What should we be talking about?
|Let us know what you think we really
should be talking about. Any and all suggestions are welcome. If the
idea seems good, we'll post it for another chapter of debate.
Debate - page 2/2
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Wai-Chew Sim, Singapore
I think many things need to highlighted. Here
are six of them:
1. Instead of the the US dollar being the world's reserve currency some
basket of currencies combining the US$, the Yen and the Mark/Sterling
Pound is required so that we can have a more stable environment for growth.
The rest of the world (mainly Japan and China) is lending the US most
of its savings and it is using that to cut taxes, to conduct wars of choice
and to indulge in binge consumption. A meltdown of the US dollar is looming,
with the prospect that a global recession will follow. Alarm bells are
ringing in all kinds of financial services websites around the world -
something is going to give!
Beyond that, someone with double & triple the brain power of Amartya
Sen, the Nobel-prize winning economist and philosopher, is required to
analyse and to explain things in a clear enough fashion so that the world's
media will pay attention and listen. For instance,
2. Half the world lives on US$1 a day. Why isn't the wealthy North doing
something about that? Why are terms of trade so unequal? Why is the mantra
that free trade will solve everything so easily taken as gospel truth
by intelligent people? Japan and South Korea attained their current status
partly because of U.S war procurement during the Korean and Vietnam wars,
and partly because the US tolerated their neo-mercantilist polices in
exchange for their support during the Cold War. Can you imagine Japan's
car industry attaining its current status if they had to open up their
economies in the same way that sub-Saharan economies are forced open by
the IMF and the World Bank in the name of free trade? Some of the freest
economies in the world are in Africa. Who benefits from this highway robbery?
3. Our current accounting systems don't fully reflect the social costs
of our economic activities - everything from big oil to agro-farming to
the electronics sector. As a result, the environment deteriorates and
I can no longer take off my shirt to play football - I get sunburnt straightaway.
A better example is the current floods in the Phillipines. Taxpayers have
to pick up the tab, whereas the shareholders of the logging companies
are the ones responsibile. Magnified on a global scale this means that
the living conditions of the poor just gets worse because governments
use public money to deal with problems created by corporate entities.
4. The five permanent members of the UN security council are also the
world's top five arms manufacturer. The military-industrial complex exists
not just in the US, but in all countries. We need to be mindful of that.
Osama bin Laden will NEVER be found because that means pressures to reduce
the US war budget will increase. Halliburton and those of its ilk will
never let it happen.
5. We need to impose - on a global basis - a tax on financial speculation.
I think it's called the Tobin tax because it was mooted by someone with
that name. The proceeds can go to, for instance, UNESCO.
6. We need to stop big business by supporting smaller ones. Everytime
we are impressed by an advert we need to practice "reverse advertising"
- tell ourselves NOT to buy from that company. Buy from neighbourhood,
mom-and-pop businesses if at all possible. More people will benefit directly
from those actions.
7. Apart from all the things that can be done from a social-justice perspective,
something like a cultural movement of gigantic proporsions is needed.
Something to bring asceticism and fellow-feeling into people's lives.
I have in mind not just things like eating less meat, for instance, but
also, for example, this website: http://sorryeverybody.com
I believe this site is helping to build links around the world. I'm not
a Christian but I'm deeply moved and I'm reminded of Jesus's sermon on
the mount, where he says "Blessed are the peacemakers."
Phil Harris, England, Britain
I left a comment earlier which contained a
naive view of the velvet revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe. What
I asked had been the role of the mostly young people in jeans helping
organise people power? Idealistic 'enlightenment in action' I implied.
The answer is in today's UK Guardian, Mark Almond tells how he was a fairly
idealist swagmean taking some of the millions of dollars that the CIA
and Soros and similar provided to fund the "Peoples Revolution".
There was a dark side result. The erstwhile idealists mostly benefitted
but large swathes of the population have been treated to unemployment
(shock therapy). I can add that there has been an ongoing cruel harvest
of death and injury from heart disease in all these countries this last
decade as particularly diets deteriorated. See for example Connor et al,
December 2004, J Am Dietetic Assoc Volume 104, Number 12.
Almond in the Guardian points out that Ukraine (as well as Georgia) is
on the route for gas and oil pipes headed for NATO land.
Dave Maakestad, Rock Musician/Global Citizen
Two tops of the charts ... 17/12 04 ... It
seems pretty obvious that a global citizen debate should have a temporally
affixed arena to discuss two of the aching problems: Palestine/Israel
... two states, international or shared Jerusalem, secular citizentianship,
right of return to refugees; and, ... Iraq, oil and blood for business,
William McElgin, Chicago
Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.
Susan Starke, USA
The more I read the posts on these boards,
the more I wonder if the term "Free World" is understood in
the same way by the participants. In Europe, it seems to me that to be
"free from" insecurity and poverty is more important, while
in the US, to be "free to" do what one wishes and take the consequences,
negative or positive, is still paramount. Is "freedom" best
defined as security or as autonomy?
Ross Gurung, France
I figure, in very near future the world is
going to face the scarecity of power and energy. We can not continue to
dodge the issue very long. What are the alternatives?
Of late, I read something about Thermonuclear Ether Power Plants to be
built in the south of France. Japan was also the candidate to welcome
the site. Dear friends all over the world, would you please give me more
informations about thr aforesaid? I would be highly obliged.
What policy towards Russian should the EU
and the US adopt?
Putin's Russia is regressing from its democtratic processes.
Centralisation of power, almost total monopoly on media, glorification
of the Soviet Past, Yukos and only a couple of examples.
Let us not forget that Russia is conducting the was against Chechnya.
According to my sources, more than 200,000 Chechens have already been
killed, more than 40,000 of them children. When you add frequent "disappearances",
and recent fake election, you must agree that comparing to that, Iraq
looks like a children's playground.
Finally, Russia's support to the autocratic regime in Bleyorus, its meddling
with presidential elections in Lithuania, not to mention Ukraine makes
it clear that Russia is a threat to democracy in the entire region.
How should the EU and the US respond?
Mike G., New York / Georgia
Jan Paul, I think you made an interesting
point. The world is not quite ready for socialist states, but I think
they will begin to spring up once we have achieved a certain level of
"utopia". By utopia, I mean ending major global conflicts and
containing threats that warp the economic world.
I have read a lot on this blog about "faith" influencing American
foriegn policy, but usually faith in God. I think Americans' god is the
almighty dollar and the pulpit for his preachers is located on Wall Street.
Two of his greatest prophets go by the name of Thomas. (Barnett and Friedman)
The high preists of CNBC want to use american military muscle to crusade
against world instability, hoping to acheive a kind of utopia where war
will no longer figure into market unpredictability. Once the market becomes
predictable the american economy can flourish like it did in the '90's,
when the influence of the C.C.C.P. ended and before Wahabi islam began.
In a sense we are on a crusade, but these preists also wear a badge, one
of American containment; our great cure-all. We pretty much have the same
policies at home as we do abroad. Restrictive rules that benifit the economic
warlords are set, and anyone that cannot abide by them gets sent to the
"slammer". A domestic example of this is the american war on
drugs. Drugs are a huge threat to the american economy because its users
are less concerned with spending money than getting high. An interesting
factoid for ya: Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the USA, has some of
the most criminalization of Marijuana. Drinking causes you to gamble,
getting stoned does not.
The USA essentially threw the islamic world into jail. Why? Because people
that are highly religious are less concerned with material possesions.
The restrictions are being set. There is certain level of influence wall
street can tolerate, and it is very little.
From america to the rest of the world: "Know your role."
Globalization is the specialization of various countries. Once every guy
that wants in gets in, he is put in a position, then the system is stabalized.
America wants to be the team's coach, and will be the team's coach at
whatever costs. The problem for the Wall Street pulpit is that they are
still hiring new players that change the dynamic for that coach. Once
the team becomes static, and your not on that team, by all means become
a socialist state, America and Wall Street already got what it wanted.
Permanent top dog statis.
As an american, I believe my preists can deliver me to this heaven and
keep me from a hell where I might be consumed by the flames of a manufacturing(China),
telephone service(India), or a bank teller(E.U) lifestyle. St. Michael
George W. Bush is holding back the great Osamasatan at the gates of globalization.
This is the american fundamentalism that world must fear, Pat Robertson
is just it's puppet.
(This entire statement is shrouded in a question mark)
Ross Gurung, France
I gather, people all around the world are
not quite interested by the future scarcity of Power and Energy, say,
for the time being. I, for one, tried to find out more informations relevant
to this aforesaid subject. Somebody told me that the reactors to be implanted
in the south of France were known by the name of ITHER (International
Thermo-electrical reactor). I simply have no idea, if it is right or not.
Moreover, I heard from some reliable sources that the USA was supposed
to be the sort of a referee to decide as to which country, France or Japan,
should be the one who would be chosen. Further, I also heard that the
Europeans, Russia and China are in favour of France because the above
mentioned reactor is the pure invention of the French Scientists. It could
be possible only after 20-30 years of time. It is said that no more dams
and nuclear or fossil ingredients would be necessary because the energy
would be distributed to all countries over the world, according to the
need of every individual. I don’t know as yet if it is true
Another subject I would long to discuss with other internauts is the OBESITY.
Recently, I read in FT that there are about one billion of peoples all
over the World are suffering from Obesity.
In the USA now 25% of the population suffer from this recurring disease.
What are the remedies? Is it possible to have a debate on this subject?
I really hope that you all would contribute to enrich the same.
Ross Gurung, France
A few days ago, there was a t.v. Program pertaining
to how to deal with the recurrent wastage of Energy produced on Earth
and, at the same time, how to diminish the heavy bill of it in the domestic
uses. Further, the demonstrator happened to give some hints about the
future so called reactor to be manufactured, which would be known by the
name ITER. This particular reactor, as the demonstrator tried to explain,
would be a kind of the Energy generated out of fission process of Hydrogen
(H2), whose glut of heating would be totally arrested then accumulated,
thereafter, wrapped up by the heat resistant coils of magnetic devices
which are known as Takamak (taken from the Russian language). The heat
generated is H=MST; mass*specific heat*time= 90 millions°C (approx.).
This would help, in a way, the reactor to perform as an ‘ever
glittering tiny star, just a metaphor’, with the immense source
of lighting power. And the first reactor would be ready by 2013 and would
take again several years to make it useful for the daily consumption.
The site selected to this effect is known as Caraface, located in the
south of France where already numerous A-1 Engineers and Scientists are
working together for the welfare of the human beings.
In plus, what a wonderful news that an Indian lady, chemist by profession,
found out the formula to extract oil from the simple granulated plastic.
The factory relevant to this effect is already under construction in the
suburb of New Delhi. If the other major oil tycoons would not put the
spoke in her wheel this invention would, for sure, revolutionize the modern
In fine, in the very near future, there would be neither the so much feared
penury of Energy nor the industrial plastic wastes.
Thus, the World would be, ecologically, better preserved by dint of constant
vigilance and continuous efforts of human beings. So far so good!
Suzanne Stallings, American Patriot
Every American needs to be aware of the true
Sustainable Development! This is a treaty, backed by the
UN,and Bill Klinton appointed the President's Council on
Sustainable Development in 1993 to begin implementing this treaty. Every
aspect of human life will be affected
with these horrible ideas. If you have read Al Gore's book, "Earth
in the Balance", you have a good picture of
what is currently being implemented across America.
I urge everyone to put Sustainable Development into a search engine to
investigate for yourselves.
Nadell, Hill, USA
Your comment on different concepts of freedom
is a good one. I have often wondered just what President Bush means when
he uses the word freedom. A friend of mine has defined freedom as the
absence of selfishness. By that standard none of us truly free.
Don White, Florida USA
FROM Steve Garcia, Illinois, US. What we really
need to be talking about are the following points about the Arab world:
1. What IS it that so infuriates Arab men that they would blow themselves
up in order to get our attention?
DON: I offer A) Israel; B) denied access to the political system; C) the
US is the point-man for an incompatible Western culture.
A) Since 1967, Israel has occupied that part of Jerusalem containing the
Temple Mount. Jerusalem is the #3 holy site in Islam, with the al Aqaba
mosque and the Dome of the Rock. This is like an open sore to Muslims.
B) The U.S. has supported despotic regimes all across the middle east.
Indeed, this is the blighted history of America.
C) Arabs do not wish to see their culture go the way of others, and hate
it becoming more and more like the Western culture of which the U.S. is
the most extreme example.
5. Why is it that the U.S. uses military options as a first option against
DON: That‚s our style don‚cha know! Say hello, Vietnam! Say
hello Guatemala! Say hello Nicaragua! Say hello Chile! Say hello Phililp8ines.
Say hello Cuba. Where have you been, Steve.
8. If the U.S. reasons for invading Iraq have been found to be erroneous,
what shall the world DO about the illegality, in terms of holding the
U.S. leadership accountable?
DON: If George W. Bush was named Slobodan Milosevic he would be in The
Hague. Like Henry Kissinger who is under indictment for war crimes arising
out of the Vietnam War. So also would Geo W be if the U.S. was not only
willing to ignore international law but flaunts it. Say thank you Guantanamo.
Jan Paul, USA
I think we should discuss some things several
have brought up. One is Islam. Much of Europe has become the new home
for Islam. There are good Islamic people and bad Islamic people as there
are in all cultures. However, now, we are seeing more and more crime and
other actions that are bothering European Leaders. They feel some countries,
or at least some parts of the countries will be "taken over"
by the Islamic culture. They feel this is driving some of the native citizens
and culture from the metro areas where most of the Islamic people are
settling. Is this important? Does Europe want to save their native cultures?
The other topic is China. Too much time by Europeans is being spent on
the U.S. when China is probably a bigger threat than the U.S. from both
an economic and military standpoint.
They are developing super quiet nuclear submarines. They are developing
high tech military airplanes with special gear. Why?
I believe it is tied to the economic aspect. Just as the U.S. is accused
of interests in oil rich nations that motivate military action, China
may well be gearing up for the same reason. They were exporters of oil
and now are importers with demand skyrocketing. They are now making deals,
like the U.S., for oil from Saudia Arabia, Iran, Canada, Russia, while
also seeking more in their own country. Their 10% GDP growth will soon
outstrip current supplies so they are making "deals."
In a few Decades they will have more automobiles than the U.S. The middle-class
population is close to the same as the entire population of the U.S. and
growing rapidly. They have gone to 40 hr work weeks with a mandatory one
day off. 22,000 to 35,000 becoming Christians a day thanks in part to
a top Chinese Government Official that says "look what the U.S. built
with the Christian Principle they had." China is rasing wages in
economic zones and running pipelines, energy systems, highways, and rail
lines to rural areas to bring their 29 cents an hour wage up. In the economic,
manufacturing zones, over $6 to $6.66 an hour wages is fueling the demand
for goods. They have about 3 to 4 times the buying power of the U.S. so
that $6 an hour is like $20 to $24 an hour wages in the U.S. A $20,000
car in the U.S. has a Chinese counterpart in size and features that sells
for $4,000 to $6,000.
Walmart now has 37 stores and 5 more Sam's Clubs and Neighborhood Markets.
Corporate income tax was lowered to about what many in "new"
Europe have. Personal Social Security Accounts combinde with Government
funding and personalized medical accounts are assuring the Chinese worker
feels responsible for his retirement and healthcare.
There is a downside. Being exempted from Kyoto, which was one reason the
U.S. didn't join in, and why Europe shouldn't have, China will be able
to compete much easier against the European countries trying to rise from
the ashes of Communism. The Chinese education system is creating a very
talented, hard working, team concept, labor force that is very attractive
to business in the U.S. and Europe. They have a very carefully, well laid
plan for an economic war against the rest of the industrialized world.
That is their right as a competitor and they are using that right. However,
Europe and the U.S. are not fully prepared for this war.
As their demand for more and more oil increases, they will be better prepared
to pay higher prices than Europe or the U.S. Also, they will be willing
to defend the "contracts" they are now making in the Middle
East and in Canada that will reduce the supplies to Europe and the U.S.
The added cost of oil for all the products made from oil, like plastics,
clothing fibres, other synthetic materials, etc. Europe and the U.S. will
feel the crunch. As more and more business moves to China where higher
profits can be obtained, fewer and fewer jobs will be in Europe and the
One of the neat things about their plan is to stay beneath the radar and
let the U.S. and Europe pick at each other while China grows and grows
and grows. Then, woe be the country that tries to stop China's impact
on their country. With a Billion people to supply its armies and the wealthy
to produce any military weapon conceived, they will protect their economic
system and "get" with whatever means necessary the oil, iron,
copper, etc. they need. Also, they are keeping the price of gasoline low,
$1.70 a Gallon to encourage buying autos, probably.
You might enjoy this site. Although it is from the Chinese Government
and, of course, contains no negative things, it does reveal their plan
to make the working class "happy" with the government.
Paul L. Johnson, 'evelopment, Pakistan
Dear Mr. Garton-Ash;
I appreciate your researched, well-thought through articles.
I confess I haven't read all these submission, yet. Browsing is still
expensive in Pakistan. So let me just put forward one topic that I feel
hasn't been fully appreciated or thought-out in world media. The best
way to start the discussion is to ask a question:
In what currency will we (the world) value a sustainable lifestyle? The
present arbitraged gambling pit devastates those in the rural, out in
the periphery, who haven't been boughtout by consumerist materialist monetarism.
John Norman, UK
Why doesn't Can-Am offer to clean up his own
Canadian backyard, if he's going to talk about First Nations. His holier
than thou attitude is distinctley unpleasant.
Emilio Fernández Castro, Albacete,
Is the conflict between the Israelis and the
Palestinians a war between two different countries, between two different
peoples, or a civil war?
1)The rights of the Israeli people on the land they call "Israel"
2)The rights of the Palestine people on the land they call "Palestine"
are also unanswearable.
3) The land, the territory of the historic Israel is the same territory
of the historic Palestine.
So, Is a wall (or a "security barrier", as the Israelis prefer
to call it) the solution? I don't think so. There will always be Israelis
that will refuse a settlement based on dividing the land, and there will
always be Palestines that will refuse that settlement, and for the same
reason: only a part of the whole same territory won't be enough for them.
A wall won't stop violence.
Scott Loranger, United States
It is astonishing to me that no one is discussing
the European Union's most difficult obstacle as we enter the 21st century:
the maintaining of economic stability in Europe. As the European Union's
population ages and will begin to fall, economic implications of this
impending crisis must be considered. The EU's primary policy should be
stimulating high economic growth, literally "while we're young."
(No pun intended) It must attempt to find a remedy or at least a preventitive
to the coming problem. While de-population of an over populated continent
is a positive movement, the negative implications on economic, social,
and political policy during the era of de-population is a big difficulty
to overcome. Solutions proposed for the ageing problem include: dramatically
raising the birthrate (which is both unlikely and could cause even more
problems for the EU to face, as the welfare system will be burdened with
the heavy weight of paying for children), mass euthanasia of the elderly
(though it would completely resolve the issue, the morality and ethicallity
of the idea make it implausible to implement), replacement immigration
(which will not help either because immigrants have a much higher unemployment
rate than even the high unemployment rate of working-age native Europeans,
therefore they would not generate the wealth the government needs to provide
for the retired elderly citizens, plus when the immigrants get older,
the problem will only persist or pausibly, become even worse). The best
solution for the European Union's pending economic troubles, both at present
and in the not to distant future, is to overhaul the socialist welfare
state that is Europe and reignite the industrious heritage of Europe's
peoples. By overhauling the welfare system, the EU will force both natives
and to a far greater extent, immigrants, to go to work. With the welfare
state overhauled, immigration will be a plausible solution to the ageing
crisis because the only reason immigrants aren't working in Europe at
present is because it is just SO easy to sit at home on their butts and
let the taxes of hard working Europeans take care of their expenses. Once
all of Europe is thrust back into the labor market and capitalism is reinstated,
the EU (and especially countries like Germany) will create a surging economic
explosion of growth for all of the EU. The EU has the technology and the
industious people to become the greatest power (economically, politically,
militarilly) on the planet if they would just apply themselves.
*Just a note: the EU also desperately needs to integrate further and spend
more on its collective military capabilites. The only thing worse than
an elderly Europe is an elderly Europe that cannot even begin to defend
itself from outside invasion. While the EU still posses such vast amounts
of the world's wealth, I would suggest making investments in butt-kicking
military technology for security in its old age years. Germany is really
good at making weapons, have the Germans lead the EU's military developments).
Osvaldo Brasao, Portugal
Mind you, Europe is a concept on the making.
There is no single idea of Europe is; there are many. The nature of Europe
is what form should have the political, social e economical organizations
of their people.
The same applies for USA and for North America, and so many other cases.
However, this debate cannot be a serious one, if one does not recognize
that different factions of the elites - such as the industrial, financial,
religious, bureaucratic-administrative (e.g. the old and new mandarins
of China) -, served by different philosofical perspectives, fight along
centuries for the control of political power of nation-states.
So before discussing the interaction between states, whe should question
their internal organization. When you have different classes in the smae
society, then you have conflict of interests. This is not only working
class versus the lords of property. It is also among the representatives
of different economical activities.What should be Europe? A question that
truly has started only now, as Turkey has became a candidate for membership.
what should be the USA? They badly need it. Nothing seems to be so much
anti-american than questioning where are they going or what are they becoming.Why
are the basics not presented here? Is it because people should not question
certain things, and political transformation must be carried out behind
close doors? Is the bulk of the population progressing in their technical
abilities, but granted as incompetent in the analysis of the big picture?
Chris Terry, Britain/Germany/Europe
What concerns me about European integration
is the constant search in the past for self-justification and for the
definition of whether a given nation is or was victim or perpetrator of
events up to about 1947. Whereas it is clear that countries like Poland,
emerging from the blanket of Soviet suppression need to express and assert
their identity , it is less clear why established EU members should seek
self justification or triumph in the past, effectively re-weriting history
and endeavouring to establish a moral rearmament at the expense of forward-looking
My fear is that, given ripples in EU forward consolidation, the temptation
constantly arises to dig out past solutions in terms of popular sentiment
which , once given nothing but the incentive to re-do the past will neglect
the urgent concerns of present and future.
So, going back to the excellent "free world" and, say Britain's
role, it would be valuable to inspire similar reflections, say, Germany
and Spain , among others.Given that European multi-ethnic stability could
be one of the lynch-pins in a free world, what is a national role ? Should
there even be one ?
chris scofield, usa
will this book be relevant 15 years from now????
or will it be passe.
Ross Gurung, France
Here we are again! Everybody even Japan
opted for CADARACHE (located near about Marseille in the French Riviera)
to be the right locality for the implantation of ITER, the experimental
fusion Reactor (sorry for the exact name of the locality that I could
not retain last fall). Japan had proposed a locality called as ROKASHO-MURA
in the remote North of Japanese Archipelagos (near Sapporo?). A cold area
as everybody knows, Earthquake and other climate disasters such as Tsunami
hit very often Japan.
This project worth 10 billion Euros begins by the end of 2005. It requires
at least ten years of work.
Of late in the month of November 2004 all European R&D ministers warned
Japan that if there were no consensus amongst all, they would despite
the blocking of Japan implant anyway the aforesaid Reactor as it was scheduled.
France would engage herself to increase her initial participation in the
construction (4.57 billion Euros) from 10% to 20% i.e. 914 million Euros.
Such determination of Europe certainly facilitated Japan to consider the
offer not negligent of providing worth 1 billion Euros of high tech materials
and equipment for the Reactor. This blocking of Japan was very much circumstantial;
the Rumour was there was a row between the Foreign Office and the Education
Let us hope for the better future.
how much education does citizens receive
Gareth Osborne, British
TGA mentions briefly that he has a nagging
doubt that the spread of democracy will mean the erasure of indigenous
cultures as markets open up and foreign products and values flood in.
This should be more than a nagging doubt. From my experiences in Japan
I know that after the second world war the Japanese forgot their culture
and whole heartedly embraced American culture. Now you can see the results
in the generation that has grown up in this atmosphere of lost past. Estranged
from the traditions of their own country, and bombarded by images of the
´free world´ (instead of ´the west´ as TGA states)such
as beautifully tanned white people sanding down boats on Californian beaches
to advertise cigarettes,Japanese young people feel lost and unhappy without
We should try to free those in the world who are subjected to things like
hunger, disease and violence, without a doubt, but democracy and the free
market are not necessarily compatible with other cultures without bringing
the kind of unhappiness that I´ve mentioned above and I wouldn´t
wish that on anybody.
I think it would be good to debate about
1. What are we going to do when world oil resourses are gone?
2. What should we do about North Korea and the mounting threat?
3. How can we prevent all of our jobs from being exported to third world
4. Should the words "one nation, under god" be in the American
pledge of allegiance? (I think they should but you should have the option
not to say them.
5. What should we do about our national debt; and the falling dollar?
6. Is it a risk experimenting with highly-contageous diseases?
7. Should stem-cell research be legal?
8. Why are some people anti-abortion?
9. What is all of this nonsense about how women in the army should not
be in the front lines? (a big debate here in the U.S.)
10. Why do we exist as individuals? A species? A world? (ae: what is our
purpose being here?)
John Bancroft, England
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Only joking!
The most interesting thing I'd like peoples opinions on is this:
Could the African continent rescue itself, rather than relying on the
Could a collection of its countries adopt the US constitution wholesale,
redo the internal borders in a less arbitary way and become the new 'workshop
of the world'?
In its favour, it has a young and growing population, immense natural
resources and is geographically well placed.
Against: it has corrupt rulers, aid dependancy, it has only one international
statesman (Mandela), anyone with any sense leaves for the West (eg doctors
and nurses), AIDS.
Michel Bastian, France
> I think it would be good to debate about several issues:
1. What are we going to do when world oil resourses are gone?
>> My Response: Good question. What about alternative energies?
Things could be moving a lot faster there if only some of the political
heavyweights did something about it. Case in point: new german attack
submarines powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Why is it that we always have
to wait for technology to be developed by the military?
> 2. What should we do about North Korea and the mounting threat?
>> My Response: Another good one. Not a lot, as long as this raving
lunatic Kim Yong Il is in charge there. Last thing I heard he wanted to
pass laws forbidding bicycles.
> 3. How can we prevent all of our jobs from being exported to third
>> My Response: God, you don´t waste time on the small issues,
do you? I suppose it would take a trained economist to give you answer
to that one. And I bet even he won´t be able to provide you with
a definitive answer.
> 4. Should the words "one nation, under god" be in the American
pledge of allegiance? (I think they should but you should have the option
not to say them.
>> My Response: That´s what the germans do. However, this
is a question for the americans on this board.
> 5. What should we do about our national debt; and the falling dollar?
>> My Response: Get rid of Bush. But it´s too late for that
now, isn´t it?
> 6. Is it a risk experimenting with highly-contageous diseases?
>> My Response: Short question, short answer: yes :-). But it has
to be done. Recently they found some kind of a vaccine against Ebola and
Marburg that way.
> 7. Should stem-cell research be legal?
>> My Response: That´s one for the values thread. Very pertinent
question, and one that will probably keep generations of philosophers
> 8. Why are some people anti-abortion?
>> My Response: might be because they have a different opinion than
those that are pro abortion :-). Sorry, of course I understand what you
mean. Actually, considering all these pretty hot topics, it might be indicated
to start a general thread on ethics.
> 9. What is all of this nonsense about how women in the army should
not be in the front lines? (a big debate here in the U.S.)
>> My Response: not only in the US, I can tell you. It´s the
Tuskeegee Airmen syndrome actually. It takes a lot of getting used to
and a lot of conservative prejudice and chauvinism has to be disposed
of (you have lots of that in any army, believe me).
10. Why do we exist as individuals? A species? A world? (ae: what is our
purpose being here?)
>> My Response: details, details .... ;-).
Hamanity has 3 urgent problens:
Industrial-technological environmental polution.
All other problems including world hunger habitat and freedom will not
be solved if we continue with the 3 above.
The pseusdo-well thinking idiotic LEFT pussyfoots about evil capitalism
and fosteres certain prejudices over others but bilieves in actions that
do not effect the big 3 problems.
The psuedo-paranoid ridiculous RIGHT has answers that cause calamities
and more prjudice whilst we still exist.
People will not solve the problem of our extinction or avoid calamaties
bu wishfull thinking and or wishfull talking as every on does. Effective
action is needed.
Bertrand Russell, who was neither left nor right oriented but broadminded,
quite rightly suggested such effective action to avoid nuclear extinction
during the cold war. He suggested that the big powers as they then were,
confiscate all the nuclear power and hand it over to the United Nations
and have this supervised by them. All aspirant new nuclear powers would
be stopped by the big power who would together ban nuclear and chemical
or biological weaponry through their common strength. They would balance
themselves to be politically neutral as a group together.
I may not have ti exactly as he meant it, but it seems to me that the
only way we all have a future is for
to meet and take over this sort of role, admitting other powers as they
see fit and preventing further prolifiration of the real nusties in weapons
of mass destruction.
Again, this is only an outline.
The point is that whishfull thinking and talking about how we should thinks
and they shoulod think and non interference in other affairs will ultimatelly
lead to smaller less responsible powers developing means of our destruction.
We have to stop at some point. You might say why not include Iran and
North Korea, but while we wait more and more problem situatioins will
The United Nations has a role but at the moment is inactive in this regard
and too political on the world scene which inlude countries with dubious
undemocratice systems. If those in power now do not make a stand then
there will probably come a time when and if a stand is made it will involve
This above idea can be modified but some such situation must I think occure
to save us all. it is not ideal but the point is that nothing is ideal
and the idealists will wait whilst they debate until doomsday.
I would be please to have it pointed out how ridiculouly wrong I am, please
do so as the above scenario is not ideal but I fear while you do so time
goes by without any resolution.
Roy Freesinger, USA
One of the main causes of Global Warming
is as ye know Corporate greenhouse gasses; the other that we seldom or
never read about is ORGASM, yes, hard to believe but our beloved orgasms
that have given us so much pleasure & guaranteed the continuance of
our human race. What's wrong with that, fercrysake? Do orgasms cause babies
to be born & grow up to be adults who make mors babies, und so wieder.
World population is reputed to be 6.4 billion, more or less, & is
predicted to grow to 11.5 billion by 2150. Are those 11.5B going to want
the same corporate products that we now enjoy, will that cause even more
greenhouse gases, or will there be so few people sprinkled around the
earth by then that greenhouse gasses & corporations will no longer
be a catastropic causation. Will our human race be obliterated. Is there
a chance that humans will reduce their orgasmic activity to the frequency
of elephants. Will viruses & bacteria inherit the earth. You &
I won't be here to observe the last supper, what think ye.
Does anyone understand the US Supreme Court
Ruling re: Gonzalez 28 June 2005.
I want to know the affect of this ruling, if any? on the failure of Texas
Attorney General John Cornyn (now a US Senator for Texas), District Attorney
Bruce Isaacks and Sheriff Lucas Weldon to investigate US Code, Title 18
crimes involving Nortel Networks Inc. in 2000.
I was affected by the crimes, and denied due process in Courts 362 and
393, Denton County District Court. Had the crimes been dealt with Nortel
Shareholders and Canadian Taxpayers would have been alerted to serious
The failure to investigate the crimes resulted in Nortel shareholders
not receiving a heads up there were 'bad apples' in the Company. Will
the ruling affect Nortel Shareholders' current Court claims against the
The Court is talking about domestic violence, but the US Supreme Court
Judges were inflexible about rules etc.
For the Court, Justice Scalia wrote, "the benefit that a third party
may receive from having someone else arrested for a crime generally does
not trigger protections under the Due Process Clause."
I note that Time Magazine was also affected this same day by the same
judges, and the magazine has backed down re: protecting sources.
I think these are issues that may determine the viablility of western
Democracies in the future, if it works for the US it works for other countries.
It also explains the emphasis the Bush Administration places on getting
the judiciary it wants.
If the US judiciary has passed a law to protect lawmakers from the results
of their wrongdoing, and the law is now putting limitations on media who
expose lawmakers' wrongdoing, what is in the future for the US? How much
longer will the US be able to stay a democracy?
Elaine Trewartha, Elaine Trewartha
In his book Timothy Garton Ash said a consensus
should be reached as to when intervention should take place in a country
that is abusing its citizens. He also talks of the dangers that can result
once countries start embarking on such interventions. We are from Zimbabwe
and know first hand the fear and oppression prevailing there. We now live
in South Africa with other Zimbabweans who have had to leave in order
to earn money to keep their families alive. Things have got dramatically
worse recently with Mugabe's "Drive out the trash" campaign,
and a calculated policy of killing his opponents through starvation, depriving
people of the right to earn a living or to constructing shelter, in the
absence of formal housing, is under way. Does anyone have any idea how
we can fight this "quiet genocide"?
1. If T.G.A. would writeing "Free World"
in seckend part of 2005, probobly more then a half of this book would
talk about oil prices. 60$... 100$ in end of year?!... Bingo!
2. Russia, what going to do Putin group, what about 2008 elections, where
is Chechenia (who knows?!), why Chirac, Shroeder and Zapatero talking
that EU have lovely relations with state wchich don't respect EU's borders?
(do Latvia, Lithuania and Estland talking to Zapatero how looks EU relations
with Marocco???) What Europe would say about new Hitler monument in Germany?
In he's times Germany was world superpower just like Stalin's Russia (where
you can find Stalin's monuments).
Ian Greenwood, Britain
Ian Greenwood, Britain
As an Australian born and left for UK at 22 years then naturalised British,
resident 28 years and returned via various overland trips in middle east,
india, USA and about 20 countries altogether, I'd say I might be able
to suggest an answer to the the reason why people want to be blown up
in a suicide. Forget the propoganda.
When I was in Israel in 1984, I saw the mud-brick buildings that housed
evacuees when the state of Israel was created. They were empty because
people had left when the West Bank was invaded by the Israelis. And the
people in the West (USA, UK etc) talk about property rights. On that same
trip, I saw the lack of any provision for the remaining people of the
Further erosion of rights occurred before 2001 (9/11)the first significant
blow against the nation that funds Israel distorting its economy to be
one of the most expensive in the world, yet little for the population
that has been shifted about so much.
When the hopelessness of the situation becomes intolerable for people,
they have little to lose in death and may want to draw attention to the
plight of their fellow sufferers in the only way they can.
Others may have noted that the domination of the USA of the global economy
is pretty widespread, leading to lack of choice of certain lines of product,
and an increase in the wealth of that nation, allowing further exploits.
So, apart from our personal boycott of such products, and seeking out
the 'local' in the shop (supporting small is beautiful) what can we do?
My suggestion is to devise an environmental levy (the Sustainabilty Boost)to
take a slice from the trade where the importing country has a large advantage,
invest half of the Boost in the importing country direct to projects of
renewable energy and sustainable transport, and return the other half
to the supplying nation where it should buy an average five times more
for the same kind of projects because of the currency exchange rate advantage.
In this way the wealthy, more polluting and consuming countries can begin
to contribute their fair share to the climate change and future resource
shortages that they are exacerbating. The 'poorer' countries would depend
less on aid for their basic transport needs, rail etc and get non-polluting
energy, the rich get similar benefits from their share.
This would require a very large international effort and further research
for the simplest form, and to this end I am personally working part-time
using my own resources in setting up the STEERglobal organisation, promoting
policy change, first at EU level.
STEER stands for Sustainability in Trade, Environment, Education and Resources.
I hope you can email messages of support or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
as well as posting them here.
The freeing of the world from the multi-nationals' and traders' current
practice of plundering the resources of the poorest countries has got
to be worthwhile in preventing that loss of hope now prevailing, as evidenced
by 'terror'. All funds should go to climate change but by using the currency
exchange rate advantage the larger share should go to the poorest countries
for their rail projects etc. hitherto unaffordable. It would be easily
understood by a tourist or trader who has purchased cheap local products.
I hope this idea offered in good faith could appeal to those wanting some
practical action about diverting funds to those needing it most.
Richard Macwilliam, UK
How about making a tree-like structure in
this debate so that people can talk to each other about their specialist
interests, rather than talking almost in isolated bubbles in one long
And has anyone mentioned spirituality? It's an aspect, like it or not,
and I don't mean religion either.
Apart from that the only way to get to grip with all this stuff is to
examine all of it at once since the individual parts all tie in.
Gary Brackett, the one world
I saw an article by Mr. Nash on Katrina and
I think he misses the point: what follows is another point of view:
There seems to be many ways to look at the events in New Orleans. I always
liked Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols) and his take on things, especially when
ŒAnarchy in the U.K.‚ came around. Now how can one even think
of the Œanarchy‚ in the flooded streets of lower Louisiana
as a positive thing! The word anarchy is one of those loaded words meaning
different things to different people. It‚s usually batted about
when situations of chaos have arisen; with bomb throwers, or like here
in Italy, the so-called anarchists and their mail bombs. The press likes
to vehemently denounce these groups as Œinsurrectionist anarchists‚.
(Also the Œanarchist‚ Black Bloc whose tactics I do not support!)
There is not enough time here to get into the historical roots of the
word, much less the history of anarchist movements, its philosophy and
the scarce number of anarchist successes (see Kronstadt, Russia 1920‚s;
Seattle, early 1900‚s; Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War).
Nor am I interested in a!
ny semantic discussions with journalists, right-wingers or Marxists. What
I want to talk about is how this disaster, this horrible plague of destruction
by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing chaos puts into high relief the question
of who we are for one another as a society, of the modern state (I mean
government) and the rule of coercive authority, and also of what we might
call the human spirit. More specifically this crisis calls into question
the role of the individual and society. These are for me the proper fields
of discourse when speaking about anarchy (anarchism).
The plague: the great and crazy French poet and theatre artist and theoretician
Antonin Artaud used the metaphor of the plague: The theatre like the plague
should strip away the veil of all societal forms: the hypocrisy, the rule
of violence, the fragile veneer of social order, the banality of daily
life and ALL of its tedious concerns. And equally so, the individual when
faced with crisis and a life and death struggle only the real and basic
concerns of life matter: the desire to survive. Or perversely one sees
exploding to extremes the driving forces that move ones desire, be it
gold, sex, power or ego survival.
What is important when crisis strikes? What becomes of our cherished ideas,
of government, of religion and philosophy, of a life of status and prestige,
of property and power? In a crisis of great magnitude all the ruling structures
of our culture are laid bare and shown for what they really are: illusions,
shells of thoughts and ideas. Just talk! And in the end, when confronted
with harsh, brutal, relentless and raw life, such as the plague, or Hurricane
Katrina- to use the vernacular: out come our true colors.
If in New Orleans we are surprised at the lawlessness, if we are shocked
by the viciousness of individuals, if we are dismayed at the blatant racism,
if we are disheartened by the ineffectiveness of government, if we are
disgusted by yet another media frenzy feeding upon suffering, if we are
left in wonder at the posturing and dallying of our president, if we are
baffled by the callousness of the many absurd and ridiculous statements
expressed in the press and on the Internet, well then, Katrina is the
wake-up call that perhaps we need. For beyond the immenseness of the tragedy
and loss of countless persons, the lesson to be gathered from this disaster
is that it raises the question of who we are as a people, as a nation,
and why have we so miserably failed.
When the forms and structures of our city fall away, the jails, the police,
the law, the economies of buying and selling and of work, we are left
naked and exposed to the brute reality of just what is a city: and what
is a city? Without going too deep into an anthropological survey of its
origins, I think we can safely say that a city exists on two basic fronts:
one is a state of war where many poor people, and some other less poor
people, must work and survive and scramble to procure their basic necessities-
necessities which by the way are NOT scarce albeit for a false sense of
scarcity created by a system that must create a false sense of scarcity
in order to maintain a system of privilege and wealth. And on the other
front we have the multitude of citizens who pacifically co-exist with
each other: creating, helping, working, loving, despairing, hoping, dying:
millions of mostly poor people who simply by reason of their innate goodness
Yet, and it‚s a big yet, in our CULTURE, what are the prevailing
ideas that guide and influence the behavior and mindsets of these multitudes?
Well if we look at „Big Brother‰ and other reality shows,
for example, where to compete, lie, maneuver and basically F___ over your
competitor is the way to win; if we examine the prevailing winds that
say to be greedy and selfish is the way to get ahead; if we scrutinize
conflict where to launch violence against your neighbors is justified;
if we see that to get ahead in the world means to step over your co-workers;
if we acknowledge that a person‚s worth is based on how much one
accumulates money and status symbols, we see then that many if not most,
aspects of our so called culture are based on the cult of competition,
greed and selfish individualism. With the messages that we are bombarded
with everyday (not to mention the enormous amount of violence we see,
and while I‚m at it, thank you NRA, the idea that we have a right
to buy !
and use guns to defend yourself, i.e. that killing is sometimes justified),
IS IT ANY WONDER that what we have seen this last week in New Orleans
presents the worst characteristics of our culture?!
In simple words, a crisis brings out the best or the worst in us. WE are
to blame: not Bush, not the government, not the racism of Yahoo or the
media. We have not laid the necessary groundwork of a caring nation. Which
do we teach: Everyman for himself, or, All for one and one for all?
To finish: last night I saw the DVD Meet John Doe (by F. Capra). It‚s
the story of a rising social movement outside of the political mainstream
of party politics, of a grass root movement of compassion for the underdog,
of getting to know your neighbors (who nobody knows in America); of people
solving problems by their own initiative (there was a telling scene of
a welfare administrator lamenting that their offices were now becoming
obsolete thanks to the work of community organizations, the John Doe Clubs.).
This is exactly what is lacking in the USA. There is little sense of helping
one another, of self-initiating and not waiting for the government, of
creating real communities and extended families and tribes; of a real
counter-culture to this culture of selfishness and greed. (All of these
positive things DO exist of course, but they are drowned out by mass media
and Œpopular‚ culture, a veritable swamp of lies and false
When disasters strikes, and I believe we will face other disasters soon
enough in this world, be it crisis from energy, ecology or economic, then
we will see the great distance between our professed ideas and ideals
coming again into sharp relief with our actual behavior. To talk the talk
is not enough; we must begin to walk the walk: with our neighbor, the
stranger, the immigrant, the person of a different color, or religion
or sexuality- to walk, rich and poor together. And hopefully the rich
and the many of us who emulate their ethics and morals will let go of
this culture of privilege and selfishness that continues to divide us.
We see now too clearly just how dangerous and evil this society of the
„me-culture‰ has become. It‚s time we started preparing
ourselves. Is this asking too much?
Patxi Etxebarria, Basque Country, Spain
It would be interesting to know what you, citizens of big nation-states
as US and UK, France, Italy, etc think about the right of minority nations
- such a Scotland, Wales, Quebec, Basque Country, Catalonia, Corsica,
etc - to protect their language and cultures.
What is the political solution?
What do we do with Iran, with agressive Nuclear
Can we allow a nuclear armed Iran which has openly supported terrorists
in the world to terrorise ordinary citizens of the world.
Can we imagine the terrorists having access to the nuclear arm?
John Gilmartin, New Zealand
We should be discussing the second biggest
problem facing mankind after Global Warming which is "Peak Oil".When
sometime in this decade global production goes into terminal irreversible
decline,the end of the oil age,How are we going to cope?
There's heaps about this on the internet already so enough said.
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