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Economics for the future – Beyond the superorganism

N.J. Hagens

Ecological Economics, 2020, vol. 169, issue C

Abstract: Our environment and economy are at a crossroads. This paper attempts a cohesive narrative on how human evolved behavior, money, energy, economy and the environment fit together. Humans strive for the same emotional state of our successful ancestors. In a resource rich environment, we coordinate in groups, corporations and nations, to maximize financial surplus, tethered to energy, tethered to carbon. At global scales, the emergent result of this combination is a mindless, energy hungry, CO2 emitting Superorganism. Under this dynamic we are now behaviorally ‘growth constrained’ and will use any means possible to avoid facing this reality. The farther we kick the can, the larger the disconnect between our financial and physical reality becomes. The moment of this recalibration will be a watershed time for our culture, but could also be the birth of a new ‘systems economics’. and resultant different ways of living. The next 30 years are the time to apply all we’ve learned during the past 30 years. We’ve arrived at a species level conversation.

Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:169:y:2020:i:c:s0921800919310067

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106520

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