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Please let us ask WHY?

Dear friends,

Like all of you, I am so saddened. I am so depressed and heart-broken to see so much brutality, inhumanity and indignity all around.  I don't know. What I know is that something must be done. The evil is visiting us all. We must not be late in confronting it.

"There is a context to London's riots that can't be ignored" (read the article below)

The more I observe what is going on, and the more I ask WHY, the more obvious it becomes: Since Thatcher, successive British governments, to their shame and to our tragic cost, have foolishly pursued the dreaded "Washington Consensus", the unethical neo-liberalism, and the inhumane neo-liberal capitalism and now we (the people) are paying the price. Yes, what is happening, the burning and the destruction is not and cannot be excused. This is a sheer madness. But only a heartless, ignorant fool and demagogue will not follow this by asking "WHY all these horrible things are happening?"

Here the wise words of Camila Batmanghelidjh's idea, movingly expressed in the Independent, rings true: this is a natural human response to the brutality of poverty: "Walk on the estate stairwells with your baby in a buggy manoeuvring past the condoms, the needles, into the lift where the best outcome is that you will survive the urine stench and the worst is that you will be raped . . . It's not one occasional attack on dignity, it's a repeated humiliation, being continuously dispossessed in a society rich with possession. Young, intelligent citizens of the ghetto seek an explanation for why they are at the receiving end of bleak Britain, condemned to a darkness where their humanity is not even valued enough to be helped."...

Friends, where ever we look, north, south, east and west, developed and developing countries, we clearly see the destructive consequences of the "Washington Consensus" and the neo-liberalism. Now, the most immediate question is: Is there an alternative to the “madness” of the ”Washington Consensus”, neo-liberalism and neo-liberal capitalism? The answer surely must be: Yes, of course. That is, if we decide to Lead with Wisdom.

Last year as we were preparing for our 10th Anniversary Conference at Alexandria Bibliotheca (which very sadly we had to cancel) we launched the "What would a new economics and economy look like?"

I believe the time is now to revisit this project and begin a global debate as we prepare for our next conference at Dalhousie University in Canada:

Please join us. Share your wisdom, experience and expertise with us. Only together in dialogue, harmony and friendship we can find hope, spirit and vision to heal our broken world.

In gratitude as ever, Kamran Mofid

There is a context to London's riots that can't be ignored

..."Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.

As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as "social problems" (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world."...

These riots reflect a society run on greed and looting

…”It then erupted across what is now by some measures the most unequal city in the developed world, where the wealth of the richest 10% has risen to 273 times that of the poorest, drawing in young people who have had their educational maintenance allowance axed just as official youth unemployment has reached a record high and university places are being cut back under the weight of a tripling of tuition fees…

Politicians and media talking heads counter that none of that has anything to do with sociopathic teenagers smashing shop windows to walk off with plasma TVs and trainers. But where exactly did the rioters get the idea that there is no higher value than acquiring individual wealth, or that branded goods are the route to identity and self-respect?

While bankers have publicly looted the country's wealth and got away with it, it's not hard to see why those who are locked out of the gravy train might think they were entitled to help themselves to a mobile phone. Some of the rioters make the connection explicitly. "The politicians say that we loot and rob, they are the original gangsters," one told a reporter. Another explained to the BBC: "We're showing the rich people we can do what we want."

Most have no stake in a society which has shut them out or an economic model which has now run into the sand. It's already become clear that divided Britain is in no state to absorb the austerity now being administered because three decades of neoliberal capitalism have already shattered so many social bonds of work and community.

What we're now seeing across the cities of England is the reflection of a society run on greed – and a poisonous failure of politics and social solidarity. There is now a danger that rioting might feed into ethnic conflict. Meanwhile, the latest phase of the economic crisis lurching back and forth between the United States and Europe risks tipping austerity Britain into slump or prolonged stagnation. We're starting to see the devastating costs of refusing to change course.”