The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “progressive centre” Category

Putting the Social Back Into Social Media

Posted on April 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, many Londoners were asking whether the time had come to get off Facebook altogether. Individuals who have blithely used the platform for years were fearing for their privacy, security and politics. Yet the implications for communities are as insidious, and perhaps even more destructive, as for individuals. Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, in a blog titled “Why I’m quitting Facebook,” decided the time had come for her because: “Facebook peddles in outrage . . . It has become a toxic echo chamber where people who have anything positive to say are often in defense mode against negativity and anger. Continuous reinforcement of existing beliefs tends to entrench those beliefs more deeply, while also making them more extreme and resistant to contrary facts.”…

Information Isn’t Knowledge

Posted on April 10, 2018

On a recent Freakonomics Radio podcast, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had to confess that he has struggled with the platform’s effect on democracy, politics and citizenship: “We’ve been focused on making the world more open and connected.  And I always thought that that would be enough to solve a lot of problems by itself.” Okay, to a point, that’s fair enough.  There was a lot of excitement at the launch of various social media platforms.  Political dysfunction seemed everywhere.  Citizenship appeared on the rise.  And the belief that we could solve our own problems was causing us to abandon institutions and history in favour of interaction, innovation and inclusion. But the problem has become just as Zuckerberg stated it on the podcast: “The world today…

If You Want to Fix Poverty, Fix the Economy

Posted on April 5, 2018

This is from a post I wrote a few years ago (October 2015) and it still seems as relevant today.  We’re still not making the choices necessary to attain serious poverty reduction.   He awoke from a deep slumber a couple of weeks ago to the sound of phone ringing incessantly, but when he answered he didn’t mind. Angus Deaton was being informed by someone on the other end of the phone that he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Interestingly, it was how he shed new light on persistent poverty that earned him the credit. Or as the Nobel committee put it: “To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. Angus…

The People of Hope

Posted on April 1, 2018

We live in a troubled world.  Despite many positive advances, the future security of our planet is no longer a sure thing.  We know all the terms: terrorism, climate change, hatred, racism, democratic decline, war.  There is reason to worry. But it is Easter Sunday morning – an historical occasion meant to remind us that hope is essential if we are to survive.  We’re not talking about the kind of hope here that is naïve or fabricated, but rather that state of mind in which we don’t so much look for success but for a willingness to engage in making life better regardless of the outcome. Life is hard, and the longer we live the more likely we have the scars that provide evidence…

The Nobility of Sacrifice

Posted on March 30, 2018

It’s Good Friday and with its arrival comes a willingness to speak of the term “sacrifice” and its many components.  A theme that precedes Christianity and other faiths, the sense of giving up something for a greater purpose has been with us from our very beginnings as a species and is remarkably common in the animal kingdom, especially when it comes to parents sacrificing for their young. People frequently become confused when using the word.  Yes, it’s Good Friday, and, yes, it’s that time of year when we consider how Jesus gave his own life for ideals for which he lived.  Throughout the cultures of the world there are such great examples and they remind us that life is not just something to be…

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