The influential Spanish sociologist and network society researcher Manuel Castells paraphrased the famous quotation from Marx’ and Engels’ Communist Manifesto in a very interesting way: “Proletarians of all countries, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” became a sentence about today’s citizens of Europe, “They have nothing to lose but their cancelled credit cards!”. It is an expression meant to symbolize the failure of two intermingled societal constructs: financial capitalism and consumer society. Continue reading
While reading the collection of essays “Economics, Ecology, Ethics” edited by Herman Daly, in “Humanity at the Crossroads” by Paul and Anne Ehrlich I found a very interesting term – overdeveloped countries. Normally, when we speak about, say, the U.S. or Japan or the member states of the European Union, we call them “developed countries” or, as a whole, the “developed world” – in contrast to the “developing world”, consisting mainly of African, Latin American and Asian countries.
Can any country “overdevelop”, as the Ehrlichs implicitly claim? I would argue that yes: not only is this possible – it is actually the reality in many richer societies of this world. So, instead of calling them “developed”, we maybe should use the term “overdeveloped” instead. Continue reading
People don’t need enormous cars, they need admiration and respect. They don’t need a constant stream of new clothes; they need to feel that others consider them to be attractive, and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don’t need electronic entertainment ; they need something interesting to occupy their minds and emotions. Continue reading
What hides behind the catchy title above is one of many possible perspectives one could take to look at the so called Western society. In my eyes, it is a very important perspective, with whose help one may explain a lot of (negative) phenomena in the world of the rich. Although, I admit, it does not provide a straightforward solution to any of them. Continue reading