Dirk Philipsen on Reclaiming the Commons
= Article, "Economics for the people" by Dirk Philipsen, published by Aeon.co, 2020-10-22
Against the capitalist creeds of scarcity and self-interest, a plan for humanity’s shared flourishing is finally coming into view.
"Among the many possible paths forward, the following core features will be essential:
- local, national and international regulations preventing the violation of critical ecological thresholds;
- repair of the most egregious market failures through true-cost accounting, properly valuing essential work(ers), ending the privatisation of gains and socialisation of costs, and compensating for essential ecosystem services and the care economy (a full-cost accounting of gasoline, for instance, could raise the price to $16 a gallon);
- making available basic services and basic income to everyone (we could call it a ‘self-evident truth that all Earthlings have an unalienable right to the preconditions of life, liberty and happiness’);
- access to work for all, for everyone deserves the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution;
- a basic moral recognition that nothing – not race, not nation, not gender, not personal contributions, not your zip code – should ever be legitimate cause for either extreme poverty or excessive wealth;
- and, most fundamentally, a basic acknowledgement that we don’t own or control this planet, but simply borrow it ‘from the seventh generation’ – those coming after us. The principle should always be, as many learned in kindergarten: ‘Leave it as good as, or better than, you found it.’
Yes, it is time to rewrite the script. A climate in deep crisis, a global pandemic, systemic racism and inequality are all part and parcel of the same bad script, the tragedy of the private, aggravated by an elite inability (or unwillingness?) to contemplate a better future.
Even though narrow selfishness, when elevated into ideologies in service of the private, has repeatedly brought the world to the brink of disaster, we have thus far survived largely because of our underlying ability to cooperate. It is now time to make our exceptional human capacity to create and cooperate part of our governance structures – part of the operating logic of modern societies. Perhaps then we can bring to life what others could only envision: a system focused on wellbeing of people and planet, liberating our individual and collective capabilities."
- (article in Aeon)