. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The way in which our
individual and collective freedoms are diminished and undermined by political-economic
powers is clear to us on a day-to-day basis. A political decision to give planning
permission for a factory within an area zoned for domestic-living usage immediately
reduces the viability of healthy living for the people who have to now breath polluted
Ivan Illich has long pointed out the ways in which our societies have become increasingly
degraded by the pursuit of the interests of the few over those of the many. His analyses
have spanned the major events of every human life, and how we have been increasingly
dispossessed of our personal and collective ownership of these personal events.
He has shown how our personal embodiment has been expropriated by the profession of
medicine (Medical Nemesis); how our intellect, learning, idiosyncratic curiosity, and
interests was expropriated by the educational system (De-Schooling Society); how our
pre-industrial constructive male-female art of living was transformed into a mutually
crippling model of 'economic sex' (Gender); how there is the perpetuation of increasing
social inequalities by the abuse of energy (Energy & Equity); how the autonomy of our
personal productivity was expropriated by the dominance of industrial productivity (Tools
for Conviviality); and how the expropriation of our own self-reliance for our living has
been achieved by a growing number of professional elite who we are told we need because
they are 'experts' (Disabling Professions).
In the two essays reproduced
here you can read some of the earliest formulations by Illich of these
themes, which almost 20 years later are not only still entirely relevant,
but have become more than urgent to address.
is a Commons (1983)
Vernacular Values (1980)