Sunday, July 29, 2012

We Have A Right To Know What Is Going On

Most economists, and along with them, most of our politicians, do an interesting magic act with natural resources. When natural resources are used or sold, they count. When the natural resources are used up, nothing happens to show that the value of those resources are gone. This magic act mostly includes the damage to the environment during the process of removing the natural resources.

Some resources, like gas and oil are effectively gone forever, once they are taken out of the land and used up. Other natural resources like trees in a forest, are not gone, but are not always replaced at all or with equal value.

One type of replacement for trees in a forest that has been cut down is to replace the forest with nothing but pine trees, for example. If you look at a natural forest, it will not be made up of only one type of tree. It will be a mixture of different kinds of trees and other plants as well. 

Someone asked me once why it made any difference what kinds of trees were in a forest. My answer is not thorough, but it is easy to understand. I said, "Suppose you are an animal that is able to eat trees and pine trees are like celery. How do you think you would do if you had nothing but celery to eat?"

Plants have helpful interactions as well as animals. Some kinds of flowers will only grow under trees, others will only grow away from trees, for example.

An all pine tree forest is not a replacement for a real forest. It does not have equal value to the forest that used to be there.

Those are only a small sample of how the people are being cheated.  Resources are going into the profit side of their national economy and nothing is going into the loss side of the national economy. Something is gone with the resources, and it is important to the people who lose it. 

We need for our politicians to switch to economics that place value on our natural resources. We must know what is really going on. We do not need cheap magic tricks with numbers to confuse us.

The kind of economics that takes the value of natural resources into account before they are used up is called, "Natural Resource Economics." 

Here is a quote from the Berkeley University Site about a course at their college:
"The Environmental Economics & Policy  ....takes a problem-solving approach to issues involving renewable and fixed natural resources, and it is based on a foundation in micro-economic theory and the economics of resources and the environment."

We the people, have a right to know what is going on with our lands and our natural resources.

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