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The Foundation

The mother of all economic systems is food production in excess of requirements to support the present population and it?s projected growth rate. In the face of climate change the most resilient food production system would be a complex web of small local production, large scale regional production, and minimal large scale trans regional production. Climate, water, and soil quantity and quality are the bedrock of this productive capacity. Externalities that impact this part of the economy must be properly valued and the costs paid by the producer of the externality. The cost of eroding the foundation of our economic house should be high enough that further erosion is prevented. Restoring erosion that has already occurred must be accomplished through an investment of social and technical capital over a period, as short as possible, so that further development of sustainable civilization can proceed. Some people make a persuasive argument that civilization is, by definition, not sustainable. If this is true the any attempt to create systems for sustainable civilization will ultimately fail and will just extend the time that some form of social organization we recognize as civilized persists. In that case the decision is between a more rapid hard landing, our current system as is, and a slower softer landing, a new system, in the inevitable process of moving from an unsustainable civilized to sustainable pre civilized mode of human living. I prefer to work for a soft landing and hold out hope that if we reduce our demands on the resources of the planet and turn our ingenuity toward the task of sustainability we will find a way to create the most important of our components of civilization in a sustainable way.

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