Saturday, October 23, 2010

Performance & power

As a caveat, I should say that I'm only a third of the way through Nature: An Economic History, (by the quote earlier, you can see that it's not a book that you just zip through), but I'm thinking quite a bit about the concept of power that is one of the central themes of the book. Nature selects for performance. Performance is measured by power. Power, for Vermeij, is energy, advantage, the ability to capitalize on opportunity. It's the core of what we mean to express by money. Performance is not about dominance but persistence.
It's a very stark but very clear way of looking at the world. And yet it makes more sense than our current valuation system, which is tilted way over towards the valuation of excess, not the means of persistence. Such as childcare and families. Or the health of the ecosystems that would allow us to persist. Or knowledge of the real world and the ability to create practical plans for our peristence.
An economy built around performance, rather than greed and fear, would bring us closer to persisting.

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