“Summer’s Most Difficult Decision” is not how to address increasing climate change, the European migrant crisis, or, continuing to zoom in on the UK, the worsening homelessness epidemic. For the majority of people living, working, or even just visiting Britain currently, this McDonald’s advert is true- especially if we added the subtle caveat: “for you”. For you and me, whether upper-middle class business owner or precarian service worker, the decision to change the world is not in our hands. At least, not individually…
For anyone to have a real impact today, collective action is required and no honest organiser or politician, whatever you might call the leaders of such action, should shy away from admitting the problems of collectivist action. Collective action on a massive, global scale is possible however- it happens right now. The problem with such action thus far is that it is not directed in such a way that it fulfils, or even considers, the intentions of the majority of people.
The more idealistic political beings of today’s world seemingly refuse to consider the benefits of hierarchical organisation despite clear leaders usually naturally rising to fill the role of decision maker, even if this is unofficial and sometimes even unconscious, as people more disposed to follow a leader simply succumb to their influence or charisma. Otherwise, horizontal forms of organisation and decision-making, even when assisted with modern technology, are vulnerable to this flaw of our social nature or incredibly vulnerable to failing to act at all when consensus isn’t achievable- as we saw in the experiments with direct democracy in Greece in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.
The need for leaders isn’t inherently immoral or unjust, as some believe, but it can lead to other problems. I’ve written previously about the diffusion of responsibility and how intellectuals share a responsibility to hold governments to account. This role’s importance lies in it’s potential power to confirm or deny the efficacy of any government that claims to act with the intentions of all members of society.
The current liberal system of free market competition regulated by states does not work for humanity as even those with the power to pursue interests which require collective action must consider their profit margins. The working classes simply do not have such power. Money controls those with or without it.
Regulation simply varies the rates of transfers and accumulation but economic growth always takes priority over human interests. Even when state intervention converts human affairs into calculable parts of the economy, often this means capping growth in one place and allowing a competitor in another place without such regulation to take over.
This problem is most obvious when considering climate change and the current mass extinction event. And for liberals, whether they admit it openly or try to cover it in friendlier rhetoric about international co-operation, a clear solution lies in global, unified governance. For most of us, this is a terrifying prospect that evokes worrying images of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, or even ISIS.
I wanted to write this article as a bit of a think-piece, an open confession about some of the problems I have been distracted by causing me to review my political outlook, and so also as an invitation to other political thinkers to convince me who I should be affiliating with. It seems right now the challenges we face need collective solutions but larger groups are corrupt, impotent, or doing the wrong things. This summer’s most difficult decision for me was to choose between continuing to work a terribly paid job in care while continuing to write, or look into becoming a teacher. I have been constantly distracted by either work or thinking about problems I’ve touched on in this article so hardly written for this site or my book but hope this year I will manage to finally get it done. Even writing this, I was distracted or busy so it ends abruptly but I needed to write something different for a change and hopefully uploading this and seeing a bump in views will give me some much needed motivation. In future I am planning on finishing the cleft habitus series, getting the book written and perhaps uploading preview chapters if I can find a publisher and they approve, and writing about the false dichotomy of “left versus right” and how both sides self-identification with either stifles progress, productivity, and communication for everyone. I was hoping to get to those latter points in this article but being busy with work I have lost my train of thought for this unplanned piece multiple times now and just want to get it out there. Thanks for reading.