quinta-feira, 9 de outubro de 2008

New houses, urgent

Marcelo Michelson, a great friend of mine, asked to write a piece about this crisis and how the solution will be as always it is: unsustainable. The crisis is still not enough for awakening people about a flawed system. We try to change things, but the things continue the same. What is part of the problem, can not be part of the solution, as Einstein said once. We ignore that. The problems are growing to a scary size that human beings can not count on being living in this planet for the next decades. Life extinction that we provoked, will be against us if we do not change our mindset. A good start is understanding our vulnerable position and our nature dependence. Blindness is so strong, so do not wait for this start yet, wait for other noisy ways of awakening. This is our way of life, that we even consider to abandon.

If it is possible to find some fun, I can say that the most funny thing about this crisis is no perception about how this crisis is linked to a false theory that demands eternal growth in a finite planet, claiming that human needs are infinite. To justify the current world devastation, companies supported by the government claim that job creation and human well being would be damaged without growth, so we never can stop the growth machine. The economic system is an animal without mouth and stomach (materials origination is not a problem) and without intestine (to where the residuals go is not a problem). That animal is not in contact with the environment, considered by the economists as inexhaustible. Infinite growth is all we need, always and forever. This is very good for companies to save billions of dollars in environmental costs while they promote job extinction along with life extinction and a huge wealth concentration that dwarfs Maria Antonieta old times. Thanks dear economists!

The crisis of the crisis is the rude awakening about the real possibilities about physical growth in a closed system of a finite planet. In 1900 US had 1.000.000 houses and in 2000 190.000.000. Keeping the same growth, in 2100 US will have 36.100.000.000 houses. The territory will have always the same size. One day I expect to see someone winning a Nobel prize just to remember us that the country territories are finite.

How the hell these new houses will be built if there is no available US territory for them? Oh, I forgot: we have to destroy existing ones to build new ones, that is the rule. Since GDP is a flow, destruction of inventories has null impact on GDP numbers, that is the reason why wars and natural disasters are so good for economic growth. Simple as that, it is as if the houses are magically produced without putting a pressure in the planet. Keynes showed this formula during past crises: government should pay for unemployed people to open and close holes in the ground. With wage dollars in their hands, the flows will be working again. Good, thanks again economists. Let us start to destroy not occupied houses to build brand new ones. Since when houses are being built for people? They are being built for companies to profit. Urban sprawl that polluted 50% of US water resources is not a problem, keep in mind that the economic system is an animal without mouth, stomach and intestine. Thanks, many thanks economists. Our billions and billions of dollars in profits would be not possible without that. Ah, marketing was very helpful, how can we explain that smaller US families are living in bigger houses that they simply do not need at first?

Let us discuss now the rescue plan to make new buildings, new household consumption flows in a finite Earth. Let us put the throw-away and waste economy to work again. In the long term we all be dead, why should we care?

Hugo Penteado, from Brazil (*)
(*)Master degree (1997) in economics at the Institute for Economic Research at the Universidade de São Paulo (IPE/USP). Bachelor (1990) in economics at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP). In 2003 he wrote a book about environmental economics, called “Ecoeconomics, A new approach”. Currently, he is applying to a doctorship for specializing in ecological economics and sustainability.

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2 comentários:

Leandro Bulkool disse...

Hugo, parabéns pelo texto e principalmente pela entrevista realizada com a Marília Gabriela.

Fico feliz em ver que existem algumas pessoas tendo este nível de discussão.

Hugo Penteado disse...

Leandro, obrigado, eu não consigo responder msgs deixadas sem email e gosto de responder todas. Abraço Hugo