As argued in more detail by Ted Trainer in this symposium the best hope for transition to a ‘post carbon’ — or, better, a sustainable society (a much broader goal) — lies in a process of radical societal reconstruction, focused on the building, in the here and now, of self-governing and self-reliant settlements, starting at the micro-local level.
The ‘Simpler Way’ vision we promote, in my view, is an inspiring alternative that we can and should work for. The hope is that these local movements — which have already begun to emerge — will network, educate and scale up, as the global crisis intensifies.
In what follows, I want to complement this view, by sketching why I think the global economy will inevitably face a terminal crisis of net energy in coming years. In making this prediction, I am assuming that global transnational elites (i.e. G7 elites), as well as subordinate national elites — who manage the globalised neoliberal economy — will pursue economic growth at all costs, as elites have done since the birth of the capitalist system in Britain 300+ years ago.
Discover how governments, food companies, Big Pharma, Media and Healthcare Operators Keep Us Fat and Sick
7. Our endurance as a force will rely on refiguring the limits of our responsibility and ability to respond to one another.
Capitalism, as a system, ceaselessly encroaches upon every atom of the world to ensure that survival is only possible on its own terms to the point where the possibility of life itself is called into question. Interrupting this process won’t depend on any brilliant maneuver or tactical success as much as it will on our ability to redefine the limits of care and compassion, to reimagine the form and distribution of our interdependencies so we can move towards a world in which it may be possible to endure differently. In the coming years, our solidarity must become a weapon so sharp that it will cut straight through cages, borders, and walls, seeing in variably distant and different others the possibility of survival.
An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the U.S.-backed international order established after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.
The solution proposed to protect U.S. power in this new “post-primacy” environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military expansionism.
The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which U.S. power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.
Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence”, the U.S. now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority”.
Anarchism, for me, is less about “end goals” and more about a particular ethic and outlook. It should reject the idea of “final” states of existence altogether and instead emphasize the importance of a never-ending discovery process in producing a better world. This process is much to the contrary of Communism, which declares what the final state of existence should be.
The rigid people who sit on their high horses and call people “statist authoritarians” for not being purists don’t represent anarchism. Rather, they hinder it with their dogmatism and rigidity, which is antithetical to the anarchist ethic. Anarchism is less about “smashing the state” or causing disruption and destruction in the streets. Anarchism has more to do with envisioning and creating a world without rulers, making free and voluntary association the standard for relating to one another, and maximizing the freedom of the individual.