It will take small steps to make giant leaps

It will take small steps to make giant leaps

Opinion 29/04/16

What Adbusters calls the DARK AGE SPIRAL is no surprise to the Club of Rome. We watched it’s center swirling, slowly, more than 40 years ago, in The Limits to Growth. But not enough people listened to what we said. The politicians and businesses leaders wanted more.

So now we’re here. Widening inequality, greater poverty than ever before and a generation betrayed. Oh, and did I mention the planet? That’s fucked too.

What to do?

A Peoples’ Revolution is an obvious option, but it will not work. Revolutions offer glamor, blood and history, but they tend to be indiscriminate in their destruction. Besides, the other side is too well organized, too well financed, tracking everything you do and heavily armed. That battle will not be won, or lost, at any acceptable cost.

So, do nothing?

That’s not going to work either. It will lead to decades of decline – for that is what social, environmental and economic collapse actually looks like. Collapse does not arrive with a cartoon-like BANG! and a puff of smoke. It is slow and painful, like a cancer. Without change, expect even wider inequality and even higher unemployment, because that’s where today’s economic system leads. It will also destroy the planet, certainly as far as most species are concerned, for thousands of years to come.

What’s the way forward?

We need a bottle of dark red ink to pour into the economic bath tub. Something that will create change by slowly expanding to fill the space, using natural eddies to transform the whole.

We need to work from within.

We need Occupy II. But, this time, it must have very clear objectives and one guiding principle: only to fight for change that benefits the majority. This makes it harder for politicians and corporates to ignore, making it possible to gradually shift the needle.

So, demand more paid vacation. Demand six weeks holiday a year for all. That would create enough work capacity to solve the unemployment problem in the rich world without any economic growth at all. If the government wants to print money, demand it be given to the 99% – not the bankers. Demand high taxes on resources and pollution, with the revenue given equally to the people. Demand low taxes on work. Demand high taxes on inheritance. Demand trade regulation when it protects jobs and the environment. Demand a livable income for the poor, the elderly and the sick. Demand cutting-edge energy technology for the poor world, at the rich world’s expense.

Changes like these will slowly rebalance the system. They raise average living standards for the majority and help the poor, slim the fat-cats and slow the environmental genocide. They also buy us time, for everyone to see a better way.

Demand change that nourishes the majority, that gradually transforms the hue of the whole.

Take little steps, not big ones, to make that leap.


Photo: edited from image made by Esad Hajdarevic

Graeme Maxton

Graeme Maxton is the Secretary General of the Club of Rome — a global network of renowned independent thinkers dedicated to addressing the problems facing humanity.

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