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, January 9, 2015

Economics of the Anthropocene

Click here if you wish to access this 20:49m video presentation by Joshua Farley from the original posting on the Post Carbon Institute's website which provides more details about the talk.

The title of this posting did little to evoke much interest in me; but as I started listening to Dr. Farley, I realized that it was very important. The vague title reminded me once again of  a phenomenon that has entered my consciousness more frequently in recent months: the use of high level abstractions to hide uncomfortable ideas. After listening to this presentation, I'll bet that you can come up with a headline that is much more descriptive of what he has talked about. This is my choice: "The inefficiency of the capitalist system to meet people's needs, and what an efficient system would look like" I am not criticizing him for this. It's the only way one can survive in an institution controlled by a capitalist ruling class.

After listening to his talk, if you are interested in reading a more detailed exposition of his ideas, I recommend this article (scroll down to it) entitled "Ecological Economics" at the same website. Notice in the talk and in the article how this academic carefully chooses his words so as not to offend his capitalist oriented masters in academia. For example he writes:
We must push for the reform of our political and economic institutions so that they once again act for the public good. From local government policies to international agreements, the structures that define how our world works are ultimately products of political consent, and thus can be changed with sufficient political will.
Instead of writing:
We must find a way to end the existence of capitalism so that we can create an economy that serves public needs rather than the wealth and power accumulation of capitalists.