Saturday, October 29, 2011

Debt: The First 5000 Years

I recently finished reading Graeber's Debt and highly recommend it. One caveat is that his discussion of slavery is difficult to maintain. He runs into difficulty on the level of slavery during the middle ages and his contention that no one "really" believed the, shifting to be sure, justifications for slavery. It's not clear to me how or if these errors forwards his argument but it is a serious error. He might want to at least consult one David Bryon Davis many books.

The book is also very much a polemical attempt at rethinking world history and should be read as such, which means checking the facts before repeating them. However, the argument is well worth the time. He writes with a sort of breezy pop-donishness that eases the process. I'll have more to say about this book later.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remain Calm

Matthew Yglesias doesn't understand the concept of immiseration and, what is more, is unable to look out the window. The current Neoliberal international economic order has created more inequality and more and more vicious economic catastrophes and yet he wants us to think that all is well. It is true, I suppose, that there is more wealth but it is also true that the fewer have captured that wealth. Consequently, all is not well.

This capture of wealth by fewer is true globally as well.  What kind of a deranged maniac looks at the world as it is and concludes that it isn't at all like it is but rather a Neoliberal utopia?

Parsing the 99% Who Support the 1%

So we all know what happened last night in Oakland, which almost assuredly another example of police rioting.  Here's a portion of the Mayor of Oakland's statement after she made the mistake of praising the police for bashing the skull of a veteran and flash-bombing those who sought to rescue the stricken citizen:
Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.
She, it would seem, doesn't support doing anything to change the world as it is and, with minor outbreaks of police brutality to one side, she stands 100% behind the right of free speech.  Oddly enough, she doesn't mention assembly and redress of grievance; perhaps because she's forgotten they exist.

Oh yes, in this picture, from the TP link above,  you can see the bicycle remains central to social change:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Just So Odd

Among other things, I am reading Jack London's The Abyss, which -- despite his claims to unorthodoxy -- is a fairly standard example of Victorian social exploration. Unlike Eric Blair's later descent into the netherworld of poverty, drink, and the workhouse, London periodically escapes the terrors of the city of London's East End. Also unlike Blair's later discussion of poverty in, I think it was, The Road to Wigan Pier, London doesn't castigate the poor for their eating habits. which makes him different from some today. What he does do, however, is contrast the British poor with the American and finds that the American "hobo" chose the open road for its softness while the British tramps and homeless are the detritus of an immoral and inhuman economic system. Odd, ayna. You would think he would have understood that American workers' poverty and economic limnality, if that is a word, was identical with that of the British workers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dying Breed

So we all know of the crazifaction factor, which pegs the crazies in the world at 27% willing to support crazy people.  Herman Cain, it seems, wants the 20 percenters to come on to his house. H ise after the real crazies and as a smoker I object to the notion that those of use crazy enough to smoke are dumb enough to vote for Cain.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Motorists Are Dumb

I was riding back to the house today on Randall when a little car sped up to get ahead of me as I crossed the turn lane to University.  The motorist instead of slowing down to pass behind me sped up to pass in front of me. He nearly ran out of room to make the turn before the island and then had to cut hard right only to stop behind three cars at a red light. What is it about cars that turns people into idiots? In this case no one was hurt but he saved zero time, as he had to wait for the cars already stopped at the light to go. Why is it that driving a car seems to make motorists incapable of slowing down even when speeding up brings about no discernible benefit?