BLOCL

Democracy for an Ecological Age

By Mark Garavan

Economic dogma has limited the scope of political debate to such an extent that democratic societies are unable to avert the looming environmental crisis.

Humanity is in a condition of global ecological peril and a radical restructuring of the contemporary model of representative democracy will be required to deal with it.

Modern industrial society is socially and ecologically unsustainable.

The logic of the free market is asserted to be the most rational logic available. The claim made is that each individual pursuing his or her own maximum utility results in optimum social well-being. The state’s role is merely to ensure the best environment within which this rationality can proceed. The rules of this economic language game have overwhelmed our ability to speak politically in any other credible way. Those who attempt to do so can be charged with being unreasonable, unrealistic, and even dangerous.

The growing loss of belief in liberal democracy is summed up in common-occurring phrases such as - ‘It makes no difference who you vote for’, ‘They are all the same’, ‘They are all puppets who can do nothing anyway’.

The formal political space of the liberal state has been abandoned as an arena within which change might be brought about. It has effectively conceded to the status quo of unsustainable policies.

The logical, evidence-based argument that NCIA has presented for years is absolutely irrefutable - but it hasn’t changed anything. Why? It’s because the corporate takeover of the voluntary sector is just one symptom of much wider phenomena - the dominance of an economic dogma that has limited the scope of political debate to such an extent that the formal political space has been abandoned as an arena within which change can be made.

The logic of the free market is asserted to be the most rational logic available. The claim made is that each individual pursuing his or her own maximum utility results in optimum social well-being. The state’s role is merely to ensure the best environment within which this rationality can proceed. The rules of this economic language game have overwhelmed our ability to speak politically in any other credible way. Those who attempt to do so, like us, can be charged with being unreasonable, unrealistic, and even dangerous.

Modern industrial society is socially and ecologically unsustainable.

Humanity is in a condition of global ecological peril and a radical restructuring of the contemporary model of representative democracy is required to deal with it.

It’s time to concentrate our efforts on the wider issue - democracy.