Monday 29 January 2018

Mutatis Mutandis.

I'm a fan of Corey Robin. In "Democracy is Norm Erosion" he discusses the current polarised state of American politics and how people might react to it. It's fascinating and all, but that's not why I mention it here.

Saturday 27 January 2018

It's a Long Way to the Top.

"Off you go".

Those were the Queen's final words. No more pleas; no buts nor ifs. It's a do or die situation. You are to climb to the very summit of Fateful Mountain to plant there HM's Royal Banner. Success will be handsomely rewarded; you'll pay failure with your life.

However high the stakes, the task is simple … or so you think. That's what I haven't told you: you are a termite. You are blind.

How will you find the summit?

Friday 19 January 2018

What is Reformism? The British Case.

Let’s talk about “reformism”.

Once upon a time, that word (plus “reformist” and “reform”) had a precise meaning for Marxists. Over time, however, that meaning changed: the original nuances behind “reformism” were lost. Nowadays those are merely words of abuse.

Because of that it has become, paradoxically, possible to reclaim them. That would be a serious mistake and we might be running out of time for mistakes.

But before tackling “reformism”, it seems wiser to explain “reform” first. To make the discussion more accessible to the public and hopefully less dry, I’ll try an unusual approach.

Friday 12 January 2018

Stephen Hawkings on Robots: It's the Distribution, Stupid.

I’ve seldom experienced déjà vu as strongly as I did reading Alexander C. Kaufman’s recent note on Stephen Hawkings’ brief Reddit AMA (h/t David Ruccio).

A member of the public asked:
  1. "Have you thought about the possibility of technological unemployment, where we develop automated processes that ultimately cause large unemployment by performing jobs faster and/or cheaper than people can perform them?
  2. "In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated?
  3. "Do you think people will always either find work or manufacture more work to be done?"
See “technological unemployment” there?

Thursday 4 January 2018

Cuck Fight!

Man, you've gotta love US politics!

The book records Murdoch's reply: "Donald, for eight years these guys [Silicon Valley honchos] had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don't need your help."

Trump is quoted as saying the companies "really need these H-1B visas".

Wolff writes that Murdoch suggested a more liberal stance on H-1B visas would sit oddly with Trump's hardline stance on immigration, to which the president-elect replied: "We'll figure it out."

Wolff writes that Murdoch shrugged as he got off the phone, and said: "What a fucking idiot." (Here)
Everybody knows government is not the executive committee for the bourgeosie, uh Brad?

06-/01/2018. Amid a desert storm of denials from most of those quoted by Michael Wolff, The Donald and the White House came out really hard, all guns blazing -- like, well, all fire and fury -- on him, his book, and Steve Bannon. And then, according to the news, The Donald called his personal lawyer, Mr. Harder. Yup, that's right.

Shock and awe, man.


I can't say whether he's got a bigger and more powerful button, but at least he's got Harder. :-)

American politics is way better than fiction and it's all for free! Whoever said capitalism sucks?

Monday 1 January 2018

Keynes: Reader's Goodwill, Intelligence, and Co-operation

"A final difference was one of intellectual manners. By the early 1930s, Keynes and his followers felt a sense of urgency, almost of desperation, to get their ideas accepted. It became the hallmark of Keynes's coterie to regard every economist outside Cambridge as mad or stupid; argumentative good manners were sacrificed to world salvation. On the other hand, there is near unanimous testimony to Hayek's intellectual hospitality."

There's no dearth of goodwill, intelligence, and co-operation towards Keynes and his coterie in the essay where that passage comes from. His author does not number among Keynes' harshest critics. What one cannot see there is goodwill, intelligence or co-operation towards those "outside Cambridge". They were simply "mad or stupid".