It often seems that different crises are competing to devastate civilisation. This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system.
Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their own fields explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a 'clash of civilisations', as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilisation itself.
This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world and shows how catastrophe can be avoided.
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Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Climate Catastrophe
2. Energy Scarcity
3. Food Insecurity
4. Economic Instability
5. International Terrorism
6. The Militarization Tendency
7. Diagnosis – Interrogating the Global Political Economy
8. Prognosis - The Post-Carbon Revolution and the Renewal of Civilization
Notes and References
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development, points out that 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty. More than 3 billion live below the poverty line of having less than $2 a day. 1.3 billion have no access to clean drinking water. 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. He notes that the World Bank argued, in defiance of the facts, that “Globalization generally reduces poverty because more integrated economies tend to grow faster and this growth is usually widely diffused … Between countries, globalization is now mostly reducing inequality.” But this is a most uneven book. The chapters on terrorism and militarisation are informative, being based on Ahmed’s earlier books Behind the war on terror, on the Iraq war, and The war on truth, on the US use of al-Qaeda. However, the chapters on climate and energy are poorly-argued, the chapter on food production is brief and weak, and the conclusion is just idealist wishful thinking. He cites the 2002 US National Academy of Sciences report on climate change which warned tautologically, “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly.” It proceeded, illogically, “Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events.” He points out that the US state funds Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, which all fund al-Qaeda. The US state uses al-Qaeda for false-flag operations to foment sectarian conflict to break up states, as in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran. The US state also uses criminal gangs. Using Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, it runs the drugs route from Afghanistan through Turkey and the Balkans to Western Europe and the USA, often using NATO planes. The CIA runs the top Afghan and Pakistani drug traders. Ahmed quotes Dennis Dayle: “In my 30-year history in US Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA.” Ahmed finishes by writing that global crises will conveniently “render existing national and international politico-economic structures increasingly irrelevant …” He concludes, “grassroots communities … will lead the way to the new world.” But tiny means cannot achieve vast goals. After his entire book has proved how lethal capitalism is, Ahmed backs private property, open markets, ‘a legitimate role for private enterprise in developing productive resources that are considered to be publicly owned’, and ‘universal individual and community ownership’. He carefully opposes socialism and central planning. He completely ignores the working class and trade unions. No wonder that Pluto Press, run by the Socialist Workers’ Party, is content to publish this idealist, anti-working class book. Obviously, the world is not safe in capitalism’s hands. But after all Ahmed’s huffing and puffing, capitalism would be quite safe in his hands. In every country the working class has to take responsibility, take charge.