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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Building community: an economic approach

An interview with David Korten from Yes! Magazine.

Yes! Magazine is essentially David's magazine. This interview illustrates the general thrust of his magazine which is, I believe, to romanticize the various projects going on at the community level which include networking of small business enterprises, cooperatives, Transition Towns projects, community created money, etc. These projects are all fine. They help, to a limited extent, to build cohesiveness at the local level. But by themselves they will have little effect on the lives of the vast majority of working people. 

So, I ask, why does Korten makes such an emotional display of support for these projects? I can't get inside of his head, but I can look at what his efforts are likely to lead to if they succeed. They will at best provide some micro-niches for a few small scale projects that will moderately enhance the lives of a relatively few people. But what concerns me is that support for such projects will divert attention away from the overwhelming system that is ruining all of our lives--capitalism. We cannot ignore it and hope it will go away. We must learn how to understand it and how to fight it. 

Because such efforts serve to distract from more militant projects, I believe that this is why Korten is given access to PBS--another instrument of the ruling class that serves to "manufacture consent". 

By the way, I live in Bellingham.