Monthly Archives: March 2008

Poverty amidst abundance

This piece, entitled “Challenging Media: Poverty Amidst Abundance“, appeared in the January 2008 issue of Media Development, a monthly publication of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). Check this site for a list of the articles in that issue. Since the site did not post the full articles themselves, I thought I will make my article available for download here.

The question I raised in this piece was a challenge to media. But, in fact, it should be a challenge to all of us: why should poverty persist amidst such abundance?

Is it because economists are generally blind to abundance? (Remember that the definition of economics has always been premised on scarcity.)

In a longer piece that will appear later this year as a chapter in a book on “access to knowledge”, I will be going more deeply into the phenomenon of abundance, which is a feature of most ecosystems as well as of the information economy.

Society, Ecology and Transformation: the program of action of the Philippine Greens

This booklet, which we fondly call the SET, was published in 1999. The complete title is Society, Ecology and Transformation: a program for transforming Philippine society based on the Green worldview. I am posting the full text here, for the benefit of those who want to know more about the Philippine Greens. Membership in our group is by individuals, and our members are spread out in various other organizations. We conduct regular fellowship meetings to share experiences, discuss current issues, and arrive at common positions.

To answer a common question: no, we are not (yet) a political party. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this matter, and our decision stands — that the current electoral system in the Philippines is so corrupt that we’d rather spend our time and effort in cleaning it up first.

I was one of the convenors and also the first secretary-general of the Philippine Greens. Currently, my Green work is focused on sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, the information economy, and clean elections.

Here’s the foreword I wrote (as the booklet’s editor):

Worldwide, a body of literature is growing which articulates a worldview that emphasizes ecology, social justice and self-determination.

The main ideas of this Green worldview include the following:

– The community is the most important locus of human activity. This communitarian approach calls for community-levl politics, economics, technologies and other activities.

– We are also part of a bigger community of living beings, who have as much right as we do to our common ecological home. We therefore cannot appropriate all of nature just to meet high and often wasteful levels of consumption.

– Quality of life is more important than quantity of production or consumption.

– The spiritual aspects of reality are just as important. Beyond a certain level of material sufficiency, human happiness is often a matter of spiritual rather than material fulfillment.

– Non-violence should guide family and community relationships, our interaction with nature, and our program for social change.

– Too much political power and economic wealth corrupts. We should diffuse power and wealth and prevent their concentration.

– Diversity is better than monoculture. This is true not only in ecosystems but also in human societies.

The Philippine Greens believe that these ideas and the growing body of thought behind them are exactly what our society needs. This book reflects our initial effort to draft a comprehensive program for transforming Philippine society and ecology based on the Green worldview.

We call on you all to join us in turning this program into reality.

Obet Verzola