Given the worsening condition of the environment on planet Earth, the political and economic obstacles facing the regulation of greenhouse gases in the United States are overwhelming. Under such non-leadership conditions, only the most tepid reforms are politically feasible. Yet, Americans simply are not irritated enough to realize that the climate of our planet is in mortal danger, which places our humankind future at risk of absolute failure.
The technology for mass conversion to renewable energy exists, and systemic change now would avoid the worst extremes of global warming. While increasingly more Americans are becoming aware and choosing to adopt reusable and sustainable practices, these efforts are far from enough to reverse course. Massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through fundamental changes in energy production are essential.
The reality and thus political and economic challenge is that changing the status quo would decrease profits of powerful corporations with vested interests in current technologies that threaten environmental renewability and sustainable viability, and politicians continue to serve their interests above all others, regardless of the laws of physics.
Capital Homesteading1, which is based on binary economics2, offers a way out of the quandary, which pits concern for the environment against immediate needs, desires, convenience, and the profit interests of powerful corporations. Through Capital Homesteading we can achieve green growth in which Americans would be better able to afford more food, clothing, shelter, health care, transportation, education, communication, and provide the necessary demand for green technologies and production processes that produce green products. As Capital Homesteading takes hold, Americans would not only become stronger consumers and “customers with money” but also gain stronger property interests in the environment and be better able to afford the greener choice.
As we build general affluence for EVERY American, only then can we successfully alter the choices people must make between choosing alternative, more costly greener choices that do not threaten the environment and their very livelihood. This challenge is particularly a challenge for the property-less struggling middle class and the poor who must deal daily with livelihood issues, due to the precarious situation and loss of employment and the devaluing of the worth of labor as a result of tectonic shifts in the technologies of production resulting in less need for human worker input. Thus, realistically most people cannot be expected to sacrifice what little wealth and income they have to support more costly greener choices.
To see the change that so many Americans would like to see with respect to the support for greener choices will require that American lifestyles and tastes adopt more costly processes, products, and activities that are the greener substitute.
But the reality is that none of these changes can be practically achieved unless enough people can afford them. The policy proposals that comprise the proposed Capital Homestead Act (http://www.cesj.org/homestead/index.htm) will enable all Americans, increasingly as years advance, to become better able to discover, choose, accept, and most critically afford the greener alternatives.
While the technology and technical processes exist that enable greener alternatives, they are more expensive and most consumers cannot afford them, which means that producers are limited and otherwise cannot afford to make them. But under the policies proposed as Capital Homesteading the resulting accelerating economic growth will result in more “customers with money” due to their increasing ownership holdings in FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital assets3 and thus become wealthier customers, better able to afford greener products and alternative production processes.
As a result, the political willpower to resist the economic pressures to destroy the environment will substantially strengthen and the United States will be better positioned to resist and halt processes that threaten the country’s resource and environmental renewability and sustainable viability. Americans must realize that in order to achieve effective green consciousness, the extent of achieving such will always be limited by what we can afford. By pursuing a policy of widespread individual ownership of FUTURE productive capital investment we will be able to support opportunities for building a new market-based economy that supports general affluence for EVERY citizen and voluntarily achieves lifestyle green coexistence with the environment and its support for other life on earth.
As this evolution occurs there will be a wider and deeper understanding of the economics of environmental issues, a stronger market for greener alternatives, and broadened private property interests in the environment and the necessary productive capital assets to produce green products. This will result in transformative conditions that support the discovery and promotion of greener ways of life.
1 Capital Homesteading is a plan for getting ownership, income, and power to every citizen. Support the Capital Homestead Act at http://www.cesj.org/homestead/index.htm and http://www.cesj.org/homestead/summary-cha.htm
2 Binary economics is a new way of approaching economic reality and as a new paradigm provides a new way of enhancing everyone’s economic well being. The binary or two-factor paradigm recognizes two independent factors of production—human and non-human. This new paradigm relates to the property right to productive capital acquisition and recognizes the essential requirement that universal, individual market participation in productive capital acquisition is essential to putting us on a path to prosperity, opportunity, economic justice, and sustainable growth for the economy as a whole. The tools to achieve universal ownership and enable those without viable productive capital holdings to become owners are the very same credit, insurance, and financial principles and techniques presently employed by existing owners to acquire productive capital with the earnings of capital.
3 In simple terms, binary economics recognizes that there are two factors of production: people (labor workers who contribute manual, intellectual, creative, and entrepreneurial work) and capital (land; structures; infrastructure; tools; machines; super-automation, robotics, digital computer processing and operations; certain intangibles that have the characteristics of property, such as patents and trade or firm names; and the like owned by people.) Essentially, capital is any non-human productive asset that is used to create and produce products and services and earn economic gain and income for its owners. Thus, fundamentally, economic value is created through human and non-human contributions. NOTE, real physical productive capital isn’t money; it is measured in money (financial capital), but it is really producing power and earning power through ownership of the non-human factor of production. Financial capital, such as stocks and bonds, is just an ownership claim on the productive power of real capital. In the law, property is the bundle of rights that determines one’s relationship to things.