Posts Tagged ‘undeserving poor’

Tony Judt’s Alternative to corporate capitalism

January 9, 2010

Tony Judt is someone I admire enormously and he is now, as this article  says, “‘A bunch of dead muscles, thinking’.

Once I had got a little way beyond  the shock and grief of knowing that he is dealing with the disease that devastated my brother Allen at about the same age, the topic of his next book began to explain something about people under, say, 50,  that has puzzled me  for years.

Judt  was reflecting on  the responses to a lecture he had given about the role of the state in our societies.

At the end of the lecture he was struck by how many young people came up to him expressing amazement at ideas they had never heard before. “This is the second generation of people who can’t imagine change except in their own lives, who have no sense of social collective public goods or services, who are just isolated individuals desperately striving to better themselves above everybody else.”

Judt now intends, in the time he has left, to devote himself to writing a book to help young people think collectively again. “It could really have an impact if I get it right. Something that will get the next generation to see there is a way to think about politics that is not just the way we’ve been habituated to do it. I care about that and I think I can do it.

Judt’s insight explains, i think, so much about my own experience since writing  Gaian Democracies. Scarcely  one member of the generation for whom John and I wrote the book has  attempted to engage with the ideas, or relate the scenarios we outlined to the rapid deterioration of all the major systems on which their future lives and those of their children depend.

Its as if outside of the  interests of a tight circle of friends and immediate family, thirty-to-fifty year olds who should be assuming some responsibility for  the direction of their societies – as their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents  tried to do –  are stuck in the mind-sets that previous generations grew out of in their twenties.

You can read a version of his lecture here. Please do so.  Judt  is trying to help us to think and act positively in a disintegrating world. He deserves to be heard.

By one of those happy (? ) coincidences, his lecture provides me with an invaluable account of the importance of Social Democracy in the 20thCentury that will be a great help for my blog on  ” and the alternative to capitalism is…?”

Thank you, Tony.