Occupy Guitarmy

Occupy Guitarmy

The Occupy Guitarmy is effectively the Occupy Wall Street music working group. During the 2012 May Day protests, the Guitarmy was led by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

In 1968, Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor published a paper titled The Tragedy of the Commons. It became one of the most reprinted and cited articles ever written. It is also among the most influential. The paper argues that privatization is the best way to protect the environment and to end global poverty, becoming a sort of apologists bible for capitalist thinkers. The Tragedy of the Commons is cited and quoted by politicians, governments, economists, banks and environmental policy professionals - pretty much anyone making policy decisions - to defend and implement privatization policies. There is one BIG PROBLEM though. The paper suffers from, what can best be described as, total bullshit syndrome. It is not supported by any real data or evidence, and is basically reflective of the "assumptions" of the author.

In The Tragedy of the Commons, the author essentially argues that the commons - any shared resources such as pastures, fields and forests - would eventually be over-utilized and exploited by greedy herdsmen, triggering a tragic race to complete exhaustion. His solution to this tragedy is privatization. In the hands of private owners, pastures, fields and forests would be "spared" because it would be in the best interest of private owners to "protect" their property and limit the use of their resources.

There is so much wrong with that thesis; Any historic evidence of "the commons" being exploited by local people who share resources is not presented. In fact, historically, it is wars, imperialism, power hungry leaders, and in the last couple of centuries, "Industrial Civilization" itself that has been responsible for the tragedy of the commons. It is the false doctrine of the survival of the fittest idolized by monopoly-hungry multinational corporations that have put us on a sure path of environmental disaster. But most importantly, the assumption that every herdsman is greedy, or that communities are incapable of sensible resource-sharing are just primitive assumptions and generalizations. Of course, in a world where the bullshit philosophy of the day is "greed is good", the idea that communities self-organize and share resources might have seemed outlandish to the author. In fact, in the 45 years since the paper was written, Industrialized Civilization driven by "private interests and corporations" has put us on the path of irreversible collapse. And yes; That is according to a NASA-funded study. Privatization has not worked ecologically, socially and economically for the vast majority of the world population...

The argument of the greedy herdsman from The Tragedy of the Commons is equally applicable to the new owner of a former "commons". God forbid there be shale gas on the property; Screw the sheep and the herdsmen. Instead, frack the hell out of the land, and then, with the newly acquired capital, exploit as many other "commons" as possible. Sound familiar? Global warming is melting Arctic ice, and oil and gas companies are racing to profit from the melting sea.

Time to reevaluate all our "assumptions" about how life really works!

Song of the Day: Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine (1992)
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