A few weeks ago I reviewed Samuel Alexander’s book Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilization, which is a thought provoking exploration of a fictional sustainable society. The key messages in the book are summed up in the Charter of the Deep Future, drawn up by the residents of Alexander’s imagined island community.
There are a couple of things I really like about it – ‘enough, for everyone, forever’ is about as pithy a summary of what the economy ought to be about as you’re likely to find anywhere. There are a couple of points I’m not so sure about, but I’ll let you read it without prejudice.
Charter of the Deep Future
Enough, For Everyone, Forever
We affirm that providing ‘enough, for everyone, forever’ is the defining objective of our economy, which we seek to achieve by working together in free association.
We affirm that everyone is free to create as an aesthetic project the meaning of their own lives, while acknowledging that this freedom legitimately extends only so far as others can have the same freedom. Freedom thus implies restraint.
We affirm that our inclusive democracy does not discriminate on such grounds as race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, politics, or faith.
We affirm that generations into the deep future are entitled to the same freedoms as present generations
We affirm that respecting the deep future requires maintaining a healthy environment.
We affirm that technology can help to protect our environment only if it is governed by an ethics of sufficiency, not an ethics of growth. Efficiency without sufficiency is lost.
We affirm that maintaining a healthy environment requires creating a stationary state economy that operates within environmental and energy limits.
We affirm that a stationary state means stabilising consumption and population, transitioning to renewable sources of energy, and adapting to reduced energy supply.
We affirm that strict limits on material accumulation are required if a stationary state is to maintain a just distribution of resources and avoid corrosive inequalities.
We affirm that property rights are justifiable only to the extent they serve the common good, including the overriding interests of humanitarian and ecological justice.
We affirm that a stationary state economy depends on a culture that embraces lifestyles of material sufficiency and rejects lifestyles of material affluence
We affirm that material sufficiency in a free society provides the conditions for an infinite variety of meaningful, happy, and fulfilling lives.
Re-published with permission. To read more about Entropia or get yourself a copy, click here.