Earth is a sacred and magical place. There’s enough natural abundance here for all of us to be fed, clothed and housed many times over. And yet billions of people still go to bed hungry, live in devastating conditions, and are forced to eke out an existence in the most dangerous and toxic of realities. All life, yours, mine, ours, comes from the planet’s freely given elements. But when it comes time to return the favour, to care for the earth as it cares for us, a handful of elite’s have persuaded us that what we ought to do is treat the earth like an endless storehouse, and put the very life systems that we all depend upon up for sale to the highest bidder. If we’re going to have a future, we’ve got to reverse the equation and start to manage those things that all life depends on in a way that respects life above all else, including profit.
Bring Back the Commons
The concept that humans have used for millennia, before it was crushed under the foot of private power in some parts of the world, was of The Commons. It says, there are some things upon which we all depend all of the time, and that therefore should be governed primarily (and that’s the key word) in the public interest. At the heart of this concept is the acknowledgement of human frailties. Some things are far too central to life to be left to anything but the most reliable of decision-making we know of, which is democracy. And not the illusory democracy of electoral process with elections every two to four years, but the more messy, imperfect, cumbersome governance of the people for the people. Not because it’s perfect but because, as Churchill famously quipped, it’s the worst system in the world except for all the others. And it is so because it harnesses the tempered wisdom of the hive mind, which, as any systems and complexity analyst will tell you, is more reliable than a single or small group of minds because of its inherent complexity. Of course, we then get into questions of which sort of democracy, and how we must balance the needs of minorities against some of the unintended side effects of majority rule, but they cannot be covered here. Here we must stop at the principle of democratic control of the Commons.