Category Archives: Politics

Another Wakeup Call – Manfred Max-Neef

Chin up people – poverty is less corrupted by greed. One positive to look forward to. Social networks and creativity prosper in poor communities. Dogma and greed in rich communities?

Manfred foresees a quickening approach to an ultimate barrier to things as usual. Apparently some people in his orbit of friends and colleagues even see the demise of civilization as we know it. Yet the powers that control policy get even more entrenched and fundamental in their policies. The facts are there, what we shouldn’t be doing is clear, but it has no effect on policy. Greed rules triumphant… probably right over the cliff.

excerpt from interview on DemocracyNow!:

AMY GOODMAN: And if you’re teaching young economists, the principles you would teach them, what they’d be?

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: The principles, you know, of an economics which should be are based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle. One, the economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy. Two, development is about people and not about objects. Three, growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth. Four, no economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services. Five, the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible. And the fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that further.

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: Nothing can be more important than life. And I say life, not human beings, because, for me, the center is the miracle of life in all its manifestations. But if there is an economic interest, I mean, you forget about life, not only of other living beings, but even of human beings. If you go through that list, one after the other, what we have today is exactly the opposite.


image on home page courtesy of wikimedia commons

Meron Benvenisti quote regards hypocracy two state solution Israel Palestine

Since it is impossible to refrain from reacting to the Palestinian demand for self-determination in the occupied territories, the Israelis seek to limit it to a mere quarter of them, those who live in the West Bank. For them they have invented a unique concept of a “state”: Its “sovereignty” will be scattered, lacking any cohesive physical infrastructure, with no direct connection to the outside world, and limited to the height of its residential buildings and the depth of its graves.

The airspace and the water resources will remain under Israeli control. Helicopter patrols, the airwaves, the hands on the water pumps and the electrical switches, the registration of residents and the issue of identity cards, as well as passes to enter and leave, will all be controlled (directly or indirectly) by the Israelis. This ridiculous caricature of a Palestinian state, beheaded and with no feet, future, or any chance for development, is presented as fulfillment of the goal of symmetry and equality embodied in the old slogan, “two states for two peoples.” It is endorsed – even by supporters of Greater Israel – and the traditional peace camp rejoices in its triumph.

- by Meron Benvenisti in article for Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Lawrence Lessig – Fix Congress First

Lawrence Lessig has moved from activism on Creative Commons issues to activism on fixing Democracy. It boils down to trust. A system of governance without trust can not be an effective Democracy. A system that incorporates an addiction to lobbyists money and electoral campaigns to maintain power and, at the end, retire into the wealthy arms of the very system that lobbies government – is doomed to dysfunction and chaos. Lawrence Lessig argues that the all important action necessary to allow any other effective actions on any other topic, is to remove this addiction from the system. Doesn’t matter which side of the debate you are on – if you want a government that responds to issues and constituents, you need to get them off this drug. They won’t do it themselves, an intervention is required and we are it. We all need to fix this – that is his new focus. His website that takes on the challenge is Fix Congress First.

photo by this guy