Why real economic ‘feedbacks’ are investment choices, and Keynes knew

A pair of systems thinking posts on how why the natural way to reform capitalism and bring about its stable and healthy climax. is to turn the world’s accumulated investment funds (the savings of individuals) endowments for their owners purposes other than piling up more money.   JLH

Posted by Ferenc Kovacs

@Helen, My systems thinking aptitude is simple minded. Follow the medical practice that cannot fully undersatnd what is going on in a living organism, has no clue of the causation chain of all diseases, but they heavily rely on the self-corrcting and healing nautre of organisms and time as the only cure without telling us how it works. Therefore I see humanity as the disease, but as we are successulf as parasites and society is built on parasitism, it is is difficult to get the message accross: stop being a parasite and acccept that you need to work to get rewarded. Go bakc to the Garden of Eden, check out what the knowledge of good and bad is really about and accept that life on earth is not optimised for the life span of individuals, not veent a happy life, but on the growth of species and offsrpings in a growing variety which was halted by hmans presence and growth in number. Surely, that will not go on like that, Nature will teach you by taking sanity away from us first. the rest will be easy. We are already insane in pursuing excitement, show and appearances and covering up knowledge and giving up common sense.

Jessie Henshaw • @Ferenc – You said to Helene, “Therefore I see humanity as the disease, but as we are successful as parasites and society is built on parasitism, it is difficult to get the message across: stop being a parasite and accept that you need to work to get rewarded.”

Why it’s “difficult to get the message across” is partly the difference between “feedbacks” as “ratios” and “feedbacks” as “investment choices”. That’s what I had mentioned, to which William Ross said “You have succeeded in expressing it well and succinctly.” as “one of the more fundamental differences between how models of systems and real physical systems actually operate. Particularly for growth systems that represent complex construction processes.” Continue reading Why real economic ‘feedbacks’ are investment choices, and Keynes knew

What’s good for Conservation?

There have been three posts on Dot Earth on a strategic change taken by some leading conservation advocates, led by Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy. His view presented in Peter Kareiva, an Inconvenient Environmentalist is that environmental conservation is meeting less success due to “doom and gloom” advocacy, that turns business and the public off, and it would be more productive to work cooperatively with business.

That view is criticized by others in Critic of Conservation Efforts Gets Critiqued April 10, 2012 and then defended by Kareiva in “Another Round…Conservation on a Human-Shaped Planet” (April 11, 2012). My short comment (below) seems to clarify the real issue, and got six “thumbs up” to date.


Just ignoring the deep conflict between conservation and business purposes, because it’s good for the business of conservation, doesn’t make the problem go away.

It’s very curious.  This is Kareiva’s second round of explaining his approach to being more cooperative with business.  I understand a lot of why that is good for conservation, as a business itself.  He still leaves out the big contradiction of that for the environment, though.

Businesses around the world are indeed now trying to learn how to avoid environmental liabilities of all kinds.  They’re now hiring teams of in-house consultants to guide their sustainability policies and practices to do that. Their purpose has not changed yet, however.  Their purpose is to sustain their growing rates of profit, not the earth.  Their impact reductions inherently involve only slowing the rate of accelerating increase in using resources and the environment.

Maximum rates of growing profits simply never come from reducing or even stabilizing business impacts.   I do actually applaud his engagement with business but it needs to be a far more open and honest effort to educate, still.  Nothing has really changed.  Just ignoring the deep conflict between conservation and business purposes, because it’s good for the business of conservation, doesn’t make the problem go away.

  • Jessie Henshaw
  • way uptown

Cancers or Endowments

In Continuing the Conversation on Resilience John Fullerton offered a provocative summary and invited more comments on the subject that started with examples found from Bill Reese and Donnella Meadows of resilience as “a Double Edged Sword”, like either social or biological diseases that change to become resistant to treatment.   My comment on it got to be 1000 words…, so I just posted the introduction there, and continue it here, where I also can edit it if needed.


Hmmm…. I think I both agree and disagree with all three, Geoff, Dave and Ted. I’m sure they’d point out problems with how I fit the various issues together, the way I draw the bigger picture too, of course.

The reality we’re looking for will need crucial parts contributed from many different perspectives, as no one sees what a complex society needs to work by themselves. Given our particular dilemma, critical success-or-failure issues still seem to dominate though.  I myself have witnessed several decades of everyone’s seeming helplessness, in devising an escape from the converging crises many people have seen coming, and are now occurring.

It’s very odd, indeed, that human society is very actively destroying its own planet, in the name of its own self-interest. What we need is something more like an endowment, that builds up, to then sustain things rather than ever grander schemes for expanding our demands on the earth, like a cancer.  That kind of “progress” threatens both our host as well as ourselves, making us a fragile organism on an ill-advised quest, to “consume it all”.

We need to break away from how nature starts everything new, with a plan for becoming infinite.

Seeing it’s not going to work, we could conceptually just, “give that up”.  Still we’d have to see how to do it, and evidently don’t.   The situation is complicated by our needing to respond in the interests of our whole society, in a society organized around seeking self-interest.   The threat seems to come from what most benefits individuals at the expense of society, that we institutionalized over the centuries, and is only now becoming a mortal threat to the whole.  To survive, society more than individuals needs to break away from how nature starts up everything new, with a plan for becoming infinite.

Endowment is growth that then enriches its environment

Our solutions for instability are now for the first time ever, pushing the earth itself to the limit of instability.

The problem that we have repeatedly tried to solve it, but also repeatedly haven’t, has itself been an amazingly resilient problem.  We think we’re so smart, but this one has been stumping us for a long time.  The “solutions” to economic instability our culture of experts offers, again and again, are intended to bring lasting prosperity, but keep becoming very unstable themselves.  They’re now also for the first time ever pushing the earth itself to the limit of instability in many ways at once too.

Continue reading Cancers or Endowments

Resilience… for the most wrong things

John Fullerton in “The Double-Edged Sword of Resilience” on the Capital Institute blog, reported on separate research by Bill Rees and Donella Meadows, on immune resistant disease as examples of how resilience can be a mortal threat.  My comment was:


These are good examples, but they aren’t the ones that first popped into mind.  The post didn’t mention some of the more obvious direct threats of that kind to modern society and the earth, the great resilience of humanity’s worst bad habits.

Some are as bad, and take as much effort to maintain, as a virulent addiction to pain killers, even masquerading behind the very best of intentions.  Those may be the most dangerous cases, where people are actively protecting the resilience of completely the wrong things.

Addiction – one of many kinds of misplaced resillience Continue reading Resilience… for the most wrong things