Last week I wrote some commenting guidelines, as there has been a spate of aggressive comments over the last few weeks. Having written them, I realise that I wasted my time. Responsible commenters don’t need them, and irresponsible commenters will ignore them anyway.
So I’ve scrapped my initial set of policies and I’ve decided to simply restate the ethos of this blog – what it is, and why I write it.
I started Make Wealth History four years ago with my brother Paul. It was born out of our own respective blogs, where we were discussing global issues with family and friends. Since those were more personal sites, our diversions into the arms trade or global inequality were a little out of place amongst the holiday photos and movie reviews. We started a specific site for our more serious stuff, and this is it. (It’s still for friends, through email subscription and Facebook syndication.)
In our first post, almost 1,500 posts ago, we stated our position. The developed world is consuming at an unsustainable level while billions live in poverty. Since it is impossible for all seven billion of us to live a consumer lifestyle, the only hope for ending poverty is for the richer countries to slow down and live more simply. This is the reasoning behind the title, an observation that nobody else seemed to be talking about. As we said in that first post, “we don’t have any answers, but as we look for them, we’ll be sharing what we find here.”
And that’s what we’ve been up to, looking for answers to that vast conundrum at the heart of the human progress story. When we started, we didn’t know of many other people asking the same questions. I’m now aware of hundreds, thousands even. I have met many of them, some of them I now call friends. It’s been a huge learning experience.
At root, this blog is an exploratory conversation, an enquiry. If you think it’s a worthwhile one, then welcome. If you don’t, then it’s not for you.
To come back to comment guidelines, there are two specific things I should say. First, I intend to keep this blog as open as possible. The site’s usefulness depends in large part on being open to new ideas and provocative questions, so it would be my loss if I didn’t. But this is not a paid for service, a discussion board or a community forum. It’s a private blog, and that means that commenting is an invitation and not a right. If you don’t want to participate in the spirit in which it is offered, that invitation will be withdrawn.
Secondly, it is the challenges that we face that moved me to start the blog. The responsibility for handling climate change, resource depletion, and inequality has fallen to us. If you want to argue that these problems aren’t real, then you’re too late and you’re in the wrong place. I had those conversations years ago, and unless you’re bringing something new, there are other sites where those debates are still running. This is a blog about how to fix things, not a debate about whether or not things are broken.
To be honest, the above explanation is for my benefit really. With a baby in the house, time is a lot more pressured. I have neither the hours nor the inclination to go round and round in circles like the debates have in the past. Hopefully this clarifies the purpose of the blog. And just to keep my feet on the ground, here’s the xkcd cartoon Byron sent me recently.