The ongoing borrowing binge, dressed up as a Keynesian stimulus, seems to many an utterly unsustainable corporate welfare scheme being loaded on the backs of generations yet to come. If governments realize that the old game of capitalism cannot be sustained under conditions of declining energy, then the future of capitalism – at least under existing rules – becomes somewhat irrelevant. In that case, perhaps the only thing to do is seek to gain whatever can be withdrawn from the system prior to a major rule-change. Whether these advantages will still hold under whatever new rules emerge remains an open question.Some knowledgeable sources have stated that we have already passed peak oil. But, in any case, it is clear to me that this is a major dilemma for the capitalist classes. Capitalism assumes unlimited growth, unlimited energy and other resources, and unlimited consumption. The system is in basic contradiction to the physical laws of our planet and universe. Because they so far have refused to face up to these facts, we will continue to experience more wars, environmental destruction, and energy depletion at an unacceptable rate--unless, of course, if we the people do nothing.
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
Saturday, January 9, 2010