Avoiding a "Great Disruption"

landrights4all landrights4all at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 06:48:21 BST 2012

Hi all
The article "Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class â€" Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’" is well worth a read, but I agree with Paul Mobbs criticism that it completely ignores the vital land issue. (He says "Not bad, but how can they write such a long article about "what next" without talking about the critical role of land in this process of transformation? -- and how access to land will be the critical part of who can sustain their lifestyle versus those who will enter various levels of shanty dependency around urban centres (which we see already in the developing world today) when the "great dislocation" kicks off? P.)


Permaculture Research Institute (Aus), September 28th 2012

Taking into account the land issue I see another possible strategy which doesn't depend on a great disruption or on the acceptance by the middle class of the author's well reasoned plea. I posted the following comment there.

"We’ve all heard the message, and even if we won’t admit it, we intuitively know it’s true. We must change the way we live. We even know that the changes needed require personal sacrifice, and that technology won’t save us from having to make sacrifices.

We may hope for someone else to tell us what to do, but we know we wouldn’t vote for anyone who told us we must make sacrifices.

We feel stuck â€" perhaps we feel that Armageddon is inevitable, so we continue to eat drink and be merry. We just can’t seem to stop. But it is more than addiction â€" it is compulsion, for we are locked in a death struggle with each other. To survive in this battle, we can’t let go. We must compete against each other for every dollar because only dollars keep a roof overhead and food on the table. If you don’t compete successfully against other workers, you don’t get paid.

What other way could there be to get food on the table and keep a roof overhead? This is the question, but unfortunately we are not only addicted & compelled to playing the game, unwilling to support change from above, fatalistic about the future … we are so conditioned that we can’t even begin to imagine any alternative for change. Repentance would take faith and hope, but we have neither.

Perhaps even if an alternative was staring us in the face we wouldn’t trust our own eyes, but for now there is no such alternative to be seen anywhere.

In any event, the only people who might be interested in an alternative to the way things are might be those for whom the simpler life that the earth could sustain would be an improvement on their current lot â€" the poor.

Unfortunately the poor are also incapacitated because the land on which they might found a new approach to meeting their needs for shelter and food is already owned … except in one small area of Australian life … public housing tenants who are over 55. Those under 55 are required to spend their time looking for paid employment and therefore have no security on which to pursue any alternative, but those over 55 can fulfill their Centrelink obligation by doing 15 hours of voluntary work per week for any approved community organization.

Mostly they take up pretty conventional and unimaginative options for voluntary work, but there is no reason why some couldn’t voluntarily undertake the changes in the way they live that all of us could learn from - the change to a sustainable lifestyle. That would give the rest of us something to look at, something to believe in, something to hope for.

Could a simpler way of life working 15 hours per week be more attractive for some than our current 40+ hour week? Might working cooperatively have more attractions for some than competing. Would being paid a much lower income for blazing a new trail be enough to afford the basics for a modern life if we had government guaranteed secure land access instead of having to buy ownership? Perhaps not for many, but how many would it take to start to show the potential in changing the way we live?" 

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