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, June 23, 2010

Towards a new economy and a new politics

by Gus Speth from Solutions. 

I heartily agree with the general thrust of this article, but I don't believe that the author understands what any real change is up against. Like many other social critics, he is unable to name the system, but keeps referring to the need for systemic changes. If change is to be possible, we must understand the system and the class it serves. Still I highly recommend reading this article.
The case for fundamental change is underscored especially by the urgency of environmental conditions. Here is one measure of that problem: All that human societies have to do to destroy the planet’s climate and biota and leave a ruined world to future generations is to keep doing exactly what is being done today, with no growth in the human population or the world economy. Just continue to release greenhouse gases at current rates, just continue to impoverish ecosystems and release toxic chemicals at current rates, and the world in the latter part of this century won’t be fit to live in. But, of course, human activities are not holding at current levels—they are accelerating dramatically.