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The Debt Slavery Must End to Prevent Environmental Catastrophes: Will Greece Kick Start a Paradigm Shift?


The Debt Slavery Must End to Prevent Environmental Catastrophes: Will Greece Kick Start a Paradigm Shift?

Stefano Balbi

Greeks are used to make history, and they are at it again. What does the recent rise of Syriza, with the appointment of the financial minister Yanis Varoufakis, mean for global environmental change?

A not-so-subtle fil rouge, contingent upon both resource consumption and waste production, exists between economic and ecological debts. Society, blinded by the paradigm of growth, has long lost this connection. This may be the time when a wider public can reconnect the dots.


Because politicians are the most cost-effective tools known to economics.


Nice article from a fellow citizen of mine. But I cannot help to notice the disconnect between the anti-growth part of the article and the praises for Mr Varoufakis’ strongly pro-growth intended economic policies.


Yes it is a bit confusing. But the author tries to “thread the needle” by praising the ways in which the SYRIZA approach could break away from debt slavery, while providing an opening in which to challenge the growth model. Read carefully the closing two paragraphs.

The author could be clearer, and i’m wondering if this article was translated into English.


Bankruptcy is provided in the US Constitution as a means to write off debt that can NOT realistically be repaid. Probably Greece and the other weak economies in the European Union should be allowed to declare bankruptcy–with whatever portion of its debts can be paid off with its net assets paid off and the rest written off. We have too much mess already in the environment from excessive growth. It would be better to write off quite a bit of bad monetary debt than to overwhelm the natural world’s capacity to cope with human economies’ wastes.


Since the conversation has slid smoothly into resource conservation, let me address that topic.
The single most serious assault on reasonable resource usage is the insane kind of industrial design that seems to be taken for granted by everyone. There is universal acceptance, with only the merest counter-mention, of the system of designing wantonly for shoddy products which are soon discarded. The term planned obsolescence may be widely recognized but it is tossed off with a cluck of the tongue, while citizens stop to put out their garbage cans for the insane ritual of burial and burning.
At Zero Waste Institute we have shown how the entire product cycle can be altered for perpetual use. Yes, I did say that, perpetual. Once you stop reacting, and actually think and design, it soon becomes clear that this approach is indeed possible BECAUSE THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. The only way to avoid waste and garbage is by reuse. And that does not - DOES NOT - mean recycling which is a way to manage garbage only AFTER garbage is created, when it is way too late. Big Garbage loves recycling because it makes garbage creation seem non-threatening and appealing. Recycling is a scam, a religion and a failure everywhere. Zero Waste, which I invented in 1974 and then elaborated ever since, is a scientific theory of how to design product cycles around the perpetual reuse of all products with a few commonsense exceptions. Resources constitute many trillions of dollars of extraction and exhaustion every year (every month?) yet the citizens of the world lazily sleep through the crisis, irresponsibly just filling up their garbage cans and ignoring the impending doom of a stripped and empty planet. It is not possible to say much more in a limited comment. Please go to the Zero Waste Institute website (spell it out and add .org) and sign on, sign in and lets try to save the planet from one of its greatest sources of assault.