ED CURTIN—”Street journalism has its limitations. It needs to be placed in a larger context. Our world is indeed without end and the heat of the moment needs the coolness of time. The bird that dives to the ground to seize a crumb of bread returns to the treetop to survey the larger scene. Breslin and Hamill stuck to the ground where the bread lay…”
CULTURE & CRITICISM
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Peter Joseph is the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, a grassroots, worldwide organization that advocates an alternative economic system based on sustainability, cooperation and human need. His most recent book, ‘The New Human Rights Movement,’ delivers a startling exposé about the violent oppression that defines our economic order, while issuing an urgent call for global activism to unite to replace it. Abby Martin sits down with Joseph to talk about the contradictions and crises of capitalism and what he advocates to save the future of the planet from catastrophe.
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Modernization has been a dream of China’s for a century. After the Great Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government joined most developing countries in treating modernization as its goal. China’s achievements on this path, such as its fast GDP growth, have amazed the world. However, the price has been extremely high, including environmental problems, an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, and growing disenchantment with growth within the populace as a whole. Is there any alternative to the current form of modernization? “Constructive postmodern thinking proposes such an alternative.”81 Kang Ouyang, a leading Marxist scholar in China and vice president of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, has explored the positive and negative sides of modernization. For him the negative includes: treating economic growth as the ultimate goal; neglecting ecology, the value of tradition, and aesthetic wisdom as complements to scientific knowledge; rejection of the positive role that religion can play in human life; and overemphasis on individuality at the expense of community.
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NICK BEAMS—The strength, however, of the economic data produced by Oxfam, forms a stark contrast to its prescriptions for dealing with such extreme levels of social inequality. These centre on the development of what it calls a “human economy,” built on different principles from what it calls a “growth economy.” The “human economy” would provide health care, education and gender equality, and create the best conditions for shared wealth. Oxfam, however, has been making such proposals for the past eight years, issuing warnings and calling for a policy switch. But to no avail. Every year the situation worsens, as Oxfam itself acknowledges, and at an accelerating rate. The scourge of social inequality cannot be ended through futile appeals, made to the very powers that preside over the current system, to change course. They are no more capable of that, than the ancien regime in France, prior to the revolution of 1789, or the czarist autocracy in Russia, before 1917.