Happy May Day! Found a very interesting stat recently in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. It turns out that more people in America belong to a co-op then own stock in companies. That is, more of us participate in cooperatives, something a little less than pure capitalism, then participate in Wall Street, capitalism on steroids.
I never would have imagined to be the case, but I really shouldn't be surprised because even here in conservative, rural, New Mexico, I participate in a cooperative, as that is who provides us with our power. I wish this little known fact were better known so that we might begin to understand that while individualism is great, it has its limits because we are all in this collectively (of course one of the great ironies of modern politics is that those who push the hardest on individualism at the moment are doing so collectively).
There is a price to civilization, as Jeffrey Sachs says in his book of the same title. It is impossible to do anything by yourself any more because everything you do impacts someone or something else. Even the staunchest of individualists know in their hearts that this is true. And just a final observation: How is it that the Republicans have become the individualists and the Democrats have become the communitarians? It wasn't too long ago that this was completely switched and it was the Republicans who would routinely argue that with rights came responsibilities, now they are arguing the opposite. This is the irony of politics.