Global Values One Hundred and One

Front Cover
Kate Holbrook, Ann S. Kim, Brian Palmer, Anna Portnoy
Beacon Press, 2006 - Political Science - 276 pages
Global Values 101 grew out of one of the most popular courses ever offered at Harvard University, in which some of the most original thinkers of our day sat down with students and explored how ideas have made them-and can make us-more engaged, involved, and compassionate citizens. In these engrossing, essay-length interviews, which address the topics of war, religion, the global economy, and social change, Amy Goodman, host of the popular radio program Democracy Now, speaks about the role of the independent media as gatekeeper and witness; Lani Guinier, author of Tyranny of the Majority, reveals that students' SAT scores more accurately describe the kind of car their parents drive than the grades they will earn in college and shows the way to a more equitable college admissions system; Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, explores the American Dream and exposes the myth of the good war; economist Juliet Schor, author of Born to Buy and The Overspent American, explains why Americans are willing to sacrifice quality of life to attain financial success; former mall rat Naomi Klein, author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, urges readers to go global while fighting global conglomerates; and Katha Pollitt, author of Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism, employs her incisive wit to explore what it really means to be a feminist in the Twenty First century.

For anyone who has been moved by idealism and longed to become a more proactive citizen, this collection offers a range of stories on how progressive ethics can inform, inspire, and ultimately transform lives.


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Global values 101: a short course

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For Personal Choice and Global Transformation, the exceedingly popular and controversial Harvard undergraduate religion course that spawned this book, lecturer Palmer and graduate student Kate ... Read full review

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Just read it 2019. One of very few books on global values. These are interviews with progressive, humanistic public figures. Students ask them questions. Several accounts of humanitarian aid and activity are wonderful tales of courage, endurance and overcoming. Still it's more a book of problems and questions than a book of solutions.
In that the topics covered have dated somewhat, Douglas Rushkoff's Team Human book and TeamHuman.FM podcast, especially the first ten minutes talks, where healthy human values are laid out and discussed intelligently, supercedes this book in many or most respects.
You might think a Harvard course and then a book on Global Values might have more contributions from healthy religious directions. Only theologian Harvey Cox is interviewed here. It's among the most interesting chapters to me. It probably remains the most relevant chapter for 2019. Cox's chapter concerns "The Market as God," which you can Google.
FYI here's what I typed up form this chapter relevant to my project:
In "The Market as God," you discuss the God-like market as omnipotent and omnipresent, a force which no religion or sum or religions is likely to counter or overcome.
Karl Polyani's argument is there always has been and always will be, markets in every society. Trade is universal, whether a little street vendor or a fair or a bazaar.
However, in past times, markets were countered and checked by multiple other social-cultural institutions--families, states, religions, and customs. In this way markets have been prevented from taking and becoming the absolute dominant role in a society, shaping the definition of a society's values; and, defining the meaning of every social value.
Polyani argues in the last 150 years of the West, the market has become the overwhelmingly dominant social-cultural institution. Since the 1980s, increasingly social-cultural domination of the market has expanded worldwide.
You say, "So what?" Let me underline the significance. As THE Dominant Institution, the market controls not only economic life. It affects what we believe is important, significant and meaningful about life. The market now:
- what all human beings are striving for,
- defines what is wrong with humans which needs our attention and effort,
- defines what our society is and should be.
- defines what humans beings should be doing.
In this way, the market is generating and defining the values and meanings by which hundreds of millions of people are living.
In the past this over-riding social-cultural function was played by religions or God, if you like. The market is now God in many senses of the word "God."
I am not suggesting the market as God only as a metaphor. I am suggesting the market as God functions in many parts of the world as a kind of faith. In these cultures, the market now does what religions used to do. It provides the stories, rituals, metaphors, symbols, myths values and meanings humans used to find from other sources.
[paraphrase: Only another god can confront and contest with a god. Only a bigger god can contend successfully with a smaller god.]
So you see, the market can only become God if no counter force exists proposing more truly human values.
Is the market likely to have meaningful contenders to its dominance between now and 2018? I don't think so.
Oversimplifying is a great danger here. I am not suggesting a battle between bad markets and good religions. We need economic markets. These are essential cultural institutions.
However, in recent decades--perhaps due to the decline of other factors--the market has escalated into the predominant value-creating and meaning-creating entity of our whole society.
If you think about this situation as someone familiar with healthy religions, you soon see this is a recipe for dystopia. It can only lead to dystopia.
I do see a growing restlessness on the part of many peoples about market

Selected pages


History and Investigations Asking the Questions
Howard Zinn historian
Elaine Scarry literary scholar
Noam Chomsky linguist
Labor and Economy Working It Out
Robert Reich political scholar
Juliet Schor economist
Aaron Feuerstein corporate leader
Martha Minow legal scholar
Swanee Hunt diplomat
Jennifer Leaning physician
Religion and Ethics In Search of Global Values
Harvey Cox theologian
Peter Singer ethicist
Distance and Proximity Closing the Gap
Paul Farmer physician

Naomi Klein journalist
Diversity and Equality Balancing the Scales
Lani Guinier legal scholar
Katha Pollitt writer
Brutality Bloodshed and Resolution A Violent Inheritance
Amy Goodman journalist

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Page viii - working poor," as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high.
Page viii - ... approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else. As Gail, one of my restaurant coworkers put it, "you give and you give.
Page ix - When in decisive moments - as now - God acts, it is with a stern purposefulness, a Sophoclean irony. When the hour strikes, He takes what is His. What have you to say? - Your prayer has been answered, as you know. God has a use for you, even though what He asks doesn't happen to suit you at the moment, God, who 'abases him whom He raises up'.

About the author (2006)

Brian Palmer, Ph.D., and Kate Holbrook were voted Harvard's best young faculty member and teaching fellow, respectively. Ann S. Kim and Anna Portnoy joined them as teaching fellows and documentary filmmakers.

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