Eco-economics: a few questions and thoughts
The whole idea of Eco-economics seems strange to me. I know that this is late, and that this was a topic we discussed about four days ago, but this is something I’ve been thinking about and wanted to process it more through this post.
If it is true that “Everyone should make their living based on their true contribution to the human ecology” (298), then that seems to me like mixing things don’t, more like cannot, relate. The argument of the human ecology takes a specifically naturalist point of view, claiming the superiority of efficiency over true human value. I suppose part of it is that idea of history that Robinson is playing off of in the chapter titled “Falling into History.” The people here on Mars have the opportunity to create an entirely different social structure and way to look at monetary incentives, based on real physical expenses. And the way that this eco-economical system is posed implies that people do not pay what is valuable to human kind. But I think here there is a breakdown semantically. There is the human ecology and there is the human kind, both of which, in a way speak about the same thing, but then with each its second word turn the idea in a different direction.
History would show us that we do pay people, in a more Western structure, based on contribution. At the top, generally are artists or athletes. This would speak more to what it means to be human, that this idea of a human ecology. In the human ecology, there would be higher pay based on practicality, which almost seems unfair if those things are such necessities. I can imagine a situation in which the plumber makes more than the artist, but then the plumber losing his job because people cannot continue to pay the plumber what he would make out of practicality. In this way, I think the eco-economical system is flawed.
It is also trying in itself to merge the ideas of ecocentrism and anthropocentrism in a manner that it shouldn’t. To be paid is a specifically anthropocentric thing in that it serves no other purpose other than the advancement of man. It does not have special benefit to the environment as a whole; in fact money is a large reason, if not the driving reason, the environment is the way that it is. It exists out of a man-designed need and therefore it seems strange to try to contextualize the economy in terms of ecology. It seems a bit like trying to create blue flavored milk. Someone might be able to make milk blue, but in the end, blue is a color and not a flavor and therefore the two are at a disconnect. An attempt to but an environmental motivation or context on a supremely anthropocentric construction will always be difficult, if not nearly impossible.