As our world becomes more connected and interdependent, the demands on global resources (not the least of which is time) incur greater opportunity costs. Throughout history, societies have reached the tipping point between abundant survival and abject subsistence. It seems, at least to me, that we are facing another such tipping point. We can choose to approach our next steps in careless ways, destroying the precious resources that remain, or we can choose to employ greater amounts of creativity to liberate greater value from those resources.
History demonstrates that human creativity has repeatedly been the saving grace from collapse. As such, if we are serious about an increasing and sustainable standard of living, then informed creativity on a massive, distributed, and real-time scale is required. Everything from waste processing, energy production, and materials management to population issues, social interaction, and sustainable growth requires increasingly informed creativity and decision-making in order to create solutions. We live in a time where vast swaths of the population can readily access abundant amounts of accurate information. With a world full of people and machines for processing, it is an insult that we are still grappling with environmental degradation, mismanagement, and social woes. Such, however, is the nature of a work in progress. We all have the good fortune of being able to help shape the journey. Here are some links to help get the creative juices flowing. Enjoy:
It has been apparent for far too long that the condition of the environment has been rapidly deteriorating. Often, an impossibly difficult decision between environmental conservation and human growth has been presented as the only way forward. The creation of sustainably constructed markets fueled by robust, real-time communication and accurate data can help ease that formerly impossibly difficult decision.
A way that we can achieve this aim is by targeting the nearly inevitable problem of deadweight loss (DWL) that often results from deciding between environmental conservation and human growth. DWL is a term used to describe the negative effects from market inefficiency. DWL does no one any favors, and essentially acts as a drag on value, innovation and sustainable growth. There are innumerable ways to target DWL. For example, in energy markets, efficiency gains through the implementation of new technologies can become self-sustaining. In resource markets, waste can become a resource-base achieved through trash mining and recycling. In invasive species markets, the targeted invasive species can be harvested as an input to create value-added finished goods.
The globe is full of opportunities for the creation of immense real value. In many instances, the implementation of markets whose most likely equilibria (econ-speak: markets can have more than one point of equilibrium) result in win-win scenarios (econ-speak: nonzero positive sums) allow for increases in real value by eliminating wasteful DWL while adding more opportunities (econ-speak: potential possibilities) to the economy. The reduction of DWL, coupled with the creation of an expanded set of possibilities, can create massive positive feedback systems that optimize real value functions. These systems are far from perfect as of now; at least beginning wider-spread implementation can provide reasonable ways forward while helping to transform the economy into a sustainable, more humane, and more valuable one. Gaia Endeavors strives to provide environmentally-focused entrepreneurs ideas, a forum for discussion, and links. As such, please help by adding to the conversation and visit/add to the links below.