Choose Well: Economics is our Values, Not Math

Our choices determine our future.  What we choose shows what want and more importantly demonstrates what we value. In other words, as “For Better or For Worse Comic” comic shows:

Economics is a value system masquerading as mathematics

What we choose to buy tells others what we find most valuable because that is what we chose to use our limited resources to purchase.  This also sends  a message to those that supply that good.  Now it is estimated that 90% of the deforestation has been attributed to illegal logging.  This illegal logging happens because people buy goods made from illegally logged trees.  Lumber Liquidators was a most recent charged company for selling products obtained through illegal logging.

Those choices helped illegal logging exist. Choosing purchases that enrich and nourish the earth benefit ourselves and the planet an and exhibit selfish, selfless synergy because from those interaction everyone and everything benefits.  The forests are the earths lungs and like humans, the earth cannot function well without its lungs, our choices can reflect this value.

While these problems can be solved with better choices, it is hard to make these choices without the necessary information to know we are buying items that are contrary to our values.  Many problems have evolved, according to Dr. Richard Wolfe, because of systematic flaws in capitalism. To learn more about these flaws, I encourage you to listen to his discussion about Marxism 101.  So we are clear, I am not promoting Marxism, however Dr. Wolfe’s interview highlights some fatal flaws in capitalism.   Next weeks post will introduce a possible better economic system, the Collaborative Commons that some suggest is the new evolving economic system.  Enjoy Dr. Wolfe’s interview below. Please share your thoughts…

 

Choose to Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Conventional not Organic Farmers Should Pay a Premium

To practice paneugenesis means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  Incumbent with these efforts means we will also be redesigning reality.  To redesign reality this means we need to build a better system that supports, encourages, nurtures and reinforces improvements.

To build a better system, a system must have multiple interdependent parts that can function as much on their own as possible while also contributing to making the whole system better. That means that each part contributes to the whole system and does not take from, or is a detriment to it.

This past week I attended the first East Carolina University Sustainability Symposium.  It was excellent.  While being inspired by speakers and from discussions with colleagues, we realized a way we could help redesign reality to improve the system and encourage paneugenesis.  A discussion with Anna Martin, Program Coordinator at the Water Resource s Research Institute, led to this post. The symposium and related discussion yielded these ideas to generate improvements…

Currently, organic farmers pay a premium to grow and sell organic food – while conventional farmers pay nothing additional.  This also translates to a higher cost to consumers for organic food.  Thus it is a deterrent from buying or growing organic food. Despite the premium costs associated with organic foods, reports suggest purchases of organic foods are growing dramatically, over 100% per year.

From a systems perspective, organic farmers are a positive contributing interdependent component of the whole system.  Organic farmers improve the system while contributing to it, by providing healthy food to humans, without taking away from the whole system.  Conventional farmers on the other hand are not able to function without getting external inputs in the form of petroleum fertilizers to be able to produce their output.  The fertilizers then hurt the whole system in many ways such as contributing to climate change, leaching carbon, and by hurting other species such as bee’s and in many other ways. (see figure below)

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability.

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability. Source: Nature Plants 2, Article number: 15221 (2016) doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.22it

Obviously, having contributing organic farmers pay a premium while damaging conventional farmers pay nothing does not make sense.  After thinking about it, we realized a simple change would yield a better system.  Instead of having organic farmers pay to grow their food, have conventional farmers who pollute the land, water and air with petroleum based insecticides and herbicides pay the premium. Currently conventional farmers defer those costs to consumers and citizens who pay for it with damaged water, air, and land which leads to a lower quality of life and additional disease care costs for all.  In addition this situation creates a system that nudges or encourages people to make unwise choices.

Despite a system that gives organic food a disadvantage, consumers are choosing organic foods and science indicates it is better for the people, land, water, and air.  To improve the system, shouldn’t the polluters, so-called conventional farmers, rather than the organic food producers, be the farmers who pay the premium?  Costs to grow organic food are rightly used for inspections and the certification process.  It seems it would make more sense to charge farmers who choose to pollute the food and land to pay for inspections and certifications.  This then means they could avoid that premium by growing food organically instead of growing food by adding ecologically damaging petroleum based herbicides and insecticides.

If  polluters paid a premium, the system would change from encouraging the use of polluting methods to supporting, encouraging, nurturing and reinforcing health promoting practices.  Such a change could have dramatic positive effects on the quality of our personal and planetary health. This change would also make organic, not petroleum laced food, the less expensive and natural, or default choice.

Contact your senators and the USDA to advocate for smart policies like this that support, encourage and reinforce agriculture practices that contribute to healthier personal and planetary health. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Advanced Potty Training to Benefit Everyone & Everything

From what I have learned, some of this is happening. I hope this post encourages more action to benefit everyone and everything.

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Molly Winter’s interesting TED Presentation, “The Taboo Secret to Better Health” discusses the “Taboo” subject of Advanced Potty Training. I was fascinated by her explanation about how we could treat our Pee and Poo differently so we benefit everyone and everything. Her plans explain how reusing Pee & Poo by designing  a system to do what McDonough and Braungart describe as  “Cradle to Cradle” so we “Upcycle” waste. This technique provides a way to convert what was waste into a valuable resource for its next use, which is Upcycling. The techniques she describes also cleans the water, land and air and this negates the need for aded chemicals and fossil fuels. In other words, everyone and everything benefits.

In this post I am happy to highlight innovative solutions that demonstrate how to practice paneugenesis. Winters “Advanced Potty Training” generates comprehensive improvements that have pervasive, reciprocal positive impacts by creating selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

I encourage you to learn about these innovations and how you may want to help them get implemented in your area…

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

New Article about Creating Health Published

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With my colleagues, our new article, Adapting and Using Quality Management Methods to Improve Health Promotion, has been published. You can access the journal article here. This is the abstract. If you have time to review it, I am interested in your thoughts. Thank you.

Abstract:

Although the western world is the most technologically advanced civilization to date, it is also the most addicted, obese, medicated, and in-debt adult population in history. Experts had predicted that the 21st century would be a time of better health and prosperity. Although wealth has increased, our quest to quell health problems using a pathogenic approach without understanding the intercon- nectedness of everyone and everything has damaged per- sonal and planetary health. While current efforts help identify and eliminate causes of problems, they do not facilitate the creation of health and well-being as would be done with a salutogenic approach. Sociologist Aaron Anto- novsky coined the term salutogenesis in 1979. It is derived from salus, which is Latin for health, and genesis, meaning to give birth. Salutogenesis, the study of the origins and creation of health, provides a method to identify an interconnected way to enhance well-being. Salutogenesis provides a framework for a method of practice to improve health promotion efforts. This article illustrates how quality management methods can be used to guide health promo- tion efforts focused on improving health beyond the absence of disease.

Key words: Quality, salutogenesis, health, systems

PDF of Article

Be Well’r,

Craig M. Becker, PhD

Lets all make life more livable for all by generating comprehensive benefits by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

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