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"What does Today Owe Tomorrow?"

Anne Dalke's picture
an economic analysis ending with the claim that this is actually not an economic question,
but rather a question of how much we believe we owe those living in the future...


Student 24's picture

On the others' hands

This article makes me want to explore the idea of our responsibility to the environment and our responsibility to the economy. Just briefly, it seems that our agency to think and act towards our environment requires awareness, consciousness and presence in our behaviour and dialogue. Responsibility to the economic system, on the other hand, seems to have been taught to me as a system that functions best when people, or at least consumers, don’t know what is really going on. If consumers don’t know that there is a recession, or what a recession is, then they will not become frightened and proceed to save all their money, rather than to keep spending. The action of saving, and taking money out of the money flow, is in fact just an additional trigger for pushing the recession to continue, rather the economy stabilise and heal. So, again, if people don’t have access to news stories about economic disasters, they won’t panic and further perpetuate an economic disaster. It’s curious how our environmental responsibility must be made into news stories and have media coverage. Otherwise we won’t know that the crisis exists and that we have to change our current behaviour that is perpetuating the downfall of our environmental stability. Ironically, in a large part it is our economic behaviour and activity that exploits the stability and resourcefulness of our planet’s environment, so which path do we choose?

There is a quote I saw once on a poster: “We do not receive the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” I've started to think about this in terms of construction, infrastructure, and the human-made shelters that shape our social world. What about 'natural disasters'? Is it a disaster that nature is behaving precisely as it was self-designed to? Or, rather, is the disaster that we have not built stable enough shelter systems to protect/preserve us in the event of these disasters? Buildings that were built before our existance, by our ancestors, are now crumbling, instable, and insecure. What we are now building will become as such for our children in future generations. Building properly and securely is expensive, requires room, resources, and commitment. Most importantly, it requires foresight and concern for current and future inhabitants of the shelter.

But I still can't answer the question of to what extent we are responsible for our children. Also, if against our personal will we were biologically programmed to reproduce and produce children, then should we be held personally responsible? Or is biology to blame? For our existance?