Comment choisir son appareil pour la lecture de livres électroniques? (partie_1)

La vente de livres électroniques risque de grimper avec le perfectionnement des appareils qui lui sont dédiés depuis maintenant quelques années. Effectivement, de nouveaux joueurs viennent s’ajouter à ceux déjà présent, et c’est une véritable dispute pour obtenir une part de ce marché qui en découle. Alors qu’Amazon avait le monopole avec son modèle Kindle 2 pour la vente de livres électroniques, un nouveau joueur, Sony, a annoncé son entrée cette semaine avec son appareil E-Reader. Pour comprendre comment ce nouveau produit se distingue des autres, j’ai recueilli un certain nombre d’articles traitant sur ce même sujet.

Je crois avant tout qu’il est approprié de préciser, avant d’effectuer la comparaison, que le ton utilisé par les auteurs dans les articles recueillis, semblait favoriser le E-Reader de Sony au dépend du Kindle 2 d’Amazon. Il ne faut donc pas croire à la supériorité de l’un, mais plutôt, tenter de créer une première impression à partir des faits recensés.

Lors de l’achat, d’autres critères sont à prendre en considération. La qualité de l’éclairage, la durée de vie de la pile et la mémoire disponible pour enregistrer les livres, sont tous des critères importants.

Pour terminer, il ne faut pas perdre de vue l’Apple Tablet de la compagnie Apple qui va probablement faire son apparition sur le marché dans un futur proche. Les multiples services qu’offre actuellement Apple, comme son magasin ITunes en ligne, lui apporteront certainement un bon coup de main pour séduire le consommateur. Connaissant les produits Apple, il y a fort à parier qu’il misera sur la haute de gamme, ce qui signifie qu’il faudra prévoir une somme d’argent considérable pour se procurer l’Apple Tablet.


Revolution or Renaissance - Part Two

Upper Case welcomes back D. Paul Schafer, author of Revolution or Renaissance: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age. This time we asked him, to tell us a little bit more about the cultural age he imagines – what is it, how is it different from an economic age, and when will it get here?

In my view, a cultural age would be an age in which people, the natural environment, and other species are valued more highly than products, profits, material and monetary wealth, and the marketplace. The focus would be on seeing the world and the large majority of things in the world in holistic rather than specialized terms - thereby putting a great deal more emphasis on ‘contexts’ as opposed to ‘contents’ - as well as making it possible for people in all parts of the world to live creative, constructive and fulfilling lives without straining the globe’s fragile eco-systems and finite resources to the breaking point. This would be realized by taking maximum advantage of culture’s capacity for holism, caring, sharing, conservation, and co-operation, as well as drawing fully on the three principal concepts of culture as the arts, humanities, and heritage, a complex whole or total way of life, and the organizational forms and structures of different species.

Making the transition from an economic age to a cultural age is imperative in my view because we need to reduce the demands we are making on the natural environment and conserve the world’s scarce resources at every opportunity, as well as achieve a much more effective balance between the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of development. I believe the natural environment will steadily deteriorate, climate change will intensify, and the world will become a more chaotic and dangerous place if this does not occur, especially as resources are used up, the world’s population is increased, and the carrying capacity of the earth is approached.

The major change that would result in the world from a cultural age would be a transformational shift from activities that are high in material inputs and outputs - especially industrial, commercial, technological and transportation activities - to activities that are low in material inputs and outputs, such as the arts, humanities, and many heritage and spiritual activities. This would be accompanied by new meanings and measures of wealth, as well as a great deal more environmental sustainability and ecological harmony.

In order to make the world a better place, I believe it is necessary to fully understand the age we are living in at present. I have attempted to do this by calling the present age an economic age - rather than a technological, information, computer, scientific, materialistic, or individualistic age as most authors do - as well as showing that this age is based on a very specific worldview, value system, model of development, ideology, and set of strengths and shortcomings. This is necessary to comprehend the nature, extent, and complexity of the challenge we face at present, as well as to determine what is required in specific theoretical and practical terms to respond effectively to this challenge.

I do not believe it will be possible to make the world a better place for all the diverse peoples, countries, and species of the world - as well as address such devastating problems as climate change, environmental exhaustion, and the need to reduce income inequalities throughout the world - without making a fundamental change in the existing worldview, value system, model of development, ideology, and way of life. To me, this is a cultural matter more than any other type of matter, since it requires a fundamental change in culture and cultures in general and cultural values, attitudes, and beliefs in particular.

This is why I have called the future age a cultural age. I feel we need to understand that culture and cultures have a powerful role to play in making the world a better place for all, and hope that Revolution or Renaissance serves a useful purpose in this regard by helping people and institutions in all parts of the world who are engaged in this process.


D. Paul Schafer – Revolution or Renaissance

In this video D. Paul Schafer presents the ideas gathered in his book, Revolution or Renaissance, to an audience at the University of Guelph. The presentation was also seen live via webscast at the University of Malmo in Sweden. It was recorded on March 14, 2009 during the seminar Media, Conflict and Development organized by Malmo’s Communication for Development Program.

Revolution or Renaissance: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age

Upper Case asked author D. Paul Schafer, to tell us how his career has led him to the ideas he put forth in his 2008 book Revolution or Renaissance: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age. Here is what he told us:

I was originally trained as an economist specializing in international development and the history of economic thought. After studying and teaching economics for a number of years in the late nineteen fifties and early nineteen sixties, I became convinced that we have been living in an economic age ever since the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1776. This age is predicated on the belief that economics and economies in general - and the production, distribution, and consumption of material and monetary wealth in particular - should be made the centrepiece of society and principal preoccupation of municipal, regional, national and international development because this is the most effective way of dealing with people’s economic and non-economic needs.

In 1965, I decided to leave economics because I was forced to the conclusion that the economic age is not capable of coming to grips with the two most fundamental and urgent problems confronting humanity, namely the huge disparities that exist in income and wealth throughout the world and the steady deterioration of the natural environment. This is because the economic age is far more concerned with the production and consumption of wealth than the distribution of wealth, and tends to treat the natural environment as ‘a given’ rather than the most essential and valuable resource of all.

Not knowing where to turn after I left economics, I decided to search for a job in the cultural field because I had grown up in a very cultural environment and my parents had a great appreciation for the arts and humanities. I was eventually hired by the Ontario Arts Council, and stayed there until 1970 when I was asked to go to York University to direct what is arguably the first comprehensive program for training arts administrators in the world. This was followed by a long period of self-employment as a cultural advisor, during which time I participated in many studies, wrote numerous reports, and undertook several missions for UNESCO to different parts of the world.

In 1983, I was hired by the University of Toronto to teach two courses in arts administration and policy, as well as to coordinate two new co-operative programs in arts administration and international development that were being developed at the university at that time. While I was there, I undertook an intensive study of culture as a concept and reality, largely to broaden and deepen my knowledge and understanding of culture, cultures, and cultural development. This led to the establishment of the World Culture Project in 1989 to research and write about culture and cultures in general and Canadian culture in particular (see the World Culture Project website at: www3.sympatico.ca/dpaulschafer).

I discovered through my various studies that there is a vast theoretical and practical literature on culture that is being virtually ignored throughout the world as a result of the preoccupation with economics and economies. Much of this literature has been written by anthropologists, sociologists, ecologists, and biologists, and contains valuable insights and ideas about the nature of the world and prospects for the future.

In an attempt to summarize my findings on the subject of culture, I wrote Culture-Beacon of the Future which was published in 1998 by Adamantine Press in England and Praeger/Greenwood in the United States in their 21st. Century Studies series. This publication ends with the conviction that we must pass out of the present economic age and into a future cultural age if environmental sustainability, global harmony, economic viability, and human well-being are to be achieved. This line of argument was picked up in earnest in Revolution or Renaissance: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age. It was written between 1999 and 2003, and published first in Chinese by the Social Sciences Academic Press in Beijing in 2006. This was followed by the English version that was published by the University of Ottawa Press in its Governance Series in 2008.

Check Upper Case again soon for more from D. Paul Schafer.



Take a look at this review by Peter DeVita of Tom Brzustowski's book THE WAY AHEAD: MEETING CANADA'S PRODUCTIVITY CHALLENGE in the most recent issue of Engineering Dimensions. DeVita says that this book is very important given the current global recession. More details here.