In his commentaries for YES! Magazine, David shares his views on various topics that make the headlines, within the context of the “Living Earth Economy” frame. We repost them here, with permission (newest first).
2022’s Imperative: Letting Go of Our Past to Birth Our Future
Our current society cannot be considered civilized by any objective standard. We grow the fortunes of billionaires, even as we increase the numbers of homeless refugees and destroy Earth’s capacity to sustain life. This places us all at risk, rich and poor alike. The problem becomes more evident with each passing year. But delineating a viable alternative continues to elude us.
January 18, 2022
How 9/11 Set Progressive Causes Back – and How We Rebounded
As the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center approached, I wasn’t paying much attention. But then I received an email from my longtime colleague John Cavanagh, former director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. It was a private message recalling the “Justice, Not Vengeance” initiative that the institute and YES! Magazine organized along with Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover a few days after the historic attack.
October 5, 2021
When Less Is More
Science tells us that we now have fewer than 10 years to reduce the human burden on Earth or trigger tipping points in Earth’s natural systems from which there is no return. Most discussion centers on the climate emergency, but we also have crises related to air, water, soil, species extinction, and more.
August 12, 2021
What Will It Take to “Build Back Better”?
Much has transpired to disrupt the political status quo since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris chose their campaign slogan “Build Back Better.” But the chaos and violence of former President Trump’s final days in office may help to open a deep national dialogue on what “better” means, and what it will require.
January 21, 2021
From Fear and Anger to Collective Purpose
A few days ago, I participated in a webinar that introduced me to Paul Chappell, a thoughtful peace activist with an extraordinary history. Born in 1980, Chappell grew up in Alabama, the son of an immigrant Korean mother and a violent mixed-race father traumatized by military service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
November 11, 2020
America Is Not A Democracy, But We Must Become One
A few days ago, I shared with YES! Executive Editor Zenobia Jeffries Warfield an insight that felt both fresh and important: “I’m coming to the conclusion that the United States has never been a democracy.” This insight was sparked by my reflection on the testimony of Judge Amy Coney Barrett during the Senate hearing on her nomination for the Supreme Court.
October 23, 2020
Earth is Warning Us We Must Change. Will We Listen?
Our present course puts humans on track to be among the species that expire in Earth’s sixth mass extinction. In my conversations with thoughtful people, I am finding increasing acceptance of this horrific premise. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with climate change, drives home the lesson that we much honor and care for Earth.
July 30, 2020
From Emergency to Emergence
The COVID-19 emergency has exposed our societies’ failure to address the needs of billions of people. Simultaneously, we are witnessing a fundamental truth about human nature: There are those among us eager to exploit the suffering of others for personal gain. We can be reassured, however, by how few of them there are. Their actions contrast starkly with the far greater numbers at all levels of society demonstrating their willingness, even eagerness, to cooperate, share, and sacrifice for the well-being of all.
April 23, 2020
Why Coronavirus is Humanity’s Wake-up Call
The rapid spread of novel coronavirus has prompted government, business, and civil society to take dramatic action—canceling events large and small, restricting travel, and shutting down major segments of the economy on which nearly all of us depend. It is a demonstration of our ability, when the imperative is clear, for deep and rapid global cooperation and change at a previously unimaginable speed and scale.
March 18, 2020
A Better World Needs Better Economics
Science warns us that the 2020s will be humanity’s last opportunity to save itself from a climate catastrophe. Decisive action must begin this year. Climate change, however, is just one of the many crises telling us that business as usual is not an option. We must not delay action to create the world we actually want.
March 12, 2020
A Time for Postponing Climate Action Is Over
We are now awakening to the responsibilities that come with our distinctive ability to consciously create our future. The environmental consequences of our neglect of this responsibility have been known for more than half a century, but for many people, the urgent need to act is just now sinking in.
January 21, 2020
No Winners on a Dead Planet: Why We Need a Climate Leader in 2020
The climate crisis is our common cause, and we’ll need to elect a president that is willing to take it on.
October 1, 2019
You Can’t Put Capitalism Over Sustainability – and Other Lessons From China
Humanity’s existential crisis can be resolved only when we the people stand united behind a vision of the world we truly want.
August 19, 2019
8 Essential Steps to Radically Transform Our Economy
An economic system that serves everyone and the planet is necessary for our survival. Here are some guiding principles to get us there.
July 2, 2019
Real Wealth Resides Under Our Feet
“Humans lived nearly 200,000 years without money. No human has ever lived without soil.” David asks, “money or life?” and who knows better – the economist or the farmer – how to care for Earth?
April 23, 2019
The Green New Deal’s Opponents Are Stuck in the Past
David continues the conversation about labels – how they interfere with our ability to engage the discussion, distract us from finding common ground, and delay progress on solving the most important issues of our time. What does this mean for The New Green Deal?
February 27, 2019
Capitalism vs. Socialism Is a False Choice
In this second of a two-part series for YES! Magazine, David breaks down the differences between capitalism and socialism, and why it’s time for a serious conversation regarding the implications for our democracy.
February 7, 2019
Confronting the Great American Myth
In this opinion piece for YES! Magazine (part 1 of 2), David discusses the need to examine the intentions of our founding fathers.
February 1, 2019
From Me to We. My New Year’s Resolution
David ponders what, if anything, we’ll miss from 2018, shares his resolution for 2019, and invites us all to consider something similar in his latest column. Deep change is clearly needed. But what can we do that might measure up to the magnitude of the problem?
December 31, 2018
Why I Have Hope in the Face of Human Extinction
Are we on a path to self-extinction? Is it too late to change course? David shares why he thinks it is essential and possible and where he finds the movement toward an Ecological Civilization getting traction.
November 1, 2018
How the Economy Affects Our Mental Health
What’s happening to us, with all the commodification, monetization, corporatization, and the increasing trend of machines, robots and artificial intelligence? We evolved to be connected to nature and to one another, but our exploitative global economy is severing those relations.
September 18, 2018
Who Represents Us When Our Political Parties Represent Only Corporations?
The political establishment’s sellout to corporate interests is reflected in every aspect of policy from military, to health care, to financial regulation, to education, the environment and much else. And the sellout is not exclusive to the Republican Party.
July 23, 2018
Three Questions to Lead Us Away from Self-Extinction
Transformation begins with clarity on the nature of the choice that confronts our species. David explores whether we have, for some reason, suppressed the higher potential of our nature, and, if we have the means to choose our future, why are we on the path to a disastrous one.
July 3, 2018
Dear Jeff Bezos…
Jeff Bezos, the new richest person in the world, has asked for guidance on how to spend his fortune to the benefit of humanity. David has some suggestions.
May 11, 2018
Here We Go Again: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Won’t Fix Anything
Current trade agreements are great at creating more billionaires, not so much at protecting the interests of workers.
April 13, 2018
Taking MLK’s Message Global
The civil rights icon saw economic issues to be intertwined with racial justice. Today’s globalized economy makes justice that much harder to achieve.
April 6, 2018
Tariffs Aren’t a Terrible Idea – If They’re About Well-Being of People, Not Corporations
Tariffs on imports could be part of reorienting the global economy. Now is a good time to talk about it.
March 19, 2018
Why There Is (Some) Hope for Wall Street
Some CEOs are getting the message that even though the economy is growing, they need to serve their communities, too.
February 20, 2018
When Economic Growth Indicates Failure
For the well-being of most everyone – including the rich – equality is more important than growth.
January 19, 2018
What Bitcoin and Amazon Are Doing to the Middle Class
Roughly 20 percent of U.S. workers are in a high-paying finance, technology, and electronics sectors. The other 80 percent face a daily struggle to survive.
December 29, 2017
How to Restore Our Relationship to Earth
We must reduce our burden on Earth’s regenerative systems by approximately 40 percent.
Special for YES! Magazine Winter 2018 Issue – Solidarity Economies
The Democracy Imperative
There is one cause that can and must unite us all.
October 11, 2017
Let’s Talk About What We Really Want From Tax Reform
The Trump/Republican tax cut proposal is an opportunity to discuss how to redistribute wealth and power.
October 4, 2017
For the Love of Earth
The Earth mother that birthed and nurtures us may now need us as much as we need her.
August 23, 2017
A New Zealand River Has Human Rights. Now, Will Modern Law Come to Its Senses?
Our system of law has the rights issue exactly backward. But humanity is slowly reawakening to the simple logic that Mother Earth’s rights must come before human rights.
July 7, 2017
We Are Using More Than The Earth Can Sustain
Forget the GDP, it’s time for our leaders to pay attention to metrics that matter.
June 14, 2017
Mayor’s Unflinching Honesty About Confederate Monuments Gives Me Hope
In explaining why his city got rid of monuments to Confederate generals, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu eloquently summarizes our country’s history of diversity.
May 26, 2017
Yes, We Can Choose Good Globalization
The integration of knowledge, science, hospitality, and travel can have huge benefits for human connections and peace.
May 17, 2017
Why a Just and Sustainable Economy Looks Like a Doughnut
This is the real-world economy for a living Earth that we must learn to structure and manage to provide a safe space for humanity.
May 3, 2017
Let’s Help Trump Keep His Promises
Has Trump served us all in breaking things open? Only if we use the moment for serious rethinking of policy.
April 19, 2017
No Rural-Urban Divide Here: We All Want Good Jobs and Strong Local Economies
Local control is a foundational conservative principle—but progressives also embrace it.
April 5, 2017
The Superrich Have Profited From a Broken System – And Their Money Alone Won’t Fix It
Giving back requires humility. It will be a true test of learning new skills.
March 22, 2017
The Refugee Crisis Is a Sign of a Planet in Trouble
We must shift the structures of society to ensure the Earth remains healthy and everyone has access to a decent livelihood.
March 8, 2017
For Automation to Benefit Society, It Must Serve Humans, Not Replace Them
We face the prospect of an economy with little need for humans. Advances in artificial intelligence call us to revisit basic questions about work, love, and human purpose.
Feb 22, 2017
Trump’s Coup Attempt Requires Us to Rise Above Position and Party
In the chaos of Trump’s first three weeks in office, we can see a frighteningly coherent agenda—and a national and global emergency.
Feb 8, 2017
Take Notice, Trump: We Are Not Protesters – We Are Protectors
When we call ourselves protectors, we cast our role as fulfilling our responsibility to the community that sustains us—not for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of all.
Jan 25, 2017
Something Better to Offer Trump Voters Tired of Waiting for Their Turn
A world free of extremes of wealth and poverty in which no one needs to stand in line for a chance at a secure and fulfilling life.
Jan 11, 2017
Trump Extremisms May Help Us Expose Great Growth Con
The Great Growth Con promises that economic growth—measured by gross domestic product—will benefit everyone, rich and poor alike.
Dec 28, 2016
Trump Played to Anger, But We Don’t Have to Fall for Divide and Conquer
We’ve been pitted against each other for too long. Now is the time to come together to fix our corrupt political systems.
Dec 14, 2016
In Stripping Away Our Hope, Maybe Trump Has Done Us a Favor
The outcome of this election is a wake-up call to action. Now that we know our elected leaders will not save us, let’s get to work.
Nov 30, 2016
How Trump Could Hand China the Lead in Challenging Corporate Greed
China and the U.S. are poised as the dominant players. Will they compete or cooperate? (Part IV of four in a series on ending corporate rule.)
Nov 16, 2016
Forget More Regulation – Make Corporations Serve the Public Interest
The purely private-purpose corporation is an illegitimate entity. This is the elephant in the room that no politician dare mention. (Part III in a series on ending corporate rule.)
Nov 2, 2016
We Never Voted for Corporate Rule
The $66 billion sale of Monsanto is yet another reminder of how corporations have colonized the world and subverted democracy. To regain our future, we must claim our right to popular sovereignty. (Part II in a series on ending corporate rule.)
October 19, 2016
The Elephant in the Room: What Trump, Clinton, and Even Stein Are Missing
What is the most important—yet neglected—issue in the political debate? Hint: It isn’t the ideal body weight of Miss Universe. (Part I in a series on ending corporate rule.)
Oct 5, 2016
Want National Security? Dismantle the War Machine
A military response to violence creates more violence. For real security, we need to stop climate change and work toward shared prosperity.
Sept 21, 2016
Can Zoos Teach Us to Be Better Humans?
If we can recognize our destruction of other animals’ habitats, perhaps we can recognize our destruction of all the living systems on which we depend.
Sept 7, 2016
Maybe the Gig Economy Doesn’t Have to Mean Oppressed Workers
Has gig work helped you build community or left you isolated and vulnerable?
Aug 24, 2016
How to Break the Power of Money
We can refuse to accept the pervasive, but false, claims that money is wealth and a growing GDP improves the lives of all.
Aug 10, 2016
This Presidential Race Is a Clear Choice: Fight, Flight, or Fellowship
Will we respond to Trump’s appeal to the reptilian brain or choose Clinton’s call to our higher nature?
Jul 27, 2016
“Free” Trade? Fraud Alert
The deceptive branding behind corporatists’ preference for the term “free trade” over simply “trade.”
Jul 13, 2016
One Hopeful Thing About the Brexit Electoral Rebellion
Maybe now we can renegotiate the corporate boundaries and interests that overtook those of communities.
Jun 29, 2016
I’m Sticking With Sanders – and Voting for Clinton
Bernie Sanders has the best policies. But Hillary Clinton has the chops to advance a progressive agenda—if we make her.
Jun 15, 2016
What If Trade Agreements Helped People, Not Corporations?
Current trade agreements have been of, by, and for transnational corporations. Growing opposition gives us the opportunity to change that in our next-generation agreements.
Jun 1, 2016
With More Americans Going Far Left (and Right), an Anti-Corporate Agenda Takes Shape
Voters hit hardest by free-trade economics are rebelling against the status quo. We can use that energy to build a powerful, grassroots movement for democracy.
May 18, 2016
Why the Economy Should Stop Growing – And Just Grow Up
“How do we grow the economy?” is an obsolete question. Local initiatives across the world are looking for maturity instead as they rebuild caring, place-based communities and economies.
May 4, 2016
This Earth Day, Listen Up: Mother Earth Is Calling Us Back
Those of us who succumbed to the false promises of Western consumerism at great cost to the planet and to ourselves are Earth’s prodigal children now returning home.
April 20, 2016
We Can Have a Living Earth Economy, But It Won’t Be Easy
Humanity has been acting like a willful child, demanding everything and leaving messes everywhere. It is time for our species to take the step to maturity, to acknowledge that care and cooperation are key to happiness—and even survival. (This is the introduction to David’s Living Earth Economy Column.)
Apr 19, 2016
Capitalism or Socialism? There’s an Even Better Option
Bernie Sanders’ popular campaign suggests that many Americans aren’t afraid of socialism anymore. But real democracy is an even better alternative to capitalism.
Apr 6, 2016