Journal: True Cost via the Eco-Dollar

Methods & Process, True Cost

Full Story Online
Full Story Online

The Chip Replaces Palladio

Sat, Oct 17 2009

It can now be shown that the energy reaching the Earth from the Sun is actually acting as information. Information and energy are interchangeable in much the same way that energy and matter are interchangeable, and formulas similar to those for matter and energy (E=mc2) can be used to express this interchangeability. Energy is expressing itself as information when it acts in an anti-entropic manner, thereby reducing the randomness in a system or increasing its information. This understanding of information as an anti-entropic activity makes it possible to objectively measure many qualities important to our lives which were formerly measurable only by the crude means of the dollar economy, sentimental attachment, or aesthetic tastes.

Learn More
Learn More

The unit of measure now being used by some sophisticated whole system thinkers is sometimes called the “eco-dollar.” The eco-dollar can be used to measure the true cost of electricity purchased from Con Ed by including the health and cleaning costs of pollution in the calculated sum. The eco-dollar can be used to measure the loss of a species of wild bird in terms of the resultant simplification of the overall system when we lose that bird’s concentration of information in its gene pool. And the eco-dollar can be used to measure the social worth of a novel in terms of the new information or new ordering of information it brings into the social system. Information theory used in this way gives us a more useful means of evaluating Con Ed, endangered wild life, and literature than the previous means (dollars, sentiment and aesthetics). It also makes it possible to compare the relative value of one to another, once they are all expressed in terms of the new units, “eco-dollars.”