1 page summary.


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It is not generally understood that the extent to which industrialised societies have exceeded sustainable levels of production, consumption, resource use and ecological impact means that solutions must involve transition to far simpler lifestyles and systems. This makes the required transition unlike any previous revolution.  It is unique with respect to both goals and means. It will be argued that it must involve major De growth from affluent, industrialised, globalized, competitive, individualistic, acquisitive and market-driven society to localized communities maximising self-sufficiency, self government and cooperative and non-material values. 

Thus the goal has to be a transition to some kind of Simpler Way. This is not an option; these are necessary conditions if a sustainable and just society that all could share is to be achieved.

The implications for the transition process are equally radical. Successful transition strategy cannot focus on political action within existing decision making institutions, let alone confronting the ruling class, taking state power or resorting to physical force. The required changes cannot be imposed. When the required new ways are understood it is clear that they cannot be implemented unless they are widely seen to be desirable. Thus this is primarily a cultural revolution.

These premises yield a very different theory of transition to that assumed by conventional theorists, “green” activists, “populists” or those within the Marxist/socialist camp. 

A major element within the theory of transition to be elaborated below is the claim that existing decision making structures and procedures are incapable of making the required changes. They will not be made by deliberate, rational analysis, planning and orderly managed processes. The long version presents reasons for this view.

We will very likely descend into a major and terminal global breakdown, possibly within a decade. Hopefully it will be a slow and not so savage as to prevent the building of new ways, but sufficient to jolt people out of the obsession with growth and affluence.

Simpler Way transition strategy therefore focuses not on trying to fix this society, but on creating elements of the new local, cooperative, self-sufficient and frugal systems, mainly as educational devices to help more people to become aware of the required alternative and to see that it is viable and attractive.