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The transition to the post-carbon age,
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This review is from: A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Paperback)
In this mighty guide N.M.Ahmed analyzes the interconnection between the main aspects of the actual global human civilization crisis, except the world's demographic explosion or eventual pandemics. The dragon to be slain is neoliberal capitalism.
Climate change: a 6 'C temperature rise could wipe out all life on earth.
Energy scarcity: `peak oil' could lead to permanent high oil prices and new energy wars.
Food insecurity: industrial farming ravages the environment and denudes the soil. Vertically integrated food oligopolies are undercutting the livelihood of subsistence farmers.
Financial instability: financial liberalization and deregulation provoked a worldwide economic and banking crisis to be solved by the government (the taxpayer).
International terrorism: is linked to the world's over-dependence on oil. It is sponsored by Western intelligence in order to destabilize strategically important countries and to redesign actual geographical maps.
Political violence: its `normalization' by the `deep State' could generate `Police States' and curtail seriously civil liberties.
Neoliberal (`pure market') policies are unable to recognize long-term human costs by focusing on short-term profit maximization for a super-wealthy oligarchy (an imperial social system). Economically, it drives actually nearly exclusively on oil energy. Its ideology is based on unlimited growth and consumption maximization.
On the political front, there should be more real democracy (decentralization of power) through community-lead governance.
On the economic front, there should be sustainable (not unlimited) growth.
On the social front, there should be new mechanisms for more equal wealth distribution, land reform and widespread private ownership of productive capital.
On the financial front, there should be a monetary reform based on interest-free loans (only fees for banks) for productive and innovative investments.
On the energy front, there should be large-scale investments in decentralized renewable energy technology (solar, tidal, wind, bio-fuels, geothermal, hydro-electric).
On the agricultural front, there should be smaller localized organic agricultural enterprises.
In one word, there should be a new human model through a cultural reevaluation of the human lifestyle.
The author could underestimate the demographic explosion which he sees steadying at around 10-11 billion people.
Some of his Marxist concepts are debatable at least. The class struggle is only one element in the history of mankind. Other extremely important elements are power (see below), nationalism (the nation-State) or advances in medicine (vaccines, the pill), chemistry (fertilizers, plastics), technology (atom bomb, computers) or industrialization (spinning wheel, injection engine).
Man's nature (his genetic basis) doesn't change under altered production conditions. All people are materialist consumers (of cars). A class is the sum of its members, nothing less, but also nothing more. There are no `good' (proletarian) or `bad' (capitalist) genes. People use their own `class' for personal benefits.
Capital (investments) runs after profits, not the other way round: (dwindling) profits running after capital (and its organic components).
Having power means having a bigger chance (also genetically) to survive. E.g., in one European country nearly all its inhabitants are descendants of the dukes of Burgundy. In a capitalist system, power means money (capital); in a totalitarian system, power means being a (one) party chief, in a military dictatorship, power means being a general; in a theocracy, power means being a High priest; in a clan, power means being an `uncle'.
N.A. Ahmed wrote a highly necessary book, presenting (sometimes nearly utopian) solutions in order to save our planet. It is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.