The third essential characteristic of the alternative way is that it must be very communal, participatory and cooperative. Firstly, we must share many things. We could have a few stepladders, electric drills, etc., in the neighbourhood workshop, as distinct from one in every house.How can anyone read this and not find it unbelievably dismal? This plan is for us all to become medieval villagers, what we have been struggling for 500 years to get away from, although first we're going to have to slaughter the 90% of the population that would never go along with this arrangement. Are the people who write this sort of thing insane, or are they just in la la land? Some of them probably think that the coming planetary collapse will make living this way necessary whether we like it or not, to which I say: hogwash. The only way forward for humanity is more technology, more science, more division of labor, and more centralization, not less.
We would be on various voluntary rosters, committees and working bees [like "sewing bees" or barn raisings] to carry out most of the windmill maintenance, construction of public works, child minding, nursing, basic educating and care of aged and disadvantaged people in our area, as well as to perform most of the functions councils now carry out for us, such as maintaining our own parks and streets. In addition working bees and committees would maintain the many commons. We would therefore need far fewer bureaucrats and professionals, reducing the amount of income we would have to earn to pay taxes. (When we contribute to working bees we are paying some of our tax.)
Especially important would be the regular voluntary community working bees. Just imaging how rich your neighbourhood would now be if every Saturday afternoon for the past five years there had been a voluntary working bee doing something that would make it a more pleasant place for all to live.
There would be far more community than there is now. People would know each other and be interacting on communal projects. Because all would realise that their welfare depended heavily on how well we looked after each other and our ecosystems, there would be powerful incentives for mutual concern, facilitating the public good, and making sure others were content. The situation would be quite different to consumer-capitalist society where there is little incentive on individuals to care for others or their community.
One would certainly predict a huge decrease in the incidence of personal and social problems and their dollar and social costs. The new neighbourhood would surely be a much healthier and happier place to live, especially for older people.
Our life experience will mainly be enriched not by personal wealth or talents, but main by having access to public things like a beautiful landscape containing many forests, ponds, animals, herb patches, bamboo clumps, clay pits, little farms and firms, and leisure opportunities close to home, a neighbourhood workshop, many cultural and artistic groups and skilled people to learn from, community festivals and celebrations and a thriving and supportive community.
The political situation would be very different compared with today. There would be genuine participatory democracy. This would be made possible by the smallness of scale, and it would be vitally necessary. . . .
Most of our local policies and programs could be worked out by elected unpaid committees and we could all vote on the important decisions concerning our small area at regular town meetings. There would still be some functions for state and national governments, but relatively few, and there will be a role for some international agencies, treaties etc.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The Anarchist Paradise
Stumble Upon led me to this manifesto for the future "sustainable" society, where everything will be small-scale, local, and organic. From their description of the political system: