Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Third Year, After the Rain

Sun's out again after a few dreary days, following a record windstorm here in the San Gabriel valley. We're still digging out after that event, unprecedented in its fury and destruction of the urban tree canopy and the electrical power infrastructure; snapping power poles all through the region, downing trees that were over a hundred years old. While this is a needed rain, due to the overbuilt human environment and its demands, the seasons are tumbling around each other now. That calm, abundant existence of resources has come to an end. We find ourselves fighting to retain stability in things previously taken for granted, such as the turning of the seasons, the replenishment of rain, the chill of the snow that slowly melts and provides the water we've designed all of our systems around.

I reflect on the failure of our country to even cooperate in the Durban climate agreement, let alone establish leadership in a critical area of global threats to the future. There's uprisings all over the world against the kind of oligarchical control that exists in many countries for the benefit of the few, and we're seeing the same now here in the USA with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. This control by power and money has diminished the human ability to creatively address these critical issues and craft new approaches that respond to the changing climate conditions created by our industrial era development. The greater good is no longer served, and the deterioration of natural processes and environment continues unabated due to the blindness of this control in the name of profit.

I've taken a position that this "need for profit" can be re-channeled in constructive ways to benefit the global community and provide the massive profit opportunity that the corporate world demands. This enhances sustainable energy production, clean industrial development and communication infrastructure (the real value investments) as opposed to sales of tons of junk and cheap housing all over the planet and marks a shift away from the "consumer economy" that has proven to be so destructive to PEOPLE (not "consumers") and the systems that support life on this planet.

The economic argument for shifting the global fiscal engine to a larger infrastructure reflects the argument made by Joseph Stiglitz in a Vanity Fair article, wherein he explains that the economic shift that ultimately lifted the globe out of the Depression was the public spending for World War II:

It is important to grasp this simple truth: it was government spending—a Keynesian stimulus, not any correction of monetary policy or any revival of the banking system—that brought about recovery. The long-run prospects for the economy would, of course, have been even better if more of the money had been spent on investments in education, technology, and infrastructure rather than munitions, but even so, the strong public spending more than offset the weaknesses in private spending. Government spending unintentionally solved the economy’s underlying problem: it completed a necessary structural transformation, moving America, and especially the South, decisively from agriculture to manufacturing.

The global community needs to prevail over destructive corporate entrenchment in "old economy" approaches so that the transformation to a larger infrastructure is possible. Thus an abundance of life can re-establish itself once the earth is protected from the impacts of industrialism; we need to work as networks and communities of people to re-engage in the natural environment and make constructive change. This change amounts to allowing the earth to regenerate its natural processes while human civilization moves to a larger technological, energy and manufacturing framework that supports our desires to keep expanding our civilization and moving through ever higher levels of scientific and industrial development.