviously so in case Chris Martenson is right; and in case he isn't, then because someone with the necessary expertise and authority should credibly explain where Martenson's reasoning goes wrong, and why. For you, once again, my suggestion would be: have a critical look, and decide for yourself what you do or do not believe.

At this point, the Sustainability Blog is bound to take a break: I'll be on vacation for a couple of weeks, and afterwards deadlines at work and plans for the weekends will make their demands on my time. So I don't expect any major updates here until we're, probably, way into March at least. For you, this should be an opportunity to follow the links I have posted so far, if you haven't already done so, and maybe starting some research of your own, or starting to act. We're certainly living in exciting times where unexpected things can happen more quickly than anyone would have deemed possible, so I'm curious what the developments will be until the time we meet again here.

Until then, I thank you for reading and wish you all the best.

- Peter

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