Monday, July 20, 2015

A Utopia? No, thanks!


Overwhelmed by reading the Guardian's The End of Capitalism Has Begun" (17/07/2015), I couldn't but to compare it to my Education and Sustainable Development Goals - Notes on the HLPF published a week earlier. (10/07/2015).

Between my Note and the Guardian's article there are some common keywords such as;

  • Utopia/Utopic (goals)
  • Neoliberalism
  • Evolutionary
and key ideas such as;

  • The power shift from politicians to entrepreneurs through neoliberalism and;
  • the beginning of a new global era of sharing, solidarity, ..etc.
However, I see that declaring the "end of capitalism" and the arrival of a "Utopia" as pretty much naive and erratic. My idea - in spite of the apparent similarity, is that we are not there yet, and might never be there, in spite of the hard work and the good intentions, til we've managed to "align objectives" among stakeholders.

It is true that the sharing economy is on the rise, however, if this is necessarily an introduction to a Utopia, is dubious. Here is the paradox of a Utopia: You cannot expect to respect all people, all freedoms, all rights, all wishes, all cultures, all needs of all people and still avoid conflict or preserve ultimate peace. Freedoms and rights MUST conflict at certain points and this is where priorities must be set. So how can you have a Utopia without ultimate peace? Fear is that justice may be compromised assuming that such ultimate peace is attainable. The other paradox is that development is part of the sustainable development package. Development requires mobilization of resources. Mobilizing resources involves innovation. Innovation requires capital management. Capital management adheres to the dynamics of the free-market (neoliberalism)*. Unless capital management  has been actually - and realistically, arranged to work for equality; that the poor and vulnerable don't get crushed by the powerful and the ultra-rich, declaring an "end of Capitalism" would only be a joke!

The author states the Capitalism "will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviors. I call this postcapitalism".

So what exactly is this post capitalism which has already begun but will actually begin in the future and isn't anything that we really know or can define?! It will come to "reshape and create" but it does not even exist?This is one of the most self-contradictory proposals I've ever encountered.

Anyway, he calls this transformation "post-capitalism" while I, based on the recent UN global convention in New York (The High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 - HLPF), proposed the declaration of an era of global solidarity for conservation of life and survival of our human kind. The transformation in the horizon (global solidarity as described hereinabove), does not have to conflict with neoliberalism - in principle (even if it currently does). Neo-liberalism involves value exchange. When values change the game dynamics change subsequently. The breakthrough, then, begins by the successful philanthropic pressures of the masses, enlightened consumerism, social entrepreneurship and political will, in a fierce battle against hatred, discrimination and greed.

My proposal carries in it the justification, value and mechanism of transformation, but " The end of capitalism has begun" one, unjustifiably, celebrates what has not been yet attained - if ever.

Also, there is a difference between Utopic goals (i.e. as set of ambitious goals to reach equality, good health, freedom, peace for all), and the actual achievement of such goals. While goals must be ambitious, the designated means of implementation must be practical, rational and realistic, which why I proposed the Sustainable Development Goalsneeded to have been interlinked more coherently. The more we explore such interlinks, the more we hit areas of conflict and the easier it is to set priorities for implementation - based on mutual benefits (if possible) and the values we cherish the most.

There is still much work to do, and much hope in humanity, but it'll be all up to the people to get together and work for a better future.

*Please read the original notes for further explanation.

Education and Sustainable Development Goals - Notes on the HLPF
Justice between humans and animals - study

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