Thursday, November 01, 2012

Common Ownership

It has become increasingly clear that we are poised between an old world that no longer works and a new one struggling to be born.

The language of capitalism validates power relationships and projects them into our minds. We need a new language that does not replicate the fictions of the old order.  Words have power.  Words shape the world. The moment that we stop talking about business models, spreadsheeets and profitability we stop seeing ourselves as objects. We start seeing ourselves in relationship to others, with a shared history and shared future.  Our participation in the larger wholes (local communities) does not eradicate our individuality, but it certainly shapes our preferences, outlooks, values and behaviors: who we are. A key revelation  is that we humans are not in fact isolated, atomistic individuals. The myth of the “self-made man” is absurd – a delusion that denies the critical role of family, community, networks, institutions and nature in making our world.

We may have some unattractive human traits fueled by individual fears and ego, but we are also creatures entirely capable of self-organization, cooperation, a concern for fairness and social justice, and sacrifice for the greater good. 

Capitalism's purpose is simply to minimize its costs, maximize its sales, and so earn profits for its investors. The normal workings of the capitalist economy require constant expanding appropriations of resources.  Large masses of people have come to understand the consequences of this - a global economy dedicated to the proposition that society must indefinitely exploit natural resources as Nature becomes commodified. The reality that Nature has real limits becomes ignored.

 There must be room for the social practices and traditions that enable a people to discover, innovate and negotiate new ways of doing things for themselves,  bottom-up initiatives. Unlike capitalism, which requires constant economic growth the goal is to meet people’s needs. 

Adapted from here

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