Green Drinks – Warwick Stanton? , Metiria Turei, oh dear…..

We went along to the Green Drinks last night. Hadn’t been for a while, but Prof Lloyd on ‘the connection between energy and finance’ sounded right up my alley. Polite people let the speaker do their presentation, then wait for question-time. One person – I’m told he is Metiria Turei’s partner Warwick Stanton – wasn’t so polite, and interrupted often.

Very quickly, it became obvious that he must have been a product of the ‘Business’ or ‘Commerce’ or Economics’ faculties. Talk of ‘services’, as if they can somehow soak up/displace the purchase of real items, as an eventual home for circulating proxy (for that is all that money is) was the give-away. How can these folk not see that sooner or later, all the ‘money’ that folk make from charging each other for services, eventually expects to be able to buy ‘bits of the planet’ (oil, food, processed resources). You can play the music and pass the parcel for a long time, but when the music stops….

If the Finance view was correct, we could all get wealthy without mining, aquaculture, farming, building, infrastructure. The need to grow ALL those physical activities, tells us the ‘services’ claim is humbug. That (buying physical bits of the planet) is the eventual home for ALL money, and the only real measure of ‘wealth’.

Jennie just thought he was a d-head, I though it was a bit more dangerous than that. This false – for it IS false – grasp of the place of finance in the real world, has no place in our future. Money is merely a proxy for future purchases. Non-resource-using services (if there are any – even a masseuse eats a BigAg-supplied breakfast, plies her trade in a fossil-fuel-expended building, and drove to work in a car) are a zero-sum balance either side of the ‘equals’ sign, but the real trail ends with the purchasing of ‘bits of the planet’. Clearly, via interest and profit charging, that demand for ‘bits of the planet’ is growing. Anyone who says different, I call a liar, or stupid. No third option.

If this nonsense infiltrates Green thinking, then they too have no place in our future. It might explain their slide into socialism (welfare, state housing, Holly Walker/Chch comments) of recent times. Green Growth is just as unsustainable as any other growth, and we are 30 years overdue for the public education on that. The old leadership clearly understood the Limits to Growth, this fellow apparently didn’t. The rudeness and the ‘self-importance’ aside, his belief – for that is what it is, a belief, alle same religion – has no place in Green policy, and no place in society if we are to survive what is ahead.

Sure, there is a need for optimism and proactivity. in leadership. Sure, that’s a difficult tight-rope, on  a planet temporarily carrying 7 billion, heading for perhaps 2 billion. Sooner or later folk will see through any horseshit. Talk of ‘the velocity of money’ won’t alleviate the problem that it is spun into existence as debt, expects the future to underwrite, and when the future clearly can’t, folk will be a tad annoyed. We are staring down the barrel of the biggest ‘value’ readjustment the planet has ever seen, and we need leaders who understand the ‘why’ of this.

I wasn’t reassured last night – not reassured at all.

 

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