Currently our society has endured the oncoming ecological crisis, the collapse of socialism and now capitalism. Such events beg the question: “Where do we go from here?” The clear answer is that we need to reformulate our economic dialectic.
Sadly the major economic bodies (G8, G20, IMF, WTO, World Bank) have a monologist approach to discussing economic issues. This is primarily because their ultimate desire is to protect the Capitalist Aristocracy, of which they are apart, from policies which might undermine their hegemonic profitability. As such their points of discussion are perpetually entrenched in the stale economic ideology of neo-liberalism. The idea that laissez faire de-regulation, “free trade” and privatization of public assets are the answer to all the worlds ills. Yet tickle down Reaganomics has brought us a Capitalist/Corporate Aristocracy whose primary goal is short term profitability over long term social well-being. As the recent economic collapse has revealed, and subsequent ones before it, the Aristocracy remains strong and secure, even if public funds are needed, while us, the Pleabians, whither away in bankruptcy and debt. Additionally, as reports from Statistics Canada, Policyalternatives.ca, IRS and the OECD reveal, such economics have created higher levels of income inequality. Moreover, the poster child for such economic policy (America) has the ironic status of having the largest governmental and consumer debt in the world coupled with the world’s richest and most profitable corporations and citizens. Is this the debt saturated future we want for Canada or the World?
In addition to the fiscal absurdities of neo-liberal economics, or what some call “bubble capitalism”, is that such economic ideologies treat the planet as if it were infinite. That is to say it is based on the premise of unlimited expansion. This of course is ludicrous. The very fact that we can fly and sail around this planet reveals its finite nature. Consequently the very premise of laissez faire economics makes it inherently destructive to the environment. This economic ideology of the elite world powers and economic institutions is an archaic remnant of a 19th century world view. A world view which saw no link between nature and the economy. A world view with premises’ entrenched in 17th century “rational” dominance of man over nature. Such ideologies cannot conceive of the integral link between nature and economy. Such ideologies are too myopic to realize that our economy is fundamentally based on the extraction of raw resources from nature. As a result of this dissociative dialectic between economy and nature we have an economy which is “ecocidal”. Put in more simple terms the Capitalist economy does not consider its affect on the natural world, nor does it see itself as linked in anyway to the natural world. Capitalism sees itself as the dominating force of infinite growth and unlimited capital accumulation through the process of “creative destruction” both in the natural and social worlds. Economy can essentially be boiled down to value. In other words, what does an economy value? The Capitalist monstrosity only values the accumulation of “Capital”. The Ecocollectivist economy desires to disrupt this singular notion of value and continually redefine what value means in our society.
One would think that in the age of particle physics, space exploration, genetics, globalization, multiculturalism and “ecological enlightenment” we could formulate a more progressive economic dialectic. A dialectic that is not based in a world view that is over 200 years old. So what then is stopping society from having an economic enlightenment? Primarily the indoctrination of FEAR which began with governmental propaganda during the cold war and is continued through corporate propaganda and economic elites today. The cold war dichotomy between capitalism vs socialism is still alive and well. Yet as the poster child for capitalism (America) flounders we must move beyond this stale cold war rhetoric and demand a new economic dialectic based in a contemporary world view which empowers The People rather than the Capitalist Aristocracy.
In order to move beyond capitalism and socialism we need to create a new signifier which encapsulates the political, ecological and social dimensions of any economy. I have begun to utilize the term “Ecocollectivism” to signify this paradigm shift in our economic dialectic. The economy of Ecocollectivism is one which emphasises a “Degrowth” outlook with value diversely based in Children, Education, Family, Community, Ecology, Localization, Anti-Consumption and Cultural Creation. Ecocollectivism supports the elimination of a debt centred economy, “ecological trade” vs “free trade”, localization of economy within a globalized context, crown corporations (government-owned) actively participating in the market economy, nationalization and localization (community ownership) of raw extraction industries geared towards sustainability (not viciously narcissistic capital accumulation), economic equality, and most importantly, a transvaluative approach to economic policy. By transvaluative I invoke the pure Nietzschean idea of value. In other words, Ecocollectivism is not so hubris to think that an economic approach which works for one generation will work for another. Society is an organic ever changing entity and so must the premises’ on which we build our economic dialectic. Capitalism and Socialism impose static economic solutions to an evolving organic economy. Ecocollectivism integrates the concept of an organic economy into its core philosophy.
The People of the world are now facing the wraith of “austerity” measures with the eternally narcassitic IMF and World Bank recommending “Higher Taxes” and “Cuts in Public Expenditures”. Such horrific policies of the IMF and World Bank disrupt the community and ecological integrity of our societies by letting the Capitalist Aristocracy continually privatize and profit off the sweat and blood of us, The People. We bail out the Corporate Aristocracy with public funds and then suffer an increase in taxes and a decrease in public services. Sadly the neurotic neo-liberial economic autocracy always views potential funding sources for such endeavours as tax revenue or decrease in public services. This is an unsagacious view which the Chinese have overcome through state owned corporations like Sinopec. Sinopec, a Chinese state owned oil corporation, is now seeking investments in Canada’s Oils Sands, and other oil ventures, for “commercial reasons”. In other words to retain profits, not oil for domestic consumption. The Venezuelan “re-nationalization” of their oil reserves is another example of how governments can participate in the market economy for collective social profitability. Both Sinopec and Venezuela’s national oil company, despite their petroleum focus, are examples that state owned corporations can compete within the market system of profitability. This begs the question: Why can we not create Crown/Government Corporations which compete in the market place of profit rather than solely relying on tax income or privatization? Why should we let the Capitalist Aristocracy hoard all OUR wealth, while destroying the vitality of the planet’s ecology and society, when We The People could just as well compete in the market place of profit for the benefit of our societies rather than the Economic Elites?
While of course there is censorship and democracy issues in China, and arguably some in Venezuela, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. Fundamentally China and Venezuela are beginning to use the market system for state profitability. Rather than solely relying on taxes they envision new ways of community wealth accumulation. Sadly in China this accumulation of social wealth only benefits “party members”. However, Venezuela arguable has a fairly equitable redistrabution of their collective social oil wealth. There is no reason why we cannot amalgamate an equitable enrichment throughout our democratic communities. The key is to allow all levels of community to participate within the market system and NOT centralize profitability! Federal, provincial, municipal, co-ops and community collectives should actively participate in wealth accumulation through the market infrastructure.
Yet how does society implement such economic reform. Ecocollectivism, and its transvaluative approach to economic thought, advocates for an incremental approach to economic reform. Creating economic disaster, outlined so well in Naomi Klein’s book “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, does not help anyone but those who wish to again repress society. So rather than creating sweeping and horrific changes to the economic structures, Ecocollectivism advocates for a measured and progressive response to economic changes. Changes which move our society and economy towards the transvaluative goal of a Degrowth and Ecologically focused economy.
By implementing the Ecocollectivist philosophy our global society will begin to create a de-centralized, organic and localized economy with the transcendent aspiration of a transvaluative symbiotic Degrowth economy. Our society needs an ecological economy which empowers its citizens and not the Capitalist Aristocracy (G8, G20, IMF, World Bank, Multi-National Corporations, etc). Canada, and the World, is on the verge of loosing its healthcare, education and Entire Nation to “private” eco-destructive interests based on a 200-year-old stale and static economic philosophy.
The World, Canada, BC and Vancouver can do better!