March 11, 2007
Sure, Oswald Hung Out There, But…

Interesting comments on Jerry’s “Cuba Copes” started me googling… According to the (pinko wrestlers at the?) World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Global Footprint Network’s 2006 report, Living Planet, in which the US was not quite the hero:

…Cuba was the only country to have achieved sustainable development.

Cuba’s rating was based on the fact that it is the only country in the world that has a high level of social development, including good health and education systems, and does not use up more resources than is sustainable.

Social development, hah. They’re low on iPods. Still, they seem to have a sense of community. I wonder where that comes from.

Cuba remains, as Chomsky says, the threat of a good example.

I don’t know if the report is correct, but I expect a lot would depend on definitions. I also expect the mainstream interpretation would differ radically from mine. The question is, why?

It seems to me that:

  1. Civilized life could be lived in a sustainable fashion.
  2. A significant majority of humanity, in particular of American humanity, would not only prefer to live sustainably, it would pay to live sustainably.
  3. The current power structure in the United States is based on economic systems that assume inherently unsustainable consumption patterns.

Unless I missed my symbolic logic class (and I did), it follows that

  • The power structure adapts, or
  • We change the power structure, ot
  • We move to an environment, presumably extraterrestrial, where our lifestyle is sustainable, or
  • We all die.

In Greider’s terms, we either give capitalism a soul, or it kills us. Or as Bertrand Russell put it, our ethic requires competition, but our methods require coöperation.

Somewhere, possibly Live on the Sunset Strip, Richard Pryor spoofed his crackhead self with stories of Jim Brown trying to bring him back to noticing what he was doing to people around him and to his future. At the same time the pipe was whispering, Nobody understands you but me. At this point Pryor mimes the Hall of Fame fullback, looking mean at him: “Whacha gone do?”

Update: You might have missed something I missed until Google brought it to my attention. Fortunately for the sanctity of the Union and the purity of our bodily fluids, Florida, a sustainable state if there ever was one, was ahead of the curve in the area of research on the Cuban ability to farm sustainably: starting in July, 2006, the state

…banned faculty members at Florida’s public universities from having any contact with the island nation under a law enacted last week. “This law shuts down the entire Cuban research agenda,” says Damián Fernández, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami.

Cuba is one of six countries that the U.S. State Department has designated as a “sponsor of terrorism,” although U.S. scholars can travel to Cuba for research if they first obtain a government license. The Florida measure, which passed the state legislature unanimously, essentially closes that loophole by disallowing state-funded institutions from using public or private funds to facilitate travel to such countries.

Border closed, problem solved.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at March 11, 2007 07:23 AM
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U.S. authoritarian measures to assure "No Home-Garden Plot Left Behind" to weaken Corporate Agriculture.

Posted by: Hoffmann on March 11, 2007 9:03 AM

It seems---to decode U.S Government/Corporate vocabulary---that any movement suggesting non-corporate production is by definition a "Terrorist" entity.

Posted by: Hoffmann on March 11, 2007 9:20 AM

99,9 percent of the Cubans can read and write, while 5 to 10 percent of US Americans (and Germans, come to that) can't. These 5-10 percent depend entirely on TV for information. Control TV and you control them.
As Hitler taught us.

And, by the way, only the Japanese (mainly living on health food like fish, soy beans and seaweed) and the people of some obscure Caribbean Island called Dominica get older than the Cubans. How come?

Chuck, your update reminded me of William Worthy, the courageus journalist whose passport was confiscated by the State Department over a journey to Cuba, because travelling to this evil state was forbidden. Phil Ochs wrote a song about him:
"William Worthy isn't worthy to enter our door,
went down to Cuba, he's not American any more.
But somehow it is strange to hear the State Department say,
'You are living in the free world, in the free world you must stay.'"

About William Worthy:

Posted by: Peter on March 11, 2007 12:04 PM

The conflict between economics and environmentalism is laid out gracefully and convincingly in Kim Stanley Robinson's wonderful future-fiction novel, "Forty Signs of Rain." I strongly recommend it.

Posted by: terryinaz on March 11, 2007 4:11 PM
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