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January 01, 2011


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"we are doomed to failure, doomed to waste great wads of donor money, unless we understand these connections."

In terms of making connections, I warmly recommend a talk by Stephen Bezruchka:


He develops your statement in terms of US health, lifespan, and other indices of a culture that has lost its way, and is facing "structural violence" generated by impoverishment and ignorance.


Thanks, tm. To other folks looking for a good read along these lines, I recommend The Spirit Level, which looks at a broad range of indicators across many countries to conclude that the more unequal a society is (in terms of wealth distribution, access to resources, etc.), the more likely it is that all people in that society--rich and poor--will suffer. I think I have a good sense of the forces that produce these inequities. American Consumerism is about seeing ourselves both as corporatist victims and perpetrators. What kind of consciousness is required of us? What difference can or should this consciousness make in the conduct of our work, in the purchases we make, in how we spend our free time, in our activism?


One person who seems to get this whole Consumerism being created in childhood deal is John Taylor Gatto. He wrote a slim volume entitled "A Different Kind of Teacher" which hits on Chomsky's points here rather nicely.

My grandfather sits on the school board, and I have just ordered him Gatto's latest work, "Weapons of Mass Instruction." I highly recommend that you pick it up and share your insights with us here!



Thanks for the tip, Mazarine.


Came back to reread this. Very powerful and condensed statment of the underlying realities. To the book list in this thread I might add Bruce Sievers Civil Society, Philanthropy and the Fate of the Commons. The corporatist viewpoint is now subliming itself into notions of shared value, double bottom lines, and balanced scorecards. We must hope that the corporations that rule us do so with a balance between self interest and the public good. If not, who can blame them? They were never set up for that balance. We the people as you note are in Wal-Mart shopping for flipflops. Next hurricane to hit New Orleans, Wal-Mart will be there as the first responder, along with the company formerly known as Blackwater.


Albert, I would like to congraultate you on your pithy disclaimer, one of the best I have seen.

Legal Matters
The views expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employers.

You might add Trustees and Funders to employer, just to be on the safe side. The allusion to multiple authors might best be bolstered with documentation of your own insanity. I do hear voices and have found my well documented moral insanity that has gotten me out of many a jam, though the straightjacket is not much of an improvement over the dungeon.


Being an awkward person, I prefer the straightjacket to the dumpster, never quite knowing what to do with my hands when I'm in front of other people.

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