"The West is in decline." "Great powers rise and fall." "We now live in a post-American world." We have perpetually heard various proclamations about the inevitable collapse of Western domination since the end of World War I. These assessments have been cyclically presented by both progressives and conservatives for almost one hundred years. Will they continue to be disproven? If so, why?
Here is some news that the conservative critics of Venezuela's leftist government will not publicize. The Chavistas announced that a new labour law, part of which will grant recognition to non-salaried work traditionally done by women, will come into effect this week. Full-time mothers will now be able to collect a pension.
Your name is Damocles. The king of the realm has forced you to sit at an elegant table in his castle and consume a sumptuous meal. The monarch has suspended a gleaming sword, tied to the ceiling by a single hair from a horse's tail, over your head. At any moment the blade, like fate itself, can end your life. You are fragile.
Erase this Greek-Roman myth from your mind. Now your name is Phoenix. You are a bird of a magnificent colour. Each time that you are annihilated you re-emerge from your own ashes. Any person or force that destroys you simply enables you to re-incarnate back to your original state. You have no fear of the unknown. You are robust.
Professor Henry Giroux, one of North America's most famous theorists, will be speaking at a conference on "Rethinking Pedagogy" at George Brown College on Thursday, May 16. The conference is being organized by the College's Community Worker Program. The latter is dedicated to training students to become community organizers, group facilitators, popular educators, program managers and advocates. As well, the department includes an invaluable international study option in Cuba or Jamaica.
Clearly the entire economics establishment, with about a million people on the planet involved in some aspect of economic analysis, planning, risk management, and forecasting, turned out to be turkeys owing to the simple mistake of not understanding the structure of Extremistan, complex systems, and hidden risks, while relying on idiotic measures and forecasts -- all this in spite of past experience, as these things have never worked before.
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
If a turkey had philosophical ability, it might argue that life just gets better and better. The steadily fattening fowl would have evidence for this point of view because each day would bring with it more and more delicious fare. Every night it would go to bed feeling sated and eager for the next morning when the pleasures of the previous day would be repeated or even heightened. The reflective bird could confirm its optimism via the inductive method: empirical study would demonstrate an increase in nourishment, from which would follow the logical generalization that life was a process of ever-expanding fulfillment.
What does it mean to be modern? In terms of Western society, it would now appear to include the development of a capitalist system, nation-states, urbanization, a scientific worldview, and a culture of efficiency. In terms of the individual, the adjective "modern" denotes a psyche that takes its orientation from an ethic of self-control. In order to be a "successful" member of contemporary society one must learn the art and science of self-mastery. A simple example of this can be seen in bookstores. Since the 1990s the self-help sections of the bookstores have grown progressively ever larger while the philosophy sections seem to have steadily diminished. The public wants to learn the techniques of self-development precisely because our contemporary economy and culture demand it.
The United States has a higher level of human development than Canada. The latest United Nations Human Development Report compiles statistics on life expectancy, education and access to human resources in order to compose the Human Development Index (HDI). The U.S. ranked third in the world in terms of human development while Canada ranked eleventh. This is sad news for Canada because within the 13-year tenure of the previous Liberal government (1993-2006) Canada ranked number 1 in the world for seven consecutive years (1994-2000). Under the Conservative government, reigning from 2006 onwards, Canada has fallen out of the top 10.