Climate Change is not an Environmental Issue

     I watch Canadian and British Columbia politics with dismay. The news is dominated by scandals related to abuse of expense accounts, the only policy discussions are about balancing budgets at the expense of government services for ordinary people, and government at both levels seem determined to act in the interest of fossil fuel companies, regardless of the consequences. And there are consequences. Continue reading

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Entitlements

There is an illusion, a myth, that some people are “self-made,” that wealthy or otherwise successful people can attribute their accomplishments mostly to their own talent and hard work. On the basis of this illusion, it is concluded that they are “entitled” to their wealth, fame, and privilege. People who are not successful are not seen as deserving of these benefits. Conservative politicians complain that society simply cannot afford “entitlements” for everyone, but only for people who have contributed. Continue reading

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From family values to religion, politics, and ecology

There are, then, two kinds of family values, the communist values of natural families, based on love and mutual caring; and the hierarchical values of traditional families, based on voices from the past. In Western culture these are mostly patriarchal values but in other cultures hierarchy can be related to such things as age, clan membership, or specific achievements. Continue reading

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Family Values 2: Hierarchy

As described in the last message, most families operate much of the time on the communist principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” Coming from a place of love and mutual support, family members care for each other, contributing what they can and taking what they need from the commons. Healthy families care for their less able members and expect more from the more capable. Family life includes both the right to get what we need and the responsibility to contribute what we can.

This sharing may be egalitarian but it is not without hierarchy. Continue reading

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Family Values 1: Communism

In a 1998 Harris survey, family values were defined as “loving, taking care of, and supporting each other” by 52% of women and 42% of men. These ideas have nothing to do with markets or money. They also have nothing to do with the roles of men and women in the family. The loving, caring, and supporting of children, elders, and siblings are not services we can exchange or pay for; they are things we normally do without expectation that the other party will (or can) always reciprocate. Continue reading

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The Economics of Happiness

Last night I saw the film with this title.  It was excellent.  The first part of the film describes 8 problems with globalization; the second part of the film suggests that localization is an answer and provides examples of people growing their own food and otherwise building community.  It is a message I have heard before and it is a message with which I am in agreement. Continue reading

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Land of the Brave

I grew up in in California, but I have lived mostly in Canada but also in England, Mexico, Micronesia, and Solomon Islands for the past 42 years. When I was a child, we were sometimes afraid — polio, earthquakes, communists, nuclear attack – but mostly people felt fairly safe. Continue reading

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