I just saw The 11th Hour, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film about the state of the planet and what it will take for us to clean things up. It’s the first such movie I’ve seen that actually presents the start of a vision of the kind of world we’ll need to create.

One conspicuously unanswered question is: what would the economic system have to look like in a sustainable world? Almost by definition, growth could no longer be used as a goal or measure of success, since we would not be designing for obsolescence, and would be reusing as much as possible, thus limiting the total amount of stuff being cycled through the world’s material-goods inventory.

What would a successful business’s goals be?

How would we decide to allocate money and resources?

Since a developing countries fall back on non-green technologies because they’re cheaper to build and develop, what would we do to prevent that? Would we just give them money? Technology? What would that even mean? Would we suspend the idea of money for the time it takes to transfer the technology to them, and just work for free?

I have absolutely no ideas on this one, but would love to hear from some folks out there who can conceive of economic systems.

The 11th Hour: What would the economic system look…

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