martedì 17 giugno 2008

Critical Initiatives

I focus this post on some considerations taken from an article published on the Italian magazine “L’Espresso” about Chris Carlsson, an American writer and activist well known for his many critical initiatives on contemporary economic mechanisms and logics. From this great number of Carlsson’s activities and visions (i.e. Critical Mass – a bikers’ movement directed to re-gain urban spaces) I would like to emphasise the interesting concept according to which it is possible to build a diverse and free culture which can grow in a critical perspective to the conventional one characterized by labour and accumulation. This vision is based on the possibility to put in second order values and principle of the latter culture, which should be used to “pay the bills”, and give major emphasis to the former linked to those who find their expressions in everything is placed outside labour and politics rather than in professional careers and well paid wages. These persons who prefer the re-appropriation of their time and non-utilitaristic social relations constitute the core of may expressions of spontaneous and voluntary organizations and socio-economic development: refusing the logics of business, management and acritical consumption, these persons represent the dynamo for many advanced forms of economic development also at local level. The Carlsson’s key-concept can be expressed by the idea according to which: “our planet cannot be saved through a ‘better consumption’. Change results from production rather than from consumption… Refusing the logics of consumption is a way to change the world as we see it today”. These images of “construction”, “production”, “realization” are the keys to positively and actively trigger change in opposition to the concept of “consumption” which is essentially destructive posing individuals in a condition of absolute passivity. I believe that the possibility to create new and alternative forms of economic development relies on this paradigm shift moving from "consumption" (passive) to "construction" (active). Consequently the opportunity to escape the passive condition of “consumer-user” implies the acquisition of an awareness of our active role within the processes which we are immersed in and breaking down those links of hysterical accumulations of no-use goods and professional careers as unique focal element of our lives. Carlsson asserts again: “we must be freed from the fear to lower our standards of life. We can live well also gaining less, spending less and working less”. What a challenge to the culture of careers, ambitions, profits at any cost and human relations’ utilization!

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