"we can break real wealth into two discrete forms. Primary wealth is the wealth of the land and its functioning ecosystems. It is clear air, fresh water, thick ore bodies, and rich soils:
Secondary wealth is a finished form produced from raw materials. It is primary wealth brought to market. It is fresh produce on the grocery shelf, cut lumber (or even a fully-constructed building), and rolled steel in giant coils:
Tertiary wealth, on the other hand, is not actually “real”. But most people mistake it as a comprehensive representation of “wealth”.
Similar to money, tertiary wealth is merely a claim on primary and/or secondary wealth.
We’re facing this approaching crisis for two main reasons. One, we’re repeating the forgetfulness and hubris of previous societies. And two, the complexities of our current situation are more challenging than ever before.
Many of our actions are driven by the strong human preference to push our current problems into the future. When problems and predicaments are compounding/exponential in nature like those we’re currently facing, every can-kicking deferment only makes the pain much greater when it finally arrives.
And as for the increased complexities, for the first time in our history as a global species, we are waking up to the fact that the world is no longer our infinite treasure basket with an unlimited ability to absorb our waste streams.
Instead, it is finite. And its already groaning under the weight of one unit of global GDP extraction and waste. The central banks are tirelessly seeking to double the size of the economy, and then double it again.
One can easily make the argument that 1x GDP is already ‘too much’ for the planet. Disappearing fishes, soil, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and large animals all indicate that ‘too much’ was a while ago."