Nugget Coombs on power defending itself…

I play a “Tardis” game.   I’d scoop up various folks and bring em forward to the here and now; set them up in a London penthouse with a subscription to the FT, Economist, cable TV, a kindle with an unlimited download limit. I’d  give them a month to come up with their analysis of where we are at and how we get out of it (or why we can’t).   The part invite list changes, but always includes Tony Gramsci, Walt Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Rosa Luxembourg and a few others.   (How would I finance this? Easy. I’d get Leo da Vinci to paint seven Mona Lisas back in the day and hand them over to me. I’d then steal the ‘real’ one in the Louvre and sell all seven to various art collectors, each who would keep schtum about having a real one. Kerching! Or I’d zip forward to get next week’s Euromillions roll-over numbers, which lacks the shits and giggles. But I’m digressing.)

Right now, I’m thinking I’d scoop up the awesome Australian civil servant Nugget Coombs.  He was ‘on it’ about climate change from 1974 (at the latest).  In a foreword to an interesting sounding book called “Energy and People” he admitted that in a previous work about the consequences of resource scarcity, he’d missed a couple of things. energyandpeople

“I almost wholly ignored the human tendency to fight relentlessly to retain or to recover a right or privilege once enjoyed and the way that tendency can blind those concerned to the worth of other competing rights – or even to the claims of simply humanity. This tendency, taken together with the fact that the power to defend or restore privilege is very unevenly distributed among the world’s population, seems likely to prove a veritable guarantee of social strife and bitterness as established privileges are encroached upon or threatened.”
Coombs, 1979. P. 4.

Coombs, H.C.  1979. Foreword to Diesendorf, M. (ed) Energy and People: Social Implications of Different Energy Futures. Canberra: Society for Social Responsibility in Science.

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