“Producer side” & “Consumer side” as one circle

1/9/09 post to ClimateConcernGroup

re: Consumer-side v. Producer-side Environmentalism http://links.org.au/node/843

No doubt it does help to look around at all the contradictions, and try to connect them, but from a scientific view each side of a circle still represents the same object. The difference between the “production” and “consumption” side, from a systems view of the economic issues, is that they’re two sides of the same circle.

The actual control available for natural system circles is usually not in which side of the circle you favor, but the economic multiplier that adds or subtracts an increment to both sides of the circle every time a dollar goes all the way around it.

I know we like to have things to blame, so, hey blame me for natural systems being organized in ways we didn’t plan for, but really, it’s the *whole circle* that matters, not one side or the other. Learning to think about the circles of causation in systems tempts one to try to follow all the links in the circle, get hopelessly lost, fed up, and quit, going right back to the blame game.

The better method is to consider the whole network of circles as a unit, a ‘system’, and ask about what parts generate the increments of addition or subtraction to the network as a whole. The even more mysterious thing you generally find is that the increments are controlled from inside the system during its exponential growth (always adding to itself by added amounts).

That may be switched off from the inside as organisms do when they mature after the end of their period of exponential growth. If not, it gets switched by the negative environmental response from outside.

So, economies that pay no attention to the responsiveness of the environments they need, keep calling for multiplying scales of increase in their own expansion while their environments produce diminishing returns. They automatically, but invisibly, give up control of their own welfare to the collapse of responses from the environments they depend on but grow to overwhelm…

I’m not saying exactly how one might alter that, but that seems to be one main reason we don’t see what’s happening. Our choices have taken it out of our control…. for what it matters.

Phil Henshaw
NY NY www.synapse9.com


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