1
   

Rethinking Prosperity

 
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 03:08 pm
IMHO, the current social order is lamentably defective. One of it's defects is the culture of consumerism that is strongly exemplified in American society. A statement titled "Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism", challenging the common assumption that human beings are slaves to self-interest and consumerism, has been issued by the Baha'i International Community for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development as it began its annual two-week session.
An article about the statement is available at:
Alternatives to consumer culture focus of new Baha'i document
The document can be read in ts entirety here:
Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism — Baha'i International Community -- United Nations Office
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,192 • Replies: 25
No top replies

 
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 09:51 pm
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;167034 wrote:
IMHO, the current social order is lamentably defective. One of it's defects is the culture of consumerism that is strongly exemplified in American society. A statement titled "Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism", challenging the common assumption that human beings are slaves to self-interest and consumerism, has been issued by the Baha'i International Community for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development as it began its annual two-week session.
An article about the statement is available at:
Alternatives to consumer culture focus of new Baha'i document
The document can be read in ts entirety here:
Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism — Baha'i International Community -- United Nations Office

Baha'i is interesting stuff. I don't know enough about it and insofar as it presents itself as some all-inclusive religion my knee jerk reaction is to reject it. The critique of consumerism is a good one but I don't think it needs to rest on the authority of the Baha'i faith; common sense is a sufficient authority. I'm even worried that referencing the UN sanctioned Baha'i faith may even hurt the greater cause. Perhaps I, and others like me, will take Baha'i more seriously someday; only time will tell. I'll make an effort to read through your links over the next few days.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 02:48 am
@1CellOfMany,
There are many noble sentiments in that piece, and a great deal of truth, but as soon as it says that it foresees "the eventual federation of all nations through an integrated system of governance with capacity for global decision making" it instantly alienates the US electorate. Many are terrified of this kind of idea.

The United Nations, both started out with these kinds of visions, and look at it now.....
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 06:34 am
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;167034 wrote:
Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism", challenging the common assumption that human beings are slaves to self-interest and consumerism,


It doesn't seem to be challenging the assumption so much as making it. It rather reminds me of a cartoon in The New Yorker I saw just the other day: It depicted a group of primitive cavemen sitting around a miserable fire huddling to keep warm in the depths of winter, and the caption has one of them saying, "It doesn't get better than this!".
0 Replies
 
1CellOfMany
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 09:50 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167216 wrote:
There are many noble sentiments in that piece, and a great deal of truth, but as soon as it says that it foresees "the eventual federation of all nations through an integrated system of governance with capacity for global decision making" it instantly alienates the US electorate. Many are terrified of this kind of idea.

The United Nations, both started out with these kinds of visions, and look at it now.....
And when the American President, Woodrow Wilson, proposed the League of Nations, the American congress refused to ratify the charter, for fear of not being in control. The League and the U.N. are initial attempts at forming a world governing body. The time will come when even the American electorate will recognize the need for a world federation, but I fear that a third world war may happen before they do.

Perhaps we are already in the beginning stages of WW-III, between Islamic/Arab fundamentalist and the rest of the world, with the "battlefront" being anywhere and everywhere. If that is the case, then our best tactic may be the current approach of using the military as a force for developing good-will between nations and for aiding in projects - like building schools and roads - that are requested by the nations where conflict is most prevalent.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 12:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167216 wrote:
There are many noble sentiments in that piece, and a great deal of truth, but as soon as it says that it foresees "the eventual federation of all nations through an integrated system of governance with capacity for global decision making" it instantly alienates the US electorate. Many are terrified of this kind of idea.

The United Nations, both started out with these kinds of visions, and look at it now.....
Well the United States looks at the effectiveness of the UN and the effectiveness of the European Union and thinks we better retain our right to take our own actions and make our own decisions. The US traditionally is a little isolationist, a little independent, and more than a little suspicious of alliances.

I recall the phrase "tyranny of the majority" but of course the UN and the EU are not really tyranny of the majority more like folly or paralysis of the majority. The US mentality is more of a:we will take your help if we can get it but if necessary we will go it alone (very American, very annoying to others).

Of course some would assert that it is really desire for goods and services that creates jobs and prosperity. There is always the utopian vision of from each and to each but in reality it is markets that have created the most wealth and the most prosperity even if subject to distortions and excesses.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:58 pm
@prothero,
Of course it should go without saying that when someone speaks for all of the US they are not really speaking for all of the US just those in the US who believe what they believe.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 02:02 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;167395 wrote:
Of course it should go without saying that when someone speaks for all of the US they are not really speaking for all of the US just those in the US who believe what they believe.


That nears a tautology. But who claimed anything about what is believed?
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 02:07 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167398 wrote:
That nears a tautology. But who claimed anything about what is believed?

My comment was in response to prothero's comment.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 03:10 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;167400 wrote:
My comment was in response to prothero's comment.
And my comment was an observation about what the US actually does and how markets and the participants in them actually behave
not
how some would like the US to behave or the uniformity of belief in the US. It is a historical observation not a public opinion poll.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 05:26 pm
@1CellOfMany,
1CellOfMany;167306 wrote:
Perhaps we are already in the beginning stages of WW-III, between Islamic/Arab fundamentalist and the rest of the world, with the "battlefront" being anywhere and everywhere. If that is the case, then our best tactic may be the current approach of using the military as a force for developing good-will between nations and for aiding in projects - like building schools and roads - that are requested by the nations where conflict is most prevalent.


One way or another, I think the world is on the verge of revolution.

Worst case scenario: Armageddon and the collapse of the Western economies. There are several scenarios I can see triggering that, the most likely being Israel attacking Iran's nuclear plants. If that were to happen, it would trigger an immediate worldwide oil crisis (70% of the world's oil supply goes through the Straights of Hormuz); all of the risk indicators would go off the dials, and the banks would close. Civil order would break down almost immediately as a result because the police and military were not being paid. And anarchy would ensue on a worldwide scale. The other possible scenario is the overthrow of the Pakistani government by Islamic radicals who would then have access to a real nuclear arsenal and necessitating military intervention in the volatile North Asian theatre. Both these scenarios are plausible, some would even say they were likely.

Best case scenario: a breakthrough in the understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy that results in a clean energy source with zero environmental impact; perhaps usable fusion energy. This would go a long way to removing many of the tensions that underlie the current conflicts in the world. Given sufficient co-operation, the prospect of universal prosperity could be realised if this is discovered. It is going to be almost impossible without it.

Likely scenario: the world will muddle along albeit with greatly elevated levels of economic uncertainty, barely contained regional conflicts, static or declining living standards, and rapidly emerging large-scale problems of food, water and energy security. The impact of the possible fall in living standards should not be underestimated - ever since the Industrial Revolution commenced, standards of living have actually been on the rise across the board (believe it or not.) Is it possible that this trend peaked in 2007?

I frankly doubt that the Baha'i or any other cultural group or spiritual movement will have a huge impact in light of the immensity of the challenges that the world faces today. But on the other hand, at least they are promoting discussion of some of the root causes of the predicament we're in. And they deserve credit for that.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 05:31 pm
@prothero,
prothero;167417 wrote:
And my comment was an observation about what the US actually does and how markets and the participants in them actually behave
not
how some would like the US to behave or the uniformity of belief in the US. It is a historical observation not a public opinion poll.

Even if we never joined the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson laid down its founding principles. The UN headquarters is in New York. The relationship between the US and the UN is more complicated than you make it out to be. The echo chamber of the far right may go on and on how the UN is a useless organization that only gets in the way but overall I think the US relationship with the UN is not so simple. Overall the US is rather like a young man who recognizes that his relationship with a young woman is very important to him but still has some serious commitment issues.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 05:53 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167433 wrote:
One way or another, I think the world is on the verge of revolution.

.


Not to worry. The Savior and Redeemer resides in the White House.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 06:15 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;167436 wrote:
Even if we never joined the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson laid down its founding principles. The UN headquarters is in New York. The relationship between the US and the UN is more complicated than you make it out to be. The echo chamber of the far right may go on and on how the UN is a useless organization that only gets in the way but overall I think the US relationship with the UN is not so simple. Overall the US is rather like a young man who recognizes that his relationship with a young woman is very important to him but still has some serious commitment issues.

Well yes, without the US I am not sure there would be a UN. Without US funds the UN would have turned the lights out some time ago. There should be little question though that the UN is not democratic, the US readily uses it veto power and the US is happy to go it alone without UN approval. Even in the UN some are more equal than others. Actually I think the UN does some good in the world. I just think it is hard enough to get the US congress to solve any problems much less the UN; so I do not support the US being bound by UN decisions or recommendations.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 06:42 pm
@1CellOfMany,
Having Russia and China on the Security Council makes it practically impossible to do a whole number of important things. Although Medvedev seems like (in the Aussie vernacular) a good bloke and a change for the better.
0 Replies
 
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 06:46 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167433 wrote:

I frankly doubt that the Baha'i or any other cultural group or spiritual movement will have a huge impact in light of the immensity of the challenges that the world faces today. But on the other hand, at least they are promoting discussion of some of the root causes of the predicament we're in. And they deserve credit for that.

I think Buddhism and the Dalai Lllama will have more success than the Baha'i. It just bothers me that the UN has given this obscure 19th century faith recognition. Does that mean that the UN recognizes as some final prophet? It's just weird. The sacred texts of the Baha'i that I have found online are all translated into "thees" and "thous" to make it sound more impressive. But it was written in the 19th century so all the "thees" and "thous" seem terribly ironic. Maybe the original Arabic doesn't sound as silly. But the question remains how the heck did Baha'i get that recognition from the UN. Perhaps it was a matter of the UN needing some religion to support so as not to seem too secular, (or too socialist?) or since many member countries are very religious some facet of the UN ought to reflect that and thus balance the secular with religious. That makes some sense ... so some committee of UN people searched around until someone found the obscure19th century Persian cult leader and said "Aha! This will work! We can use this!"

History moves in mysterious ways. The UN may have done for Baha'i what Constantine did for Christianity and perhaps some years down the road with the help of a charismatic leader Baha'i will really catch on. Still, it's just weird enough to annoy me and maybe even me off the UN entirely; it's a fly in the ointment. I would like it better if the UN just severed all its special ties with the Baha'i. Nothing against the Baha'i. It seems like a real neato religion right up there with Mormonism and Scientology.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 08:10 pm
@1CellOfMany,
I have more respect for Baha'i. Scientology is just a criminal organisation which exploits democratic freedoms for money and power. Baha'i is pluralistic and tries to promote the best of all of the faith traditions although I don't think I could become a signed up member. (Actually I not much of a joiner.)
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 08:34 pm
@jeeprs,
I found this to be interesting.

YouTube - Tea Party


and also this
YouTube - Noam Chomsky Compares Right-Wing Media to Nazi Germany
0 Replies
 
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 08:52 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167469 wrote:
I have more respect for Baha'i. Scientology is just a criminal organisation which exploits democratic freedoms for money and power. Baha'i is pluralistic and tries to promote the best of all of the faith traditions although I don't think I could become a signed up member. (Actually I not much of a joiner.)

There's a Baha'i Center here in Madison. I'll have to wander in there sometime next week and ask them if they have any Kool-Aide. Nah, I'm respectful. There could be some really smart people there as well as a few crystal gazers.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 09:18 pm
@1CellOfMany,
There is a magnificent Baha'i temple less than a mile from where I live. The only time I went there was for a service after 9/11. It was kind of a 'healing prayer ceremony'. It was quite beautiful, really. They read passages from a number of different world scriptures. Afterwards I perused the literature in the store. I formed the view that they really are a benevolent movement and that I like their outlook. That is about the extent of my knowledge and involvement.
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
DOES NOTHING EXIST??? - Question by mark noble
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Rethinking Prosperity
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 07/20/2019 at 02:09:35