Monday, October 03, 2011

2012, here we come.... (#11)

Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it's a collapse. The results of half a century of debt-fuelled "growth" are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair."

That was the opening paragraph from Paul Kingsnorth's Guardian piece last week, in which he sought to draw our attention back to the work of Leopold Kohr, for whom bigness was never a good thing. Most political and economic systems (even Communism) work well on a small scale, he believed, but once they grow become increasingly problematic. Kingsnorth thinks he may have been on to something...

"The crisis currently playing out on the world stage is a crisis of growth. Not, as we are regularly told, a crisis caused by too little growth, but by too much of it. Banks grew so big that their collapse would have brought down the entire global economy. To prevent this, they were bailed out with huge tranches of public money, which in turn is precipitating social crises on the streets of western nations. The European Union has grown so big, and so unaccountable, that it threatens to collapse in on itself. Corporations have grown so big that they are overwhelming democracies and building a global plutocracy to serve their own interests. The human economy as a whole has grown so big that it has been able to change the atmospheric composition of the planet and precipitate a mass extinction event."

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