by Jeff Noonan Human beings are integrally natural and social creatures, dependent upon natural life-support systems for their physical existence and socio-cultural life-development systems for the nurturing and realization of their emotional, cognitive, and practical-creative capacities. Societies whose developmental dynamics become alienated from their natural conditions of existence face inevitable doom. Oblivious to the ways in which their reproductive dynamics undermining the physical foundations of social life, they collapse the very basis upon which their institutions and value systems depend. Let us say that any society which unsustainably converts scarce natural resources into tokens of social power (as, for example, … Continue reading The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization
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
by Tom Atlee Wisdom involves taking into account the larger truths about what is and why it is that way — and then living into that understanding in one’s everyday actions. When I speak of ‘wise capitalism’, I’m not speaking of wise business. I’m speaking of the ideology and economic system of capitalism maturing into awareness of what’s happening in the world and its role in that, and having that understanding transform it into a higher form of its own being. The businesses within it may or may not be wise, themselves. But they will behave in wiser ways because … Continue reading Wise capitalism?
by Jeff Noonan In a 2007 report on the environmental and economic impact of intensified exploitation of the Alberta Oil Sands, then Chief Economist of the Toronto Dominion Bank, Don Drummond, re-affirmed orthodox economics’ faith in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic performance. “Gross Domestic Product,” he wrote, is the best available indicator of the overall health of the …economy, as it measures the market value of the goods and services produced.”  I begin with this example because the oil sands, at current global oil prices, are both hugely profitable and massively environmentally destructive.  GDP … Continue reading Economics, happiness, and life-coherent societies
by Ali Shehzad Zaidi There is no better time, in this age of global warming and mass extinction of species, to rediscover the liberating thought of Thomas Paine, which recalls that of mystics and poets of many ancient cultures. In his iconoclastic The Age of Reason, published in 1794, Paine transfers the locus of the sacred from religious texts to the material Book of Nature, since “it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man” (Age 29). With these words, Paine anticipates the emergent romanticism of his times by envisioning … Continue reading A new age of reason
by Geoff Davies In the tropical forests of Central America are great stone temples and monuments, remnants of the Mayan civilisation that collapsed over a thousand years ago. We can never know exactly why the Mayan civilisation collapsed, but some of the main factors were probably shifting climate, over-exploitation of natural resources, warfare and internal rivalries. However a telling observation is that the grandest temples were built just before the final collapse. It is not uncommon that the grandest accomplishments of a past society came just before a precipitous decline. This pattern indicates the society was busy, right to the … Continue reading The Tao of economics
by Michael Albert “Most everybody I see knows the truth but they just don’t know that they know it.” — Woody Guthrie The British Victorian liberal thinker John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) tells us that we… are not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other’s heels which form the existing type of social life are the most desirable lot of human beings. The American social critic Noam Chomsky says he … would … Continue reading Life after capitalism
by Douglas Rushkoff As highly corporatized people, it’s only natural for those of us interested in addressing our social and environmental rehabilitation to do so from within our roles as employees, consumers, and maybe shareholders. We rarely relate to one another very directly as it is, so it’s a bit much to expect us to engage together in a pursuit as foolhardy as the reinstatement of the social fabric. Instead, like corporations, we tend to prefer to express our charitable and community impulses from afar. Lord knows there are plenty of people who need our help, and their advocates seem … Continue reading A new form of activism