(Un)Sustainability and the commons in the Lion King

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Surely you are surprised to stumble upon the Lion King here. However, there is a good reason why I have chosen to blog about the Walt Disney movie. When I watched the 3D version of it one week ago, I came across two key scenes which included contents that we have discussed in our lectures. It made me think that the film is a good example for how the idea of the commons works.

In one scene right at the beginning (09:30), the kind and wise lion king, Mufasa, explains to his son, Simba, that all organisms live together and are connected to keep the balance of nature. He tells his boy that it is necessary to know about this equilibrium and to respect it, especially when one is in a position of power. To me, this description of the famous “circle of life” draws the ideal picture of the commons: a harmonious interaction of a community, existing resources and commoning.

The movie even shows what happens when a powerful leader does not acknowledge and appreciate the balance (13:14). When Mufasa’s brother, Scar, rules the land, it comes to the point when there is no food left for the lions and the hyenas. The new king did not have in mind that, nature can not regenerate itself unless we act sustainably. The reasons are stupidity and ignorance. In his royal opinion he can act as he wants. That he accepts the possible death of the pride of lions underlines his eagerness for power.

In many regards I see parallels to the latest global events. The current financial and economic crisis resulting from the greed of some bankers is just one well-known example.

Are you with me? Or do you think I am interpreting too much from this fairy tale? Please, let me know!

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2 Responses to “(Un)Sustainability and the commons in the Lion King”

  1. anil_bajpai Says:

    Hi,
    Very refreshing to see a blog drawing parallels from an animation film rather than usual news items and serious academic papers. Must confess that I have not seen the film, however, your last paragraph- ‘financial and economic crisis resulting from the greed of some bankers….’ made me want to comment. Its not just the greed of some bankers. Banks are there to make money from other peoples’ money. We cannot discount the collective greed of us “commoners” , the so called 99% that has got us in this situation. Its us who accepted the credits, its us who want things that are beyond our purchasing capacity, its us who never question when a financial proposition seems too good to be true and take credit to make investments because everyone else in doing it. Banks just feed our greed that was always there.

    True, as commoners we have been naive and often uniformed and feel cheated now because the people in power- the capitalists and bankers have benefitted more than us while we face unemployment.

  2. ngoziokei Says:

    O! yes, l am with you. I don’t think you are interpreting too much from this fairy tale. Your explanation to this fairy tale is in parallels of the latest global events, which has affected the financial and economic crisis by the top official government, who are exercising their power on a wrong policies/decisions, without the participation of the commons/considering the sustanability of their livelihood and in addition to the greedness of some bankers.
    Furthermore, Andrew Simmons (Tv News Commentator) said a comment on the twentythird of last month, in Aljazeera Tv News programme at Halkida, Greece that the Greece commons are crying out, that there is a failure to make mortages repayments, which is common among the less priviledged Greece people. This system only works for the business rich men, who were given loans, which has resulted to no normal balance of life to live, therefore leading to this bailout temporary solution by the European Union. Since the richer are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer, there is a anger, depression, fear for the future from the commons and now the bankers are noticing the sense of their stupidity and ignorance of their actions.

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