Poverty already affects 115 million people in the 27 countries of the European Union. This is almost 25% of the population and over 150 million others are threatened.
In Spain the rate of unemployment reaches 22.8%. Greece and Italy are under white intervention and governed by prime ministers placed there by the IMF. Ireland and Portugal are in debt. In Belgium and the United Kingdom street demonstrations confirm that “the party has ended”.
Frei Betto beim Website-Interview im Dominikaner-Konvent von Sao Paulo.
Now the European Central Bank wants to name an administrator for budget control in each country in crisis. This means making economic dictatorship official. The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic voted against it. However the other 25 EU countries agreed. It remains to be seen whether Greece, the first on the list for economic dictatorship, will agree to letting go of their sovereignty and handing over their accounts to foreign control.
The present international crisis goes much deeper. It is not reduced to financial turbulence. What is in crisis is a civilization paradigm centred on the belief that there can be unlimited economic growth on a planet with infinite resources… this paradigm identifies happiness with wealth; good living with accumulation of material goods and progress with consumerism.
All dimensions of life – ours and the planet’s – today suffer an accelerated mercantile process. Capitalism is the kingdom of infinite desire mired in the paradox of imposing itself on a finite planet whose natural resources and habitable capacity are limited.
The logic of accumulation is more authoritarian than all the dictatorial systems known throughout history. It ignores cultural diversity and biodiversity and commits the grave mistake of dividing humanity into those who have access to recent advances in techno science, particularly biotechnology and nanotechnology and those who do not have it. Thus its most fatal effect: the accumulation or possession of wealth in the hands of a few is processed thanks to the dispossession and exclusion of many.
The question is not whether capitalism will or will not come out of the Davos infirmary and survive even if obliged to take ever more bitter medicine like the elimination of democracy or the substitution of the popular vote by agencies which evaluate the economy or the substitution of politicians by financial executives as has happened in Greece and Italy.
The question is whether humanity, as a civilization, will survive the collapse of a system which associates citizenship with possession and civilization as a paradigm of Anglo Saxon consumerism.
We are on the eve of Rio+20. No one is unaware that this house we inhabit, the planet Earth, suffers surprising climactic alterations. It is cold in summer and warm in winter. Waters are contaminated, forests are devastated and foods are poisoned by toxic chemical pesticides.
The result is droughts, floods, loss of genetic diversity and desertification… There is consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect and hence global warming result from the noxious actions of human beings.
Until now all efforts to protect life on the planet have failed. The greatest advancement in December 2011 in Durban was the creation of a work group to negotiate a new agreement to reduce the greenhouse effect… to be approved in 2015 and put into effect in 2020!
In the meantime, the USA Department of Energy calculated that, in 2010, 564 million tons of global warming gases were emitted. This is 6% more than the previous year.
Why is it so difficult to move forward? It is hindered by mercantile logic. Suffice to say that the G8 countries propose not to save human or planetary life, but to create an international market for carbon or dirty energy in order to allow the developed countries to buy quotas of pollution not used up by other poor or developing countries.
What does the UN have to say? Nothing, because it is not able to free itself from the ideological prison of market logic. However it proposes a fallacy named “Green Economy” to Rio+20. It believes that a way out is to be found in market mechanisms and technological solutions without altering power relations or reducing social inequality and creating an environmentally sustainable world in which all have a right to wellbeing.
The owners and great beneficiaries of the capitalist system – 10% of the world’s population – eat up 84% of global wealth and cultivate the immaculate conception dogma that it is sufficient to file down the shark’s teeth to stop him being aggressive…
*Frei Betto is a writer, author of “O amor fecunda o Universo – ecologia e espiritualidade” (Love fecundates the Universe – ecology and spirituality)(Agir) written together with Marcelo Barros.
Crackkind in Sao Paulo – wie Kinder in Brasilien leben. Straßenkinder, Drogen-Kids, Kindersoldaten, Slumkinder…
Wie in deutschsprachigen Zeitungen und Zeitschriften die Situation interpretiert wird:
« Deutscher Atomausstieg “irrational” – laut brasilianischem Eletronuclear-Manager. Atomkraftwerk-Errichtung bei Rio de Janeiro mit deutscher Hilfe kommt gut voran. “Gestaltungsmacht” Brasilien. – Anna Pohlmann, Hamburg: “Moderner Tanz und Tanztherapie”. »
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