As if you didn’t know in a few days we in this part of the world will be celebrating the greatest consumer holiday of the year Christmas. A fourth Industrial Revolution Christmas that will take more than a generation to move our collective consciousness away from growth at all costs.
Social change if it happens is at snail pace
Unfortunately, when we look at our world, our best chance for change is Climate Change that might remind us that our very existence is tied up with the existence of all living things.
On this point, we have a lot to learn from people on the periphery of the world system, the ones our governments have ignored and have referred to underdeveloped.
Instead of the western model of development which is driven more and more by technology (that remains unregulated) creating a deep conceptual distinction between subject and object, self and other, humanity and the natural world we need to reject linear thinking that lies at the heart of development and think more relationally.
The ecosystem must have inalienable rights to survive and flourish.
To do this we need to develop a new Socio-ecological revolution marked by direct democracy with gender equality.
Of course, there are trillions of written words, conferences, and signs on Social Media that this is already happing, but in reality, it is not likely, that degrowth will happen as quickly as is needed.
For all initiatives purposes, the battle against Capitalism which itself appears to be in conflict with the pressing need to stave off a planetary meltdown will continue until we realise too late that world conflicts are over fresh water, air, and food supplies.
WHEN ONE LOOKS AT THE RESULT OF THE RECENT CLIMATE CONFERENCE IN POLAND YOU COULD NOT BE BLAMED FOR FEELING A SENSE OF DISPAIR.
The US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait joined forces to prevent the conference fully embracing the IPCC’s findings, watering down a statement to a weak commendation of the timing of the scientists’ report. Australia joined with the US in a celebration of coal, and Brazil signalled its climate scepticism by withdrawing its offer to host next year’s talks.
The truth is that the world has little more than a decade to bring emissions under control and halve them, but like everything Climate is a commodity.
How are countries to abide by rules to curb carbon emissions when the very idea of green taxes and regulations are stigmatised as socialist or totalitarian?
As a result, countries cannot invest in building a zero-carbon infrastructure, when they are subject to Growth at all cost to pay the National debts.
When almost everything is privatised, operating in a free market run by algorithms for profit while poor countries cannot collect enough taxes due to trade liberalisation to meet spending on social services and reduce poverty never mind the climate.
Basically, we are all including most countries a sub-prime market for loan pushers like the World Bank, IMF. If we truly want to achieve change we must let Capitalism pick up the bill not create it.
Scrap all outstanding national debts, remove inequitable trade rules, move away from commodifying human life, democratise our major institutions of global governance, acknowledge that colonialism was a humanitarian disaster, get rid of begging on our airway and streets, curtail advertising, and replace GDP with gross national happiness as a measure of social progress.
GDP is that we’re measuring things at market prices. What people actually pay for things.
Yet we know very well that this is not the price at which people actually value something.
Just ask your self what is the value of two homeless people dying per night on the streets of London against Manchester United Manager on £18 million a year who is to be paid £23 billion to say goodbye. (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, clubs all owned by investors based overseas.)
We must, therefore, remember not only that GDP is a proxy for what we really want to know but also that it’s becoming an ever less reliable one.
We must understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolutions with the Internet often has an ‘everywhere but nowhere’ feel and this is why and where GDP is disappearing.
You only have to look at the Brexit mess that is rendering the Uk incapable of meeting the most serious challenge of the 21st century to understand that the economic systems that we have put in place for the last decades are in need of radical reform.
So we are beginning to be asked the question of how we’re going to live together in societies of tolerance and inclusion.
Too often, in our current world organisation that’s seen as a separate issue — not part of what development is about.
Of course, nothing can be achieved without trillions. (See the previous post on a world aid commission)
Happy Christmas to one and all.
All human comments appreciated. All abuse and like clicks chucked in the bin.