Sunday rearview: Reforming capitalism, colonial restitution, Ivanka’s jargon

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 8, 2019

‘Furggelen afterglow’, by Lukas Schlagenhauf, is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

As a news junkie, I live with the highs and lows, and ebb and flow of events near and far. In order for it not to become a monochrome blur, here are some picks from everything I wrote last week:

** Figuring out how to make capitalism work and philanthrocapitalism pay off.

A five-point plan to reform capitalist democracy

With regard to reforming capitalism, I particularly liked Martin Wolf’s suggestions and the quote from Italian author Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: “If we want everything to stay the same, everything must change”.

A new gospel of wealth, 130 years after the one written by Andrew Carnegie

I really liked what Ford Foundation president Darren Walker said, off the back of his new prosperity gospel, ‘From Generosity to Justice’: “The current form of philanthropy needs disrupting, just as the current form of capitalism needs disrupting because, at their roots, they can do more to make the world a fair and just place”.

** How does restitution work? How can the injustice of colonialism, notably the pillaging of cultural artefacts, be addressed? In my column in The National, I explored the argument in Indian economist Amartya Sen’s 2009 book The Idea of Justice. It features three children and one flute.

I wrote: “Anne says the flute should be hers because she is the only one who knows how to play it; Bob says it should be his as he has no other toys and Carla says the flute is hers because it is the fruit of her people’s labour.

Who gets the flute depends on the philosophy of justice. Should it be legal, social or distributive? Professor Sen wrote that most people are sensible enough to know that a “perfectly just” world is a utopian dream but they want “the elimination of some outrageously unjust arrangement”.

For that flute, read Benin Bronzes, disparate masks, diamonds, thrones, and other artworks. We are nowhere near the end of this discussion.”

** What Syria’s falling currency tells us about global interconnectedness. And on a related note, Russia really does have fair-weather friends and allies in the Middle East.

** How America’s “First Daughter” is a prose poet of jargon. Remember “architecting”?

** The week ended on a sober note with the question I ask in my column in The Arab Weekly: Does Britain believe in deradicalization anymore?

Please keep reading.

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