cj#1089,rn,sm> Achieving a Livable World – (Dublin version)


Richard Moore

Dear friends,

Laurence Cox and I led a session at a "Convergence"
conference in Dublin last Sunday (April 30).  I led off by
presenting the outline below, "Achieving a Livable World". 
There was a lively discussion among the two dozen or so
attendees.  Laurence then presented a delightful talk in
which he used the "good cook" and the "bad cook" as a
metaphor "good" and "bad" activism.  For example, "A good
cook can work with whatever ingredients are at hand, while a
bad cook must have specific ingredients or he gives up." 
Implying that a "good" activist can work with all kinds of
people, while a "bad" activist can only work in a particular
kind of group and particular kinds of people.  Laurence's
humor was engaging -- people could take on board what he was
saying without getting defensive about whether his words
applied to themselves.  I found myself thinking that there
are "good" speakers and "bad" speakers, and in that regard I
had a lot to learn from Laurence.

Although my presentation left a lot to be desired, I'm
thinking that the outline is an improvement over previous
attempts to effectively organize my "message".  It could be
the TOC for a book, as well a home-page with links off to
the various topics.   What do you think?


Convergence - Dublin 30 April 00

Achieving a Livable World

I. What is a livable world?

   A. A world whose economics are sustainable.
      1. Sustainability is simply living withing your means.
        * The alternative is a steadily worsening world for our
          children and their children.
        * Today, we've already passed the turning point toward
          general system collapse.
        * Our economic choice is now between livability and
      2. Sustainable economics maximizes prosperity.
        * Growth economics is incredibly wasteful of resources.
        * Under sustainability, the goal is to get the most use out
          of resources, not the most profits.
        * We've seen what marvels science and technology can
          produce when their goal is increasing profits -- the results
          will be equally as impressive when their goal is

   B. A world where societies are run by and for the people.
      1. Genuine democracy is a collaborative process, not a
         competition among factions.
        * Conflicting interests need to be harmonized, at all
          levels from local to national.
        * The process begins in the community, and delegates to
          higher levels represent agendas - they don't have blank
          checks to make political deals.
      2. Competing political parties don't harmonize, they divide
         the people against themselves.
        * Wealthy elites use election systems to divide-and-rule --
          the techniques were known already in the Roman Republic.
        * As a result, the primary agenda of every society today is
          to maximize corporate profits.
   C. A world where nations cooperate rather than compete.
      1. In a world which has embraced sustainability,
         cooperation is the natural course of self-interest.
        * Conflict wastes resources.
        * Exploitative trade is not sustainable
        * Collaboration for mutual-benefit enhances the
          sustaintability of every society.
      2. In a world which has embraced democracy, cooperation
         among nations is simply a natural extension of the internal
         democratic process.
      3. In a democratic, sustainable world, a world government
         is both unecessary and dangerous.
        * The larger the scale of a society, the more easily power
          can be usurped  by some ambitious leader or group.
        * Every system fails sometimes, and in a centralized
          system a single failure brings the whole world down with it.
        * If international cooperation is the norm, then
          occassional outbursts of national aggression can be
          contained and corrected through the collaborative action of
          the international community.

II. Is such a world possible?

   A. Sustainable economics is not a question of if, but of
      1. The sooner we start, the easier the job will be.
      2. There will obviously need to be a transition period.
      3. The details and trade-offs need to be decided
         democratically at the time, not in advance by theorists
         (Green or otherwise).
   B. Why should we be afraid to try democracy?
      1. If you can't trust yourself and your neigbors to decide
         your own futures, who can you trust?
        * We could hardly do worse than the elites we've entrusted
          so far.
        * If we let someone else run society, it will be their
          interests not ours that are served.
      2. It's time for humanity to grow up and take
         responsibility for itself!
    C. Postwar Europe demonstrates that stable interrnational
    cooperation is possible.
      1. Wars plagued Europe for centuries, due to competition
         for empire.
      2. After 1945, imperialism became cooperative, with the USA
         playing the role of imperial enforcer.
      3. Since then war between the European powers has been
      4. The key to successul cooperation is shared goals.
        * Under rule by exploitive elites, imperialism has been a
          natural shared goal.
        * In a democratic world - a stable and livable world becomes 
          the natural shared goal.

III.   What obstacles are preventing achievement of a livable world?

   A. A widespread belief in myths by ordinary people...
      1. that the media tells us what's going on in the world.
      2. that growth can be sustained.
      3. that we have democracy already.
      4. that imperialism died after World War II.
      5. that the only alternative to capitalism is
         central-planning socialism.
   B. The entrenched power of wealthy elites...
      1. political power
      2. control over public information
      3. control over economic performance
      4. skill in co-opting popular initiatives
   C. Divisiveness and timidity among well-meaning activists...
      1. There are millions of activists worldwide -- apathy is
         not the problem.
      2. Too many of them are isolated, pursuing single-issue
      3. Too many of them are willing to be co-opted -- to settle
         for deceptive and temporary "reforms".
      4. Too many of them are trying to get "water from a stone" 
         -- by asking capitalist leaders to provide what they
         cannot provide.
      5. Too many of them believe that capitalism can co-exist
         with sustainability and democracy.
      6. Too few of them are working to build an inclusive
         movement for a livable world.

IV. What are our prospects for overcoming these obstacles?

   A. The prospects are actually quite good.
      1. Elites have abandoned their partnership with the middle
         classes -- that's what neoliberalism / Thatcherism /
         Reaganomics are all about, and what globalization only
      2. Conditions are worsening globally and visibly.
      3. People are losing their faith in the system. (Ireland
         not a good example)
      4. The establishment is arrogant and is running out of room
         for compromise.
    B. The first rumblings of an appropriate global movement
       are now underway.
      1. Many third-world countries are rising against globalization, 
         at the grass-roots and in the governments as well.
      2. Popular protests in Geneva, Athens, Seattle, London and
         Washington DC show that the movement is taking root in the
         West as well.
      3. The response of the establishment -- excessive police
         force -- aids the movement.
        * brings new recruits
        * builds public sympathyy
        * encourages the develpment of mutual-aid infrastrucutures
          -- which will become the framework of future collective

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org
cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/
book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri.html

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

                Capitalism is not the same as free
                enterprise - it is a very specialized
                ideology which holds the accumulation
                of wealth as the only economic value,
                and which demands that such economics
                dominate all other societal values.
                        -- rkm

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