Archive for Accountability

Blame it on ….. who?

Posted in Crisis, current events, Democracy, Economy, Financial crisis, politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on 22/06/2011 by Living out of Eden

Like in too many human issues, seems we keep on going in circles about this one. Endlessly. But I cannot give up arguing the topic, when I feel there is something that doesn’t quite fit in the general explanation.

We have all heard until we got fed up, that people (any people, Spanish, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Argentinian), are to blame for behaving irresponsibly by taking debts and loans far beyond each one’s income possibilities. That we should have all thought well, before signing off with the bank. I will therefore accept, for the moment, this explanation.

Responsibility means being aware of the consequences of any of your acts, and so, facing them when they come. To me – and please correct me if I’m wrong – we, ordinary people, are already paying in a quite expensive fashion, our daring, our lack of wisdom. Being it losing homes,  jobs, delaying marriage, postponing having kids, losing perspective and illusion on the future. Continue reading

Recovering Democracy?

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Economics, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/06/2011 by Living out of Eden

We are currently undergoing a promissing period of change, or at least, so it seems.

There had been in the recent months, demonstrations in several parts of the world, in which, people gathered spontaneously in iconic public spaces, to send Governments a new message: “Not this way anymore”.

However I believe we need to stop and consider some essential issues before moving forward:

  • Actual present situation: 

There’s a belief that the struggle is to regain a “true democracy”. This could or couldn’t be accurate, depending on what we call “Democracy”. If by Democracy we define a method by which people once a while express their preference by voting, and the outcome is the resulting government and opposition, then yes, we live in democratic states. But if we are more on the side that Democracy means Institutions running, and balance of power, inexistence of corruption, we must  then admit, we are far from this idealistic situation.

The exercise of power, we must accept, has slightly varied along the last ….. two thousand years. Well, yes, nowadays the system is much more sophisticated, but not more people based. Can you name countries and states, that you could say live under a “true democracy”, in the terms defined in the previous paragraph?

We should then be aware of this new status, that the real task to undertake is CREATION a democratic way of social governance, and not just doing adjustments.
  • Representativeness: 

This has been a topic since long ago. Politicians of any party being persuaded, stressed, tempted or even forced to legislate and govern more in representation of economic powers than in people’s, is a common picture. However, on one hand, the system eludes to accept the fact that 30% of citizen don’t vote as a symptom of rejection to politicians, and spreads the belief that it is more due to apathy and/or lack of interest. On the other hand, the rest of people, keep on voting under the self-explanatory relief  that it’s the way to account for their own duty with Society.

  • Accountability:
There’s a missing link in the whole story, which is, how can citizens revoke any members of any government, by other means than just the long term punishment of not voting them in the next election. This is required as a matter of URGENCY,  to prevent many vices that are so well known to all of us: corruption, application of policies that were not in the programme, 180º turns in the middle of a government period, and so on….
  • Structure:

Many aspects of our lives are changing thanks to the development of technology: commerce, work, travel, art, finance, medicine, R&D are being deeply influenced by the speed and scale that technology is imprinting to almost every human activity.

Although “power to the people”, has been an all-time claim, government in hands of people (i.e.: Direct Democracy) should have been virtually impossible to conceive and to carry out, throughout the history of Mankind.

Physical facts prevented this from happening: citizens live in territories, to make decisions they would need to meet in one single place, or at least, a system should be developed to create debate and allow every person to issue an opinion in order to determine the course of action. Like in a business company, the solution found was to entitle a few people to represent the interests of society.

But at this point, we need to clarify a significant difference in this parallelism: if a country, state or city are to be compared to a private company, citizens should stand for the “shareholders” and not for the “employees” in the orgchart. We simply just CANNOT GET CONFUSED ABOUT THESE CONCEPTS.

Through connectivity, social media, speed and scale, awareness of people potential strength and the possibility of designing social strategies without participation of political parties, technology is opening a vast field right before our eyes. It has already done so, in other aspects of our lives.

Maybe it’s time to integrate technology into politics and society governance.

Politics and Internet

Posted in Culture, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 23/04/2011 by Living out of Eden

 (Image borrowed from “Life Examinations” blog)

Same as in other fields, Internet is by far more enabling, than the way it’s currently being used.

Although Modern Movement developed its philosophy based in already existing materials, social structure and imagery, it exceeded by far the expectations of its time. In fact, there are examples that “look” modern even today, after more than 80 years.

However, being “avant-garde” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avant-garde) is much more about innovation, than invention. It doesn’t bring creation out of nothing (although Modern Movement claimed a “tabula-rasa” status to be imperative as a starting point). It’s a fact that not only Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe or Walter Gropius based their designs on the background of traditional architecture, but even Le Corbusier proved to be more “traditional” than he was considered to be.

What I mean by this is that, even when we are being able to get access to it from our phones and it seems it has already flooded our everyday life, Internet is still today at a very primitive stage. There is much more ahead to explore than what has been already developed, and it is not a matter of new technologies but just to put our imagination to work and think all its potential still to be unveiled.

Continue reading

Dying changes everything… Does it?

Posted in Culture, Ethics, politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on 09/04/2011 by Living out of Eden

I’m not a sociologist, neither an epistemologist.

But I can’t avoid feeling disturbed by some events that sometimes happen to us, as individuals as well as to society as a whole, and I would like to find an explanation for those disruptions.

If our behavior is the outcome of something like a multiple variables equation, some of them internal, some external to ourselves, couldn’t we classify those variables in different degrees? How can we set some levels to separate those that have an impact on us, from those that doesn’t?

To clarify how wide the spectrum of possibilities can be, I’ll try to define first, the two ends of the events types:

1.- Inmediate, unavoidable and result of an evident causality process – basic needs:

Breathing, eating, sleeping, and some others, are needs that come from our biological condition: we are live organisms. With more or less spread and frequency, any of these needs will constrain us, being impossible to spend more than a short period of time before we satisfy them or have a serious problem: breathing, maybe 90 seconds in an average person; eating every 4/6 hours; sleeping on a daily basis, although with some exceptions. There surely are many scientific research studies to determine our limits to survive, when unable to feed these needs.

2.- Distant, irrelevant facts (for our everyday life):

A blast of a supernova (that might have happened millions of years ago and only now we know/see the phenomenon) occurs in the opposite corner of the Universe. It’s an event that will undoubtedly be relevant to those dedicated to the knowledge of the cosmos.  The unusual events are welcome in euphoria just because of its occurrence. Providence can make some of us be witnesses of something that seldom happens, like every 50 years. But with hardly any effect on us. Continue reading