As we move through 2016 with another unsettled Federal Government and the search for meaningful policies, I thought it was time to look at the big picture of The Economy and how to tackle present and future policy.
I’ve written a little before about Closed Loop production and Paul Guilding’s book, The Great Disruption part one and two (three is still coming), but not the big picture of the economy.
I think we are working backwards with economic policy. We start with what we have done in the past, then try to steer it towards making some concessions to our situation today. We should be working in the reverse, starting with the situation of today and then building economic discussion to a transformative yet workable outcome.
The basics are: We are the environment and part of the eco system, so should stop talking about it as if it is something separate from us. What affects one thing affects all of us, either directly or indirectly. We have a world population of 7.4 billion people, compared to 7.125 in 2013, and here are some sobering figures. Population growth at this rate is unsustainable and we are already feeling the effects of people in first world countries consuming more than the planet can provide.
Studies have shown education leads to lower fertility and greater prosperity. That in itself is an argument to prioritise free and accessible quality education to the highest level possible, for all people. Of course children can only access education if their family’s other basic needs are met, such as healthy food, safe shelter and adequate healthcare (starting with preventative by meeting the other needs). We still struggle to provide these basic necessities in Australia for all our citizens and people in our care, though it should be achievable.
Starting with where we are today, look at what we have; what is a finite resource; what is renewable; what is sustainable and what is recyclable. Sustainable and closed loop production is a principle based on how our earth runs and looking wider, we are made from star dust from the universe in a constant state of decay and regeneration. If we constantly feed our economy with resources that have either zero or little impact on the environment and ideally improve it, we are setting up an economy that is sustainable and will provide for the world’s population.
I’m interested in the Federal Government’s new Innovation agenda, that could focus on investment in technology that meets the above criteria. Technology could be widened to include all practises that add value to our planet, such as First Nations’ knowledge of fire control and burning to ensure less destructive bushfires, a costly escalating event in Australia. It could also re-fund the CSIRO recognising future-proofing our environment is an essential investment. Australia has a golden opportunity to invest in sustainable and closed loop production and transform our economy, to become an example internationally.