activism, sustainability
Comments 2

The value of the world


So here is a fun plot line for a movie. The world, this beautiful blue planet that has been in orbit around the sun for the past 4 billion years, has within the past 200 years racked up 40 trillion dollars in debt. Clearly, it now deserves to have its oceans poisoned, its mountains blown up, crust drilled into thousands of holes, trees cut down and transported away, and all animals that have lived quietly for millions of years deserve to be displaced because they are not contributing to the down payment of this debt. Only one thing. Who is the hero of this story?

The TED community attempts to answer this question.

40 trillion dollars, oh that’s rich. Last I checked the total value of EVERYTHING ON THE PLANET was around $60 trillion but I’m sure it’s gone up a bit. Nobody should care about debt. I know theoretically why it matters, what it ~implies for nations and the finance world at large but come on, our monetary system is such a joke. Money only has value because we attach that value to a product (from natural resources which technically is owned by ‘no one’) or a service. Money is created as ‘debt’ meaning it’s cool to print more money if you give it away and expect to get ~10% extra back. So when you borrow money for a fancy house, car or education, somebody is expecting to make a nice profit on that. That’s fair, right? That’s the way we were brought up to understand the world. Consider now that the same people regularly stash away around $20 billion a month – never to be seen by the world again, making the pot smaller and smaller for the rest of us, making it harder and harder to pay back the debt since cost of living is increasing and wages are standing still “because times are tough, there is just not enough money to go around”. And whose fault is that? We are all raised to believe in the system – that the system is fair and balanced if you only work hard enough.

if you got rich you had HELP. You were not smart, you had privilege. You were either rich by birth, or you were born at a time where people were encouraged to loot nature and turn it into profit. You took something from nature and sold it back to us for money. Which, I guess, is the definition of progress; we don’t have to make everything ourselves anymore which frees up a lot of time and time is the only real currency on this planet, one that nobody can take away from you. Unless you owe them money. So now those heroes get to be rich and have all the time in the world, while the rest of us get to live in monetary slavery for the our entire lives.

This is a really crappy story. I don’t think it would do very well at the box office. I’ll be over here drafting a new one, and I could really use your help.

Further reading:

isbn9780340822432-detail collapse_jared_diamond

EoGcoverbig prosperity-without-growth-economics-for-a-finite-planet

As always, Chris Hedges stands a lone beacon of journalistic integrity. Find him @


  1. Florentina Sharbono says

    Real clear website , appreciate it for this post.

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