15 April 2011

'World targets in megadeaths'

The Economist sums up the conflict in Libya:
Significantly, the earlier chorus of criticism from rebels doubting NATO’s stomach for the fight has subsided. Mustapha Abdulrahman, a rebel spokesman, declared that there had been a “positive change” in the intensity of NATO attacks over the weekend. In short, all sides now seem ready to dig in for the long haul. Libya versus Libya: the Colonel's fake diplomacy, 'the Economist', 14 April
This is the logical outcome of policy driven solely by institutional goals. Does anyone in Nato really think that if they topple Gaddafi the Libyans - or anyone else - will be better off? What exactly is the purpose of this intervention? Is there any objective other than the short-term needs of unpopular politicians and the military? It's a game of "formulate the objective as we go along", conducted at huge expense with funds borrowed from the next generation.

It's also a particularly tragic and visible manifestation of Policy as if Outcomes Don't Matter in the Least; the same idiocy that has led to the poor being taxed to subsidise agribusiness and wealthy landowners, our absolute dependence on fossil fuels, and the desperate fragility of the world financial system - to give just a few examples. It's no longer good enough to assume that the aggregation of government and corporate goals advances human well-being. The planet is no longer big enough to absorb for us to learn from our mistakes, nor do we have that much time. We urgently need to take over from the politicians and corporations that run our lives, and target goals that are meaningful to ordinary people. We need to subordinate all the actions of the powerful to those goals. And the over-riding goal, the one that we need to target most of all, is survival of the human species. Faced with urgent social and environmental challenges our politicians solemnly decide to inflame obscure, inconsequential tribal squabbles, at huge cost. Madness.

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