Mon Sep 26th, 2011 at 03:01:52 PM EST
This essay appeared today in the Guardian
This economic collapse is a 'crisis of bigness' by Paul Kingsnorth
Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it's a collapse. The results of half a century of debt-fuelled "growth" are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair.
To listen to a political leader at this moment in history is like sitting through a sermon by a priest who has lost his faith but is desperately trying not to admit it, even to himself. Watch Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Ed Miliband mouthing tough-guy platitudes to the party faithful. Listen to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy or George Papandreou pretending that all will be well in the eurozone. Study the expressions on the faces of Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about "growth" as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron's worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.
In times like these, people look elsewhere for answers. A time of crisis is also a time of opening-up, when thinking that was consigned to the fringes moves to centre stage. When things fall apart, the appetite for new ways of seeing is palpable, and there are always plenty of people willing to feed it by coming forward with their pet big ideas.
But here's a thought: what if big ideas are part of the problem? What if, in fact, the problem is bigness itself?
What follows is a hymn to the ideal of the City State.
Yet, devastatingly, nowhere does he examine issues surrounding the power of the global corporates, an omission which renders his entire analysis laughably naive.
Nor does he address the inevitability of these city states aggregating for common interests. If the West could forget the lessons of the Great depression, even to the point of deliberately unwinding the legal constraints explicitly designed to prevent recurrence, then we can definitely expect the re-emergence of the Great Nations within a couple of centuries.
But, this diary is thrown open to a discussion that ATinNM specifically requested, so over to you.....