We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Great Capitalist Climacteric

Click here to access article by John Bellamy Foster from the Monthly Review
I will use the term the Great Capitalist Climacteric here to refer to the necessary epochal social transition associated with the current planetary emergency. It refers both to the objective necessity of a shift to a sustainable society and to the threat to the existence of Homo sapiens (as well as numerous other species) if the logic of capital accumulation is allowed to continue dictating to society as a whole. 
Foster ends up with a challenge for humans to save themselves or else perish:
“The dream that man can make himself godlike by centering his energies solely on the conquest of the external world,” Mumford wrote in The Condition of Man, “has now become the emptiest of dreams: empty and sinister.” The result is a kind of economics of exterminism. Today making war on the planet is fought as a means to the end of capital accumulation, in which the limits of the earth itself have become invisible to the narrow value calculations of the system. Turning this economics of exterminism around, and creating a more just and sustainable world at peace with the planet is our task in the Great Capitalist Climacteric. If we cannot accomplish this humanity will surely die with capitalism. The prophesy of all defenders of the current order over the last century will then be fulfilled. Capitalism will mark the end of human history by bringing to an end human civilization—and even human existence. 

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