Degrowth and its Discontents: Part Three

  • Romano’s thesis regarding dépense is ambiguous. He mentions that Bataille, starting in the 30s, reformulated the concept over the subsequent decades and that Bataille related dépense to the bountiful energy of the sun. Solar energy, Bataille noted, is not completely absorbed by earth’s natural processes and circulates “aimlessly in the environment up until the point where it extinguishes itself.” (All quotes are from Romano’s essay on dépense in Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era.) One is at a loss to understand the exact meaning of this statement. The sun’s energy initiates photosynthesis, essential for growth of all vegetation, and is itself exuberant. But then vegetation dies off. So, is this dissipation of the sun’s energy what Bataille means by its extinguishment? Or, as layers upon layers of vegetation rot it becomes a storehouse, after eons, to be mined and burned as fuel – is this the final demise of solar energy? The sun also heats the oceans and creates the weather, often as violent storms, and so is this destructive force the sun’s climatic end? Or imagine the stored energy in the living flora that with the tiniest spark bursts into holocausts of fiery cataclysms. This hardly provides evidence of the sun’s energy quietly winding down as it “aimlessly” circulates in the environment.

The editors of Degrowth in their Epilogue, however, when they celebrate dépense, seem to be interpreting it as a palpable social force. Romano, too, introduces dépense within an anthropological context as if it is, indeed, a tangible force that can fuel actions beyond the necessary expenditure of energy to meet our survival needs. For Bataille, this necessary expenditure of excess energy defines cultures. How the excess is apportioned to ritual, to art and to all manner of daily practices requires decisions, collectively determined, and those choices make us human.

To continue to use the metaphor of energy allotment (but not to follow Romano’s analysis): the rise of capitalism, specifically the factory system, transformed manufacture and threw skilled village craftspeople into a state of poverty. The meager pay packets of the new factory workers were the death warrants on their former communal disposition of the excess. While previously their casual, if modest, life, seen as idleness by the rapacious factory owners, afforded them the luxury of determining a commodious way of living on a human scale, now the hellholes of production depleted their excess energy in a desperate attempt to maintain bare survival.

Almost two centuries of rebellion against servitude to Capital ultimately modified the barbarism of those early factories, especially in the over-industrialized North, but the expenditure of excess energy never returned to its previous position as central to human habitation. For the working population today dépense is allotted to time away from the points of production. Consumerism, as the practice of individualization, is the contemporary practice of (deformed) dépense.

As Romano says:

Given the individualization of society, single individuals take on the burden of waste through small trade-offs: from perverse sexuality to alcoholism, gambling and flashy consumption…. In the era of growth, there is no longer sumptuous and collective dépense, only its private dissolution informally consumed. (Degrowth p. 88)

The lack of collective dépense, of communally agreed upon waste, does not register with environmentalists (nor almost anyone else – the exceptions will be discussed presently) and, in fact, the very notion contradicts the major tenet of ecological thinking along with degrowth, that scarcity, as a reality, guides ethical decisions.
Romano continues:

Degrowth thought is therefore implicitly subordinated to the dominant culture, one that justifies neoliberal capitalist restructuring. It denounces a shortage of resources necessary to sustain contemporary lifestyles and indeed acts out a mere reversal of the foundational problem of the growth society. – (Ibid.)

To drive home this point, Romano quotes a relevant passage from Bataille:

[A]s a rule, particular existence always risks succumbing for lack of resources. It contrasts with general existence whose resources are in excess and for which death has no meaning. From the particular point of view, the problems are posed in the first instance by a deficiency of resources. They are posed in the first instance by an excess of resources if one starts from the general point of view. (Bataille, The Accursed Share, 1989 p. 39 – italics by author)

Under the rule of neoliberalism, the precariousness of individual existence entails the obsession with survival needs. And degrowthers, Romano concludes:

. . . do little more that transfer the servile position typical of the individualized subject to the general system; humanity’s complexity becomes subject to ‘the rule of needs,’ supported by a utilitarian logic of survival. The individual point of view that emphasizes the insufficiency of resources gets applied to the general collective. (Degrowth p.89)

Bataille’s construction of expenditure, waste or dépense may be mythopoeic, but for Romano it becomes a major indictment of degrowth’s analysis failing to depart from the major precept of mainstream economics – the foundational belief that scarcity rules. And because it has not thoroughly broken from the instrumentality of capitalism, degrowth accepts the premise that efficient and “environmentally friendly” techniques and the conservation of resources of all types must be strictly adhered to. What we have here is both a mindset (ideology) that validates technological solutions and a psychosocial practice (a pseudo-politics) of restraint. These themes will surface again in a fuller discussion of degrowth and its political failure according to Romano below.

Romano’s critique appears to be validated when the editors of this compilation write in their Epilogue – From Austerity to Dépense – that degrowthers must practice sobriety. For them, though, this is sobriety of the individual while dépense is reserved for the collective. The editor’s Epilogue is remarkable for taking head-on Romano’s criticism, ignoring the other numerous concepts discussed in their book, and adopting [or absorbing?] it so enthusiastically – and ultimately so wrongly.

The Degrowth editors, all academics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, begin their Epilogue with a novel criticism of neoliberalism and the putative Keynesian alternative – they both share a horror of idleness. For the champions of austerity and for the supporters of labor (more precisely, jobs), they write, the aim is the same, whether from the private sector or the public one, capital cannot remain idle. Investments must actively circulate and expand. In rebuttal, the editors state:

. . . we degrowthers are not afraid of idleness. Paul Lafargue’s provocative The Right to be Lazy is our inspiration. A society that has developed so many resources surely can extend the right to idleness from the rich to everyone. Lafargue argued in 1883, and André Gorz elaborated 100 years after. (Degrowth p. 217)

And they continue:

We degrowthers also are not afraid of the idleness of capital; we desire it. Degrowth involves slowing capital down. The essence of capitalism is the continuous reinvestment of surplus into new production [correction: for modern capitalism, or neoliberalism, it’s speculation not production that attracts wealth. –b.]. Wealth in industrialist societies is what can be invested again. (Ibid.)

For some reason they don’t deliver the punchline to this sentence – wealth, for the degrowthers, is for the wasting. Such a declaration might outrage the “frugal ecologists” they refer to later in the Epilogue, but by avoiding this declaration they bypassed an opportunity to confront reactionary thinking.

Wasting, or dépense, as noted earlier, challenges the embedded fear of scarcity of resources. On the level of the individual, scarcity motivates scrimping and hording. On the level of the economy, scarcity promotes accumulation and speculation – drilling for oil in the Arctic demonstrates this. The editors, provocatively, yet sanely, would rather waste resources on gold ceilings than to use that wealth to finance the expansion of extractive industries.

Some of the discussion in the Epilogue regarding current practices of “waste” by the wealthy confuses the issue and misses what dépense meant for Bataille. Money spent on luxuries, spectacular entertainments, art and even money given to foundations and charities is really not wasted in the proper sense. These practices may seem foolish and extravagant, but they really are investments (or tax breaks).

The rich do know how to literally burn their money and that is precisely what irks the degrowth academics. For them dépense should not be allowed for the rich, or the poor. For them dépense is a collective act or it is nothing other than a kind of narcotic. As they put it:

In the degrowth society that we imagine, dépense will be brought back to the public sphere, but sobriety will characterize the individual. … Our claim for sobriety is based on the premise that finding the meaning of life individually is an anthropological illusion. … Finding meaning alone is an illusion that leads to ecologically harmful and socially unjust outcomes since it cannot be sustained for everyone. (Degrowth p.219)

This statement verges on cultural Stalinism, however the next sentence clarifies matters, a little:

The sober subject of degrowth that we envisage, does not aspire to the private accumulation of things because he or she wants to be free from the necessity to find meaning of life individually. (p.220)

What we have here is the condemnation of private wealth, especially its ostentatious display – that’s fine – and then, remarkably, the contention that individual pursuits are anti-social. Isn’t this a bit of an exaggeration? If these blokes were in charge, would baseball cards be banned so that kids could be rescued from the compulsion to accumulate as they reached adulthood?

Seriously, individual creativity takes many forms and to devise a theoretical construct like – dépense is good if collective and bad if personal – is absurd. And no matter how much the authors deny a Calvinistic intent with this notion, it’s transparently so. Further, they reveal another aspect of righteous piety by assuming that they must pursue a new academic interest in determining how to conjure “institutions that will be responsible for the socialization of unproductive dépense and the ways in which circulating surplus will be limited and expended.” I expect that the participants in New Orleans Second Line Parades would be as bemused with the suggestions of these Catalan academics, as would the residents of their hometown, Barcelona.

The issue of sequestering personal life in the mistaken notion that one is attacking Individualism will be addressed further on, but a more immediate concern is to explain how degrowth issued from an older critique of capitalism and its operational instructions: utilitarianism. Romano discusses this in the opening essay of Degrowth on Anti-utilitarianism, his other essay for this book.

A good way to define anti-utilitarianism is to introduce MAUSS (Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste dans les Sciences Sociales), the French organization founded by sociologist Alain Caillé and the Swiss anthropologist, Gérald Berthoud, and later joined by Serge Latouche, whom we met as the prime animator of the ideas of degrowth. Latouche, was an economist who specialized in economic development theory. It is significant that he was led to degrowth based on his appraisal of development, to address poverty in the “Third World”, as a failed project. Many dissident academics from all disciplines and from all parts of the world have made MAUSS an alternative, oppositional, pole in the social sciences. And it is a fitting acronym because the concept of anti-utilitarianism issues from the recognition by Caillé that Mauss’ study of the gift economy challenges the dominant view of human endeavor as based on self-interest. This economic category now pervades all social sciences and has seeped into popular consciousness as a commonplace notion. In its extreme formulation, we have “Greed is Good.”

The gift, on the contrary, epitomizes those aspects of human relationships such as affection, forgiveness, compassion and by extension, respect and dignity, where calculations and reciprocity are non-existent, or, at most, secondary considerations.

Furthermore, at the foundation of solidarity is the notion of the gift; empathetic awareness comes from a place in the human psyche where self-interest has no domicile.

According to Romano, degrowth falls within the spectrum of anti-utilitarian thinking since it subverts the dead-end utilitarian view that acquisition (in search of happiness) is the prime motivator of economic pursuits. The usual expression of this is that the GDP is a measure of a thriving society. Romano notes that Latouche’s famous slogan – “well-having correlates inversely with well-being.” But then in the next breathe, Romano discloses that within the larger anti-utilitarian family a dispute has arisen precisely with Latouche’s use of the term “degrowth” which “most utilitarians” maintain “embeds the alternative [to growth] in the economic imaginary.”

It’s in this opening essay in Degrowth on anti-utilitarianism that Romano first criticizes the popular ethical rhetoric that inhabits the movement. The claim here is that the moralizing associated with degrowth, like their criticism of consumerism, reiterates the ethical discipline of capitalism that Max Weber first revealed. Degrowther’s are imbued with the desire for a sober life-style and press for economic restraint. Instead of this ethical approach, many anti-utilitarians advocate for a political “critique of boundlessness and excess.”

Romano elaborates:

[The anti-utilitarians] advocate [for] a political project that metabolizes the principles of “reversibility” (i.e., against the externalities of “progress” that threaten collective existence) and of “reciprocity” (i.e., against the power of most developed societies, which limits and threatens the chances for life and action of less developed societies and future generations). (Degrowth p.24)

He ends his essay dissatisfied with both the anti-utilitarians and the degrowthers and here first suggests that Bataille’s dépense offers a way to theorize “an epistemological discontinuity with the utilitarian foundations of our society.” Dépense and “a wider look on the numerous and unnoticed anti-utilitarian practices and experiences that go on inside and outside Western societies.” (Ibid p.19)

This leads to an article Romano wrote a few years before the appearance of Degrowth: A vocabulary for a New Era where he explores another aspect of the dominant degrowth ideology that complements its ethical postures. In How to Rebuild Democracy, Re-Thinking Degrowth (a densely composed essay worth a read), Romano argues that degrowthers rely on technical validation of their beliefs by repeated reference to scientific research. Technical expositions of ecologically sensitive practices in farming and in energy and manufacture abound in their literature. Here they follow the customary practices of all environmental groupings. Anyone wish to dispute Peak Oil? To do so unleashes a barrage of technical data by the cognoscenti that convinces doubters by its overwhelming volume if not its coherency. How much radiation from Fukushima has entered the US shores? When will the Greenland glacier melt raise sea levels to the point that Manhattan will be abandoned? The controversies regarding these issues and thousands more fill websites, launch new documentaries weekly and preoccupy opinion columns around the world.

The reinforcement of ethical strictures follows from the practical implementation of technical prowess. Nothing confirms the proper direction to take on an issue than the proven technical means to achieve the end. Let’s take agriculture, for instance, if the aim is to provide food locally, instead of depending on corporate agriculture, research demonstrates not only the feasibility of local, small farms, but also its superior abundance, and closes the case on any discussion. This doesn’t mean that the transformation will occur without a fight with vested interests, it simply means that those agitating for locally sourced food are assured that they have won the argument. The scientific reports mute a political debate. (Of course, vested interests can always produce “their science,” which too easily imposes stalemate when rival expertise occupies the space that discussions of values – politics – should dominate.)

The data drop on environmental issues (or any contentious area) sucks all the political oxygen from the room and, at best, politics is reduced to policy disputes. Technical expertise replaces the need to create a dynamic of disputation over values. And degrowth slips into this practice with ease since, as mentioned previously, it favors a narrow range of policy options all tending to reinforce localism that detours political discussion to a narrow bandwidth.

Politics carries the baggage of its suppression – that is, it is deemed contentious and a waste of time, by citizens who sense their manipulation through a pseudo-participatory process by those in power who want to avoid accountability. Romano launches into a discussion of the paradox of democracy by defining Cornelius Castoriadis’ term legein:

According to Castoriadis, legein refers to the deployment of words, reasoning, argumentation, speech and everything suitable to represent reality and interpret it as a whole, giving it a sense. Legein means also linkage, connection, the search for relations between [people], and between [people] and things (environment, etc.) in order to infer an overall and consistent dynamics for a system as a whole. Democracy, hence, is the collective construction of sense. (All quotes from How to Rebuild…)

What this means is that “rule by the people” is not a definition of democracy as much as it defines the process by which democracy is accomplished. But if we are each encouraged to aspire to our unique worldview (sense) as a consequence of the democratic vistas promised by modernity and are not afforded the means to deliberate the differences that result from individual perspectives, then what we have is a mockery of the democratic process. And this is precisely what we have: our individual voices gagged and cannot contribute to the greater good of collective resolution. Without the means to deliberate, we are confronted with a faux democracy. And data, research and “expert opinion” gain ascendency and usurp popular participation and debate.

According to Romano degrowth has nothing to contribute to rectify the universal condition we have where technical data, coupled with expertise, replace legein with administrative proclamations. What are the “means” through which a truly democratic process can function? Essential to a long list would be the ability to engage in critical inquiry, accompanied by a clear idea of the communal values and practices that foster communication and a forum for the exposition of debate. With these prerequisites, resolution of disputes – and disputes as the gristle of civil society that test its functioning – have a chance of equitable closure. Degrowthers, while concentrating on technical issues assume that democratic practices are embedded in their promotion of localism.

Romano’s further thoughts:

Yet a community can only be “really democratic” if it debates sense (various worldviews) and if it allows for a collective creation of an idea of the “good society,” [and] concretely implements it. It is not democratic if all that it does is bent on the goal of preserving its own existence. From this point of view, degrowth makes no difference for democracy compared to growth. It has nothing to say, in itself, about what constitutes a “good society.” (Ibid.)

But isn’t degrowth defining a “good society” by rejecting consumerism (growth) for a sober society of neighborliness? Romano would probably agree that this formulation permeates degrowth thinking, his concern, however, is not with the “off-the-shelf” model of a “good society” – he is rather speaking to the drive, as the Latouche slogan goes, for “well-being” instead of “well-having.” What has changed here, Romano asks? Some years back the pursuit of growth was to lead to the good life and now the pursuit of degrowth promises the same. Are we trapped in the paradigm of individualism and the search for personal salvation? Romano thinks so.

The alliterative values of frugality, fortitude and forbearance coupled with localism and voluntarism do not form the basis for a political project, much less a revolutionary transformation, and so Romano proposes –

. . . a new foundation of degrowth upon the notion of a “degrowth of the modern subject,” i.e. a degrowth of the subject that lies at the foundation of the modern notion of democracy. [The degrowth subject] accepts to deflate his/her own vision, the subject that could also accept and implement the vision built by the community he/she belongs to. (Ibid.)

Romano maintains that to realize the goal of degrowth and radical democracy we need a new subjectivity. Romano sees evidence of this new subjectivity in the tier of Mediterranean countries currently sites of turmoil. Not because he sees a pre-revolutionary situation developing in this area, but because of its peripheral condition outside the confluence of empire and spectacle. While resources of the industrial North have been integrated into the life of the Mediterranean societies, they have not dominated the traditional aspects of an almost pre-industrial way of life where “small scale self-production” – say in horticulture, animal husbandry and the culinary arts – still retain a meaningful presence. It is of course from this area, specifically central Italy, where the Slow Food Movement arose. Though Romano might shudder at the mention of a phenomenon so thoroughly incorporated into mainstream consumerist society, the original impetus for Slow Food can only be called a dépense of time that arose from the very qualities that he highlights as inherently oppositional to consumerism. And, like all creative social exuberance, its commodification extracts only those aspects that can be homogenized into a system of expedited trade.

Despite Romano’s suspicions of degrowthers’ elevation of localism as a prime strategy, he situates his hopes for an alternative perspective precisely in traditional crafts and ways of living that are local. This paradox can be sorted out by recognizing, and appreciating, traditions that have retained something of the worldview that we encountered in the discussion of sumak kawsay (also a local phenomenon), versus reliance upon an ideological construct – localism – composed of values, bracketed by scarcity, that replicate the commodity economy but with a localist cache.

Romano’s tightly argued paper ends with a manifesto of sorts that is worth reproducing in whole.

Mediterranean countries do not hold competitive advantages in the international arena. They can avoid sinking only if they form an alliance and build a different arena. First of all, this means cutting the dependence ties with global competition. The failure of the blind teukein [technical prowess], evident in the current economic crisis, opens opportunities for a return to democracy, understood as a collective construction of social life.

It opens the possibility for a world where the relation between humans and between humans and nature will not be governed by competition but by legein, where the production and the re-distribution of resources will be politically ruled, taking into account environmental compatibilities and stressing paths of self-production. A world where work will be reduced (or maybe reinvented) to foster dépense activities, such as social dances, agonistic games, public debates about social life and the sense of the world, etc. In brief, a world of democracy and degrowth, where market and teukein will serve the community.

Such a strategy, compared to the one currently adopted by degrowth advocates, has the advantage of connecting itself more easily with contemporary social reality. The new Mediterranean space could meet the de-modernizing and neo-tribal subjectivity trends that are spreading all over the world, stealing them from the clutches of techno-nihilist capitalism and from the global corporations that profit from it. (Ibid.)

Romano undoubtedly knows the terrain of southern Europe and obviously favors it over the allures of the modern metropolis, but is his topographic bias fundamentally at odds with British transition-townists’ love of Totnes, or its American version Great Barrington, MA, the home of the widely publicized complementary currency BerkShares?

Romano’s ideal may be more authentic, but tradition often trumps the experiments of urban refuges to live differently, because heritage forms a solid common sense integral to a distinct way of life in contrast to the refuges’ conscious and exemplary project undertaken as a risk-prone experiment. There’s an Italian documentary, promoting degrowth, that highlights urban escapees expounding on their epiphanies as they begin to repopulate an ancient village abandoned by all but the elderly. The video shows them eagerly learning the basic skills of survival from the local residents. While it is evident that in their move to form a meaningful life for themselves they are undertaking a personal redemption, yet in so far as they are allied with others in a collective adventure, their individualism (the old world) begins to merge with the local traditions and they slowly become natives (the old imbued with the ancient) of a new sort. This is all fine, but repopulating an abandoned village in rural Europe is hardly a political strategy for degrowth – this is a privileged exodus by middle class refugees.

Degrowthers, transfixed on the multitude of alternative economic and cultural projects percolating all over Europe, wish to “frame” this creative diversity as currents of post-growth activity. And in so far as these developments fall outside of, and often antagonistic to, neoliberalism they have a legitimate claim. However, are we to believe that these eruptions of imaginative social activity need only multiply, network, and promote themselves as a subversive virus in the body politic to eventually tip the scales and transform society?

This appears to be a political strategy with no politics. The methodical accretion of social endeavors over a broad spectrum of motivations, goals, financing and organizational forms without an oppositional dynamic, without a thorough understanding of their limits and possibilities for revolutionary change, hardly qualify as more than hobbies. These attempts, and they are numerous and a growing phenomenon, are the “neo-tribal subjectivities” that Romano fears will be captured by “techno-nihilist capitalism” – a perfect definition of the Uber-like entities that populate the rise of the “sharing economy.”

We are not living in the 19th Century, though it often seems, given the rising inequality of wealth, that we are on track to wind up there, if not further back historically. And any desire to use a template from a previous era as a guide to revolt can only be of interest to archivists. It would be an error to assume that we have entered a world where political agency is defined as individuals guided by their independently attained revulsion to modernity, just as it is even more an error to wait for the industrial proletariat to arise like zombies seeking revenge for past inequities.

The problem confronting us is to take what is relevant in the currents that the degrowthers see as models of social creativity and not wait for it to slowly spread, but to figure out how to “jump-start” it. To accelerate it and at the same time intensify the desire to create a more meaningful life – for that is what these grassroots projects are really all about – beyond the few who have the means to drop out of the rat race to search for another way of living.

In Degrowth there is a section entitled “The Action” which is where we should find some suggestions that help us take the concept of degrowth into the political arena. Sadly, this is not the case. There are only two directly applicable chapters, amongst seventeen, that invite speculation on a society-wide program to politicize an escape from capitalist accumulation. One focuses on jobs and the other on income and both claim to address inequality. Nothing else touched up in Degrowth comes close to being so relevant to so many people. The chapter on jobs introduces the idea of full employment guaranteed by governments and is called the Job Guarantee (JG). The other moves beyond the realm of mass confinement euphemistically called employment to advocate for Universal Basic Income (UBI) – cash not jobs.

JG has no place in this book as a policy position, much less as a program, if our intent is to promote degrowth. First, organizing a system of compulsory job-holding requires growing both a bigger government bureaucracy and a bigger economy. Even if the intent is to create “Green Jobs,” the infrastructure to maintain these jobs requires the expenditure of resources. Mainly, however, the notion that people need to have jobs above all other considerations, displays a reactionary and paternalistic attitude towards human ingenuity.

UBI directly subverts the core concept of capitalism (that all value comes from labor) and questions the carceral principle of social organization that’s the hallmark of capitalism. The latter is challenged by freeing desire to accomplish a task without remuneration and the former – a guaranteed income without employment – will be realized only by retrieving Time.

When all men, women and children receive an income to support a modest life with basic needs fulfilled, then we have attained a basic human right recognized, not only by the UN Charter of Human Rights, but more importantly, by extant traditional societies.

After reading Degrowth, one comes away thinking that the editors want their readers to divest of excesses and adopt a “simple living” lifestyle. UBI makes possible, however, freedom from jobs and opens a vista to a life that is by no means “simple.” Or, even frugal when it comes to time.

Despite Romano’s severe criticisms of degrowth, he doesn’t call for abandoning it. Instead, he argues for a better degrowth, which would encompass dépense. Given Romano’s problematic infatuation with dépense and the Degrowth editors’ retrograde attempt to co-opt it (and compounding confusions about it), maybe the most coherent position is, in fact, to discard degrowth altogether.

After over a decade in France, degrowth has established an audience (heavily weighted by academics) and has spawned allied groups in several countries; in the United States, however, a few individuals, complete with the requisite websites, have been publicizing “Peak-Oil” for some years and have developed a niche presence among environmentalists, but nothing approaching the scope of the European phenomenon. And further, if degrowth in Europe can be criticized for relying too much on a technological exegesis that limits its appeal, then in the US this is all that there is to write home about – elaborate graphs and charts amp-up academic publications, but they hardly sway popular opinion.

Rejecting degrowth as an organizing axis, doesn’t mean that it is in error regarding capitalism. The DNA of capitalism is accumulation, never-ending real estate expansion, increasing investments, compound interest and more (and more, and still more). This is generally recognized, begrudgingly, in our lives as the “rat race” and the futility of trying “to stay ahead” when it is obvious that the up escalator has been going down for years. To introduce degrowth as a program against compulsive consumerism hardly serves as a clever way to broach issues of accumulation with people who are one paycheck away from destitution.

One cannot say the same about a demand for Basic Income. Its outrageousness may elicit an initial dismissal as fantasy, but it will connect immediately, unlike a plea for less consumption, with the daily concerns people have for their survival. Better to present a proposal that sounds utopian, but which is recognized as desirable than to begin a sermon on addictions with no Twelve Step program.

End of Part Three