A few weeks ago, I wrote (as I occasionally do) to another random group I encountered. I do this in the hope that one day I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the response; a very low bar of expectation, yet one that continues to fail to be met. In this particular case, it was an Australian Meetup group of blockchain enthusiasts, and today I got the reply from that message.
As I often do in these cases (where I actually get a reply at all), I decided to test that person to gauge their commitment and their agenda … and once again, I was disappointed by the reply … but I want to recount to you the basics of that conversation, because this really typifies what is wrong with the perspective of monied interests.
The initial post:
I started by basically posting into the discussion thread of this Meetup group, an introduction to myself and my work.
The initial response:
I got a reply from a guy who said he has a budget to develop a blockchain for the purposes of sustainable economics.
I replied to him some conditions I have before working with anyone, which are designed to ensure that any utilisation of my work neither takes the wind out of the sails of my own work, nor undermines it in any other way, nor is used for the wrong purposes … which means I’m not looking to give away any IP, nor sell it to some buyer nor licensee … I’m looking for people who will seriously commit to funding it, and on the terms it needs for success.
… because ultimately I know that if you make a reasonable ultimatum, only the committed and robbers will step forward … I’m looking for the former, and I can deal with the latter.
The reply to this ultimatum was courteous enough, and showed he understood what I was saying (which is something – as many people don’t even get that far) … but he asked if I had seen this video:
He then went on to basically say he’s a leader not a follower, and then this:
Putting a PRICE on NATURE and creating an ASSET on the Balance Sheet of Individual and Corporates is what i believe is the way to really create the movement needed to support better sustainable development and reduce climate change impact. Unless there is a way for people to profit from doing social good, doing social good will not be a priority. Time is running out with getting to market with a good concept that can create a ground swell quickly that will get people to pay attention before really too late. We will be launching a new private block chain that helps value nature within 3 months from now.
I replied back only to tell him that his agenda is doomed to fail … but I don’t expect another reply, nor am I interested in such reply from this group, as they clearly have no idea what they’re doing.
So some of you might be wondering “what is wrong with putting a price on nature?” … and for some of you, that might seem like a valid question … the TED talk given in that video might even seem like they make a good case for it, and that they actually care … but I assure you, these people do not care (even if they’ve fooled themselves into believing they do), and the ONLY thing they’re arguing for basically boils down to a bare minimum response, that will not solve anywhere near enough problems, won’t solve them reliably, nor with enough speed, frequency nor consistency … in fact, many problems will continue to be ignored until it’s too late, and many so called “market solutions” will be nothing more than the entrenchment of the problems.
Let me explain this for you:
- What do you think “sustainability” means from the perspective of economics? This is an important consideration, and one that may not have occurred to you, but I’ll break it down for you: as far as the market is concerned, sustainability is the capacity to continue making a profit … that’s it … and if they’re trying to tell you different, go have a look at the United Nations or IMF definition of sustainability … what you’ll find, is they don’t really have one (nothing all that rational or scientifically valid anyway). What they have in its place though, is a definition of “Sustainable Development”, which goes something like this:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
- Now, to understand why this is a problem, you have to understand what sustainability actually is from a non-species-biased and most generic perspective … for which purpose I’ll borrow from my own terminology page of this blog, since I don’t quite like any of the other definitions I’ve found:
Sustainability is: The scenario in which the interaction of elements within a system can be sustained indefinitely without causing irreparable-malfunction, cessation, death or extinction of any elements of that system, given the probability of such harm occurring otherwise within the range of regular / cyclic variability of internal conditions to that system, over the same time period as the interactions being assessed for sustainability in the first place … or (to put it another simpler way); until an external influence – from the parent/super-system to that system – causes such failure, usually by pushing the variability of internal environmental conditions of that system outside their usual limits (eg: an extinction level asteroid impact).
- So have a look at what’s happening here, they’re not asking about the needs of any other species … they’re not asking about whether the world is the kind of place you’d actually want to live in afterwards … they’re not asking “how do you define need?” … which means if you’re brainwashed by marketing into wanting something, and you think you need it … or if society and civilisation is structured in such a way, as to force you to need something that you could otherwise go without, and that you wouldn’t otherwise care one iota about having it (we’re that “need” not manufactured in the first place) … and if you can keep fulfilling those “needs” … then to hell with any other consequences, especially with respect to the poor, other species, and the natural beautiful ecosystems of his planet.
I don’t know about you … but to me, the world they are working towards is just as ugly as the present one, if not worse. They won’t admit this is what it means, and many of them may genuinely believe it doesn’t mean this … but I assure you it does, and that our opinions in the matter are irrelevant … the only thing that is relevant is thermodynamics, and the true generic & non-biased meaning of justice & sustainability.
What they are really talking about here has nothing whatsoever to do with ecological sustainability … there is no guarantee here whatsoever for the cessation of extinction of other species, no guarantee of the cessation of destruction of ecosystems, no guarantee here for the cessation of poverty or any forms of exploitation … and without such guarantees (from the perspective of these other people, species and things), there is nothing whatsoever sustainable about their true goal of entrenching the status quo with disregard for anyone or anything they don’t value.
More importantly: there’s zero assessment as to whether their entire paradigm is flawed … they’ve just assumed it isn’t and written it into their definitions, plans and goals without question.
Mark my words: they will fail abysmally.