Friday, January 30, 2009


Part One

Today, I read Jonathan Schell's article 'Obama and the Return of the Real'. The entire article is worth your while to say the least.

I am going to start in the middle where he is speaking of at least four major world crises which he considers even larger in scope to than the current economic one:

1) The shortage of natural resources, beginning with fossil fuels.

2) The spread of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction including: arms seepage, "arms osmosis, owing to the deadly know-how that is spreading from brain to brain in a kind of virtual pollution."

3) The ecological one: global warming, the wholesale human-caused annihilation of species, population growth, water and land shortage and more.

4) The failure of the American bid for global empire and the consequent decline of American influence abroad. "The bid has run aground in the sands of Iraq and in the mountains of Afghanistan, among other places."

Then, after this above list with a little history and specifics, Schell comes up with ways in which all the above crises, including the current economic one, are alike:

1) They are all self-created: "They arise from pathologies of our own activity, or perhaps hyperactivity. The Greek tragedians understood well those disasters whose seeds lie above all in one's own actions."

2) These crises are the result of excess, not scarcity: "Too much credit packaged in too many ways by people who were too smart, too busy, too greedy. Our energy use was too great for the available reserves. The nuclear weapon overfulfilled the plans for great-power war, making it--and potentially ourselves--obsolete through oversuccess...The economic activisty of humanity...too voluminous to be sustained by fragile natural systems..."sustainability" applies more broadly...debts, oil use, spread of WMDs...pretensions of empire...crashing all at once...adding up to a new era of correct overreaching."

3) All the crises involve theft by the living from their posterity.

4) All are characterized by double standards "which everywhere block the way to solutions."

5) All display one or more common it isn't this a word much more apt than delusions? The word is - yes that's right- BUBBLES!

Well, now I know you'll want to read the rest:


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