Julia Thornton at Australian Fabians

Julia Thornton

Two great changes have the capacity in future to bring to destitution all living things on the planet, including us. They are climate change and inequality. Climate change provides the physical motor for environmental ruin, but inequality, in both its causes and consequences, is the social driver. Individualism, competition and commodification, the hallmarks of neoliberalism have brought us to the point where environmental destruction and social falling apart are becoming ominously noticeable in the present and likely to be the way of a dark future.

The Fabian Society provides an imaginative space to conceive of a different cultural system. Individualism can become individuality, the appreciation of difference without the fetishisation of the self. Human interaction, currently defined by competition, can extend to co-operation between all, not just (as now) the powerful.  Commodification, Oscar Wilde's "the price of everything, and the value of nothing", can be exchanged for cultural collaboration, where we do not simply choose between commodities (like politicians and political parties) that have been designed, focus grouped, prototyped and produced for us with no opening for our own designs, deliberations and interventions. Such reworkings put us into better control of our own social conditions.

As a PhD in sociology I am better equipped to understand the social world than I am to understand the physical consequences of climate change. Fabians provides a platform for the introduction of new ideas and their refinement and promulgation. I hope to contribute to this as well as to be intrigued and surprised by analyses that are new to me.

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