James Cunningham (Letters, NI 534) cites World War Two and the Falklands as arguments against disarmament. He does not mention Suez, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, or earlier aggressive wars where Britain has used its greater power to invade or colonize unwilling states. The need is for universal disarmament by all states, not just Britain, through a strengthened UN. Hitler and Mussolini were able to build up their forces because the League of Nations was not strong enough to prevent them, while Britain ignored the UN negotiations aiming to solve the Falklands dispute in 1982.
Diplomacy is a difficult process, but there is a need to understand the points of view of both sides, and to address grievances without slaughtering or impoverishing large numbers of innocent people. International treaties and international law must be respected.
Re: ‘What if… urban public transport was free for all?’, NI 534. No mention that if the concept applied to rural transport as well, much individual transport traffic would be taken off roads, reducing the carbon footprint and helping the government meet reduction targets.
I thought Who gets to eat? was one of the best NIs I’ve read. The food articles in particular were all excellent, including Jason Hickel’s long piece. The article on fishing and fishmeal in Senegal was such a good piece of writing: not only does it highlight so many massive issues, but the descriptions of people and places are worded beautifully.
I am writing in support of ‘10 steps to end world hunger’ and ‘Money – the ultimate decolonizer?’ (NI 533). While I wholeheartedly agree with both articles, I recognize a post-capitalist paradigm as a viable avenue for the future, where proactivism must be lived, as opposed to delegated, as might be the case within bioregionalism. I feel the practice of conscious consumerism and ethical consumerism is the directive needed for prominently living a person’s values in the world. A person can learn community values and interdependence inasmuch as the opportunities are available. This is primary for proactivism to answer climate change.
Means to ends
I was delighted by Jason Hickel’s article in NI 533. It would be good to see more extensive treatment of modern monetary theory (MMT). I urge all readers of New Internationalist to read The Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton, which gives a brilliant and persuasive exposition of MMT.
The essence of the argument is that balanced budgets should not be the primary objective of financial management. Taxation and borrowing are means to achieve broader economic objectives, not simply to pay for government expenditure – Kelton emphasizes the maintenance of full employment, and building an ecologically sustainable economy. The book was written before the virus struck, but the response of governments to the emergency gives it a particular relevance. The truth of MMT has been demonstrated by the successful use of deficit financing to sustain economies through the pandemic. The future danger is that this lesson will be ignored when ‘normal’ times return.
I read ‘Cuba’s crossroads’ with interest - and a little disappointment... It is true that Khrushchev withdrew Soviet missiles from Cuba. What too seldom gets mentioned is that, as part of the quid pro quo, the US withdrew its Jupiter missiles – within range of, and aimed at, Soviet targets – from Northern Turkey. Khrushchev didn’t consult Castro about this move. Castro was furious.
So, who won the Cuban Missile Crisis? It’s fairly obvious – and it wasn’t JFK and the US!
...support children’s reading.
A love of reading can be life-changing for children. Reading helps imaginations bloom, nurtures a sense of empathy, and supports children to find their own voice and tell their own stories. I write poems and stories for children and often visit schools to share my work and support creative writing in the classroom. I’m always amazed at young imaginations but I’m also struck by how many children face complex challenges which prevent them reading for pleasure. BookTrust, a charity I support, is working to change this and raises money to send surprise book parcels to children who are vulnerable or in care. Supporting their work is a brilliant way to sprinkle a little bit of magic into a child’s life.