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The end of capitalism? How to combat climate change.

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

We are rapidly approaching collapse of the present economic system, which cannot cope with the challenges of human induced climate change. An interesting article in Spiegel International deals with this problem: Harald Welzer, “Climate Summit Trap: Capitalism’s March toward Global Collapse”:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/warsaw-climate-conference-shows-capitalism-root-of-climate-failure-a-937453.html

Some extracts:

Capitalism Triumphant

………. The primacy of economics has prevailed. It no longer seems to matter how we………. get through…….this century if the world grows warmer by three, four or five degrees Celsius. National economies require an ever-growing dose of energy if their business models are to continue functioning, and, in the face of this logic, all scientific objections to the contrary are just as powerless as the climate protest movements, ……..

…………. in ….. human history many cultures failed because they did not adapt …….. to new conditions. The Vikings left Greenland in part because they clung to animal husbandry despite practically having to carry their cows out to pasture in the spring, because the lack of winter feed had left the animals too weak to walk. The Vikings would have just needed to come up with the idea of eating fish instead, but to them that seemed as inconceivable as renouncing the idea of growth does to nations today. The Vikings believed they could not live without cows, just as we believe that a high quality of life rests on expansion.”

Two approaches to escape from this trap have recently been developed:

1. ” ‘Economy for the Common Good’

This means we need a method of searching for new strategies that can’t be coopted by the sleek, but unfortunately destructive, principle of capitalism. Imagine, for example, what might happen if a large number of businesses make the improvement of the common good — instead of an increase in their profits — the goal of their commercial efforts.

There are ….. already more than 1,400 companies,…….. in German-speaking countries that have made a commitment to the concept of the “economy for the common good,” an idea developed a few years ago by Christian Felber, the Austrian co-founder of Attac. Around one third of these companies have annual balance statements to show it.

In the medium term, the “economy for the common good” movement aims to make such accounting legally binding. The principle is that the more common-good “points” a business achieves, the more legal benefits it should enjoy.”

2. “The Argument for Divestment

Another, even more effective, instrument for creating this sort of change is the “Fossil Free” divestment campaign launched last year by American environmental activist Bill McKibben……… based on the simple idea that entire industries’ commercial foundation can be destroyed if funds are withdrawn from them. Private financial investment alone already amounts to a considerable sum. But serious clout could be achieved if the endowments of American colleges and universities, the assets of church organizations and city budgets, were no longer invested in companies that destroy the foundations of future human survival.

Such initiatives are now active at nearly 400 American schools, colleges and universities. Four colleges and 10 cities, including Seattle and San Francisco, have made the decision to divest. The campaign has also spread to Europe, where University College London just joined the movement.”

Why are the Chinese so clever, and why will they become even cleverer? A perhaps astonishing aspect of Communist politics. And 100 other problems that might and should worry or inspire students and others

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Chinese have had a long history of “eugenic” selection, by putting those in positions of influence who had passed rigorous state examinations. It seems that this policy has now been brought up to date by incorporating findings of modern science. How has the “West” responded?

See this very interesting article by an evolutionary psychologist. And see many other responses to the question of what one should worry about most.

http://edge.org/responses/q2013

Don’t be fooled by the media

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

A few days before the beginning of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, the media are full of reports on supposed falsification of climate data at the University of East Anglia, England. Where did the information come from? Apparently, professional hackers broke into large numbers of emails between climate change researchers and put a selection of those emails on climate skeptic websites, just in time for the conference. Certainly not cheap, who paid the hackers? Have a guess.

Any evidence that there was indeed falsification of data? Not as far as I am aware. But does it matter? The damage is done.

In this context, a number of years back, the media were full of reports on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction etc. What were these reports based on? Among the most important pieces of evidence, apparently, were a student essay, and a conversation between passengers which an Iraqi taxi driver overheard and reported two years later. All this comes out again now at the hearings in Britain about the Iraq war. A few million dead! Don’t bother, it all was done in the interest of whom?

For details see: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,665944,00.html

http://www.guardian.co./uk/2009/dec/08/iraq-chilcot-inquiry-scarlett-blair

“Intervention” in the Northern Territory according to John Pilger

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

John Pilger received the Sydney Peace Prize some days ago (an “embarrassing day for Sydney”, according to one press report!). The full text of his speech on receiving the prize here.

I found the references to the policy of “intervention” in the Northern Territory of the Howard government particularly interesting. This policy was supported by claims “of sex slavery and paedophile rings in “unthinkable numbers” ( the then minister for indigenous affairs).

John Pilger mentions the following numbers, according to him hardly reported in the press.

“Out of 7433 Aboriginal children examined by doctors, 39 had been referred to the authorities for suspected abuse. Of those, a maximum of four possible cases were identified. So much for the “unthinkable numbers”. Of course, child abuse does exist, in black Australia and white Australia. The difference is that no soldiers invaded the North Shore suburbs; no white parents were swept aside; no white welfare has been “quarantined”. What the doctors found they already knew: that Aboriginal children are at risk – from the effects of extreme poverty and the denial of resources in one of the world’s richest countries.”

Pilger further said, drawing attention to what he thinks is really behind the intervention:

“The Territory contains extraordinary mineral wealth, especially uranium. And Aboriginal land is wanted as a radioactive waste dump. This is very big business, and foreign companies want a piece of the action.

It is a continuation of the darkest side of our colonial history: a land grab.”

Neue Brecht Zitate. New Brecht Quotes. Neues aus seinen Notizbüchern.

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Der Spiegel 11.2.08. Abschied vom Beton-Brecht (Farewell to Concrete-Brecht)

Neues aus Brechts Notizbüchern. (Something new from Brecht’s note books) (My translations)

Wisse auch, dass etwas nicht glauben, doch etwas glauben heisst.
You should know that not to believe something, also means to believe something.

Immer noch, wie im Pawlowschen Versuch, veranlassen Glocken in mir Prozesse sicherlich chemischer Art, Gedanken metaphysischer Richtung.
Even now, as in Pavlov’s experiments, bells induce processes in me, certainly of a chemical nature, thoughts of a metaphysical nature.

In der Welt, die ich mir wünsche, komme ich nicht vor.
In the world which I like that should exist, I do not occur.

Was ich nicht gern gesteh: gerade ich verachte solche, die im Unglück sind.
I do not admit this easily: Just I despise those who are unfortunate.

Der Mensch ist kein Schwimmer, der Mensch ist kein Flieger: Er ist aus der Gattung der Rückenlieger.
Man is not a swimmer, he is not a flyer, he is of the genus of backlyers (people lying on their backs).

Ich hätte mein Versprechen gern gehalten. Aber ich konnte nicht/Warum?/Ich hatte keine Lust.
I would have liked to keep my promise. But I could not/Why?/I did not feel like it.

Wie lange dauern die Werke? So lange bis sie fertig sind.
How long do works last? Until they are completed.