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The Trickle Down Illusion

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Ecology, Featured | 0 comments

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Garbage in the waterWe live in a strange time period.
While we destroy nature in the name of consumerism and profit the underlying economic ideology is the so-called Trickle Down effect.

I am not an economist, but let me try to explain how I see it.
The advocates of the Neo-liberal (1) Trickle-down economics (2) assert, that the pot has to be filled up. When it is filled up, than the superfluous liquid in the pot will trickle down.
The pot is synonymous for the affluent people in society and the people at the bottom will get wet from what trickles down.

The idea started already in the 19. Century, but with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher it became formal policies. And this way of thinking has survived until this very day.

But if we look at the situation in the USA and Europe the very idea of Neo-liberalism doesn’t really show much success. Let me quantify it. For the rich it was very successful.
The rich got simply richer. To be sure more people got rich than in any time in the past. Still the middle class got decimated and more people slid into poverty.

If the theory of the Trickle-down economics would be true, with all this accumulated wealth in the hand of a handful of people, it should be pouring down and not just trickle.
Not much has trickled down. Simply the pot got bigger. Today 85 people hold more wealth than half the population on earth (3).

A healthy economy needs a certain growth. The question is, how much of a growth is healthy and sustainable? That our present economic ideology is not sustainable in the long run is obvious.

Humanity is destroying nature. Everyone (almost!) who wants to know about it can know about it. With the Internet at our instant disposal it shouldn’t be any problem.
One of the key factors of the economic growth is based on depleting natural resources. Look at what happens with the forests. Or, as another example, oil. Our whole economy is based on oil. No more oil and the house of cards will come tumbling down.
While products made of oil poison our oceans. Why? Because those products are so cheap that no one really cares about how we dispose of it (4).

The alternatives, like hydrogen, already exist. It just can’t compete with the price of oil. Therefore the technology is not employed.
Hydrogen is, of course, not the sole answer to our never-ending energy hunger. Only a healthy diversity of energy production is the answer. Which should be produced locally. Energies such Solar, Wind, Hydro and Bio-gas.
But local energy production and local economies are not the stuff big profits are made of. And therefore are not supported.

The profit maximization is the real culprit. The underlying contradiction of unlimited growth in the limited space of earth is not sustainable. It is the expression of human hubris to think, that nature will bend to our will.

Let us, just for a moment, assume that Climate Change is caused by human activities. But, you will say, it is not scientifically proven. The answer is a simple one. No one can dispute the damage humans cause to nature. As before mentioned, everyone with a computer can find the proof.

We really have to ask ourselves, what is more important to us. On the one hand our bloated profits and the convenience of consumerism?
Is our economic system sacrosanct or is a healthy and balanced nature more important.
Do we need a Trickle-down economy or a Trickle-down ecology?
The answer should be obvious to anyone!


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For further reading:

  1. Neo Liberalism

2. Trickle Down Theory

3. Richest People

4. Great Pacific Garbage Patch




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