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Posts Tagged ‘current events’

It is relatively easy for any of us to state our opinions about what the world ought not to look like. Not many of us want to see war, death, destruction, high taxes, joblessness; none of us wants to be a slave, nor homeless, afraid. Many moral, social, and political theorists have spent time and energy attempting the more difficult task of trying to express what the world ought to be like. From Plato to Aristotle, Marx, Mills, Adam Smith to Che Guevara, to Milton Friedman–all of them have attempted (even without success) to create a system that will overcome the ills in the world. It is a difficult task to espouse an entire theory of state or social and economic theory.  It is so easy to look around the world and see it’s problems. Solutions are always so much more difficult to come by.

I would like to say that I live in a world without poverty. War is greed. Success is defined too often by Bill Gates’ and not often enough by Gandhi’s. While I think it is important to acknowledge ideals,  I would like to avoid being overly idealistic because idealism must exist in the face of realism. I do not think that a social utopia is possible to achieve in a world with so many competing interests; but I do think we can do better. It is our duty as people to create the best possible world. Rather than tell you how we can make the world a better place, I would like you to tell the world how we can make it a better place. Please leave a link to an inspiring story (video, book, blog…etc.) in the comments box. This story should include something that would make this world a better place. How does it sit in the face of realism, that is, is it something attainable for the many? Be creative.

Thank-you for sharing your inspiration with the world.

~Justin Allen Philcox

Here is a link I have chosen in response:

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When government spies and internet giants pool their money together it should turn some heads. It is 2011 and 1984 is just entering the month of February. Google and the Investment Branch of the CIA, NSA, and FBI etc. (In-Q-tell) invested in the same company together. Want to know what they are up to? Follow this link down a bit of a rabbit

hole to an article full of other links to really get you thinking about the future we are heading towards: Financial Post

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A stronger Chinese currency (RenMinBi (RMB) or Yuan to which it is also referred) would change the world as we know it. The US has long been trying to persuade the Chinese to increase the value of their currency with very little success. If the RMB were to rise drastically in value (becoming closer to the US currency in value), the cheap consumer goods that the world purchases from China would cost more. This would have several possible effects: we may pay more for our goods here; our goods would compete more with Chinese goods on the international and domestic markets and within China itself; some other country, besides China, with a lower currency would more than likely attract massive foreign investments; China’s growth would effectively slow due to disinvestment in favour of a country with a lower currency (perhaps Mexico???) leaving the US in its position as the sole global superpower;  China’s US foreign currency reserves would be less valuable in relative terms…etc., etc. The list of changes that could ensue is long.

Since most of these scenarios puts the US at an advantage over China, and since the losses would outweigh the gains for China, it is likely that the Chinese will not increase their currency very much; if at all.

The US is now looking to Brazil to support them in their demand that China increase the value of the RMB; Brazil would also likely serve to gain with an increased value in RMB through an increase in Brazilian exports. While having other countries back the US demand may put more pressure on the Chinese to increase their currency, it is still unlikely that the Chinese will do so.

The US is also unable to drastically lower its own currency value since this could result in many nations dropping the US currency as the stable world currency in favour of another currency like the Euro.

The US is in decline and it needs China to slow down in order to maintain its current position at the top. The latest January/ February 2011 Foreign Policy cover story suggests that the US is on a path of permanent decline. China knows that this is the case and they have demands on the US that the US is unwilling to meet. For example, China has concerns over US military presence throughout the Asia pacific region (most notably in South Korea and Japan; but the Chinese are also concerned about weapons trading between Taiwan and the US). China can continue to rise in power if it holds its currency at its current value. At the same time China knows that it can wait for the US decline to force them out of their military and geo-strategic position in the Asian-Pacific. For all of these reasons, I see it as very unlikely that the Chinese will sabotage their own gains by increasing the value of their currency so that the US can remain as the world superpower.

However, it will become an increasingly important goal of the US to do something about this situation. All we can do is wait and see what that is. It most certainly will not be war with China, and the US will have to be cautious in its approach to avoid diplomatic and trade retaliation from China itself.  How do you think this situation is most likely to play out?

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Popular uprising occurs at a time when the people want to be heard and not just told what to do. People want power over their own lives; even, it can be argued,  if power merely comes in the form of a democratic process. People want to feel that they have a say over who governs them. The 20th century saw mass protests around the world in the name of Democracy–we saw some of the most gruesome of wars imaginable in the name of defending Democracy and Capitalism against the spread of Communism. The US fought wars in Europe, South America, and throughout Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia,  and Korea); all, by their logic, to stop the spread of Fascism and Communism. Millions fought and died so that one ideology (Democracy) could flourish.

The questions still remains whether Democracy is real or imagined; or whether it is even a good thing to let the majority decide–How much of a say do the people really have about the kinds of rulers they choose and the political ideologies that political parties espouse? Most contemporary world politicians are seemingly inextricably linked to Neoliberal and Neoconservative ideologies that stress the importance of free market capitalism and globalization; and this scenario  appears more and more to play out in favor of the economic elite at the demise of the world’s majority. The question that the 2011 revolutions raise for me is whether  the people have had enough of Neoliberalism/Neoconservativism; in which the majority suffers at the hands of the minority; or whether people merely want to say that they live in a Democracy where they feel that they actually have some say about who they have as their leader.

If, the people merely want democratically elected government, then these revolutions may only occur in nations where Democracy has not taken root. However, if these revolutions are occurring because there is a problem with the main political ideology in the world today (Neoliberalism/Neoconservativism) then these three revolutions may not be the only ones that the world experiences this year; or in the decade to come. If it is a question not of Democracy but of dominant political ideology, the consequences of these first dominoes falling could be much grander than these, relatively small, national revolutions crossing borders this past month.

Only time can tell…but how the story is told in the media can have a great impact on how the rest of the world’s people choose to react and respond. If the world is told that it is because the people desire Democracy, the resultant spill-over into other nations could be minimal; however, if rhetoric is turned toward ideology, the result could be world altering. My assumption, seeing that most forms of media are owned by those gaining from the current economic power structure in place, is that these revolutions will be framed around the attainment of Democracy as the desired form of good government. The power of discourse in this case is critical.

~Justin Allen Philcox

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