Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
"liberalism," or rights-based discourse, which provides for individual human rights and private property rights as the basis upon which other discussions of how to interact across borders begins.

when these ideas first took flight, there was a comfortable gap between our climate-shifting planetary predations, and the ability of the biosphere to put up with us.

the liber in these 'liberal ideas', what made them liberal, was the championing of the individual's right to be treated with dignity, and he and his family's hard work building their home/estate not to be idly robbed from him by royal or state fiat.

very fine, and historically apposite.

but now individual rights are owned by corporations larger than states, mushrooming taxes force old people off the land they have worked for generations, sustainably, (if without contributing much to national exchequers or GDP), and eminent domain laws make mockery of these claims. so, establishing these baseline rules is fine and dandy, but they're riddled with loopholes and not lived up to more than very partially even by their loudest exponents. perhaps the ideas outlive their authors, or are failed by them, notwithstanding their ability to stay alive and morph with circumstances to new iterations.

riches were first accumulated by industrious farmers living in harmony with the land, if they grew 4% a year they could reproduce and expand until resources stopped them, and in many cases great civilisations waxed and waned, but surely capital(ism) originally consisted of that?

in our wish to organise our societies better we have troubleshot many ideologies regarding social justice, rules of law etc, any one only has to browse the bible lightly to see how many of those rules, bitterly defended to the death, are now obviously quaint or deranged.

either these noble old ideas need completely new bottles, or we can evolve more intelligent ones. they look great on paper, but are aspirational affirmations at best, and frequently lip-serviced with a nudge/wink, as in 'we know what's really going down, but let's go on with the charade'. america and its hegemon control are boasting a leveller playing field and a more humane approach to ideational international governance, but the rhetoric does not match the facts on the ground. will we expect a fairer system to flow from the chinese, bric group, the russians, the EU? all bets off. your point is well taken, and its easy to let carping perfectionism be the good's enemy, the main point i think is does it matter whose hand's on the tiller as long as we take a saner direction and ecologically and socially aware philosophy than the liberal ideas so endorsed (and betrayed), and cyclically (and i believe at least somewhat cynically) reiterated set of which you speak?

(not you being cynical, just to be a little clearer!)

thanks for adding so much solid counterpoint and interesting ideas to these discussions at ET, santiago.

apologies for the jumbled syntax too, a storm brewing, and my sinuses registering the barometry...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 11:25:56 AM EST
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