Earth Manifesto publication by Dr. Tiffany B. Twain
economic system has natural tendencies towards growth and recession. It has boomed, and gone bust, on an irregular
basis throughout our nation’s history. The Great Depression of the 1930's was caused by speculative
excesses, and since then the government has been given an ever-bigger role in
managing the economy and creating jobs and establishing a social safety net. The federal government has increased
government spending to increase employment, and used stimulative monetary
policy and the expansion of the military as primary methods of creating jobs.
in government spending is almost a contradiction in terms. Government employment has natural
propensities to resist responsible discipline. It is bureaucratic, inefficient, wasteful, and ridiculously
entrenched. And, because it is so
extremely hard to downsize, it is the antithesis of free-market efficiency.
businesses are the engine of economic growth, and public policy should provide
incentives for their success. Big
businesses unfortunately wield greater power, so they consequently capitalize
unfairly on their power to gain for themselves more regulatory loopholes and
benefits and subsidies.
are living in a human bubble of rapid population growth and increasing
consumption. We are unsustainably
exploiting finite mineral resources, and destroying old-growth forests, and depleting
fish stocks, and producing enormous amounts of wastes and pollutants.
disruption that will be caused by the bursting of our bubble of unsustainable
consumption will increase as long as we delay making courageous efforts to
address economic waste and immoderate propensities of humanity. We are conducting our affairs and living our
lives like spendthrift gamblers.
the real estate bubble as an example of the risks that we are undertaking by
providing powerful short-term incentives to benefit speculators. Tax incentives
made real estate a hot commodity through 2006.
Homeowners were happy with the appreciation in their equity, so they
borrowed against it like spendthrift fools.
The government had introduced more and more speculative influences into
the market, including large tax cuts, tax breaks for mortgage debt interest
expenses, large capital gains exclusions for real estate profits, low interest
rates, and ever-more risky financing. Real estate was finally amped up until it was significantly
overpriced. This strategy was a
powerful engine of consumerism and economic growth, with hundreds of billions
of dollars being borrowed against bubble-level increases in home equity being
used to buy things.
estate speculation was bad news for poor people who could not afford homes. It was also bad for first time home buyers who
hoped to own a reasonably-priced place to live, and for those no doubt lazy
homeless people we wish would just go away. And of course it contributed significantly to unwise development
and obscenely big houses for the wealthy.
It caused profligate usages of timber and building materials, and
selfishly wasteful consumption of water and energy resources.
area where bubble economics affects us is in energy costs. Economists note that there is an ‘inelasticity
of demand’ for oil in the short term. Demand
for oil does not immediately decrease proportional to price increases, due to
the fact that human behaviors do not change easily -- behaviors like driving
alone, squandering gasoline needlessly, and avoiding the use of public
transportation. And of course we have a
built in profligacy of poor mileage vehicles and enormous SUV's and those
offensive urban-assault vehicle Hummers that were popular until gasoline prices
began to skyrocket.
say that in a similar way there is an astonishing inelasticity of political
will in America. Political parties are
stubborn, inflexible and extremely partisan. They are so beholden to Vested Interests that they do not give good
citizen goals adequate priority, so our societies become less able to adapt
with agility. It is amazing how little
time elapsed after Hurricane Katrina revealed the extensive degree of poverty,
inequities, poor emergency preparedness and infrastructure vulnerabilities in
the South before political cronyism kicked back in, and dogmatic wrangling
began over how to exploit the circumstances to private advantage rather than
improve the situation.
hijacked natural concern for hurricane victims in order to further advance
their pet projects and their doctrinaire initiatives. The usual causes came to the fore: taxes were cut for the wealthy and
privileged, environmental regulations were reduced, and generous no-bid
reconstruction contracts were given to giant corporations like Halliburton that
were cronies of in-crowd interests. Biological
diversity was assaulted by emasculating the Endangered Species Act, natural
resource exploitation was accelerated, and conservation measures and solar
energy alternatives were avoided. Increased
subsidies were given to Big Oil instead of pursuing paths that would have
reduced our risky dependence on fossil fuels.
The Davis/Bacon Act that ensures workers are paid fair wages was
suspended. And social programs that
benefit the poor were cut.
guys --- Have cynicism, corruption and myopia no bounds?!
overarching Bubble of American Military Supremacy also lurks in the background,
a reflection of Neoconservative ideologies of aggressive military adventurism. And we continue to allow Churches
overweening influence in setting policies that obstruct contraception and
family planning prerogatives.
believe we can do better, and that it is our social responsibility to find ways
to achieve this goal!