Taking notes 37: Meritocracy, repression and Piketty’s apocalyptic asymptote

by Sanjay Perera
Much has been said about Thomas Piketty’s important and much talked about book. But not enough has been said about his nuanced wit and jibes at a system of meritocratic capitalism that is starting to merge with the hereditary accumulation and growth of wealth termed as patrimonial capitalism. But then it can also get quite serious. Continue reading Taking notes 37: Meritocracy, repression and Piketty’s apocalyptic asymptote

Reflections on 1968

by George Katsiaficas More often than not, the movements of 1968 have been situated within nationalist parameters, and the global dimension of the movement’s vitality, if not altogether ignored, has been consigned a minor role. Whether in Mexico or France, Vietnam or India, the meaning of 1968 has been interpreted within the context of domestic patterns and localized history. Seen through such prisms, the most significant and vital aspect of 1968’s explosive energy — that it consisted of one international movement rather than multiple ones — becomes minimized, even forgotten. My book on 1968 was the first to consider the … Continue reading Reflections on 1968

Petro-market civilization

by Tim Di Muzio Prologue: The Rule of Threes Lending weight to the popular saying that bad things always come in threes, three events in April of 2010 underscored the level of capitalist civilization’s addiction to carbon energy.  On the 3rd of April off the coast of north eastern Australia, the Shen Neng 1, a Chinese owned coal tanker hauling 68,000 tons of coal collided into the Great Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – at full speed.  The impact ripped the ship’s haul, leaked three to four tons of the worst quality fuel oil into one of … Continue reading Petro-market civilization

Nightfall II: Endgame for the American Way of Life

by P. J. Laska After commenting on the mass delusion that characterizes AWOL (the American Way of Life) in the Post-Meltdown era (Nightfall: Dimming of the dream) this essay looks at the significance of the Occupy Movement and presents Istvan Meszaros’ analysis of the unresolvable structural crisis of capitalism as a way of understanding the system’s failure to act on our present science-based foresight capability by addressing the critical issue of our species’ metabolism with nature.  It then examines the demented logic of extreme technologies that consume fossil fuel in order to obtain the additional fossil fuel necessary to continue … Continue reading Nightfall II: Endgame for the American Way of Life

Money and the turning of the Age

by Charles Eisenstein As the economic meltdown proceeds to its next phase, we begin to see the unreality of much that we thought real. The verities of two generations become uncertain, and despite a lingering hope that a return to normalcy is just around the corner — in “the third quarter of 2009” or “by the middle of 2010” — the realization is dawning that normal is not coming back. When faced with an abrupt shift in personal reality, whether the death of a loved one, or the Gestapo coming into town, human beings usually react first with denial. My … Continue reading Money and the turning of the Age

Redesigning money for well-being and happiness

by Mark Anielski “One must make a new system that makes the old system obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller The greatest threat to the pursuit of genuine happiness and well-being is our current debt-money system. In the face of an international debt-crisis, it is remarkable that there is no serious discussion about the nature of money, or about how, and who creates our money. While meaningful conversations about alternative measures of progress (e.g. Gross National Happiness, Genuine Progress Indicators) are now under way, these efforts will ultimately fail without understanding that the current debt-based money system must be fundamentally restructured. The … Continue reading Redesigning money for well-being and happiness

Nightfall: Dimming of the dream and search for an alternative

by P. J. Laska Given the emphasis on imposing hegemony by military means, it is a splendid irony that ‘American Way of Life’ should share its acronym (AWOL) with the military term “Absent Without Leave.” — http://www.laetusinpraesens.org Ronald Reagan in the famous “Morning-in-America” speech that was part of his 1984 re-election campaign took credit for the improvement of the economy since his election in 1980.  By 1983 the inflationary spiral of the 70’s had been brought under control by Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker, who was originally appointed by Carter and then reappointed by Reagan in 1983.  Reagan could also … Continue reading Nightfall: Dimming of the dream and search for an alternative