Sunday, 13 June 2010

The future of economics

Ben McLeish, one of the leading lights in the UK Zeitgeist movement has given rousing concluding speeches at his talks. I'm including the text of one here:

Perhaps you think that surpassing the monetary system is too radical. It’s pie in the sky. It’s too “futuristic". You know what I think is radical? Designing and presiding over a system based on infinite growth and which relies upon inefficiency and duplicated efforts and inferior throwaway products in a finite world. We have to sell more, buy more, accrue more debt, and produce more and more tons of waste in order for this system to function, and not only that – the successful function of the current system inherently means the few get richer while the many get poor.

Who will buy your products when there is so little work that the majority of humanity is unemployed? Who will use your services when most of us are starving? Yet we cannot keep producing more and more in a world with ever shrinking resources and limited societal development, developmentally hamstrung by the need for every institution to preserve its status quo. That is the most radical thing I have ever heard of. It is demonstrably unsustainable. It is inhuman. It is anti-human.

And while we have heard the word “unsustainable” over-used and abused by the media many times, let me remind you again what exactly it means. It means that our global society, based on deliberate inefficiency, waste, pollution and massive social stratification - the things we do right now, will reach a point where it will not support human life. We must re-orientate our structures to support the population we have, and are about to have. We are only a successful society if we take a hard look at the only thing which has ever been important, and that is the survival of the species as a whole, and align our operations within the necessary laws and balances that nature requires. That is the true meaning of evolution.

I refuse to live in a society like this. I refuse to sit in the top 10% of this world, standing by while billions of mirror-images of myself suffer and die for no good reason other than profit and artificial boundaries. No longer do I quietly tolerate the suffering of almost all of the only race I am a member of, on the only planet in the known universe I can presently inhabit. I do not accept that this is as good as it gets. This is as bad as it gets. I call upon you to roundly reject this paralysing, limiting, divisionary [sic], fraudulent mess we laughingly refer to as economics. It is irrelevant and in fact in direct opposition to our survival and it is stunting to our staggering and subtle, [expletive deleted] fantastic, unlimited potential creativity. I’m sorry. It’ll have to go.

You know, if you consider yourself forward-thinking you have to learn to be able to [look] back at the present from the future. The future population of this earth can look back one day at our present tense [sic] and see one of two things. They could see that we recklessly destroyed ourselves and each other, or they can see that we made it. In the future they are already looking at our living group. And I want them to see that we did make it. We have to make it.

Thanks Ben!

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