I identify two very different types of debt:
- towards human creditors, or
- towards natural or social phenomena.
Debt towards human creditors is the most visible form of debt. It is recorded in public or private accounts, and is the purpose of active monitoring, in order to ensure that the debtor keeps a sustainable capacity to pay the creditor back. The rights of creditors are defended by national and international law.
However, debt towards humans is not as hard as what could appear prima facie.
Continue reading “Debt towards humans, or towards natural / social phenomena? Classical accounting gives the wrong answer”
The ultimate goal of public policy in the 21st century may be expressed in very simple terms: ensure good living conditions to the population – while respecting the 9 environmental planetary boundaries that set limits to our production and consumption (climate change; rate of biodiversity loss; interference with the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles; stratospheric ozone depletion; ocean acidification; global freshwater use; change in land use; chemical pollution; and atmospheric aerosol loading). Is this goal achievable? The answer is yes, because it has already been achieved by one country: Costa-Rica. The good news is: this achievement is the outcome of deliberate policies, not of mere chance.
Continue reading “Costa-Rica as a role model for humanity”
(Picture: Total capture of North Atlantic cod, from 1950 to 2000, in thousands of tonnes. Graphic by Epipelagic — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19281989)
For over 500 years, fishermen from Canada, but also from Europe (Spain, Portugal, France, Germany) had been fishing the abundant banks of North Atlantic cod around Newfoundland in Canada. Pierre Loti, in his novel “an Iceland fisherman” published in 1886, describes the “myriads upon myriads of fish, all alike, gliding slowly in the same direction”, which could be seen immediately below the surface of the sea, “plainly distinguished through the transparency”, and illustrates the fantastic plenty of these cod banks, where fishermen just needed to drop their lines, see the cod biting the hooks, haul the lines, take the cod off the hooks, and throw the lines over and over again. A fisherman’s dream, explaining why boats travelled from Europe, thousands of kilometres across the Ocean, to participate in this bounty.
Continue reading “Collapse of cod fishing around Newfoundland (Canada): a metaphor for our unsustainable and over-confident societies?”