Thousands put through their PACES

Thousands put through their PACES

KARACHI: 

Thousands of enthusiasts, belonging to all gender and age groups, participated in two separate ‘mini marathons’ of 3.2km and 2km apiece as the First International PACES Competition concluded yesterday.

The races also featured runners from 14 foreign armies.

The 3.2km race was run by over 3,000 people, beginning from Lahore’s Askari 10 and finishing at the Ayub Stadium in Cantt.

The length of the race meant it was primarily filled with young or middle-aged runners, with some taking the race quite seriously.

Chinese Army set the PACES

“Marathon is always a fun race and I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest,” said a man dressed in premium running gear.

Others were even more impressive, with one athlete running barefoot. “I feel easier this way,” he said.

The 2km race featured as many as 1,200 women and children, who ran all the way from the Lahore Garrison Golf and Country Club to the Ayub Stadium. The youngest runner, eight-year-old Toheed, took inspiration from Aesop. “I am a tortoise running amongst the hares,” he said. “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Pakistan Army dominate push-ups event

Those taking part in the races were not the only ones who showed up though, with many coming to egg on the participants — cheering from the sidelines or offering water to them.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.

A class apart: All too easy as Pakistan cruise along

A class apart: All too easy as Pakistan cruise along

KARACHI: 

Pakistan are eyeing another Test series win in the UAE as they bossed the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Stadium.

Their bowlers shared the wickets among themselves to dismiss the tourists for just 224 in the first innings, handing Pakistan a massive 228-run lead.

Misbahul Haq, however, opted against enforcing the follow-on — making it the fifth time he has turned down the option. There was to be no second innings collapse a la the first Test though, as openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali further hammered home Pakistan’s ascendancy with a 93-run stand.

Aslam was dismissed after making 50 while Azhar was unbeaten on 52 at stumps, playing alongside Asad Shafiq, who was on five.

Pakistan build commanding 342-run lead over Windies

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with figures of 4-86 but he was well-supported by pacers Rahat Ali (3-25) and Sohail Khan (2-35).

Such was Pakistan’s dominance that people are already looking towards the third Test. Former chief selector Haroon Rasheed feels the hosts are in full control and should ease to a win, adding that the present West Indian team doesn’t have the required batting depth to counter Pakistan’s attack in red-ball cricket.

“Pakistan should be aiming for a clean sweep in the series,” he said. “They were pushed all the way in Dubai during the day-night Test with the pink ball but they are now comfortable once again with the red ball. West Indies have no depth in their batting; instead they rely heavily on a couple of players, so Pakistan should win this game with ease.”

Rasheed was full of praise for the bowling attack, saying that the pacers bowled their hearts out in the searing Abu Dhabi heat.

Pakistan all out for 452 against West Indies

“Rahat bowled really well — we rested our two most prominent pacers, yet Rahat and Sohail both made their presence felt and made full use of the opportunity,” he said. “The red ball also brought reverse swing into play in dry conditions and I am happy the two pacers took full advantage of that.”

Yasir’s workload must be managed

Rasheed also advised caution against the over-utilisation of Yasir, with important tours to New Zealand and Australia to come.

“I hope Yasir has been given adequate rest as his shoulder can start hurting with the number of overs he has been bowling,” said Rasheed. “Yasir should be given shorter spells with both Nawaz and Zulfiqar bowling more overs.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.

Dhoni admits finishing blues after India beats New Zealand

Dhoni admits finishing blues after India beats New Zealand

MOHALI: 

Indian ODI and T20I captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni acknowledged on Sunday that his finishing abilities are on the wane as India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the third ODI riding on Virat Kohli’s sterling century.

Kohli’s unbeaten 154 drove India to their 286-run target in 48.2 overs as the hosts took a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series.

Dhoni, who himself scored a brilliant 80, was involved with man-of-the-match Kohli in a 151-run third-wicket partnership that set up the comprehensive win.

Dhoni wants more matches in US despite washout

However, the 35-year-old, who promoted himself to number four in the batting order, departed in the 36th over, leaving Kohli and Manish Pandey to get 94 more runs.

“To some extent, I am losing an ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up in the batting order and let the others finish,” said Dhoni.

Once regarded as one of the best finishers in limited-overs cricket, Dhoni has recently found it difficult to bat at his usual number six position.

His laboured knock failed to take India over the line in their previous game in New Delhi, one of the few instances when the wicketkeeper-batsman has faltered while chasing.

India’s Raina to miss first ODI against New Zealand

Dhoni, who recorded his 61st ODI fifty and went past the 9000-run mark, hit three towering sixes during his 91-ball stay before falling to fast bowler Matt Henry.

“But I know I should still look for the big shots. Once you get 15-20 runs, you get into the groove. There were points in the middle where I had to pull myself from playing big shots,” said Dhoni.

Meanwhile Kohli, who recorded his 26th ODI ton, made the most of a reprieve after he was dropped on six by Ross Taylor at gully off Matt Henry to consolidate his position as India’s batting mainstay.

“He is somebody who has learnt a lot and he is somebody who knows his strengths really well. It’s very difficult to say what the top level is in cricket, but Kohli has done India proud,” said Dhoni.

Manish Pandey made sure that he gave Kohli the perfect support to canter home in dew-laden conditions at the Mohali Stadium.

Pandey, who scored 28, and Kohli put on an unbeaten 97-run partnership to bring the home crowd to life.

Earlier Tom Latham and James Neesham struck fighting half-centuries and a late-order flourish helped New Zealand post a competitive 285.

The visitors suffered a batting slump after Latham fell for 61 but Neesham struck a 47-ball 57 to frustrate the Indian bowling attack.

Umesh Yadav and Kedar Jadhav took three wickets each to reduce New Zealand to 199 for eight, but Neesham put on 84 for the ninth wicket with Henry before the visitors were bowled out with two balls to go.

“The surprise package has been Kedar, he has always given us wickets in the middle overs, and that’s when you can restrict the opposition,” said the Indian captain.

The left-handed Neesham, who recorded his maiden ODI fifty, struck seven boundaries while Henry scored an unbeaten 37-ball 39 with the help of four fours and a six.

Part-time spinner Kedar Jadhav, who has built a reputation for getting big wickets at crucial junctures, then spun into action to have skipper Kane Williamson lbw for 22.

“I have no clue how he gets wickets. It’s important to have one in the top five to bowl a few, especially with left-handers in the opposition with him being an offspinner,” said the 35-year-old.

Latham put on 73 for the third wicket with Taylor (44), the pair apparently at ease on a friendly batting wicket.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra and Jadhav worked in tandem to rattle the middle order as the visitors slipped from 153 for two to lose their next six wickets in 9.3 overs.

Neesham and Henry took the fight to the opposition as the Black Caps added 44 in the last five overs, but in the end their effort was in vain.

“Obviously frustrating to lose those wickets in the middle in a clump, we were probably looking at a bit more at that stage. But the lower-order performed really well. Neesham and Henry were outstanding,” said Williamson.

source The Express Tribune news

Day four: Windies two down chasing 456 against Pakistan

Day four: Windies two down chasing 456 against Pakistan

ABU DABHI: 

West Indies, set a target of 456 for victory, were 86-2 at tea on the fourth day of the second Test of the three-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Opener Kraig Brathwaite (56) and Marlon Samuels (nine) were at the crease after Pakistan declared their second innings at the lunch break on 227-2 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

West Indies, who lost Leon Johnson (nine) and Darren Bravo (13), still need a further 370 runs for victory or bat out the four remaining sessions in the match.

Getting their noses in front: Pakistan tighten up noose on West Indies

Earlier, Misbahul Haq’s men resumed their second innings at 114-1, and declared at lunch at the score of 227 for the loss of two wickets at lunch.

Middleorder batsman Asad Shafiq completed his second half-century of the match and was unbeaten on 58 along with first innings centurian Younus Khan, who was not out on 29 as the hosts stretched their overall lead to 455 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Getting their noses in front: Pakistan tighten up noose on West Indies

The hosts made 452 in their first innings, and managed to take a massive lead of 228 after dismissing the visiting side for mere 224 in reply on the third day of the second Test.

Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first day-night Test in Asia by 56 runs in Dubai.

source The Express Tribune news

Here are 7 worth waiting ‘features’ of Samsung Galaxy S8

Here are 7 worth waiting ‘features’ of Samsung Galaxy S8

Rumours suggest Samsung might release a new flagship smartphone as early as February next year as the company tries to recover lost ground after the Note 7 fiasco.

The tech giant issued a global recall and suspended production of its Note 7 smartphones after news of the device catching fire attributed to faulty lithium-ion batteries.

Samsung is rumoured to release the Galaxy S8 on February 26, 2017, one day before Mobile World Congress begins. The device is expected to have several minor changes; however, some of the features might prove as game changers for the ill-fated smartphone manufacturer.

Here’s a list of 7 features the Galaxy S8 is rumoured to pack which might make it worth waiting for:

1. Full edge to edge display without a physical home button

Reports suggest Samsung might remove the physical home button in favour of a digital one featured on most Android devices. The new device might also feature an edge to edge display, allowing for a larger display without the need to increase the phone size.

Samsung faces potential class action in US over Note 7

Apple, Samsung’s biggest rival in the smartphone business, might also remove the physical home button from its smartphones next year. The move will then give Samsung a much needed edge over its competitor.

2. 4K display

4K is the future and it would only make sense if Samsung upgrades it new smartphone’s display to the higher resolution from its current Quad hd panels. “Not only will this allow Samsung to market the smartphone as having one of the sharpest screens of any mobile device, it also makes the S8 into a suitable platform for the next generation of mobile VR,” says Forbes contributor Ewan Spence.

The 4K display might make the Galaxy S8 the most suitable device for virtual reality headsets.

3. Dual lens camera

Samsung suppliers are reportedly filling orders for dual-lens cameras capable of taking DSLR-like pictures. A better camera with dual lens should not come as a surprise as Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus also packs dual sensors.

4. Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chips

Samsung flagship devices pack the latest in terms of hardware and the Galaxy S8 may feature the fastest processors available. Chip manufacturer Qualcomm revealed details about its latest Snapdragon chipset at a summit in Hong Kong this week. The new chip is expected to support download speeds of up to 1Gbps. Whereas the Exynos 8895 is reported to have a 3GHz maximum speed and a 70% improvement in image processing efficiency compared to its predecessor.

Samsung Elec to compensate Galaxy Note 7 parts suppliers

5. USB-C audio to replace the headphone jack

Following Apple, Samsung is also rumoured to abandon the headphone jack and use the USB-C port for audio instead. The tech giant released a pair of wireless headphones dubbed the IconX earlier this year but we can expect a headphone jack adapter with the new phone.

6. Two sizes, both with curved displays

Samsung releases two variants of its Galaxy S lineup – flat screen version and an “Edge” version that features a bigger curved display. However, rumours suggest we should expect both versions to have a curved display with the major difference being the display size for the two phones.

7. ARM Mali-G71 graphics chip

Samsung Galaxy S8 might pack a powerful Mali G71 graphics chip. “The Mali-G71 GPU is scalable from one to thirty two cores and delivers up to 20% better energy efficiency, 40% better performance density and 20% external memory bandwidth saving compared to Mali-T880 under similar conditions,” says ARM in the description of the Mali-G71 website.

The article originally appeared on Forbes

Samsung offers refund, exchange for Pakistani Note 7 users

Samsung offers refund, exchange for Pakistani Note 7 users

Pakistani owners of the ‘explosive’ Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone can now either ask for a refund or get it exchanged, the South Korean electronics manufacturer has said.

“Samsung did not launch Galaxy Note 7 in Pakistan but all customers who pre-booked the phone are requested to contact the relevant retailers to get a refund,” a statement on the manufacturer’s official website said. “We request everyone with a Galaxy Note7 to back up their data and switch off the device.”

Samsung will now exchange your Note 7 for Galaxy S8

The gadget manufacturer has offered two options for the Pakistani users to get rid of the smartphone. “Replace your Galaxy Note7 with a Galaxy S7 edge and get a refund of PKR 10,000/- or obtain refund*,” thestatement revealed.

The world’s top smartphone maker had earlier said it would exchange all Note 7 phones in markets, a costly setback for a company that was counting on the 988,900 won ($892.73) model to bolster sales momentum as rivals such as Apple Inc launch new devices. Aviation authorities and airlines across the world had also issued bans or guidelines prohibiting passengers from turning on or charging the phone inside airplanes in response.

For Samsung, which prides itself on manufacturing prowess, the scale of the recall is unprecedented and deals a huge blow to its reputation. Some 2.5 million of the premium devices have been sold worldwide that need to be recalled, the firm has said, and some analysts say the recall could cost Samsung nearly $5 billion in lost revenue this year.

source The Express Tribune news

Qatar’s former emir dies aged 84

Qatar’s former emir dies aged 84

DOHA, QATAR: 

Qatar on Sunday announced three days of national mourning after the former Emir Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani, who was deposed in a palace coup, died aged 84.

The former ruler, the grandfather of the current Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, died on Sunday, according to an official statement from the royal palace.

Uzbek govt says President Karimov has died

During his time as leader from 1972 to 1995, he oversaw the transformation of modern-day Qatar into an energy-rich country — where the phenomenal wealth from gas an oil exports transformed the tiny Gulf state.

“His highness father Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani passed away on the evening of Sunday October 23, 2016, at the age of 84 years,” read the official statement.

Beloved golf great Arnold Palmer dies at 87

“His highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has ordered public mourning across the country for three days.” No further details were given about the circumstances of his death.

Among the first officials to respond to the news in Doha was the Australian ambassador to Qatar Axel Wabenhorst, who tweeted his condolences to “the royal family and to all Qataris”.

French poet Yves Bonnefoy dies ages 93

Many Qataris also took to social media to express their condolences.
Khalifa ruled Qatar until he was deposed by his son Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in a bloodless coup while on holiday in Switzerland.

He was one of the first rulers of Qatar after it gained independence from Britain in 1971, taking over power from a cousin, and was also seen as a founding father of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the political and economic union incorporating six states in the region.
Prior to becoming the emir, he served as Qatar’s prime minister, finance minister and also the country’s education minister.

After being removed from power, the former emir lived in France and returned to Qatar in 2004. The former emir had four wives, five sons and 10 daughters.

source The Express Tribune news

Mexico president says Trump visit could have been done better

Mexico president says Trump visit could have been done better

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Sunday defended his decision to host a visit by US presidential candidate Donald Trump to Mexico, but he said it could have been carried out “in a better way”.

Trump accuses Bill Clinton of being ‘abusive to women’

The hastily arranged meeting of Trump and Pena Nieto on August 31 sparked outrage in Mexico because of Trump’s verbal attacks on Mexicans as well as his threats to build a border wall and tear up trade deals with Latin America’s No. 2 economy.

“I faced a dilemma of ‘yes or no’ once I had made the proposal and he said ‘yes.’ Because, at the end of the day, its all about ensuring the best interests of Mexico, even if it could be very controversial, as it turned out to be,” Pena Nieto said in an interview on Mexico’s Canal 11 television.

Trump apologises for his crude remarks in 2005 video

Pena Nieto had invited both Trump and his rival Hillary Clinton, who turned down the offer. “Could we have done things better? Maybe yes, admittedly. I think that this genuine interest to bring about a meeting to take care of Mexico’s interests, I think, could have been done in a better way,” he said.

During his visit, Trump struck a collaborative tone with Mexico. But as soon as he was back in the United States, he told a crowd in Arizona that Mexico would pay for his massive border wall “100 percent.”

Over 100 nude women pose against Trump in Ohio

Backlash from the visit forced the resignation of Pena Nieto’s finance minister and trusted aide Luis Videgaray, who had helped arrange the meeting.

source The Express Tribune news

Historic Indian mosque agrees to lift ban on women

Historic Indian mosque agrees to lift ban on women

NEW DELHI: 

An historic mosque in India agreed Monday to scrap a ban on women entering its inner sanctum, after a bitter legal battle about the restriction in the deeply religious country.

The Haji Ali Dargah trust has barred women from the landmark mausoleum off the coast of Mumbai since 2011, insisting the presence of women near the tomb of a revered saint is a “grievous sin” in Islam.

The trustees had appealed to the Supreme Court against a lower court’s decision in August to overturn the ban as a violation of constitutional rights of equality.

But the trust told the Supreme Court on Monday it would now admit women but needed several weeks to set up special entry areas to the tomb in the 15th-century building.

300-year-old mosque to be rebuilt on Hindu temple land

“The trust has decided to give women access to the sanctorum housing the saint’s tomb,” its lawyer Gopal Subramanium told the court.

A Muslim women’s rights group hailed the decision as a victory which would likely put pressure on other places of worship that have gender restrictions.

“It is restoring the Islamic values of what we have always believed as Muslims, that Islam is a religion of equality, democracy and women’s rights,” Noorjehan Niaz, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan which campaigns for the rights of Muslim women in India, told AFP.

Niaz was one of the petitioners who filed the case against the Haji Ali Dargah trust on constitutional grounds.

Women in India have been intensifying their campaigns to be allowed to enter a string of Hindu temples and other religious sites.

Lawyers of Indian state back Muslim women’s demand to use Mumbai mosque

Hundreds of women staged a protest march to a temple in Maharashtra state in January, leading the high court in Mumbai to strike down a ban against women entering a shrine there.

The reasons for the trust’s change of heart in the latest case were unclear. But the Supreme Court when taking up the appeal had expressed hopes of a “progressive” approach from it, according to the Press Trust of India.

Haji Ali Dargah is one of Mumbai’s most recognisable landmarks and receives tens of thousands of not only Muslims but Hindu devotees and sightseeing tourists every week.

The mosque is located on an islet accessible via a causeway at low tide. It was built in memory of a wealthy Muslim who gave up his worldly possessions and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

source The Express Tribune news

UK: Muslim Council of Britain anti-terror campaign criticised after ‘unwillingness’ to blacklist ‘kill Ahmadis’ group

UK: Muslim Council of Britain anti-terror campaign criticised after ‘unwillingness’ to blacklist ‘kill Ahmadis’ group

Mosques throughout Britain have hosted Khatme Nubuwwat themed events for years, in which Ahmadi are referred to by the pejorative name ‘Qadiyanis’, are branded apostates, and anti-Ahmadi conspiracy theories are circulated.

“Far from loosening the leash, elites have consolidated power to an unprecedented extent, and they have used their influence to undercut democratic movements and hijack public institutions.”

In 1946, George Orwell pondered the fragility of the capitalist order.

Reviewing the work of the influential theorist James Burnham, Orwell presaged several concepts that would later form the groundwork for his best-known novel, 1984.

“Not only is the best of capitalism behind us, but the worst of it may lie just ahead.”

In his book The Managerial Revolution, Burnham envisioned, as Orwell put it, “a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic. The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production.”

“The real question,” Orwell adds, “is not whether the people who wipe their boots on us during the next fifty years are to be called managers, bureaucrats, or politicians: the question is whether capitalism, now obviously doomed, is to give way to oligarchy or to true democracy.”

While Orwell was wary of Burnham’s worldview and of his more specific predictions, he agreed that the relationship between capitalism and democracy has always been, and always will be, a precarious one.

“For quite fifty years past,” Orwell noted, “the general drift has almost certainly been towards oligarchy.”

Pointing to the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the few and acknowledging “the weakness of the proletariat against the centralised state,” Orwell was far from optimistic about the future — but he was quite certain that the economic status quo would eventually give way.

Recent events, and the material circumstances of much of the world’s population, have prompted serious examinations of the same questions Orwell was considering seven decades ago. And though it appears as if rumors of capitalism’s imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated, there is good reason to believe that its remarkable ability to adapt and evolve in the face of frequent (self-induced) shocks has reached a breaking point.

Widespread discontent over stagnant incomes and the uneven prosperity brought about by neoliberal globalization has, in 2016, come to a head in striking fashion; Donald Trump, Brexit, and the rise of far-right parties in Europe have many questioning previously sacred assumptions.

“Is the marriage between liberal democracy and global capitalism an enduring one?” asked Martin Wolf, a formidable commentator in one of the world’s leading business papers, the Financial Times.

This was no rhetorical softball; Wolf is genuinely concerned that the winners of globalization have grown complacent, that they have “taken for granted” a couple that was only tenuously compatible to begin with. He also worries, rightly, that they have downplayed the concerns of the “losers.”

Wolf concludes that “if the legitimacy of our democratic political systems is to be maintained, economic policy must be orientated towards promoting the interests of the many not the few; in the first place would be the citizenry, to whom the politicians are accountable.”

Not all members of the commentariat share Wolf’s willingness to engage with these cherished assumptions, however. Indeed, many analysts have reserved their ire not for failing institutions or policies but for the public, reviving Walter Lippmann’s characterization of the masses as a “bewildered herd” that, if left to its own devices, is sure to usher in a regime of chaos.

“It’s time,” declared Foreign Policy’s James Traub, channeling the sentiments of Josh Barro, “for the elites to rise up against the ignorant masses.”

Apologists like Traub and Barro — just two among many — speak and write as if the leash previously restraining the “herd” has been loosened, and that the resulting freedom has laid bare what elitists have long believed to be the case: To use Barro’s infamous words, “Elites are usually elite for good reason, and tend to have better judgment than the average person.” They point to the rise of Donald Trump as evidence of an intolerable democratic surplus — evidence, in short, of what the masses will do if granted a loud enough voice.

Aside from being conveniently self-serving, this narrative is also false.

Far from loosening the leash, elites have consolidated power to an unprecedented extent, and they have used their influence to undercut democratic movements and hijack public institutions. The resulting concentration of wealth and political power is jarring, and it puts the lie to the farcical notion that elites are a persecuted minority.

But, in the midst of these anti-democratic diatribes, fascinating and important critiques of a rather different nature have emerged.

Instead of urging us to align Against Democracy, to use the name of a recent book by the libertarian political philosopher Jason Brennan, many are arguing that it is capitalism, and not the excesses of the democratic process, that has provided figures like Trump a launching pad.

In his book Postcapitalism, Paul Mason argues that the rapid emergence of information technology has corroded the boundaries of the market; “capitalism,” he insists, “has reached the limits of its capacity to adapt.” And its attempts to reach beyond these limits have fostered an economic environment defined by instability, crippling austerity for the many, and rapid accumulation of wealth for the few.

According to Oxfam, the global 1 percent now owns as much wealth as the bottom 99 percent. CEO pay has continued to soar. And though post-crisis reforms have carried soaring promises of stability, the financial sector is still far too large, and many of the banks harmed by the crash they created are back and nearly as powerful as ever.

Mason summarizes: “According to the OECD, growth in the developed world will be ‘weak’ for the next fifty years. Inequality will rise by 40 per cent. Even in the developing countries, the current dynamism will be exhausted by 2060.”

“The OECD’s economists were too polite to say it,” he adds, “so let’s spell it out: for the developed world the best of capitalism is behind us, and for the rest it will be over in our lifetime.”

Sociologist Peter Frase, in his new book Four Futures, implicitly agrees with many of Mason’s key points, but he then takes up the task of looking further ahead, of contemplating possible futures that hinge largely upon how we respond to the crises we are likely to face in the coming years.

For Frase, not only is the best of capitalism behind us, but the worst of it may lie just ahead.

Central to Four Futures are what Frase calls the “[t]wo specters…haunting Earth in the twenty-first century” — “the specters of environmental catastrophe and automation.”

Rather than attempting to predict the future, Frase — guided by Rosa Luxemburg’s famous words, “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism” — lays out potential, contingent scenarios. And while Mason’s book exudes optimism about the advancement of information technology and automation, Frase is more cautious.

“To the extent that the rich are able to maintain their power,” Frase writes, “we will live in a world where they enjoy the benefits of automated production, while the rest of us pay the costs of ecological destruction—if we can survive at all.” And, “To the extent that we can move toward a world of greater equality, then the future will be characterized by some combination of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity, depending on where we are on the other, ecological dimension.”

It comes down, in short, to who wins the class struggle. “I am a very old-fashioned Marxist in that way,” Frase remarked in a recent interview.

None of the futures Frase maps out are inevitable, the result of historical forces that are beyond our control. He is contemptuous of those who cling to “secular eschatology”; capitalism’s collapse, he notes, will not likely be the result of a single, revolutionary moment.

In expressing this view he aligns with Wolfgang Streeck, who has argued that capitalism is “a social system in chronic disrepair,” and that while “we cannot know when and how exactly capitalism will disappear and what will succeed it,” we can know that a system that depends on endless growth and the elimination of all restraints will eventually self-destruct.

The disappearance of capitalism, though, as Orwell understood, does not necessarily imply the emergence of an egalitarian society, one in which resources are shared for the benefit of the many. But while few agree on precisely how to establish the framework for such a society, there are, Mason and Frase argue, policies that can move us in the right direction.

Both, for instance, support the idea of a universal basic income, which, in Frase’s words, would “create a situation in which it possible to survive without depending on selling your labor to anyone who will pay for it,” making automation a path to liberation, not destitution. And Mason rightly argues that, in order to avert catastrophic warming, we must radically reduce carbon emissions.

But the usual political obstacles remain, as does the fact that the “winners” are not likely to hand over their gains, or their positions of power and influence, without a fight. We cannot, then, passively rely on amoral forces like technology to bring about the necessary change.

“Technological developments give a context for social transformations,” Frase writes, “but they never determine them directly; change is always mediated by the power struggles between organized masses of people.”

_____

The future is necessarily disobedient; it rarely conforms to even the most meticulous theoretical anticipations, to say nothing of our deepest desires or fears.

But one thing is clear: The future of capitalism and the future of the planet are intertwined. The health of the latter depends on our ability to dismantle the former, and on our ability to construct an alternative that radically alters our course, which is at present leading us toward catastrophe.

Whether the path to which we are ultimately confined is one that leads to a utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare is contingent upon our ability to connect the struggles that currently occupy the left — those fighting for the right to organize are confronting, at bottom, the same forces as those working to prevent the plunder of sacred land.

There are reasons to be both hopeful and pessimistic about the prospects of these struggles.

The campaign of Bernie Sanders, and the movements that emerged before it and alongside it, revealed that there is a large base of support for social democratic changes that, if enacted, would move us in the right direction.

The obstacles, however, are immense, as is the arithmetic: As Bill McKibben has noted, “The future of humanity depends on math,” and the climate math we face is “ominous.”

But, as Noam Chomsky has argued, the debate over the choice between pessimism and optimism is really no debate at all.

“We have two choices,” he concludes. “We can be pessimistic, give up and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can be optimistic, grasp the opportunities that surely exist and maybe help make the world a better place. Not much of a choice.”
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