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"This is a flat earth budget..."
Hassan Masum, 23 May 06

How do you point out the flaws in business-as-usual budgets in a clear and simple way? A witty budget speech from Jeanette Fitzsimons (New Zealand MP) uses framing to good effect:

This is a “flat earth” Budget; it is based on the earth being not just flat, but infinite. It is a Budget for a world where natural resources are limitless, where the atmosphere can endlessly absorb greenhouse gases, where we can always live way beyond our means, and never be called to account for it. This Budget ignores the huge changes that happened over the last century, it ignores the modern equivalent of the Copernican revolution, and it assumes that we can carry on as we have always carried on.

...Managing an economy is about managing not just financial capital but natural capital while at the same time taking care of human capital. We have more than 20 years of research and practical application that charts ways of doing this. We have international measures for the ecological footprint of nations and the genuine progress indicator can be applied universally. Yet we continue to measure only money flows in the market exchange...Growth in the money value of what we buy and sell only makes sense in a world where there are no resource constraints and where unlimited pollution can be absorbed by an unlimited environment.

But the earth is not flat. So we find this Budget disappointing in the areas that really matter—future proofing our country against the challenges that are approaching...

(thanks, Steve Kurtz!)

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