7.07.2004

Pop n Locke

The Lockean Proviso, named after that supafly John Locke, states that the right to take goods from the natural commons (ie: resources in the public domain) is limited by the consideration that "there was still enough, and as good left; and more than the yet unprovided could use;". This is, in essence, the definition of a sustainable resource and we, as a society, need to embrace this more fully.

If humans are to keep this house in order, we need to enact sound policies throughout our existence. We need population control to maintain the consumption/production ratio as close to one as possible. We need to enact production controls to ensure that goods and services do not consume an unreasonable amount of materials in their making, an unreasonable amount of energy in their use or leave behind an unreasonable amount of waste in their wake.

There's a problem though. In a capitalist world, this will never be done voluntarily. It eats away at the bottom line. Enacting all those policies would bloat the overhead to such an overblown state that the pricing would have to be through the roof to generate any kind of profit. And no one does anything on a large scale unless there's profit involved.

Even if there was some magical entity that would do all of this, the pricing would still be out of the range of those with the fewest resources. You are still catering to the elite by providing sound and sustainable goods and services.

To achieve this in an affordable manner will require a massive investment in technology. Where does this money come from? Government and corporations. Governments because it's in a nation's interest to be efficient and sustainable. Corporations because some of them are big enough to have a longer term picture.

Consumers need to rein in their "want = get" instincts. A culture of disposability, a snobbery towards that which isn't pristine and fashion cycles of ever-diminshing lengths creates a huge throughput of material and energy that is simply wasted. Garbage in and garbage out.

Until then, there is not enough, the dregs remain and time is ticking. Locke warned us.