There is no Magic Capital Tree. The Household is the Economic Model.

Of course, there are many magic money trees – but on the contrary, there is no magic labour tree and no magic resource tree. We can still say, wagging a Theresa-like finger, “There is no magic capital tree.” We can mention it to Theresa, who needs the lesson.

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Contrary to the view of many on my side of the fence (that is, those who pursue least-destructive de-growth & so on), I say that economies are visible in the microcosm of a household. If we lose that simplicity we wander from the truth. The movement of money is another thing – and is a related, but quite different story.

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In the microcosmic household, we can explore the pursuit of resilience, sufficiency, conviviality and the good life. In that household, everything has limits. Because it has limits, it also has form, mass, scent, sound… things we can value both spiritually and by weights and measures. It is within the household that we learn the primary lessons for macroeconomics.

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There, we find capital in both labour and resource and can also pursue the sources of that capital. If future capital is to be maintained, current capital must emerge from commons of good behaviour. Capital and common are one binary system. Each exists as an idea, because of the other. Commons define the house-dweller’s proper behaviour. They define duties for maintenance of capital of future households.

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Let’s not forget that the study of economics is a branch of moral philosophy. Manipulation of the casino is quite another thing. Most who adopt the job-description of economist today, study the casino of money flow, money creation, rent of money, movement of shares and bonds – and so the ebb and flow of imports, exports, wages, and spending. But let’s not also forget that study of the casino is the study of human emotions – for instance, casinos (which some call economies) collapse neither by scarcity, or by mismanagement, but by the collapsing belief of punters. As cult fervour fades to anxiety, or ennui, so the edifice crumbles.

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Money is a useful tool and an interesting study. What is most interesting about money, is that it can be used for peace, or violence – for justice and injustice – and so even the study of money remains a branch of moral philosophy.

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Calculating the odds of the casino for the lucrative manipulation of individuals, companies, corporations and nation states is an anti-social act – it defies commons of behaviour – it mal-uses otherwise benignant tools and is the central admonition for Adam Smith’s, Wealth of Nations. Adam’s original capitalism was designed to reign-in the malignity of the casino, and to release the dexterity, ingenuity and (importantly) the probity of labour capital to understand and best-use resource capital. Probity, trust and commons are essential to the best use of capital. Adam would regulate (by law) rent, currency manipulation and trade in shares and bonds. His comparative advantages of let’s say, two neighbouring cultures would be very much apparent in the microcosm of two households within those cultures. For instance, a surplus of wine and a lack of wheat flour in one house could create a beautiful relationship with a house in the neighbouring culture, which had the opposite economic problem… If that microeconomics does not inform macroeconomics, a society becomes vulnerable. After all, intelligence of scarcity and surplus arrives through the senses of individuals.

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We should keep this simple thought in mind – money is a tool. Where it becomes an asset – where it becomes “capital”, it always becomes malign – and parasitic to the wealth of nations. That truth is simple – and also, old as the hills. The wise householder should keep it mind, when bamboozled by the complexity of macroeconomics.

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When we speak of the labour which transforms resource capital, we could note that money flow (labour wage and its spending power) should be directly related to energy flow. Amoral casino money flow has lost that relationship. All acts have consequence and so have a moral – it follows that all energy flows have consequence and a so, moral. So those who study economics, that is moral philosophers, must conclude that in this, case, amoral becomes immoral, and so should, in any proper argument, become illegal.

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Economics is very simple. What is the good life? How do we achieve it for ourselves, our descendants and our neighbours? How do we behave personally, parochially and nationally to best-use the resources we’ve been given?
But, once we act, the complexity of reaction begins.

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The casino of usury, rent, share and bond markets and so on has expanded to a mass, greater than the energy, which can sustain it. How can a solicitor maintain (solicit) £250 per hour rent for her services, when the productive labour which supports her can command no more than £4 – £10 per hour? The source is the magic money tree. Nevertheless, her rental demand destroys economies. It leads, by a slow bleeding process, to a withered economy. Her spending power is pillaging power. Of course, the magic money tree was originally born from land enclosure and the original blood-letting of land rent. Other enclosures followed, such as our solicitor’s status rent. A magic energy tree in the form of many millions of years of sequestered photosynthesis (fossil fuel) allowed the magic money tree to continue to expand beyond ordinary dreams. That energy tree was itself enclosed.

Magic trees become extremely complex within their structures, but their extent, energy and mass is very simple indeed. The magic money tree (debt capital and so on) can expand no further than the magic energy tree which drives it. Even so, in economies such as the UK and USA, the money tree has been wildly mismanage. It has grown beyond even the unprecedented, mass-giving power of fossil fuels.

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Casino collapse is inevitable. When casinos collapse, companies fold, unemployment soars, tax revenue withers and so support infrastructures – hospitals, schools, support payments, pensions… – also wither. When casinos collapse economies will also collapse. I leave it to readers to imagine what that means.

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The end of fossil fuelled economies also means a massive economic shrinking. But when modern casinos stop growing they instantly collapse. No powerful politicians can face the truth – that somehow together as a community, we must retreat to a solid and much reduced economic ground. We must accept the consequences of casino collapse. Only then, can we find ways to mitigate the effects of collapse.

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The model remains – the household.

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There is no magic ecology tree; no magic atmospheric tree; no magic resource tree; no magic labour tree; no magic ingenuity tree; no magic energy tree.
However, there is an ecology – in which we can place our economy, so that life’s respirations can maintain an atmospheric balance. We have friends, family and neighbours with a variety of skills and insights. We have historical social models of lives lived more or less happily without fossil fuels. As we shrink back from fossil fuel, so we shrink back into history – incidentally a history which needs to be re-written to explain our arrival at this pinnacle of utter folly and then, hopefully, for descendants to narrate how we’ve begun to descend to solid ground.

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Lairds, lords, squires, princes, nabobs, politicians… have never, ever had the smallest hand in the design and use of tools, and only disruptive hands in the formation of social systems. That history will resume. People, one by one make the culture. What’s more it can only be one by one, and in concert that we can find better ways to live – the good life – in the good household.

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