Opensewer Gathering #7
Attaching Value
November 9-17, 2000.

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This was our first Opensewer gathering in three separate locations: Cleveland, Ohio, New York, New York, and Ithaca, New York. Attendance continues to rise (or at least hold steady) at all gatherings, as we attempt to expand our venue for critical thought and discussion to those who want it all around the country.

THIS MEETING'S CHARGE : How do we attach value to the things of this world?

One of the underlying tenets of American culture is that our well-being is defined in terms of dollars and cents. We equate economic well-being with social well-being.

As our American culture evolves, some are becoming discontent with this method of valuation. From WTO protests to grassroots "Not in My Backyard" organizers around the country, it is obvious that at least some portion of society is not happy with the current ways of attaching value to things.

However, throughout history, economics has been (mostly) the driving force that has made us develop new technologies, discover new lands, and improve standards of living. Who can argue that these are not good things? And they came primarily from the pursuit of wealth.

The question: Do we need a new method of valuation- a new indicator of progress? Or is it true that, in the long run, what is best for the economy is truly best for society in general?


Here is the reading material we used for the meeting:

"The Growth Consensus Unravels," by Jonathan Rowe.

Optional: "The Genuine Progress Indicator"

Optional: "The Value of the World's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital," by Robert Costanza, et al.

Optional: "Wealth and Sustainability"


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