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, October 4, 2013

The Epochal Crisis

Click here to access article by John Bellamy Foster from Monthly Review

Foster explains some basic Marxist concepts upon which others have since continued to build upon. As a result we now have a theoretical edifice that goes a long way to explaining the current "epochal crisis" that is becoming obvious to so many people. 

In this essay you will encounter concepts like labor arbitrage, M-CK-M′, metabolic interaction between nature and man, metabolic rift, symbolic versus material needs, etc. You will see how these concepts explain the unequal ecological exchange between technologically advanced countries versus less advanced and the necessity for "breaking with capitalism’s expansionist drive, which is now destroying the Earth as a 'safe operating space for humanity', through the crossing of critical planetary boundaries." 

And, in capitalism's place we must construct societies which restore social use values at the core of all economic activity. He insists that this is possible:
The gigantic misuse of human and natural resources that constitutes the modern capitalist economy means that we already have the potential many times over to redirect production and consumption to meet human needs and to practice conservation on a global level, creating a society of ecological sustainability and substantive equality.
On one side of this struggle we see people who believe solely in individualist values reflected in the capitalist mantra that "there is no alternative", in Thatcher's comment that "there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families", and in the French expression après moi, le déluge. This is pure sociopathy. The problem for humanity and its survival is that the sociopaths have accumulated so many powerful weapons in their hands that it is questionable whether the great mass of humanity who function according to social ethics are now able defeat these people and their system.