Everything is Monitized!

07/19/2012 13:23


Everything is Monitized!

Everything has value!  Now that seems like a fairly simple statement.  But what does it really mean? 

A tribesman living in an aboriginal forest would say that forest is the birthplace of everything he or she needs for life.  It provides shelter from the sun and the rain, wood for their cooking fires and for warmth at night, and a habitat for the plants and animals that provide sustenance.  In other words the value of the forest is in its continuing existence as a living environment.  So value = living habitat = life support vehicle!  But this is not the way modern society views anything (except, perhaps, for a quaint reference to the way aboriginal peoples might have lived). 

Modern society tends to subdivide everything into smaller and smaller components.  Rather than having a supportive function as part of a cooperative environment each resource is disconnected from its original purpose/contribution and re-functionalized as a commodity in the sequence of supply and demand economies.  Trees would be seen in terms of board foot to harvest.  Plants might be seen as a source for DNA to be manipulated as a food source or for medicinal use.  The rich aboriginal soils might be used as top soil for a farm.  Stones and rocks might be pulverized to use as a base layer under asphalt.  The animals and birds might be captured and put on display at a zoo … and so on. 

The aboriginal forest is a natural resource.  Wikipedia describes natural resources as follows; The natural resources are materials, which living organisms can take from nature for sustaining their life or any components of the natural environment that can be utilized by man to promote his welfare is considered as natural resources.  The word resource sounds innocent enough when it is defined like that but modern society has changed one key element.  Where the aboriginal tribesman sees the forest resource as an environment in which to live as an equal partner/contributor … modern society views resources in terms of monetary value.  The panorama of the forest becomes a “wealth acquisition statistic” and the process of attaining that wealth is called “resource extraction” which is an economic term defined as … “To take, in the quickest and cheapest manner, the most profitable portions of any naturally existing commodity … and then … to move on the next!”. For commodity see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity.  So each commodity is removed from its originating purpose, given a monetary value, and sold for its profit potential.

Our natural resources were put in place by processes that took place over tens of millions of years.  Every product we manufacture has what is called a life expectancy (example: https://askville.amazon.com/life-expectancy-dishwasher-refrigerator/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=8811878).   Effectively that means at the end of anything’s economic usefulness we send it to the garbage dump and that average life span is 10 to 15 years.  Tens of millions of years in the making … and we discard in less than two decades.  As a species we are so clever we even coined the idea of “planned obsolescence” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence) so that a manufactured item must be replaced periodically … just to feed our artificial economy.  But it also means we need to carve more resources out of the environment … so we can throw that stuff out in a few years too.

The question I would like to ask is … does everything need to be reduced to a monetary value … or should we begin to see our natural resources and environment as irreplaceable and precious?

If the Earth was perfectly round the average depth of water would be 1.6 miles … the average dept of soil would be about 8 inches … the average depth of breathable air would be about 3 miles.  Without any of those three things … life is unsustainable.

Every element of the living earth is a component that contributes in some way to the only environment we know of that sustains life.  Consider that vast reaches of intergalactic space … and then consider that life as we know it exists in a sliver of a place less than 5 miles thick.

Here is a quip I heard recently that deals in perspective:  If you had all the money in the world and I had all the land … how much rent would I charge you for the first day?