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Friday, February 19, 2010

The End of Literacy?

Steve Fitzpatrick has posted an excellent review of Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. It's the sort of review that makes you want to go out and read the book, which I've duly added to my reading list. Take a few minutes to see how Steve reacted to the book.


The Mound of Sound said...

I received "The End of Literacy" at Christmas. It's a good book but well off Hedges' best. He does get a bit carried away at times although it doesn't harm his message much. I suspect it will serve as the latest wake-up call the American people will abjectly ignore at their peril.

From a Canadian perspective, "The End" should give us further cause to question our slavish dependency on the United States. Barring some astonishing turnaround, America is heading for a rather abrupt and marked decline which can have a severe ripple effect on satellite states like our own.

An excellent follow on book to "The End" is "The Spirit Level" written by prominent British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. They've used 50-years of research to examine the consequences of income inequality on modern, Western societies.

With the rapidly growing gap between rich and poor in both Canada and the United States, the impacts on everything from teen pregnancy to illiteracy, mortality, crime, mental illness and social stagnation are alarming.

Wilkinson and Pickett chart the experience of modern, First World nations as well as comparisons among America's states to reveal that income inequality is utterly corrosive of society and has powerful consequences that afflict rich and poor alike.

"Spirit Level" is a compelling read that lays bare yet another critical issue our leaders utterly ignore.

Earl J. Woods said...

Thanks very much, The Mound of Sound - you've given me some additional works to add to my reading list. These topics fascinate me.