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There Is An Alternative 
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Post There Is An Alternative
Maggie Thatcher has been identified as the source of the acronym: TINA, There Is No Alternative...referring to the dominant economic model of corporate globalization and its attending social, political, and industrial structures. Her argument was that there was no other way to do economics and that supply side, trickle down corporate capitalism was the natural course of events- one that was justified by the sheer simplicity of its internal logic and the the rubble of the communist iron curtain.

I think McKibben's book exposes many of the fallacies of TINA (fundamental to which is the fetish for economic growth). I think McKibben traces (without great detail and highly dependent upon other sources) the flaws of TINA; but he also explores many alternatives...different ways to do economics.

I hope this thread can become a place to dicuss alternative economic models and visions: both in theory and in practice. So, let's hear it from the green bio-regionalist, anarcho-syndicalist, socialist-libertarian, orthodox-marxist, parecon-anarchist, or any other economic vision that says, "Wait a minute, this is not the only way to build an economy....there is an alternative!"




Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:13 pm
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Post Re: There Is An Alternative
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Here's the bottom line: if the oil runs out, we won't be able to farm or trade this way any longer. And if we took global warming seriously, we'd stop doing it right now... (p65-66)


There's an absolute simplicity to that statement that hit me when I read it, and makes me wonder what it will take to have everyone feel the need to change their ways.

Does the rising water levels have to be lapping at their doorstep for people to say "Oh, maybe..."?

Which brings me to the point -- Have governments thought through the scenarios where the ice caps melt and coastal cities are, probably quite quickly, submerged? I know it was part of my thinking when we moved to an interior town.

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Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:39 am
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Post Re: There Is An Alternative
loricat: Does the rising water levels have to be lapping at their doorstep for people to say "Oh, maybe..."?

I suspect, even then, the reasons for why things need to change will be packaged as concerns non-related to fossil fuel use or not connected to our dominant economic models. Sure, there's disaster at our doorstep, but don't expect me to change my way of life...it has nothing to do with me!

Addicts can be well aware of the catastrophe waiting to happen, have mountains of evidence pertaining to past catastrophes, and be thoroughly convinced that their current behaviors must change....and still use. There are complex interconnections rooted in brain chemistry, bad habits, familial dysfunction, peer pressure, social and cultural norms, and individual unhappiness.

loricat: Have governments thought through the scenarios where the ice caps melt and coastal cities are, probably quite quickly, submerged?

I think most governments have various components of disaster preparedness scenarios in place, but if New Orleans and Katrina is any indication...I suspect we have a long way to go before we can rest assured with any planning currently underway.

Interestingly, it is city and local governments that are leading the way in embracing governmental regulation and legal frameworks for turning the tide. For example, this is a segment of the The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement signed by over 400 Mayors
Quote:
We will strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution by taking actions in our own operations and communities such as:

1. Inventory global warming emissions in City operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.
2. Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities;
3. Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit;
4. Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by, or example, investing in "green tags", advocating for the development of renewable energy resources, and recovering landfill methane for energy production;
5. Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting city facilities with energy efficient lighting and urging employees to conserve energy and save money;
6. Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use;
7. Practice and promote sustainable building practices using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program or a similar system;
8. Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel;
9. Evaluate opportunities to increase pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane for energy production;
10. Increase recycling rates in City operations and in the community;
11. Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree planting to increase shading and to absorb CO2; and
12. Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.




Sat May 19, 2007 1:52 pm
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Post Re: There Is An Alternative
I think its important for those of us who think the dominant economic model is no longer sustainable, to offer an alternative. It's not enough to say what's wrong; it's essential to provide values, models and examples of what ought to replace it.

One of the things I find very valuable about McKibben's book is that it is not simply a funeral dirge through the wastelands of 21st Century Corporate Industrial Capitalism. He manages to balance the problem (self-destructive reliance to fossil fuels rooted in autistic economies of hyper-individualism) with multiple examples of solutions (neighborliness tied to local economies rooted in farmer's markets and ecological wisdom).

One particular economic model that I have found especially hopeful is Parecon (Participatory Economics).
Quote:
Participatory Economics (Parecon for short) is a type of economy proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalism. The underlying values are equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self management. The main institutions are workers and consumers councils utilizing self managed decision making, balanced job complexes, remuneration according to effort and sacrifice, and participatory planning.


Parecon: Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert is the primary text in the participatory economics movement. Here is the entire text on-line.

This very interesting site provides a thought-provoking comparison of Capitalism and Participatory Economics.




Sat May 26, 2007 1:40 pm
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