THE ROAD TO GLOBALISATION: WHERE DO WE STAND?
This article is excerpted from a much longer article that originally appeared in "The Permaculture Activist." Its writer, Shirley-Anne Hardy, is the author of "Birthright in Land and the State of Scotland Today". Shirley-Anne Hardy lives in Highland Perthshire, Scotland.
We live in a country of locked-up land. Moreover, where the fundamentals of life (security of home and work) remain - on account of this monopolised land - dependent upon the good graces of another party, who is thus able to tie up people's tongues along with their homes and work, we surely have a humanly-constructed stumbling block to intelligent action on this Planet! This root monopoly wastes no time in working its way up through every level of our economic activity, as poisons work up the food-chain, multiplying at every stage. For the primary requirement for all human activity is, of course, access to land. Thus is innocent capitalism (every man sitting under his own vine and fig tree, as the prophet so beautifully put it) converted into its extremely ugly counterpart, monopoly capitalism.
What a pity that those shouting in Seattle, Genoa, and elsewhere could not diagnose aright society's present ills, and so hit the real mark with those globalisers! Let us pause and ask ourselves: just how could a society be expected to act in any moral fashion, which is built on the immoral foundations of monopoly? We groan at globalisation, but fail to see the origin of this phenomenon - in our apparent ability to ignore the very first question every society must solve: how to institute justice in access to land.
The question of "Right Livelihood" is considered earnestly by many who yearn for a sane, just world order. Yet seldom does it occur to anyone to ask: What kind of a livelihood is owed to those who deliberately speculate in land, withholding it from use until the desperate need of the landless shall push its price even further up? No wonder we have a problem with homelessness! Have we lost our wits, that we actually legitimise such preposterously anti-social behaviour at the very root of our dealings with one another? No wonder if - as so many despair today - our society worships at the altar of greed. Gandhi spoke of "enough for everyone's need, not for everyone's greed." It is high time that we grounded those words, which have roamed the upper atmosphere for far too long. The solemn discourse of academia seeks to legitimise the landowner as "the provider of the land" - but I seem to hear some ripples of laughter from Gaia at that!
The real role of these ersatz "providers" is, of course, the very opposite: that of standing in the way of those who would make use of the land. And we pay them for that! We must find our way to establishing a just principle of landholding, for with this radical clearing-out of injustice at the root of our dealings with one another, the whole pattern of our living on this earth will change. Consequently, there will change then, too, the things we choose to produce (maybe in harmony with the earth?) and the kind of society we choose to build (maybe one of real sharing?) For all depends, naturally, on the foundations, the ground floor. Thus we would simply rid ourselves of a whole host of problems, social and ecological, which are due entirely to our distorted building. In particular, our stressful oversized cities, which proliferate problems of every kind, have all grown up on the basis of the dispossession of the people from the land.
A deep, if unconscious, awareness of this last makes it highly understandable that people should wish to re-root themselves in the countryside. And were the land to be freed, it would be natural that small rural communities - which have died out under our Gaia-grabbing culture - should spring up once more, to enjoy, widespread, the happiness of "meaningful work". Capital, in turn, might free itself gradually from the ugly clutches of monopolism, which is the real underpinning of the stock markets of today's world. To get back to the land would not then require the tremendous pioneering efforts it does under land monopoly, nor would those who achieved it be condemned to an unnatural isolation, as so often today.
Let us pause to give thought here, too, to those yet grimmer scenarios, where the West's Gaia-grabbers have extended their tentacles into the Third World, to grab the resources of other indigenous peoples. The West's corrupt system of land tenure, now globalised, has succeeded in standing the concept of "right livelihood" veritably on its head, with tragic consequences for millions.
Let us see that we catch up with those thinkers who are truly of the New Age. For so shall we form part of today's most vital "web of connectivity" - the movement that is dedicated to ending the buying and selling of our Earthly Mother, and which holds the essential key to achieving this. Let us do so not only for our own sakes - in our now visibly disintegrating Western society, reaping the terrible fruits of its immoral foundations. Let us do so also for the sake of all those other beings, and creatures, who exist on Earth today in a state of wretchedness, enserfed - within the ever-tightening noose of land monopoly - to those who are now their global masters. That noose, which in the name of globalisation, holds in its grip the very Earth, having re-christened as "commodities" both Gaia herself and all her bounteous gifts to us.
© Copyright Shirley-Anne Hardy.