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Mother ($33 Trillion) Earth

That recent estimate of the earth's dollar value - oh, about $33 trillion a year in goods and services - would have been no news to R. Buckminster Fuller, the megathinking architect of the geodesic dome. A quarter of a century ago he did a little "cosmic costing," as he called it, and priced petroleum at $1 million per gallon - the cost of present-day electricity equivalent to the "amount of time and energy invested by nature."

But, even at those prices, Fuller saw the cosmos as an inexhaustible storehouse of energy, needing only the mental resources of humanity to be made useful on earth. The value of those resources is barely hinted at by the world's combined gross national products, estimated at $18 trillion a year, not much more than half of Mother Earth's.

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