tag : bright yellow-green apples: mountains and vallys

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Saturday, July 09, 2005

mountains and vallys

figure 4.21. we, the class of 2005

It's been a very eventful week in this country - and on two matters, the getting the 2012 olympics and the London bombings, I think I'll best leave otherts to say for now.

There's been a whole range of reactions to the G8 decisions, with various lines taken. The fact that there's discussion of whether it's a half full or a half empty glass is sad; there shouldn't even be halves. What strikes me most about the actions they've agreed to is the time delays in implementation - the increases will be achieved by 2010, and so on. Ultimately they took some notion of 'realism' and allowed themselves to think things could carry on as normal, but a little bit more. Apart from some big thinking on aids, there was no real consideration of how approaches to trade and climate change need a big re-evaluation. The fundamentals were skirted over. Perhaps we expect too much, indeed, but it'd be nice to think they could be a little bit brave. Political will seems to be a selective thing. With any luck, the movement to help them see sense will now continue...

make poverty history responce


Blogger ash said...

I think they lack political will for change. They took the option that will cost the least and make the public think they've done a lot.

FAIR TRADE is what will get Africa out of poverty, and what will make sure they stay out in the long-term. Unfortunately, It is what will cost our governments, corporations and, ultimately, you and me the most in terms of money and lifestyle choices. It is, though, the only viable way forward.

As for climate change, Mr.Bush needs to be slapped round the face with a wet fish while someone says in a very high-pitched voice "silly, silly, silly" until he understands that climate change is not because of nature or God but because of people lording it over nature as if nature is theirs and will submit.

2:25 PM  
Blogger hatchris said...

Well, Bush has accepted that it's happening, mostly caused by human action and probably needs sorting out - it's him being in the oil industrys pocket that will be the problem.
I don't actually think climate change is occuring due to our lording it over nature, more greed leading to ignorance (albeit an ignorance people would rather not give up)
As for other comments on the G8, it may seem disapointing but I think that the fact the leaders are in almost total agreement on everything else but climate change is remarkable. It's a long road to fixing this worlds problems, and we may never reach the end, but taking a first step is the hardest part...and I for one am very happy that enough momentum is getting behind the various poverty and trade campaigns to start pushing the world leaders towards action.
I think they do care almost as much as some campaigners, I'm less cynical about politicans than many....but they also know that balancing their own countrus budgets is pretty tricky, so a huge overnight leap in cash outflow would be difficult to acheive. I could say more, but I'm hogging the comments.......thanks for the space to vent :0)

11:02 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Chris -

Thanks for some of the balance; you've managed to reflect the more optimistic side of me, that got left behind amidst the cynicism.

It could be possible to say that Blair's narrative about how these announcements mark 'the begginings of engagement' and 'only the start of a long term commitment' are simply his pragmatic reaction to a limited sucess. That he's conjouring a paradigm shift in the approach of leaders out of a dissapointingly restrained agreement. But even this excercise in shadow puppets is pretty intresting. As you say, the gradual shift in Bush's rhetoric - though somewhat less advanced than a lot of public and political position in the USA by now - is one of the more notable subnarratives in the recent discussions. The trick will be to see whether that tacit public shift results in action on the administration's part, or "warm words" that're effectively the same policies rehashed.

The causes of such actions - from all our low level short sightedness, right up to the monstrous denials of some high ranking fgures in that country - are rather had to pin down. I would still maintain that there are some fundamental inspirations that lay behind our various dysfunctional reactions to our environments, as well as ignorance and misunderstanding. Our place in the world - from environmentalism, to our using anything to hand at a rapid rate - often has ideological undercurrents. We're fairly short sighted, but we also live in cultures that drew from the stories in Genesis in such a way as to see a divine mandate to use the earth for our sole benefit. Perhaps a reapraisal of our heritage, such that has impacted our life in relation to the natural world, will come more readily in a 'secular' Europe? But how does that relate to a staunchly 'godly country like the USA? Hmm, I'm just thinking outloud now...

I was reading a piece about the 2005 G8 today, and the commentator noted that, in his fairly long memory, this was a remarkable summit. In the context of most meetings, less so with time, it was quite concrete in social action and actually paying attention to worldwide concerns - rather than a usual laissez-faire complacency amid the rich establishment. If this is the start of a trend, then there's reason to hope.

It's for some to be realistic, and for others to demand the best. Somewhere along the way, thier collisions tend to bring about something.

12:21 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Ash -

Some of this I've touched on, particularly the environmental stuff.

But I should just say - to slip back into my my perhaps cynical costume for a minute - that of course the leaders are going to big up thier announcement for all it's worth. They are politicians, and will think in terms of the best image. This is not necessarily hypocracy, though it depends on whether they implicitly ackowledge the ideal situation whilest talking about the wonders of a few millions.

Aid and dept cancellation are pretty easy, in a way. What would cost them far more, and be a worthy risk to justify any labels of 'heroic' in the history books, is to tackle trade and economics. There are some blatent inbalances in demands (G8 countries seem to get away with tarifs, whilst demanding the lowering of developing county ones), that cannot be patched over with smiles with any credibility. As another article today pointed out, the witness of reality - where many African countries are showing terrible effects of the free-market imposition, and countries like China that flirt with capitalism and some state intervention are doing pretty well - counts against a free market fundamentalism. Perhaps the upcoming Hong Kong summit will be where this is given some consideration.

12:30 AM  

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