THE NE W BEGINNINGS EDITION
MONE Y · 51
A new education must teach us there’s more to life than money.
greater numbers) add the indignity of social stigma to the suffering of downward social mobility. It will become harder to explain to poor people that it is not other poor people with a different skin colour that make them poor, but an unequal and greedy social norm that seeks the rewards of aggregate growth where their inclusion is irrelevant. What politics can address these unsustainable realities? We need a re-invention of the meaning of citizenship: how people are not merely awarded a membership of society but rather expected to engage in the shared and
selfless responsibilities of democratic life. In other words, a citizenship that is not merely extractive or exploitative but responsible and driven by the shared interests of the whole in balance with the interests and motivation of the one. This is not a legal change, or even an economic one. It is a cultural change of the same transformative scale that turned people away from fighting wars over the nuanced definitions of divinity and instead thinking how reason, science and tolerance could get the job done of living and letting live. That change – sometimes called the Enlightenment – sprouted from its roots in books, in teachings, in other words in education that taught people there’s more to life than debating the nature of the Trinity.
Responsible citizenship relies on a reinvention of social solidarity, or an ambition of cultural integration without assimilation; a new democracy that finds itself in argument, debate, dissent but also reason, compassion and, for want of a more specific term, humanity. Responsible citizenship goes beyond the legal bounds of a contract with a State and the powerful that govern it. It is also a more fundamental contract with the planet we live on. This contract is not about power that governs our community and our rights as individuals. It is the contract that regulates the very existence of our species and other species with whom we share our home. A new dawn will shine brightly on the inadequacies in the way we run our affairs today. Unless we are smart enough to see them for ourselves and get ready for a brighter future.