Roger's Workshop 
@ Spaceship Earth


When lamenting the inadequacies and failings of the nuclear family we tend to forget that it was not designed (i.e. did not evolve) to exist in isolation, but as part of an extended family and the wider local community. For the vast majority of modern families these complementing and supporting structures have all but ceased to exist, effectively destroyed by the demands of our modern economy, which requires people who are mobile, unattached to immobile extended families and local communities, and who work not for love but for MONEY. Human activity which does not involve making money is of little or no economic value and is thus not encouraged. On the contrary, it is discouraged in favour of ever extending the monetarisation and commercialisation of all aspects of life, thus contributing to the "sacred cause" of economic growth. 

What nowadays is referred to as the “local community” is usually nothing of the sort, but just an ill-defined collection of individual households living in virtual isolation from one another. For all practical purposes the “local authority” has taken the place of the extended family and local community, providing services paid for with money taken from alienated and thus resentful ratepayers and taxpayers.

The local and national authorities may in some respects be better at providing for our material needs than the extended family and local community were, but in the same way that a “robot mother” might provide, within the limits of its programming, for all the material needs of a child: the essential human element is missing (of which "love" is just one, ill-defined, component).

Governments are always trying to alter the scope, while improving the efficiency and programming of our "robot mother" (all the various social services), but they will never be able to replace the human element of the extended family and local community of which economic necessity has deprived us.

If you chop off a person's hands and feet you wouldn't be surprised that they were no longer able-bodied. It's the same with the family. The economy has left it a torso, to which the government has attached artificial limbs. They are not completely useless, but are no replacement for the body's natural ones.

Modern society has been formed (or rather, malformed) by economic forces, which economists would have us believe are natural and thus immutable. If fact, they are natural only in the sense that they are largely based on man's primitive, animal nature. It is time we started asserting our higher, more human nature and basing our economic activity and lifestyles on that instead. The socialist experiments of the last century provide ample lessons on how NOT to go about it.

We need to replace non-sustainable, mass consumer society, which has developed to serve an economy based more on our animal than human nature, with something very different, a sustainable society and a moral economy based on our more enlightened, human nature. We need to create real local communities which, ideally, should include at least some members of our extended families and friends, which will take back many of the functions currently performed commercially or by social services.