Letter: Engineers of reform
Tuesday 14 December 1999
Well, Professor Callinicos, look around and compare society now with what it was even 50 years ago. The "re-engineering" forces have ensured a far fairer division of the economic cake so that a large majority of the population in the western democracies now enjoy a standard of living that our grandfathers could only dream about. This dual force - capitalism providing the wealth, socialist forces "from below" ensuring a gradual "re-engineering" of society - is a force for good.
Professor Callinicos asserts that "change will come democratically through mass movements from below". Precisely. What he seems unaware of is the radical changes that such democratic pressures have already achieved. One has only to think of the abolition of the slave trade, the parliamentary Reform Bills, the clean air acts, the education bills, the suffragettes, the various pressures brought to bear by the trades unions and the Green movement etc to realise that he is right. But these mass movements cannot effect change except by bringing pressure to bear on democratically accountable governments who, whether he likes it or not, are the engineers of social change.
No doubt poverty has increased in the Third World but this is due to several factors, not least being the massive population growth caused by improved medical facilities with which no amount of redistributive policies or economic growth can compete.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Downton Abbey fans outraged at Kindle sponsorship adverts
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine as the young singer
Foo Fighters: Live 2015 tour dates announced for Sonic Highways
Kendrick Lamar announces new song 'i' following leak
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God