When the English aristocracy enclosed the common land the immediate effect was to disenfranchise the remainder of the populace. Subsequent land grabbing in the name of colonialism underlined the distinction of land as the mainstay of wealth and power, poor government did the rest.
Women and men thought that by fighting for emancipation they could share in the decision making process, but though the fight was hard won, it changed little. Putting a cross in a box every four years is not democracy, it is a sop. We are voting for one group of lies and spin over another. Democracy is functionally bankrupt.
In a world where 854M people are undernourished and 700M are obese, the inequalities are stark. Governments worldwide, swayed by the lure of past glories and reacting to the strings pulled by the rich, lack imaginative responses to changing circumstances. The link between economic models, inequality and peak oil will be the testing ground. Oil is a gift we have squandered on trips to the supermarket and joy riding. We should have used it to develop the sustainable technologies we need for the future. Our tired economic models insist on basing their trends on growth – an impossibility in a world of finite resources. Inequality languishes unaddressed at our peril. It will not be enough to ask the most vulnerable to suffer further just to maintain the system which made them vulnerable in the first place.
The need to minimise governance-induced debt will not be met by squeezing the average citizen still further, because they are not likely to tolerate it. With the advent of the internet and mobile technology people are now more in touch with each other than ever before. They are learning to sift through the endless streams of information and disinformation, and they are formulating their own plans. People know that there is a small but fantastically rich elite who hold themselves above the law, who pay little or no taxes, and who for generations have lived quite literally off the fat of the land, stolen land.
Land is the one finite resource where the value is rigged entirely towards the possessor at the expense of the community surrounding it. A tax shift away from goods and services, and towards the value of land would create greater wealth for communities without dispossessing the owners. It would also be the single most effective means of reducing inequality. To continue a bias in policy towards landowners and the rich, at the expense of people and planet, would be no less than a criminal enterprise of government.
Financially, the world is living on drafts upon the future; economically, it is living on the products of the past. The creation of credit has done much to destabilise economic practices. The abolition of credit would bring us back into the real world whereby investments would require nurturing to bring about tangible returns. This would mean the delivering of goods and services which are needed by our communities, and not the manipulative marketplace of products and information for which there is little demand but much hype.
We need to design our descent down the energy curve economically, spiritually and practically. Post peak oil brings with it the opportunity for a vastly reduced CO2 environment. With every building being transformed into a power plant, transportation free of pollution, and more refined and humane eating habits, we have the opportunity – born of necessity (as opposed to compassion)– to transform the way we live.