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Babylon is falling

October 23, 2008

Change is in the air, brothers and sisters: Babylon is falling.

The Tarot card The Tower shows a tower struck by lightning and collapsing, with figures falling from it. It symbolises the violent destruction of a world view. This is the experience the world is going through right now: the dominant ideology has collapsed.

We need to take the opportunity to create alternatives.

While I believe it is useful to understand why we got into this mess, this is not a time for recrimination, blame or ‘I-told-you-sos’. We have a unique opportunity to reconstitute the world while it is in a rare state of flux.

For instance, it is amazing how quickly the idea of a Green New Deal has gained currency. A few months ago, it was an idea on the radical fringe: now even the most mainstream commentators are calling for it. You’ll hear more of it. It amounts to a revival of the Keynesian idea of spending our way out of the crisis, this time by creating a lot of green jobs – for instance, funding development of green technologies and insulating buildings.

It is a limited idea, designed to save capitalism and do some environmental good at the same time, without fundamentally transforming the world we live in.

But just as social democracy is a few steps short of full human liberation, but still a massive leap forward from dictatorship, this is an important step in the right direction. It should be encouraged. We live in a world of compromise: as a ‘minimum programme‘, we could do a lot worse than a Green New Deal.

Also, in other good news, Ecuador recently voted for a new constitution. It is the first constitution in the world to give the natural world the same rights as human beings:

“Natural communities and ecosystems possess the unalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve within Ecuador. Those rights shall be self-executing, and it shall be the duty and right of all Ecuadorian governments, communities, and individuals to enforce those rights.”

I believe it represents a paradigm shift in the way humans interact with the planet.

So, the world is changing. Let’s make the most of it.

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