Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eco-Transitions update

I quickly skimmed the posts of this blog since 6/5, reading a few sections here and there. It seems the bottom line is that effective transition to the "next-step economy" must come from those within the existing business and political structures through individual "changes in consciousness." And that this will have to happen in transition stages over a long period. Arnsperger does though realize that to do so within the system has the high likelihood of being corrupted by that system, much like freshly minted lawyers start their first job believing in truth and justice and are quickly disabused of such pipe dreams. And that there will be those within the system who will use the language of the new ecopreneurs to maintain the status quo by rhetorically manipulating those truly interested in such change. Like Obama, for one.  Or oil company subsidies to research alternative energy while really using the money and research to sabotage such alternatives.

Arnsperger is no fool and sees the inherent problems to changing the system from the inside but he has faith nonetheless that this is the only way that real, long-term change is feasible despite the challenges. I must admit I have difficulty sharing his faith. Even when we look at I-I's "integral capitalism," for example, we see that it has become corrupted by the system, reinforcing Kennilingam's own assertion that the economic system is the key generator of individual worldview, and usually unconsciously. I truly question whether the changes we need can come from participating within that system, since those already within are master manipulators and will skillfully and subversively assimilate the new "integralists" to their agenda and change them in the process, not the other way around.

Also along these lines I've been thinking about the Tea Party. Even though I am convinced they economic agenda is in the wrong direction their political successes speaks to indeed that radical change can happen from outside the system. Granted they elected into the system some of their representatives but their success has come from their recalcitrant refusal to participate in the usual workings of that system. In other words, they are still outside that system. So why not the more progressive revolution from without, electing our representatives into the system with the commitment to remain without it by refusing to go along with business as usual, by holding up the system until we win in the ways the Tea Party has done.

And no, this is not a reactionary movement as if it were an equal and opposite pole of the Tea Party but rather an evolutionary advance* that sticks to its principles for a much more short-term and radical way to effect the necessary change within the system by remaining without it in action.

* Warning, intentional and transparent use of "integral" dog whistle.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. It's a thin, very thin line between faith in the possibility of "inside" change and faith in the need for "outside" change. I actually waver between the two, quite regularly. Realism invariably dictates the former; desire and legitimate impatience, the former. So I figure the ideal road would be a "middle way": outside change coming from the inside. I'm serious. We -- those who work on these ideas and have the luxury of time and resources to be devoted to research -- have a daunting task before us: to educate (which, remember, means "to bring forth") a new generation of "outside insiders". That's why, in my books "Full-Spectrum Economics" (Routledge, 2010) and "Critical Political Economy" (Routledge, 2008), I insist so heavily on what I call "critical acceptance": the ability for economic actors to live inside the system as if they were already outside. Standard teachings on economic rationality overlook this ability; I, for one, am convinced that "attaché case pioneers" (genuine ones, not fakes) are our only chance -- and that's PRECISELY why I am also convinced that "we" shouldn't let the system produce these pioneers for "us." This is what my blog entries of June 29 (, July 20 (, and July 24 ( try to spell out. But I do agree, as I said: It's a thin, very thin line... The system does have the ability to sterilize a significant amount of radicality. But rarely have citizens, and as MANY citizens, been as aware of this as today. So maybe there's a glimmer of hope...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.