If this argument is valid it reinforces the case that major global problems such as the greenhouse effect, peak oil, energy supply, resource scarcity, Third World “development” and environmental destruction cannot be solved on the supply side, i.e., by finding more resources or moving to alternative technologies. These rapidly worsening problems can only be solved by dramatically reducing consumption. This means consumer-capitalist society cannot be fixed; it must be replaced by what I refer to as The Simpler way.
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