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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system

Click here to access article by Michael A. Lebowitz from The Georgia Straight (a weekly publication from Vancouver, Canada. The name relates to the Strait of Georgia, a body of water between Vancouver Island and Canada's mainland.)

Lebowitz disposes of the capitalist notion that there is an inherent tragedy of the commons that only privatization can solve as well as the Pope's moral call for a more balanced form of capitalism instead of the runaway, destructive neoliberal form that is on a collision course with the Earth and social justice. Lebowitz suggests that the system of capitalism is now in a stage of "terminal illness" that will, if we let it, destroy the Earth's human habitat and cause extreme human degradation.

In anticipation of the November 30th start of Cop 21 meetings in France, on November 29 people all over the world will be voicing their cry of anguish over this destruction of the Earth's climate commons. But, he asks: "will it make a difference?". His answer is negative simply because the system of capitalism is obsessed with driving this destruction. But demonstrate we must...for another reason:
The root of the problem, simply, is that human beings and nature are means for capital rather than ends in themselves; accordingly, capital tends to destroy both original sources of wealth in its drive to expand. "Apres moi le deluge" is its message. But we can prevent the deluge by sending a different message—not a message to governments but a message to ourselves by demonstrating that we are many and that we are strong enough to care for our common home.