People (in the U.S. in particular but the world over as well) have lost control over government, which means a loss of control over the economy and its negative effects. In our “democracy” of corporately-funded elections, ubiquitous lobbyists, an impotent when not sycophantic mainstream media, and an (understandably and increasingly) cynical, jaded electorate, can we expect to regain control of the government, as it currently is structured? Perhaps the healthy function of government, like that of industry, is corrupted by aspects inherent to its top-heavy design. The ecological appropriateness of industry should be decided by the communities impacted by that industry, not by the industries themselves or a weak, distant, unaccountable government.
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