Monday, August 09, 2010

Tony Judt, 1948-2010

Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid, and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.

From Ill Fares the Land

Why is it that here in the United States we have such difficulty even imagining a different sort of society from the one whose dysfunctions and inequalities trouble us so? We appear to have lost the capacity to question the present, much less offer alternatives to it. Why is it so beyond us to conceive of a different set of arrangements to our common advantage?

From "What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?"

Obituary here; more writings here.

1 comment:

Peg said...

Anyone read Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (yes of Frances the badger fame). One of my all time favorite novels. A similar sentiment.
Thanks for the intro to Judt....