Monday, September 25, 2006

How Green Or Brown Are Your Work, Leisure, And Saving, Planning, and Giving Behavioral Patterns?

"Gross domestic product, the leading economic measurement, is outdated and misleading.

Long the standard scorecard for any national economy, GDP has become deficient as a measure of long-term economic health in our resource-driven, globalizing world.

Think about it. It's like grading a corporation based on one day's cash flow and forgetting to depreciate assets and other costs.

In today's business reality, where intangible assets have become increasingly important, cash flow can be a particularly bad indicator of a company's value. A startup can have no cash flow and yet be creating a software program of immense value. A company with positive cash flow can be running itself into the ground as its capital depreciates. Economies are no different.

That's why economists looking for an alternative accounting framework to supplement the use of GDP are considering a new measure: green net national product.

The "green" means that GDP must be reduced to take into account the depletion of natural resources and the degradation of the environment - just as a company must depreciate both its tangible and intangible assets. "Net" national product (NNP) means that there has to be an adjustment for the depreciation of the country's physical assets"....

Joseph Stiglitz "Good numbers gone bad: Why relying on GDP as a leading economic gauge can lead to poor decision-making" Fortune Magazine September 25, 2006

Mountaintop Removal/Valley Fill Mining In The Eastern United States

"Mountaintop removal mining provides a key example about how Ecology, Global Change, and Human Rights can intersect. This issue is also much harder to externalize, as this is not a foreign nation, but right here in the United States. Mountaintop Removal/Valley Fill (MTR/VF) mining involves the systematic demolition and stripping of plants, soil, and bedrock from mountains in order to extract coal seams. The plants, soil, and bedrock (known as "overburden" in the mining industry) are then dumped into adjacent valley to form a fill. Previous techniques of coal mining, such as shaft and contour strip mining, had severe environmental and ecological impacts; however, MTR/VF's damage dwarfs other methods."

Photo and caption credit: Sean Berthrong "Until the Mountains Crumble to Dust ..." Duke University Department of Biology. With thanks.


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