Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hegemony - what's that?

There is a school of thought which states that regularly learning and using new words is good for the brain.  A radio presenter introduces new words into her radio programme for this purpose.  Chris Packham on BBCTV Springwatch this week, is also bringing new words to the audience, as he was doing on TV ten years ago. 

Last Sunday, I was introduced to a new word. Hegemony. 

A dictionary definition: the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group. 

I was reading this article in The Observer:

It was about a man called Joseph Stiglitz, who foresaw the 2008 financial crash, but was ignored, due to hegemony. I recalled a friend, a financier in America, who on a home visit in September 2006, showed us a letter he had written to his bosses warning them of what he believed was around the corner. He only received criticism for his warnings and his colleagues became unfriendly.

As I have mentioned in the previous blog, my husband warned about large, out-of-town supermarkets becoming white elephants  back in the 1990s and experienced ridicule from some people with vested interests. Perhaps Tescos could have saved billions of pounds? 

In my own line of work, I have recently read about problems with GPs over prescribing and ineffective treatment, especially in in the area of mental health and elderly care. These problems were highlighted by my tutors, also in the 1990s. The pharmaceutical industry is another dominant group with damaging influence.

The media, journalists and effective PR companies have their part to play in giving such groups power, but they also try to highlight wrongdoing too. The are many excellent articles and books written about various scandals, but they who shout the loudest (have more money) has more influence.

When I started to write this blog, the FIFA scandal was just hitting the headlines. As we read about journalists having highlighted corruption in FIFA on TV and in books ten years ago and with the new word ''hegemony' in my brain, I wondered if it could be used in the context of FIFA and Sepp Blatter?

Then I read this in the Independent:

"If Sepp Blatter had a grain of dignity left, he would stand down. How many Fifa corruption charges would it take for him to decide that he has delighted us long enough?
This morning's stunning dawn raid on fotball's world governing body leaves Mr Blatter unable to resort ti his stock response - attacking the British media for daring to question his hegemony, for exposing corruption, and accusing us of sour grapes over England's failed World Cup bid."

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying:
"Three great forces rule the world. Stupidity, Fear and Greed."

From psychology, we learn that fear and greed are emotions that give rise to emotional reactions and correspondingly lessening rational thought. In turn, these emotions can cause stupid behaviours. What the world could do with is greater emotional intelligence, but fear is so often our driving force. Especially a childhood fear of not being good enough.

"The world is full of frightened children."
Kurt Vonnegut
I will add '...and hegemony'.


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