First, an apology
First things first. My apologies for missing a post. I try to write every weekday evening, but didn't last night. I am suffering a particularly severe case of manflu, and feel I came close to death (yeah, ok, I had a bit of a stuffy nose).
But as I glimpsed the shadow of death, I had a vision for a post. Waste as the shadow economy.
The "real" economy and the shadow economy
It goes a bit like this. In the "real" economy, we take raw materials and progressively transport, compound, add value and ultimately distribute them as products to people.
The shadow economy is the reverse. It takes products from people after they have had a catastrophic liquidation of value, taking a product they paid money to receive and converting it to material they pay money to get rid of. These products are then progressively consolidated into larger and larger flows.
A shadow economy done well would see the waste also purified as they are consolidated. It would seek to reinstate the raw materials making up the product. This is, I think, the transition we are in.
Our current transition
I think waste is a relatively new discovery. I think in the not too distant past we had stuff that needed a bit of love, passed on to others, repurposed. I think it is a recent "innovation" to have items so quickly and catastrophically lose all value such that we can only get rid of it.
With this innovation, we initially sought to just be gone with it. Coarse solutions such as incinerators and landfills to deal with a coarse problem. Once the catastrophic liquidation of value begins, we just go on rolling with it.
I think this is changing. There is a growing subtlety of purpose where the coarse solution is unpicked. Materials are purified rather than combined, industries are developing around the refining, processing, value adding to waste. Until, at some point, it is not longer waste.
And on we roll to society as a whole
The shadow economy notion goes further. Taking the pernicious conflation of "society" to "economy" as a lead, everything that is important in the "real" economy is also important in the shadow waste economy.
And so a multi-disciplinary course at university could truly draw out every single faculty. Not just the obvious Engineering, but also Arts, Law, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine. All of them. Even Economics. None of them would be bit players either; all could reasonably conceive their role to be pivotal to the whole endeavour.
And in closing
This was my thought. Like many of them, I would like to extend it in a future post, but will leave it lie there for now.
I would love your feedback, additional pointers for the shadow economy, revelations, inspirations, delirious ravings. I would also love the simple gesture of you saying "Hi, I'd like to hear more from you!" and your following this conversation a bit further.