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For a Sustainable Future: The Centrality of Public Goods

Mon, August 17, 2020 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

$7.00 – $11.00

with Nancy Holmstrom

via Zoom

In the 2020 Socialist Register “a number of the essays interrogate central dimensions of how we live and how we might live in terms of educating our children, housing and urbanism, accommodation of refugees and the displaced, and (to lean on that all too common phrase) the competitive time pressures for ‘work-life balance’. These are all key questions, of course, of ‘social reproduction,’ a theme that has cut across many volumes of the Register. They are the counterpoint to ‘economic reproduction’ and ‘how we work’ at the heart of several essays here. Today, this involves exploring and exposing all the hype and contradictions of the so-called ‘gig economy,’ where automation’s potential for increased time apart from work is subordinated to surveillance, hazardous waste, speed-up, and much else that makes for contingent work and precarious living. Finding new ways of living cannot but confront both these obstacles.”

The UN’s report on climate change makes clear that ways of living in the 21st century must be premised on the existential threat to our existence posed by multiple ecological threats. The current pandemic underlines this fact. For a sustainable future we have to transform some basic ways of thinking about the world and our place in it, starting with broadened and more inclusive notions of security, property and rationality. Instead of private property being the default as it is in capitalism, public goods/‘the commons’, should be the priority. And rationality must be understood principally in social terms, since on the dominant individualistic model fully rational behavior can lead to the destruction of the species. Thus the central focus of socialist strategy in the 21st century should be protecting and radically expanding public goods/the commons. We should use every means we can to raise people’s understanding that they are 1) the only basis of real security; 2) should be accessible to all as a right, like universal health care, and hence no one should be excluded by the alleged rights of private property; and 3) are foundational to the most rational way to organize society. The paper considers some examples of strategies that fit this approach, such as the Green New Deal, and explores the crucial role of democratic planning both on a societal and a global level.

Nancy Holmstrom is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

Tickets are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Email: info@marxedproject.org for the zoom code if you are unable to pay


Mon, August 17, 2020
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
$7.00 – $11.00
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Capital Studies Group


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