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April 12, 2021

Sustainability and the law of value

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It could be argued that a real tension exists between the manner in which populations value total protection of the biosphere and the manner in which populations also value notions of sustainability and sustainable development. There exist certain contradictions in the term sustainability which are deserving of further deep ongoing debate.

In essence, the above issues address the ‘law of value’ and how we understand, articulate and address perceptions and outcome of same. It is obvious to all that we are now living within the confines of a neo-liberal/neo-patriarchal ideology and its enduring ‘market force’ social structures. These structures are now totally regulated by ‘market forces’ that are not always totally transparent and far from equitable. It is now an accepted norm that the health of ‘the market’ determines all policy decisions. This is to the detriment of the ‘common good/the commonwealth/eco-integrity.’

We must realise that ‘the market’ is a social construction and not some free-floating amorphous given. The recent stance by protectors of the environment at Bentley revealed that populations can transcend ‘market force’ ideology and protect the total biosphere, which is integral to the survival of life on the planet.

In the same manner we can see that linguistic deconstructions occur. The negative description of ‘protester’ now is deconstructed by a positive: protector.

The current debate concerning the proposed West Byron development reveals a perfect example of the manner in which we address notions of sustainability (ecology vs development). As it now exists, this area is ecological perfection. Protectors are upholding the law of value that recognises the growing global dominance of the discourses that support the sustainable protection of the total biosphere, free from ‘market forces’. On the other hand, aspects of the sustainable development paradigm do encompass the destructive competitive interests that surround the health of ‘market forces’.

There is no simple way to heal the above contradictions. People must be housed. But at what price to the total community, animal habitats and the environment? We must realise that great patience and sensibility is imperative to find a solution to all of the above. Climate change deniers exist in a mindset that upholds the social constructions surrounding the term ‘market forces’. A redundant stance. However, I am reminded of the statement of the great philosopher Noam Chomsky who said ‘If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all’.

Time for more education and patient discussion is necessary it seems.

Jo Faith, Newtown


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