Learned Dependency – A Religion?

By Mike Hall. 

Compression advocates a social challenge for humans to seek and learn a lifestyle of “Doing Better With Less”. The concept seems easy to acknowledge given our current observed decline of nature and limited resources. But intelligence (mental and emotional acceptance) of what is necessary for action must first overcome our learned dependency on monetary values for economic growth.

Monetized systems require human perception and acceptance of a trade value using socially recognized symbols for which such value is represented in numbers. Monetized measuring for human success or failure eventually converts all values for nature, energy, resources, food, water and human activity into a monetary format. Society dependent on a monetized system for survival has formulated a belief that currency sustains life. A belief based on imaginary numbers, but absolute reality to the society that depends on the monetary system. Unfortunately nature and her values do not share this belief.

Nature presents multiple complex systems that humans must depend on for survival. Social structures that have learned to be dependent on nature inherently seek nature to be a stakeholder for human activity decisions. The early American Indian tribe was a prime example of society that learned dependency on nature. Yet, not all tribes were equal in their understanding (or belief). Many tribes suffered from their own created poverty in nature.

Poverty in nature is defined as nature that is dead or dying which shall force the offending tribe to seek a new location (supposing that place exists) or a “teachable moment” to learn new habits (if enough time is available). Tribal warfare sometimes was the result of this condition.

Monetized systems that measure success by economic growth generally incorporate the external cost as a means to be product price competitive while growing monetary profits. Any business production or activity that does not factor a monetized value for intended or unintended waste that nature can not regenerate shall place the burden of cleaning up the mess upon nature or society that is dependent on nature.

Waste is only one part of external costs by monetized society. Over-consumption is another. Use more energy or natural resources than nature can regenerate and the price shall be poverty in nature. Then we have unknown external costs which requires nature to manifest before we realize that something has happened. Many times decades later to understand what and why.

Before the industrial revolution, human societies learned to be dependent on nature. The monetized system held control of many societies, but nature remained the dominant power to be reckoned with. Nature was monetized for the benefit of social trade, but the belief (and reality) was that nature sustained life.

With an estimated world population of only 940 million and technology that required physical time consuming labor, the assumption of infinite nature that is monetized created the belief that economic growth would also be infinite. This belief was the driving force for the industrial revolution. More machines with less labor increase production (and profits). Society was learning to depend more on currency and less on nature.

By 1940 the industrial revolution had become industrially dependent. Major world societies learned to depend on their monetized systems with a belief that nature, which had always regenerated before, shall continue to regenerate. The economic growth model was firmly cultivated and religiously observed. What could possibly go wrong? Other than the observable fact that nature was dying, business was fantastic.

Nature did not raise a revolution to our religious economic system of growth, she merely reacted in a way that forced us to investigate and question our external costs of doing business. The effort to reign in our damage upon nature without changing our religious belief in economic growth presented a monumental challenge. Fukushima is a serious example of what can and did go wrong.

To reduce our dependence on fossil fuel without a reduction in our economic growth we developed nuclear reactors. What a wonderful experience. We can produce decades of electricity with only a little bit of uranium and some really fun stuff called MOX fuel. Without stinky emissions from dirty fuel we believed that benevolent nature shall allow us to continue with economic growth. That is, unless a reactor fails.

The failure of Fukushima was catastrophic and ironic. For it was nature that destroyed not just one reactor, but four. After only a few decades of lowered external costs to nature, in one fell swoop the external cost dumped on nature was monumental. Since nature was the perpetrator, do we call this suicide or homicide? Or maybe just some solid proof that nature does not recognize our systems or the religion of economic growth.

TEPCO and many nuclear scientists have agreed that control and containment depend on technology that we have yet to develop or discover. Robots are unable to enter Reactor 2 without sudden death. What few images captured before death seems to indicate that something has gone through the grating below the reactor. Whether this was the molten core or some other strange destructive force, we are unable to determine. At the present time all we have to work with is speculation, theory, and the undisputed requirement for a vast amount of money to maintain control.

This event that should have driven the wooden stake through the heart of our religion for economic growth now requires economic growth to control (the irony of it all). The estimated time for containment is 40 years. Not sure where that number came from or how to justify this into any system if we have yet to discover the technology required for containment. But apparently the monetized elite and their cadre of economists find this number acceptable. At least the narrative seems to maintain the orthodox religion of economic growth.

Oh, by the way, has our religion of economic growth compensated for a possible war between China, North Korea, Japan and the US? Please explain how we continue to control the failed reactors at Fukushima if war breaks out? Even if the war remains conventional (non-nuclear) should it matter that much of the Northern Hemisphere shall face extinction if Fukushima goes unattended? Or do we cover our ears because this thought upsets our religion?

Some economists who hold this religion in orthodoxy have stated that economic growth is necessary to save nature. Citing observations that economically poor nations seem to be the worst places for nature to exist. While the observation seems true, the statement overlooks the fact that poor nations are also religiously bound to the monetary system. Also overlooked is a simple fact that to maintain the illusion of infinite business growth, placing my landfill in your back yard seems to work for me.

A lot of industrial system changes have occurred over the last 40 years to reduce the cost on nature. All have proven to fail and shall continue to fail because the religion of economic growth remains. Recycle 100 tons of steel, but we wish to produce ten times that much. Recycle 100 vehicles that guzzle 10 mpg, so we can sell a thousand that shall sip 30 mpg. Find ways to be more energy efficient to produce electricity, but sell more kilowatts. From my calculator, this type of math does not fit any monetized system that regards the preservation of nature. But the religion of economic growth does not require a calculator, it only requires faith.

The religion of economic growth was canonized longer than Christianity and has obtained more followers than any other religion the world has ever known. The vast majority of business leaders will defend this religion to their death even when nature has proven the religion to be false. Obviously nature does not understand faith.

To preserve the religion of economic growth mankind must first be proselytized into the monetized system. Start with conscripted employment, monetize everything, and end with the perception that only the business leaders understand how it all works. The monetized system was firmly established with the religion of economic growth in command.

Without the monetized system the industrial revolution would have never happened. We would still be living the harsh lifestyle of early man with nature. With the monetized system we now enjoy the improved lifestyle that industry has provided. But we also have learned to become dependent on this system.

As of today all social structures in the world are unable to be fully supported outside of the monetized system. Nature and habitable land that is not monetized does not exist to support the lifestyle of the forefathers. Even the few selected die-hard individuals trained in survival mode will require some monetary transactions to sustain a full lifetime in utter seclusion. Hint, dependence on the system.

The monetized system of man is not against nature, for we can easily monetize our values to meet the regenerative value of nature because nature provides the observable data to base our value. The economic growth religion is what prevents us from being able to establish this value.

Therefore nature is not against our monetized system for human trading, she is against our core belief in the religion of economic growth. This religion is why we are unable to make monetized changes that benefit nature. This religion is why we continue to stir a boiling pot of stew until everything has evaporated. Energy expended for nothing to eat.

The wicked problem is our learned dependency on the religious leaders of economic growth. This religion obscures and eliminates all simple solutions with our monetized system to create a resolution with nature. Impossible to monetize nature for human transactions when a religion of infinite growth is unable to recognize the value of nature and nature is unable to recognize the value of our religion.

What should our action be for a resolution? How do we abolish a religion that nature shall not recognize? This is what learning groups should be about. How do we monetize natural resources for trade that allows nature to regenerate? How do we eliminate the religion of economic growth without destruction to our dependency on the monetized system?

The last question should invoke a real response from everyone. Silencing the religion of economic growth runs the risk of death by inquisition. Or we could wait for homicide by nature. Take your pick on this one. The first solution at least offers a fighting chance for survival.

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