Most economists rely on computer printouts of numerical data for their financial planning. By comparing one series of digits with another they can find the immediate trends in the economy and take advantage of those trends. To most people that seems normal. To me it always was, and still is, artificial. I have always wanted to help both people and the environment, and I learned at an early age that knowledge of the economy could be one tool to reach that end. However, I wanted more than just the knowledge of how to generate a positive series of numbers. I was looking for something bigger. I was searching for universal truths. I wanted knowledge about the economy that was constant from year to year, from culture to culture. I wanted knowledge that would be useful to a poor person or a rich person, in our culture, or in any culture. The truths about economics that I found were not in the New York Stock Exchange, but in anthropology and nature...
The calorie is a unit of measuring energy. Specifically, it is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius. The caloric value of food is measured by igniting the food to find out how much heat it releases. As human beings, you and I require approximately 2,500 calories of energy to fuel us through each day. The calories we consume come from the sun. Plants convert sunlight into food that we and other animals can eat. Petroleum and coal also contain calories of solar energy, but that energy was captured by plants millions of years ago. The calories from these and other sources are ultimately the basis of all economies...
Money is simply a token we use today to represent calories of energy. Strictly speaking, we use it to represent human energy, or human productivity. Each of us produces goods or services to exchange to others for the goods and services we need. We put a great deal of energy into the goods and services we provide, as does everyone else. Money represents that energy and makes it easy for us to swap our energies. I can make a product and sell it, and I get paid for the energy I put into it. I can then take that money and buy a product from another person. I give them my money to compensate them for their energy. Ultimately I have exchanged my energy for theirs, and money is just something that makes the exchange process easier. For simplicity we can say that money is a token that represents calories of human energy or labor...
Ultimately, all aspects of our economy are tied to calories, including inflation, insurance, stocks and bonds, and interest. Consider, for example, insurance. Insurance in a primitive economy meant having neighbors who would share some of their calories with you if you had an accident, and you would do the same for them in their time of need. Insurance is similar today. We all pay calories into a common fund, and any person or family that is in need draws from the fund. For example, if a person's house is destroyed then that person withdraws enough calories from the fund to rebuild the house. Having built our own house, I can tell you that you expend a lot of calories building a house. So the person whose home is destroyed withdraws a large amount of calories form the common fund to fuel the carpenters as they rebuild the house, plus enough extra for the carpenters to exchange for the goods they need. There is only one main difference between insurance in our economy and insurance in past economies. In past economies every member produced calories and contributed them to the insurance pool. In our economy today the insurance agents do not produce for the pool. We sustain them with a share of the calories we produce, and they in return serve us by overseeing the pool of calories and by doling them out to those in need...
The Possibilities of Urban Gardening,
Garden Time - Ideas for the coming season,
Agriburbia© possibilities in Catawba County,
The Food Crisis -- February 19, 2011,
Does anyone notice that food prices are rising?,
Houndvision: Building a Raised Bed Garden - Ready to plant today,
Icelandic volcano displays our vulnerability related to the World Economy,
Last Frost Date - April 15 - Time to start planting,
My Scientific Garden 2010.
I am far from what one would term a "Greenie." As a conservative, I do believe in conservation. Look all around you and you see waste. We have over the years based our entire economy on consumerism, consumption, convenience, and disposability. This accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s into a rat race lifestyle where people decided that working all of the time and paying for contrived material conveniences was good. People thought that this was the way to get ahead. Many people have very little to show for those efforts.
I believe that we must get back to basics in order to survive. We need to get off the Corporate Energy Grid. Now I am not saying that one needs to completely abandon the grid, but this addiction to everything offered as convenience and disposability will get you nowhere and leaves you very vulnerable. This is a cycle of dependence that will increase your odds of bankruptcy and/or an early grave. Interdependence is important, but we must not forgo the independent nature in which the nation was founded upon. It is time to get back to basics.