You Say You Want a Revolution
By James Gustave Speth
Dreaming of new futures in the polycrisis
DECADES AGO, I WAS A reasonable person and I thought reasonable thoughts. One of them was that deep change—change that I could even then see was necessary—would grow from actions responding to the desperate problems that were accumulating all around us, now often called the polycrisis. The beginnings of real change would surface as demands for action responsive to these insults to human and natural communities. We would see demands for new policies, for example, to curb corporate abuses and grab their wrists as they reached for ever more control over our politics. We would see strident demands to address the vast social and economic inequalities. We would see demands to build on the hard-hitting clean air and water acts to attack the climate-ruining gases spewing from our runaway energy system. The push for all these and other focused efforts would entrain and carry along what we saw as “non-reformist reforms.” They would look like reforms, but they would contain the seeds of deeper, transformative change —like ditching GDP in favor new measures of societal well-being and progress, or curbing corporate spending on elections.