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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 20 February 2015 at 3:28pm
Home Economics

by Wendell Berry



"The 'free market' is economic Darwinism, with one critical qualification. Whereas the Darwinian biologists have always acknowledged the violence of the competitive principle, the political Darwinians have been unable to resist the temptation to suggest that on the 'free market' both predator and prey are beneficiaries. When economic ruin occurs, according to this view, it occurs only as a result of economic justice. Thus, David Stockman could suggest that the present dispossession of thousands of farm families is merely the result of the working of a 'dynamic economy,' which compensates their losses by 'massive explosions of new jobs and investment . . . occurring elsewhere, in Silicon Valley.' That these failures and successes are not happening to the same people or even to the same groups of people is an insight beyond the reach of Mr. Stockman's equipment. By his reasoning, we may readily see that the poverty of the poor is justified by the richness of the rich."

. . .

"[Fallacy] That productivity is a sufficient standard of production.

"American agriculture is fantastically productive, and by now we all ought to know it. That American agriculture is also fantastically expensive is less known, but it is equally undeniable, even though the costs have not yet entered into the official accounting. The costs are in loss of soil, in loss of farms and farmers, in soil and water pollution, in food pollution, in the decay of country towns and communities, and in the increasing vulnerability of the food supply system. The statistics of productivity alone cannot show these costs. We are nevertheless approaching a 'bottom line' that is not on our books."

"[D]ay by day, we are acting out the plot of a murderous paradox: an 'economy' that leads to extravagance. Our great fault as a people is that we do not take care of things. Our economy is such that we say we 'cannot afford' to take care of things: Labor is expensive, time is expensive, money is expensive, but materials--the stuff of creation-- are so cheap that we cannot afford to take care of them. The wrecking ball is characteristic of our way with materials. We 'cannot afford' to log a forest selectively, to mine without destroying topography, or to farm without catastrophic soil erosion. A production-oriented economy can indeed live in this way, but only so long as production lasts.

...

"If economy means 'management of a household,' then we have a system of national accounting that bears no resemblance to the national economy whatsoever, for it is not the record of our life at home but the fever chart of our consumption. national economy--the health of which might be indicated by our net national product, derived by subtracting our real losses from our real gains--is perhaps a top secret, the existence of which even the government has not yet suspected.

"One reason for this is the geographical separation that frequently exists between losses and gains. Agricultural losses occur on the farm and in farming communities, whereas the great gains of agriculture all occur in cities, just as the profits from coal are realized mainly in cities far from where the coal is mined. Almost always the profit is realized by people who are under no pressure or obligation to realize the losses-- people, that is, who are so positioned by wealth and power that they need assign no value at all to what is lost. The cost of soil erosion is not deducted from the profit on a packaged beefsteak, just as the loss of forest, topsoil, and human homes on a Kentucky mountainside does not reduce the profit on a ton of coal."

"If in the human economy, a squash in the field is worth more than a bushel of soil, that does not mean that food is more valuable than soil; it means simply that we do not know how to value the soil. In its complexity and its potential longevity, the soil exceeds our comprehension; we do not know how to place a just market value on it, and we will never learn how. Its value is inestimable; we must value it, beyond whatever price we put on it, by respecting it."

"But when nothing is valued for what it is, everything is destined to be wasted. Once the values of things refer only to their future usefulness, then an infinite withdrawal of value from the living present has begun. Nothing (and nobody) can then exist that is not theoretically replaceable by something (or somebody) more valuable. The country that we (or some of us) had thought to make our home becomes instead 'a nation rich in natural resources'; the good bounty of the land begins its mechanical metamorphosis into junk, garbage, silt, poison, and other forms of 'waste.'

"The inevitable result of such an economy is that no farm or any other usable property can safely be regarded by anyone as a home, no home is ultimately worthy of our loyalty, nothing is ultimately worth doing, and no place or task or person is worth a lifetime's devotion. 'Waste,' in such an economy, must eventually include several categories of humans--the unborn, the old, 'disinvested' farmers, the unemployed, the 'unemployable.' Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource, we are all sliding downward toward the ashheap or the dump."



http://www.ecobooks.com/books/homecon.htm

Edited by a well wisher - 20 February 2015 at 3:31pm
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 23 February 2015 at 3:16pm
False Economies and False Gods

This morning I was re-reading my favorite Wendell Berry essay, “Discipline and Hope,” which has become an essential text for me in trying to understand the meaning and implications of Slow Church. I was struck today by a short passage on the ways we have come to idolize the present economy. Berry writes:

“If the Golden Rule were generally observed among us, the economy would not last a week. We have made our false economy a false god, and it has made blasphemy of the truth. So I have met the economy in the road, and am expected to yield it right of way. But I will not get over. My reason is that I am a man, and have a better right to the ground than the economy. The economy is no god for me, for I have had too close a look at its wheels. I have seen it at work in the strip mines and coal camps of Kentucky, and I know it has no moral limits.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about economics, partly because it is election season, but also because there is still too much dissonance in my own life between what I say I believe about God’s abundant economy and the way I actually operate. Too often I’m ungrateful, inattentive, and consumeristic (Berry describes consumerism as that venerable American doctrine that says “if enough is good, too much is better”). I’m quick to submit to an economy that is sometimes in outright opposition to the “deep magic” that orders the universe. (My daughter and I are going through The Chronicles of Narnia, so I’ve been thinking a lot about “deep magic” too.)

The economic machine has as its goal limitless growth, which requires an infinity of fuel, separates the end from the means, and prizes abstraction, quantity, efficiency, and speed over mindfulness, quality, discipline, and relationships. (Over the last four years, we’ve caught a glimpse of what happens when the machine seizes up.) Many Christians who oppose the teaching of evolution in school accept unquestioningly an economic Darwinism that exalts competition, scoffs at cooperation, and leaves for dead the slow and straggling wounded.
“A better alternative is a better economy,” writes Berry. “But we will not conceive the possibility of a better economy, and therefore will not begin to change, until we quit deifying the present one.”

Quit deifying the present economy, yes, and start defying it too by living into the Great Economy. The Great Economy, Berry has written elsewhere, includes everything, connects everything to everything, comprehends humans but cannot be fully comprehended by humans, has no end, and cannot be violated for long. The metaphor that comes to my mind is one of an electrical system. When we quit deifying the present economy, we go off-grid. But when we submit our little economies to the Great Economy of God’s abundant provision – a choice we make one way or another, dozens of times a day – we’re plugging into the deep magic, so to speak, of loaves and fishes, of daily bread, of discipline and hope, of “do unto others,” of plenty to go around, and of sharing that begets not depletion but fullness.


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slowchurch/2012/09/11/false-economies-and-false-gods/
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 25 February 2015 at 4:45pm
The Surprising Truth of Sufficiency

We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.

In our relationship with money, it is using money in a way that expresses our integrity; using it in a way that expresses value rather than determines value. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resrouces. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough. [...]

I am not suggesting that there is ample water in the desert or food for the beggards in Bombay. I am saying that even in the presence of genuine scarcity of external resources, the desire and capacity for self-sufficiency are innate and enough to meet the challenges we face. It is precisely when we turn our attentions to these inner resources – in fact, only when we do that – that we can begin to see more clearly the sufficiency in us and available to us, and we can begin to generate effective, sustainable responses to whatever limitations of resources confront us. When we let go of the chase for more, and consciously examine and experience the resources we already have, we discover our resources are deeper than we knew or imagined. In the nourishment of our attention, our assets expand and grow.

--Lynne Twist, in Soul of Money
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 19 February 2019 at 3:59pm

The paradox of hunger in the world


It is estimated that a billion people worldwide suffered from starvation in 2012. This means 1 person out of 7. However, our planet produces enough to feed its entire population. Hunger should therefore not exist...


(8 mins)
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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