Money is a common means of exchange. Most work and assets can be measured in terms of money. However, there are many things that cannot be measured in money terms. (The cynic is one who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.)
‘People who stand in front of bulldozers in protest against logging, still lend their money to the banks that fund such projects’. Michel Fanton
Wealth is stored Energy
Wealth is an abundance of energy. This can be in the form of vegetable, animal, and other materials and or forces (wind, tidal, sun, etc.) or services (people’s time).
Energy stored is wealth. On the basic level there is food in the garden, woodlots, seed, pots and pans, animals, skins, support people. On a larger scale there is stored energy in the form of bulk supplies of grain, surplus animals, water in dams, etc. On the community level there is indebtedness from one person to another, combined resources shared and maintained and the potential to create bigger structures. These can be tangible such as housing. And less tangible such as education with community effort.
A community can aim to contain its wealth by buying local products and services. It can also maximise its natural resources such as solar and wind, clean water and soil.
Through the passive use of free energy sources our energy supply is not limited. We can increase the storage of the energy supplied by the use of natural stores such as trees (which store water and sun through photosynthesis). We can increase storage of rain water with dams, swales and soil cover (mulch) and we can increase the capture of condensation with canopy on food gardens.
By ensuring that all persons in the community are valued and well employed we also maximise the community wealth.
When we view wealth as that which comes from energy, especially natural energy sources, we can see that we all have the potential for greater clean wealth.
One of the current abuses of wealth is the use of ancient stores of wealth to our own detriment – i.e. pollution from fossil fuels, loss of diversity from forest destruction, loss of soil from broadacre farming and more.
Future generations are going to have debts to carry before they can even store wealth:
They will be accustomed to the false wealth levels enjoyed by the generations which used up fossil fuels (stored wealth)
They will be spending wealth cleaning up the mess, and many today are already doing this.
We can aim to both enjoy clean wealth and store it for future generations. We can establish and develop cultures that are in tune with the resources they depend upon, we can all aim to be productive in a wide range of skills including being responsible for our food on the table.
“A people without a common agreed upon basis to their actions is neither a community or a nation… Sustainable societies emphasize the responsibilities of people to nature, equal to those of people to people.”
-Bill Mollison: Designers Manual.