I‘ve written before about the idea of creating a responsible, sustainable, joyful, Natural Economy, and about how difficult it is to ‘get there’ because the brutal industrial economy we live under is The Only Life We Know.
Most of the prescriptions for getting there require (or involve entirely) top-down, government actions. Yes, ideally we should have import duties that prevent products produced by slave labour in ruined environments from coming in. Yes, ideally we should have a tax regime that taxes bads, not goods, and redistributes wealth. Yes, ideally we should have land ownership reform that prohibits absentee ownership and speculative trading. Yes, ideally we should have laws that break up monopolies and oligopolies, and that put megapolluters and corporate criminals in prison with the rest of the mass murderers and thieves.
But we’re not going to get them. If we wait for them, we’ll wait forever.
Also, ideally, if we were to create working models of a better way to live and make a living, they should attract enough attention that others would emulate them, in sufficient numbers to undermine the old economy. But as my friend Flemming says, sometimes you have to wait for the old deadwood hogging all the sunlight to collapse before the new seeds can germinate (or else you need to be a fungus).
So what can we do while we’re waiting?
Here are a few ideas:
If enough of us do these things, will it be enough to transform our economy into a responsible, sustainable, joyful, Natural Economy? Probably not. But it will put us in good stead when the industrial economy runs out of steam (and oil).
While we can work now to starve the industrial economy of the four things it values from us (our tax dollars, our cheap and obedient labour, our consumption of cheap imported crap, and our attention to its political and commercial propaganda), the scourges of climate change, constant ever-expanding wars, overpopulation, the End of Oil, the End of Water, the Death of the Seas, the Death of the Forests, human pandemics, pandemic diseases of farmed animals and monoculture plants, and bioterror, will collectively bring that economy to its knees.
It won’t go easily, however, and as it slowly collapses it will be the poor and the young who will suffer the brunt of its struggle to keep going — desperate and indiscriminate drilling in the oceans and arctic, strip-mining for dirty coal and bitumen sludge, privatization of scarce water, massive incarceration and curtailment of civil freedoms, more cities written off like New Orleans, ghastly famines and floods in struggling nations, the eradication of life savings and pensions, the collapse of health systems, expropriation of property, soaring suicide rates, and unimaginable ubiquitous poverty.
At that point those who have started the transition to a Natural Economy will be able to withstand the collapse of the industrial economy, and will be the pioneers of its replacement. The transition is likely to be a painful one for most, unfortunately — all ‘normal curves’ have a sudden and precipitous downside, and studies of past overheated economies and civilizations suggest our economy’s will be no exception.We never seem to learn the lessons of history.
Category: Creating an Alternative Economy
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My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 100 Posts --
Preparing for Civilization's End:
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
The Boiling Frog
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self:
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
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Farewell to Albion (Poem)
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