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  • Posted April 19th, 2020
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    Post-corona: ‘getting back to normal’ is suicidal – here’s the alternative

    Post-corona: ‘getting back to normal’ is suicidal – here’s the alternative

    “For those who dream of a return to “normalcy”: normalcy was standing on the tracks watching an oncoming train & arguing about how fast it was going. Something just banged into us & sent us sprawling. It hurt. A lot. Now let’s get up, but NOT get back on the tracks again.” – David Graeber

    This is Part 2 of an article about why we shouldn’t be thinking about ‘getting back to normal’, but instead, offering a realistic post-corona alternative (Part 1 is here). Some will be eager to get back to full-on destruction; and the mainstream media, including the BBC (constantly), give them plenty of bandwidth.

    It’s not good enough to continue to tweak an inherently damaging economy – not good enough at all. Here’s an opportunity – let’s take it. If the next crisis is brought about by ecological collapse, it may not even give us any breathing space to do something new. We may not have this opportunity again.

    So no, let’s definitely not ‘get back on track’. If it’s not OK for individuals to hoard toilet roll, why is it OK for some individuals to hoard billions of dollars? But we have to remember that humans are not the problem. The system is the problem.

    Consumerism at it worst: what's the post-corona alternative?

    A new economy is possible

    This is the stumbling block for many – talk of system change sounds unreasonable, impossible. But things always change. Here’s Ursula Le Guin:

    “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.”

    But what kind of ‘new economy’? How can we define it?

    To define something, first we have to say what it’s for. For example, if we want to define a hammer to someone who’s never seen one, it’s no good saying that it’s a lump of metal with a long piece of wood, metal or plastic sticking out of it. First we have to say that it’s a tool for hitting things with, before we describe what it looks like – otherwise it will make no sense.

    It’s the same for a system – start with the purpose of the system; and remember that the purpose of a system is what it does (POSIWID).

    So for example, rather than describe the Roman Empire in terms of architecture, clothing or culture, we should say that: the Roman Empire was a pan-European system for maintaining the power of the Emperor in Rome, adding that it did so by extracting tributes from the provinces via military force.

    We can similarly define Feudalism as a national system for maintaining the power of the monarchy, adding that it did so by extracting tributes and service from a hierarchy of dukes, sheriffs, lords and serfs, via military force.

    And we can define capitalism as a global system for maintaining the power of banks and corporations, adding that it does so by extracting wealth from communities via labour, consumption and taxes.

    If we want genuine, lasting change, then the new economy must not be a bastardisation of any of the above systems, that will allow power to become or remain centralised in some institution(s), whether imperial, royal, corporate or financial.

    So we might say that:

    The new economy is a global system for maintaining distributed wealth and power within communities via a federated network of non-extractive institutions.

    And here’s the interesting thing. Those institutions exist – in huge numbers. The trick is to connect them – to federate them, and to replicate them in communities where they don’t exist, not by smashing anything, not by overthrowing anything (did the early capitalists plan to overthrow feudalism?), but by building, collaborating, replicating, networking and federating – by transcending.

    It’s interesting that groups are now being formed based on ‘mutual aid’ – the title of a classic book by Peter Kropotkin. In it, he takes apart Thomas Huxley’s social Darwinist claim that society is best served by people relating to each other in a dog-eat-dog, ultra-competitive way. If that were true, how is it that humans survived when sabre-toothed tigers didn’t? If it really was a ‘war of each against all’, as Huxley described it, a human would be no match for a sabre-toothed tiger. No – humans practised mutual aid. We outlived sabre-toothed tigers by co-operating. Humans thrive when we co-operate and look after each other.

    Here’s a sample of organisations building the new economy in various sectors in the UK: Co-ops UK, the Open Credit Network, the Ecological Land Co-op, Cotech, CLES, the Open Food Network, the CSA Network, Sharenergy, the Community Land Trust Network, the Free Software Foundation, the Equal Care Co-op, the P2P Foundation, Go-op. Apologies to the hundreds that I’ve missed – you know who you are; but the point is to show that the range and the ability is there. We need to connect and build, rather than beg the state to do it for us.

    I suggest that the most urgent sectors are social care and exchange, both of which are going to become extremely difficult in the coming economic slump. We need social care networks and an exchange medium that are owned and controlled at the community level, not by the state, corporations or banks.

    We can add other sectors when we are able to look after the most vulnerable, and when we are still able to trade even though money is scarce. A moneyless trading system is being built for the UK, that will be based on a network of local groups, operating at the town / community level, and that will trade seamlessly with other schemes around the world in a global mutual credit network – the ‘Credit Commons’. A package including social care and mutual credit is the most urgent requirement.

    The new economy will be helped to grow by the early adopters (and if you’ve read this far, that’s almost definitely you), who will help bring in the mainstream. Late adopters and laggards will join when there’s no alternative.

    The new economy is preferable

    This earth is a paradise for humans – perfect temperature range, water falls from the sky, rich, dark soils, seas full of fish, and it’s utterly beautiful, with its forests, grasslands, oceans, mountains, sunsets and the stars at night; and plenty of other humans – bliss for a social animal, that loves to interact, exchange, talk, dance, sing and play. None of this is surprising – we’ve evolved through the ecosystems of this planet, after all. But we’ve been thwarted since the agricultural revolution by centralised power and its quest for constant growth, which brings in its wake materialism, competition, hierarchy, debt, pollution, environmental damage and death of community.

    A post-corona alternative: protecting nature over profits

    And your life – how do you see it going, post-corona? – back to commuting, a boss you dislike, a job you feel is pointless (unless you don’t – in which case you’re lucky), lack of community, money worries, stress?

    As well as steering us away from extinction (which is fundamental – without that, there’s nothing else for us), life could be very different in the new economy, in ways that are conducive to human well-being:

    • Autonomy: independent businesses allowing creativity and self-determination.
    • Community: connection in non-hierarchical, mutualist networks.
    • Meaningful work: doing useful things for the people around you, rather than trying to help one corporation make more money than the next corporation – a game in which so many people have become trapped.

    These three aspects of life are essential for mental health, and all three will be destroyed by ‘getting back to normal’ post-corona.

    Avoiding this, and helping to build the new economy will take effort on your part, as an early adopter. It will require you to re-evaluate, to research, to find non-extractive sources for the things that you consume, and re-skilling to provide goods and services in the new, non-extractive economy, starting as a hobby, then providing things for friends and family, and when the quality is good enough, becoming self-employed, or joining / starting a non-extractive institution, and committing to trade with and support others who have done the same.

    Then it’s all about networking – replication and federation. New opportunities will emerge that are not possible to envisage now. People will try to tell you that it’s not sensible or reasonable. But it’s going back to the way it was that’s not sensible or reasonable. If enough people believe it, and act, there’s nothing that can stop us. We may never get another chance like this.


    Dave DarbyAbout the author: Dave Darby lived at Redfield community from 1996 to 2009. Working on development projects in Romania, he realised that Western countries were seen as role models, so decided to try to bring about change in the UK instead. He founded Lowimpact.org in 2001, spent 3 years on the board of the Ecological Land Co-op and was a founder of NonCorporate.org and the Open Credit Network.


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


    15 Comments

    • 1annbeirneanimalwhisperert April 19th, 2020

      Once again Dave succinct and too the point I agree with everything you have said, my husband and myself are retired and we are living in a simple but wonderful way now,, we will not be going back to business as usual, we are enjoying this new life, but please don’t think we like the nasty bug that has killed so many and laid others low, of course we don’t if I had the cash I would pay for every ventilator, PPE and so much more. they (the government) are still going ahead with HS2 despite the need for money to protect NHS Key workers, the Queen offers platitudes but no money she is one of the richest people in the world she should contribute to the NHS I feel that these nurses and doctors can be allied with the first world war soldiers who had to go over the top to become cannon fodder for the rich generals who were all safe at home in big offices well away from the front if Boris was grateful for his treatment why doesn’t he bring back some of his massive wealth from his off shore accounts? It isn’t money that is evil it is the people who own it and don’t want to share!!!

    • 2Jane McDonnell April 19th, 2020

      I think that Dave’s view’s are great and agree with this new ideology and way of living . However I sadly do not think this will come to be as the agenda is for a digital economy and far more world centralised control led by the main players involved with the WHO and the main banking owners . Mandatory, mass biometric vaccinations are coming – have a look at Bill Gates group ID2020 and be very concerned to how this is linked to what is happening now .

    • 3Steve Gwynne April 19th, 2020

      Hi Dave and the Low Impact Community.

      This response models how we could heed the warnings of Covid-19 and realise a sustainable, sufficient and resilient future for All.

      ….

      For me, the central basis of a sustainable, sufficient and resilient future is to manage the gdp size of the global economy so that it remains well within the global safe operating space. This I imagine could be measured and monitored using an adapted version of the Doughnut economic Model (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doughnut_(economic_model) whereby gdp size is mapped on to the doughnut model.

      The pathway of a sustainable, sufficient and resilient future for All would best be charted by implementing the conclusions of The Good Life study which charts a way for humanity to live within planetary ecological boundaries.
      https://goodlife.leeds.ac.uk/

      At present, there does not exist an international based or global based strategy to create The Good Life except for the SDG framework. As such, the only available strategy is a national based one, or to be more precise, a global system based on national communities (see good life study above).

      As a global/national strategy, the Good Life would work mostly using a bottoms up approach whereby national communities, in relation to other national communities, would manage their own ecological IMPACT* in relation to their own national ecological capacity. This bottoms up approach could be enhanced by using a more federated county national system like Germany which reduces the prevalence of overcentralising and overconnected mega cities through which risks and shocks rapidly spread. A federated county system would also enable the decentralisation and diversity of innovation hubs to help realise a post carbon economy.

      The overarching goal of #TheGoodLife is to contract our human economy and return humanity to within the global safe operating space. Particular responsibility is put on high impact nations living well beyond their ecological means. In this regard, the core goodlife strategy for high impact nations is ‘levelling down’ (or to ‘level down’) which, through taxation means bringing everyone into the £15-30 per hour wage rate (after tax) and thereby reducing our national gdp and our ecological impact* but at the same time utilising taxation to create robust and resilient public systems.

      Levelling down would cause a lot of unemployment so in ancipation, goodlife systems would need to be developed that can sustainably support human redundancy on a potentially large scale with these alternative systems actively seeking to reduce our overall human impact*. The low impact (and low cost) solution is achieved by utilising 1 acre smallholding systems which derive much of their survival needs mostly from the land. These smallholder systems would also utilise cottage industries using locally sourced renewable resources such as household items like brushes, baskets and brooms. This new use of land may need a new status, perhaps smallhold in contrast to leasehold or freehold and would be premised on existing allotment systems or crofting systems.

      By facilitating back to the land/nature livelihoods, human industrial redundancy would be actively reducing our national impact* and increasing our national resilience, especially in food, shelter and water. Low impact smallholding lifestyles would also broaden economic diversity, so will add further to our overall national resilience.

      I think that the Good Life national endeavour would need to be temporarily supported with tax paid grants to help with relocation and reskilling. This would be an investment for everybody, especially future generations, so that we can develop an adequate human knowledge base to live low impact lives. This knowledge base will inform us on how to achieve high levels of self reliance whilst enhancing wild Nature too. This means, in order to deploy industrial redundancy to best effect, smallholding systems should be integrated into nature recovery networks by providing public goods in the form of ecosystem services such as pollinator habitats, soil improvement, flood management and carbon requester practices.

      Since writing this piece, two important critiques arose regarding ‘leveling down’ and instituting 1 acre smallholding systems. In particular it was argued that levelling down need cause unemployment if remaining full time jobs became job shares so that people were working 15-20 hours instead of the 40 hour week. Regarding the one acre smallholding systems, it was argued that this would most certainly devastate what little remains of other life and their habitats.

      In response, I argued that levelling down and through taxation bringing everyone into a £15-30 hourly wage bracket would cause unemployment since middle class professionals will no longer afford domestic services, care services, gardening services, trade services, etc – all of which are predominantly the domain of the working class.

      Similarly, a reduced income for much of the middle class will require a complete price recalibration of mortgages, rents and utility services, which will mean a significant loss of profits and the simplification of many businesses which will cause unemployment in the managerial sector.

      What jobs are left could be job-shared but this shift from full time work to part time work would result in even lower household incomes to pay the bills. In other words, bottom up equalisation if included the fair distribution of jobs would result in everyone levelling down into relative poverty and so would be rejected by the public imagination. Similarly, universal job sharing would dramatically reduce per capita tax revenues which would require a dramatic reduction in public service provision unless people utilised their extra non-paid-job time to volunteer their labour and expertise to run public services at the community level.

      However, by implementing the policy of levelling down but at the same time retaining full time jobs and deploying land based livelihoods, tax revenues can be sustained whilst not tipping working people into poverty. Therefore, I’d argue full time jobs will need to be remain largely intact with labour redundancy deployed into land based livelihoods which would combine food growing with cottage enterprises.

      Regarding the concern that smallholding systems will denude our countryside of even more wild Nature, I pointed out that I help to manage an allotment site and wild Nature on site and in the surrounding area is prolific. This is enhanced even more when allotments use permaculture techniques like mulching which provides additional all year round food webs for birds. As a result of mulching on site, we are now visited twice a year by a large flock of redwings.

      On, around and over our site, which is only a mile from the centre of Birmingham, we regularly have buzzards, seagulls, magpies, crows, jackdaws, jays, occasional mallard ducks and herons and recently there have been sightings of hen harriers. Owls are also in abundance, as are sparrows, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds, robins, long tailed tits, greater spotted woodpeckers, green woodpeckers, song thrushes, wood pigeons, wrens with treecreepers and gold crests also occasionally spotted.

      We also have badgers, mice, rats, foxes and domestic cats on the site as well as a huge diversity of flora, insects and reptiles including newts. In other words, smallholding systems designed with wild Nature in mind, with trees, shrubs, hedges, ponds and other wild areas in association with permaculture growing practices such as mulching and growing pollinator attracting plants like comfrey (which doubles up as a fertiliser) would easily outperform the ecological desolation of industrial agricultural fields.

      Therefore, in my opinion, Good Life smallholding systems would be ecological synergy in action, bringing humans closer to the land, closer to wild Nature, providing low impact and low cost modes of human survival and most importantly helping to reduce overall global human impact to that wild Nature can thrive.

      In order to achieve the Good Life, democracy and associated public consent would decide how we wish to manage our economic gdp size in order to remain within our national safe operating space. I’d imagine it would be a democratically decided balance between national capitalism and national socialism with a view of reducing import dependancies, internalising international ecological impacts, co-creating highly circular economic activities as well encouraging more community based systems such as mutual credit, self build communities and more localised procurement systems. However manifested, the Good Life will need to incorporate ecological resource caps and taxation to help facilitate a just transition.

      I think the ethics underlying The Good Life would simply need to be ‘caring’ and ‘sharing’, so these virtues would need to be a central feature of any communications strategy. The added benefit of using caring and sharing as values and virtues is that they are easily transferable to other nonhuman biological beings and systems .

      In this regard, in order that national communities can best implement and demonstrate the values of caring and sharing, the Commons Dilemma will need to be a central consideration in national policy which can be facilitated by neighbour forums, ward meetings, constituency and regional citizens assemblies in order to best achieve different consensus perspectives.
      https://quillette.com/2020/02/22/protecting-our-cultural-commons-from-opportunism/

      As mentioned previously, this national based strategy is the only existing viable strategy by which humanity can live within the safe operating space of the Earth. However, what has impeded its implementation to date is designing and implementing a just transition plan. Well Covid-19 and the dramatic effects of lockdowns has just potentially provided the space for one.

      By this I mean, in an ideal (caring and sharing) global ecological society, we would be passionately heeding the killer coronavirus warnings and thereby utilising the tragic opportunity created by Covid-19 to begin sharing the narrative/endeavour of The Good Life.

      This will obviously need to be supplemented with praxis so co-designing and co-creating back to the land low impact smallholding systems (and adapting our jurisprudence infrastructure to facilitate their emergence) and the policy of levelling down should be key policy responses regarding the lockdown exit strategy. Part of the narration would be to highlight low impact smallholding systems as the only viable counterbalance to medium and high impact economic activities in order to bring Britain to within its safe operating space.
      http://data.footprintnetwork.org/?utm_source=Global+Footprint+Network+Salesforce+List&utm_campaign=d71750d29c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_15_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_433c98aef3-d71750d29c-249303281#/

      This means we now need to start developing and implementing sustainability, sufficiency and resilience systems. This will be significantly aided with the utilisation of low/medium/high impact* metrics in relation to democratically decided essential/nonessential goods and services. This will be required in order to balance the size of our gdp with our ecological capacity which will also require formulating public awareness around the need for ecological resource caps.

      This could all be framed in such a way as to utilise the prevailing strength of national solidarity and so potentially maximise national participation in creating a sustainable, sufficient and resilient future for All.

      In conclusion, with a sombre warning in mind, if it is an ecological fact that Covid-19 is a warning shot from wild Nature, then failure to implement this national strategy (or develop and implement an international/global strategy) will mean humanity being persistently culled by an increasingly intelligent killer virus until human Nature eventually retreats.

      In this respect, the Good Life is our only hope, so either support it, create a viable international or global alternative, since by opting for the status quo of continuing to grow and expand the human system so that we will continue breaching planetary ecological limits will require significant ecological resources to prepare human systems for ongoing killer virus attacks.

      *
      I
      M
      P opulation
      A ffluence
      C onsumption
      T echnology

      With regards
      Steve Gwynne
      (Low Impact Living Initiatives – Birmingham)

      Adapting human Nature to meet the needs of tamed Nature and wild Nature ?? ?

      ….

      Please use, adapt and share. No copyrights.

    • 4Dave Darby April 19th, 2020

      Steve – the small business sector is going to be devastated. At the same time, governments are going to hand over huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to corporations. Amazon took on 100k people last month, 75k this. Corporate market share and influence over states will increase, delivering policies to maximise GDP growth and wealth concentration in the corporate sector. In other words, exactly the opposite direction that you and I would like to take. It’s a power grab. The kinds of policies you’re advocating are great (apart from the SDG framework, goal number 8 of which is economic growth!) – but how do you suggest we get states to adopt those policies?

    • 5Dave Darby April 19th, 2020

      Steve – it’s a genuine question. How do we get the state to do good things in a corporate-dominated political system?

    • 6Steve Gwynne April 19th, 2020

      I’ll be thinking on my reply although we will be disagreeing as we always have in terms of the role of corporations.

      However, to clarify, the government won’t be handing huge amounts of taxpayers money to corporations. One, why when they are not in distress unless you include airlines. Two, the government doesn’t have taxpayers money to throw around. We were just on the cusp of budget deficit/credit with enough taxpayers money to fund statutory services.

      Any covid money is a result of the government selling gilts and the Bank of England printing money MMT style in the form of the Ways and Means overdraft facility. This money will in the long term be paid back by the government borrowing from the private sector.

      https://amp.economist.com/britain/2020/04/18/why-the-bank-of-england-is-directly-financing-the-deficit

      If you can provide some research/stats to back up your claim that SMEs will be devastated because that would mean three fifths of UK employment will be made redundant and around half of UK’s gdp in the private sector will just disappear, that being £2.2 trillion.

      https://www.fsb.org.uk/uk-small-business-statistics.html

    • 7Steve Gwynne April 19th, 2020

      A primary reason for economic growth is to finance a growing human population. Not only to maintain gdp per capita and stop people falling into relative and absolute poverty (which is why in job poverty has risen in recent years) but also to finance the expansion of grey infrastructure to accommodate a growing population whether it be homes, railways, roads, schools, hospitals etc etc.

      A primary reason for corporations is the huge size of the human population and the fact that most national economies are in ecological debt. This means that most Nations are reliant on import dependancies to sustain their populations. Corporations bridge this gap by being transnational in their operations so that they can source cheap materials and through globalised supply chains deliver goods and services to ecologically indebted national populations. In this respect, corporations take advantage of economies of scale on a global scale in order to best utilise capital efficiencies to meet the needs of a massive human population. In other words, if the human population was small and nations were able to adequately supply the needs of their population then there would be no need for corporations. As such, corporations are a symptom of a huge human population and their preservation is considered important because they provide jobs and incomes and supply ecologically indebted nations with transnationally sourced goods and services.

      Therefore whilst we have national population growth then we will need economic growth in order to stop millions falling into poverty and to build the required grey infrastructure to accommodate a growing national population. Similarly, whilst we have a growing human population that is adding to an already massive human population, then corporations will be needed more not less as nations fall ever deeper into ecological debt.

      In this respect, London is one of the most unsustainable cities on the planet largely because of its huge population. London is unable to meet any the ecological needs of its population and as a result all of London’s ecological needs are sourced from outside of London. Since London has depleted most of the UK’s ecological assets then London is a primary reason why corporations are needed, in order to satisfy the import dependancies of Londoners.

      As such the only way to get rid of corporations out of UK politics is to make London disappear.

      Whilst of course our low impact transition strategy won’t be taken up lock stock and barrel, it does provide a counterbalance to the unsustainability of London for example as well as helping to develop national resilience. In this respect I feel quite confident that our plan will to some extent be implemented as long as it does not reduce gdp per capita for those that wish to remain in cities and towns. This I feel will be the main consideration of its viability.

      This is why smallholder systems need to be low impact and low cost so that they don’t require additional grey infrastructure and so don’t subtract from government tax revenues and don’t subtract from per capita gdp.

      Regarding levelling down, that won’t happen as long as we are experiencing national population growth. It is population growth that creates the necessity for everyone to be contributing towards national gdp and why planning and development rules are purposely designed to lock us into the economic growth system which you normally describe as capitalism.

      Population growth requires grey infrastructure which requires taxes which requires everyone earning a tax deductible income within a tightly controlled economic system. Corporations play their role within this population growth system by predominantly providing the needs of unsustainable megacities which in turn economically forces out the SMEs that could in theory adequately provide the needs for a much smaller human population.

    • 8Dave Darby April 19th, 2020

      Steve, zero reserve banking and government bond sales are only ever ultimately paid for by ordinary working people, via taxes, interest payments, prices and the portion of their labour value extracted by capital. We don’t know where it’s all going yet, but apart from the already massive advantages given by the state to the corporate sector – from allowing tax avoidance, intellectual property laws, corporate personhood, expensive licencing and other barriers to market entry to the monopoly on legal tender, government contracts and ultimately, bailouts – there are plenty of sectors with their hands out now, airlines, yes, they’ve got 50 billion earmarked in the US, but also coal, steel, hotels, transport and banking of course – all too big to fail.
      Small businesses – come on – there’s a ton of info out there. They’re talking about it on Radio 4 all the time. These guys https://www.opinium.co.uk/impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-smes/ – have it at 20% of all SMEs closed permanently just by the end of April. No-one knows where it’s going to end for SMEs, but it’s not going to be pretty. Wealth and power is going to be even more centralised (or don’t you think it is?).
      I can’t get a purchase on your second post. The population is falling in Japan, Russia, Spain etc, but their governments are chasing economic growth as much as ever. Global population is going to stabilise this century, but there are no plans to stabilise the global economy. Is there a school of thought around those ideas, or are they yours? (I agree with some of it – that megacities can never be sustainable, and that unlike a lot of eco folk, I think the global population is too high, and rising.)
      But you haven’t answered my question – what’s the roadmap for getting the state to implement your wish-list?

    • 9Steve Gwynne April 20th, 2020

      The road map is civic engagement, communicating with politicians.

      Yes according to OBR, the UK is going to take a 13% hit. However where are the figures that corporations are not going to taking any hit. Your link is a survey evaluation of people’s concerns.

      Taxes are paid by everyone and proportionally more by the well off. Debts can be written down or cancelled. At the moment we only owe money to the Bank of England. Bond markets have responded well because the government has signalled (population growth requires) continued economic growth.

      What is your strategy for human population growth and managing the size of the economy.

      Corporations are a direct symptom of a huge human population, as I explained.

      High youth unemployment requires economic growth (human population size).

      High energy costs require economic growth (along with monetary and fiscal stimulus).

      The reality is we are already in prosperity degrowth. The question is being fully aware of it and managing it.
      https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

    • 10Dave Darby April 20th, 2020

      Steve – that’s not a roadmap.
      1. what do you mean by civic engagement. who does it? what do they do?
      2. who communicates with politicians? how?
      3. why will they listen to you, rather than to the corporate sector?

      Survey included figs on percentage of smes already dead – 7% end March, another 12% will close by the end of April. And it’s not going to end there.
      Amazon are already hoovering up everything – took on 175k people in last 2 months. We’ll see what the High St / the economy looks like after the crisis, but it’s not going to be good for small businesses.

      But that’s beside the point. The economy is already dominated by the corporate sector, who want to maximise growth to maximise returns. And debating that, or whether what’s coming is going to be bad for small businesses, is not very productive under the current circumstances.
      Building a new economy is the only option we have, imho. Mutual credit is not an exchange medium that can be accumulated, and doesn’t involve interest, and therefore is not beneficial to growth-mongers. The new economy (https://www.lowimpact.org/lowimpact-topic/new-economy/) is not about maximising returns, and can at least form the basis of a steady-state economy.
      So that’s what I want to help build.

      I’m working with people who are trying to set up rescue packages for communities, involving social care coops, mutual credit networks and re-skilling. What’s happening in Preston is encouraging, as are the ‘new economy’ initiatives mentioned in the article.
      I do listen, to see if anything comes up that shows that I should stop doing what I’m doing. But I haven’t found anything yet.
      I think this year, I’m going to have to stop debating altogether. There just isn’t enough time. I know what I’m doing, and I’m doing it openly, so that anyone can participate.
      You’re welcome too, as you know. If you don’t think I’m doing the right thing, then do something else. If your communications with politicians look like they might produce better / faster results, for example, I’ll join you. But I don’t think the state will do anything useful. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    • 11Steve Gwynne April 22nd, 2020

      Furlough the leader: A new survey from the British Chambers of Commerce finds almost three-quarters of all U.K. firms have now furloughed staff — up from 66 percent last week.

      Amazon will sack staff just as easily as they hired staff.

      Corporations are a direct symptom of a huge human population and are an intrinsic aspect of providing for a huge human population.

      Civic engagement occurs at many different levels and includes anything that alerts one another of the multiple ecological crisises due to human expansionism.

      Political engagement works insofar that alternatives are narrated as potential vote winners. Unfortunately this often means taking sides. My own endeavours seek to simultaneously shift public opinion and provide sign posts to relevant studies. Informing people including politicians of the science is key in my opinion.

      However, in my opinion, the biggest barrier in realising an ecologically just world is the dialectic between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism with the latter often viewed as misanthropic despite the humancentric ecocide that takes place to support an anthropocentric worldview.

      This dialectic needs much more attention in order to shift human values towards low impact systems and more eco-community based enterprises.

      Currently I am satisfied with the slow but sure progress being made to bring this highly important dialectic into social consciousness, especially within the narrative framework of sustainability, sufficiency and resilience.

      However, without being too critical of political sympathies, more progress is often impeded by the deeply anthropocentric tendencies of the Left who base their political identities on a race to the top in terms of human consumption expectations.

      In this respect, Big State politics inevitably means much more societal consumption. One only has to read the Guardian on a day by day basis to see that that the Left is always wanting more, more and more.

      In this respect, the deeply incoherent ecological rhetoric of the Left is to encourage much greater human consumption whether through equalisation on the basis of metropolitan middle class lifestyles, open borders which intrinsically requires freedom of capital (or national based MMT) which in turn implicitly encourages people to pursue maximum self interest/profit and the massive expansion of grey infrastructure, often in ecologically indebted nations such as ours.

      This anthropocentrism is then ‘politically’ mitigated with highly vocal environmental diatribes that amount to nothing other than fossil fuel driven green new deals and propogandised political attacks often in the form of identity politics.

      In my view, the anthropocentric Left is far more of a danger than multinational corporations and in many ways are hardly indistinguishable, especially in terms of ‘luxury automated communism’ and ‘The People’s Republic of Walmart’.

      Like you, at present I’m generally operating at maximum capacity but having been burnt with multiple episodes of burnout/severe fatigue in the past, I’m more discerning of my safe operating space. This does indeed require slimming down my activities from time to time which obviously requires a disciplined review of my hierarchy of priorities from time to time.

      In this respect, we can only do what we think is best which often depends on our individual perspectives and our depth of knowledge.

      For myself, community based credit systems are an essential communitarian feature of a post growth world but since my livelihood is essentially moneyless (off grid living) then I have little need for financial institutions. If dried beans was the prevailing currency then I’d have something to contribute.

      Take care.

    • 12Dave Darby April 22nd, 2020

      Steve
      “However, without being too critical of political sympathies, more progress is often impeded by the deeply anthropocentric tendencies of the Left who base their political identities on a race to the top in terms of human consumption expectations.”
      Agreed.
      “This anthropocentrism is then ‘politically’ mitigated with highly vocal environmental diatribes that amount to nothing other than fossil fuel driven green new deals and propogandised political attacks often in the form of identity politics.”
      Agreed.
      “In this respect, we can only do what we think is best which often depends on our individual perspectives and our depth of knowledge.”
      Agreed.
      “For myself, community based credit systems are an essential communitarian feature of a post growth world”
      Super-agreed, pretty obviously.
      You take care too

    • 13malcolm Purvis April 23rd, 2020

      HI Dave,

      Excellent 2 articles thank you.

      i would love to use some of the text here for my article in our local paper, are you happy for me to do that with due recognition and a plug for ‘Low Impact’?

      Best regards

    • 14Dave Darby April 23rd, 2020

      Malcolm – of course, glad you like it. Where are you?

    • 15Malcolm Purvis April 24th, 2020

      Thanks Dave, I am in the far North of Scotland.

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