The myth of scarcity is powerful. It pits us against one another and other life forms, often to the detriment of our environment and well-being. This way of being has underpinned many human societies for centuries, justifying the exploitation and oppression of, and overall dominance over other human beings and the Earth itself.
In the modern era, industrialization and global trade permits the world’s people to produce more than they ever could hope to consume, yet the stratification between the haves and have-nots has never been more pronounced. Even in the United States, where prosperity and lifespan have improved over the long term for all social classes, there is the ever-expanding chasm between the wealthy and everyone else that is happening at an exponential rate. This continues to impose an artificial zero-sum mentality upon the population, which political leaders use to justify their resistance to change.
Although Earth’s resources are being depleted, there is a sufficient amount to meet the basic needs of all life on the planet. Yet, we are still challenged with the question, “What is Enough?” To different people, “enough” can have entirely different meanings—from our financial wherewithal and our position in society to how we feel about ourselves, our happiness, our joy, to what right we think we have to exploit Earth’s resources.
Many forces are to blame:
• Colonization, enslavement, and genocide, and the creation of a global White supremacist capitalist patriarchal system
• Private ownership of the means of production
• Detachment from our neighbors, and a weak sense of responsibility for the welfare of the wider community
• A competitive and quantity-over-quality mindset
• Belief in (or a compulsion for) perpetual growth
• Putting profit over people (and all life), including the commodification of and profiteering from basic needs (water, food, shelter) and the accumulation of land and wealth
• Repression of organized labor, and the working class generally
• Manifest destiny, belief that colonizers had a God-given right to settle and conquer
• Unfair and undemocratic global trade agreements
By creating new narratives, and redistributing land and wealth, we are slowly shifting the paradigm by repairing the harm caused by all of the above. We are unlearning harmful theories and practices; reconnecting relationships with one another, other life forms, and Earth; forming alliances; creating and supporting transformative policies (over reformative policies); and reclaiming the commons.
Still, we know a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t practical, especially when considered on a planetary scale. There is an axis of privilege that can’t be ignored: Where some people have way too much stuff and want to declutter, others don’t have enough by any reasonable standard, and others fall in between, having “enough” by some measures, but “too much” by other standards, but who still may be asked to give up something for the greater good. Further, there’s a biblical tenet that “to whom much is given much is required.” A better system could mean that wealthier people pay a fair share of taxes—maybe get by with one or maybe two houses instead of three or more, so those with no home can have one—and use the revenue to create a living society in which everyone has their basic needs met, the chaos and violence caused by White supremacy is uprooted, and exploitation, poverty, and scarcity mindsets are ended.
The fall issue of YES! Magazine will recognize where people are in the moment, understand that a definition of “enough” is relative to those circumstances, and likewise explore equitable, nondiscriminatory solutions that are tailored to the needs of our most vulnerable communities.
Reporters, what’s happening in communities near you? Tell us about the socioeconomic solutions that promote thriving living conditions for everyone. What local policies reflect true transformation of our harmful systems, rather than weak reforms? Send us your leads and pitches for reported stories on community initiatives or groups that cultivate “enoughness”: human rights, environmental stewardship, decolonization, racial equity, food justice, economic fairness, localization, well-being and caretaking, and happiness.
All of the stories we seek will be examples of excellent journalism and storytelling: stories that have compelling characters, are well-researched, and demonstrate struggle and resolution. Hurry and send your pitches to [email protected] by April 30 to be considered for the fall issue. (After that, you can continue to send them to [email protected].)
YES! Editors are those editors featured on YES! Magazine's masthead. Stories authored by YES! Editors are substantially reported, researched, and written by at least two members of the YES! Editorial team.