«Un uomo è ricco in proporzione del numero di cose delle quali può fare a meno»
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, ovvero vita nei boschi

giovedì 11 dicembre 2014

Our problems are reflections of our own limited consciousness - Hazel Henderson

Most of the time, the drugs and surgeries that are being prescribed or recommended are to deal with problems that could have been avoided by better education and better preventive care. The costs of these medicines and procedures are included in the GDP, as if they are useful. GDP is usually calculated as the monetary value of all goods and services during one year, as an indicator of a country's standard of living. So what is actually a negative cost looks as if it is something positive. This problem of not being able to separate the "bads" from the "goods" highlights the contradictions inherent in the whole way of using money to try to measure health care or any other aspect of a country's progress.

Our current economic models are blind to the social and environmental costs, which then get left out of the economic equation. However, these costs are felt in terms of health problems, pollution and all kinds of social pathologies such as unemployment and inequality. I try to point out the crises that our financial system gets us into. The Wall Street crash of 2008 caused terrible hardship to millions of people and happened because the financial system blinds itself to what they call "externalities." Unless companies are forced to "internalize" all those costs and put them on the balance sheet, you can't have a proper accounting system.

In terms of the health sector, consider the incredible costs in the US of childhood obesity, which stems from allowing soft drink and fast food companies to place dispensers in schools. We have to connect the dots: our problems are a mirror held up to our own limited consciousness.


In the last 300 years, we had this compartmentalization of knowledge: the reductionism of trying to understand the whole by examining the parts. This produced a lot of brilliant technologies, but they are not well related to one another. The big task now, which I saw being undertaken at Rio+20 in 2012, is the reintegration of knowledge. This is the basis for going forward with more coherent policies in the future.

All these problems out there, from climate change to desertification; everything from poverty to inequality to ill health are reflections of our own limited consciousness. Cooperation, sustainability, green economy, equality, justice were key words at that conference. We humans have the amazing capability in our brains to both zoom the lens of our minds and focus in on the details--the capability to care for the immediate--as well as the capability to pull back and take a wide view and to realize we are all children of the cosmos.

Estratto da "Beyond Economics: a new measure of well-being" di Hazel Henderson - SGI Quarterly

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