The function of private property has not changed: It confers economic power on the few; and in parallel, it necessitates the coercion of the many to serve those economic rights in order for most people to survive.
It is good to take on some restriction during this Lenten season. It reminds us of all the abundance that we gain from living within ethical limits.
In my book I show how such romantic (and related socialist, feminist and anarchist) ideas articulate a notion of limits as a source of freedom and abundance. Likewise, those of us who defend degrowth today do not call for limits because the world is running out of stuff. We are not worried that growth might come to an end – we want to end growth and stop its catastrophic and meaningless path, despoiling the abundance of this planet that we can enjoy in common.
Only when we accept that we have a rather limited understanding of the world we live in are we able to act in ways that are prudent for ourselves and our communities and respectful of the Earth and of our fellow beings, human and otherwise.
The belief that technology can always overcome natural limits just took a big hit this week when Royal Dutch Shell PLC decided to shut down its pilot oil shale project in western Colorado after 31 years of experimentation.
The two narratives that I watch constantly going back and forth, I think of them as "Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-doom" of our vision of the future. It’s either the narrative of progress or the narrative of apocalypse; one or the other.