5 July Michael Klare - The Coming Conflict with China
With the decline in U.S. economic power, a similar decline in its political influence inevitably follows. In the military arena the U.S. reigns supreme. No country comes even close in matching its lethal firepower and massive Pentagon budgets. As its economic position weakens, Washington may be tempted to turn even more to its trump card-guns-in addressing international issues. China looms as the coming force to be reckoned with in the world. It is the number one exporter and is poised to pass Japan as the second largest economy. And within a few decades it will surpass the U.S. China, the ancient Middle Kingdom, had a bad couple of centuries with invasions, occupations, and civil wars but now it's back, big time. And Beijing watches patiently as Washington fritters away its wealth in endless wars and a global network of military bases.
Michael Klare is professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Hampshire College. He is defense correspondent for the "Nation" magazine. He is the author of many books including " Resource Wars," "Blood and Oil" and "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet."
12 July Joseph Stiglitz - Freefall: The Economic Crash
It's been the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. And it isn't over. Chronic long-term unemployment remains high. The state of many states, cities and towns is dire. Crippling budget cuts result in drastic reductions in services and hikes in such things as tuition fees. And on the housing front? The bubble that burst. More than ten million homeowners are underwater, that is, they owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Politicians glibly talk of those well paying jobs with benefits coming back. Who are they kidding? That's not going to happen. The manufacturing sector is eviscerated. What's left? Consumption. Consumer spending now accounts for 70% of the GDP. Meanwhile, while many citizens suffer, the war machine goes its merry way. The Pentagon budget is at record levels. The war on Iraq alone will cost $3 trillion.
Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia, is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. He was chair of the Council on Economic Advisors under Clinton. He also served as senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. His efforts to move the bank in a more progressive direction got him fired. He is the author of "Globalization and Its Discontents" and "The Roaring Nineties."
July 19 Arundhati Roy - India: Field Notes on Democracy
The ads on TV whisper "Incredible India." And then you see images of temples, colorful textiles, yogis, tigers, and the Taj. It's almost a cliche: India, with 1.2 billion people is the world's largest democracy. However democracy is more than just elections. When you examine the actual policies of the Indian state you find a country with acute inequalities. Alongside its IT billionaires, Bollywood and cricket stars and industrial magnates there are more hungry people in India than in all of sub-Saharan Africa. A juggernaut of injustices has sparked a wave of rebellions. In addition to long-standing resistance in Kashmir and the northeast region there are armed insurgencies in a large swath of the country. Predatory corporations are pushing people, largely indigenous, off their land to gain access to resources. It's all done in the name of progress and democracy.
Arundhati Roy is the celebrated author of "The God of Small Things" and winner of the prestigious Booker Prize. "The New York Times" calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." She is the recipient of the Lannan Award for Cultural Freedom. She's the author of many books including "The Chequebook & the Cruise Missile," a collection of interviews with David Barsamian, and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers."
28 July Noam Chomsky - The Center Cannot Hold
About seven million households are facing possible foreclosure while Citigroup raked in almost $4.5 billion for the first quarter. Unemployment both short and long term are at levels not seen since the Great Depression. The U.S. has deep structural economic problems which cannot be masked over with upbeat reports on a so-called recovery. The line the center cannot hold is from William Butler Yeats' famous poem "The Second Coming." Yeats, who died in 1939, was Ireland's Nobel Prize-winner. He saw a world spinning out of control. Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the wors tAre full of passionate intensity.
Noam Chomsky is an internationally renowned MIT professor. He practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. He is in huge demand as a speaker all over world. "The New Statesman" calls him, "The conscience of the American people." The "New York Times" says he's "a global phenomenon, perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet." Author of scores of books, his latest are "What We Say Goes" and "Hopes and Prospects."
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