Working harder than before

Although we now only work “officially” for 2 days a week, I feel that I’m doing more than I ever did before. How did I manage to get anything done when I was working 35 hours a week plus commuting?

I suppose the answer to that is the more time you give yourself the more exposure you get to interesting opportunities that come your way. Working in an office environment was generally soul destroying and most of the day would be spent thinking of what to do when I wasn’t there! Now I’m not there so I can do all these things.

But it also requires a bit of self-discipline. It’s all too easy to lounge around on the sofa all day surfing the net when there is a world outside waiting to be explored. I blame the winter weather, we have been hibernating and going to bed before 10pm every night. Slowly but surely thoughts of planting things (gotta get on with the seed potatoes) and digging and building compost bins are popping into my head. Come April and there won’t be time for the internet!

In between my bread baking sessions and Internet surfing, I’ve been reading The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel, a good book but it left me feeling a little confused so I’m going to have to read it again. In it he shows the fallacies of the current capitalist market driven system and how it has failed to solve societal and environmental problems – in fact by it’s very nature it is destroying them. He suggests we need to radically change the system to something more akin to a Buddhist Marxist ideology (and I won’t pretend that I completely understand the meaning of that either!). I think he is saying that we need a more communal society where needs are based on the well-being of people rather than just profit. I hope that’s what he means anyway as it sounds like something I’d sign up to.

He goes on talk about the Via Campesina, a network of “peasant” (not used in the Western derogatory way) groups who have campaigned and protested to change the way they are treated by the state. They are fighting for food sovereignty, if you have control of how and what food you produce, you have the power to change other things. He also looks at the group structure of the Zapatistas in Mexico. They have a much more democratic structure than our supposed democracies where we vote for men (and occasionally women) in suits every few years….

We need to embrace our political structures in the UK and give them a jolt. The current system is not working and we need a more democratic way of making decisions, more collectively and less individualistically. Not just by ticking a box every once in a while for someone who rarely cares about what you think, do or say.

2 thoughts on “Working harder than before”

  1. I agree with all of this in principle, where I struggle is how we might actually make it happen. Power in western countries is so centralised and so powerful, and increasingly so, that it seems like an immoveable beast. Even crises that you think should have some serious ramifications don’t, for instance the financial crisis in which banks are actually profiting from or the MP’s expenses in which much the same politicians are still in power, all that has generated is greater voter apathy.

    Taking the financial crisis, I don’t think there could have been a bigger signal that our economic system needs radical reform, but to me it looks exactly the same as it ever did, still based on flawed ideology of the free market and the utter fallacy of constant growth – a model so obviously and demonstratably wrong it is to my eyes indefensible.

    At least Gordon Brown is now talking about electoral reform, a positive move but one that I doubt was generated for the right motives, more in desperation to cling to power. There is at least a glimmer of hope here for more radical, by radical I mean in relation to the current political system not that I believe the views to radical per-se, views to get a say in parliament.

    A lot of what needs to happen is very long-term but our political system, in fact most systems in which we operate, do so on a very short term basis, short term thinking is encouraged.

    Even when countries get together to try and do something co-ordinated, like at Copenhagen, any sort of deal gets so watered down it’s as good as useless. You can argue it’s a step in the right direction but if the step is so small that its impact is minimal is it worth it all?

    Talking particularly environmentally I’m sure that something significant will happen, but not until it is far too late, not until there are no other options left, societies will fail, government will fail and both will be rebuilt but in a time of chaos and desperation.

    How do you think we would best go about change? What organisations are leading the charge? Can real change happen outside of the political system and if not how do we really get our voices heard within it?

  2. I totally agree. The changes needed will never come from those that are in power for the simple reason that the ultimate root cause of most of the problems we face today (climate change, inequality, fuel crisis, economic crisis etc etc) is the system itself and the real changes that need to be made imply that this system can no longer exist.

    Ultimately it is up to the individual, people need to take responsibility for their own actions and not rely on the government, or any other institution, to take the lead. As the man said, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’.

    At some point we will have to realise that we cannot continue to live like this. The sooner people start to make changes to their own lives the easier the change will be on them. Leave it too long and the change will come regardless and you may find yourself facing a very different, difficult way of life.

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