Beyond Fossilized Paradigms: Futureconomics of Food
The economics of the future is based on people and biodiversity – not fossil fuels, toxic chemicals and monocultures.
New Delhi, India – The economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the food crisis are a reflection of an outmoded and fossilized economic paradigm – a paradigm that grew out of mobilizing resources for the war by creating the category of economic “growth” and is rooted in the age of oil and fossil fuels. It is fossilized both because it is obsolete, and because it is a product of the age of fossil fuels. We need to move beyond this fossilized paradigm if we are to address the economic and ecological crisis.Rice terraces near the Drukgyel Dzong, Paro Valley, Bhutan. (Photo: Blaine Harrington)
Economy and ecology have the same roots “oikos” – meaning home – both our planetary home, the Earth, and our home where we live our everyday lives in family and community.
But economy strayed from ecology, forgot the home and focused on the market. An artificial “production boundary” was created to measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The production boundary defined work and production for sustenance as non-production and non-work – “if you produce what you consume, then you don’t produce”. In one fell swoop, nature’s work in providing goods and services disappeared. The production and work of sustenance economies disappeared, the work of hundreds of millions of women disappeared.
On April 2, 2012, the United Nations held a High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a new Economic Paradigm to implement resolution 65/309 [PDF], adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011 – conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal and “recognising that the gross domestic product does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people”. The meeting was hosted by the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Bhutan has given up the false categories of GNP and GDP, and replaced them with the category of “gross national happiness” which measures the wellbeing of nature and society.