Thursday, January 21, 2016

Freedom for Local Self-Reliance

Reflecting on the state of America at the end of 2001, Wendell Berry rightly clarified the choice Americans then faced:
We can continue to promote a global economic system of unlimited “free trade” among corporations, held together by long and highly vulnerable lines of communication and supply, but now recognizing that such a system will have to be protected by a hugely expensive police force that will be worldwide…and that such a police force will be effective precisely to the extent that it oversways the freedom and privacy of the citizens of every nation.
Or we can promote a decentralized world economy which would have the aim of assuring to every nation and region a local self-sufficiency in life-supporting goods. This would not eliminate international trade, but it would tend toward a trade in surpluses after local needs had been met (In the Presence of Fear, The Orion Society, 2001, p. 4).
Wendell rightly notes the dominance of what we refer to as the Global Technological System (GTS). It is feverishly maintained and expanded each day by corporations and states with the cooperation of almost all of us. We should, however, be withholding our blessing completely and reducing our participation steadily.
Wendell gives good reasons for purposefully abandoning the GTS. It is highly vulnerable. Right now we depend for our necessities on a system that, at some unpredictable moment, will no longer be able to provide us with them. Even now it fails to deliver necessities to a growing number of people that the GTS itself keeps us blind to.
Even as it delivers necessities and luxuries to a decreasing number of people, it does so at tremendous cost: the permanent loss of our freedom and privacy. There is another, better, way of providing for ourselves that does not impose such lethal costs.

That is the way of decentralizing political, military, technological, economic, social, and religious power. So we find ourselves involved in a twofold movement of freedom. The first is freedom from the lies, illusions, bribes, indifference, and coercion of the GTS and our abject dependence on it. The other is freedom for more meaningful, local, self-reliant alternative societies.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.