Every country has its own perspective on the second world war. This is not surprising when experiences and memories are so different. For Americans, the war started in December 1941; for Russians, it began in June that year. Most Europeans believe it commenced in Poland in September 1939. But for the Chinese it started in 1937, with the Sino-Japanese war, and many in Spain are still convinced that it began in 1936 with General Franco’s nationalist rising to overthrow the Republic. Some historians extend the conflict further, arguing that it lasted from 1914 to 1945, or even from the Russian Revolution in 1917 until the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989.
The memory of the second world war hangs over Europe, an inescapable and irresistible point of reference. Historical parallels are usually misleading and dangerous. The threat of economic collapse now is not the same as the threat of Nazism and war. But the current crisis still poses a threat to parliamentary democracy in Europe. It may awaken the nationalist monsters which the European ideal had tried to consign to history.
We again face the danger of a world depression and we are beginning to see mass unemployment in some countries, especially in southern Europe (see left). Last year, Giles Paxman, the British ambassador in Madrid, pointed out how remarkable it was that despite the terrifying levels of youth unemployment in Spain, there had been an astonishingly low level of social disorder. The demonstrations of the “Indignados,” the young Spaniards who have taken to the streets to protest against austerity measures and unemployment, have been passionate but not violent. His theory is that the memory of the horrors of the Spanish civil war is acting like a nuclear threat in the background. He may well be right. Greece also suffered from a civil war, and although there have been a considerable amount of violent protests in Athens, folk memory is likely to hold the country back from outright conflict.
Surprisingly little has been said in the newspapers about one of the main weights on the Greek national budget: the totally disproportionate spending on their armed forces, swollen by the bogeyman figure of Turkey. One foreign minister revealed in private earlier this year that the Greek armed forces have bought so many Leopard tanks that they can hardly fit them all in along the strip of frontier facing Turkey. The Greek government must be afraid of cutting the defence budget back as much as is needed through fear of another coup. In fact, according to the editor-in-chief of Politiken in Denmark, a senior Greek official privately warned that their army is ready to take over at any moment,
The euro crisis has been a train crash in very slow motion, accompanied by several years of political and economic denial. The ideology of European unity has been such an article of faith that it has prevented its political establishment from understanding the harsh reality of a wider world. Those arguing for a relaxation of austerity, such as the new French government, are trying to wish into being their ideal international order. One of Hollande’s ministers, Arnaud Montebourg, even calls for “de-globalisation,” as if clocks can be turned back, with tariff barriers reintroduced. Globalisation and the internet go hand in hand.
The left in France dreams of a world in which the bond markets no longer exist to punish over-spending. This defiance of cause and effect is slightly reminiscent of that bankrupt France after the Liberation in 1944 when the Parisian intelligentsia convinced themselves that progressive ideas would triumph over the “filthy money” of the capitalist system. And that in turn was a curious echo of the Grandmaison doctrine on the eve of the first world war, which stated that French élan in a bayonet charge could somehow overcome heavy artillery.
Just because we in the west have enjoyed a rising standard of living over several centuries, we are deluding ourselves if we try to believe that has somehow become an inalienable human right. Christine Lagarde’s controversial interview earlier this year, in which she said she had more sympathy with sub-Saharan Africa and which caused such fury in Greece, was probably also a veiled warning that parts of Europe may soon face conditions akin to those of the third world. Europe is also much more vulnerable to what one might call the moral crisis of capitalism. That sense of entitlement, of materialistic human rights in social security that has grown over the years, has produced an angry disbelief at any suggestion that this cannot continue and that government spending needs to be cut. At the same time, European populations are reacting against another integral part of the change. In the past, capitalism has always been able to justify its inherent inequalities on the grounds that, however wide the gap, at least the poor were slightly better off. That is patently no longer the case.
Perhaps the only consolation is that we are living in an ideological vacuum. Europe is not torn between the Manichaean false alternatives of Stalinism and Nazism as it was in the 1930s. But both socialism and now capitalism also appear to have failed. Socialism because it depends on state spending and now all states have to cut back. And capitalism is in crisis, partly because of the self-destructive volatility which Marx identified, but also because the poor are getting poorer for the first time, and thus do not have the means to spend to create growth. Capitalism has also entered a downward cycle because incestuously corrupt dealing in financial centres is now alienating the very mass of the middle class on whom stock markets depend. Some claim that capitalism always manages to reinvent itself, but this time it looks unlikely.
In the spring of 1932, in Compton, California, an unemployed World War I veteran walked out to the farms that still ringed Los Angeles. He offered his labor in return for a sack of vegetables, and that evening he returned with more than his family needed. The next day a neighbor went out with him to the fields. Within two months 500 families were members of the Unemployed Cooperative Relief Organization (UCRO).
It operated a large warehouse, a distribution center, a gas and service station, a refrigeration facility, a sewing shop, a shoe shop, even medical services, all on cooperative principles. Members were expected to work two days a week, and benefits were allocated according to need. A member with a wife and two kids got four times as much food as someone living alone. The organization was run democratically, and social support was as important as material support. Members helped one another resist evictions; sometimes they moved a family back in after a landlord had put them out. Unemployed utility workers turned on gas and electricity for families that had been cut off.
Conventional histories present the Depression as a story of the corporate market, foiled by its own internal flaws, versus the federal government, either savvy mechanic or misguided klutz, depending on your view.The government ascended, in the form of the New Deal; and so was born the polarity of our politics—and the range of our economic possibilities—ever since.
Yet there was another story too. It embodied the trusty American virtues of initiative, responsibility, and self-help, but in a way that was grounded in community and genuine economy. This other story played out all over the U.S., for a brief but suggestive moment in the early 1930s.
To say UXA and the other cooperative economies faced challenges is to put it mildly. They were going against the grain of an entire culture. Anti-communist “Red Squads” harassed them, while radicals complained they were too practical and not sufficiently committed to systemic change.
But the main thing that killed the co-ops was the Works Progress Administration and its cash jobs. Those WPA jobs were desperately needed. But someof them were make-work, while the co-op work was genuinely productive.
The co-ops pleaded with FDR's Administration to include them in the WPA. Local governments were helping with gasoline and oil. But the New Dealers weren't interested, and the co-ops melted away. For years they were period pieces, like soup lines and Okies.
Today, the signs of financial and ecological collapse are mounting. We are strung out on foreign debt and foreign oil, and riding real estate inflation that won't last forever. Add the impendingc ollapse of the natural life support system, and the '30s could seem benign by comparison.
In this setting, the economics of self-help are increasingly relevant. The possibility of creating such an economy, though, might seem remote. In the 1930s, there still were farms on the outskirts of cities—family operations that could make barter deals on the spot. Factories were nearby too. Products were simple and made to last, and so could be scavenged and repaired.
Today's best ideas are often to be found among those rejected in the past. “We are not going back to barter, ”Carl Rhodehamel of UXA once said. “We are going forward into barter. We are feeling our way along, developing a new science.”
Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger's theories by computer-simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters' own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve — some were really good leaders, some, really bad, but most were mediocre — and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.
Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders."
"Robert Moses, the great builder of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s, or Oscar Niemeyer, the great architect of Brasilia, belong to a past when people still had concrete ideas about the future. Voters today prefer Victorian houses. Science fiction has collapsed as a literary genre. Men reached the moon in July 1969, and Woodstock began three weeks later. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this was when the hippies took over the country, and when the true cultural war over Progress was lost.
Today’s aged hippies no longer understand that there is a difference between the election of a black president and the creation of cheap energy; in their minds, the movement towards greater civil rights parallels general progress everywhere. Because of these ideological conflations and commitments, the 1960s Progressive Left cannot ask whether things actually might be getting worse. I wonder whether the endless fake cultural wars around identity politics are the main reason we have been able to ignore the tech slowdown for so long."
a great white light dawns across the
as we fawn over our failed traditions,
often kill to preserve them
or sometimes kill just to kill.
it doesn't seem to matter: the answers dangle just
out of reach,
out of hand, out of mind.
the leaders of the past were insufficient,
the leaders of the present are unprepared.
we curl up tightly in our beds at night and wait.
it is a waiting without hope, more like
a prayer for unmerited grace.
it all looks more and more like the same old
the actors are different but the plot's the same:
we should have known, watching our fathers.
we should have knwon, watching our mothers.
they did not know, they too were not prepared to
we were too naive to ignore their
and now we have embraced their
ignorance as our
we are them, multiplied.
we are their unpaid debts.
we are bankrupt
in money and
there are few exceptions, of course,
but these teeter on the
edge and will
at any moment
tumble down to join the rest
the raving, the battered, the blind and the sadly
a great white light dawns across the
the flowers open blindly in the stinking wind,
as grotesque and ultimately
our 21st century
struggles to be
"I'm not being right-wing," she says. "The people who believe themselves to be on the left, and who defend the agents of Islam in the name of tolerance and culture, are being right-wing. Not just right-wing. Extreme right-wing. I don't understand how you can be so upset about the Christian right and just ignore the Islamic right. I'm talking about equality."
North Korea's ideology is not merely a nationalist-tinged communism of the old Yugoslav variety. It is a race-based worldview utterly at odds with the teachings of Marx and Lenin. And yet, the outside world continues in the illusion that North Korea is a hard-line Stalinist state. True, the nation's first leader, Kim Il Sung, was installed by Soviet occupiers after World War II. It is also true that the personality cult of Kim Il Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong Il bears superficial resemblance to the cults of Stalin and Mao. Yet look closer, and it's clear just how different North Korean ideology is. Not for nothing was the country almost as isolated during Soviet times as it is now in the post-communist world.
North Korea's race-centric ideology was inspired by that of the fascist Japanese who ruled the peninsula from 1910 until the end of World War II. Having been taught by their colonizers to regard themselves as part of a superior Yamato race, the North Koreans in 1945 simply carried on the same mythmaking in a Koreanized form. This can be summarized in a single sentence: The Korean people are too pure-blooded, and so too virtuous, to survive in this evil world without a great parental leader. This paranoid nationalism might sound crude and puerile, but it is only in this ideological context that the country's distinguishing characteristics, which the outside world has long found so baffling, make perfect sense. Up close, North Korea is not Stalinist -- it's simply racist.
What we are seeing is the decline of the classic African liberation movement and the proliferation of something else -- something wilder, messier, more violent, and harder to wrap our heads around. If you'd like to call this war, fine. But what is spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic is actually just opportunistic, heavily armed banditry.
But what I've come to understand is how quickly legitimate grievances in these failed or failing African states deteriorate into rapacious, profit-oriented bloodshed. Congo today is home to a resource rebellion in which vague anti-government feelings become an excuse to steal public property. Congo's embarrassment of riches belongs to the 70 million Congolese, but in the past 10 to 15 years, that treasure has been hijacked by a couple dozen rebel commanders who use it to buy even more guns and wreak more havoc.
All this might seem a gross simplification, and indeed, not all of Africa's conflicts fit this new paradigm. The old steady -- the military coup -- is still a common form of political upheaval, as Guinea found out in 2008 and Madagascar not too long thereafter. I have also come across a few non-hoodlum rebels who seem legitimately motivated, like some of the Darfurian commanders in Sudan. But though their political grievances are well defined, the organizations they "lead" are not. Old-style African rebels spent years in the bush honing their leadership skills, polishing their ideology, and learning to deliver services before they ever met a Western diplomat or sat for a television interview. Now rebels are hoisted out of obscurity after they have little more than a website and a "press office" (read: a satellite telephone). When I went to a Darfur peace conference in Sirte, Libya, in 2007, I quickly realized that the main draw for many of these rebel "leaders" was not the negotiating sessions, but the all-you-can-eat buffet.
We Futurists, who for over two years, scorned by the Lame and Paralyzed, have glorified the love of danger and violence, praised patriotism and war, the hygene of the world, are happy to finally experience this great Futurist hour of Italy, while the foul tribe of pacifists huddles dying in the deep cellars of the ridiculous palace at The Hague.
For us today, Italy has the shape and power of a fine Dreadnought battleship with its squadron of torpedo-boat islands. Proud to feel that the marital fervor throughout the Nation is equal to ours, we urge the Italian government, Futurist at last, to magnify all the national ambitions, disdaining the stupid accusations of piracy, and proclaim the birth of Panitalianism.
Futurist poets, painters, sculptors, and musicians of Italy! As long as the war lasts let us set aside our verse, our brushes, scapels, and orchestras! The red holidays of genius have begun! There is nothing for us to admire today but the dreadful symphonies of the shrapnels and the mad sculptures that our inspired artillery molds among the masses of the enemy.
I'm sad to see you go.
Principalmente porque na Europa só te vejo substituida por uma anomia a que chamamos humanismo.
The leaders of the Cold War alliance, which did so much to keep the peace in Europe for the latter half of the 20th century, are trying to stretch its scope and mission to the fighting fields of Afghanistan in a bid to keep it relevant—but they may be crossing a bridge too far.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates took a whack at the allies on Tuesday at a NATO Strategic Concept Seminar in Washington, D.C., berating all but a handful of them for spending too little on defense and paying too little attention to the gravest threats of the post-Cold War era.
He complained that just five of the alliance's 28 nations have met the common pledge to devote at least 2 percent of their gross domestic products to their military establishments—a shortfall that Gates decried as "NATO's budgetary crisis."
And while he lauded those nations that have agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan in the last few months, he noted that too few of them are providing the equipment—cargo planes, refueling tankers, helicopters, and reconnaissance drones—that's vital to the fight.
These failings, he concluded, raise doubts about whether NATO is capable of making the "transition" from "a static, defensive force," formed to deter and beat back a Soviet invasion of Europe, to "an expeditionary force" capable of staving off insurgents and terrorists in faraway lands.
"While we are all having a bun fight about class, Mr Willetts, head down, has been tapping away on his PC. And his idea is that we have been missing the big picture. Class matters, but demographics and generational shifts matter even more. That was the point of his Mirror Top 100 calculation — to show that our culture, economy and politics are shaped by the age profile of the population.
He gives many fascinating examples, but here’s my favourite. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Congo and Somalia have in common that they are teenage countries — they all have a median age of 19 years or younger. The UK’s median age is 42.5. This is one important reason why Britain is stable and Yemen isn’t. But Mr Willetts points out that our teenagers are very concentrated. Some housing estates have ended up with three children to every two adults — six times the national average. So while we look for the origin of the problems in tough estates by studying the benefits system or even the architecture, we may be missing the most important contributor — age composition."
They say you get more right-wing as you get older. I haven’t noticed this general trend in myself, but I do occasionally like to holiday on the right wing — to spend some time exploring right-wing thoughts — just for a change of scenery. My generally liberal ego takes a breather in the passenger seat and my right-wing id gets to take the wheel.
Bom exemplo de como quem recebe informação empresarial está sempre dois passos à frente das Universidades.
E anos-luz à frente dos politico, mas a ignorância deles é voluntária.
Devem querer invadir a Georgia outra vez.
"A Georgian blogger with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and Google's Blogger and YouTube was targeted in a denial of service attack that led to the site-wide outage at Twitter and problems at the other sites on Thursday, according to a Facebook executive.
Kelly declined to speculate on who was behind the attack, but said: "You have to ask who would benefit the most from doing this and think about what those people are doing and the disregard for the rest of the users and the Internet."