December Debate – part 2

December Debate – part 2

Guardian online debate, part 2. 4th December 2003

joolzey – 03:04pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (40.) | Reply
Dear George
Given the encouraging signs of solidarity shown by developing countries, the Chinese goliath looming and the US’s huge trade deficit growing, just how fragile do you think the US economy is? How responsive do you think China will be to hypocritical US demands for a “level playing field”? Do you envisage a great humbling for the US economy, a gradual diminishing or long-term hegemony?

GeorgeMonbiot – 04:42pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (40.1) Edit | Delete | Reply
Here’s the armlock in which the two powers have got each other: The US is almost wholly dependent on credit from the Far East, much of which now comes from China. China is almost wholly dependent on oil from abroad, most of which is now controlled by the US and its client states. The two nations are grunting and shifting as they each manouevre to tighten their grip and loosen their opponent’s, but it looks, at present, very much like deadlock. The only thing which will prevent China from dethroning the US is a restriction of its fuel supply. This is what the US, through invasion, occupation, the establishment of military bases and the construction of new pipelines, is seeking to enginner.

ideaswoman – 03:07pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (41.) | Reply
George ? much radical thought is presented in language and in places that bring a nice warm glow to the converted. I love your comment, ?Given a choice between a new set of matching tableware and the survival of humanity, I suspect that most people would choose the tableware.? It?s the people with the tableware who need convincing: any thoughts?

mattfollett – 03:21pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (42.) | Reply
George you are being very disengenous abour yor ‘peripheral’ involvement in any ‘broad coalition’ you must by now understand the power of media, and thus the influence you bring to the table. You don’t have to be a leader, but someone in your postion and access to public platform does have responsibility to be self aware of their influence. I commend your frankness on Galloway and the Green party however. Finally if you cannot give an answer to my earlier questions on whether Greens should get in bed with SWP despite the disparity of potential wider eectoral influence, what do you suggest green activists do? Leave the Greens?

GeorgeMonbiot – 04:47pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (42.1) Edit | Delete | Reply
I don’t quite understand your point. If my role in this coalition has been exaggerated, are you suggesting I should accept that exaggeration and say “yes, it really was me who founded this thing?”. I hope not, because in that case I would be party to the misrepresentation, and then you could, with justification, accuse me of being disingenuous.
I would like to see the Greens joining the other members of this coalition, but they must be permitted to do so on their own terms. They have spent a long time building their party up, and are understably wary of permitting it to be used for someone else’s ends.

jamesuf – 03:23pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (43.) | Reply
Hi George – The personal and national interest of senior US political figures are well served by the invasion of Iraq and explain their actions. Why do you think Blair supported them?

GeorgeMonbiot – 04:49pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (43.1) Edit | Delete | Reply
Principally because he wants to be remembered as a statesman, in the mold of Churchill or Gladstone. To be a statesman of this kind, you need a world stage and a massive political battle in which to engage. The offer of a war with Iraq granted him both.

sandyguardian – 03:26pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (44.) | Reply
Dear George
The recent political sanctity of ‘consumer choice’ doesn’t seem a very noble basis on which to build society. In fact it is the antithesis of society. No ‘society’ can realistically base it’s values on freedom of individual choice, that’s logical if you think about it. Surely it is better to look at ‘need’. Do I need two cars really, do I need to have a mortgage, do I need to be able to choose between 10 brands of fizzy drink or 8 types of hamburger. I’m only going to have to worry about which school to send my kids to if some schools are noticably worse than others. How many types of pension can there be. Why can’t these things be provided free? What are people going to work for? Surely the advances in technology and automation mean that we can leave everything to the machines and all live a life of leisure based on equality and shared needs?

Truth – 03:34pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (45.) | Reply
Is Tony Blair a Tory?

Truth – 03:40pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (46.) | Reply
Is Tony Blair a Tory?

Arsalan – 03:41pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (47.) | Reply
Mr Monbiot, Capitalism in its present form is not working. For over 60% of the worlds population it is a dismal failiure. A quarter of the world?s population, 1.3 billion people, live in severe poverty. Nearly 800 million people do not get enough food, and about 500 million people are chronically malnourished. More than a third of children are malnourished.In developing countries 160 million pre-school children are underweight. Compare those figures with the statistics for rich countries and the contrast is striking. In the U.S and Britain, obesity is a much greater cause for alarm than hunger. Our economic system is heavily skewed and our politics and ideology are warped in order to accomodate the unfairness of it all. Marx hit the nail on the head.

GeorgeMonbiot – 04:50pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (47.1) Edit | Delete | Reply
All true. But just because Marx’s analysis was broadly correct, it does not mean that his political prescriptions were.

GuardianPolitics – 04:05pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (48.) | Reply
Question from a user:
Have you decided whether the abolition of capitalism need lead to a totalitarian state yet?

GeorgeMonbiot – 04:53pm Dec 4, 2003 BST (49.) Edit | Delete | Reply
Thanks everyone for an interesting debate, and sorry not have had time to answer all your questions. For more info on most of these topics, please see my website, Signing off now. Bye!