Dr. Oliver Lawrence
Technology and Education Social Justice Series
This is a book that analyzes a number of areas where oppressed people can become empowered in real and meaningful ways. Many reporters discuss problems but few practical solutions are available to follow. Broad solutions such as education point to empowerment but do not critically explain the process. For instance many poor people see sport as an empowerment tool and it is flaunted by some as successful when examples of rags to riches stories are held up. What they fail to show are the many chance incidents that culminate in the success. When someone chooses basketball over golf for instance is it because of the perceptions of the success rate or the local accessibility? Does the success depend on a chance encounter or are there natural paths to follow? How much can an individual control and how much depends on chance? When should a person change direction and give up? What are the critical decision factors? This book is an attempt to define some parameters to answer some of these questions.
Every generation is filled with oppressed people. The current economic system relies on haves and have-nots, employers and employees, bosses and workers, oppressors and the oppressed. This has not always been the social and economic rules in every society. Some ancient and indigenous communities were egalitarian, cooperative, and based on sharing. Some communities in modern times operate on these same principles. Examples are cooperatives, the kibbutz, and some poverty stricken communities become dependent on bartering, sharing, and helping each other, while others become dependent on a benevolent benefactor. In larger communities there are examples of socialism, communism, communalism, and mixed economies. Affluent communities that are isolated may depend on trading while poor communities may depend on nature. While there is no single social and economic system today few are the communities who are totally isolated from the legacy of colonialism and its accompanying capitalist economic and social norms.
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