April 18, 2011

A Bandit Society

It's Our Pleasure To Serve You (Coffee Cup)
Photograph courtesy Pak So and Anna Tan

Following is an excerpt from Episode 1 of the 2006 PBS series China from the Inside. And if you think what the professor describes only happens in China, well ... you're delusional

Professor Kang Xiaoguang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences:  So many problems and what's the reason? It's that against the background of the market economy there's an alliance between authoritarian politics and the elites. It's maintained China's stability and prosperity but also created a string of problems. And amongst these, we can see a dangerous trend. It's that power, money and knowledge are colluding to serve a bandit society - this gang of elites who are robbing the masses.

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From a conversation in the documentary film 180º South (2010, Woodshed Films):

Jeff Johnson: ... In these far corners of the world, I'm seeing the effects of encroaching progress. And most of this has to do with over-consumption elsewhere. It's easy for us to blindly consume when we don't see the effect it has on other places. 

Yvon Chouinard:  The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It's so easy to make it complex. What's important is leading an examined life because most of the damage caused by humans is caused unintentionally I think.

Doug Tompkins:  In response to people saying "you can't go back," I say well what happens if you get to the cliff and you take one step forward or you do a 180º turn and take one step forward? Which way are you going? Which is progress?

Yvon Chouinard: The solution may be for a lot of the world's problems is to turn around and take a forward step. You can't just keep trying to make a flawed system work.

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