Living Well, but Sustainably

2worldsWe cannot continue with the present lifestyle of the USA. It is not sustainable. Many people are concluding from this that we cannot live “as well as” that lifestyle — that we must give up many of its comforts. I disagree with them; I think they’re not being imaginative enough.

I assert that we can create a new lifestyle that is sustainable and more comfortable than our present lifestyle. But it will be extremely different from our present lifestyle, and the transition will not be simple.

We’re going to need a global eco-anarcho-commie revolution. That’s a cultural change — it’s the spreading of ideas — it has to be voluntary; it won’t work with guns. Well, voluntary for most of us. The 1% will try to hold onto the old ways, and they will use violence even if we don’t; we saw that (for instance) at Standing Rock. But the police and army are part of the 99%, so if we spread our ideas to them, the 1% will no longer have any power.

First of all, we’ll have to give up both hierarchy and private property. Those create the plutocracy that is destroying the ecosystem. I’ve written about that elsewhere. But hierarchy and property are fundamental aspects of our present way of life; it’s hard to imagine life without them. (Giving up hierarchy is the “anarcho-” part; giving up property is the “commie” part.)

Second, we’re going to have to retool our industries and infrastructure completely, to be biodegradable, renewable, carbon-neutral, and emissions-free. (That’s the “eco-” part.) We can keep the stuff we’ve already got, at least for a while, but we’ll have to completely redesign our production of new stuff, and eventually scrap all the old stuff and replace it — our factories, homes, farm implements, and so on. It’s a much bigger change than the proverbial “gearing up for World War 2.”

But we won’t have to scrap our knowledge. That’s an enormous thing, much bigger than most people realize, particularly if we finally start using it properly.

So our way of life will be very different. But the fact that we are sharing instead of hoarding does not mean that our “standard of living” must go down. On the contrary, it will go UP quite a bit for everyone but the rich. Once capitalism is gone, all sorts of wonderful things become possible.

  • We will end hunger, poverty, war, loneliness, homelessness, cruelty, most diseases.
  • We will have clean water!
  • We will end junk food and other common forms of self-destruction — not by banning them directly, but by educating people.

And even the formerly rich, now expropriated, will find their lives improved: They will have fewer material possessions, but more of the things that can actually bring happiness.

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2018 Nov 24, version 1.02.