Introduction
The ecological/cultural crisis now facing the world’s people warrants our
immediate attention. With the world population moving toward nine billion people, a
combination of forces. The adoption of Western consumer lifestyle such as that which is
occurring in China and India, greater dependence upon the industrial system of
production, and the intergenerational divide caused by the spread of digital technologies
are increasing tensions as large groups of people feel their traditions are slipping away.
With the majority of the world’s population facing economic uncertainties and little
prospects of escaping poverty, corporations continue to enjoy a seemingly unchecked
power and authority over the world of work and consumption (Ford 2009; Klein, 2007;
Reich 2011). Indeed, the power of international corporations continues to undermine the
exercise of local democracy both in the United States and in the poorest countries. The
exploitation of natural resources and the expansion of dependence upon a money
economy at the same time as Western technologies are reducing the need for workers is
an omnipresent but little recognized double bind (Klein, 2007; Shiva, 2010). Less
noticed by Western promoters of economic globalization is how Western techno-
scientific practices are eroding the intergenerational knowledge as well as the linguistic
and cultural diversity among the world’s people. Traditional non-consumer dependent
patterns of mutual support and skills are disappearing as more of the world’s population
seeks to become modern and free of their culture’s constraints to achieve unlimited
material well-being. The irony is that unlimited material progress and wealth is
increasingly unattainable in the United States as the gulf between the wealthy top percent
of the population increasingly diverges from the growth in poverty for the majority
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