Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crisis of Civilization.10

I finished it! The last few chapters of the book talked about terrorism and militarization. I don't think at this point that most people need more information and stories of true conspiracy theories to be recounted here. At some point, Nafeez finished his exposition and began to outline the Key Structural Problems plaguing [Western/Northern/industrial/corporate] civilization. He doesn't go into huge detail about the specific strategies to fix them, but he does brush broad strokes about some paradigms we can shift and some hard work we'll have to reenvision and engage in to survive the continuing crises. Here's what I took from it all; some goals from Ahmed's own words:
  • increase access to, and ownership of, productive resources for the majority (249)
  • redistribute the wealth (yes, really; if you look at how capitalism systematically funnels all the wealth to the top, this will become more and more obvious and not just a Soviet dream)
  • increase regulation and oversight in banking, government, et al
  • use renewable energy
  • stop the "money as debt" MO (253)
  • cease/desist/abolish/prohibit computational finance and such transactions as do not produce anything of value and, in fact, hurt the people in the world
  • return to participatory democracy; build systems from the bottom up; empower people; recognize others as subjects and respect all life on earth (255); hierarchies may happen; just make sure to keep accountable and do what's best in individual communities
  • MATERIALISM (the idea that we're self-serving, consuming beings at heart) IS BULLSHIT; self-fulfillment is instead realized through ethical activity (undefined here; have fun with it); we're INTERCONNECTED, not purely selfish profit-seekers
My takeaways:
- be compassionate
- respect the interconnected web of all existence
- engage in your world; respect yourself and others enough to be involved

What's missing?
- The only thing I feel Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed missed in this book, or at least explicitly in the last chapter, was a push for us to use fewer resources. Yes, we should be using cleaner energy; but we also have to use a lot less of it. Myself most certainly included.

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