Innocent sex at conference

I was, in a self-catering flat just round the corner from the Spa complex. What could be more natural?

I didn’t of course. But I do need some light relief after recent experiences. I have been appealing to readers for advice on what I am serious about. Silence. I have wondered about a hunger strike. I am accused of an ego-trip.

My strategy was dismantled at conference. Do a Thunberg outside Parliament? Nobody would notice (So why did Greta’s work?). Same thing in Stockholm? Greta’s inner circle are not responding to my appeal for dialogue, and my wish to add my bit to her message.

I did get some useful advice though. Don’t go on hunger strike in a British prison. If I must, Swedish prisons are preferable anyway. Add Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister) to my list.

My demand is quite modest: that my view of the basic income gets mainstream publicity, possibly by someone well known promoting a book, already planned in this weblog. My worryingly unique approach (hence the ego accusation, as well as my psychotic self-diagnosis) is that some way of guaranteeing security is needed so that all the practical ways to downsize, available ever since Limits to Growth in 1972 stop being out of the question. The spirit which motivates XR and the school strikes could have started then.

So many prominent people, as terrified as I am of the coming ecological breakdown not seeing the basic income as relevant, let alone crucial. My psychosis prevents me from seeing the flaw in this narrative:

In 1972 the MIT flagged up the abuse of ecological limits as a potentially serious problem.

Therefore there must be a planned (world) recession instead of perpetual growth.

This is impossible for two reasons (which I shall not repeat here for the umpteenth time)

But these reasons are still blocking the more obvious answers, available in 1972.

Something is still needed which will allow whole populations of individuals to feel secure, making possible the necessary mind set change from growth to preserving the ecosphere..

The unconditional basic income (UBI) unlocks this door.

But the UBI has become dangerous. It could, no will boost economic growth, the worst possible effect. It must be firmly tied to ecological realities.

I have two delusions. One is how humanity could have transitioned peacefully from growth to ecological sustainability. It could have been relatively painless, but I doubt that at this late stage. In his first book Poverty and Progress (Methuen, 1972) Richard Wilkinson (who co-wrote Spirit Level) cites the Siane, a tribe in New Guinea, who ensured that everyone had “an identity of interest when dealing with ecological limits”.  Necessities were shared unconditionally. Anything else determined status – a moneyless UBI.

The other delusion? Our close relatives the bonobos enjoy lots of innocent sex without having too many babies, or harming their environment. Is a problem solved by apes and primitive tribes beyond modern, global humankind?

Moral: sex can be more fun, and better for the ecosphere than consumerism.


5 responses to “Innocent sex at conference

  1. You are wrong and unfair to say ‘silence’. I, and I assume several others, have responded many times and in detail to your arguments, both in emails and face-to-face. You make claims about human nature being “hard-wired”, for example, yet, when challenged with contrary evidence, just re-assert the orginal claim. It makes debate frustrating. There is a limit to how often one can keep saying the same things. Disagreement is not the same as ‘silence’. UBI is only a policy option (and a good one). It is not a basic value, Tactically, it is better to work together within an agreed plan than take unilaterial individual actions. Individuals in the public eye such as Attenborough and Thunberg are asked to endorse this, that and the other all the other. Understandably, they are very wary.

    • I am baffled by the technology. Is this going on my weblog, or just yours? But your taking the trouble to reply is important to me.
      On ‘hard wiring’, one example you gave – cotton workers in the US civil war – was a special case where solidarity played a part. The ‘risk of less economic activity’ can was kicked down the road by individuals an politicians. I have seen experimental evidence.
      You are better at details than me, but my ‘insight’ is that there needs to be a guarantee of necessities to change the mind set from growth to preserving the ecosphere. The Green New Deal would have made sense in 1974, but who would have taken it seriously?
      We cannot know whether the UBI in people’s minds would do what I think it would until it is tried, but is there an emergency or not?

    • In fact, did you listen to Alice Roberts interiewing Porritt on Radio 4, 8pm 1st june? They deplored 47 wasted years (since MIT) but neither really explained it. I do.

  2. “the UBI has become dangerous. It could, no will boost economic growth, the worst possible effect. It must be firmly tied to ecological realities.” …. Yes, it would boost economic growth in already-overdeveloped nations (OECD). I agree that this is bad.
    After a few decades of reading and thinking, my tentative take is: ALL remedies (e.g. UBI, the renewables buildout, technologic advances of all kinds, etc.) are good in the context of socialism, or economic democracy. But outside that context, they are either bad, or can easily become bad or half-bad — the badness causing dilution of whatever good they might have done, and possibly even erasing it.
    Green New Deal? GREAT idea, in the context of socialism or at the very least strong social democracy, INCLUDING a strong anti-imperialism/anti-militarism component (i.e. not just Bernie Sanders-esque domestic social democracy while tolerating the military/imperial behemoth) as well as radical conservation and other measures inconsistent with the neoliberal growth thrust. Outside that context: GND = porkbarrel/greenwashed/whatever, a shadow of what it could be or could have been, with net positives barely (if at all) exceeding the negatives.
    Context is everything; it determines the outcomes.

    • You could be right, but you are assuming no change in the mind set of those currently making profits. My conjecture is that where everyone is guaranteed security, profits will still be possible (provided trashing is not too advanced – it may be already), but in return for some redistribution, profits will continue indefinitely. Profits will cease if they (the Capitalists) carry on as now. They may be bastards, but they didn’t get where they are today by being stupid.

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