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The Balance of Nature?
L’Harmonie de la nature?

"Money is the universal drug with which we multiply our tendency to overthrow the balance of nature. For this reason an economic society with money-making at its core cannot be saved."
Rudolf Bahro

Do you think this statement is correct or can we save ourselves within our society?

"L’argent est la drogue universelle avec laquelle nous augmentons notre tendence de détruire l’harmonie de la nature. Pour cette raison, une société économiqe avec sa voracité pour l’argent ne peut pas être sauvée."
Rudolf Bahro

Êtes-vous d’accord avec
cet énoncé ou pensez-vous que l’on peut changer à l’intérieur de notre société?



Sylvain Henry
Ottawa, ON
January 23, 2009

 

Social capital and barter systems are increasing in popularity.
Anonymous
USA
December 23, 2006
Money is not the root of all evil. Evil has manifested itsself before the concept of a monetary policy was fully utilized. Money is just a useful tool. Like any tool, if used improperly it can cause harm. Unfortunately, it soon became a tool of power. The human race could be so much more intellectualy advanced if money was used for the good of the species and not for the selective advacement of power or the domination of others. Our cities grow based around what has the most potential for profit, not the greatest benefit.
Ken Winchiu
Ottawa, ON
July 29, 2000
An old African phrase given to my father decades ago was "Money is Satanic"
and now being reiterated by you. Having just visited South Africa again earlier this year, traveling through more desolate parts of Botswana, to meet the Shusmen displaced from their traditional grounds, because there were a threat to the indigenous animal population, I can only say keep up the good work, get your views, which are universal to a much broader global market. more next time

Patty Donovan
July 24, 2000
Another quote that Aaron Koleszar introduced me to was.....
"If the pervasive voice of advertising fell silent what would we want?"  
maybe for a social justice issue!!!! We are not here to merely to make a living.  We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand.          Woodrow Wilson

"little fox"
July 21, 2000
This society revolves around one thing first and foremost: money.  The question for me is "what is money?" If money is simply a sophisticated  form of bartering, then I think we can live well with it in a society. It is not simply a question of whether money is Good or Evil (whether we should or shouldn't have it), it is the nature of money and our attitude toward it that has to change in order for us to live in harmony with our world. The problem is not money itself, the problem is greed. There is a thing which is difficult to name, that lives inside our psyche or spirit. It speaks in a language of possession and materialism. It is the Greedy Consumer within ourselves. This being is not a part of our essential nature. It evolved within us over a great stretch of time and has now reached a point of maturity. It cannot grow anymore because it has begun consuming itself. This Greedy Consumer is at the heart of this planet as we know it today. It is at the heart of the world that agricultural society began creating thousands of years ago. Today we no longer live on Planet Earth. Although the Earth Mother is still a part of us, and we a part of her, we have made ourselves apart from her and she in a sense from us. We all grow together. We live in two worlds simultaneously: the world with the trees and 
the oceans and the mountains and the sun and the sky and the animals is the Earth. The other world we live in is the one with the Green Gables, the Pizza Delight, the McDonald's, the cars, the banks, the TV, the cell phone and the 9 to 5 job. This world we haven't named, because we have been afraid to give it a name. This world we can now name without fear. Let us reveal this world for what it truly is: Greedy Consumer World. Money is like the blood that flows through the veins of Greedy Consumer world. Just as love is the lifeblood of Planet Earth. Greedy Consumer world can't be 'solved' from within. The Greedy Consumer within us must no longer be a part of our lives if this world is to survive, which of course it will. To blame money for the condition of our reality is like blaming the fire because we keep burning ourselves. The solution is not to eliminate fire, but to understand what is in our behaviour that causes us to get burned all the time. There is a form of spiritual or psychic fire that exists in this world, and we have become completely ignorant of it. We are in denial of it. Yet look around us.  Everyone shows the signs of being burned. Our spirits suffer. We have lost touch with each other and our own Mother. We have made her another. We have made her our enemy. This is the fire that burns us as it burns within us. We have to all learn to say goodbye to every aspect of the Greedy Consumer, the strange little worm that lives at the heart of society. This creature which, in its great fear and anger towards nature, devours the land and chokes on the light of Love.

Gordon Fairchild
Grand Falls, NB
July 21, 2000
I think that a profit-motivated society is inherently strongly anti-social. 
Corporate agendas are driven only by a desire for profit. People and basic human needs (including the environment) are not considered in corporate agendas, except in terms of utilization of them as cheap natural resources and raw materials. 
A profit-motivated society also inherently encourages excess consumption and waste. This leads to corporate decisions being inherently based on profit-making maximization with scant consideration of societal or environmental concerns. Real "downstream" societal and environmental "costs" have no place in corporate agendas...except in the face of regulations or intense public pressure.

The idea that a profit-oriented economy "creates" wealth for that economy is partly just nonsense. A profit-oriented economy mostly really "redistributes" wealth within that economy and consumes/wastes large quantities of natural resources unnecessarily, thus harming the environment and widening that gap between rich and poor. "Globalization", as it is now occurring, is largely globalization of poverty and destruction of our environment.

The private sector COULD be a positive driving force for societal and environmental improvement, but short-term, profit-first oriented decisions and vision generally constrain this from happening.

Anonymous
July 20, 2000
Two things:
First) Yes, there is truth to the statement, but I wonder about the alternatives.
Within a capitalist society power is put into the hands of  those with more money.
At the other extreme, let's say a communist system, power is centralized in the government. In the capitalist system at least we have democracy (yeah, it's not perfect but it is a blessing). In a communist system, the power structure inevitably led to corruption and totalitarianism. I'm not political scientists, but that's my take on it. Case study : in northwestern Czech Republic, back in the day Czechoslovakia, near the East German and Polish borders there was a high  concentration of coal. Communist government response -- mine the hell out  of it, create generator plants all around the area, and belch SO2 into the surrounding atmosphere. You should see the forest around that region -- it's all dead. 
Not like clearcuts when we fuss over "ecological integrity" and "biodiversity". 
Dead.   The people who worked in that region were paid extra by the government --  "coffin money" they called it. I remember all this and also a comment my dad once related to me. That the though the communists would destroy the environment nearby and people could see it (and not be able to do anything about it), the capitalists would destroy the environment further away, where you can't see it. In places like Nigeria and India. So it seems to me that even when money-making is not at the core of society, power still is. Money is power in a capitalist society, but not in all societies. Thinking over the two extremes I've described, it seems that any solution should focus on the power structure in a society. I guess that would be money in a capitalist society, but perhaps by strengthening public input and participation. More real democracy. But is this just too romantic?
    Second) "Balance of nature" -- what is that supposed to mean. That's an oversimplification of the world. What is nature anyway, and how can you have a balance of something that afterall is just a construct of civilized society. "Nature" didn't exist until we constructed "civilized society" to which we could compare all the goings on that were outside of human control. 
Is this why we call nature? And then, how do we establish a balance of this. 
A "balance of nature" is romanticism, a Victorian concept of good-bad false-truth.
But things change -- this is at the heart of evolution. We have to understand where humans fit into this evolution -- are humans a part of nature? Yes, but... Anyway here's some food for thought : "the main internal paradox of the culture-nature dualism: the dependence of culture on nature becomes the stronger the more it is pretended that culture is in control of nature."

Anonymous
July 20, 2000
Money is the root of all evil... I've heard this statement time and time again throughout my life and has always seemed to make sense to me. However, living in a Capitalist society how are we suppose to avoid the issue of money.. people who have attained more are ranked higher in the eyes of the majority. The corporations and the individuals involved have no concern for the environment in which we live... those are the ones who hold the most power concerning ecological health and growth.  Their money can increase awareness to the problems we are faced with concerning our environment.  The solution is to convince the world that money is not what is most important...but this has been fought with for years so what evidence is there that this thought will ever fill the minds of the majority?
Anik Simard,
July 13, 2000
J'ai lu vite le commentaire à propos de l'argent qui est une menace pour nous et je suis d'accord, puisque si les compagnies ne seraient pas concernées par cet aspect, les coupes de bois seraient faites en fonction des besoins de la forêt, les porcheries industrielles qui regardent une truie comme 60$ de gain ou de perte n'existeraient plus. Les cochons seraient dehors au grand air et maingerais autre chose que la moulée industielle. Finalement on voit parfaitement l'impact et le contrôle qu'exerce sur nous l'argent avec ce petit anecdote:  Guy et moi faisons des tournées guidées en canot lors desquelles nous amenons nos visiteurs sur l'île des Loup-garou. En été c'est une péninsule avec accès par canot et vtt. Après le tournoi de pêche annuel de la région, il faut toujours aller à cet endroit avant d'y amener nos visiteurs puisque ceux-ci y laisse leur débris de la fin de semaine. À notre première visite, on constate l'inévitable: bouteille de bières, couverte mouillée, chaise brisée, papier de toilette recouvrant les bsoins ainsi que des débris de tout genre. Comme le but de notre visite est de se reposer, nous n'avons pas amener assez de sac pour tout ramasser. Guy propose d'y retourner le lendemain pour tout ramasser. À notre duexième visite, quelle surprise, le ménage à été partiellement fait.  Toutes les bouteilles ont disparues! C'est l'argent qui à incitée les visiteurs antérieurs à ramasser les bouteilles mais tout le reste est demeuré. Alors il faut se rendre à l'évidence: ON se ramasse si ça paye, aussi peu que ça paye!!!!
Mark Connell,
Sussex Society for Public Interest, 
July 12, 2000
Rudof Bahro's statement is empirically correct as well as a brilliant tragic comic poetic statement on the human artifact - money. Money through usury must increase at a greater rate than ecological health or environmental growth. 
eg.  Trees grow at 2 to 3% per annum while money grows at 4-6% per annum. 
Money was created originally to facilitate barter but has been co-opter through usurey (the charging of interest) to become a tool of enriching marketers more than primary producers. So hence we have the irony of the most productive people being paid the least in a capitalist economy. In order to obtain environmental health no economy should be able to loan money at a higher rate than the lowest rate of growth of biota especially critical biota in delicate ecosystems. 
Namasté

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