At last, Naresh Giangrande has made the first useful post on Copenhagen arguing for complete systems change. At least someone understands!

Change or dieWe can moan at politicians, we can protest and fight the police but none of these actions are going to change the way the world works. Naresh points out that: "We are faced with a system that cannot and will not make the changes necessary to create a resilient world in the face of climate change and peak oil. It would go against everything the system is designed for." That, in a nutshell, is the central problem with any kind of political debate, rationing scheme, trading mechanism or other 'solution' being propossed. So what can you do?

The capitalist system, or Industrial Growth System (IGS) as Arne Naess and Naresh refer to it, is designed around money and based on the concept of 'unlimited growth'. It is in no way capable of operating sustainably on a planet with finite resources. Either the system is changed or... well, the consequences are not going to be pretty.

"We are all implicated, with our mortgages and pensions, in a bizarre system that operates ostensibly in our name"

says David Boyle in his latest book Money Matters: Putting the Eco into Economics.

"It is complicated, more than a little insane, and it functions in a dream world above people's ordinary lives - both useless and irrelevant to them and corrosive of them at the same time."

The level of insanity within our financial system is so serious that very recently the entire UK banking system almost went into complete meltdown and any talk of 'coming out of the recession' is pure nonsense (which is presumably meant to get us shopping for more stuff...). But as David points out, the scale of the problem with our financial system is just to big for individuals to comprehend, it is 'above' us but killing us (and the planet we rely on) at the same time...

So along come the NGOs, the protesters and everyone else who understands that something's wrong with the way the world is run (well, those that have not succumbed to TV apathy...) in a joint effort to expose the issue and create change. Even the privileged people getting excited about the possibilities of 'ground up' change. Take the adventurer, David de Rothschild, whose planning to sail 10,000 miles from the U.S. to Australia in a recycled plastic boat, who thinks people power is back in the driving seat:

In the last 12 months a global movement of concerned citizens, NGOs, environmentalists, think tanks and specialist advocacy groups have all spawned numerous campaigns, educational outreach programs and direct action. It's happening with such force that the pendulum appears to be swinging in the direction of individual grass roots movements.

With our combined efforts we have an opportunity to compel the powers that be to sit up and realize that accountability -- a word so absent from modern politics -- should be back on the agenda.

It's a positive perspective, but like so many he immediately falls into the 'us' versus 'them' mentality. We don't need to persuade the 'powers that be' of anything.

WE ARE THE POWERS THAT BE!

Nothing is going to change unless we make it change and if that means creating a new democratic and economic system from the ground up then so be it, but we had better get started soon because the PPM clock is ticking. We can sit around and wait for our governments to instigate climate bonds (collective investments in low or zero carbon technologies) and other 'financial mechanisms' but they will all be subject to the trappings of the existing system.

As Bucky taught us:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

And there are already some new models making the old ones look pretty silly. Hazel Henderson covers a few in her post on 'The Climate Prosperity Movement's Positive Tipping Point':

The many alternative, decentralised trading exchanges, such as craigslist, Freecycle, Prosper and Zopa, that facilitate sharing, recycling, charitable donating and peer-to-peer lending, as well as local currencies, are flourishing. This information-based trading has illustrated that we are not dependent on Wall Street, the City or other financial centres.

Local money, community banking partnerships, swapping, time banking, co-ops, are some of the examples of good, practical, real-life alternatives which are going to form the basis of the new system. We just need to get on and invent the rest.

 

 

 

 

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