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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reclaiming Value: An Interview with Raj Patel

by Paula Crossfield from Huffington Post.
In his latest book, The Value of Nothing, Raj Patel explores the failures of so-called free market capitalism, and highlights some of the ways people are changing the democratic system.
...the commons have always been a way that the community can value and manage resources together in a way that doesn't rely on markets, but does rely on a more engaged kind of community democracy. The commons [also] offers a great way of internalizing externalities. If you live with the consequences of your actions, then your learn from your actions in the future and modify them to make your actions sustainable. At the moment our food system is entirely unsustainable, and we do need to be living within our means. And I think the food movement is kind of heading that way much faster than any other sector of the economy.