Thesis Number: #7 (Page 6 of 8)
The Making of a New Strategy
Progress on the gender issue is contingent on elevating public awareness of the structural foundations of violence.
Women carry the responsibilities of their gender without the matching rights. Universal declarations about human rights abound, but what matters is what actually happens to individuals in their communities. The abuse of women, from the mildest to the most virulent forms, remains a routine process. Only by making rights meaningful will women achieve the respect that embodies something that approximates to the notion of normality.
We cannot retreat to the past. Nonetheless, we can abstract the universal principles that guided our species through evolutionary timescales. The indelible principle that enabled our species to navigate through time and space was the one that prohibited the treatment of land as a weapon. Nature’s resources were available for the “common good”. Possessory rights were enshrined in particular individuals; but possession was conditional. Land had to be used to support families. Otherwise, holdings would be transferred to others. The “dog in the manger” motive (wilfully depriving others of what they needed to enhance their lives) was not countenanced by traditional societies. Thus was nature and society able to work in partnership to emancipate human creativity, without discrimination.
Today, the ancient wisdom could find its appropriate expression through a finely tuned system of public prices. If people personally paid for the benefits they received from the public sector, as they now do for goods and services which they receive from the private sector, the rent of the land they occupied would be paid into the public purse.3 The obligation to pay that rent, for all the services derived from the “commons” (those of nature and society), would result in the self-discipline that would surface as respect for other people, respect for the community and respect for the natural habitat.