Magazine article New Internationalist


Magazine article New Internationalist


Article excerpt

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

The New Internationalist welcomes your letters. But please keep them short. They may be edited for purposes of space or clarity. Letters should be sent to or to your local NI office. Please remember to include a town and country for your address.

Deadly impunity

As a long time Amnesty member, I have been concerned about reports describing the murder of prisoners with no due legal process.

Now I see evidence of similar murders that are described in Jeremy Keenan's report 'Algeria's "killing camp"' (NI 461). Here you tell about prisoners being delivered to be killed in a more or less continual flow as part of a process for training and indoctrinating marginalized youths who were then used to commit atrocities elsewhere in Algeria.

I hope the International Criminal Court can take appropriate action. And I congratulate NI for highlighting the situation.

John Crawford Walkerville, Australia

System disorder

Peter Adamson's article, 'A Measure of Progress' (What has development done for me?, NI 460) rightly exposes the growing problem of inequality, but fatally leaves the non-stop degeneration of natural and social life support systems out of the diagnosis. Inequality only expresses a global system disorder which is devouring the life capital base of the world and afflicting the poorest worst.

The air, soil and water cumulatively degrade; climates and oceans destabilize; species become extinct at a spasm rate; pollution cycles and volumes increase to endanger life systems at all levels; public sectors and services are relentlessly defunded and privatized as tax evasion by the rich increases; the global food system produces more and more disabling and contaminated junk without nutritional value; noncontagious diseases become the world's biggest killers with only symptom cures; the vocational future of the next generation collapses; the global financial system has ceased to function for productive investment in life goods.

Every step is driven by an out-of-control transnational money-sequence system run by private banks and corporations working through captured states and covert treaty mechanisms. Unless we recognize the underlying system disease, we become lost in its symptoms.

John McMurtry Guelph, Canada

One humanity

Peter Adamson's excellent article (NI 460) reminds us that, despite the daily doom and gloom reported in news headlines, we - humanity - have made tremendous strides forward during the 40 years of NI's existence, even though we still face many challenges.

He is absolutely right to highlight the principle concern for the 20th century as being equality. Inequality is always corrosive. It degrades those who have as much as those who have not. Inequality requires barriers to be erected and constantly reinforced to maintain it. Like a dam, the bigger the difference, the more pressure it exerts and the thicker, stronger and more expensive the reinforcements need to be - and the bigger the risk of catastrophic collapse. Unequal societies are inefficient, requiring effort and energy to be diverted from socially useful projects into maintaining inequality.

Equal societies foster mutual respect, creating an atmosphere of co-operation in which all can work together to tackle the real problems - health, sanitation, water and energy - that will threaten us.

The key task is to convince the rich and powerful that it is in their interests to share more, to effect a more equitable distribution of the wealth that they, at the moment, control. …

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