Owen Barritt (hmmm_tea) wrote,
Owen Barritt

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The Zeitgeist Movement

Discovered about this lot via the Socialists who had seen them on the 4th plinth. Their views are distinctly odd in places and I disagree with them on a number of points, but their views are broadly socialist and they do have a some interesting ways of looking at things.

The video below, as with all political propaganda is very one sided and makes a lot of broad sweeping statements without backing them up. It's also just over 2 hours long (just to warn you if you were thinking of watching it quickly in your coffee break), but worth watching though as it does have some interesting points as long as you take it with a small mountain of salt.

(direct link & download)

The first part analyses the current capitalist system. They do this paraphrasing a document released by the US Federal Reserve. It's all entirely based on that one document and is a massive simplification of the banking system, but it's an interesting way of looking at it and even putting aside the spin they put on it, there are interesting points underneath about the levels of debt and inequality inherent in the system.

It's after that that they go really weird with their conspiracy theories. OK, I would not be at all surprised if the conflict in Iraq was heavily influenced by the oil, just because of how much power it gives the holder within society. However, I would like to see a lot more evidence before saying that it was all a conspiracy by the capitalist system. More likely, I would suspect the case to be more along the lines of US getting touchy about the level of power Sadam was gaining and jumping at spurious evidence of WMDs that would otherwise have been ignored. However, even at that extent Capitalism would have been the key motivator behind the conflict, so their criticism would still hold to an extent.

I'm also fairly unconvinced that we can fixed society with technology. Yes, profit is at odds with sustainability and efficiency and as such the development of technology outside of capitalist society may benefit society more, but I very much doubt it will magically solve all our problems.

Then there's the religion bit at the end, which I find really odd even as an atheist. Yes, ok, there have been a lot of wars based on religion, but there are also a lot of very religious people who are highly tolerant of other beliefs. I would say the separation of cultures is more of the issue causing these conflicts rather than the beliefs themselves. All people have beliefs that cannot be back up by hard evidence, that's human nature, you can't rid society of those.

OK, it would be nice if we could move away from a society based almost entirely on the movements of numbers, but this idea seems a little too sterile. Work, beliefs and everything along those lines are part of what makes us human and generally add interest to our lives. Yes, it would be good to automate tasks especially repetative work to reduce labour hours, but we all need purpose and to gain that we need to be able to do our bit for society.
Tags: commerce, economics, philosophy, reform, socialism

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