Let me begin by saying again that the emergent process for a future social/political/economic structure is going to be organic--that is, messy--if it's going to work at all. All the wonderful theories in the world have less influence than all of the many competing and divergent interests that slowly form organic structure.
When I talk about communities like Twin Oaks, I often joke that "...no one in their right mind would create a community like Twin Oaks." That's because no one 'created' Twin Oaks. Twin Oaks is the way that it is because it evolved that way over time. It certainly didn't become the little behaviorist community that its founders envisioned.
Likewise, as new structures emerge, they won't be exactly what anyone has planned. And they will emerge. Anyone who thinks that capitalism as it's currently practiced is sustainable, hasn't looked what it's doing to the environment, the growing anti-globalism sentiment, and the fact that it's only a recent player on the scene (as I laid out in my first article, Some Background).
And I'm not saying that a decentralized, diverse society is what's going to happen. It's what I consider most likely and most feasible (and I also think most desirable). But if we're talking about an organic process, we're talking about something that we can't control. Unexpected things are going to happen and society will change as a result.
When I say that this corporate capitalist society is not sustainable, I mean that it will bring down the planet if it continues--but I also know that it will continue for a while yet. I see us in the place where the Roman empire was as it started falling apart. Just as that process took a long time, I see corporate capitalism in a slow, incremental process of decay.
The feudal system that followed the fall of Rome was fairly decentralized (although anything but nonhierarchal) even though there were periodic attempts to recreate a centralized structure. The irony is that the biggest, longest lasting attempt (the Holy Roman Empire) turned out to be rather patchwork and decentralized. As Wikipedia puts it: "The empire never achieved the extent of political unification ... evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities, and other domains."
And that's what I think is going to happen again--this is the patchwork politics I spoke about in my last post. However, I think that successful communities, co-operative networks, etc, can form a template that can be built on and can influence the structures of this new, decentralized society. And building those communities and alternative structures is the work that we can and need to do.
Trying to build a whole new society from a some blueprint won't work. It's good to have some idea of where we want to go, else as a society we will simply drift, but we're not going to be able to control the process. Letting things happen, trying to influence what happens when we can and letting it go when we can't, is what we can do. I think we will need to have some idealism and a lot of pragmatism to get anywhere.
Quote of the Day: "How did Twin Oaks get so far from its origins?
"When I tried to start a Walden Two community, I didn't expect it to turn away from the scientific and rational and embrace popular movements. But we did not have a lot of choice in member selection. Who was available to join the fledgling community of 1969-1972? Hippies, that's who. I know one group that was very serious about Walden Two and tried to build a community without any hippies in it. It failed for lack of people." - Kat Kinkade