In 1979, I had a debate at the United Nations with the late Stan Swinton, then the very powerful and brilliant director of Associated Press (AP). At one point, I furnished the following figures (which had been slow to change), as an example of Western bias in the media:
While the Third World War has not been formally declared, conflicts throughout the world are reaching levels unseen since 1944.
It is a great pity that, beside opening the doors to ethics, social justice and peace, Pope Francis does not also give indications of updating traditional theology. The most urgent task is to update the Seven Deadly Sins.
“An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted” is a phrase from Arthur Miller which applies well to the European elections that have just ended. What those elections showed was that disenchantment with Europe as an ideal has grown to a dangerous point.
Not a day goes by without news on the growing inequality that is the telling indicator of the kind of economic model in which we have put ourselves, following the neoliberal binge unleashed by the Washington Consensus. The idea that economic growth is “a rising tide lifting all boats”, as the late Margaret Thatcher declared when she announced war on the welfare state, and its twin “capital will trickle down to everybody”, are now totally discredited. Facts, as it has been said, are stubborn.
For weeks now, the mainstream media have been unanimously engaged in denouncing Vladimir Putin’s action in Crimea first and Ukraine now. The latest cover of The Economist depicts a bear swallowing Ukraine, with the title “Insatiable”.
In case you missed it, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final part of a report on Apr. 13 in which it says bluntly that we only have 15 years left to avoid exceeding the "safe" threshold of a 2°C increase in global temperatures, beyond which the consequences will be dramatic.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “The rich are different from you or me”, yet in his days, in the early years of the 20th
century, the rich were not subject to public scrutiny, and were generally an object of envy, not resentment.
It is now generally accepted that the North-South divide created at the end of the colonial era and the coalition of New Countries against the powerful North of the world ended with the arrival of globalisation. There are now areas of the Third World inside the North, and areas of the North inside the South.
At this time of hope for what the new year may bring, it would be useful to look at the legacy we carry with us from the year we leave behind. It was a year full of events - wars, rising social inequality, unchecked finance, the decline of political institutions, and the erosion of global governance.
Much has been written about U.S. brinkmanship with default, but the clear lesson that can be drawn from this unprecedented situation is that a lunatic fringe can block democracy.
A recent report by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
at the London School of Economics called attention to the fact that, at the present rate of inequality, by the year 2025, the United Kingdom will have returned to the unequal society of the end of the 19th century. In other words, we are going back to the times of Queen Victoria!
Few people today know that when the first news agencies were created in the 19th century, the French Havas and the British Reuters divided the world between themselves.
At the last summit of European heads of state held in Brussels at the end of June, the main theme was youth unemployment, which has now reached 23 percent of European youth (although it stands at 41 percent in Spain).
The European Union (EU) has asked its citizens to brace for further economic misery. In a report on European economic prospects released on May 3, the European Commission said that further deterioration is expected to last at least until 2015. But, as every such report says, things will then get better.