Sunday, August 13, 2017

Central Formulation

August 13, 2017

Humanity faces crises brought on by a full Earth and by its failure to view humanity and the Earth as one community. Too many people believe that the solutions to their problems require hoarding of resources and too many others lack any, and feel ignored and unvalued. Hoarding is ultimately going to fail as a personal strategy (thus it is a waste of effort!), and by definition is not a community strategy, and so will help to destroy the Earth.
The most visible incarnation of this hoarding is the continuing process of the wealthy getting more wealthy while the poor get poorer and the middle class gets hollowed out. The law is written to support the preservation of wealth, for those who have it, even when it means driving the unlucky poor further into debt. The economy is organized to foster the upward migration of wealth, to those who are already wealthy, while limiting the obligation of the most wealthy to share their wealth with those who have none. It is a self-ratcheting process of wealth begetting wealth, through the power the wealthy have to demand laws which protect them, while the poor have little such power, and the community barely arouses itself to protect them from the effects of their systemic vulnerability. The benefits of this system go to only 20% of the population. As the wealthy get wealthier, there is less and less revenue to the government to support the inadequate patchwork of social safety systems, because the middle class pays taxes, and middle class is over stretched, balking at more taxes, and simply shrinking.
The failure to act in the common good and put our community wealth to work to build healthy communities and a healthy planet, results in the entropic default, ecosystem collapse. Another obvious incarnation of the permission we give to hoarding wealth is our continued devotion to the principle that individuals have a right to get ever more wealthy without limit. As if the communities in which they live, the nations which claim their allegiance, and the planet which is their only home, can sustain their demands for resources, without limit. As if the planet were limitless. As if every one of seven billion people could prosper while some “statistically insignificant” number of individuals holds more wealth than, essentially, the other seven billion people. Unlike the past, when chiefs, kings and emperors engaged in diplomacy, politics, war and betrayal, to gather wealth and power, and the Earth could absorb the blood of human beings killed in service to their ambitions; Unlike the past when wealth builders could exploit workers and their families without risk to themselves; Unlike the past when the Earth could scoff at the ecosystem and habitat destruction of the wealth seekers because these depredations were always local and it, the Earth, was so large; Unlike the past when the dangers of natural human ambitions for status, wealth, power and fertility, for all of the miseries they caused, would not threaten the life of our planet – today they do. Today we couch the violence of the past in the invisible systemic violence of a body of law that protects private property hoarding, over the value of the people and the community. Preservation of life on Earth, in any form familiar to us, or that includes us, is at risk, while we continue to devote ourselves to the principle that the needs and wants of the individual take higher priority than the health and well being of the communities they belong to and Earth on which they live. Only those most wealthy individuals actually have a vested interest in protecting this system.
While individual rights are held in higher esteem than the obligations of individuals to the community of humanity, while ecosystem degradation proceeds unchecked, while the injustice of the wealth of each community being siphoned off by a few, persists, we are on the path toward global economic and climate chaos that makes the ravaging of the Earth inevitable. Yes, I am connecting wealth hoarding with global ecosystem collapse. The resources exist for us to address the needs of humanity and the planet, but we give permission to some few to hoard those resources, while we fail to hold them accountable, and we fail to change our expectations. Chaos follows from hoarding, and in Community, the eternal strategy of sharing makes it possible for us to act on behalf of the life on Earth. Human communities have always thrived by learning to share. This is our ultimate test.
Indeed, wealth is really only an act of faith, the faith that there is a system that will honor that claim to wealth. If the system collapses, all that will remain will be natural, wild human communities. And then power will be back in the hands of the war-lords and armies. And our dystopic fantasies allowed to flourish.

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