Externalities is a term I first heard in my undergraduate economics classes nearly 20 years ago, and its used to describe the parts of a system that are ignored by the users of that system. In the context of electricity generation, the water required for the boilers and for cooling were once considered an externality until water shortages illustrated to utilities that water mattered. Similarly, we’re seeing that the externalities of air pollution in the form of acid rain and now carbon emissions are being pulled into the economic model. We’re increasingly finding that there are no longer any externalities left, that water and land and even air matter and must be included in any complete accounting of the impacts of the our decisions. In many ways, the elimination of all externalities was a key component to Monday night’s Green Constitutional Congress, and panelists Jonathan Greenblatt and Majora Carter all touched on externalities affected the world. Continue reading
Monday night, Dialog:City held the poorly attended Green Constitutional Congress with the intent to open a democratic dialog between the attendees and the panelists. Instead, what the attendees got was nearly 30 minutes of rambling monologue by organizer and moderator Bruce Mau followed by six additional monologues by the panelists and wrapping up with nearly no discussion of any kind between the panelists. So much for dialog.
However, what the Green Constitutional Congress lacked in focus it generally compensated for with interesting information coming from the panelists themselves. Continue reading