Europe: an unfinished adventure by Zygmunt Bauman

By Zygmunt Bauman

Greater than ever prior to, our conflict-ridden, drifting planet wishes the characteristics that Europe, specified one of the continents, has built in additional than millennia of background: its self-criticism, its urge to self-transcendence, exploration and test, its conviction that substitute and higher different types of human togetherness will be accomplished, in addition to its commitment to the reason for looking and selling this development in perform. yet this present day Europe is not sure of itself and its position in a fast-changing global; it's with out imaginative and prescient, restricted in assets and missing the desire to pursue its vocation. it's also suffering from the results of a one-sided strategy of globalization that is divorcing strength from politics, inciting the shift from the social nation to security-focused governance and piling up the casualties of out of control industry growth and the ethically blind commercialization of human life.Bauman argues that regardless of the chances Europe nonetheless has a lot to provide in facing the nice demanding situations that face us within the twenty-first century. via sharing its personal hard-won old classes, Europe can play a necessary function in relocating from the Hobbesian-like international during which we discover ourselves this present day in the direction of the type of peaceable unification of humanity that used to be estimated through Kant.

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Power is no longer measured by the size of the territory administered; occupied lands have turned from an asset into a liability, an awkward burden better to be avoided. In our present era of post-space (or 'speed-space', to use Paul Virilio's term), the conquest of foreign lands and territorial acquisitions more generally are no longer the stakes of war; 'the last on the battlefield' is seldom the winner. The chores and the costs of cleaning up the mess and removing or defusing the toxic debris left by military action are gladly 'subsidiarized' to the vanquished; indeed, being assigned that unwholesome, unenviable task is the ultimate proof of defeat.

21 One occasionally hears Europe and America publicly accusing each other of 'unfair agricultural practices'. Bur, Stiglitz observes, 'neither side seems to be willing to make major concessions', whereas nothing short of major, radical concessions would convince others to stop looking at the unashamed display of 'brute economic power by the US and Europe' as 34 An Adventure called 'Europe' anything but an effort to defend the privileges of the privileged, to protect the wealth of the wealthy, and to serve their own interests that boil down to more wealth and yet more wealth.

Europe had never faced the threat of being conquered by another continent - and never before had it been looked at from on high and denigrated as a second-rate power obliged to swear allegiance to a foreign empire and ingratiate itself to an alien force it had little hope of mitigating, pacifying, or converting to its own ways - let alone of subduing it and subordinating it to its will. Never had Europe lived with a demeaning awareness of its own in\eriority and with the experience of being obliged to look up to patterns of life preached and practised by others, of struggling to adjust and adapt its own acts to such patterns, of emulating alien forms of life and/or matching them by raising its forms of life to their level.

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