Friday, December 5, 2008

Intrinsic, Durable, Human Value

Umair Haque channeled his inner Paul Hawken on Wednesday.

Why is industrial era business so destructive - why does it slash and burn rainforests, endanger entire species, vaporize culture and community, marginalize the poor and disadvantaged, and erode our health and vitality?

Because none of those have value in an industrial economy: none are capitalized. So the beancounters of the world are free to plunder and ruin them - because, economically, they actually don't exist.

Umair talked about capitalizing forests and animals and cultures and communities, about assigning them economic value, about turning them into assets, "assets with intrinsic, durable, human value."

And he suggested that we all wake up tomorrow, find something of real value, and start capitalizing it.

So I wonder. What is valuable in our world? What is real wealth?

Food. Water. Materials with which to build medicines and beds and buildings and tools. Energy.

Those are the fundamentals, I think.

But what else?

Information? Education? Skills? Wisdom?

Efficiency? Speed? Time?

Creativity? Imagination? Art? Beauty?

Connectivity? Community? Collaboration?

Hope? Confidence? Laughter? Love?

According to Umair, we should capitalize it. Not an easy thing to do. Nor an idea to throw away.

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