Growth is Dead. Economics is Dead. Welcome back to the Circle.
The Circle is the Planet’s only Operating System.
The field of Economics is such a joke right now.
Whoever has a degree in Economics should feel completely useless. They should seriously go over in the corner and cry. Entire economics libraries need to be burned down, or should I say recycled, because everything on this planet is part of a circle. Nothing goes to waste.
What Economics never got was that in order to “Grow” something, something else needs to get smaller. And all this time, guess what has been getting smaller so that we can “Grow”: nature, resources, habitats, clean water.
So f**k Growth. Growth is dead. It is a Magician’s trick. Stuff doesn’t just magically appear and dissapear. The molecules in your body didn’t come out of nowhere, they have been on this planet for 3.5 billion years. When you die, your body turns into organic mush. You become delicious food for the other beings on the planet that take over from you. And the circle begins all over again.
Where it all went wrong
Economics itself is wrong by its very existence, its very foundation. Because it was built on the concept of Profit, a concept that makes no sense in a circular system. So please do away with the calculators, economic theories, lectures, banks, stock markets and graphs, endless graphs. It’s all completely useless.
Our failure goes back to even before money actually existed: our whole civilisation was set up the wrong way: Eat, Eat, Eat. Destroy, Destroy, Destroy. Eat More, Destroy More. Eat even More, Destroy Even More. Shit it all out as CO2.
This, was the definition of “Growth”
One by one, economists admit that capitalism has failed. In fact the very concept of sustained economic growth itself has failed. It would work perhaps on a different planet, a planet that constantly expands in size in order to accommodate more humans, to support bigger and bigger world economies
Or, a planet that magically regenerates. Whatever theory or version of Capitalism one brings to mind, mild or strong, they all share the same concept of unsustainably increasing consumption and unsustainably increasing profits. We all know how that ends and we are witnessing the results of this already on our climate.
The Planet that we thought we lived on!
Like the Feeding of the 4,000 where Jesus created more fish and bread out of “5 loaves and a few small fish” for the starving crowds in the desert, in this imaginary planet that we thought we lived on, amazing things would happen:
Fish stocks in the ocean would replenish almost automatically no matter how much we ate. The more fish we caught in our nets, the more would swim in from other places in the ocean far away. Forests would regenerate within a few weeks after a heavy logging session, with a bit of rain from Mother Nature and some sweet sunlight from the sky. Polluted rivers and oceans would filter all the smelly, toxic crap that we constantly shit, and turn it into healthy goodness. They would eventually magically turn it into more fish. Plastic from all corners of the Earth would be sequestered in a magical spinning vortex far away from our cities, where Earth would slowly decide what to do with them.
Or does it actually exist?
As a matter of fact, despite abusing the Circle, we have indeed been living all along in this magical planet that can regenerate itself.
Fish stocks indeed regenerate. Forests can grow literally out of the charred earth after a fire. Pollution is processed by bacteria and turned into nutrients that enter back into the food chain. By abusing earth, we are destroying its natural, magical power to regenerate.
The Circular Economy is not a Left-wing economic fantasy, it is the Operating System of our planet, and the only economic system that works on this planet, whether we like it or not
Even plastic, a completely man-made and foreign object to nature, is being tackled. Earth is actually having a go at this, believe it or not. The 5 Gyres in the Pacific Ocean is an area where nature has started to accumulate much of our plastic. It wouldn’t be unthinkable if at some point scientists discovered plastic-eating bacteria that are able to turn plastic back into useable natural chemicals. But this would probably happen way after humans have become extinct. Because humans are going too fast. Polluting too fast, cutting down trees too fast, creating more plastic than fish by the year 2050.
We are, in fact, living in a magical planet that recycles, recirculates almost everything except radioactivity and plastic. And we are still managing to fuck it up. Completely.
A credit card per week
At the current rate, we are consuming everything around us until there will be nothing left to eat but each other. In the end, we won’t even be able to eat each other as our flesh will become toxic.
A recent study commissioned by the WWF found that the average human today may be consuming a quantity of plastic equivalent to what is in a credit card, every week
How can that be possible you say? It’s not just accidental plastic wrappers that end up in our stomach. Plastic has become part of the earth, part of the fish we buy at the supermarket. Part of the dust we walk on. We increasingly breathe plastic in, in the form of microparticles suspended in the air. Welcome to your new world, the one you have created.
It is a bitter irony that the role of the credit card, a symbol of purchasing power, of consumption, of Taking, has been rightly adjusted by Earth’s Circular Economy: it is now itself being recycled, both Given and Taken back in, like with everything on the planet’s Circular Economy.
The credit card is in the fish we buy, in the air we breathe. The credit card is inside of us. It is everywhere.
Earth has turned the credit card from a symbol of Greed to a symbol of Love, of Give and Take
Waste is a Myth
The concept of a circular economy is very simple. It is an economic process where nothing is wasted. It is a closed production loop, where everything that we produce, even our waste, eventually is turned back into food and products. This is the way our planet operates, whether we like it or not. There is no “bin” or “trashcan” on Earth. In fact, the concept of waste does not exist on our planet. Everything is recycled, millions of times until the end of time.
Consuming from the Heart
We consume unhealthily. We consume from a state of anxiousness and insecurity, stress-eating our way through the buffet of Nature.
This is why the concept of the Circular Economy cannot be understood using a calculator only. It needs to be understood from the Heart. The Circular Economy means being happy with what you have already. Consuming to sustain yourself, not to stuff yourself. Consuming because you need things, not because you are competing with the neighbour on who will get to the Moon first, who will dig the first oil well in the Arctic, who will burn the most rainforest to grow palm oil plantations. There is nothing wrong with consumption itself, and there is nothing wrong with our need as a species to use the resources around us.
We are made to consume, and that is perfectly OK. But we are putting the all-you-can-eat Buffet out of business
We need to understand the disturbing truth that destroying the planet is actually part of our destiny as a species, written in our biology and also a simple function of our population increasing exponentially until it becomes unsustainable. But we are incredibly smart and powerful. We can overcome our biology, and change our destiny. We can put insecurity and competition aside and work towards this from the Heart. Like the heart, taking in the blood and then pumping it out, we need to learn to Give and Take. Big Corp needs to embrace circular models. This is the only way, we have no other choice.The time to do this is now, without further delay.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts on tsakraklides.com, or enjoy his books
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