Economic/Ecologic Recovery Plan

Our Lost Wealth: People + Natural Resources = Real Wealth


“Our Lost Wealth” is excerpted from Paul Hawken’s “Natural Capitalism,” the cover story of Mother Jones magazine’s April ‘97 issue. Hawken argues that business’ focus on “using more resources to make fewer people more productive” has the perverse effect of eliminating jobs when labor is plentiful while depleting our limited natural resources. The result: immense resource waste and incalculable social waste stemming from a growing population of un- and underemployed people. Look for Mother Jones on your local newsstand or call 1-800- GET-MOJO to request a trial issue. Paul Hawken is an internationally known businessman and author.

The United States prides itself on being the richest country in the world. yet we can’t balance the budget, pay for education, or take care of the aged and infirm. How is it that we can have both a growing economy and a growing underclass?

In politics, they say “follow the money.” What you find is that the waste in resources and people shows up in our overall gross domestic product (GDP). Of the $7 trillion spent every year in the United States, we waste at least $2 trillion. What is meant by waste? Money spent where the buyer gets no value.


The World Resources Institute has found that roadway congestion costs $100 billion per year in lost productivity, not counting gasoline, accident and maintenance costs. Highway accidents cost $358 billion per year, including $228 billion in pain and suffering and $40 billion in property damage. We spend another $85 billion indirectly subsidizing free parking at shopping malls and workplaces. The hidden social costs of driving - hidden because they are not paid by motorists directly - also include disease and damage to crops and forests caused by auto exhaust. these charges total $300 billion.

We spend $50 billion a year to guard sea-lanes and to protect oil sources we would not need if President Reagan had not gutted emission standards in 1986. We spend nearly $200 billion a year in supplementary energy costs because we do not employ the same energy efficiency standards for our businesses and homes as do the Japanese.

We waste around $65 billion on non-essential or fraudulent medical tests and, by some estimates, $250 billion on inflated overhead generated by the current health insurance system. We spend $52 billion on substance abuse, $69 billion on obesity treatments, $125 billion on heart disease, and, some estimate, as much as $100 billion on health problems related to air pollution.

Legal, accounting, audit, bookkeeping and record-keeping expenditures to comply with an unnecessarily complex and unenforceable tax code cost citizens at least $250 billion a year; what Americans fail to pay the IRS adds up to another $150 billion.

Crime costs taxpayers $450 billion a year; lawsuits, $300 billion. These figures don’t include disbursements for Superfund sites, monies to clean up nuclear weapons facilities (estimated to be as high as $500 billion), the annual cost of 25 billion tons of material waste, subsidies to environmentally damaging industries, loss of fisheries, damage from overgrazing, water pollution, topsoil loss, government waste, gambling, or the social costs of unemployment. Conceivably, half the GDP is spent on waste.

If we could shift a portion of these expenditures to more productive uses, we would have the money to balance our budget, take care of those who cannot care for themselves, raise wonderfully educated and responsible children, restore degraded environments, and help developing countries. If, for example, we had simply adopted stricter energy standards in 1974 - standards in use by Japan - and had applied the savings to the national debt, we would not have a national deficit today.

(Reprint, Earth Times, May, 1997 edition)

Ecological Economics

The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is concerned with extending and integrating the study of management of “Nature’s household” (ecology) and “humanity’s household” (economics). This integration is necessary because conceptual and professional isolation have led to economic and environmental policies that are mutually destructive rather than reinforcing in the long term.


An increasing awareness that our global ecological life-support system is endangered is forcing us to realize that decisions made on the basis of local, narrow, short-term criteria can produce disastrous results globally and in the long run. There is also a growing acknowledgement that traditional economic and ecological models and concepts fall short in their ability to deal with global ecological problems.

Ecological Economics is a transdisciplinary field of study that addresses the relationship between ecosystems and economic systems in the broadest sense.

Ecological Economics goes beyond the normal conceptions of scientific disciplines and attempts to integrate and synthesize many different disciplinary perspectives in order to achieve an ecologically and economically sustainable world.

Innovative research aimed at articulating the mechanisms by which human populations can strike a dynamic balance between economic development and the ecological constraints they face constitutes the foundation on which the future will be built. Critically important research is needed to facilitate the transition to sustainable global production systems. To be effective, this research must be integrated into environmental and economic policy at the local, regional, and international level.

Primary topics of ecological economics research include:

Sustainability: What do we mean by - and how do we quantify - health and sustainability in ecological and economic systems? How do we maintain a sustainable life-support system? What are the relationships between ecological, economic, and cultural sustainability?

Natural Resource Valuation: What are the most sensible ways of assigning value to natural resources and natural capital? What is the role and value of biodiversity?

System Accounting: Conventional measures of economic performance do not factor resource depletion or environmental degradation into economic trends, thus presenting an incomplete and skewed picture of economic welfare. How can we create better accounting systems that integrate resource depletion and ecological impacts into national and international economic performance?

Ecological and Economic Modeling: Preserving and protecting threatened ecosystems requires an understanding of the direct and indirect effects of human activities on large geographical areas over time. How can we create an integrated, multiscale, pluralistic approach to quantitative ecological economic modeling while developing new ways to effectively deal with the inherent uncertainty involved in modeling complex systems?

Institutions for Sustainable Governance: What regulatory and/or incentive-based instruments are most appropriate for assuring sustainability? How can governmental and other institutions be modified to better account for and respond to the environmental impacts of economic development?

The International Society for Ecological Economics
P.O. Box 1589, Solomons, MD 20688
TEL: (410) 326-0794 - FAX: (410) 326-7354

The Economy/Environment
All The Power That Ever Was Or Will Be, Is Here Now...
$100 Billion

We support a rapid transition from a fossil fuel’fission econmy into a sustainable ,global solar/hydrogen/hemp based economy through the creation of The Gaia/Solaris Consortium,a national corporation which invests in non-polluting energy technologies such as cold fusion ,fuel cells, photovoltaics, wind energy biomass, ocean thermal energy conversion and superconductors...This Corporation will be funded by the public /private sector via investment credits, donations, the Tobin Tax ( and various Green Taxes... Through Conscious Capitalism we will solve global warming, create millions of new jobs, dramatically reduce our dependence on middle-eastern oil , and initiate a Golden Age of clean unlimited energy for the Global Family...



The Strenght Of Our Nation Is Directly Proportional To The Health of The People...The Strenght Of Our People Is Directly Proportional To The Health Of Our Soil..Healthy Soil Creates Healthy Plants...Healthy Plants Creates Healthy People....

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