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.  

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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, or what?

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.

Przemek, Poland

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 or not.
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 World.
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 meaning of
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 Arab countries?
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 U.S.
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, Spain

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" are unanswerable.
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 values.
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 minister.
Let us hope for the better future.

Kevin, Israel

how much education does citizens receive in Isael

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 an identity.
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.

Jake, US

I think it would be good to debate about several issues:
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 countries?
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 West?
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

To Jake:
> 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 world countries?
>> 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 busy ;-).

> 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 .... ;-).

Maimon, Australia

Hamanity has 3 urgent problens:
Population growth.
Industrial-technological environmental polution.
Nuclear-chemical-biological annihilation.
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 arise.
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 much destruction.
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.

Patricia, Canada

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 wrongdoing.
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 Company?
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"?

Mathew, Poland

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 West Bank.
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 ian@steerglobal.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 list?
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 get along.
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 values.)
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?

Henrik, Norway

What do we do with Iran, with agressive Nuclear plans.
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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