Discussing The Shortest History of Europe

Internations Book Club

In the afternoon of Sunday 16 April 2017 the Club was discussing The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst.

The venue: the Tree Gallery and Cafe is located not too far from the southwest exit of the Liangmaqiao subway station on the Liangma River.Now closed it had a very pleasant ambience and moderate pricing.

 

Intro by Kevin Paul Gouldmann, Activity Host

This is a short and concise overview of European history, viewed from the outside by historian John Hirst. It is quite enjoyable, and amazing how he can trace the streams of European history from the ancient Greeks to the present day in such a reduced and often humorous manor. I personally gained several new insights reading this book–a good experience!
Available in both English and Chinese.

My take

I read the e-book and it is indeed a very different view on the history of Europe, pretty creative angle. Interesting indeed even if you might somehow disagree.

About the Beijing Internations Book Club

I was one of the earliest members of the Club and enjoyed quite a number of meetings.
I however left in protest a few months ago. As a writer I did not like the attitude of some members who think pirated copies of books are “OK” as either the authors made tons of money or the authors are too insignificant. Unfortunately a common attitude in China.
More about Internations: https://www.internations.org/

 

Internations Book Club discussed Toxic Capitalism

Internations Book Club

In the afternoon of Sunday 26 February 2017 the Internations Book Club discussed Toxic Capitalism, in the Tree Gallery and Café, a nice coffeeshop near Capital Mansion and Liangma River – now closed as many other venues.

It was a lively discussion I enjoyed personally, always well hosted by Kevin.
More about Internations: https://www.internations.org/

Intro by Kevin Paul Gouldmann, Activity Host

At our next activity, Gilbert has kindly agreed to give a brief talk and join our discussion about his book.

Short bio

Gilbert Van Kerckhove, is from Belgium and graduated as master in electronic engineering.
Since 1980 he has been working with China, where he spent over 30 years, mostly in Beijing but also in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
He is the president of a Beijing-based management consulting that provides strategy guidance to foreign and Chinese companies.
Since 2000 he has been assisting the Beijing Municipality in the areas of economic studies and foreign investment promotion. He has received the highest Chinese awards for his role in the 2008 Olympics, including the Chinese Green Card. He considers Beijing his home.
He is an avid reader of regional and international news and has built a large database on issues related to the environment, economy, public services, trade, labor markets, and more.

The book

Toxic Capitalism criticizes the overconsumption and wastage caused by questionable companies, financial institutions and governments, and leading to depletion of natural resources and to environmental destruction.
Living in China, Gilbert became alarmed by the dramatic pollution levels and the impact of Toxic Capitalism – an unwelcome strain of capitalism that thrives on overconsumption and indiscriminate wastage, promoted by the West with the help of questionable companies, financial institutions and governments.
China, as Factory of the World, is facing depletion of resources and roams the world to satisfy its voracious appetite for energy, raw materials, and food.
How serious is the environmental destruction? Is capitalism fundamentally wrong? How did we come to this madness?
What can we do to preserve the future of our children?

Introducing Toxic Capitalism to Rotaract and Rotary

Finally

Yes, introducing Toxic Capitalism to Rotaract and Rotary in Beijing took some time but finally!

Rotaract Clubs of Beijing

On 27 March, Gilbert presented his book Toxic Capitalism in Cafe Ruhe (Pacific Century Place, Sanlitun), the new venue of Rotaract Beijing. members of Rotaract Beijing West also attended.
It was followed by a lively debate, fueled by sharp questions!

Rotary lunch 14 March in Kempinski: Gilbert introducing his book

Gilbert is the founder and president of a Beijing-based management consulting company that provides strategy guidance to foreign and Chinese clients. He was deeply involved in the building of the 2008 Olympic venues and as a result got the highest decorations from the Chinese government.
His talk focused on how the idea of his book “Toxic Capitalism” was born, on the challenges of researching and compiling data and then on his experience with publishing.
Toxic Capitalism – The orgy of consumerism and waste: Are we the last generation on earth?
Gilbert elaborated on the theme by shedding light on consumerism and the consequences of too much waste.
Living in China since 1980 Gilbert became alarmed by the dramatic pollution levels in Beijing and the trends of overconsumption and waste around the world.
As an engineer he delved into the data to better understand the seriousness of the situation, the reasons why it had come to all that and what we can do about it.