Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

The Sun as the Source of Power

Posted Jun 18, 2012 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, 1 Comment

We know now that all energy ultimately comes from the sun.  Some traditional people knew this.  They worshiped a Sun-God.  That is not possible for us.  The gods today have become parts of various advertising campaigns.  Still, the source of light and life is nothing but the sun and its legacy on our planet.  Ultimately, power resides not in money or position, but in the utilization of the sun and its currents, like wind and waves.  If these are democratized, we can become a democratic community, if they are not, we cannot. Solar, wind, and ocean wave powers are parts of the 21st century commons.    They do not belong to “owners” but to all of us.  Ultimately, we are not owners of this planet, but inhabitants.  It does not belong to us.  We belong to it.  We did not give it life.  It gives life to us.  We need to protect it, to collect it, to conserve it, and to share it.

To protect:  there is nothing in any manual on capitalism on how to protect either people or the planet.  Protecting the planet changes everything.  Ownership is no longer an absolute right, as John Locke preached, but a concession or a condition.  Ownership must serve the greater good.  It must be the best way of protecting resources for this and future generations, or we should withhold property titles.

To collect:  Germany now collects 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources.  We have more sun, more wind, and more waves, but we collect around 3%.  You do not have to worship the sun to use its light and heat.  You just have to wake up.

To conserve:  Yes, we can be true conservatives.  We can conserve coal, oil, and gas for future generations.   Renewable energy is largely electric, so we need to design homes, cars, and factories that use electricity.  As we conserve our coal and gas, we are also conserving our family’s and our community’s future.

To share:  Sharing is not a question of ownership, but of membership.  Sharing the sun means letting others, maybe even helping others, move from the shadows into the light.  Sharing the sun can be a metaphor for democracy itself.  Each of us has a place in the sun.  It is our right.  If we can share this larger place with others—this civic place—then we will have experienced the source of power.


One Response to “The Sun as the Source of Power”

  1. John says:

    July 2, 2012 at 12:45 am

    One of your best blogs. The relationship between renewable solar energy and economies based on provision must be studied and applied as never before. On a related matter recent studies of failed states show that the creation of extractive economies the benefit only a small minory are not sustainable.

Leave a Reply


Marvin T. Brown, Ph.D teaches business and organizational ethics at the University of San Francisco and Saybrook University in San Francisco.

This book is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and writing on business and society from a communicative perspective. Visit for more information.

Adam Smith Atlantic trade banks biosphere citizen Citizens United city civic civic conversations civic economy civic membership civilizing the economy common citizen Commons corporate citizen corporation as property corporations democracy disagreement economics of dissociation economics of provision Egypt future health care reform invisible hand John Locke Kant libertarianism membership money moral equality ownership property property relations protection reciprocity Scotland slavery Smith and slavery Smithian economics sustainability taxes the civic tobacco trade Wall Street

Cambridge University Press
Local Bookstores
Barnes & Noble