It doesn’t must be like this

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Astonishingly, so ingrained, now, is the obsession with consumption that – as a substitute of agitating for change – lots of these with minimal disposable revenue, who’re struggling on the backside of the financial pile, are fully in thrall.

Refusing to recognise that the system is failing them, they as a substitute insist on being a part of it and are sometimes probably the most vociferous in dismissing any various, extra progressive, way of life.


Relatively, their hopes and aspirations are centered on a fortunate break, maybe a lottery win, that can bathe them with the money they should massive up their contribution to the consumerist society and be a part of these increased up the greasy pole..

The reality is that we’re all in a rat-race. A race whereby we combat tooth and claw to get to the entrance; a contest that sees the larger good subordinated to the wealth and luxury of some people; a battle that leaves few winners and myriad losers.

But it surely would not must be this fashion. It was in no way inevitable that capitalism would emerge because the dominant system by which our lives function.

Altruism is a minimum of as massive an element within the growth of society as individualism and competitors, and certainly has been essential to the event of human civilisation.

Over the previous couple of centuries, nevertheless, it has turn into more and more marginalised till it has turn into solely the prerogative of what these on the prime of the capitalist meals chain sneeringly prefer to name ‘do-gooders’.


These people, typically who do not have a lot themselves, who truly care about others. However a world centred round altruism is in no way unimaginable.

It’s actually infinitely preferable to the extant system based mostly upon the satan take the hindmost, which is failing the overwhelming majority and – on the identical time – destroying the planet.

Think about as a substitute a world the place all the pieces is not monetised, the place human ingenuity and creativity are harnessed not for revenue, however for the well-being of people and society and the sustainable growth of the larger good; the place there are not any billionaires, and even millionaires; the place homes are for residing in, not money cows; and the place companies, each giant and small, are partnerships and cooperatives, working in live performance fairly than competitors.

There are not any shareholders to siphon off giant wads of money, with extra capital reinvested, divvied up between staff or donated to worthwhile tasks and initiatives.

Spain’s Mondragon Company supplies some perception into how this may work. This big federation of employee cooperatives has been round for close to on 70 years, and now employs greater than 80,000 folks throughout the retail, finance, business and information sectors.


In such a world, greed has no alternative to flourish. Everybody has adequate for a snug life and obscene inequality has been banished.

Distinction this with the place we’re at the moment. In 2021, the UK’s 171 billionaires had been price a staggering US$597 billion, including greater than US$106 billion to their wealth over the earlier 12 months, when thousands and thousands had been struggling to maintain going on the peak of the pandemic.

Shareholder payouts, over the identical interval, amounted to £94.1 billion. You’ll have come throughout the view that such dividends are important as a result of they feed again into our pension pots, however that is merely a delusion.

In actual fact, a TUC research reveals that UK pension funds personal fewer than six % of UK shares, both instantly or not directly.

These are colossal quantities of cash, just about all of which – within the context of benefiting society as an entire fairly than a number of people, enterprise capitalists and hedge funds – is ‘lifeless’ cash.


Think about how a lot could possibly be achieved by channelling such huge funds to the place they might profit the biggest variety of folks.

The NHS, for instance, could possibly be funded fully from the annual development in billionaire wealth plus annual shareholder dividends.

The so-called ‘austerity’ programme that has seen native companies eviscerated during the last 17 years, may have been averted by spending the equal of UK billionaires’ spare change.

So, what may residing in our courageous new world be like? With development for development’s sake deserted and gross home product as a measure of progress consigned to the bin, there could be no purpose to work till we drop.

A common revenue would be certain that everybody may afford to eat and warmth, in order that people may select to work nevertheless many hours they wished.


Some may want the 9 ’til 5, weekly repair, others may combine work with what makes them really feel good; neighborhood service or persevering with schooling, working an allotment, or understanding. Work itself would – as a lot as attainable – be undertaken from residence or in small, native, hubs.

In actual fact, localism and the neighborhood would underpin such a society, chopping manner again on the necessity for annoying and wasteful journey.

Such a society, with the well-being of each particular person and take care of the atmosphere at its coronary heart, would offer a much better high quality of life all spherical, in order that the financial savings from vastly improved psychological well being and reinvigorated nature could be colossal.

However do not be misled into pondering that this is able to a sackcloth and sandals type of society. Expertise could be important for it to operate, however tech that’s centered on what is suitable and sustainable on a small planet of finite sources.

All the products we’re conversant in would nonetheless be round, however constructed to final, simply repairable, and as recyclable as attainable.

As a result of competitors is subordinated to cooperation, you would not have the ability to purchase a brand new cell or new automotive mannequin yearly in any case, as a result of corporations wouldn’t really feel the necessity to hold churning out new variants to remain forward of the sport.


For a similar purpose, the promoting that consistently envelopes us now, would largely dry up. Think about watching TV or listening to your favorite radio programme, with out the fixed interruption of crass requires us to maintain consuming.

Utter bliss!

A useful byblow could be the re-routing of huge advertising and marketing budgets, in order to perform one thing helpful.

We aren’t speaking right here a couple of world by which everyone seems to be equally properly off both, however there could be a cap on revenue – say half a dozen occasions the typical – in order that extravagant wealth wouldn’t have the ability to accumulate.

Lots of it’s possible you’ll assume that every one that is merely pie-in-the-sky. A few of you on the market might say I am a dreamer – as somebody from Liverpool as soon as mentioned – however I am not the one one.

Thinkers and doers the world over have come to the identical conclusion. Issues have to vary – and shortly. Actually, there isn’t any doubt that if we want to sort out the local weather emergency earlier than it’s too late, then capitalism has to go.

The important thing query is, can the metamorphosis to a kinder and extra equal world occur rapidly sufficient?; certainly – given the immense energy and affect of these on the prime of the cash trefe – can it occur in any respect?

It’s troublesome, wanting round us at the moment, to think about that such a swap can occur with no combat. But when that’s what’s wanted, then so be it.

This Creator

Bill McGuire is professor emeritus of Geophysical & Local weather Hazards at UCL and was a contributing creator to the IPCC SREX Report on local weather change and excessive occasions. His newest e book, Skyseed, is an eco-thriller about local weather engineering gone improper. Invoice was a delegate at COP26 with WordForest.Org.

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