366. Continuing UN report on “other worlds are possible.”

March 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is some real courage in this short book. The metaphor of “other worlds” is right to the core. The write, and quote

Since the Second World War, development, so-called, has been as much about power play and geo-politics as it has the improvement of people’s lives. As Chaterjee and Finger write, the Cold War underpinned the Western development paradigm and the values upon which it is based: The Cold War became one of the driving forces of industrial development, because it stimulated scientifc and technological progress on the one hand, and promoted military-induced industrial production on the other…the Cold War cemented the nation-state system and thus reinforced the idea that nation- states were the most relevant units within which problems had to be addressed. Indeed, because of the Cold War, the nation-states continued to be seen as the units within which development occurs and must be promoted, because it is economic and military strength that defnes each nation’s relative power… Again, industrial development came to be seen as a means to enhance national power…9

Another frame, the cold war.Win by out producing. “we will bury you.” what a terrible heritage! That takes us back to the origins of WW! and he clash of empires, also over production and competition to be a player. Banks.

Climate change is a serious threat to human development. But it is also holds opportunity. Rethinking how to share a fnite planet, meeting our collective needs whilst living within environmental limits could not only rescue civilisation (yes, the stakes are that high) but be a way to tackle deeply entrenched problems of social injustice, and greatly improve overall human well-being.

So, we expand successfully till we bump into the round planet problem, and failing to respond, lose the chance to get to civilization. Remember Fred Hoyle on nuclear power?


They quote Jeffry Sachs he is mostly a problem in my mind)

The good news is that well more than half of the world, from the Bangladesh garment worker onward…is experiencing economic progress. Not only do they have a foothold on the development ladder, but they are actually climbing it. The climb is evident in rising personal incomes and the acquisition of goods such as cell phones, television sets, and scooters… The greatest tragedy of our time is that one sixth of humanity is not even on the development ladder.

Besides the obvious climate implications, there is no sensitivity to the fact that third world people are scrambling against larger economic realities. Life is painful just to keep up with others getting ahead. My recent rip to Guatemala showed a country both making progress and burnt out.this lack of sympathy and imagination i take as one of the real failures of American power.

Use of literature:

In Goethe’s famous tragedy there is a parable for development and the growth economy. Faust’s character has many incarnations. His frst self is the dreamer. But the dreamer is dissolved and Faust transformed into the lover. Finally, in his last transformation and ‘romantic quest for self-development… he will work out some of the most creative and some of the most destructive potentialities of modern life,’ writes Berman, ‘he will be the consummate wrecker and creator, the dark and deeply ambiguous fgure that our age has come to call, “the developer”.’

a good way of putting it (quoting in the text).

and 4). He wrote that the physical view of the economy ‘is governed by the laws of thermodynamics and continuity’ and so ‘the question of how much natural resource we have to fuel the economy, and how much energy we have to extract, process and manufacture is central to our existence’.

This normalizes the question without much ideology. Who cannot take this seriously? Our own local Hewlett Foundation gets into the mix. One can imagine the committee meetings where this happened.Perhaps i can track down a participant and get the story.

Yet there is a continued focus on economic growth as the answer to all the world’s ills. For example, the Commission on Growth and Development (funded by the governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the World Bank, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation) was ‘brought together by the belief that the world’s challenges – political, environmental, misunderstandings within and between nations, vast differences in living standards within and across countries – are best met in conditions of rising and sustained prosperity, and expanding opportunities’.20 Its underlying assumption is that ‘…poverty cannot be reduced in isolation of economic growth…’21


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You are currently reading 366. Continuing UN report on “other worlds are possible.” at Reflections on GardenWorld Politics Douglass Carmichael.


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