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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adaptation and the long view

by Kurt Cobb from his blog, Resource Insights

The author does indeed take the long view, but the view, though long, is terribly narrow. He sees evolutionary adaptation only in terms of technical adaptations. Such thinking, I believe, is an excellent illustration of the insular focus on contemporary issues that is permitted by the institutions of higher learning and media in the Western world governed by the system of private ownership of their economies. Such thinking diverts attention away from the real human adaptation that will lead to species and environmental destruction--capitalism.

His conclusions which follow are excellent, but there is no way that such positive adaptations can occur under this system:
The wiser course may be to return to the type of systems that have shown themselves to be more resilient through history: smaller settlements with more decentralized production of goods and services, broader participation in the growing of food and the production of goods, reliance on renewable energy such as wind and solar, and a society that designs its objects to make the full cycle from "cradle to cradle."  This doesn't mean abandoning all new technology. It means developing technology that will stand the test of time based on known principles of resilience and sustainability and will do so without risking the wholesale destruction of humanity.