Category Archives: Society

eBook Release – Desperately Seeking the Fair Go

The best of Oz past, the smartest of Oz present, an enduring Oz future

Most Australians want a more stable and cooperative society, stronger communities and families, more equal distribution of wealth and better care of the environment. However free-market ideologists have badgered and deceived us into selfishness, fear and mediocrity.

We Australians have shown, over our short history, we can be innovative, resilient, bold, generous and welcoming. We have abundant skills and resources. We have clean technologies and techniques. We are creative. We can harness the economy so it delivers a fair go for everyone, without trashing the land and planet.

We can live well and generously in this ancient, fragile land.

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A System to Support Healthy Communities: Policy Ideas

Most of us do not want the world our society has become. It is too frenetic, too stressful, too superficial, too unequal, too acrimonious, too violent, and getting worse. Surveys show we want more time with family, friends and community1. More than 90% of us would prefer a greener, more stable society2, where the emphasis is on cooperation, community and family, more equal distribution of wealth, and greater economic self-sufficiency3.

Many studies now show that for a more fulfilling life, and to restore the planet to health, we need to restore connections with each other and with the natural world. Our emotional and physical wellbeing are best served by a small, supportive community and by regular connection with the living world around us. Caring for the natural world requires us, or some of us, to know each locality intimately4.

Local communities can only be stable and healthy if they have a viable local economy. Many studies show local businesses recycle a large fraction of wealth within the community, whereas businesses owned nationally or globally drain wealth to a distant few. For our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing we need to tilt the balance back from global to local5. We will still want many national and global activities, we do not need to be isolationist nor 100% locally self-sufficient. However we do need to be in control of the larger-scale activities, and they need to be supportive of strong and healthy local communities.

So we need to think about a different system. Below are some of the things we will need to change if we are to create a system that supports strong local communities, healthy living and a healthy planet.

These ideas may serve as a framework for a Progressive party or movement.

Read the whole essay.

To Parliament With Love (draft)

A down-to-earth guide to a decent and enduring Australia

I have drafted a new book. I would be happy to get feedback. If you would like a copy, email me at geoffd – at – netspeed.com.au . It is available in pdf or epub formats.

You can download an extract (pdf 200 kb)

More information follows, and additional material can be seen at the new book page.

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To Make a Living We Must Wreck Our Home?

Coal mine amidst farmland

Coal mine amidst farmland

[Published on Independent Australia 14 May]

I spend a lot of my days trawling the follies of our time. To avoid sinking into the mire of despair I need to keep a firm hold of love and hope and grandchildren. But every now and then something lands too heavily in my heart, and I can only grieve.

Tarwyn Park is the Hunter Valley property where Peter Andrews worked out how to get the water back into the ground, by reconstructing a degraded creek so it flows slowly and the water can soak across the valley. His work is revolutionising the way we live in the Australian landscape, restoring its original productivity and resilience in the face of our challenging climate. We learnt last Monday, May 4th, in the ABC’s Australian Story that Tarwyn Park has been, very reluctantly, sold so it can be dug up for the coal that underlies the valley. It would be hard to find a more apt metaphor for the blind stupidity of Australia’s ruling class.

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George Monbiot Being Very Rude (psst – Growth)

[I will be taking a break from posting for June-July-August.  We will be travelling our large continent, something long deferred.  Uluru, Larapinta, Tanami, Kimberley, Hammersly, jarrah, Nullarbor and points along the way.

I may get one more post up.  Otherwise that’s it for a while and we’ll see what kind of shape the country and the world are in when we get back.  Interesting times, of course.  So here’s George Monbiot, one of the saner commentators, writing about something not mentionable in polite company.]

 

It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up

It’s the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity’s undoing

, Wednesday 28 May 2014

'The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.'

‘The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.’ Photograph: Alamy

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A View From The Inside – Some Raw Discourse readers share their experiences

Raw Discourse just started following Better Nature. I’m flattered because RD expresses first hand why I want to reform our dysfunctional economic systems – many people get trapped at the bottom of the heap through no particular fault of their own, and a more equitable and caring society would keep them from falling so low, and give them a real chance to climb back up.

The Pope on Inequality and Unfettered Markets

By Sam Pizzigati

In plain yet powerful language, Pope Francis is challenging the givens of our deeply unequal world — and helping inspire resistance to it.

A new exhortation from Pope Francis offers a wide-ranging condemnation of the economic gaps that divide us.
A new exhortation from Pope Francis offers a wide-ranging condemnation of the economic gaps that divide us.

Sometimes you don’t have to say anything “new” to make news. Consider, for instance, the “apostolic exhortation” the Vatican released last Tuesday.

This statement from Pope Francis, observers note, didn’t really break any bold new theological ground. But the Pope’s exhortation, the first all his own since he stepped onto the world stage last March, still made front pages the world over — and fully merited all that attention.

What makes this new papal statement so significant? No global religious figure has likely ever before denounced economic inequality with as wide-ranging — and as accessible — an assault.

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