Chris Blattman

The great challenge to human ingenuity

Revolution is a wasteful, destructive, and inhuman engine of political change. It must be allowed to happen if there is nothing better, but the great challenge to human ingenuity is to find alternative paths to economic and political reconstruction, which can bring basic changes without the massive use of violence.

The societies of the Third World can ill afford the economic and human costs of prolonged civil war. But virtually all of the thinking to date about revolutionizing underdeveloped societies through technology rather than through violence has been designed to serve the political interests of the donor country.

The avoidance of revolution has been an end in itself, and very little commitment has been made to the achievement of radical political change through nonviolent means in societies needing revolution.

A great nation has an inherent problem, and possibly an insoluble one, in devising a strategy for helping another society to remake its political life without injecting its own interests and values and without coming to dominate the weak.

From Richard Barnet, Intervention and Revolution, writing in 1968.

One Response

  1. I can also recomend “The Lean Years” written by the same author in 1980. he describes the collapse of the oil-economy, rising prices of primary commodities like food, minerals, and the like, and the political economy of the entry into the post-carbon society.

    With hinsight, of course, it is easy to point out numerous errors in Barnet’s predictions, however, there are some real gems hidden in the book, that looks astonishingly important in the world today.

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