Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Excerpt from a letter to a friend:

Yesterday, during a long train ride I finished reading “Winners Take All,” the very recent book by Anand Giridiharadas that Katherine had recommended. I read through it quickly, but I did mark some passages that I considered relevant. The main issue that he focuses on has to do with the strange hypocritical dichotomy behind the actions of some of the ultra-rich, who are the root of both environmental and social problems worldwide, but who donate a small portion of their multi-billions to well-intentioned causes that seek to ameliorate some of those same issues. In other words, they take billions and give back millions.
Wealth becomes more concentrated in the hands of a very select few, climate change and the abundance of totalitarian governments continues to grow apace, aided and abetted by these self-same billionaires and their bought and paid for allies in government. Their technological “solutions” represent a vain hope that their lives can go on as usual, while they look for a magic bullet that will keep the imminent disaster at bay. Those false non-solutions cannot and will not make any significant difference and might, no probably, will make things worse.
For instance, he quotes Kavita Ramdas (she is an executive at the Ford foundation) as follows: “The nuance and inherent humility of the social sciences — the realization that development has to do with people, with human and social complexity, with cultural and traditional realities, and their willingness to struggle with messy and multifaceted aspects of a problem — have no cachet in this metrics-driven, efficiency-seeking, technology-focused approach to social change."
So what to do?
The reason I live in Vermont and the impetus for buying this small farm, was and continues to be my conviction that “a tear on the cheek belongs to the sea.” In other words, right action by individuals is part of the key, perhaps the entire key, to unlock a sustainable and just future for all of humanity. Small is beautiful, to use yet another cliche.
This is a challenge dear reader and I know you have many other interests, but I do welcome your thoughts.