Is life for everyone

Blog post growth

In “The Good Life for All - Paths to a Solidary Way of Life”, the authors' collective I.L.A dedicates itself to new lifestyles and economic forms that do not come at the expense of others and nature - a solidary way of life.

In the foreword and introduction, the problem is outlined that an imperial way of life entails, which is based on structures of exploitation. In everyday life, the “good life” plays a major role for everyone, but this principle rarely occurs in public spaces. Approaches to solutions that come from right-wing and neoliberal political camps are not real solutions, according to the authors. The aim of the book is to tell a new story: “The story of a society in which prosperity is equated with quality of life and time, connection and cooperation between people and the world around them, enjoyment and leisure as well as social justice. The Story of a Good Life for All ”.

In part 1 of the book a “solidary way of life” is presented. First, the following principles, so-called “contours”, are described. The Democratization does not mean a political system, but the possibility of participation and participation for everyone. The Dependency manifests the bond between people and nature. Reproduction provides for all to sustain, develop, and relate to life. The Commoning understands the joint generation, maintenance and use of products and services. Last but not least, the Sufficiency for the contrast of the imperial growth logic and demands enough for all instead of more and more for a few. These are the key words that form the basis for a solidary way of life. With the help of short sections and illustrations, these outlines are brought closer to the reader.

Following this, the solidarity-based way of life is introduced. The focus here is on the areas of care, nutrition and agriculture, mobility, living, consumer goods and energy. Using alternatives that have already been lived in these areas of life, the reader is shown how solidarity can actually be lived. For the area of ​​care, for example, projects are presented in which self-determination is the basis for caring based on solidarity. It is based on the belief that people should be involved in decisions that affect their lives. A different recognition is also sought for people who are active in care. If care were seen as the central pillar of society that it is, people would be at the center instead of profit. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which shook the whole world in 2020, the area of ​​concern is once again moving into the center of the public debate. In the third section of the first part, framework conditions are presented that would enable solidarity projects to be larger and livable for everyone. On the one hand, it is about alternative economic methods such as cooperatives. On the other hand, it is also about political participation and political decision-making in council systems instead of in a representative democracy.

Part 2 of the book outlined Ways in the solidary way of life. Solidarity projects have already been presented in various areas of life, but so far only exist in niches. Imperial normality should be challenged. In times of crisis it “can convey its promise of a good life (at the expense of others) less and less credibly and its hegemony becomes fragile”. This is also evident once again in the current Covid 19 pandemic, for example with the subject of vaccines. Research on this is mainly financed by the state and therefore with taxpayers' money. However, only a few pharmaceutical companies now have control over the production of the vaccine, which makes rapid vaccination progress and global distribution more difficult. The I.L.A collective asks "where [there is] the possibility of widening a small crack in the imperial way of life into a rupture" and advises an exchange about visions and strategies of transformation. In this way, networks could arise and a solidary way of life could become a reality.

Although the book was published in 2019, the current pandemic has, as already mentioned, slipped many points into the current debate, making the book all the more relevant. Against the background of a pandemic, solidarity with one another is of great importance and alternative lifestyles are becoming increasingly important. In 2020, for example, many people decided to purchase regional vegetable crates instead of shopping in large supermarkets (Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft e.V .: 2021).

The book can be read as an informative text, but at the same time has the potential to act as a guide to encourage people to join networks and groups and to live utopias today.

The collective basically uses simple and accessible language in the book. At the same time, however, the text is peppered with a variety of technical terms, which are explained in the glossary. Due to the look-up work required for some readers, the text unfortunately loses some of its accessibility.

Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft e.V. (2021): Industry report 2021. Berlin.

I.L.A. Collective (2019): The good life for everyone - ways of living in solidarity. Munich: oekom Verlag.

by Clara Lenk

Clara Lenk studied technical environmental protection at the Technical University of Berlin and has been working at the Institute for Ecological Economic Research since 2018 - initially as a student assistant in the research field Sustainable Management and Consumption and since October 2020 as a research assistant in the research field Sustainable Energy Management and Climate Protection.

All articles by Clara Lenk