Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, And Peace (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/9/22
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A leading voice in the struggle for global justice, Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental activist and physicist. In Earth Democracy, Shiva updates the struggles she helped bring to international attentionagainst genetic food engineering, culture theft, and natural resource privatization-uncovering their links to the rising tide of fundamentalism, violence against women, and planetary death.
Starting in the 16th century with the initial enclosure of the British commons, Shiva reveals how the commons continue to shrink as more and more natural resources are patented and privatized. As our ecological sustainability and cultural diversity erode, so too is human life rendered disposable. Through the forces of neoliberal globalization, economic and social exclusion ignite violence across lines of difference, threatening the lives of millions.
Yet these brutal extinctions are not the only trend shaping human history. Struggles on the streets of Seattle and Cancun and in homes and farms across the world have yielded a set of principles based on inclusion, nonviolence, reclaiming the commons, and freely sharing the earths resources. These ideals, which Shiva calls Earth Democracy, serves as an urgent call to peace and as the basis for a just and sustainable future.
Second the author is overtly indiscriminate with just blaming rhetoric with no tangible solutions. Seriously, her overarching solution to every problem in the world is to dissolve corporations and for people to live only within their local villages. What about modern medicine? What about space travel, and any other field of advanced technology? I get that technology has been used widely to perpetuate violence and this may be used as an argument against it, but does this truly justify living off of the food that we grow in the field next to our house,and nothing more? Shiva here perpetuates the kind of rhetoric that is portrayed by wild right-wing media outlets: bombastic, virtue-signaling irrational garbage. Wild claims of genocide by basically every corporation and government ever by Shiva are not the way to bring about any modicum of change she desires, and it is very good that that change will not come.
I would NOT recommend starting to learn about her views with this book. Right from the start the author's tone is very sharp in pointing out what's wrong with globalization versus the commons. It's a continuous boxing match and the author keeps laying in punch after punch. What is missing from this book is a set of preliminary concepts and contrasts of what is globalization and what is the commons and Earth Democracy. Without any kind of building of these themes the reader is put into a somewhat stressful situation. Most of what is then followed in the book is bad this and that. The ways to respond to globalization are not clearly enumerated and how YOU should act after hearing this material is not immediately evident. The reader is not drawn into the situation in a deep way and full explanations of the concepts is not attempted before getting into the thick of things. So it really is like having the volume turned up listening to these things like a news broadcast rather than an engaging read.
So while I highly value and appreciate what Vandana Shiva is doing on the world stage, her ability to communicate a message that can sink in through the written word is not a strong suit at least in this specific book.
Ms. Shiva has long been highly regarded as an activist and scholar. She has authored many books and is a frequent media commentator. "Earth Democracy" serves to further Ms. Shiva's stature as a leading intellectual who continues to eloquently voice the concerns of the poor. Her unique ability to blend science, history, politics, economics, gender issues and other fields of study into her text is impressive. The result is a book that rewards its readers with many pages of thought-provoking insight and analysis.
Ms. Shiva points out that two thirds of humanity owes its livelihood to a sustenance economy that finds itself under increasing pressure from capital. She finds similarities in the earlier eras of enclosure and colonialism with today's struggle over intellectual property rights and patents, where the powerful use the law to privatize resources for profit. Arguing that overconsumption by the wealthy is the root cause of environmental destruction and human injustice, Ms. Shiva makes a compelling case for granting local communities more control over resources so that alternative, sustainable economies can be nurtured.
Ms. Shiva brilliantly connects the insecurity wrought by globalization with the "ideologies of exclusion" and "cultural nationalism" that fuels war and terrorism. As state power largely serves to protect corporate interests, the economically uprooted and excluded masses seek identity through nationalist conflict and sometimes prove vulnerable to manipulation by religious extremists. On the other hand, Ms. Shiva cites the Indian farmer's struggles over seed and water rights as examples of how people might come together in a positive way to reclaim a more peaceful and secure future.
Ms. Shiva reminds us that Mahatma Gandhi proved how small acts of resistance can hasten the end of empire. She believes that a multiplicity of movements such as Terra Madre that are struggling for food security, the environment, democracy and human rights will help us break free from the self-destructive path that has been prescribed for us by the corporate elite.
I highly recommend this important and inspiring book to everyone.