New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Future Tense

September 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Devon G. Pena, Economy, Uncategorized

Designer Babies, the Panopticon, and a World Without Ethics 

by Devon G. Peña

“You got to be greedy when others are fearful and you got to be fearful when others are greedy.” — Warren Buffett

Wired is often lauded as a rebellious poke-you-in-the-eye futurist magazine that brings leading-edge, outside-the-box thinkers to the reading public. However, I wonder how many people actually read the entire rag from cover to cover other than die-hard futurists, some research scholars, and men who forgot their Smartphones and are bored while sitting in the waiting rooms of the auto repair shop or a dentist’s office?

While Wired presents glimpses of technology at the edge, it is usually done without depth or analytical prowess. It is more like a snippet or PowerPoint version of Technology Review with a lot of colorful graphics and a semiotic code that could only appeal to Generation X and so-called Millennials. The magazine is therefore neither cutting-edge nor critical, at least not in the sense of any radical expository or analytical discourse; it is actually a rather staidly conservative magazine in the sense of kowtowing to established and worn out libertarian ideologies and a belief that ever smarter and better technology will save us and the world in some soon to arrive future populated by perfectly hard ageless bodies filled with square-jawed genetically engineered intellects. (more…)

Life Stories

June 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Scheherazades of the 21st Century

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

I have been following the progress of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development from a distance, feeling jaded about the process and the possibility of positive outcomes resulting from this gathering of diplomats and social engineers.  It’s good to see the lively and vibrant displays of people passion outside the gates of the conference, but the real question is, when will those gates come down?

At the Strategies for a New Economy conference earlier this month, veteran progressive economist Gar Alperovitz pointed to our time as the moment when enough people wake up and notice that something is wrong.

“This is a critical moment in history,” he said; “the moment when people realize something is gravely wrong and are willing to think outside the box to find solutions.”

Alperovitz suggested that we are currently in “the prehistory of a major shift,” and that now is the time for those of us who are aware of what’s happening to “lay the foundations for new institutions and new systems” that are tailored to meet the coming challenges. (more…)

Rio+20

June 19, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy

Fiddling While the Earth Burns…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

I am having trouble summoning any enthusiasm over the upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference, which will begin on June 20.

When you go to the conference website, everything sounds so benign, forward-looking and responsible.  For example, talking about food security, the conference framers call for the promulgation of sustainable agriculture, meaning “the capacity of agriculture over time to contribute to overall welfare by providing sufficient food and other goods and services in ways that are economically efficient and profitable, socially responsible, and environmentally sound.” (more…)

Entrapped!

May 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

Confessions of a Violent Consumerist

by Randall Amster

I have a confession to make. I am part of a vast international conspiracy that is bent on violently destroying our way of life and, ultimately, threatening our very survival itself. This cabal has as its unstated purpose the erosion of public institutions, theft on a global scale, and the decimation of democratic structures wherever they may be found. It is a relentless enterprise, rife with hatred and vitriol, and it will not rest until it eliminates all competing systems of ideology and belief.

You see, I am a consumerist.

I didn’t intend to become one; it just sort of happened. My parents were ones too, so I guess it must have started there. All my teachers were ones, and my role models as well. Looking back, pretty much all of my friends and family, and just about everyone I’ve ever known, were also consumerists. My recruitment started early on and was reinforced at every turn by those around me — and likewise by every highway billboard, television commercial, and eye-level point-of-purchase display to which I was exposed. (more…)

Restore the Middle Class

February 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Promoting Economic Security Beyond Jobs

by Peter Barnes

A cushion of reliable income is a wonderful thing. It can help pay for basic necessities. It can be saved for rainy days or used to pursue happiness on sunny days. It can encourage people to take entrepreneurial risks, care for friends, or volunteer for community service.

Conversely, the absence of reliable income is a terrible thing. It heightens anxiety and fear. It diminishes our ability to cope with crises and transitions. It traps many families on the knife’s edge of poverty, and makes it harder for poor people to rise.

There’s been much discussion of late about how to save America’s declining middle class. The answer politicians of both parties give is always the same: jobs, jobs, jobs. The parties differ on how the jobs will be created — Republicans say the market will do it if we cut taxes and regulation. Democrats say government can help by investing in infra¬structure and education. Either way, it still comes down to jobs with decent wages and benefits. (more…)

A Story and a Book

February 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Matt Meyer, Politics

On the Nature of Violence and Nonviolence

by Matt Meyer

Amidst a bombardment of Black Bloc commentary, questions about the militarized nature of tear-gas toting police, and the ever-frustrating all-too-abstract dialogues about the meanings of nonviolence, violence, strategy, tactics, and principles, comes a simple story (and a complicated book) straight out of Occu-politics. First, though, some defining of terms:

Nonviolence (a term some have called ‘a word seeking to describe something by saying what it is not’) is used in as wide a variety of ways as there are flavors of ice cream. For some, it is strategic and revolutionary, for others principled and philosophical; for some it is a way of life and for others a mere tactic. For most practitioners, it is an often-tantalizing combination of the above. Our story will hope to add some clarity.

Violence, as we sadly know too well, goes well beyond war to include domestic violence, random street crime, repression, and even poverty — responsible for more death than most other forms combined. But sometimes, despite this variety, it seems that the images of violence which come quickest to our minds are that of an angry kid with a rock or a gun. Our book will try to turn that image on its head. (more…)

I Ain’t Got No Home

December 12, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Tina Lynn Evans

(Re)learning the Value of Place and Occupying a Sustainable Future

by Tina Lynn Evans

Can we truly be at home in the marketplace? What kind of place is the marketplace, anyway, and how is it related to places like our communities, our homes, and the places we love in the natural world? Has the marketplace effectively replaced these physical/mental places by becoming the great provider of all that we need? And what about virtual place? Many of us spend so much time in online “environments” that place has taken on entirely new meanings unheard of prior to the Internet age. In a time when we can be both virtually and physically present in two different places at once, does it matter how we think about place, or can we just make of it what we will — make how we see and use place fit our chosen lifestyles? (more…)