A wave of revulsion rolls around the world. Approval ratings for incumbent leaders are everywhere collapsing. Symbols and slogans trump facts and nuance. One in six Americans now believes that military rule would be a good idea. From all this I draw the following, peculiar conclusion: no country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy.
From The New York Times: …It is impossible to imagine a world without global connections: They have always existed, and no place has escaped their formative influence. But this does not mean that there is any inherent merit in interconnectedness, which has always been accompanied by violence, deepening inequalities and the large-scale destruction of communities.
Gandhi and Kumarappa shared an objective of building a non-violent social and economic order that promoted equity and justice for all. Their understanding led them to conclude that “the only path to true democracy in political life, and to peace among nations” was a decentralised economic and political system where, necessarily, the “rewards were moderate”.
Fidel Castro, the legendary Cuban revolutionary and politician who passed away on November 25th was known for his pioneering policies in health and education, but was equally committed to environmental issues. In this short talk given at the 1992 Earth Summit, Fidel described the global environmental crisis and identified its causes more powerfully than any other delegate.
George Monbiot in The Guardian: The rise of celebrity culture did not happen by itself… It is hard for people to attach themselves to a homogenised franchise, owned by a big corporation. So the machine needs a mask. It must wear the face of someone we see as often as we see our next-door neighbours.
Colin Todhunter writes: Data from the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index indicates that 20 years ago, India had the second-best social indicators among the six South Asian countries, but now it has the second worst position. Bangladesh has less than half of India’s per-capita GDP but has infant and child mortality rates lower than that of India.
Live Mint reports: The richest 1% of Indians now own 58.4% of the country’s wealth, according to the latest data on global wealth from Switzerland based Credit Suisse Group AG. In the last two years, the share of the top 1% has increased at a cracking pace, from 49% in 2014 to 58.4% in 2016.
Andreas Malm writes: Mainstream climate discourse is positively drenched in references to humanity as such, human nature, the human enterprise, humankind as one big villain driving the train. Enter Naomi Klein, who in ‘This Changes Everything’ lays bare the myriad ways in which capital accumulation pour fuel on the fire now consuming the earth system.
When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong. Much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade deal”, everything we’re told about capitalism and our economy is a pack of lies. Time for a new story, says preeminent scholar and critic of corporate globalization, David Korten, the best-selling author of ‘When Corporations Rule the World’.
A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. In this court, a nation that tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution can be sued for millions, even billions of dollars for ‘interfering with profits’. A investigative series from BuzzFeed.
Samuel Alexander writes: ‘Wild democracy’ is a new political orientation, sensibility, and practice. A localised politics with a global perspective, positioning itself ‘in the wild’ beyond the state and yet, at times, pragmatically engaged with it. In short, wild democracy is a revolutionary politics without a Revolution, as such–a paradox I will unpack and defend.
Professor Immanuel Ness, author of Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class which has India, China and South Africa as case studies, spoke to The Wire on trade unions and labour laws in India, social relations between labour and capital in the global south, merits of spontaneity in workers’ agitations and much more.
William Hawes writes: Critiques of the modern nation-state have been growing, due to the abysmal failures of the capitalist, neoliberal order. On the other side, the leftism of social-democratic reforms promote endless government spending. Neither of these models address the many crises our world faces. Green political theory offers a way out of this impasse.
Charles Eisenstein in a new blog-post: The Brexit vote marks a rare moment of discontinuity, when the usual normalizing narratives falter and a society experiences a fertile and frightening moment of bewilderment. Brexit, though, is a mere foreshadowing of the vertigo that will ensue with the next economic crisis, which will dwarf that of 2008.
Dr. Manmohan Singh was a World Bank employee before he became finance minister and later prime minister. As PM, he nominated Montek Ahluwalia from the IMF as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. The present RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan, was Chief Economist in IMF. This is how the neoliberal agenda has been imposed on India.
Helena Norberg-Hodge writes: Today, banks and corporations run Europe. For big corporations and financial institutions, diversity is an impediment, whereas monoculture – in all aspects of life, from seeds, fast food and clothing, to architecture – is ‘efficient’. For them, a single Europe-wide market of 500 million people was an essential step to further growth:
Twelve years ago, John Perkins published his best-seller, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’, where he described his career convincing heads of state to adopt economic policies that impoverished their countries and undermined democratic institutions to promote U.S.’ interests. This new book is an updated version, and details how those methods have evolved since then.
Donna Harraway: I’m going to propose that the Cthulucene might be a way to collect up the questions for naming the epoch, for naming what’s happening in the airs, waters, and places, in the rocks, oceans, and atmospheres. Perhaps needing both the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene, but offering something else, something just maybe more livable.
Rob O’Grady writes in ‘150-strong’: Aldous Huxley suggested that “Our present economic, social and international arrangements are based, in large measure, upon organized lovelessness,” and, on the evidence, it appears that he was right. Our current system, governed by the reconciling force of profit motive, is dominated by greed and fear – certainly not love!
Alberto Acosta writes: Mainstream thinking – embedded within capitalist globalisation – makes us accept the impossibility of imagining an economy that does not promote economic growth, as much as a world without oil, mining and agribusiness is impossible. Within this mainstream thinking, we can find people from every political and ideological stance, from neoliberals to socialists.