As Herman Daly noted in one of his books, we need to move beyond a knowledge economy. He suggests a wisdom economy. Most system experts think that the world is overpopulated by at least 5 billion people. The benchmark for attaining a wisdom economy would be a world in which we did not feed the fish and a world in which all food products are grown organically. If you do not agree that this is a worthwhile goal then you may as well stop reading right now. If this is our goal we are obviously overpopulated and have a lot of work to do. We have to dramatically reduce our consumption in order to have even a slim chance at avoiding the collapse that many already believe is inevitable.
Why have we got ourselves in this mess? It appears that biologically and psychologically we are pre-disposed to be breeders and consumers -- both habits do not bode well for a quality future. Much has been written on the topic and many of the books are listed in the left column of this page. I personally think that boredom -- inactive minds -- is behind both activities.
How do we get ourselves out of this mess? We have to get beyond the dogma of the right and left and to me this will require active minds, rather than the closed ones of the right and the wide open ones of the left. Active-mind education -- let's call it a liberal education -- is a key component of reversing our destructive and unethical course. Education is a key.
We also have to switch from an economy that is remarkably inefficient in delivering a quality life to one that is efficient. As one example, let's think about the process of getting food to our tables. The downside of fast food is so obvious that we'll skip the discussion and focus on the supermarket. Most of us drive to the supermarket. If we look around the supermarket these days we notice all the vendors who are roaming the aisles stocking their products. We notice all of the packaging. And the fact that there are actually people who do nothing all day but scan items over a scanner. (No wonder that they just want to go home to breed and consume!) Why not deliver meals through a series of neighborhood dining clubs who grow their own produce to the extent possible?
To be ethical, we have to start to occupy less and less square footage. In order to house the entire world in a quality way, we will eventually have to exclusively occupy less than 200 to 300 square feet per family. Keep in mind that this will be the wisdom economy. An economy that will not even remotely resemble the one we have now. Indeed, it will grant us the leisure time to develop personally and intellectually. One finds that the more one develops personally and intellectually, the less material things one needs.
Timing is of the essence. How do we launch the wisdom economy before much more destruction of our minds, bodies, spirits, and the environment occurs? It will likely involve the greatest marketing mechanism created to date: Wall Street. We create a company that grants access to its assets -- 200 to 300 square foot suites with a restaurant/club nearby -- based on the number of shares that are held by respective shareholders. Everything is at cost and all shares issued will be priced at $1.00 per share. The company is non-profit, ethical, and operated by fellows (not the kind who work for the think tanks dedicated to defending the status quo) who are interested in learning and serving in exchange for room, board, and incidentals. This will give investors the opportunity to put their wealth in a system that recognizes that resources are finite.