How Democracy Can Win Again | by Gergely Karácsony - Project Syndicate

“our generation is cursed with more than “just” a massive political and social upheaval. We are also facing a climate crisis that calls into question the very preconditions upon which modern societies are organized. Progressives like me see this, too, as a direct consequence of how our economic system works. Infinite, unregulated economic growth – capitalism’s core dynamic – simply is not compatible with life on a planet with finite resources. As matters stand, our capitalist system drives more extraction and generates more emissions every year.”

How Democracy Can Win Again | by Gergely Karácsony - Project Syndicate
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/building-sustainable-democracies-hungary-and-beyond-by-gergely-karacsony-2021-09
via Instapaper

Codex AI

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/technology/codex-artificial-intelligence-coding.html

Codex, built by OpenAI, one of the world’s most ambitious research labs, provides insight into the state of artificial intelligence. Though a wide range of A.I. technologies have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade, even the most impressive systems have ended up complementing human workers rather than replacing them.



Climate change and capitalism

https://jacobinmag.com/2021/08/capitalism-climate-crisis-global-green-new-deal-clean-energy-fossil-fuel-industry

But whether we deal with climate change or not can’t be held hostage to executives’ ability to turn a profit. To handle this crisis, capitalism will have to be replaced as society’s operating system, setting out goals other than the boundless accumulation of private wealth.

American CEOs make 351 times more than workers.

“Today in the US, the CEO-to-worker pay gap stands at a staggering 351 to one, an unacceptable increase from 15 to one in 1965. In other words, the average CEO makes nearly nine times what the average person will earn over a lifetime in just one year.”

American CEOs make 351 times more than workers. In 1965 it was 15 to one | Indigo Olivier http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/17/american-chief-executive-pay-wages-workers via Instapaper

Moral attention

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22585287/technology-smartphones-gmail-attention-morality


The idea of moral attention goes back at least as far as ancient Greece, where the Stoics wrote about the practice of attention (prosoché) as the cornerstone of a good spiritual life. In modern Western thought, though, ethicists didn’t focus too much on attention until a band of female philosophers came along, starting with Simone Weil.


Weil, an early 20th-century French philosopher and Christian mystic, wrote that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” She believed that to be able to properly pay attention to someone else — to become fully receptive to their situation in all its complexity — you need to first get your own self out of the way. She called this process “decreation,” and explained: “Attention consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty ... ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it.”


Weil argued that plain old attention — the kind you use when reading novels, say, or birdwatching — is a precondition for moral attention, which is a precondition for empathy, which is a precondition for ethical action.



Kim Stanley Robinson Bears Witness to Our Climate Futures

“The central banks have been creating money out of nothing with quantitative easing, but what if that was directed not to private banks to do their usual stupid thing of profit-making but to do useful work that the central banks designate by some simple rubric of carbon sequestration. When I read it, I thought, maybe that’s a way forward: using an existing system but more intelligently, a long-term biosphere, survivalist-type method.”

Kim Stanley Robinson Bears Witness to Our Climate Futures https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/qa-kim-stanley-robinson/ via Instapaper

DeGrowth?

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/10/can-we-have-prosperity-without-growth

Once confined to the margins, the ecological critique of economic growth has gained widespread attention. At a United Nations climate-change summit in September, the teen-age Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg declared, “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” The degrowth movement has its own academic journals and conferences. Some of its adherents favor dismantling the entirety of global capitalism, not just the fossil-fuel industry. Others envisage “post-growth capitalism,” in which production for profit would continue, but the economy would be reorganized along very different lines. In the influential book “Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow,” Tim Jackson, a professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, in England, calls on Western countries to shift their economies from mass-market production to local services—such as nursing, teaching, and handicrafts—that could be less resource-intensive. Jackson doesn’t underestimate the scale of the changes, in social values as well as in production patterns, that such a transformation would entail, but he sounds an optimistic note: “People can flourish without endlessly accumulating more stuff. Another world is possible.”