Restoring the Commons as an economic equaliser

Fr. Hank Tree

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Interview with George Monbiot of the guardian on his new book.
[video=youtube;M2SxP4PANr4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2SxP4PANr4&pbjreload=10[/video]
Always found Monbiot to be one of the better columnists over there, usually putting a bit of thought into things.

Anyway in his new book he argues for a new politics. This is a summary of his position as far as I can gather:
1. In our politics we like big stories. The big economic stories were keynesianism and then neoliberalism.
2. evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology show human nature to be altruistic and co-orporate.
3. neoliberalism has clearly failed as a story but keynesianism is too outmoded to provide an alternative.
4. one big problem with keynesianism is that it is premised on eternal economic growth and consumer spending and as such is not compatible with the new environmentalism.
5. He believes that what needs to happen is revival of community and civic life.
6. He proposes restoration of the commons, an area of common land or resource which is open to the community for economic activity. It's not private but it's not the state either.
 


bokuden

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Interview with George Monbiot of the guardian on his new book.
[video=youtube;M2SxP4PANr4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2SxP4PANr4&pbjreload=10[/video]
Always found Monbiot to be one of the better columnists over there, usually putting a bit of thought into things.

Anyway in his new book he argues for a new politics. This is a summary of his position as far as I can gather:
1. In our politics we like big stories. The big economic stories were keynesianism and then neoliberalism.
2. evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology show human nature to be altruistic and co-orporate.
3. neoliberalism has clearly failed as a story but keynesianism is too outmoded to provide an alternative.
4. one big problem with keynesianism is that it is premised on eternal economic growth and consumer spending and as such is not compatible with the new environmentalism.
5. He believes that what needs to happen is revival of community and civic life.
6. He proposes restoration of the commons, an area of common land or resource which is open to the community for economic activity. It's not private but it's not the state either.
It'll never happen as long as people like Michael O'Leary run the show. personally, I think we are seeing the beginning of the break up of the nation/corporate state. Things like the Catalonia referendum and unrest among States in the USA are showing the way forward. Even things like the Brexit referendum actually revels a multiplicy of "Britains" that are very different from each other. I think we will eventually have a federal Europe made up of fairly small, localised entities, with some highly concentrated urban centers.
 

Wascurito

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It'll never happen as long as people like Michael O'Leary run the show. personally, I think we are seeing the beginning of the break up of the nation/corporate state. Things like the Catalonia referendum and unrest among States in the USA are showing the way forward. Even things like the Brexit referendum actually revels a multiplicy of "Britains" that are very different from each other. I think we will eventually have a federal Europe made up of fairly small, localised entities, with some highly concentrated urban centers.
Be careful what you wish for. The fragmentation of a state into smaller components due to one or more regions wanting independence is something to be welcomed.

However, with corporations getting larger and more powerful, we don't want to see a situation where these huge behemoths are bigger (in terms of wealth) than most nation states. The emergence of a world of micro-states would lead to precisely that.
 

Sync

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It really depends on why you say things aren't working "Any more". As a species what is there to justify that? We're spreading and reproducing quickly, living much longer, it's more possible now for someone from a very poor background to get power/success and areas where millions died of starvation 30 years ago are seeing vast improvement in those numbers.

There's an argument that things could be better, there isn't really one that the human species isn't succeeding.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

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It really depends on why you say things aren't working "Any more". As a species what is there to justify that? We're spreading and reproducing quickly, living much longer, it's more possible now for someone from a very poor background to get power/success and areas where millions died of starvation 30 years ago are seeing vast improvement in those numbers.

There's an argument that things could be better, there isn't really one that the human species isn't succeeding.
His point is that politics isn't really working anymore and that the economic system and the inequality is produces is responsible for that. If we see the rise of populism as a sign that politics is frustrated, I don't think his claim is controversial. Also, the economic system is unsustainable from an environmental point of view.
 

HarshBuzz

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His point is that politics isn't really working anymore and that the economic system and the inequality is produces is responsible for that. If we see the rise of populism as a sign that politics is frustrated, I don't think his claim is controversial. Also, the economic system is unsustainable from an environmental point of view.
But we have better lives with more opportunities than our parents, and much more than our grandparents. We live in peaceful, stable democracies. There hasn't been a major war in Europe for the longest time in history. Science and technology constantly open up new possibilities. We are better educated than ever before. We have more leisure time. We are more tolerant. The Church no longer controls society. We're more diverse.

Yet the prevailing message is one of doom and dissatisfaction. What gives?
 

former wesleyan

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Number six would be motivated by his hatred of sheep.
 

bokuden

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But we have better lives with more opportunities than our parents, and much more than our grandparents. We live in peaceful, stable democracies. There hasn't been a major war in Europe for the longest time in history. Science and technology constantly open up new possibilities. We are better educated than ever before. We have more leisure time. We are more tolerant. The Church no longer controls society. We're more diverse.

Yet the prevailing message is one of doom and dissatisfaction. What gives?
This is not the case for the vast majority of people living on the planet. Richer people are indeed richer, but that's a pathetic measure of success, unless you're rich. In addition, much of the social democratic foundations upon which the more stable egalitarian democracies post war were built have been undermined over the last thirty years or so by greedy scumbags. People are actually beginning to live shorter lives than their parents in the OECD for the first time in history, thanks to thatcherism, free for all capitalism etc
 

EUrJokingMeRight

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The commons is a vital part of society.

Bitcoin is digital commons cash. Person to Person payments, no intermediaries, not private, not state.

[video]https://youtu.be/nYBKWrqR4I8?t=797[/video]

The commons is vital.
 

midlander12

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But we have better lives with more opportunities than our parents, and much more than our grandparents. We live in peaceful, stable democracies. There hasn't been a major war in Europe for the longest time in history. Science and technology constantly open up new possibilities. We are better educated than ever before. We have more leisure time. We are more tolerant. The Church no longer controls society. We're more diverse.

Yet the prevailing message is one of doom and dissatisfaction. What gives?
Not true for everyone. Europe had a succession of major wars in the 1990's in the Balkans, and at the time people were saying no, this can't be happening in Europe. I'm also not convinced most people have more leisure time, either - they are either 'never off' thanks to emails or (in expensive major cities) they are spending very lengthy periods commuting to work.
 

brughahaha

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My Sister lives near a vast common very close to the heart of London , probably worth millions if not billions .....Ive often mused how if it was in Dublin DCC would somehow have conspired to build on it or sell it off ......
 

farnaby

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Intriguingly the idea that environmental (and associated economic) crises will be solved by local ownership of decision-making is the central thesis of Roger Scruton's "Green Philosophy", Scruton being on an entirely different place on the political spectrum from Monbiot.

I'm not a fan of Scruton's but Green Philosophy is a great read.
 


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