Quote of the week – on society

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty.  The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible

– Oscar Wilde

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Utopia

He is an unskilful physician that cannot cure one disease without casting his patient into another. So he that can find no other way for correcting the errors of his people but by taking from them the conveniences of life, shows that he knows not what it is to govern a free nation.

by Sir Saint Thomas More

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Living in the End Times

When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: “Don’t think, don’t politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!”

by Slavoj Zizek

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Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education

There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone—an unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the remediable suffering of the world.

by John Dewey

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23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism

You may think I am too extreme. However, this is what we do all the time with other products – drugs, cars, electrical products, and many others. When a company invents a new drug, for example, it cannot be sold immediately. The effects of a drug, and the human body’s reaction to it, are complex. So the drug needs to be tested rigorously before we can be sure that it has enough beneficial effects that clearly overwhelm the side-effects and allow it to be sold.

by Ha-Joon Chang

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The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844

The bourgeoisie, on the other hand, is far better off under the present arrangement than under the old slave system; it can dismiss its employees at discretion without sacrificing invested capital, and gets its work done much more cheaply than is possible with slave labour, as Adam Smith comfortingly pointed out.

by Friedrich Engels

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