We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, February 26, 2016

China and the 21st Century Crisis

Click here to access the book review by Sean Ledwith of Minqi Li's book by this title.

Minqi Li's intellectual journey has taken him down many paths that seem incompatible, to say the least. However, I am impressed by his sincere desire to understand the major issues that are confronting humans in this new century. Thus, I recommend that you read this review and especially the interview which Minqi Li had last year that was referred to in this article. I found that the latter interview gave much more of an appealing exposure to his ideas than this rather conservative reviewer did. To substantiate this latter claim, I offer the following passage from the interview:
In particular, the defining feature of capitalism has to do with its capacity to accumulate capital on increasingly larger scales. This is what really distinguishes capitalism from all pre-existing social systems. An obvious limit to this tendency towards “endless accumulation” has to do with the ecological constraints. Of course, a technology optimist will argue that we can have both infinite economic growth and ecological sustainability. I think there are fundamental reasons why ecological sustainability cannot be achieved under the condition of endless economic growth, or at least with an economic growth rate high enough to sustain economic and social stability required for capitalism, no matter how you measure “economic growth”. In any case, it is beyond dispute that, despite all the talks about “sustainable development” or “green growth”, the world continues to head relentlessly towards global ecological catastrophes. We know this as we observe that the global ecological deficit (the gap between ecological footprint and bio-capacity) continue to widen and the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases keeps rising year after year.

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