Hey, Brad. A passionate piece. And I agree that capitalism (predatory and otherwise) is a huge factor in the exploitation and destruction of our planet.But i don't really subscribe to the notion of elites on the one side and common people on the other. Rather we co-create such things and what seem to be the obscenely over-wealthy elites are really, in a very important sense, the consequence of stories in which we all collaborate. These stories include the loss of (or expulsion from, depending on your POV) paradise and the inevitable journey back; the myth of progress (on which so many are depending for the techno-miracles to undo the havoc of climate catastrophe; the myth of the individual (whether from the "hero's journey" narratives or the self-made-man trope); the story that good hard work leads to success and wealth; narratives of nature as chaotic and dangerous and always needing tamed by civilization (gotta mow that lawn); the story of hierarchical leadership (i.e. you need one charismatic man (usually) to embody the needs of the people; and many others. We all buy into these stories all the time. People love to hate billionaires (or at least their excesses) but also consider it natural that billionaires should be created by our economic choices. And many people dream fervently to be rich someday. Propaganda works because the seeds of a common sense have already been sewn for propaganda to water and accelerate into full-on growth).

You touch on many ideas in your piece. But i'll address only one here: capitalism. At its' heart, capitalism is the process of creating wealth (through extraction or production); extracting that wealth; and distributing that wealth to a minority of the people involved in its creation - i.e. the owners. And there is almost nothing that can't be contained, packaged, monetized, and made subject to this anti-democratic (to name only one horrible aspect of it) extraction and minority control. One thing we need to be doing is imagining other economic choices. And the domination of capitalism makes that really tough. But i have learned to think of capitalism as simply one economic choice of many. Which is also different from thinking about capitalism and its alternatives. For this i highly recommend the work of JK Gibson-Graham and their book Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities. Apropos of the damaging myths/stories to which you point and for which I've listed a few above, i recommend the work of David Graeber (his Bullshit Jobs and Debt: The First 5000 Years) are essential reading for being able to tell a better history of our economic system. And his book with David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, blasts all the myths out of the water.

All that said, given the latest IPCC report and the muted response it is getting (as well as, frankly, the failures of the COP process), i feel more strongly everyday that even while we need to fight like hell for justice and peace with each other and with our natural world, we also have to be preparing for the worst.

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