Now that governments across the globe are broke, will the planetary bankruptcy of the past 200 years finally be acknowledged?
The pandemic has put government treasuries the world over with their backs against the wall. As they sign stimulus cheque after stimulus cheque worth trillions, their desperation is evident. They have literally thrown the sink at the pandemic in order to avoid the worst outcome: economic collapse. Their rationale? Investing in our future: saving lives, saving jobs, saving an overgrown economic machine that was almost down to its last leg even before covid arrived.
Because there is just one, minor detail that the treasury advisors, economists and politicians always seem to forget: that there is another economy, one that sits behind the human economy, which they conveniently choose to ignore: it is the Earth’s economy, which is always the one that bails them out after each crash. While they sign meaningless cheque after meaningless cheque of virtual money, it is the planet’s resources every time that manage to cough up, yet again, the tangible collateral. After each global recession, humans always run back to nature in order to remortgage their house of cards: a frenzy of mining, logging, fish catching, forest burning resumes as normal, as we return to “economic growth”.
But what may seem like economic cycles of boom and bust is actually a constant, gradual erosion of the Earth economy’s bottom line. This is not really a tale of two economies. It is one of a formerly healthy economy that sustainably maintained itself, and a parasitic, cancerous one that’s killing it. Over the past 200 years we’ve lost species, clean water, healthy soils, and now our climate. While the ponzi scheme that is called human civilization continues to leverage virtual currency, the amount of tangible wealth in the real economy, the non-human economy of the planet, is all but gone. Only fools fail to recognise this.
In fact, we have even run out of credit. We have run out of carbon emissions quotas. We have overshot the maximum allowable human population size, being by far the most populous superpredator on the planet. Any ecosystem where the population of superpredators begins to approach or exceed that of prey is one that is bound for a sudden and spectacular collapse. Or, as our clueless economists, treasurers and word spinners like to call it, a “correction”. Well, my dear ladies and gentlemen, I hope that one day I stand corrected when I say that we have not only bankrupted Earth. We have damaged its ability to regenerate itself, to print its own money so to speak, the real money and the only valid currency that ever existed on the planet: the resources and living things all around you, many of which have already disappeared quite a few generations ago. So please, do join me, and let’s declare this planet bankrupt.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books