A Question of Balance

“It’s a question of balance.” I guess, this might be the most often-used phrase on this blog. Today, again, I would like to write about an important balancing act that is not easy to achieve. Particularly so, as we have to achieve it (almost) everyday. It is the balance between being satisfied, on the one hand, and not being satisfied, on the other. Continue reading

Justice in a Plural World

There is much talk about justice in the media. It has become a very popular word. And rightly so. In today’s world justice is very important – be it in the area of politics, economy or, increasingly, ecology. But what exactly is justice? Whom do we owe justice? And who are the “we”? What is the source of justice? What are its consequences? Is there something like the often invoked global justice? And if yes, what is its foundation (or: do we need a global government?)? What do democracy or human rights mean for justice? All these questions have been answered in many different ways by many different thinkers throughout history. One of those thinkers – a contemporary one – is Amartya Sen. His is the theory of justice I would like to present here (as it is discussed in his The Idea of Justice). Continue reading

Sustainability and Population Control

For the time being, the world population is approaching the level of 7 billion people (it probably will reach it this year). According to UN estimates, by the middle of the century there will be 9 billion people out there. Since we are already heavily pressing against the Earth’s carrying capacity limits, it is obvious that 2 billion more of us won’t alleviate the pressure – quite the opposite is to be expected. Thus it seems clear that a sustainable world economy require a constraint of the population growth (and, indeed, its reversal). Thus a group of scientists calling for a sustainable (or steady-state) economy – notably the economist Herman Daly – is calling for a form of population control to achieve this. Continue reading

Why Actually?

Today I’ve been thinking on the question: why actually care? Why is development, sustainability, justice, human rights so important to me? Why cannot I just let people in Africa starve? At last, I am living a convenient life in Middle Europe. Poverty? I don’t think I’ll ever experience any. Global warming? I won’t live long enough to experience any remarkable effects in “my” climate zone. Justice? The country I live in is just, at least in comparison with the many authoritarian regimes in the world. Human rights? Mine are respected. Continue reading

Right Livelihood Award 2010

What a coincidence. Today morning I thought about writing a post about the Alternative Nobel Prize. A couple of hours later I read this article about 2010’s laureates of the Right Livelihood Award – a.k.a., the Alternative Nobel Prize. This prize, established by Jakob von Uexkull 30 years ago, is thought to honour those who are trying to find solutions of the most challenging problems of our time. Here are the laureates: Continue reading