Monday, March 26, 2012

The problem with Rowan Williams, and other links

Ben Myers: The problem with Rowan Williams. And some opposing thoughts from Michael Bird.

AlterNet: A history of the 40 hour working week. Why less is often more. Some evidence to back up the call to spend less, earn less, work less.

The Conversation: Oh the morality - Why ethics matters in economics. "An economic system that rewards amoral self-interest creates economic instability, fractures economic insecurity, fosters concentrations of economic power, exacerbates economic inequality and violates ecological sustainability."

The Inquisitr: Corruption in the USA. Eight states given an "F" and zero receive an "A".

Chomsky: Losing the World: American Decline - Part One and Part Two - The Imperial Way: American Decline in Perspective.

Liz Jakimow: What does table fellowship have to do with global justice? Quite a lot.

BGS: Kony 1984. There have been plenty of things written about the Kony 2012 viral video. I thought this was one of the more interesting ones, highlighting the way the film relies on the pursuit of peace through war, just like in 1984.

Reuters: Reports of smoking's demise are greatly exaggerated. Reports of smokers' demise are not. While rates of smoking (and associated mortality) in the developed world are in decine, they continue to grow rapidly in the developing world: "if current trends continue, a billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure this century - one person every six seconds."

The (en)rich list. One hundred inspirational people "whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures". Their "net worth" is measured in Google hits, which is perhaps just as arbitrary as counting dollars.
H/T Jeremy.

BWAA: The end of greed. A resource for a five week sermon series and/or Bible study that reflects on "consuming as if God, people and the planet matter". I haven't looked in detail at the contents, but I like the outline.
  1. Consuming as if God matters: Rejecting consumerism, embracing the kingdom
  2. Consuming as if People matter: Rejecting greed, embracing generosity
  3. Consuming as if People matter: Rejecting exploitation, embracing justice
  4. Consuming as if the Planet matters: Rejecting destruction, embracing care
  5. Consuming as if Animals matter: Rejecting cruelty, embracing kindness
H/T Liz.


Irith said...

I find the Michael Bird perspective incredibly narrow, though I know that his frustrations are widely shared. Traditional societies all over the globe, and since the earliest times, have dealt with decisions slowly, incrementally, always aiming for consensus, and being prepared to patiently wait for unity. This devotion to pursuing unity often has its costs. Justice can be delayed, people can suffer, wellbeing can be sacrificed, but all these costs and others are willingly paid for the sake of consensus. Why? Because it is only by the slow path to consensus that conflicts can be sustainably and thoroughly resolved. A quick 'winner take all' democratic vote disenfranchises the (sometimes large) minority. This is the road to fracture, factionalism and polarisation. I cannot see Rowan Williams' leadership as anything less than the humble and trusting example to which God's children are called.

byron smith said...

Thanks Irith. I appreciate your comments about the costs of seeking long-term resolutions to social conflict and lament the increasingly adversarial nature of public discourse on a wide range of topics, stoked perhaps by media desire for conflict and a shallow grasp of parliamentary politics.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing the (En)Rich List here!

- Jen and the Post Growth Institute team

byron smith said...

Jen, no problem and keep up the good work!

byron smith said...

A nice graphic celebrating the 19thC campaign for an 8 hour working week.

byron smith said...

A fascinating portrait of Chomsky from a friend who has known him for more than forty years.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Why did work become the only thing of value?

"However, the unquestioning acceptance of paid work as the only valid way of occupying one's time has some obvious problems. For one thing, society is not divided between lazy scroungers and paid workers. The lauding of paid work devalues other important forms of unwaged activity, such as childcare, community volunteering or coping with illness and disability. These activities are the sort that should be willingly funded by taxpayers as contributions towards a collective and compassionate society – not dismissed by the government as barriers to paid work.

"Viewing paid work as an end in itself also prevents a discourse on what work itself is actually like.