I really enjoy my relationship and ongoing dialog with Helena Norberg-Hodge, a lifelong campaigner for localization and critic of the present mode of civilization on this planet. We recently did a webinar together. I was still recovering from a major illness when we recorded it, so my energy flags after the first 45 minutes. Up till then though I think you will enjoy the interplay between political and psychological perspectives, the systemic and the relational, as well as our fond and joyous personal interaction. Helena is one of my respected elders.
I appreciate Helena's critique of global corporate capitalism because it contains a radical element that differs from ordinary left radical thinking. She questions much of what traditional leftists take for granted, including the superiority of Western epistemology, technology, education, and the trajectory of socioeconomic development based on them. She was one of the first Western voices to question what both Marxists and neoliberal capitalists took for granted: that modern agronomy is an improvement over traditional agriculture; that modern schooling is an improvement over informal learning in peasant cultures; that industrial development is an improvement over "inefficient" local artisanal economies. Neither of us wants other cultures to remain static, but we both seriously question the notion of "development" as it stands today.
The present conversation entered these issues through the window of debt, which is a defining feature of modern economics, development, and the experience of being human. Yet debt is at bottom just an agreement, a story. And we can forge new stories. We are not helpless.