Thursday, April 28, 2011

The men in the picture --King Canute and his courtiers

As one great Boyer lecture series author ( John Passmore ) said . King Canute was an enormously effective leader. How then does he get this reputation as a bit of a dill  by taking his courtiers to the sea and showing them the waves .
He was clearly one of the those people we call conservationists and also had his commonwealth at heart  . He wanted to show them that nature however bountiful had limits and they were ,  like so many , inclined to ignore them . The sea for example had power we could not control.

He was also a commonwealth man - there for all the people not just the rich . Look  at all the land he ruled over .
His country was running out of lead to export . We will run out of iron and we will have less and less cheap oil . The point is while we need not run out completely our attitude is the problem ; a false sense of confidence is apparent in the audience of  what was a competent governing group .
Unlike our present leaders,  I don't think generalized taxing or the particular resource cost is the issue - its the lack of foresight and the uneccesary waste that blatant lack of planning and specific taxation generates for our children to have to pay for .

Waste dressed up as growth

In economic analysis, greed can easily hide inside consumption need. In our commonwealth there is always what we would like and what we need. When we have lots of money, it's also easy to pretend there is no difference between the 2 or even no such thing as limits. Greed and economic strength can together distort our view of consumption and basic economic needs. In what way should our governments try to manage galloping consumption and distorted access to our shared resources?