Sunday, 20 June 2010

Book Review from Lenin's Tomb: Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism, Edited by Mike Davis & Daniel Bertrand Monk

From the blurb at the back of the intensely Ballardian (see J.G. Ballard's novel, Super-Cannes) Evil Paradises: What kinds of worlds would pure capitalism, unfettered by organised labor or state regulation, bring into existence? In this stunning collection, an extraordinary group of urbanists, architects, historians and visionary thinkers reflect on the capitalist "utopias" being constructed in cities, deserts, and even in the middle of the sea. All across the globe-in Dubai, Kabul, Hong Kong, Cairo and the Iranian desert-the nouveaux riches have created fantasy Californias, complete with Mickey Mouse statues, while their maids sleep in rooftop chicken coops. Filled with "stories of greed, exploitation and enough consumption to make a hedge fund manager blush" (Los Angeles Times), Evil Paradises is a timely and powerful exploration of these phantasmagoric but all too real places where consumption and inequality surpass our worst nightmares.

Read the review from the blog Lenin's Tomb here

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A Human Centred Ecological Awareness: Josie Appleton's essay, 'The Challenge of Climate Change: Towards Human Species Consciousness'

Josie Appleton's essay on the RSA website is very controversial, likely to upset deep ecologists, dark greens, and assorted anti-science/anti-technological types. But I found it an inspiring counterpoint to the eco-doommongers and life stylists of the mainstream green movement, offering a rudimentary philosophical basis for an environmentally aware but ruthlessly human centred politics. It has flaws of course; its vague, almost new age, liberal idealism ('Human Species Consciousness') and an absence of any mention of the radical left. Read the essay here and make your own mind up.