Employing the economics of sharing more widely would be a good way to show that “ethical economics” is not necessarily an oxymoron. It might even allow people of different political perspectives to find common ground for solving real environmental and economic problems while reducing tax burdens as well.
The most important thing about ‘infrastructure’ not being discussed is that we keep adding more of it every day. That is already having serious consequences which will only get worse if we stay on our course of endless expansion.
Recently, we Earthlings have been seeing amazing images from the surface of Mars courtesy of NASA’s Perseverance rover. Meanwhile, here on planet Earth, much of the high-tech production system that helped to produce the rover is in a spot of trouble.
The spirit we need is that summed up by the librarian who rhapsodises to Klinenberg about his branch: “The library really is a palace. It bestows nobility on people who can’t otherwise afford a shred of it. People need to have nobility and dignity in their lives. And, you know, they need other people to recognise it in them too.”
Mobility, after all, is generally less important to people than accessibility. When we go somewhere it’s not the movement that’s valuable, it’s the access to something – a school, shopping, a workplace, a friend’s house or a park – that really counts.
Our contemporary world is designed for impermanence — which also makes it resource- and energy-intensive as we invent, disseminate and discard a sea of gadgets, tear down and build an endless array of buildings, and junk and manufacture vehicles in an ever-repeating cycle. If we want to build a durable culture, we will have to slow down and rescale our lives and the life of our societies. But what would the outlines of such a culture look like?
Three initiatives to inspire holistic thinking and integrative action for rejuvenating America’s critical systems.
Jobs and economic growth are a result of having a productive system in place, not the other way around. We need to create real net wealth that benefits not only the local communities, but the region as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, jobs are great. But, building infrastructure with the primary purpose of creating jobs, with little consideration to context, is setting a bad precedence and setting up communities for unexpected liabilities.