We have a neoliberal problem.

The solution of a problem lies not on the level where it is seen, but one level above. [Gregory Bateson]

The call for change can’t be overlooked any longer! Belief or not belief in climate change… is doesn’t matter. You will feel it anyway! War on people, and regions, which just happen to have oil and other resources ‘developed’ economies need. Creating growing inequity not only between developed and developing countries, but also within all countries worldwide, with maybe some exceptions.

Reading the Dutch coalition paper, following elections (international, national and regional), observing a growing search for regional independence and preserving the own identity, following international disputes on several themes – you can’t miss the indicators for re-thinking choices and developments. The manifestation of ‘old thinking’ is shocking: promoting depth-based consuming, ignoring global developments and promoting confronting and war politics, when even its long proven, it won’t work! Economical and political ethics on their loose.

1 People and humanity can thrive as long as nature thrives

Kate Raworth indicates in Doughnut Economics how far we overshoot both boundaries: for thriving people and humanity and with nowadays economy we put too much pressure on the planet, by not even putting all people in prosperity.
Most of nowadays societies are de-touched from nature, inner beauty and sustainability.
And – on the other hand – all looking for ways to claim ‘the best’ position in global society.

If all the knowledge needed – like models for the 21th century – is already provided, why do we not see the change people calling for?
Assumption is, that for changing the impact on the planet and really making people thrive, policies and therefor politicians and governments need to change their actions.

Currently, we see 4 mainstreams in state development:

  • almost dead neo-liberalistic aggression
  • strong economic developments in BRIC’s (and surroundings) with [partly] modern development
  • aiming for wealth in less developed countries
  • aiming to preserve their own culture in more natural living communities

Re-thinking choices, principles and consequences might lead to a way out of down to total collapse of the nature on our planet.

In business, we already more often claim well-use of available talent, knowledge and skills. We do not for developing our common ground: society, the state, our social community. We go with interests, lobby, vote or avoiding to vote because of lack of smart choices. Could we do better? Now, in the 21stcentury?

Therefore, the assumption is: When we want to do better in politics and governmental policies, society has to change.

Potentially shifting perspectives in scientific study of humanity has major consequences for how humans, both as individuals and as collective entities, come to understand themselves from ideological, moral, cultural, political, and ontological perspectives. (Strandberg/Mynthe)

Nowadays, when you ask people to describe capitalism, the mean is “selfish”, “greedy” and “corrupt”. And those terms also link to the structure of society, the state, the governments, and politicians.

Loosing trust in politics and governments is something else then loosing trust in democracy, especially in its pure kind, not just any chosen/existing model.

NOT listening – not to the people, not to each other – just shouting, making noise leads to decline of respect. Daniel Franklin and others claim, the era of the defence of the rule-based world has started. Whose rules? For what matter? And: will defending lead to any good?

Balancing or smart reasoning became a lost art. Explanation of arguments backing up a decision seems no longer to be required, other than repeating no-sense-making slogans. Macron’s ambitious reforms might give some hope, in case he is able to succeed. The impact of al digital people-monitoring trends is yet not to define. We see restricting trends as empowering ones, too.

Changes in Japan (the king resigning) and Cuba (with its first election for decades), Greenpeace winning a lawsuit against the Dutch government to keep environmental goals in place also add to a changing world.

Markets seem to take over governmental tasks, but will not be able to fulfill governmental roles. Who might step into those? Fulfilling them properly might be more needed then ever!
With a 19thor 20thcentury-mindset – perpetuate growth – democracy is on its stake, humanity and the planet on their loose. The scale of wealth creation and increasing inequity becomes the motor for 21th century disruptions.

Neoliberalism, still unfolding, supports processes destroying the planet. Value, now, is so-called defined by market principles, which are highly influenced by political and governmental decisions like tax rules, labor laws and financial regulations. This all does not link to value based social human interaction, to humanity.

Social marginalization – discrimination in any kind – is rising. Labeling, spreading fear – not supported by any statistics (we actually live in a world as save as it never has been) means that we still have no equal shot, like Friedman in The World is flat did simplify.

A system that creates so-called winners and losers leads only to loose for everyone. Fact is, those who claim to reached the top necessarily attempt to manipulate the structure in ways that consolidate their elite status (Rapley 2004). They are actually a threat; responsible for keeping alive the lie we are all being sold through their very presence in public spaces. (Springer).

Nowadays, under neoliberal politics, policies tighten social interactions in urban space to ‘acceptable’ once. The desired position of the citizen is the ‘good consumer’, supporting focus on economic growth (without actually thriving), consuming earth’ resources more then bearable.
Result is a threat to our collective wellbeing.

Looking at processes like working on a global climate act, without the results actually needed shows the ignorance of politicians and the lack of their capability of acting in interest of the people and the planet we need for living.

The most close to nature and needs of the planet are usually farmers and untouched tribes. The last centuries we see a intensive pattern of proletarisation as they are stripped from their land and thus their ability to sustain themselves and also the natural habitat. (Springer). Western systems constructed a cadastral system around formal written documentation (like for instance recently in Cambodia) showing the pattern which is followed all over the world, most of the time in denial of other existing, locally embedded principals of land-use and ownership.

Migration and the monopoly of violence

So, while neoliberal states represent a rolling back of social supports like education and health care as part of their austerity measures, spending on the security and policing apparatus has not been subject to the same sorts of cuts. Those developments might call for a new kind of social contract, one that equip people with the tools they need in a healthy environment, for themselves and as a community as well.

Developments might lead to whether a ruthless regulated, defensive and protective kind of state or either to a new role of the state, based on re-thinking goals and means.

As neolibiralism’s competitive relations manifest in the form of speculative and extractive economies, neoliberalism tears apart local communities by stripping the basis of their livelihoods, which sets in motion a process of what in many ways can be considered a forced migration. From continent to continent. From country to country. From rural areas to the city. Add a political and media-driven xenophobia and fear mongering against ethnic ‘others’ in support of a nationalist agendas (Hogan and Haltinner 2015) to the recipe and you create new threats to our collective wellbeing and the bonds of solidarity that we forge.

Where we go?

As R. Davidson puts it: “the role of the state must be as an enabler.” C. Freeland claims, that sensitive, fair and achievable remedies urgently needed before prosperity and peace get globally lost.

Thus, how can we reach this ambition, which can fulfil our moral obligations towards the future of our children and their living space? The frame is simple: the right connection between human rights and free trade leads to security. But how to reach?

History is repeating; for sure on new levels, but basically repeating. Thus, to look forward for solutions, you also might look back for hints and suggestions. But be aware that facts mostly are interpretations and the choices do not say much about what they helped to overcome. Or not. Philosophy creates and much wider field to explore (and also, maybe, get lost). After reading and listening and discussing quite a lot, found my way to anthropology, which combines several fields in a way, it actually might give insights we need right now.


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