Sunday, March 11, 2012

Europe's Tracks ex-Communists, Myanmar's Reforms, and Dawkins' Gene

Grassroots sustainability is my orientation after years of professoinal and blue collar work, experiences, activism, and study.  While my dream is to locate in an ecovillage with my little family, my reality places me with them in a little village-cum-suburb of a larger city in Northeast Brazil.
     Excerpts from the NY Times in the local paper included a typcially excellent range of stories, though with "the paper of record's" usual ideological limitations (corporate capitalist).  Poland and East Germany's societal examinations of their communist past include the Polish court judgment in January that communist leaders responsible for a state of martial law were a "criminal gang."
       While these efforts about communism's past are essential, they're certainly not generally done in acknowledment of the modern problem of corporate executives, investors, and neoliberal capitalism.  An article in the same collection of Burmese exiles and activists and Myanmar's recent reforms, at least did mention the problem of global economic inequality.  Here's a quote, though, that was left out of the Brazilian-Portuguese translation: “We are going to put up a new banner,” she said, pointing to the wall. “Stop the dictatorship of capitalism!”
        My graduate research expanded my experience at a food co-operative, and clarified for me how many efforts of employee ownership and green industrial production have already had some levels of success since 1844, 1909, 1948, and 1972.
      Leonardo Boff, a major voice in the Liberation Theology movement since helping found it in the early 1970s, made reference in his syndicated column last week to the "New Biologists" like Germany's J. Bauer who has criticized Richard Dawkins' famous "selfish gene" concept as "' serving as a bio-psychological correlate to legitimize the individualistic and imperialistic Anglo-North American economic order.'" Das kooperative Gen, 2008 p.153
       Personally, I remember studying Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene in my undergraduate studies in Biological Anthro at Harvard.  While the reality of individuali existence was and continues to be of interest to me, the social nature of human culture and the necessity and success of co-operative strategies are now equally essential topics in my view.  I still recall in name the Prisoner's Dilemma and the tit for tat games from those halcyon school days.
       At the time, I wrote papers using the work of Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Eliot Chapple, and Erving Goffman, working with professors like the illustrious and in some circles infamous E.O. Wilson and the lesser known Terry Deacon and Irving DeVore.  They gave me the chance to study aspects of human behavior and conditioning which supported my budding interest in cultural issues.  I had transferred to Bio Anthro from Sociology.  My 2010 Master's in Political Economics (Global Affairs) has rounded out my education.  I would sum up my interests in terms of holistic learning and the co-operative business model.

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