I.2: THE STATE OF THE WORLD

In a nutshell – just to get the doom and gloom out of the way – there are three big things that are horribly wrong with the world.

First, it’s in a terrible and possibly terminal mess – ecologically, socially, politically, economically.

Secondly, the grand ideas that now dominate the world – a grisly alliance of neoliberal economics and open-mouthed technophilia – are making things worse by the day. They are leading us in the opposite direction from where we need to go.

Thirdly, the people who now dominate the world – an oligarchy of corporates, banks, big governments, and their chosen intellectual and expert advisers – are convinced that they are doing a good job, or that no-one else could do it better, and they have no intention of relinquishing power. Worse, through a trick of game theory, the oligarchy becomes more and more firmly entrenched.

Evil, whatever evil may be, is not the problem. A few people really do seem to be bad by any reasonable standards, and very bad people can be found in very high places, and bad people have a disproportionate influence. Far worse, though, is that many of those who aspire to do good have analysed the world’s problems wrongly, and opted for the wrong solutions.

Thus the growth of the human population is certainly a problem but it is not the prime cause of the world’s present ills and we do not need to produce more and more to cope with rising numbers and we should not so obsessively be focused on production. All economies need markets but we should not, as now, be led by the market. The market is not, as the illusion has it, morally neutral. Science should always be valuable and high tech has a huge amount to contribute across the board – but science does not lead to omniscience and high tech is not always best and science and high tech, like all big ideas (and indeed like all political leaders, and leaders of all kinds!) should always be seen as servants of humanity and of the biosphere. Once they lose sight of that they become dangerous. Agriculture should not, as the cliché has it, be “science-led”. Farming should be science-assisted craft (and the expression “science-led” is meaningless: to be discussed in Part V).

The next few paragraphs will discuss the mess we’re in and the rest of the website explores the reasons for it – and, more importantly, the solutions.