< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: Utopistics and Democratic Global Commonwealth
by wwagar
19 March 2003 17:48 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
        Let me apologize to Gert Kohler.  Apparently I misread his
intentions.  I also have not yet seen his "Global Utopia: Green and Red,"
but I will repair that omission as soon as possible, and I am grateful for
the reference.  I have read the work of Eduard Prugovecki, who has also
responded to my previous post, and I commend it to everyone on the list.
His ideas on how, with the help of advanced computer technology, a future
society could be proactively and universally democratic, rather than
meekly subservient to party machines and posturing demagogues as in most
of what passes for democracy nowadays, are well worth pondering.

        As busses packed with schoolchildren continue to explode in Israel
and Israeli bulldozers convert young women into landfill and the world's
chief terrorist leads his legions into Iraq, I hope that members of this
list will not lose sight of the ultimate purpose of world-systems
analysis:  to foresee the demise of the modern world-system and help
prepare our fellow men and women for the better life that may some day be

        I am so old that I learned Latin in an ordinary secular public
high school, and one of my favorite tags is "Dum spiro, spero."  This is
not a commentary on a late disgraced American vice president.  It means
simply:  While I breathe, I hope.


On Tue, 18 Mar 2003, g kohler wrote:

> Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I
> think that is true for social praxis as well. Therefore, I agree with Warren
> 99%, except with his first sentence (see below).
> Gert
> P.S. there is a chapter on "Global Utopia: Green and Red" in the
> Kohler-Tausch book (Global Keynesianism, 2002), in which I am trying to sell
> two utopian ideas - (1) equal wage for work of equal value globally (i.e.,
> irrespective of geographical location); (2) transformation
> (re-industrialization) of the world economy toward a sustainable energy base
> and toward sustainable production and consumption patterns, and all that as
> the engine of a sustained global-Keynesian boom. To my mind, it is, indeed,
> nice to embrace such lovely utopiaramas with a bit of missionary
> zeal and to forget the wet blanket of empiricism now and then.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <wwagar@binghamton.edu>
> To: "g kohler" <kohlerg@3web.net>
> Cc: <wsn@csf.colorado.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 2:52 PM
> Subject: Re: Utopistics and Democratic Global Commonwealth
> >
> >
> > I assume that by employing such terms as "lovely," "utopiarama,"
> > "nice pastime," and "missionary embrace," Gert is having a little fun at
> > my expense.  I hope he enjoyed himself.
> >
> > But social science need not lose its scientific soul by using the
> > knowledge it has acquired of human behavior, including the behavior of
> > world-systems, to speculate intelligently about ways and means and ends,
> > in short to apply its data and insights and hypotheses to imagine a better
> > world that could be achieved in real time under various circumstances
> > following specific courses of action.  Boswell and Chase-Dunn have done
> > superb work along these lines, and Wallerstein has written a meditation
> > on utopistics, his word, not mine.  But no one could accuse contemporary
> > social science, in the main, of being seriously concerned with the tasks
> > and goals of world reconstruction.
> >
> > If in fact we are living in the era of what proves to be "late
> > capitalism," in the shadow of imminent environmental, economic, political,
> > and military cataclysms, I find it incredible--difficult if not impossible
> > to believe--that the majority of progressive social scientists, including
> > world-systems researchers, do not turn most of their attention in these
> > latter days to such tasks and goals.
> >
> > Of course we are in good historical company.  From the whole
> > immense and fertile corpus of the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich
> > Engels, I dare say one could not extract more than 25 pages of serious
> > thought about the contours and parameters of the kind of world they hoped
> > would replace the world of the 19th Century.  They did not want to repeat
> > the mistakes of the "utopian socialists," and they did not want to tell a
> > future classless and free humanity how to live its life.  Only the men and
> > women of the future itself could and should decide.  Nevertheless, they
> > could have sketched alternative scenarios, ventured hopeful possibilities,
> > warned of imaginable pitfalls.  Perhaps if they had, the Stalins and the
> > commissars in times ahead would have been strangled in their cradles.
> > Probably not, but we'll never know for sure.
> >
> > Meanwhile, I don't think we have even the beginnings of a
> > consensus on how to get from "here" to "there" or on what "there"
> > should or might be.  Not even a consensus on the idea that only
> > democratically guided institutions of planetary governance can disarm
> > nations, rescue the biosphere, reallocate wealth and resources, and
> > provide for the well-being of all peoples everywhere.  The world-system
> > will have to deteriorate much more rapidly and much more catastrophically
> > before such a consensus can emerge.  I think we may rely on the system to
> > do its part.  I think it is programmed for self-destruction.  But when
> > the opportunity arises, will humankind be ready to seize it?  Are
> > progressive sociologists fully engaged even now in the struggle to help
> > our species prepare for that Dies Irae?  If not, why not?  Why the open
> > hostility, even on this network, to the exploration of desirable futures
> > in the longue duree?
> >
> > I do not understand.
> >
> > Warren
> >
> >
> snip>

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >