I am in the middle of a book called The Ecology of Commerce. As the name suggests it is about how a free market could become environmentally restorative. Besides the main theme there are more than a few gems of social justice in there. Here is my favorite:
In reality, we have not one but two welfare systems. The first is meager, consisting of aid to the unemployed, dependent children, the poor and helpless. It is seen as a charity, a hand-out, a grudging acceptance of social responsibility, but it is almost always accompanied by judgement, admonishments of failure, and a high moral tone. The second welfare system is large, expensive, and expansive. It comes in the form of large government grants and programs for building highways, subsidies to the rich in the form of interest payment deductions on their houses, giveaways of timber and mining rights on government lands, government-financed research in universities, revolving door policies between the defense industry and government resulting in expensive, poorly planned procurement policies, and so on.
Hawkins goes on and writes that the top fifth of the population receives three times more housing subsidy then the bottom fifth.
השיר העילאי שלפנינו, המשלב מינונים מדודים אך חריפים של סאטירה, פטאליזם חסר-אונים ומלנכוליה קיומית, אינו פרי עטו של ברכט; הוא לא נלקח מתוך מחזה של יונסקו או של חנוך לוין, אף שהאבסורד והייאוש – המעורבים ביותר מקורט של קומדיה – זועקים או מגחכים כאן בכל שורה. גם אין זה עיבוד או תרגום חופשי לשיר פציפיסטי של וו.ה. אודן.שורות אלו הושמעו בערוץ 1 של הטלוויזיה מפי הכתב הצבאי יואב לימור
We could expect an Israeli-Syrian war next summer. When it will come, it will not be a heroic battle that was forced upon us, it will have been a sound choice that the Israeli government is making today. The war’s only justification will be self-preservation, not of Israel mind you, but of it’s Olmert-lead government:
- Instead of risking a no-confidence vote, Olmert chose to widen the coalition to include Lieberman, a racist, and his party. With such members in the coalition it would be unimaginable to reply positively to recent peace feelers. As a matter of fact, diplomatic initiatives on any front are out of the question with such a broad coalition.
- The state and defense leadership are today under harsh criticism for their faltering performance during the past war, and under heavier criticism for not initiating an effective fact finding committee. What they all pray for is another war, and quick. From top to bottom, the system is convinced, that they could get it right the next time, and such a success would eclipse all of their past inadequacy.
Yes, an agreement with Syria means returning the Golan, this is not news, this is very old news. For almost 40 years we knew that this would be the price for a comprehensive peace with Syria. After this predicted war, the price of peace will still be the same, one Golan Heights. Everybody knows that the question is not if we will ever return the Golan to Syria, but when. Why are we hesitating?
So why are there no public figures in Israel who are crying out about this obvious future crime? Simple, the vast majority of the political leadership is in the government, and they are an accomplice to all of the above. Almost the entire political spectrum is in one big boat, and they will do and say anything to keep themselves and their careers afloat for just one more day.
And we will all pay the price.
A recent survey by the BBC shows the sentiments towards torture in different countries.
I feel sad that the two countries that I am associated with: Israel and the U.S. are so high on the torture approval list. And between them is Russia which is confidently marching on the path towards authoritarianism.
I am a privileged citizen among globally oppressive regimes.