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  • Occupy Harvard - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    agreed upon organizers stayed up to the wee hours of the morning drafting a manifesto An Open Letter to Greg Mankiw which they sent out to the Harvard Political Review Today we are walking out of your class Economics 10 in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course it read As Harvard undergraduates we enrolled in Economics 10 hoping to gain a broad and introductory foundation of economic theory that would assist us in our various intellectual pursuits and diverse disciplines which range from Economics to Government to Environmental Sciences and Public Policy and beyond Instead we found a course that espouses a specific and limited view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today The letter highlighted Harvard s connection to the current financial system problems with the class textbook the purpose of an economics education a lack of diverse opinions and the monopoly Ec 10 has as a gateway course to further studies in economics at Harvard The letter was also riddled with questionable examples from the course and the type of idealistic ramblings you d expect from a handful of eighteen year olds living out of home for the first time These misgivings in the manifesto were attacked soon enough But despite the follies the intention was nonetheless rooted in an honest and undeniable suspicion are we being taught science or ideology That question is at the core of the debate that erupted at Harvard and around the world People never used to discuss the content of Ec 10 before They discussed you know what the answer was to question number five on the problem set and how stressed they were about the upcoming midterm But now they re actually discussing the substance the ideas behind what was being said says Sandalow Ash A decade ago a similar protest by students in Europe the Post Autistic Economics movement radically changed the curriculum and ideological stance of European economics departments Now called Real World Economics the movement made a brief foray into England and America too but fizzled out at the gates of Harvard Yard Could the Mankiw walkout be the beginning of a similar movement in America one that this time could stick Or is it just a flash in the pan We are going to be fighting our peers as much as we are going to be fighting structures of power says Fenna Krienen a member of Occupy Harvard and fifth year graduate student in neuropsychology Krienen sat in on Mankiw s class that day and was part of the walkout One of the more interesting caveats of the scene at Occupy Harvard is that the vast majority of their members aren t undergraduates And while the walkout was the brainchild of Occupy Harvard s few undergraduate sympathizers graduate students outside the discipline of economics make up the core of the movement In fact within economics there is scant a

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/occupy-harvard/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Occupy's Perfect Storm - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    could win an election form a government and have the power to change things The fact is that today politics and power have fallen apart in liberal democracy They are separated maybe even divorced We know this We feel this viscerally I would wager And every day brings new evidence that confirms this view Papandreou remember him Former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou s idea of a referendum to the Greek people to ratify the new EU bailout proposals in October of 2011 is a case in point Although he handled the referendum idea incompetently it was a democratic gesture of an old fashioned kind Merkel and her sidekick Sarko who are the punitive super egoic Batman and Robin of modern Europe Sarko is Robin and Merkel is the Dark Knight were of course appalled because they know that this referendum idea is a deep misunderstanding of contemporary political reality where power has shifted elsewhere The referent of power is not the people and is not located in national governments It is elsewhere with financial institutions or the European Central Bank And these are the institutions that European governments serve not the people How could Papandreou be so naïve Well Papandreou is now gone and we have an unelected government of technocrats in Greece and the same thing in Italy I agree with Habermas on this point Democracy at this time in history even representative liberal democracy risks being no more than a word a kind of ideological birdsong Power has evaporated into supranational spaces These are the spaces of finance obviously of trade obviously and also information and information platforms obviously But these supranational spaces are also those of drug trafficking human trafficking illegal immigration the many boats that cross the Mediterranean and so on We know this And yet power still feels local We feel English or Greek or Tunisian but power has migrated beyond local boundaries Sovereignty lies elsewhere It is certainly not populist or people centered Politics does not have power Politics serves power Whereas power is global or supranational politics is still local and there is a gap between the two The casualty of this separation of politics and power is the State The state has become eviscerated discredited and its credit rating has been slashed This is obviously the case with the Greek state but I think it is only a slightly more extreme example of the situation in the USA and elsewhere in Britain say The state is in a state So what do we do To be honest I don t know Philosophy is the owl of Minerva and it always spreads its wings at dusk when it is too late But this separation of power and politics I think throws light on a number of phenomena Let me mention three One I had a conversation with my 19 year old son in a favorite London pub last Saturday the Lamb on Lamb s Conduit Street He cares about the state

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/occupys-perfect-storm/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Mongolia - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    district venture into the city by day to earn money by selling seeds or sitting on the sidewalk with a scale Passersby may weigh themselves for a fee of ten cents In other countries after deciding against life in the countryside the young turn up in cities looking to chase their dreams of wealth and success Here they d like to remain in the countryside but are forced by climate change into the cities As luxury goods stores and shiny cafés are built at the city center there are abandoned buildings just blocks away The stark juxtapositions of wealth are all the more confounding against the backdrop of a Soviet era city with its overtones of equality and basic functionality A former communist state and satellite of the USSR Mongolia is embracing a kind of resource capitalism It is selling off its abundant resource wealth to foreign investors The Mongolian government recently announced plans to privatize Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi the state owned firm that controls the world s largest coal exploration project It expects the privatization to raise 300 billion This is the biggest example of how Mongolian officials aren t setting up their resource base as a long term source of employment and revenue they re privatizing it using it as a way to get a big one time payment Mongolia s rich resource base means there is no lack of wealth in the country but there are challenging questions of distribution To address the problem of growing poverty the government is increasing spending on social welfare It has announced plans to invest 92 6 billion MNT 70 million in initiatives to expand employment and healthcare and pledged 20 billion MNT 15 million to develop small communities in the hinterland and therefore discourage rural to urban migration Mongolians are

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/mongolia/ (2016-02-09)
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  • The Shadow Industry - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    natural product and by its very nature chemically pure They point to the advantages of the smoke the beautifully colored patterns in the clouds which serve as a reminder of the happiness to be obtained from a fully realized shadow There may be some merit in this last argument for on cloudy days the skies above our city are a wondrous sight full of blues and vermilions and brilliant greens which pick out strange patterns and shapes in the clouds Others say the clouds now contain the dreadful beauty of the apocalypse 2 The shadows are packaged in large lavish boxes which are printed with abstract designs in many colors The Bureau of Statistics reveals that the average householder spends 25 percent of his income on these expensive goods and that this percentage increases as the income decreases There are those who say that the shadows are bad for people promising an impossible happiness that can never be realized and thus detracting from the very real beauties of nature and life But there are others who argue that the shadows have always been with us in one form or another and that the packaged shadow is necessary for mental health in an advanced technological society There is however research to indicate that the high suicide rate in advanced countries is connected with the popularity of shadow sales and that there is a direct statistical correlation between shadow sales and suicide rates This has been explained by those who hold that the shadows are merely mirrors to the soul and that the man who stares into a shadow box sees only himself and what beauty he finds there is his own beauty and what despair he experiences is born of the poverty of his spirit 3 I visited my mother at Christmas She lives alone with her dogs in a poor part of town Knowing her weakness for shadows I brought her several of the more expensive varieties which she retired to examine in the privacy of the shadow room She stayed in the room for such a long time that I became worried and knocked on the door She came out almost immediately When I saw her face I knew the shadows had not been good ones I m sorry I said but she kissed me quickly and began to tell me about a neighbor who had won the lottery I myself know only too well the disappointments of shadow boxes for I also have a weakness in that direction For me it is something of a guilty secret something that would not be approved of by my clever friends I saw J in the street She teaches at the university Ah hah she said knowingly tapping the bulky parcel I had hidden under my coat I know she will make capital of this discovery a little piece of gossip to use at the dinner parties she is so fond of Yet I suspect that she too has a weakness

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/the-shadow-industry/ (2016-02-09)
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  • The Age of Consequences - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    must become ever more attentive to the more than human field of experience consulting the creatures and the old local farmers comparing notes with neighbors learning the seasonal cycles of our terrain even as we notice new alterations in those cycles Listening at once outward and inward observing the shifts in the animate landscape while tracking the transformations unfolding within us in this way we weave ourselves back into the fabric of our world The violence and disarray of the coming era its social injustices and its wars will have their deepest source in systemic stresses already intensifying within the broader body of the biosphere Yet such system wide strains cannot be alleviated by scapegoating other persons or by inflicting violence on other peoples They can be eased only by strengthening the wild resilience of the Earth preserving and replenishing whatever we can of the planet s once exuberant biotic diversity while bringing ourselves and our communities into greater alignment with the particular ecologies that we inhabit Acknowledging that human awareness is sustained by the broader sentience of the Earth noticing that each bioregion has its own style of sentience observing the manner in which the collective mood of a terrain alters with every change in weather such are a few of the ways whereby we can nudge ourselves toward such an alignment The era of human arrogance is at an end the age of consequences is upon us The presumption that mind was exclusively a human property exemplified the very arrogance that has now brought the current biosphere to the very brink of the abyss It led us to take the atmosphere entirely for granted treating what was once known as the most mysterious and sacred dimension of life called Sila the wind mind of the world by the

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/the-age-of-consequences/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Absolut Advertising - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    out one crucial part of alcohol s story Booze is the leading factor in auto accidents broken homes spousal battery child abuse sexual assault and personal bankruptcy If ever a product deserved a tactical détournement it was this That same year Adbusters launched the Absolut Nonsense culture jam Within days of publication threats from Absolut began arriving at Adbusters HQ First a heady phone call then a stern letter then an ultimatum pull the ad or else We said it was satire and fair comment They said it was slander and damaging to their brand s reputation With the slickest team of international corporate lawyers their money could buy Absolut demanded Adbusters remove all copies of the magazine from shelves print an extensive public apology and promise never to do anything like it again After a few anxiety ridden days weighing the consequences of principled stance or financial ruin Adbusters went on the offensive Instead of apologizing we sent out a worldwide press release printing bites from megacorp Absolut s threat to shut Adbusters down This was followed up with an even more provocative Absolut Vodka spoof in the next issue of Adbusters that kicked off an Absolut Vodka spoof competition to which hundreds replied with their own spoofed renditions of the famed alcohol campaign Teachers and students sent us bundles of alcohol spoofs brainstormed in their classrooms Meanwhile the Absolut ultimatum caught the eye of media and free speech advocates in North America who began readying themselves to roll up their sleeves in defense of truth and fair comment As the public backlash mounted Absolut hardened their tone and then did the unthinkable they backed down We never heard from them again FROM Adbusters 100 Are We Happy Yet Order this issue Subscribe to Adbusters Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/absolut-advertising/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Post Cool - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    music media consumer products retailing politics fashion academia the internet almost everywhere you look Organizations that have spent decades investing in their image their brand their logo now admit that it s best to junk all that and start with a clean sheet of paper This paradox will become part of the day to day life in postcool society Even if postcool celebrates the real and authentic the simple and down to earth it doesn t mean that these attributes will actually dominate public life Instead we will find a grand charade of phony pretending to be authentic of contrived acting as though it is real the intricately planned putting on the mask of the simple and unaffected In many instances postcool will just be the same folks who brought you cool hiding behind a mask But this faux postcool will increasingly be forced to compete with the real thing Grassroots movements will be built around the core postcool values of simplicity authenticity naturalness and earnestness These will flourish outside the market place in public and private discourse shaping attitudes and interpersonal relations True they will have an economic impact but their significance will not be reducible to dollars and cents Postcool will inhabit people s psyches long before it takes control of their wallets This core distinction will be our chief guide in distinguishing the phony corporate maneuverings from the real grassroots changes that will drive postcool society The former will always inhabit a product or service And if the cool was a friend to business seeing its own destiny in accessories and gadgets the postcool will have a more ambivalent relationship with the prevailing economic interests The new ethos does not require expensive new accessories and often will take positive delight in downscaling lifestyles and paring back on unneeded extras Simplicity authenticity naturalness and earnestness I mentioned these as though they were parts of a product positioning exercise But in fact they will be in the foundations of the postcool personality type Just as the cool was at its best when internalized as a way people acted and not just trumpeted as a marketing message so will postcool have its greatest impact as a way people instinctively deal with situations and circumstances In a book such as this the examples gathered inevitably come from things that can be seen heard touched measured in short what we call empirical evidence But don t let that fool you into thinking that these are the primary signs of the new postcool era Many of the most salient changes will be those that we can grasp only indirectly and will not be measurable with any exactitude by statisticians and pollsters For the same reason postcool will be less fickle and changeable than cool Postcool is not just another style another trend It is the antithesis of style of trendiness And because it reflects an emerging personality type and not a passing fashion postcool will probably be around for quite a while Many

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/post-cool/ (2016-02-09)
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  • Jonathan Cook: Next Year in Jerusalem - Adbusters | Journal of the mental environment
    constraints imposed by their Arab regime hosts loosened by the Arab Spring the refugees reminded Israel and the world that their silence could not be taken for granted And then in late September in a rare act of defiance against Israel and the US Mahmoud Abbas president of the PA broke free of the confines of endless peace negotiations and applied for statehood at the United Nations Promises by the US to block the application in the Security Council served only to underline Washington s duplicitous role as honest broker One should not be too wide eyed about Abbas s role He appeared to approach this new high risk strategy with a heavy heart aware that the PA s survival depends on US and Israeli support But with an electoral mandate well past its sell by date and nothing to show for years of servile diplomacy Abbas desperately needed to bolster his public standing Whatever Abbas s motives the move to the UN radically alters the parameters of the conflict for both the Palestinians and Israelis Israel has been only too happy to perform a pointless tango with the Palestinians on the diplomatic front while it encouraged its settlers to entrench their hold on the West Bank and East Jerusalem gutting any chance of the Palestinian state that was ostensibly being negotiated Now Abbas has called Israel s bluff revealing Oslo to be nothing more than a stalling tactic Israel and the US must quickly reinvent the peace process or be exposed as charlatans That will be no simple task The Palestinian leadership meanwhile has set for itself a goal that it appears to have no power to realize Achievements toward statehood will remain stuck at the symbolic level with the infrastructure of occupation still in place The PA already deeply compromised has every incentive to conspire in the new charade being concocted by the Palestinians oppressors Where Israel and the Palestinians head next will be determined equally by developments inside the Palestinian national movement and by the interests of the region s main players Soon to be shorn of the distracting illusion of statehood the frustrated populations of the West Bank and Gaza as well as the refugees outside the territories may be expected to take firmer control of the liberation struggle Israel is already braced for mass nonviolent demonstrations its security forces armed for warfare have no reasonable means to confront The protests could rapidly escalate into an antiapartheid movement one whose message is directed at an international community exasperated with Israel Similarly worrying for Israel is the threat that the Palestinian leadership its legitimacy waning might unsheathe its ultimate weapon what Israelis term lawfare or actively pursuing Israel for war crimes though global bodies such as the International Criminal Court Palestinian campaigns for legal redress and popular demonstrations of nonviolent resistance as well as Israel s expected repressive responses will occur in a region more actively supportive of the Palestinian cause than ever The refusal by Israel

    Original URL path: https://www.adbusters.org/article/jonathan-cook-next-year-in-jerusalem/ (2016-02-09)
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