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The Practical Utopia of Ecological Community

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At present there is an urgent challenge: to develop a vision of land beyond capitalism and the real-estate market towards a resilient global ecosystem. Money and finance are “fetters” on the economy, serving to reify, abstract, and discipline labour, while also obscuring its centrality. Money divides the human community into both subject and object, making collective action more difficult to conceive and to coordinate. In the economic thought money is not considered always in the same way. In neoclassical economy, money is a veil with no independent influence on real decision variables such as capital, labour and output. According to Keynes instead money influences dynamics within society and economics. In contemporary society though through the evolution of capitalism, the motive of gain has become most important compared to previous societies. This change can be traced in the fiscal-military state emerging in the late 17th century, where the purpose of the state becomes to levy taxes to support war to conquer territories to support trade networks and territories for the expansion of the state. Money then becomes the lifeblood flowing of the system: it unifies societies based on individual private property and money becomes the goal of the economic activity. Land becomes an individual private property, valued for its rates of financial return, serves as a means of payment in settling contracts in a global financial system and not as part of the global ecosystem. The author claims there is a need to seeing the land in a new way: the way the land is seen determines pattern of human settlements and social and financial institutions in a given society. With the evolution of capitalism and of nation states, the allocation of public lands to private property was supervised and protected by the state. Private property became a privileged means for financial accumulation, while the environment is seen as an externality. The author then suggests the need to re-envision the economic activity going beyond capitalism in a world without money based on ecological imagination. The new vision of the economy is for a deliberate, democratic system where all wealth is based on human communities living in the land. The environmental restoration will be based on ecological, land based communities with borders associated with watersheds, or other ecological boundaries, where citizenship will be based on the hereditary usufruct of the land. The new money will be globally managed and there will be a single currency. The land will be owned commonly. The community will be a learning one and identities rather than being imagined will be specific historical and geographical. The new society will be characterised by group cohesion and will be dedicated to learning, while the cyberspace will be integrated in the global ecologies. Communities will be formed to protect human and ecological resources and membership would be based on common identities, as residents of the planet earth. New model for “economic development”. In capitalist societies money is a means of governance, but is not a convenient one and it is an obstacle to human and ecological development and is used for the commodification of labour. In the new society, there would be a new meaning of public, with an integration of the community in the global governance. The concept of time will change and will no more be related to labour and the extraction of surplus. Society will be integrated in the human community not for the production of profit but for an existence of their own. New model for the state The new form of the State will be a fiscal/ecological one, entitled to issue regional currencies collectively managed by a global governance association of ecological regions. States will not compete but cooperate to maintain and support the earth’s ecosystems. New communities, new values There will be a new form of collective intentionality. Rather than production for profit that would “trickle down” to households and communities, production would simply be for provisioning and ecological resilience, as envisioned by feminist economists. Production will be based on global ecologic plans. Reintegration of household, agriculture, and commodity production. The household will not be defined by the financial flow, but it will be revalued, along with domestic labour, by reintegrating household production with agriculture and commodity production, as well as human reproduction. Human development would become the product of a gender and generational, as well as sector, integration, providing for more holistic personal and community development. The organisation of production of commodities and services will be reintegrated with local governance institutions, as was the practice prior to the modern public/private divide. Redesign of human settlement patterns Cities will be designed based on ecological design of transportation, communication, water and waste infrastructure. New state forms and global governance. Global governance will not be based on the model of free trade, but on a new system integrating financial and ecological governance, human sciences and ecology, and a new system of representation based on regional ecological communities.  

Publication Year: 
Book Title: 
Varieties of Alternative Economic Systems: Practical Utopias for an Age of Global Crisis and Austerity