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Monday, December 11, 2006

Two interesting op-ed pieces from the Guardian

I don't have much time to comment, but I wanted to link to two op-ed pieces from today's Guardian:

The Brands have Turned Us into a Nation of Addicts by Jackie Ashley (it talks about the influence of marketing on children)

and

Labour has sped along the American highway but we would be happier taking Europe's gentler path by Larry Elliott. (It makes the case that the UK is following an American-style economic program, of accelerating growth without limits, and that this is profoundly flawed; in contrast, he holds up the continental model for serious consideration (although he is, wisely, not uncritical of it either.))

Central to both of these is the deep question of what humans are for: Are we fundamentally for being parts of an economic machine, cogs in consumerism, which is continually accelerating in producing and using up more and more? Or is there something else that we are for, which is able to contextualise the consumption machine, allowing for better environmental stewardship and a genuine humanity in which business and economics serves humans rather than vice-versa? Although these two op-eds only gesture in the direction of this genuine humanity, and in any event I would want to provide a robustly Christian view of this humanity (and I have no idea if the writers in question would or wouldn't), it still seems clear that the sorts of practices they highlight lead us in profoundly unhelpful and inhuman directions.

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