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Defining Wealth
November 30, 2010 2:17 PM   Subscribe

SEED Magazine: Wealth of Nations: "Shared natural resources underpin the global economy, but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth. Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?"

Mentioned in the article: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, "a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward." TEEB Reports.
posted by zarq (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth

It would be more accurate to say that people do no acknowledge the cost of their future depletion. Is that surprising? Millions of people smoke, gain weight, and let dirty dishes pile up knowing full well the consequences. Good luck "raising awareness" (shifting valuation) of this highly abstract future cost.
posted by phrontist at 2:28 PM on November 30, 2010


Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?"

No.
posted by ambient2 at 2:30 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


As ambient2 said, biodiversity is as unimaginably valuable natural resource that we cannot imagine even exploiting , much less saving, when that costs us access to less important but more immediate resources.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:40 PM on November 30, 2010


ambient2: "Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?"

No.
"

We certainly seem capable of understanding delayed gratification in other areas. Why not this one?
posted by zarq at 2:45 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tragedy of the commons and unregulated corporate access to natural resources.
posted by anthill at 2:54 PM on November 30, 2010


As much as I know the federal government makes some clearly dumb things possible, nonetheless, time after time I have seen various states and their silly political figures make much worse things become the law.

Now here is a change I would love to see:
No states shall get more money back from the govt than it antes up in in the form of taxes. I am tired of the more liberal states pouring money in that gets sent in aid in one or another form to states putting in less money than they receive and then announcing how they are all for States Rights. States Rights for them means taking money from the rest of us.
posted by Postroad at 3:07 PM on November 30, 2010


We certainly seem capable of understanding delayed gratification in other areas. Why not this one?

I haven't finished the article yet, but see phrontist's comment. We are pretty good at temporarily delayed gratification, but we can't even plan 20 years out, let alone 1,000.

Also, as the article notes, natural resources are (ideally) "non-excludable." Making something available for free to everyone generally makes it worthless to most people. I.e. people don't want something unless someone else can't have it.

So while the concept is interesting, I'm afraid I (initially) have to side with ambient2.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:07 PM on November 30, 2010


Let's see what happens in a few years when bluefin tuna is extinct or at least commercially nonviable. If people don't wake up after realizing they will never again eat the most delicious fish ever, then I don't think there is much hope for the rest of biodiversity.
posted by snofoam at 3:37 PM on November 30, 2010


phrontist: "but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth

It would be more accurate to say that people do no acknowledge the cost of their future depletion. Is that surprising? Millions of people smoke, gain weight, and let dirty dishes pile up knowing full well the consequences. Good luck "raising awareness" (shifting valuation) of this highly abstract future cost
"

Dirty dishes?? Don't talk to me about dirty dishes and the cost... *mumbles and angrily shakes fist at stupid fruit flies*
posted by symbioid at 5:01 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


*mumbles and angrily shakes fist at stupid fruit flies*

GOD I HATE FRUIT FLIES SO MUCH I DONT EVEN
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:16 AM on December 1, 2010


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