Look back, look up, look out!    Or why eco-economics now needs a Club of Romantic Maximalism

Look back, look up, look out! Or why eco-economics now needs a Club of Romantic Maximalism

Philosophy
Far back in the 20th century, Baby-Boomers had to get used to what we might call blockbuster pessimism. We can indeed think backwards to 1972 and the Club of Rome with its Limits to Growth proposition or to 1982’s The Global 2000 Report to the President -  Entering the Twenty-First Century (with its catchpenny strap : Commissioned By Carter/Disregarded by Reagan). As this is an anniversary year for both works, one can indeed expect many invitations to think backwards thus and to wonder why, with so many elaborate warnings to hand, the world never got itself pure and clean in time for the 21st century. As they say in Ayrshire, yous wiz telt  -  and at least one voice in the CoR is claiming that the world “hit the snooze…
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“Why should the poor be flattered”?

“Why should the poor be flattered”?

Topicality
If I am 65 years old, in what age-shaped ways do I approach markets   -   and indeed life itself  -  differently from others (at whatever life stage)? Am I frustrated at how invisible people like myself seem in TV commercials (except the ones for life insurance and funeral finance)? Do I ever feel that some shops are just not for the likes of me? In other words, can I sense a form of oblique discrimination in the air, unmistakeable under the muzak? Am I ever embarrassed at the please-pay-here moment when I catch my grey/bald reflection as I hand over for tilling/bagging an Italian DVD thriller involving medieval nuns or four bottles of discount fragrance or a very fancy pair of purple trainers for people with plantar fasciitis?   Do…
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Ageing and Social Care  : Principles of Play (1)

Ageing and Social Care : Principles of Play (1)

Topicality
Somewhere in her political diaries, Barbara Castle recounts a conversation she has in the 1970s with the Labour Party’s Director of Research. The venue is the platform of Labour Conference in Blackpool and their very private discussion centres on the cumulative impact on public spending that would be result of accepting so many delegate resolutions  -  all demanding ever more outlay on good causes. With silent headshakes, they both agree that the demands, taken in total and with each being perfectly worthy, are unsustainable. The implication at work is that there was just no moral or intellectual space in which to regulate and prioritise state spending. A destructive over-reach (for wannabe radicals) was consequently inevitable. Now, let’s hereby affirm that the level of tax raised in a country like the…
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Forever Always Young?  (Or does retroactive pattern-seeking in old age ever create value?)

Forever Always Young? (Or does retroactive pattern-seeking in old age ever create value?)

Philosophy
Gustave Flaubert spoke to me once, telling me how unwise it is to touch your idols, given that the gilt is bound to come away on your hands. We hold this thought  -  which is not in itself specifically about ageing  -  while we add another. To wit : much of adult life involves a deliberate and entirely healthy dismissal of one’s childhood and adolescence. (more…)
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Ageing in Africa : it would be a fine thing.

Topicality
Just recently, UN News told the world that a large number of communities across Africa (and indeed elsewhere) were “facing catastrophic levels of acute hunger”. In real-time fact, some 34 million people were starving. By the Spring of 2021, the FAO was categorizing some 34 African states as requiring “external assistance for food”. The reason behind such dire straits was multiple : armed violence provoking mass movement of refugees, troubled harvests, volatility of staple prices, floods and locusts, droughts   -  the mix of human agency and bad luck cursing already malnourished economies and severely limited welfare-ism. Meanwhile, even before coronavirus struck, official figures (such as there are) were confirming a sad truth : millions of Africans are not going to see out their fifties. Life expectancy in, say, the Central…
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Living Dyingly (with apologies to C. Hitchens)

Philosophy
As a young schoolboy, many years ago, I began, perhaps not always very thoroughly, to read the Scottish broadsheet newspapers. Over time, I became aware of court proceedings as they were being reported, with special reference to big crime, sawn-off bank robberies, vicious gangsterism, serial killings -  all the things so appreciated by young boys in the epoch. In that setting, I have a memory still of court cases involving the deaths of elderly and sick people, deaths accelerated by the intervention of family members  -  those who delivered overdoses or willfully withheld the medicine critical to the prolongation of the life concerned. Yes, we talk of what is now called Assisted Dying. (more…)
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Can the European Union help us to age well now?

Can the European Union help us to age well now?

Topicality
From issue to major issue, many in the UK will still look to the institutions of the EU for counsel and leadership amid these twisted times. The sadness is therefore the greater that all the talent in the EC should produce this Green Paper on the subject of ageing  -  subtitled Fostering Solidarity and Responsibility Between Generations. For the piece is as trite as it is evasive. Mutatis mutandis and with little content that is really new, it could have been written in the late 20th century. Now one appreciates that the EC has limited powers of execution here and depends, whatever the virtues of its analysis, on the responsiveness and goodwill of Member States. But even then the grim absence of any political bite   -  the non-attack on the …
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The Rinkli Funstaz Book of Lockdown 21

The Rinkli Funstaz Book of Lockdown 21

Scholarship
Re-printed in 2020 from its first showing in 1988, this stands proud as one of the richest reflections on living, ageing and dying one could possibly lift. It is beautifully composed by a thoroughbred prose professional. There is a problem… but more of this later. Dr. Cassidy’s name will be familiar to those who remember the viciousness of Pinochet’s secret police, let loose to indiscriminately maim and murder in the wake of that coup. Here we learn variously of her own struggles to succeed in medicine, in the hospice movement and  -  though she may not like the language  -  in her own faith. The essentializing question herein posed is : what does it mean to age properly? (more…)
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