what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Understanding the mess we're in

The left-right scale has a long history – the left label coming in the 20th century to designate people on the basis of their attitude to the economic role which the state should play in society. Since, however, the late 50s and the arrival of a more “self-expressive” spirit, an additional dimension was needed to indicate attitudes to the hierarchy/participation dimension (ie political power). 
The political compass website – which allows you to take your own test – labels these additional dimensions “left authoritarian” and “left libertarian”
Last year I came across a couple of diagrams from the Commons Transition people which I found very useful correctives to the normal simplifications we get about what is going in the world….  

It uses six dimensions – which it labels “politics”, “the economy”, “work”, “citizens”, “conscience” and “consumption” to identify a dozen key concerns which have surfaced about recent global trends. We can certainly quibble about the logic of the dimensions - and the labels used for the trends - but the diagrams are thought-provoking and worthy of more discussion than they seem to have obtained in the couple of years they have been available.

The first of the diagrams details the “Current Capitalist Paradigm” but, for my money, could be improved by adding some names of illustrative writers. 
I have therefore taken the liberty of producing a simpler version of the diagram which includes about 20 names – with hyperlinks in each case to key texts. Readers who are frustrated by the tiny lettering of the names around the perimeter should therefore simply click on the link (NOT the diagram above) and then click the particular name whose material they want to access.

The second diagram is entitled Beyond Capitalism and does include illustrative names. This too could, in my view, do with some additions (and deletions) and I hope to include an amended version in a future post. For example, it is a bit light on robotisation…..
For the moment, however, let me simply offer my readers the diagrams as a better way of mapping the literature to which we should be paying attention…..  

NOTE - this is the first part of what will be a series of posts focusing on these diagrams

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