Insane Economics

Insane Economics

Eric R. Pianka

Our current economic system is fatally flawed because it is based on the principle of a chain letter, i. e. a Ponzi scheme. Growth simply cannot continue indefinitely in a world of finite resources. So-called "neo-economics" or"macroeconomics" is based upon extracting resources from nature as fast as posssible to support perpetual "growth". Our economic "system" quite simply rapes nature for dollars (Neoclassical Economics).

Arctic Methane Emergency: Economy vs. Ecology

Daly (1991,1997) is a widely-ignored sane voice crying in the insane dark begging classical economists to wake up and embrace an equilibrium sustainable system. Coupling such insane economics with runaway greed results in recessions and inevitably leads to economic depression. If we ever hope to reach a stable sustainable state, we need to overhaul our economic system.

Competition is ubiquitous wherever resources are in short supply. Plants compete for light and water. Fungi and microbes compete for nutrients. Animals compete for food and space. Competition leads to greedy behaviors. Greed is a natural human instinct -- all of us are selfish and greedy at heart, and for sound evolutionary reasons. In times of scarcity, a greedy cave man was more likely to survive and reproduce than a generous one who shared his limited resources with the less fortunate. We have been programmed by natural selection to be selfish.

Money has allowed the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor. A wise woman from a third world country once said at the UN "If the rich countries refuse to share their wealth with us, we will certainly share our poverty with them." We need a more egalitarian society with assured health care, shelter, food, and water for all. What's the point of having more than you can actually use? No one should own more than he/she could earn with his/her own effort and skill. How much money does one human being need? Runaway greed is obscene.

Humans, especially Americans, have institutionalized greed-- we allow, even encourage, runaway greed. Our political and economic systems are designed to facilitate greed. Greed is the underlying driving force for both capitalism and entrepreneurship. Our banking and insurance companies, coupled with the formation of limited liability corporations were designed to allow greed to explode. Greedy speculators have driven up food and fuel prices. Corporations control politicians, who pass legislation that allows tax evasion and assures obscene corporate profits. Runaway human greed threatens our future.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, any attempt to control greed will be strenuously opposed, especially by the wealthy. It may be impossible to overcome such destructive human instinctive behaviors. Runaway greed could consume us all.

Arctic Methane Emergency: Economy vs. Ecology

Krugman: Zombie Economics

Nadeau: Brother, Can You Spare Me a Planet?

Pianka: Corporations

Pianka: The Weakest Link

Pianka: Overpopulation: The Real Crisis

Pianka: Can Human Instincts Be Controlled? Download pdf

Nicole Foss Video: Peak Oil & Economic Crisis

Nicole Foss: Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality


Boulding, K. E. 1966. The Coming Spaceship Earth

Daly, H. E. 1991. Steady-State Economics. Island Press, Washington, D. C.

Daly, H. E. 1997. Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. Beacon Press

Daly, H. E. 2005. Economics in a Full World. Scientific American.

Douthwaite, R. Download Douthwaite essay on money

Douthwaite, R. "Short Circuit"

Douthwaite, R. "The Ecology of Money"

Mill, J. S. 1859. On Liberty. Ticknor and Fields, Boston. Read Mill's The Art of Living

Nadeau, R. 2008. The Economist has No Clothes. Scientific American, April 2008, p. 42.

Zency, Eric. 2009. Mr. Soddy's Ecological Economy. New York Times, April 12, 2009.

See also Economic Collapse

Last updated 21 February 2015 by Eric R. Pianka