Image credit: BBC
Update: There has been intense speculation as to whether the BBC were hoaxed into believing Rastani was a trader. It looks like speculation of a Yes Men style hoax is overblown, but an interview with the UK's Telegraph raises some important questions regarding Rastani's status as a professional trader.
When I argued that masturbation is an economic act, I emailed a colleague to check I wouldn't get fired for my smuttiness. "The smuttiness is fine" came the response, "but what's the green angle?".
I found myself asking that same question this morning as I considered sharing some truly shocking footage of a trader speaking truth to the BBC. But then I realised, there is always a green angle when it comes to the economy. Wall Street Protests Have Ecological Angle
Matt has already made the case, of course, for why environmentalists should care about protests against Wall Street, arguing that wealth inequality, militarism and corporate corruption all have an environmental impact. But the problem with Wall Street is deeper than individual "issues"—it is that the system of making money from other people's fortunes and misfortunes if fundamentally disconnected from one central reality:
The economy is just a subset of our ecology.
Trader Speaks Truth for a Change
So when a forthright trader tells a dumbfounded BBC presenter that he goes to bed dreaming of a financial crisis; that the economy is only months away from a catastrophic collapse; and that he and his colleagues simply do not care—we should remember that this is not just an example of greed talking. We are listening to a representative of a system that is not engineered to do anything else but make money for a narrow elite, whether or not they do anything of value for the rest of us.
Meanwhile, in the real world, wealth is still the ability to grow food and the availability of clean air and water. Well-being is still defined by good health; by having access to shelter and comfort; and by being able to participate in a dynamic, connected community.
A New Industrial Revolution?
With the nauseating truths of this trader still ringing in my ears, I turned on the radio to hear Jeremy Rifkin argue that we have missed the real financial crisis, and that a third industrial revolution is quietly underway as renewable energy and internet communications transform how our economy works. Let's hope that revolution includes a serious look at plenitude economics, and that our plain speaking trader friend gets a job on an organic farm somewhere.
More on Sustainability and Economics
Plenitude Economics: Work Less, Play More, and Stop Screwing the Planet (Video)
Why Environmentalists Should Care About Occupy Wall Street
Why Masturbation is an Economic Act