Folks, it's simple -- forget about the Fed and the IMF. Earth is the creditor of last resort. All these bits of paper and electrons we shoot at each other representing Dollars, Euros, Yen, and what have you are, at their best, proxies for whatever has to be farmed, mined, netted, or otherwise extracted from Earth; simple.
This is what I mean when I say the global economy and Earth's environment must be made to come into equilibrium. Earth won't tolerate a deficit balance. When a resource is done, it's done. No amount of cash printing will bring back lost glacial water, nor will it restore dead phytoplankton, extinct species, dead coral reefs, or eroding beaches. We've forever pulled material wealth from the Earth without making a single mark in the debit column.
But the time has come to settle, and the Earth is going to make us choose. Civilization may choose to use Earth's existing resources in an indefinitely renewable way (it will certainly try; this is why we believe investing in the green economy is likely to be a great source of growth), or it may collapse. Now, more clearly than ever before, we see that economy = environment. Resources are finite; populations are growing and wanting ever more. The math isn't hard.
Now some policy makers may say they don't care too much about the environment but, sure as I'm writing this, the underlying physics of a finite ecosphere will not accommodate themselves to the opinion of a policy maker. Fortunately (as I wrote in my piece "Subverting Our Insanity"), we're going on ahead without politicians. We're here at the precipice -- roll with the next economy or collapse. We live, lucky us, in the time when the endgame is in sight, one way or the other.
Garvin Jabusch is the cofounder of Green Alpha Advisors, LLC and manages The Sierra Club Green Alpha Portfolio -- a unique blend of Green Alpha Advisors' Next Economy universe and the Sierra Club's proprietary green-investment guidelines.