New Book

book cover

New book coming very soon. I hope people enjoy it. Here’s a passage kindly published by Feasta: – http://www.feasta.org/2020/06/25/being-nothingness-cumquats-and-walter-scott/

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Drawing to a Close

I think that this little piece of writing is drawing to a close. I think the journeys of Homo sapiens are drawing to a close. All human endeavour is drawing to a close. It had stepped beyond the limits of its home on Earth and is now standing on empty air. About half of the species is so cemented to its achievements that it cannot turn back. The other half, who remain on the remains of a pillaged Earth have no voice to carry to those who stand in empty air. Earth’s living systems are unravelling into lifelessness and the end is not far.
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For this writer, he can muddle along by the power of imagination – of the utopias that are certainly possible, but which he knows are extremely unlikely. He can survive by the tragic comedy of it all. But sometimes good music will pluck inner strings, beyond words and have him collapsed in a sobbing heap on the floor.
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Cultures, as he repeats like a mantra, are what people do – not what they have achieved, or possess. So, culturing is always in the timeless present – it is being in the sensual union of ourselves and our terrains. So also, we can only change the course of a culture in that sensual moment. It can never be deferred into a targeted future. Only my present can contribute to the larger future.
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A climate activist’s contribution to a common future is not words delivered from a podium, but her share of the jet aeroplane, which has delivered her to the conference.
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Her understanding of the data she presents to assembled delegates should have made it impossible for her to board the aeroplane. That it hasn’t, indicates nothing more than the power of what she thinks of as her power and perhaps – of a longing to “belong” among her peers. That she reads from a document, which could have been published for all to see without stirring from home, is both tragic and comic – perfect for black comedy and for the most-stark of Greek tragedies. At the time, her present contributed only to a rosy future for jet aeroplanes.
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That’s all I have to say.
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We can choose to step back from those targeted futures and into our lives and their real effects. I don’t think we will, but we could.
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That “we could” is all that keeps this writer holding on to the shimmering beauty of a fragile spider’s thread.
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I Said, I’d not Speak of Viruses (having small knowledge), but I’ve Changed my Mind

People are shocked by the Tory government’s behaviour during Coronavirus, when it had been elected to do exactly what it is doing. I cannot fathom why people are shocked, since it was our choice and also the choice of the BBC and the bulk of other media organisations (including the Guardian). It promised deregulation, privatisation, decreased taxation for the rich and increased burdens for the poor. It promised a firm hand to repel and persecute black and brown people, an easing of police regulation (though no increased funding). It promised increased limits to liberty to both protest and hold public gatherings. It promised to limit democratic governance and to increase powers of arrest. Many of those powers were promised to private mercenary and “security” firms, who were also offered the management of prisons. It promised to privatise education, probation services and many other services besides. It promised to accelerate the slashing of environmental and human rights legislation and thus also to increase the power of private enterprise.
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It promised (by plain implication, not text) to hand both medical supplies and treatments (pharmaceuticals, vaccines…) to the patent-spurred “ingenuity” of private enterprise. Similarly, by implication, it promised profit to that private enterprise by allowing private patents for work done by public taxation – thus further reducing accountable infrastructure.
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It proposed to enclose tax-generated and so common infrastructures into private properties – without the acts of parliament formerly necessary for all such enclosures.
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Why does the Left affect outrage at what it had itself achieved by the fictional demonisation of Jeremy Corbyn? Without the liberal Left; without the Guardian newspaper, Mr Corbyn would now, by normal democratic process, be prime minister. That is no conspiracy theory, it is simple truth.
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Of course, much of the above will be maintained by Mr Keir Starmer. The Liberal Left chose him, because it also chose corporate-supplied consumerism, which is exactly what we have now. It chose a more policed, yet diminished state. It chose what it now rails against – that is, a politicised virus. Coronavirus has been politicised to open the UK door to stateless, private spoils of war. Yet the virus is promoted as an enemy to be defeated by a united nation – a little and glorious England (forgetting N Ireland, Scotland and Wales), which against overwhelming odds and by the universal self- sacrifice of her people, will eventually, scarred, limping, but unwavering, emerge victorious from the trenches.
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That the virus is just a virus and that species can neither function, nor evolve without viruses, is brushed behind the door by both the “stick to the patent-extraction of the science” of the liberal left and the battlefield – the survival of the “fittest” – of the extreme right.
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Don’t forget – no never forget, that the Third Reich was financed, enabled and industrialised (contrary to its ideals) entirely by private enterprise, which throughout the terror, continued to extract large profits from both the Reich and from those increasing spoils of war.
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Wars will always make a few very rich indeed.
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Listen! There is no war. There are collapsing ecologies and there is a wildly disbalancing climate. Look after your family, friends and neighbours, protect the vulnerable, but turn away from the illusion of a battlefield. Neither is the ecological and climatic crisis an alternative battlefield. We are not under attack. Every citizen is receiving the effects of her own causes. The real battlefield is private, personal and epic. It is with ourselves. Please engage. Study ourselves, and we may find answers to many questions.

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In the Outer Lands

Of course, post-collapse, we’ll have no choice, but to come together on the common, but what do we do now, in the last days before collapse? Plainly we can build new economic and social relationships subversively beneath the enclosures and on a rather fragile and tentative common. We can withdraw our spending from super market, retail park, the internet and so on and replace it into the hands of local trades’ people. We can learn non-fossil-fuelled skills. If possible, we can evacuate the education system and begin to teach more appropriate values. Of course, the enclosures will reach down with law enforcement – compulsory curriculums, rent…
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It’s a muddle – for instance a renewing Earth will not have energy to power the internet, and yet for now it is useful to communicate between commoners and as a library for skills and tools. All is least worst options.
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The transition movement had it right from the beginning – it has made no attempt to improve the enclosures, but rather, it would learn, step by step, to enter the common – a place where behaviour has consequence. Its footsteps lead from an economy powered by fossil fuels towards one, which isn’t. It hopes for the transition community to expand across its new commons.
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But still we live in a world of enclosures and we can negotiate with that world for measures, which may aid our transition, using all the allies we can get. Such measures may prove congruent with the contrary aims of others, who wish not to evacuate, but to improve the enclosures. An improved enclosure erodes the common. They include –
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1 – Redirecting New Deal, or Green New Deal moneys from corporate re-finance, to community re-finance – from corporate greening to community greening. We can use it to help settle the common.
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2 – Basic Income, or Citizen’s dividend is seen by many as the best way to rejuvenate existing “economies” during and as we emerge from the Coronavirus “slow down”.
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It can be similarly used to buy liberty to settle the common. Tom Paine saw it as a means to some restorative justice, by returning the rents gathered by enclosure, back to the original common. Of course, it remains a small restoration – that is, merely for rents gathered. Meanwhile, the theft of moral commons to create amoral private property is the cause not only of most poverty in the world, but also of climatic disbalance and of the pillage of nature. Its course is inevitable – self-destruction. Truly, we must evacuate quick. Enclosures cannot be improved. Self-destruction is intrinsic to what they are. Those who’d enclose, can have no moral understanding to respond to moral advice.
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“Carbon” taxes can be used in the same way – to re-finance community endeavour – through citizen’s dividend perhaps. Those who’d “improve” the enclosures (most environmental activists) could also be helpful to those who, on the contrary, would re-settle the common. The “great corporations”, for the most part, will be happy to embrace carbon taxes, because they know coal, oil and gas are bad for sales figures, whereas consumer trends are towards an “enlightened” future of green energy. Progress, enlightenment and new green technologies are excellent marketing tools for continued and utterly amoral (and so immoral) “green” enclosure. Corporations will be keen to swallow as much Green New Deal and Carbon Tax money as they can. The negotiated battle between community and corporate funding is on-going inside the enclosures. In the end it remains a part of this illusion – consumerism as a partnership. Corporations need the consumer and most consumers need the corporation. I think that is an unhappy relationship. I think most people are unhappy. Retail therapy is becoming less and less effective.
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The common is a still, small voice. It sings and dances – inviting others to the dance. I wish I knew if and when it will become more insistent. Time is very, very short.
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We are the Cambium

Climatic catastrophes will continue to accelerate beyond all predictions, because no-one has changed the model, which produced the old predictions.
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Similarly, those who remain inside the economic model, which has brought us to this moment of climatic and ecological collapse, will not prevent that collapse, or the economic collapse which must also come.
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Improving the model from inside the model does not change the model. That is why the planned de-growth of the model does not change it – it merely limits its appetite. Limiting the appetite of an already fragile model will lead to implosion (starvation) and death.
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We currently follow the human construction of economic and climatic models. We add to them what we think of as scientifically-obtained data. That we add genuine data to a fallible model does not improve the model. What’s more, it corrupts the data.
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Moreover, adding genuine data to a corrupt model evokes an illusion, in the eyes of many, of a genuine model.
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This is our predicament. The whole of academia, much of commerce and nearly every government of every developed economy is rigidly set on improving, de-growing and greening a model that is destined to fail. Of course, parts of commerce and governance see no need even to improve a model which provides the source of their wealth and authority.
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Plainly, we must learn a new economic vision, which fits both the genuine data, while allowing for a far more modest human settlement.
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When I say data, I mean intelligence of nature – the evidence of our senses. Science, to be science, must be sceptical – that is amoral. So, science is no help in guiding what we do. What we do as a group is the culture of that group. Scientific knowledge can advantageously add to the accumulating mythology – to the assurance and pleasures, of a culture, but scientific knowledge is not the culture. What we do is the culture – that is tools for settlement are the culture. Tools are always moral, because all actions have wider consequence. To return to my recurring metaphor, where a tool touches its material is a spark of truth, which immediately becomes a moral truth, because that touch may produce better, or worse reactions.
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Thus, experiences of individuals within a culture are vital to a common settlement of its terrain, because experience is always solitary – even though it may echo the experiences of others. Shared experiences add to the binding of cultural mythology, through gossip and interest in another’s skills, tools and areas of application. Where a tool (or a hand) touches its materials is the primary source for cultural (common) intelligence.
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Where is governance, or rather where should it be? The oldest governance is the common – the accumulated and accumulating voices of both ancestors and ourselves. Ourselves are the current embodiment of ancestry. Thinking of the culture as a living organism, let’s say, a tree – we are the cambium, but we only stand by the heartwood of ancestry. We grow around and by those ancient trunks and branches. I think many ancient cultures functioned purely in that way.
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The purpose of enclosure (of property) is to remove ancestral guidance (the common) to replace it with the guidance of a hierarchy.
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Religions (for the most part) have been sanctuaries for the commons, against the ephemeral and usually destructive behaviours of hierarchies. Of course, religions have often been flawed by hierarchies of their own. Nevertheless, a balance of church, temple mosque… and state has provided some protection to eroded and eroding commons.
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Today, developed economies have achieved the mass enclosure of what they think of as everything, into private properties – of status, money and land. Property is amoral – that is its purpose – to escape the moral judgement of the common. Enclosure’s tools face no scrutiny. To obscure that obvious flaw, it creates what it hopes will prove a contagious cargo cult (sham religion) of Progress, Enlightenment, Education…, for all of which, we must pay considerable rents.
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Fortunately, there is also a flaw in that thought – “mass enclosure of everything” – because moral guidance – that is laws of commons – are alive and well in the household. Family, friendship and common interest groups behave by their own rules. Fair shares rule. Money and status do not. What’s more, I think our lives are centred round that common. As I say, we live primarily in the household and only expediently under hierarchies.
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Let’s consider the opening paragraph to this chapter –
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Climatic catastrophes will continue to accelerate beyond all predictions, because no-one has changed the model, which produced the old predictions.
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Plainly we must evacuate the whole thing. We must evacuate the amoral enclosures and re-settle the moral common. We shall not be stepping into a strange land, because as families and friends we are already settled there. We can begin from that heart-wood and then begin, by new relationships; by leaf and branch, to reclaim the common
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To be sure, we’ll enter a world of frugality; of rations; of consequence – but for palpable, immediately sensual reasons, and for the very great beauty of it all. We are the cambium – the green, photosynthetic leaves of the species.
Ah well, we cannot be photosynthetic beyond the metaphor, but nevertheless, we can grow appropriately into both our times and spaces. Let’s be fitting.
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Sumps

Now, let’s return to our February chapter, Here’s Why I’m so at Odds with Many of my Green Friends https://convivialeconomy.com/2020/02/26/heres-why-im-so-at-odds-with-many-of-my-green-friends/ … And let’s consider carbon sumps.
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These are some sumps – true sumps, which it would be dangerous to unlock – coal, oil, gas, heartwood of trees, strata of layered peat (sequestered beneath the living bog), frost from the permafrost…
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Of course, all have been unlocked – mostly by combustion – some by the resultant green house and some by farmers and gardeners. In consequence we are all in extreme danger.
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It is a moral tale – sumps should not leak. There we have it, that must be a simple and primal law of the commons. Commons define good and bad behaviour.
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Now IPCC consider sumps to be but one part of sequestration, whereas I do not. For me, sumps and true sequestration are synonyms. IPCC consider soil life, plant and animal life to be a sequestered mass of carbon. I do not. I consider it to have mass, plus energy and velocity. It is by no means sequestered. It creates and maintains the atmosphere. It cannot be thought of as sequestered and apart from that atmosphere.
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Along with coal and etc, these things are also truly sequestered (at least partially) outside the cycles of life – bones, limestones, phosphate rock…
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Bio mass – living mass – must be considered quite differently. In the first place, it is not “carbon” – that is a static mass. In addition to mass, life has acceleration (vitality) and velocity (time, seasons, fast-growing, slow growing). Carbon cycles cannot exist without vitality – without the energy of life. Why not call them life-cycles?
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Remove energy and velocity and yes, we’d have a carbon sump, but we’d also (after a mass explosion of fermentation gases, created by the last throws of fungi and bacteria) have a dead planet.
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Let’s return to where I think the error might have first germinated – to James Lovelock. He is rightly revered, but his blinkered physicist’s view of “carbon” was catastrophically wrong.
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He saw that the sumps, which I have described, must be urgently locked-up again. But then he took another step – why not do some geo-engineering and harvest vast amounts of biomass (which he thought of as carbon) and bury it deep beneath the continuing cycles of life – removing “carbon” from the Gaia system by increasing the size of the sump. I haven’t a clue why he thought that would diminish the green-house effect. I suppose he thought, undisturbed-sump – good, increased-sump – better.
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Meanwhile, removing life, removes the mass, acceleration and velocity of life. It moves us closer to a lifeless planet and further from a living one. As we know, the complexity of inter-connections can lead to species cascade and still further loss of mass, energy and velocity. Remove life into a sump, or by burning it, and we diminish the power of photosynthesis to “draw down” atmospheric carbon dioxide and so we also cause the green-house to expand, as life-cycles weaken…
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Ah well, whoever thought the Phoenix (living mass) could emerge from her own flames? All I can see are gas, ashes and energetic heat.
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Lost in Dreams of Arthur and Gawain

Yes. Our industrial journey has been interrupted by oblivion. That is simple truth. Deny it, or accept it. Of course, every government of every developed economy denies it. So, we in those economies, must quietly embark at the next station, or otherwise grab our driver; pilot; politician by the lapels and force her to stop the train. Strangely, most people prefer to stay on the train and inside their accustomed route, others would also stay on the train (most academics), but attempt to slow it down. Slightly less would stay on the train, but force it to stop, they think, by the force of powerful argument – that is the rest of academics.
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Those last would remain on the stopped train but deny the human consequence of universally stopped trains – total collapse of the rail system – of wages, tax revenues, both hard and social infrastructures…
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Only a very few would alight at the next station – abandoning the train for quite another sort of journey.
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Those of us who alight at the next station can build a settlement without a train track to the future – to oblivion. We can live, at last in the present – like all life on Earth – responding and adapting to be one small part of the greater whole.
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Meanwhile, every green NGO paces the coach corridors, raising subscriptions and persuading people to lobby their MPs to green the locomotive’s energy supply and also to slow it down – sometimes they do mention that oblivion lies ahead. Yet fast, or slow, in time the train will arrive at Oblivion Station and then disappear – its insubstantial pageant faded…
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Those who alight from the train are rather like the out-landers of Huxley’s Brave New World, or E M Forster’s, The Machine Stops. But they have a long literary and pre-literary tradition, depicted by Morris, Thoreau, Ruskin, Smith, Clare, Coleridge, Blake, Gray, Goldsmith – by the Diggers and Levellers – by Marvel, Herrick, by Milton (sort of), Shakespeare, Jonson, Sydney, Raleigh (and co), then we jump to Virgil and several others and then again to legends of the green wood and of pre-enclosure days going back deep into the Bronze Age – running counter to Tales of warrior heroes – Arthur, Cuchulainn, Hector, Achilles…
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Of course, most of the above remained on the train, dreaming of stepping off. You may be surprised to learn that I think the tracks were first laid in the late Bronze Age (about 1,500 BC), when “land pressures” first sprung ideas of property (enclosure) and the necessity for warrior elites to defend it.
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The counter tales were of The Garden; of green-wood gods; of sacred sites – mountains, springs – the deities of the common and of ancestors.
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Warrior elites are stupid – they use power, not senses. The train track is stupid. It uses power, not the senses.
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In the late Bronze Age, we lost the battle with stupidity and we have lost it ever since.
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Today, we will lose the battle again. Fighting is pointless. As many of those writers have suggested, we leave the battlefield – turn our backs, cross the tracks and walk away – didn’t our mothers always tell us that? We all know the train will run out of track and will hang, for just a moment, on empty air…
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As David Jones said of his rifle – Leave it, leave it under the oak. Leave it for Jerry and the salvage bloke… Though he was lost in dreams of Arthur and Gawain…
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A Beautiful Adventure

It should be a beautiful adventure – living in community again – supplying each-others’ needs. Learning the skills for that will prove to be another beautiful thing. As a tool touches its materials, so the human imagination touches the Earth. Earth reverberates at the impact. How far? Imagine all those near infinite influences touching others and creating still more sparks – some for the worse perhaps. Then, we imagine the better, like Edward Thomas paused (in his express train) at Addlestrop station – and for that minute a blackbird sang – and round him, mistier, further and further – all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire… Would you embark from the train into that other world?
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Imagine travelling again, along valleys, up gradients, crossing rivers, meeting people, sitting on a pub bench as dusk arrives and as bats replace the last swallows – both feasting on the same day’s hatch – an insect feast – and all connected as the traveller is to her destination and as the intricate complexity of every species is – vibrating in both time and space from a pub bench through Oxfordshire to Gloucestershire.
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Imagine the end of the internet, aviation and the family car – the end of travelling without travel and the end of google. Imagine the primary source of learning to be our senses – the sight, touch, scent and sound of the world and then also the senses (the enticing news) of others. We’d test that on our own experience, or adventure to seek it out. Thus, the tale-telling is born, which eventually become stories of ancestors – commons – common mythology.
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Listen – the internet, aviation, family car, suburbia… must all end anyway. They can only be powered by a consumed Earth.
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It’s very strange, but most people seem to want to consume the Earth, thinking the future will somehow replenish the present. They stand in a fiction – often a science fiction. Certainly, every government of every developed economy believes in that cargo cult – of future salvation landing from future shores on the beaches of the present – of the Gods of Cargo. We stand on the shingle and chant, Progress! Enlightenment! Modernity! The present is backward. The future’s the thing.
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Come away, my friend, have a cup of tea and then, shall we walk a little, on the Earth?
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Let’s digress –
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Now, the main criticism which most green thinking aims at our ancestor, Adam Smith is his notion of the efficiencies gained by division of labour. We find it difficult to argue against it with regards to efficiency, but we say, But Adam, what about the human soul? But I think if we read Adam’s thoughts as a single complex whole, he’d have the last laugh. At the very centre of his vision is his understanding of the evils of profit. It’s true, that in all “developed” economies, efficiencies of economies of scale have led to increased profit, diminished wages, and diminished leisure time. He would regard that as the deepest of cultural tragedies, which have led to today’s poverty, shrunken skill, slave labour and hoarded wealth. If he could see us today, he would immediately note that the invisible hand was a withered, shrunken anachronism, dangling in useless ugliness at our sides.
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The greatest wealth of nations is seen in economies with high wages and low profits and the least, in economies with low wages and high profits.
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To Adam, division of labour leads either to increased leisure time, or to increased wages. Of course, a lovely combination might be a smaller increase in wages knit with a smaller increase of leisure time. How much money do we think we need? How much leisure time do we think we need? For myself, I’d probably choose the leisure to engage in wider economic activity – community projects and pleasures and even occasionally, a monkish cell, or by the peripatetic thought-stimulus of a walk by the sea-shore – to improve the writing of this book.
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Let’s now consider mechanisation –
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As our community settles back into its terrain, can we come together inside a factory, so that its efficiencies generate more leisure time? Need the fat mill-owner (Josiah Bounderby) grow fatter on the labours of his thinning slaves? Need slavery (education) be taught at a very young age, by Mr Gradgrind?
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Of course, we cannot have Coke-town – that is the model for what we have today – – belching unused wastes and fire-born CO.2. But we can have mills and manufactories which use the power of gravity, which, in turn, powers looms, forges, grain mills and timber working. The sluice and the water wheel are thousands of years old and can be both built and used in community. They increase leisure time, because they create goods (not necessarily for sale) in a short passage of time. People can come together there. They can sing and gossip as they work. They can weave their own designs – both practically and spiritually – function and elegance combined (Ruskin).
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Profit would destroy the purpose of the mill and also increase the costs of building it. It would remove the pleasure of building it. As children, we loved to play at such designs – channelling water over, or under, or around, or into dammed pools. We’d sail stick boats and sometimes perhaps, design a water wheel. Without the need for profit and with increased leisure-time, adults can play too – inevitably leading to far simpler and better designs than our modern engineer, working within the restraints of his “brief”. Remember, a resilient economy must be largely composed of money-less activity. Money is a useful tool, but no more.
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I think it probable that direct traction from gravity, through water, to machinery will prove a step more efficient than gravity, through water, through turbine, through electricity to machinery.
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Why not stick a very small turbine, in the sluice, for electric light, to illuminate our work in dark days?
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We could do without the factory and sit in happy solitude at our cottage looms, but convivial company and more leisure time may change our minds. Remember though, profit, rent, usury and the amoral trading of the mills original source of finance – that is of tradeable shares and bonds will make the proposition irrelevant. We must abandon such monetised mills – abandon the enclosure and settle the common. Always, always, always return to the cottage and then build a community of friends. Then by common ingenuity, and on the common – build the factory. However, I think that non-tradeable shares could be issued within a community for the beginnings of such adventures.
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When Edward Thomas listened from his stationary express train window to those more and more distant blackbirds singing, he listened, by the chance of an interrupted journey, to an enchanting land. Let’s be similarly enchanted, because our industrial journey has been well and truly interrupted – by oblivion.
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Let’s be Tragi-comic

I propose that what most prevents us from evacuating both our crazy infinite-growth model and our equally crazy destruction of the natural world (which houses, clothes and feeds us) is our inability to embrace and choose the tragedies through which we must first pass to settle within Earthly means.
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All roads back to Earth, must first pass through total economic collapse. We must face that, but we don’t.
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We create fantasies, such as net emissions, or models to slow economies, which conveniently ignore the collapse, which would ensue by their application – that is, for all growth-driven modernity.
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I include ideas of green technological progress; of man-centric enlightenment; of cures for all diseases; of modernity as replacement for errors of the past; of future-created tools, which will solve current predicaments; of education as synonym for enlightenment…
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The truth is, that we can only effectively apply the doughnut, or circular, or steady-state economies after collapse. Developed “economies” are now levitated so high above their terrains, that little more than a pin-prick will bring them down about our real and trembling human forms. As we wait for that collapse, we should all be busily building inter-connected homes inside the terrains, which must feed, house and clothe us. Only there, can we think of “the circular economy” and only there can we consider the common bonds that may bind communities, instead of prevalent pictures of fear, hate and bunkers. That economy must accept the rubble and ashes – the pain, unemployment, cold and hunger, which will be a part of collapse. The tragedy will come and we should embrace it now, just as we should embrace any truth. Because of that – doughnut, circular and steady-state models, begin with a lie. They refuse to evacuate the bad and to settle the good.
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Tragedy is something artists have embraced in every century. If it exists, we must morally-embrace it as necessary. As I say frequently, comedy and tragedy have identical plots – so comedy is useful too. Let’s be tragi-comic to keep “noble” tragedy at bay. Noble tragedy is narcissism – that silhouette on the hill-top against a wild sky – that hubris…
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Pointing out the above has frozen me out from every “green” forum, which used to publish my articles – for some, because of my experience of sequestration and of my refusal to accept models, which include net emissions – for others, for my criticism of “the doughnut without collapse”.
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This web site has a tiny – no, smaller than tiny influence. Traffic is very, very, very small.
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Ah well, that’s rather comic.
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Quickly Dashed-off Summary of the World According to a Nobody

By the act of withdrawing our spending from the enclosures, and replacing it in the common we play our part in the collapse of enclosure and the revival of the common.
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We cannot prevent collapse of the enclosures, but we can create scattered economies durable enough to emerge from the ashes of modernity. At least 70% (guess) of those scattered economies must be made up of money-less activity and because, without enclosure, we shall have no property; no rent; no debt; no casino – the mass and energy of money need be very, very small, relative to today.
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As Adam Smith says, Money can have no purpose, besides purchasing goods, but goods can have many purposes, besides purchasing money. Adam Smith’s thoughts on economy are identical to David Fleming’s (the slack economy). In both, money is a tool, but cannot be “capital”.
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If necessary, (bad harvests, for instance) we can put aside that tool of exchange and instead rely on the exchanged energy of people.
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It seems a long time ago that Richard Douthwaite introduced me to this thought – Money-flow should not exceed energy-flow. Energy-flow is the power of what people do. Recently, the power of what people do, has been magnified by fossil fuels by thirty or fourty times over (another wild guess).
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It is plain that merely removing fossil fuels from our culture will cause monetary collapse and so also inevitably, economic collapse.
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On top of that, enclosed commons of land, status, ideas and money have created these various irresponsible properties (home as castle). I mean land, bank account, doctorate & so on) – all of which charge large rents. When I take my £10 per hour to pay for the solicitor’s £300 per hour, the £290 difference is rent for the property of monopoly status. Interest is rent for the property of money and so on. *
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So, fossil-fuelled money-flow has been vastly increased by enclosure – by rent collection from the probity of the real economy by an irresponsible, libertarian enclosure. Today, very few commons remain. If we like, we can exchange property (to liven things up) in a casino of stocks, bonds, shares and currencies.
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Of course, collapse of an “economy” whose foundation is irresponsibility is inevitable, but the slightest prick to that casino fervour will immediately prick the faith of punters and so the whole “thing” will cascade (pack of cards really is the appropriate metaphor).
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David Fleming’s metaphor is bloke falls off bicycle when forward motion no longer holds him upright.
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But here’s a thing – a moneyless economy survives on the common and it survives everywhere by means of the household – in family values and in rations of both what we can have (toys, food…) and in what we can do (chores and pleasures). That economy extends into groups of friends, clubs, common interest societies, pub sing-songs, churches, meeting houses, mosques, temples, synagogues – in conversation with a stranger, exhilarated at the view from a hill top – in festivals and holidays …
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So, when we abandon the casino and the enclosure, we will be far from landing in a wilderness. If we start from home, we will start from the original – the primal common, which is the only true economy. As I say elsewhere, we live primarily in the household and only expediently under hierarchies. As modernity cascades around us, we need not head for the bunkers, we can reach out to family friends and neighbours. If we had previously diverted our spending from the internet and from super-markets and corporations – if we had diverted it into the shops and workshops of local trades’ people, then the beginnings of a working economy of villages, towns, workshops and farms could emerge as dereliction of ring road and retail park flap like loose corrugated sheets in the similarly primal wind!
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Green activists talk a lot about divestment – about diverting casino spending (central banks, pension funds, great corporations, “investors”, into green spending. They shout, Oil is old, this is new. Why not grab the new coming thing? Quick before others get there first!
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I say, they prolong, and for just a little, what is bleeding the true economy dry – that is enclosure. Property is deaf both to its own coming collapse and to the common, and worse, to the coming collapse of both ecosystems and climatic balance.
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Many green activists talk of fighting the “big polluters”, but those polluters only exist by the spending of little people. They do not exist by “big investors”. It is not the supply side, which must crumble. It is the demand.
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Let’s shift the divestment movement to include us all. We can shed the corporate clothing by not paying for it and instead revive those same skills close to home. Close and home are both very powerful triggers of emotion. They instinctively bond.
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I don’t know of one academic economist who has courage to say that a steady-state, circular, or doughnut economy will cause the collapse of the casino and so by cascade, of the real economy of manufacturing, wages, tax revenue and infrastructure spending.
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Ah well, here’s the thing, they speak from the enclosures. What use are they on the common?
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* Of course, a junior hospital doctor has an ordinary wage. It is when she becomes a consultant, or a GP (also a consultant) that she begins to charge rent for her status. She can become rich overnight. For our junior doctor to become a consultant (and also rich overnight), she must first publish a peer-reviewed paper, or two. It would be prudent, to focus on areas which pharmaceutical companies would find “interesting” and also to confirm the currently-fashionable status quo, rather than rocking its boat. Remember she will be horribly over-worked and under-valued and so the enticement of considerable riches and of peer respect will probably overwhelm the contrary leaning – of an innocent search for truth

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Similarly, and in many areas, the possession of a doctorate will not lead to more than an ordinary wage. It is consultancy (enclosure’s gate-keeping), which does so.
For instance, in climate-related areas, researchers may be paid an ordinary wage, but “lead authors” will begin to charge status rent and can become very, very rich – and rather quickly. Commercial and government consultancy positions will, if convenient, open their doors. Any punctures appearing in their previous “research” will be attacked as schism. Respected status and sudden wealth will have been hard-fought and will not be relinquished! Humble researchers in possession of a doctorate and but a small wage, will – to keep that position and that wage – almost exclusively, back-up that “lead author”.

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