Saturday, 11 July 2015

Change

Taken from 'Change is the only constant (that, and the divide between rich and poor)' by Jeremy Sandbrook, Resurgence and Ecologist, No 291, July/August 2015:
Our present attachment to a service economy, in which both agriculture and manufacturing appear archaic occupations, is regarded as a new high point of a civilisation dependant upon what money can buy - and upon great deal of what it cannot, although that is not always apparent in the shining halls of merchandise that bestride all communities. It seems, to those caught up in its irresistible compulsions, that this must surely go on for ever...
Yet if the only constant has been - and there is no reason why it should not continue to be - unpredictable change, it would not take much for the predictions of our sightless visionaries to be disconfirmed. If feudalism decayed, mercantilism passed away, empires rose and fell, slavery grew and was finally disgraced, rural society withered, and industry was dismantled, how much more fragile is the precarious global construct we are now obliged to call home. Are the signs of the next great change already present in our frantic time-poor schedules, even if we are too preoccupied to see them? Will new scarcities couple us to greater reliance on our inner resources than on a continued gouging of the planet's treasures? Are the good things of life devalued by being converted into commodities? If so, how shall we reclaim from the voracious market all the precious things money cannot buy? Will new evaluations of wealth alter our perception of rich and poor? Shall we withdraw our admiration from the very wealthy, whose principle legacy is the quantity of the substance of the earth they can use up in a lifetime? Are new assessments of the meaning of riches and poverty waiting to be made, according to a different calculus from that of collapsing bottom lines? 


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