Information, Preferences, Knowledge and Belief

August 19, 2013 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

by Brian Davey, August 8, 2013

Economists claim that, in order to protect “land” or eco-systems (the living network of beings in a place and the community that lives there) it has to be owned as private property. The United Nations Environment Programme tells us that protect nature we must give it a price and “hardwire it into financial markets” – whose actors are global and who buy and sell assets often in minutes.

The truth of the matter is the other way round. To protect a natural environment a community must belong there, be rooted there, have understood and know all the details of that place for generations and intend to pass that place, with all their knowledge, down to their descendants.

Most indigenous communities have a variation of the axiom that one must consider one’s actions up to the seventh generation – that is the generation after one’s grandchildren’s grandchildren. That is what it means to belong to a community that belongs to a place – and it is not an idea compatible with the economist’s assumption that all people take long term decisions using an interest rate with which they discount the future in favour of the present.

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Entry filed under: Biodiversity, Climate, Community, Economy.

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