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19 Apr 2014
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Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform

Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform
Author: Ross Jackson
Pub: Green Books
Price: £14.95

Occupy Wall Street - book coverReaders of Resource will be more than aware of the problems that the world is currently facing: overpopulation, unsustainable growth, inequality, species extinction, global warming, peak oil – the list goes on and on. If this wasn’t depressing enough, it seems as if nation states and global government bodies aren’t doing nearly as much as they could to stop it.

Occupy World Street is based on the premise that institutions like the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund or NATO are fundamentally broken. Jackson writes that their inflexibility on the issue of economic growth, the corrosive influence of globalised industry and the undue focus on the interests of the founding members mean that they’re either unwilling or unable to provide a safe, equitable and sustainable earth for all its inhabitants.

Jackson’s solution? Replace every world governing body with another, dedicated to ensuring the survival of our species, rather than the status quo. With such radical aims, the reference to the international protest movement, Occupy, in the title seems apt. But whereas the protesters at Wall Street, St Paul’s and other landmarks across the globe struggled to make a coherent and practical argument, Jackson weaves the many disparate problems within the current world order into a roadmap for a better future.

The new world order proposed by Jackson would see the formation of a ‘Gaian League’: sovereign countries bound to global institutions with common rules on sustainability and human rights. Jackson goes into detail both on the function of these new institutions and on the rationale behind their powers and responsibilities. The final chapter of the book discusses how the league might come about, as countries unhappy with the current neo-liberal economic model secede from existing world organisations to form something more equitable.

Jackson’s past, straddling the worlds of international finance and sustainable development, could have made for a disjointed book, but in fact lends credibility to the all-too-often woolly arguments of pure environmentalists. It can be quite heavy-going stuff, and digesting the facts, figures and diagrams makes the book a challenge for bed-time reading. Without the charts to illustrate the cruel reality of the coming crisis, though, you’d be unlikely to accept the author’s revolutionary solutions.

The book is an interesting read and a convincing ‘roadmap for radical economic and political reform’, but unless you’re driving a country, you’re not going to get very far in implementing its aims.

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