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The Threat of Abundance: Emerging Human Potentials and the Crisis of Capitalism Oct. 22, 2013 OISE LHA1131 H Precarity & Dispossession Addressing the Politics.

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Presentation on theme: "The Threat of Abundance: Emerging Human Potentials and the Crisis of Capitalism Oct. 22, 2013 OISE LHA1131 H Precarity & Dispossession Addressing the Politics."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Threat of Abundance: Emerging Human Potentials and the Crisis of Capitalism Oct. 22, 2013 OISE LHA1131 H Precarity & Dispossession Addressing the Politics of Scarcity and Abundance Brian Milani

2 The Argument Capitalisms basis in scarcity Abundance: not only possible today, but necessary for survival To perpetuate itself, capitalism deliberately creates scarcity 1.Fordism ( ) 2.Post-Fordism / financialization ( ) 3.Austerity [with combinations of #1 & #2 & ?] (2008- ?) (rough parameters of) The Green Alternative Strategic Abundance-based Imperatives

3 The Green Economy A Historical Transition: …from Quantity to Quality A Question of Potentials …not simply limits Key to Sustainability: Redefining Wealth

4 Green as Postindustrial from mechanics to organics from machinery to the landscape culture-based development substitutes intelligence for resources (people-intensive) focus on end-use, or human and environmental need from quantity to quality: redefining wealth

5 The Centrality of the Landscape The industrial age replaced the natural processes of the landscape with the global machine…while regenerative design seeks now to replace the machine with landscape. …John Tillman Lyle

6 Industrialism: Accumulation Production-for-productions-sake Invisibility of key factors Centralization of production, massive upfront investment Focus on labour productivity : resources substitute for human energy Cog-labour: humans as component parts Regulation: controls as limits Scarcity-based: role of waste since WWII Globalization: free trade & intellectual property

7 Postindustrialism: Regeneration New relationship of culture to economics: centrality of human development Substitution of human creativity for resources Direct targeting of human need: conscious consumption Human-scale technologies: production distributed over the landscape ; Integration: ALL places are places of production Qualitative Wealth is PLACE-BASED Distributed regulation: incentives for positive action throughout economy. Self-reliance / interdependence: Trade recipes, not cookies

8 Knowledge-based Development: the 3 Ds Dematerialization: intrinsic: substituting information for resources Detoxification:...great potential to tune into benign process & substances. Decentralization: intrinsic part of the network economy

9 Redefining Wealth I Culture-based Development Production: Key Factor: Human creativity Consumption: Key Factor: End-use or Human need Rising portion of public goods …& growing importance of the Commons

10 Redefining Wealth II Quantitative: Money & Material Accumulation Qualitative: Well-being Regeneration

11 Redefining Non-Material Wealth III: Phantom/Casino vs. Real Economy Casino (debt-based) economy Eco-service economy

12 Design Dimensions Political / Financial: trade, money / currency, EPR / property /service Energy: soft energy path Technological: cradle-to-cradle, eco- industrialism, Carbo Economy, shearing layers, product design Spatial: urban design / green cities, localization

13 Principles of a Green Economy 1.The Primacy of Human Need, Service, Use-value, Intrinsic Value & Quality 2.Following Natural Flows 3.Waste Equals Food 4.Elegance and Multifunctionality 5.Appropriate Scale / Linked Scale 6.Diversity 7.Self-Reliance, Self-Organization, Self-Design 8.Participation & Direct Democracy 9.Human Creativity and Development 10.The Strategic role of the Built-environment, the Landscape & Spatial Design

14 The Green Economy: Human & Eco Dimensions 1.The Service Economy End-use: Hot Showers and Cold Beer Nutrition, Illumination, Entertainment, Access, Shelter, Community, etc. 2.The Economy in Loops The Lake Economy Flowing with nature, Every output an input, Closed-loop organization, Let nature do the work

15 Common Sense Economics Herman Daly Trade Recipes, not Cookies. Increase restrictions on the flow of material goods and physical capital (to minimize transport costs, etc.) Lessen restrictions on the flow of information and culture. note: Globalization does exactly the opposite: via free trade and intellectual property law.

16 Creativity: the key to Real development meet real needs: –Dont use material consumption as a substitute for qualitative fulfillment –Rifkin: The Empathic Civilization Greening: substitute human creativity for energy and resources. --People-intensive development --Resource productivity

17 Mass Collaboration beats competition every time wikinomics: based in abundance not scarcity undermines industrial markets

18 Labour & Resource Relationship Industrial economy: resource-intensive. labour productivity: Substitutes resources for labour. Green Economy: people-intensive / resource-saving. Substitutes human creativity for resources

19 Industrialism: The Divided Economy Invisible Visible Use-value Exchange-value Consumption Production People Things Unpaid Paid Women Men Informal Formal Private Public

20 Invisible Economy (1) Total Productive System of an Industrial Society (layer cake with icing) GNP-Monetized ½ of Cake Top two layers Non-Monetized Productive ½ of Cake Lower two layers GNP Private Sector Rests on GNP Public Sector Rests on Social Cooperative Love Economy Rests on Natures Layer Private Sector PublicSector underground economy Love Economy Mother Nature All rights reserved.Copyright© 1982 Hazel Henderson 2

21 Invisible Economy (2)

22 The Economy in Loops

23 The Old Order: Materialism and Industrialism markets best suited to material stuff steel & autos; not culture and quality of life Crisis: overproduction and "effective demand" Invisible Hand" doesn't work so well in cultural production post-Depression: Waste as economic driver.

24 Watershed of Industrialism: The Great Depression Structural Overproduction: productivity outruns worker capacity to buy. Beginnings of long-term crisis of effective demand Waste: main development strategy to create demand without redistributing wealth.

25 Scarcity, Class Power & Waste War production, suburbanization and effective demand. Waste of resources Waste of human potential

26 The Post WW II Waste Economy Permanent War Economy The Suburb Economy: Oil / Autos / Subdivisions

27 The greatest misallocation of resources in human history. …James Howard Kunstler

28 Fordism & the Reinforcement of Industrial Wealth Matter Waste Fordism Suburbanization/ Consumer Economy War Industry Money Debt Keynesianism Paper Economy Planned Inflation New forms of credit- money

29 1970s: End of the Line for the Fordist Waste Solution saturation of markets social & environmental costs coming due: fiscal crisis of the state limits to inflationary strategy Vietnam war, decline of the dollar, German/Japanese competition OPEC & the energy crisis –Petrodollars & Currency Crisis

30 Post-Fordist Casino Economy cost of waste come due: need for new sources of effective demand new technologies & Megabyte Money: money disconnected from Real economy financial sector: times (?) larger than the material economy Culture of Speculation: Stomp the weak / Get rich quick Empty wealth creation: de facto redistribution of real wealth. Polarization of work and society –end of social contracts: attack on Welfare State –the growing gap between rich and poor

31 Post-1980 Casino Capitalism: Hijacking the Information Revolution Main strategy for reproducing scarcity shifts from waste to debt New info technologies supply new ways of creating money: Fantasy Finance Decline in real wages; increasing polarization of the rich and the rest. Benefits of productivity gains monopolized by the 1%. Great Risk Shift from organizations to individuals. Rise of McJobs, outsourcing. Shift in power from manufacturing to financial capital

32 The Global Casino: Hijacking the Information Revolution expansion of employment in speculative industry –Wall St.: more advanced technologically than the military. Bubble Economies: last frontiers for capitalist growth. -stock crash of tech stock bubble of late 90s -housing bubble of Housing speculation: most destructive & exploitative of the poor & average people.

33 Austerity: Self-imposed Scarcity most repressive solution to the overextension & destructive impact of debt. --creditors rights virtually sacrosanct --a kick-start to the timid debt-based economy the other obvious solution: clean slate / jubilee / debt amnesty --the traditional remedy down through civilization. But in an age of potential abundance, this risks undercutting class power altogether by eroding both material and cultural monopolies.

34 Security Deliberately undermined by capitalism to create scarcity conditions. Security : a euphemism for defense against Abundance. -- focus of contemporary capitalist economic development National Security State Incarceration Industry Financial Industry Info Technology Industry

35 The Economy & Culture of Fear Mainstream politics and media today are mobilized for the creation of fear, based in both scarcity and personal insecurity. Reality TV competitions, extreme fighting, Tea Parties, racist fundamentalism, cultural scapegoating, etc. Question: should we be careful of adding more fear, however justifiable? (climate change, etc.)

36 The War on Creativity...or Who are the real Pirates? New wave of intellectual property law: use of copyright and patent law to suppress rather than encourage innovation. Making pirates out of everyone, and criminals out of young people. Current struggles over IP and the Internet among the key strategic struggles of our day.

37 Strategies for Abundance I Invest in social and natural regeneration everywherein the informal as well as formal economy infrastructure & public goods prosumption and self-provision reintegrate the Divided Economy Find new ways of distributing and remunerating real wealth, especially in the Commons Guarantee everyones material economic security

38 Strategies for Abundance II Disable the Coercive power of Money Community Currencies Basic Income guarantees Free Health, Education, Housing, etc. Free Culture: from ownership to access; from belongings to belonging

39 Structural Change: Unleashing the Informal Economy Juliet Schor: emphasizesSelf-Provisioning as one of the key features of Plenitude, the new economics of true wealth Rooftop gardening, self-help building, preventive health care, natural water treatment, etc.

40 Property & Stewardship Ownership should be relative: designed to support stewardship and human development –property: good for earlier materialistic development. Centralized ownership: EPR Small-holder stewardship: good for land

41 Beyond Property: Demarketization at the Cutting-edge Wikinomics: New forms of peer- production & mass collaboration superior to even the best-paid hired talent. Need for new forms of remuneration to support cultural & eco-production in the Commons. Culture & Information restricted by the rules of old-line scarcity-based markets. Brand: Information wants to be free. From belongings to belonging: culture- based economics demands access not ownership

42 Property as Theft? Capitalism as intrinsically material- based and scarcity-based Property, Ownership & material accumulation Markets: forms of material allocation. Abundance: the natural state of information & culture. Real development in an Info Economy: access, not ownership. Green Development: ownership has to be subordinate to stewardship & empowerment.

43 Commons in the Info Economy Sharing & conservation: key role of design. Sharing: flip side of the new importance of creativity. Green goods and info goods as public goods, not easily served by market exchange. Key struggles today: over control of the Commonsthe 2 nd Enclosure Brand: Information wants to be free! Daly: Trade recipes, not cookies.

44 A New Paradigm of Security Geared as much to unleashing individual and community creativity as protecting the vulnerable. Eliminates fear on many levels. Deflates the coercive power of moneyallows ethical values to factor into personal economic decisions. Supports imagination & innovation that transforms other sectors: e.g. community business. Meet everyones basic needs...or else!

45 Ending the Coercive Power of Money Community Currencies especially account-money systems Basic Income Guarantees the more universal, the better Public Provision of Services health care, transport, housing, infrastructure

46 Decommodifying Money diversification of forms of everyday exchange –supporting the informational character of currencies. –undercutting the scarcity-power of money. financial industry restructured as public utility and/or service industry. –money directed to priority areas of green development –transition: green Tobin tax new forms of remuneration –direct consumption; basic incomes; account- money; free food, health care & housing gradually enlarging the sphere of gift relationships –consistent with new productive forces based in mass collaboration

47 the appropriate goal: Gift Circulation Money as information & energy Brand: Information wants to be free. Requires social / eco value to be embedded in everyday life : indicators Question: transitional mechanisms

48 Qualitative Economic Development focus on locally-owned business increase resilience & diversity raise standards: high road development

49 Green Financial Strategy 1.Limit and starve Wall St. gambling 2.Find ways of getting capital to regenerative enterprise

50 Regenerative Finance Toolbox Cooperative investing Impact investment Local Stock Exchanges Crowdfunding Community investment & revolving loan funds Public banking

51 ... but check out these fascinating links: [next slide]

52 Links Bill Moyers talks to Susan Crawford author of Captive Audience Yochai Benkler on Open-source Economics Laurence Lessig on the War on Creativity Van Jones: America is not broke! Michael Shuman on Local Investment Juliet Schor on the Plenitude Economy SolarShare: Solar Power Your Portfolio Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathic Civilization: The race to global consciousness in a world in crisis Wikipedia on Graebers Debt: the First 5000 Years Rev. Billy: What Would Jesus Buy? 2008 OISE Transformative Martial Arts series

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