The system is not working

November 27, 2009 at 11:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is it not abundantly clear that much of the institutional framework of contemporary Ireland has failed? Our political and democratic system has been discredited for some time. Our financial and economic system has been exposed as dysfunctional. The State’s regulatory systems have failed. Our planning system has proven incompetent at best and resulted in houses being exposed to catestrophic flooding. Now, once again, the major religious institution in the country has been shown to be corrupted.

There are many features in common across all of these institutions. First, they are led by morally weak and incompetant people. Self-interest and vanity have been the predominant values. Second, they have been self-serving and protective rather than orientated around serving the people. Finally, an incredible ethical emptiness characterises them all. Doing the right thing has become exotic and alien in our institutional culture.

This is why we need systemic change. We need new forms of social organisation grounded on solving problems and serving people.  I do not claim to know what these may be but I do know they must be grounded on bottom-up structures in a much more de-centralised and harmonised society.

For now, as I have argued elsewhere, we must create new networks de-linked from the present system. These would be economic, social, political and cultural spaces outside the logic and control of the present economic and political system. They might involve local trading systems, new currencies, acts of self-governance, reclamations of civic space, communal self-reliance. These networks may be based upon face to face contact, as are traditional geographical communities, or they may utilise the possibilities created by the Internet for virtual community and long distance liaison. The point is to bring people together now to create real, existentially viable alternatives and support networks in order to begin the process of constructing a new, sustainable society. No limit, bar human imagination and ingenuity, can be placed on what these networks may be like or upon what their de-linking activities might be.








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