The new political story that could change everything | George Monbiot

Do you feel trapped in a broken economic model? A model that’s trashing the living world and threatens the lives
of our descendants? A model that excludes billions of people while making a handful unimaginably rich? That sorts us into winners and losers, and then blames the losers
for their misfortune? Welcome to neoliberalism, the zombie doctrine
that never seems to die, however comprehensively it is discredited. Now you might have imagined
that the financial crisis of 2008 would have led to the collapse
of neoliberalism. After all, it exposed
its central features, which were deregulating
business and finance, tearing down public protections, throwing us into extreme
competition with each other, as, well, just a little bit flawed. And intellectually, it did collapse. But still, it dominates our lives. Why? Well, I believe the answer
is that we have not yet produced a new story with which to replace it. Stories are the means
by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret
its complex and contradictory signals. When we want to make sense of something, the sense we seek is not scientific sense but narrative fidelity. Does what we are hearing reflect the way that we expect humans
and the world to behave? Does it hang together? Does it progress as a story should progress? Now, we are creatures of narrative, and a string of facts and figures,
however important facts and figures are — and, you know, I’m an empiricist,
I believe in facts and figures — but those facts and figures have no power
to displace a persuasive story. The only thing that can replace a story is a story. You cannot take away someone’s story without giving them a new one. And it’s not just stories in general
that we are attuned to, but particular narrative structures. There are a number of basic plots
that we use again and again, and in politics there is one basic plot which turns out to be
tremendously powerful, and I call this “the restoration story.” It goes as follows. Disorder afflicts the land, caused by powerful and nefarious forces working against the interests of humanity. But the hero will revolt
against this disorder, fight those powerful forces, against the odds overthrow them and restore harmony to the land. You’ve heard this story before. It’s the Bible story. It’s the “Harry Potter” story. It’s the “Lord of the Rings” story. It’s the “Narnia” story. But it’s also the story that has accompanied almost every
political and religious transformation going back millennia. In fact, we could go as far as to say that without a powerful
new restoration story, a political and religious transformation might not be able to happen. It’s that important. After laissez-faire economics
triggered the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes
sat down to write a new economics, and what he did was to tell
a restoration story, and it went something like this. Disorder afflicts the land! (Laughter) Caused by the powerful and nefarious
forces of the economic elite, which have captured the world’s wealth. But the hero of the story, the enabling state, supported
by working class and middle class people, will contest that disorder, will fight those powerful forces
by redistributing wealth, and through spending
public money on public goods will generate income and jobs, restoring harmony to the land. Now like all good restoration stories, this one resonated
across the political spectrum. Democrats and Republicans,
labor and conservatives, left and right all became,
broadly, Keynesian. Then, when Keynesianism ran into trouble in the 1970s, the neoliberals, people like
Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, came forward with
their new restoration story, and it went something like this. You’ll never guess what’s coming. (Laughter) Disorder afflicts the land! Caused by the powerful
and nefarious forces of the overmighty state, whose collectivizing tendencies
crush freedom and individualism and opportunity. But the hero of the story,
the entrepreneur, will fight those powerful forces, roll back the state, and through creating
wealth and opportunity, restore harmony to the land. And that story also resonated
across the political spectrum. Republicans and Democrats,
conservatives and labor, they all became, broadly, neoliberal. Opposite stories with an identical narrative structure. Then, in 2008, the neoliberal story fell apart, and its opponents came forward with … nothing. No new restoration story! The best they had to offer
was a watered-down neoliberalism or a microwaved Keynesianism. And that is why we’re stuck. Without that new story, we are stuck with the old failed story that keeps on failing. Despair is the state we fall into when our imagination fails. When we have no story
that explains the present and describes the future, hope evaporates. Political failure is at heart a failure of imagination. Without a restoration story that can tell us where we need to go, nothing is going to change, but with such a restoration story, almost everything can change. The story we need to tell is a story which will appeal
to as wide a range of people as possible, crossing political fault lines. It should resonate
with deep needs and desires. It should be simple and intelligible, and it should be grounded in reality. Now, I admit that all of this sounds
like a bit of a tall order. But I believe that in Western nations, there is actually a story like this waiting to be told. Over the past few years, there’s been a fascinating
convergence of findings in several different sciences, in psychology and anthropology
and neuroscience and evolutionary biology, and they all tell us
something pretty amazing: that human beings have got
this massive capacity for altruism. Sure, we all have a bit of selfishness
and greed inside us, but in most people,
those are not our dominant values. And we also turn out to be
the supreme cooperators. We survived the African savannas, despite being weaker and slower
than our predators and most of our prey, by an amazing ability
to engage in mutual aid, and that urge to cooperate
has been hardwired into our minds through natural selection. These are the central,
crucial facts about humankind: our amazing altruism and cooperation. But something has gone horribly wrong. Disorder afflicts the land. (Laughter) Our good nature has been thwarted
by several forces, but I think the most powerful of them
is the dominant political narrative of our times, which tells us that we should live
in extreme individualism and competition with each other. It pushes us to fight each other,
to fear and mistrust each other. It atomizes society. It weakens the social bonds
that make our lives worth living. And into that vacuum grow these violent, intolerant forces. We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths. (Applause) But it doesn’t have to be like this. It really doesn’t, because we have this incredible capacity
for togetherness and belonging, and by invoking that capacity, we can recover those amazing
components of our humanity: our altruism and cooperation. Where there is atomization,
we can build a thriving civic life with a rich participatory culture. Where we find ourselves crushed
between market and state, we can build an economics
that respects both people and planet. And we can create this economics
around that great neglected sphere, the commons. The commons is neither market nor state,
capitalism nor communism, but it consists of three main elements: a particular resource; a particular community
that manages that resource; and the rules and negotiations
the community develops to manage it. Think of community broadband
or community energy cooperatives or the shared land
for growing fruit and vegetables that in Britain we call allotments. A common can’t be sold,
it can’t be given away, and its benefits are shared equally
among the members of the community. Where we have been ignored and exploited, we can revive our politics. We can recover democracy
from the people who have captured it. We can use new rules
and methods of elections to ensure that financial power
never trumps democratic power again. (Applause) Representative democracy should
be tempered by participatory democracy so that we can refine
our political choices, and that choice should be exercised
as much as possible at the local level. If something can be decided locally,
it shouldn’t be determined nationally. And I call all this
the politics of belonging. Now, I think this has got
the potential to appeal across quite a wide range of people, and the reason for this
is that among the very few values that both left and right share are belonging and community. And we might mean
slightly different things by them, but at least we start
with some language in common. In fact, you can see a lot of politics
as being a search for belonging. Even fascists seek community, albeit a frighteningly
homogenous community where everyone looks the same
and wears the same uniform and chants the same slogans. What we need to create
is a community based on bridging networks, not bonding networks. Now a bonding network brings together
people from a homogenous group, whereas a bridging network brings together
people from different groups. And my belief is that if we create sufficiently rich and vibrant
bridging communities, we can thwart the urge
for people to burrow into the security of a homogenous bonding community defending themselves against the other. So in summary, our new story could go
something like this. Disorder afflicts the land! (Laughter) Caused by the powerful
and nefarious forces of people who say
there’s no such thing as society, who tell us that
our highest purpose in life is to fight like stray dogs
over a dustbin. But the heroes of the story, us, we’ll revolt against this disorder. We will fight those nefarious forces
by building rich, engaging, inclusive and generous communities, and, in doing so, we will restore harmony to the land. (Applause) Now whether or not
you feel this is the right story, I hope you’ll agree that we need one. We need a new restoration story, which is going to guide us
out of the mess we’re in, which tells us why we’re in the mess
and tells us how to get out of that mess. And that story, if we tell it right, will infect the minds of people
across the political spectrum. Our task is to tell the story
that lights the path to a better world. Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “The new political story that could change everything | George Monbiot

  1. I can smell a rat from the Fabian community" . Deregulation were the cause of the 2008 crisis," What a factual lie. Of course, it was the other way around. As always. I couldn't take more than 1.06 minutes of this guy. .

  2. Just like Keynesian economics, a new story about how we can relabel socialist dogma, repackage it to appear to be scientifically sound, and reset people to "work together" and stop fighting the marxists while they are busy consolidating power. We will harness the commons – like building playgrounds and community kitchens on the 21st century plantation – to keep free-range slaves occupied. Yep, it does sound like A. Yang…..

  3. this fellow is either ignorant or naive. The Tragedy of the Commons PROVES the "story" he spins is misguided at best. For those who do not know here is a small sample of 10 failures due to using his strategy:

  4. Started off thinking it was another screed against a "neoliberal" strawman/boogeyman, ended up being something quite fascinating!

  5. On a party political level, I think Bernie Sanders, Justice Democrats, the US Green Party and others in the States have been developing a new story that is very positive and altruistic. Coupled with what you saying, this could be a very powerful new story. I love your vision.

  6. Wasn't expecting that ending, but OK. I always am thinking the internet can bring us together, it's just going through growing pains. I might be dead by the time that happens but will go on thinking that. I don't want to be around for the alternative.

  7. This lecturer overlooks one simple fact. What we are living through is NOT considered a failure by the elites. The banking system allows them to transfer the majority of the wealth into their pockets while sticking us common folks with the bill (debt). All the money they get in tax breaks and low interest rate fed printed money is being used to gobble up every asset until we are so far in debt the system collapses… but they continue holding the assets.

  8. Something most don't know, Yang's number two donor is Amazon. Yes, that Amazon, the one he is going to tax. This is such an important moment to shift our society to one where we can all benefit and stop letting fellow humans go hungry that the people who will become taxed want it…
    If we landslide the election "they" wouldn't be able to stop it.

  9. Demagogs like Lenin, Stalin, mao, Fidel, Hitler led human race into abyss. This guy is saying I am a looser , I cannot compete, produce, invent, good for nothing talker, feed me.

  10. The fatal problem with all this is that it assumes that all other cultures are altruistic and tolerant. Globalists assume that the "other" wants to be like them, nationalists assume that the "other" want to take over the nation and replace the nation with the "other" nation.

  11. it is the same for all time humans give in to a weakness ,a lazy selfish policy .It is humans no matter what u call them.Nothing lasts for long not good nor bad the round and round we go back to where we started.This is an old idea it is who we are and it is not a loss of hope but the way we are and have been.

  12. Every person who curses and denounces the ultra rich neoliberals would happily take their spot if they could…greed has no ends…the sad part is, we could easily eradicate this way of living in society. We choose not to.

  13. The NEW story is being told today by Andrew Yang who is at 5 percent in the race for the U. S. Presidency. Please listen to his message and tell us if this is the new story that will change everything in America and I think around the world.

  14. This man has a fundamental misunderstanding of economics, economic history, and economists. I think he is confusing Keynes, who was definitely not a "collectivist" with Karl Marx. Furthermore, neoliberalism has done more for human kind than literally any other economic/political system; over the years it has absolutely demolished global poverty and raised the basic living standard of normal people to a higher point than humans have ever seen. I understand that it is not an entirely perfect system, but I think it's failures(like 2008 and the Great Depression) are exceptions to the rule of the excellent job it has done in providing for human flourishing.

  15. He forgot to mention a couple of other zombies that refuse to die, socialism and communism; oh I forgot those walking dead aren't real socialism and real communism. Unfortunately whatever the system psychopaths, arseholes and the greedy always rise to the top to control, manipulate and exploit others. Be careful of believing in stories told by those who wish to take control; Globalism and Identity politics are the latest fairy tale lies. Disorder is currently being sown to bring about a new flavor of psychopaths but still psychopaths in control.

  16. There was disorder and mayhem in the land.
    A wicked tribe called "The Guardian" was destroying the respect of the tribes.
    It stole the secret of tribal unity and buried it in honey-words telling the people to hate their tribes. Worst among them was Monbiot – the evil mage of deception that sounded so sweet, but was the most poisonous of all.
    I leave it to you to finish this story.
    A functional human tribe can be no more than 200 people including infants, adults, old, sick, injured and in-childbirth. The secret that the Guardian (and those like them) buried, is that life-long familiarity is the secret of the tribes – and now you know how to detect the enemy.
    What will you do?
    I wonder?

  17. I believe that your "restoration" story type is actually a cancer that has been eating humanity since ancient times, causing wars, grief, greed, destruction and lies. It is not about restoration but about how to tear down good things we have that might otherwise evolve in a positive manner for that elusive chance at something totally new that is actually old and decrepit.

  18. Yep let's throw Trump and his whole family and all of his henchmen in prison. Maybe solitary confinement for a little while do them some good.

  19. Communal cooperation that bridges groups and ideas and values – is ? People are cooperative until that cooperation meets my selfish wall. What force compels me to be altruistic? He is idealistic but not substantive!

  20. I agree that we need a new story. But thus man just retold us a failed story tried by USSR. I'm surprised that no one caught that he was just telling what communist democracy looks like.

  21. There are a couple of problems with this. First, there was no deregulation leading up to the 2008 crash. In fact, Clinton and Greenspan enacted tons of new regulations designed to force banks to lend mortgages to everybody, even if there was no way they could pay them back. Bush Jr. saw that the policies were great for getting votes, and he jumped on the bandwagon, too. Likewise, the Great Depression was not caused by "laissez-faire" capitalism. The title is a bit misleading, too… this is not a "new political story"; it's the same old redistributionism that's failed over and over and over. In addition, with 7.7 billion people on Earth, there's no way for everybody to have a first-world standard of living… the planet's resources would be drained immediately.

  22. Facts and figures will never change minds and society, only a story will. This is undeniably true. But changing minds through narrative is only GOOD if there are facts and figures to support it. The nazis used this narrative, and it worked, but millions of people died. The soviets used this narrative, and millions of more people died. Regardless of your opinion of the current system, without discussion of facts and morals, pure narrative can lead society to dark places.

  23. No change will happen until humanity is crucified on the iron cross of the military-industrial-congressional-think tank complex. Are you expecting a savior to come and smite your enemies and deliver you to the promised land? Sorry, your getting an old homework assignment instead, love your neighbor and enemy. Looks like you'll have to repeat 5th grade

  24. I don’t feel trapped in your world. I’m surrounded by endless possibility. Your narrow view doesn’t fit mine. Keep your socialist bullshit for your wine and pot party friends.

  25. 1. No, I don't feel trapped in a broken economic model.
    2. I'm not sure what economic model threatens the lives of our descendants. Clearly, the socialism of the USSR, China, and Cambodia piled up a lot of dead bodies, but the socialism of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, for all their poverty, do not threaten my descendants.
    3. I am not trapped in an economic model that excludes billions while making a handful unimaginably rich. Free market capitalism has brought millions out of poverty.
    4. Actually, the system that sorts us into winners and losers is our political system, not our economic system.
    5. Exactly who is blaming the losers? What are they blaming them for?
    6. Since he is British, I guess he means "free market economics" when he says neo-liberalism. I'm not aware of it being discredited. If it is so bad, why do so many refugees seek out countries with economies that are more free market than the ones that they flee from?
    7. No, I don't imagine that the financial crisis of 2008 will lead to the collapse of neo-liberalism. He repeats the myth that deregulating caused the crisis. Yes, under Bill Cllinton, credit default swaps were officially declared unregulated products. Under Bill Clinton the Glass-Steagall act was repealed. However, new regulations had replaced the old ones; regulations that compelled banks to meet lending goals for targeted populations. And, of course, we never did away with all the other regulations the banks faced (fractional reserve requirements, advertising regulations, etc.).

    OK, I'm less than two minutes into his speech. It's hard to focus on what he intends to say when he has already said so many whoppers.

    He gets one thing right; we are creatures of narrative. That's why he has to start out with his narrative. And the narrative that keeps getting repeated, becomes believable, even if it does not square with the facts.

  26. …this is how slick they're getting… never mind even calling it "democratic socialism" anymore… we just need to pretend that democrats, in one form or another, didn't murder 300 million people world wide… and that his "new story" will work this time…

  27. Blames the free market for the great depression completely ignores the federal reserve's meddling and the abandonment of the gold standard.

  28. his basic premise is what every demagogue trying to achieve. create a narrative to fight what the masses preserve as disorder (which just entropy at work) as a means to hold/get the power.

    "We are a society of altruists, but we are governed by psychopaths."

    lol the guy trying to make the audience feel good about themselves. here's the truth: the kind of people who end up with powers is the one who ready to sacrifice everything and anyone to get it aka psychopaths.

    "What we need to create is a community based on bridging networks, not bonding networks."

    looking how the internet (as network) contribute to the political polarization. i'll say GOOD LUCK.

  29. Anarchist . Nothing wrong with that. "Community" is just a smaller and more tight knit tribe than living in a London staburb.

  30. Socialism rebranded and told as a "new story". The same bullshit they told the Russians, only need to read the gulags archipelago to see how well that turned out!!

  31. Why there are not 20M views on this yet… boy this guy is more inspiring and on the money than most presidents and prime ministers…

  32. Monbiot tells an extraordinarily discredited story extraordinarily well. He ignores the fact that this horribly evil free enterprise system with all its "moral failings" has lifted billions of people out of abject poverty while all those "morally superior cooperative systems" have impoverished and murdered billions of its hapless "subjects". He skillfully disguised the fatal flaw of his theory of utopia: unless people willingly abandon all notions of self interest in favour of unbridled community spirit, the all powerful authorities will mercilessly re-educate theme even of they perish in the process. Think of re-education camps, of the Gulag Archipelago, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

  33. How totally obnoxious … I would hate to be stuck at a dinner party with this blow-hard. … A patchwork quilt of local laws? Sounds even much worse than a tyrannical homeowner's association. … Please stay in Seattle and out of Texas.

  34. When ever we feel that there is a chance to get everything we want at the expense of others, Capitalism reigns. Eventually we all realize that we are mere clogs in the big capitalist industry and whatever we do just goes to the pockets of those who are rich, have always been rich and thanks to the rule book which they have established, will always be rich. Then we all crawl back to the warm embrace of our community and socialism reigns. We keep reinventing these basic urges and use different languages to express them, since we can't do the very thing which less than a generation ago, so violently suppressed and opposed. So we call communism that we agree with state capitalism, Capitalism that we disagree with we call selfishness an cronyism.

  35. This is why we need Yang. He's the only one with a truly new and inspiring story, and one that appeals to both left and right, altruism and self interest

  36. What a friggin’ wack job!
    A terrible story teller, that’s trying to pass himself off as a (terrible) comedian.
    Platitudes and generalities are the story telling devises of feckless politicians.
    A profound relationship with reality and the ability to inspire a realistic vision of what’s possible in which each individual can see themselves, are the seeds of truly great leadership. This type of leadership doesn’t use “Story’s Telling”, he or she consciously uses language as a powerful tool, to precipitate true transformation
    True transformation comes only when the required sacrifices are made and the extremely hard work is done to realize the necessary changes to manifest this new possibility as reality.
    Remember, we are human, not perfect! Whatever we create will be just like us, IMPERFECT!
    Altruism is a thought construct (idea) professed by those that wish to weaken us for their own purposes.
    Whoever feels good about giving to others or doing for others, IS NO ALTRUIST!

    Altruism equals the death of the individual.

    Think hive mentality.

    NOT HUMAN!!!

  37. Shorter: "I'm an empiricist, I believe in facts and figures . . . but hey, if those facts and figures don't suit the narrative I'm trying to sell I'll just ignore them".
    Meanwhile in the real world all countries that have "neoliberalism" as the basis for their economies continue to get richer, as do the vast majority of people within those countries.

  38. Self-parody mixed with sarcastic Marxist harangue. What utterly banal, trite, disingenuous, weak gruel for the starving progressive.

  39. When people actually see and understand properly , they would unplug their banks their jobs and their minds . Make a stand . Go out in the garden plant some seeds . Keep the kids home to help . My dream in life is to wake up one day to people . Not systems .

  40. Why, when poverty is being diminished world wide and the human advancement and cooperation so improved, do we fail to recognize the ideas that have successfully gotten us here. Christian ideas of individual worth, freedom, duty and responsibilities to God and others are the heart of our success. Communities are dependent upon healthy working families. Only when there is an abundance of wealth is altruistic charity possible to assist impoverished people (evidence throughout history). The narrative you mentioned is recognition of only the common human desire to blame others and the psychopathic leaders tool to lead them gain power. Speaker's suggestion is overly simplistic, discounting human nature and history.

  41. In our western civilization:

    If you belong to the rich elite you control:

    – The distribution of the wealth of society.
    But you are telling us that it is controlled by something called 'the market'

    – The laws the politicians are making.
    But you are telling us that laws are controlled by something called 'democracy'.

    – The thoughts and feelings of us, the common people.
    But you are telling us that we are 'free' – free to what?

    Three essential points of the proposed conversion:

    1 In the manufacturing, distribution and consumption sectors, the fraternity must be the guide, so that the value of things produced is evenly distributed in this chain.
    2 In the legislative field, equality must be the guide, so that both the weak and the powerful have equal rights.
    3 In science, religion, art, the individual's thoughts and feelings must have their full freedom.

    Do we, the common people, have the maturity to make such a chance?

  42. Too bad people dont know how the N W O and so_cialism is a psychopathic wolf in sheeps clothing fooling altruistic sheep into thinking no tyrant can emerge as the wolf itself.

  43. Yeah definitely government had nothing to do with guarantying the mortgage securities. Yeah 2008 was was due to the lack of government intervention. Keep lying my friend

  44. We need a New Massdeportation story
    Where people go back to their down country and make it great again.
    Instead of destroying the welfare systems of other countries.

  45. Well. I do agree with the approach. But to make it evolutionary right we have to eradicate greed out of our path to been human

  46. I love the idea. I don't see how it can work though. All it takes is a group of outsiders to show up and start breaking stuff and the media will make villains of everyone involved. Those nefarious forces control the narrative. Then there's the dark money that flows, not only into our national and presidential elections, but also our state and local politics.
    Dispair is an appropriate word.

  47. Sir the economic system that you are proposing is the system that India had before European forces disturbed it. The policies of Ashok and Akbar being the best examples to it. We were weak and devided and socially backward at that time but things have changed now and that "egalitarian" model can be applied now… But test yourself by asking what will be the bridging network between the hardline islamist and hardline jews.

  48. A strong, wonderful and Common Sense presentation, this! It is so Good to see these sorts of Ideas about Us and Cooperation emerge here in "You Tube". Thank you, very much, George Monbiot, for sharing these Truths of Yours with Us. You and Your Energy, have lifted me Up with Hope this day.

    Uh…is there a written transcript of this presentation? I would study such…and share it when ever I could.

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