Pioneering the way for True Cost economics

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Photo by Morning Brew

If politicians aren’t willing or able to curb climate change and ecological collapse, businesses and consumers will have to do it themselves. True Cost economics is quietly one of the most powerful tools to make this happen.

In a previous article, I presented the case for why True Cost economics is capitalism’s last chance to save itself and the planet. It includes a roadmap for how True Cost economics could feasibly be implemented. But it assumes that governments would play the primary role.

This article explains how businesses can take the lead. …


A pathway for True Cost economics to change the world…if you want it

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Photo by Amirali Mirhashemian

The primary driver of ecological collapse is entirely economic. It has to do with how we, as humans, measure the cost of the goods and services that we consume. At the heart of the issue is a simple market failure.

There are two different ways to measure costs. The prevailing method, which is used by most people on the planet today, is to measure the market cost. This takes into account the direct costs that are borne by the business itself.

The market cost of a hamburger, for example, is measured by the cost of ingredients, electricity, labor, and rent, etc. It doesn’t take into account the many external costs of this hamburger. For example, the 1,800 gallons of water and 25 pounds of CO2 emissions that are required, on average, to produce one pound of beef. It also doesn’t account for things like surface water pollution caused by cattle ranching, or the planetary build-up of plastic garbage used to package the hamburger. …


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With co-founder Isabel Dávila at the entrance to our rainforest preserve, 2008. Photo by Bryan Criswell

I’m probably the only person you’ve heard of who made more money his first year out of college than in any of the twenty years since. And yet, by some measurements, my life has generally improved over that span of time.

Fresh after graduation from college, I went to work for an investment bank called Salomon Smith Barney, which was in the process of being absorbed by Citibank. I was on pace to earn around $100,000 in just my first year. This was twenty years ago.

Compared to what most of my banking peers would go on to earn later in their careers, this is a paltry sum. For a good number of the people I used to work with, an annual income of less than a million dollars would be considered a disappointment at this stage of their career. …


It’s actually damaging your immune system

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Here’s a physiological fact: panicky stories on the news trigger the release of cortisol (i.e., the stress hormone) in your body. If you are consuming COVID-related news periodically throughout the day, you are submitting your body to the conditions of chronic stress. This is not good.

High cortisol levels represent a broad-spectrum assault on your physical health.

Here’s what this does to your body: destabilizes your immune system, impairs digestion, causes headaches and weight gain, weakens muscles, disrupts sleep patterns, increases blood pressure, promotes acne and skin rashes, provokes irritability, escalates anxiety, and increases susceptibility to infections.

“News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.” Rolf…


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Exactly 0.5 grams of San Pedro powder before breakfast

Whereas a high dose can fundamentally reframe your relationship with Life, a microdose of San Pedro is like Adderall infused with a subtle sense of gratitude for being alive.

I’ve written numerous other articles about the life-altering power of consuming full doses of San Pedro, and I even made a film about it. This article, however, is about consuming small amounts of San Pedro during an otherwise normal day of life.

My career in harvesting, preparing, and consuming San Pedro goes back by almost two decades. …


The one key difference between them

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First I’m going to describe an example of a mystical experience. Then I’ll describe how it’s transformed into a religion. It’s comparable to the process in which sunlight is converted into electricity via photovoltaic panels, in a way that is slightly sad and yet quite human.

Let’s say you’ve ingested a full dose of lysergic acid in the morning, or maybe you didn’t — that part doesn’t really matter. But you’re in one of those moods. You go walking alone through a forest on a perfectly warm day. …


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Pre-industrial life at the infamous “Bamboo House” of the Jama-Coaque Reserve. Photo by Carl Schweizer.

One of my jobs is managing a rainforest preserve in Ecuador. In the middle of this forest is a research station, although it’s really more like a homestead. It’s totally off the grid — there is no Wi-Fi or cell signal. We have a phone hooked up to an old satellite antenna but it usually doesn’t work. At night our primary source of illumination is candlelight.

On average I spend about ten days per month in this forest. I do it partially because it’s my job but mostly because I like being here. One of the (many) benefits of this assignment is the fact that every time I come here, I am forced to disconnect from the internet, phone, computer, and basically from modern civilization. …


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What I have learned, because of you, is that love is not constrained by the laws of space and time. It is something that can be experienced in physical form. It can be experienced temporally in this particular dimension. But it doesn’t come from here nor does it end here. In trying to illustrate a concept that hovers at the far edge of our ability to comprehend it — as the space-time manifestations that we are — the best I can do is offer a metaphor.

I think of the way that mycelium exists in the fabric of the forest floor. Mycelium is the over-soul of the forest, it is everywhere. It underpins the whole system. When we walk through the forest we mostly don’t even see it. We may not even suspect its existence. But it has an interesting way of announcing itself. On fallen logs and on the surface of the soil it has the tendency to grow strange and colorful protrusions that are visible to our eyes. …


Not necessarily, but it may be our best chance.

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This article is written for people who are already aware of the fact that global ecological collapse is officially underway. I won’t venture to predict the outcome of this process. Nor will I focus on the outward symptoms of collapse, which are well-publicized. My intention is to unearth the root cause of this existential crisis and propose an unusual solution that may, in fact, be our best hope.

The Root Cause

The general problem is easily observed. The methods that contemporary humanity is using to advance the species are generating ecological costs that we cannot pay for, thus undermining the species’ ability to survive. Ecologically speaking, there is a long list of effects and positive feedback loops at play, of which atmospheric carbon is the most lethal. …


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Wild San Pedro at an undisclosed location in the Ecuadorian highlands.

Not all San Pedro journeys are created equal. There are several key variables that influence the quality of the experience. Reaching critical mass with dosage can be the difference between disappointment and ecstatic connection with the fundamental nature of existence. Knowledge about different preparation methods and mescaline potency is useful. As always, the principle of “set and setting” applies. And there’s a few things you should definitely not do.

The suggestions contained in this article are based on seventeen years of personal experimentation in addition to conversations with hundreds of other people who have also experienced San Pedro (otherwise known as Huachuma). …

About

Jerry Toth

Cacao farmer, rainforest conservationist, chocolate entrepreneur, and metaphysical explorer based in Ecuador.

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