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Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel
anti-communist, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, David Graeber, declining real wages, full employment, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, late capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, savings glut, Slavoj Žižek, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration
—Karl Marx, afterword to the second German edition of Capital What ever happened to Political Economy, leaving me here? —John Berryman, “Dream Song 84” Contents Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication Epigraph Introduction 1. David Harvey: Crisis Theory 2. Fredric Jameson: The Cultural Logic of Neoliberalism 3. Robert Brenner: Full Employment and the Long Downturn 4. David Graeber: In the Midst of Life We Are in Debt 5. Slavoj Žižek: The Unbearable Lightness of “Communism” 6. Boris Groys: Aesthetics of Utopia Guide to Further Reading Introduction To the disappointment of friends who would prefer to read my fiction—as well as of my literary agent, who would prefer to sell it—I seem to have become a Marxist public intellectual. Making matters worse, the relevant public has been a small one consisting of readers of the two publications, the London Review of Books and n+1, where all but one of the essays here first appeared, and my self-appointed role has likewise been modest.
Over the past five years or so, a different era has begun. For more and more people, global capitalism is losing or has already lost its air of careless munificence, strewing its blessings generously if unevenly across the world, as well as that claim to final historical inevitability that could always be made when other justifications failed. It’s in light of this change that the next-to-last essay here argues, against Slavoj Žižek and others, that the left needs to supplement its anticapitalism with a basic conception of another order, a sort of minimum utopian program (no doubt to be continually elaborated and revised by societies in a position to enact it). Capitalism is after all not the worst conceivable form of economic organization; the point is to ask whether something better and less ecologically fatal may succeed it, and what that might be.
So long as we still resort to markets and banks, the words of (the socialist) George Bernard Shaw are worth keeping in mind: The universal regard for money is the one hopeful fact in our civilization … It is only when it is cheapened to worthlessness for some, and made impossibly dear to others, that it becomes a curse … Money is the counter that enables life to be distributed socially … The first duty of every citizen is to insist on having money on reasonable terms. April 2012 5 Slavoj Žižek: The Unbearable Lightness of “Communism” Marxism has tended to be, since the first collaborations of Marx and Engels, a thorough critique of capitalist society from the standpoint of a far less developed concept of socialism or communism. In this sense, its premise is a utopian conclusion never yet demonstrated: namely, that there can be a better form of modern society, based on a different regime of property, than one dominated by the accumulation of private capital.
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams
3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, battle of ideas, blockchain, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, late capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population
(Winchester: Zero, 2009), Chapter 4. 61.Wanda Vrasti, ‘Struggling with Precarity: From More and Better Jobs to Less and Lesser Work’, Disorder of Things, 12 October 2013, at thedisorderofthings.com. 62.Harvey, Brief History of Neoliberalism, p. 61. 63.For evidence of the austerity narrative and its adoption in popular consciousness, see Liam Stanley, ‘“We’re Reaping What We Sowed”: Everyday Crisis Narratives and Acquiescence to the Age of Austerity’, New Political Economy 19: 6 (2014). 64.Ernesto Laclau, ‘Identity and Hegemony: The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Political Logics’, in Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek, eds, Contingency, Hegemony and Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left (London: Verso, 2011), p. 50. 65.The classical mark of ideology today is that it feeds on cynicism, or, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, ideology works even (and especially) if you do not believe in it. See Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London/New York: Verso, 1989). 66.Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, p. 356. 67.Ibid., p. 332. 4. LEFT MODERNITY 1.This expansionary process has been conceived of in a variety of (not incompatible) ways – for instance, through uneven and combined development, spatial fixes, and expanding cycles of hegemony.
In elaborating an image of the future, utopian thought also generates a viewpoint from which the present becomes open to critique.42 It suspends the appearance of the present as inevitable and brings to light aspects of the world that would otherwise go unnoticed, raising questions that must be constitutively excluded.43 Recent US science fiction, for instance, has often been written in response to contemporary issues of race, gender and class, while early Russian utopias imagined worlds that overcame the problems posed by rapid urbanisation and conflicting ethnicities.44 These worlds not only model solutions, but illuminate problems. As Slavoj Žižek notes in his discussion of Thomas Piketty, the seemingly modest demand to implement a global tax actually implies a radical reorganisation of the entire global political structure.45 Implicit within this small claim is a utopian impulse, since the conditions for making it possible require such a fundamental reconfiguration of existing circumstances. Likewise, the demand for a universal basic income provides a perspective from which the social nature of work, its invisible domestic aspect and its extension to every area of our lives become more readily apparent.
Grosfoguel, ‘Decolonizing Western Uni-Versalisms’, p. 101; Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Non-Ethnocentric Universalism’, in Tim Dunne and Nicholas J. Wheeler, eds, Human Rights in Global Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 128–59; Mignolo, Darker Side of Western Modernity, p. 275; Anthony Simon Laden, Reasoning: A Social Picture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 41.Ernesto Laclau, ‘Identity and Hegemony: The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Political Logics’, in Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek, eds, Contingency, Hegemony and Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left (London: Verso, 2011). 42.Nora Sternfeld, ‘Whose Universalism Is It?’, transl. Mary O’Neill, 2007, at eipcp.net; Jullien, On the Universal, p. 92. 43.Butler, ‘Restaging the Universal: Hegemony and the Limits of Formalism’, in Butler et al., Contingency, Hegemony and Universality, pp. 33. 44.Stefan Jonsson, ‘The Ideology of Universalism’, New Left Review II/63 (May–June 2010), p. 117. 45.Matin, ‘Redeeming the Universal’. 46.For the classic reference point on negative freedom, see Isaiah Berlin, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, in Henry Hardy, ed., Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 47.Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), Chapter 1. 48.Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (London: Routledge, 2006). 49.This has overlaps with Philippe van Parijs’s (as well as many other theorists’) distinction between formal and real freedom, but the notion of ‘synthetic’ freedom highlights that it is not a natural aspect of humanity, but something constructed.
citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, Google Earth, informal economy, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, WikiLeaks
Over time, mass phone messages became more overtly political, especially in the lead-up to parliamentary elections in 2010, where phone networks were used for spreading campaign news and rumors alike about the candidates. Even as the Egyptian government committed itself to liberalizing communications and media, it did so with a high degree of trepidation. The regime continued to be essentially authoritarian and the heavy-handed presence of the police state remained intact. As technologies became more advanced, the government continued to try to censor media content and monitor citizens’ communications. Slavoj Žižek refers to economic liberalization without political liberalization as “authoritarian capitalism,” or “capitalism with Asian values.” The government ministries that oversaw the communications and information sectors enforced rules on service providers so that they could track citizens and link phone numbers, and later IP addresses, to individuals and households. This tracking system provided some assurances to the government, but it couldn’t keep up with either the pace of technological change or people’s own ingenuity.
Their discussions raised ethical questions about icons, saints, religion, morals, and hierarchy, but these were cut short due to lack of time. The leaders needed to mobilize people quickly in order to be prepared for the revolt of January 25. They needed to hurriedly get ready for the “time of change,” but with little thought to fundamental questions about change towards what, why, and for whom. In the video series Big Think, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek delivers a message to activists about the value of thinking. He recognizes that people feel pressured to urgently do something in response to a deteriorating global economic, environmental, and political situation, yet he urges them to invest time in thinking prior to acting: Don’t get caught in this pseudo-activist pressure. “Do something, let’s do it,” and so on. No! The time is to think … The famous Marxist formula was that philosophers have only interpreted the world, the time is to change it.
Lakoff, Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America’s Most Important Ideas, New York: Picador, 2006, 10. 7. THE ANTI-IDEOLOGY MACHINE 1.A. Badiou, The Rebirth of History, trans. by Gregory Elliott, London: Verso, 2012, 56. 2.T. Ramadan, Islam and the Arab Awakening, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 11. 3.Ibid., 12. 4.P. Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, New York: Continuum, 1993, 21. 5.S. Žižek, “Slavoj Žižek: Don’t Act. Just Think,” YouTube, from the series Big Think. 6.The video was leaked by the RASSD news network (www.rassd.com) on October 5, 2013. Excerpts from the video, including the quote about the shackles, were quoted in D. Kirkpatrick, “In Leaked Video, Egyptian Army Officers Debate How to Sway News Media,” New York Times, October 3, 2013. This eBook is licensed to Edward Betts, firstname.lastname@example.org on 03/31/2016 Index Abbas, Wael, 19, 21, 22, 30–2 Abbasid Dynasty, 16 Abdel Fatah, Israa, 22 The Academy of Change, 18, 83–4 See also Adel, Wael; The Change Adel, Wael, 17–18, 83 Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, 41 Adib, Amr, 133 Adly, Habib al-, 60, 88, 90, 113–14 See also Ministry of Interior Al-Ahly, 52, 73 Al-Alamiah, 7 Alexandria, 13, 20, 58–9, 65, 66, 139 Cleopatra neighborhood in, 47, 58, 87 violence in, 50, 64, 91 people from, 5, 46 demonstrations in, 65, 66, 71, 114 Alhurra, 10, 32 Ali, Amro, 50 Alliance of Youth Movement (AYM), 23–4, 36, 148 the summit of, 35, 37–8, 46 Jared Cohen and, 33, 44 manual of, 45, 53, 63, 66, 99 America Online (AOL), 13 “Ammar404,” 104 Anonymous, 106 The Arabic Network for Human Rights, 103 Al Arabiya, 9, 81, 83 Ash, Nazanin, 29 al-Asmany, Maher, 103 Assange, Julian, 106 Aswan, 20 Awqat Faragh.
Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky
Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor
If you feel it’s not diverse enough, add your body to the mix. In this consensus-based process, participation is our most valuable critical faculty. One should also recognize the instability of OWS as observable spectacle. It’s an evolving, self-made, messy space whose signs, statements and local demographics change day to day, hour to hour. This is, on the one hand, a beautiful strength, a real chance for imaginative dialogue in what Slavoj Žižek rightly calls2 a deeply ideological time; on the other hand, as The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg cautions,3 we have yet to see whether this young, loosely organized movement will bear political or policy fruits. Each trip to Zuccotti Park means a new reveal: one day it’s a cacophony of agendas, yet overwhelmingly white; the next, it’s single message and as diverse as New York City itself. This was true at dawn on Friday 14 October, when tens of thousands of us gathered in Zuccotti Park to prevent New York City from evicting the occupiers under the guise of ‘cleaning’.
Many of the models currently being used, such as the General Assembly and Consensus, are rooted in the practice of anti-authoritarians and community organizers. There are many other critical skills to share to empower and embolden this movement. As much as we wish we can radically transform unjust economic, political and social systems overnight through this movement, the reality is that this is a long-term struggle. And there is always the danger of co-optation. Slavoj Žižek warned Occupy Wall Street that: ‘The problem is the system that pushes you to give up. Beware not only of the enemies. But also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process. In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without fat. They will try to make this into a harmless moral protest.’ This means that we will need to find ways to do the painstaking work of making this movement sustainable and rooting it within and alongside existing grassroots movements for social and environmental justice.
‘There will be–’ shouts a caller, ‘there will be–’ responds the collective, ‘a teach in–’ she continues, ‘a teach in–’ we respond ‘on co-operative economies–’ ‘on co-operative economies–’ ‘under the red sculpture–’ ‘under the red sculpture–’ ‘in 10 minutes!’ ‘in 10 minutes!’ Amplified by the voices of many, the voice of one can spread through the crowd without amplified sound. The people’s mic is available to anyone in the park at any time, and it becomes both a tool of radical equalization and an embodied ritual of spending time in the movement. Cornel West, Slavoj Žižek, Joseph Stiglitz, Naomi Klein, Russell Simmons, Michael Moore and other public figures who have come to the park to express solidarity all used the people’s mic, speaking in short bursts and pausing as they listened to the amplified chant/echoes of their words spreading through the assembly. When particularly large crowds gather – on the weekends or in nightly General Assembly meetings – there can be two and sometimes even three ‘generations’ of amplification, so that the original utterance echoes outward into the far reaches of the crowd.
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov
3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks
Chorney, “Taking the Game out of Gamification,” Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management 8, no. 1 (2012), http://ojs.library.dal.ca/djim/article/view/2012vol8Chorney. 298 “a world in which a person’s every action”: Jason Tanz, “The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit,” Wired, December 20, 2011, http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/ff_cowclicker. 299 “I’ve had dozens of people”: ibid. 299 “Games should do good”: quoted in Rob Cox, “The Ruthless Overlords of Silicon Valley,” Newsweek, March 12, 2012, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/03/11/the-robber-barons-of-silicon-valley.html. 299 Slovenian philosopher-cum-entertainer Slavoj Žižek identifies: Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (New York: Verso, 2009), 54. 299 it struck a deal with 7-Eleven: Brian Morrisey, “Zynga, 7-Eleven Link Virtual, Real Goods,” AdWeek, May 24, 2010, http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/zynga-7-eleven-link-virtual-real-goods-107403. 299 “It’s all money in”: quoted in Heather Chaplin, “I Don’t Want to Be a Superhero,” Slate, March 29, 2011, http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/gaming/2011/03/i_dont_want_to_be_a_superhero.single.html. 299 One study published in Pediatrics: see the write-up of the study at Randall Stross, “‘Active’ Video Games Don’t Make Youths More Active,” New York Times, June 23, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/business/active-video-games-dont-make-youths-more-active.html?
All I can think is, oh God, don’t blame me for that.” It all looks extremely appealing—especially to the bored and tired citizenry. To quote Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga, the company that has given us such world-saving Facebook hits as FarmVille and Words with Friends, “Games should do good. We want to help the world while doing our day jobs.” Gamification taps into the same do-gooder mentality that Slovenian philosopher-cum-entertainer Slavoj Žižek identifies in various charity programs that encourage citizens to support a fight against hunger in Africa by buying fancier coffee at Starbucks. If we can keep our day jobs and continue with our Frappuccino-powered soul-searching, why not help the world, after all? As for Zynga, its own forays into gamification seem rather ominous. For instance, it struck a deal with 7-Eleven by which, through some ingenious marketing, customers pay real money for FarmVille credits by buying a Slurpee.
Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri
affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, conceptual framework, David Graeber, Defenestration of Prague, deskilling, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, global village, Howard Rheingold, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, land tenure, late capitalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, private military company, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Richard Stallman, Slavoj Žižek, The Chicago School, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, union organizing, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus
PART 2: MULTITUDE 1 On the distinction between the multitude and the people, see Paolo Virno, Grammatica della moltitudine (Catanzaro: Rubbettino, 2001), 5-7; and Marco Bascetta, “Multitudine, popolo, massa,” in Controimpero (Rome: Manifestolibri, 2002), 67-80. 2 For a classic formulation of liberation based on “the interdependence of mutual (nondominant) differences,” see Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” in Sister Outsider (Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984), 110-13. 3 The debate between Slavoj Žižek and Ernesto Laclau demonstrates the dead end of discussing class in terms of an alternative between the Marxist unitary notion and the plural liberal notion. See Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (London: Verso, 2000). 4 For a sample of the old debates within Marxism about the economic and the political, see (for the political side) Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness , trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971); and (for the economic side) Nikolai Bukharin, The ABC of Communism, trans.
Edmund Jephcott (New York: Schocken, 1978), 277-300. 129 See Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York: Basic Books, 1977; 2000); and Jean Bethke Elshtain, Just War Against Terror (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 46-70. 130 Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, trans. Max Eastman (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1932), 184. 131 Starhawk makes a similar point, arguing that we need a “diversity of tactics.” See “Many Roads to Morning: Rethinking Nonviolence,” in Webs of Power, 206-36. 132 It is unclear in Slavoj Žižek’s provocative book Repeating Lenin (Zabreb: Arkzin, 2001) whether he is advocating repeating, as we are, the democratic goals of Lenin’s project without the vanguard leadership of the Bolshevik Party or whether he is, on the contrary, advocating just such an elitist form of political leadership. 133 Clarisse Lispector, The Passion according to G. H., trans. Ronald Sousa (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 3. 134 Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 4, scene 3.
3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator
Closed, it becomes the embodiment of objectivity: a machine capable of spitting out binary “yes” or “no” answers without further need of qualification. “Insofar as they consider all the black boxes well sealed, people do not, any more than scientists, live in a world of fiction, representation, symbol, approximation, convention,” Latour observes. “They are simply right.” In this vein, we might also turn to Slavoj Žižek’s conception of the toilet bowl: a seemingly straightforward technological mechanism through which excrement disappears from our reality and enters another space we phenomenologically perceive to be a messier, more chaotically primordial reality.34 It is possible to see some of this thinking in the work of Richard Berk I profiled in Chapter 3. “It frees me up,” Berk said of his future crime prediction algorithm.
back-to-the-land, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, capital controls, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, informal economy, land tenure, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Network effects, New Journalism, Occupy movement, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rising living standards, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, union organizing, We are the 99%, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, young professional
In their 2002 introduction to a revised edition of Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky and Herman concluded that the Internet, while a powerful tool for activists, would make no difference to the ability of corporate interests to control the media, or to its essential role as propagandist for big corporations. They judged that the rapid commercialization and concentration of the Internet ‘threatens to limit any future prospects of the Internet as a democratic media vehicle’. When it came to philosophy, leftists who had railed against ‘bourgeois ideology’ now abandoned the very concept. Slavoj Žižek rejected the idea that ideology was ‘false consciousness’, arguing, effectively, that ideology is consciousness: it is impossible to escape the mental trap created by capitalism, because one’s life inside the system constantly recreates it. Instead of rebellion we are reduced to perpetual cynicism: we are trapped, like Neo in The Matrix, in a world we know to be half true. But we can’t escape: ‘Even if we do not take things seriously, even if we keep an ironical distance, we are still doing them.’10 Add it all up and you get the mindset of the left in an era of defeat.
In Egypt, the atmosphere of networked tolerance that had prevailed during the initial Tahrir Square occupation dulled as real, hierarchical forces emerged. In Spain, the leading voices within the indignado movement became frustrated as the obsession with ‘process’, the tyranny of consensus and the refusal to advocate political demands sucked away its momentum. With Occupy Wall Street, critics point to an emergent self-obsession, which the philosopher Slavoj Žižek warned about when he spoke in Zuccotti in October: ‘There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then?’7 The journalist Thomas Frank excoriated Occupy for its self-obsession, its refusal to express demands, comparing its minimal achievements with those of the Tea Party, which abandoned horizontalism and moved into the hierarchies of the Republican Party—gaining heavy representation in Congress, state legislatures and their own man on the ticket for vice-president.
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional
On Apple’s valuation see Susanna Kim, “Apple Is World’s Most Valuable Company Again,” ABCNews.com, January 25, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/01/apple-is-worlds-most-valuable-company-again/. 30. David Brooks, “The Creative Monopoly,” New York Times, April 24, 2012, A23; and Ryan Mac, “Ten Lessons from Peter Thiel’s Class on Startups,” Forbes.com, June 7, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2012/06/07/ten-lessons-from-peter-thiels-class-on-startups/. 31. Slavoj Zizek describes this issue succinctly in his essay “Corporate Rule of Cyberspace,” InsideHigherEd.com, May 2, 2011, http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/05/02/slavoj_zizek_essay_on_cloud_computing_and_privacy. 32. One predictable consequence of Amazon’s rapid expansion has been the further consolidation of the book business. Amazon, it is widely agreed, has provoked and will continue to provoke publishers to pursue defensive mergers and acquisitions, such as the union of Penguin and Random House into a colossus that will publish a quarter of all English-language books, including the Canadian version of this one.
Rebooting Democracy: A Citizen's Guide to Reinventing Politics by Manuel Arriaga
We will witness the range from successful, thriving institutions to well-meaning but ultimately failed attempts at reform, not forgetting a glimpse into Soviet architecture and acrimonious nighttime meetings in an old palace in Lisbon. We will try to learn something from all of these. Let’s get started. A Brief Detour: 10 Reasons Why Politicians Fail To Represent Us (And Always Will) Why can we more easily conceive of a catastrophic event ending life on this planet than even small changes to our current economic order?—Slavoj Žižek, in The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology Although there is widespread support for the idea that those in power do not represent the public interest, we often fail to give adequate thought to why this is so. Let’s look at some possible explanations. As it will become clear, I draw on varied sources. Some of the factors discussed below are recurrent themes in the media and in general political discourse; others come from well-established results in the social sciences.
The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff
3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, feminist movement, follow your passion, Food sovereignty, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, Khan Academy, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, performance metric, profit motive, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor
The prophets tell powerful stories and they have the means to make sure they are heard, but this doesn’t mean that people always believe their stories or are duped by their message. Ideology is much more subtle. As historian Barbara Fields explains, ideology is the “descriptive vocabulary of day-today existence, through which people make rough sense of the social reality that they live and create from day to day.”8 But it is not, philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek argues, something we can discover and remove from our field of vision, only to reveal the true, nonideological world. Ideology is the world itself, inhabiting and structuring all the spaces in which we live and think.9 Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, and the others are not trying to hide the true structures of power behind our daily interactions. Their stories are a reflection of the capitalist society that already exists, refracted through beliefs and values that already help structure our world.
Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe by Antony Loewenstein
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Julian Assange, market fundamentalism, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, private military company, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, the medium is the message, trade liberalization, WikiLeaks
Major assets such as the country’s third-largest bank, Eurobank, were sold, and the government lost huge amounts of money.53 From beaches to islands, from vast estates to the government’s gambling company, the EU only agreed to release more bailout funds to Greece if it agreed to privatize even more, despite the previous efforts not having brought the benefits that had been promised. From the beginning, the government ignored stark warnings of the risk of rushing to outsource at rock-bottom prices without due diligence, leading to Russian-style oligarchs controlling the batch of assets.54 It was hard to disagree with the words of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek when he explained in 2012 that the Greek people’s struggle was central to retaining a decent civilization: “It is one of the main testing grounds for a new socio-economic model of potentially unlimited application: a depoliticised technocracy in which bankers and other experts are allowed to demolish democracy. By saving Greece from its so-called saviours, we also save Europe itself.”55 Despite the failures, supporters of selling off Greece continued to make themselves heard.
New York Times, May 28, 2014. 46Saskia Sassen, “European Economy’s Invisible Transformation: Expulsions and Predatory Capitalism,” London School of Economics and Political Science, July 3, 2014, at blogs.lse.ac.uk. 47Harriet Alexander, “Greece’s Great Fire Sale,” Telegraph, April 20, 2013. 48“Privatization of Athens Water Utility Ruled Unconstitutional,” Press Project, May 28, 2014, at thepressproject.net. 49Niki Kitsantonis, “Greece Wars with Courts over Ways to Slash Budget,” New York Times, June 12, 2014. 50Daniel Trilling, “Shock Therapy and the Gold Mine,” New Statesman, June 18, 2013. 51“Europe’s Failed Course,” New York Times, February 17, 2012. 52Joanna Kakissis, “36 hours in Athens,” New York Times, October 19, 2014. 53Yiannis Baboulias, “Our Big Fat Greek Privatisation Scandals,” Al Jazeera English, June 10, 2014. 54Helen Smith, “Greece Begins 50 Billion Euro Privatisation Drive,” Guardian, August 1, 2010. 55Slavoj Žižek, “Save Us from the Saviours,” London Review of Books, May 28, 2012. 56Alexander, “Greece’s Fire Sale.” 57Ibid. 58Katie Allen, “Austerity in Greece Caused More than 500 Male Suicides, Say Researchers,” Guardian, April 21, 2014. 59Mark Lowen, “Greek’s Million Unpaid Workers,” BBC News, December 5, 2013. 60“Sisa: Cocaine of the Poor,” Vice News, May 22, 2013, at vice.com. 61Liz Alderman, “Societal Ills Spike in Crisis-Stricken Greece,” New York Times, May 22, 2013. 3Haiti 1Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales, eds, Tectonic Shifts (Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2012). 2Ibid., p. 2. 3Ansel Herz and Kim Ives, “Wikileaks Haiti: The Post-Quake ‘Gold Rush’ for Reconstruction Contracts,” Nation, June 15, 2011. 4Deepa Panchang, Beverly Bell, and Tory Field, “Disaster Capitalism: Profiting from Crisis in Post-Earthquake Haiti,” Truthout, February 16, 2011, at truth-out.org. 5Herz and Ives, “Wikileaks Haiti.” 6The AshBritt company was accused of questionable practices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the CEPR revealing that a “2006 congressional report examining federal contract waste and abuse noted AshBritt used multiple layers of subcontractors, each of whom got paid while passing on the actual work.”
Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions by Christian Lander
The first involves dropping out and moving to New York, San Francisco, or their original hometown, where they can resume the job that they left to attend graduate school. At this point, they can feel superior to everyone still in graduate school and say things like “A PhD is a testament to perseverance, not intelligence.” They can also impress their friends at parties by referencing Jacques Lacan or Slavoj Zizek in a conversation about American Idol. The second path involves becoming a professor, moving to a small town, and telling the local residents how they are awful and uncultured. It is important to understand that a graduate degree does not make someone smart, so do not feel intimidated. They may have read more, but in no way does that make them smarter, more competent, or more likable than you.
Collaborative Futures by Mike Linksvayer, Michael Mandiberg, Mushon Zer-Aviv
4chan, Benjamin Mako Hill, British Empire, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative economy, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Debian, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, informal economy, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, late capitalism, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, Network effects, optical character recognition, packet switching, postnationalism / post nation state, prediction markets, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, stealth mode startup, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application
But I dare to say that the labour perspective deserves more a ention than it has been given by popular and scholarly critics of intellectual property till now. Both hackers and academic writers tend to formulate their critique against intellectual property law from a consumer rights horizon and borrow arguments from a liberal, political tradition. There are, of course, noteworthy exceptions. People like Eben Moglen, 134 Slavoj Zizek and Richard Barbrook have reacted against the liberal ideology implicit in much talk about the Internet by courting the revolutionary rhetoric of the Second International instead. Their ideas are original and eye-catching and o en full of insight. Nevertheless, their rhetoric sounds oddly out of place when applied to pragmatic hackers. Perhaps advocates of free sot ware would do be er to look for a counterweight to liberalism in the reformist branch of the labour movement, i.e. in trade unionism.
Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Slavoj Žižek, Stanislav Petrov, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
Yet while Chomsky has his critics, ranging from notables such as Sheldon Wolin and Martha Nussbaum to a host of less informed interlocutors, he rarely shies away from a reasoned debate, often elevating such exchanges to a new level of understanding and, in some cases, embarrassment for his opponents. Some of his more illustrious and infamous debaters have included Michel Foucault, William Buckley Jr., John Silber, Christopher Hitchens, Alan Dershowitz and Slavoj Žižek. At the same time, he has refused, in spite of the occasional and most hateful and insipid of attacks, to mimic such tactics in responding to his less civil denigrators.4 Some of Chomsky’s detractors have accused him of being too strident, not being theoretical enough, or, more recently, not understanding the true nature of ideology. These criticisms seem empty and baseless and appear irrelevant, considering the encouraging impact Chomsky’s work has had on younger generations, including many in the Occupy movement and other international resistance networks.
Britain Etc by Mark Easton
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, credit crunch, financial independence, garden city movement, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, social software
Indeed, the start of the twenty-first was marked by the coining of a new British euphemism: the designers of the eco-friendly tepee-shaped public convenience in the Millennium Dome were moved to describe it as a ‘beacon of relief’. Britain’s changing relationship with basic bodily functions reflects the evolution of its society. It is not just vocabulary: the toilet charts the boundaries of public responsibility and private life, of our relationship with each other and even with ourselves. The shiny porcelain of the bowl acts as a mirror to British values, identities and hang-ups. The Slovenian writer Slavoj Žižek famously suggested that ‘you go to the toilet and you sit on ideology.’ In an article for the London Review of Books in 2004, Žižek compared the design of German, French and, what he called, Anglo-Saxon lavatories. ‘In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness,’ he wrote.
1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning
Once the Benthamite project of psychic optimization loses any sense of agreed limits, promising only more and more, the troubling discovery is made that utilitarian measurement can go desperately negative as well as positive. Depressive-competitive disorder ‘Just do it’. ‘Enjoy more’. Slogans such as these, belonging to Nike and McDonald’s respectively, offer the ethical injunctions of the post-1960s neoliberal era. They are the last transcendent moral principles for a society which rejects moral authority. As Slavoj Žižek has argued, enjoyment has become an even greater duty than to obey the rules. Thanks to the influence of the Chicago School over government regulators, the same is true for corporate profitability. The entanglement of psychic maximization and profit maximization has grown more explicit over the course of the neoliberal era. This is partly due to the infiltration of corporate interests into the APA.
The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton
1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator
As we define the interface as any point of contact that governs the conditions of exchange between two complex systems, then within AR, the GUI melts, so it seems, into reality itself, and is seen as another property of surfaces, things, and events. That melting becomes the scope of design, the registration of labor, the touchpoint of advertising, and even (perhaps especially) the domain of activist belief, sacred and secular. Slavoj Žižek's definition of “the Real” as that which is negatively defined by fantasy is here given a literal, if dull, gloss.51 If so motivated, we could then locate AR among modern media and their psychological or psychoanalytic effects and might say, in line with Friedrich Kittler's association of film with the imaginary, the typewriter with the symbolism and the gramophone with the real, that in AR, the imaginary is so directly inscribed into the symbolic, as the content of the interface, that the real is also itself collapsed into the imaginary, making the reality of AR perhaps irredeemably occult.52 One supposes that the most pressing and initial nonaccident of AR is a deeply granular and pervasive advertising by which our embodied perceptions and gestures generate the monetizable surplus platform value of the network User profile, but it should not be confused with the technology's ultimate social impact.53 AR is where the microtargeting business models of cognitive capitalism melt into the choreography of the mobile User-subject.
This is the basis for seeing the diagrammatics of information visualization operating as a utopian-projective discourse for the image-interface yet to come, as the deepest worldly recombinancy shifts from the linear temporal unfolding of metahistory to the nonlinear spatial unfolding of meta-interfaciality. 51. It's impossible then to avoid the comparison with Žižek's well-worn reading of John Carpenter's science-fiction film They Live (1988) in which certain characters can, by wearing special ideology-filtering Ray-Bans, perceive that Earth (or Los Angeles, at least) is controlled by skinless reptile aliens and that humans live in a state of somnambulant delirium. See, for one example, Slavoj Žižek, “Through the Glasses Darkly,” In These Times, October 29, 2008, http://inthesetimes.com/article/3976/through_the_glasses_darkly. Regarding AR then, the wearing of glasses instead of allowing us to wake from “false consciousness” allows users to choose which subscription hallucination they prefer. After Žižek, we might say, “Yes, AR looks as if people are strapping ideological reductions onto their face, but don't be fooled; they really are.” 52.
The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Earth, illegal immigration, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, pirate software, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Sinatra Doctrine, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
Chadayev, who wrote his master’s thesis on how subcultures form on the Web, entered politics by means of technology: He designed a website for a prominent liberal Russian politician. A few years later, he even ran an anti-Putin online campaign, before switching sides and going to work for the Kremlin. Chadayev is the opposite of the populist and anti-intellectual Sergeyeva and is not afraid to flaunt his erudition. He is particularly fond of discussing the relevance of thinkers like Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Lacan, and Gilles Deleuze to the Kremlin’s propaganda strategy on both his blog and, more recently, his Twitter account. In July 2010 a series of his angry tweets even forced the head of the Kremlin’s human rights commission, one of the few Russian liberals in a position of power, to resign. Chadayev, who once confessed that “everything I have now, I owe to the Internet,” is extremely well-versed in both the latest Internet trends and cutting-edge methods of modern propaganda.
They constantly told him “You’re the only mature one of us” because he never gossiped, and they admired him for it. He emailed pep talks to bolster the team’s enthusiasm for nationals and organized meetings and deadlines for their preparation. He set up a Wiki and a Facebook page through which the group regularly shared ideas. He spent much of his free time reading works that would help their presentation, such as Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek’s writings, the Federalist Papers, and notes on every major political debate of the 1850s. Ms. Collins told Blue that she wanted the team to distinguish itself from those of other states by demonstrating that original, independent analysis was important for the health of the country. The team didn’t expect to place because it was so small. A win for Team Hawaii, she said, would entail upsetting some of the judges by challenging traditional thought, rather than telling them what they wanted to hear.
Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, BRICs, British Empire, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, computer age, Corn Laws, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income per capita, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Economic Geography, New Urbanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, V2 rocket, very high income, working poor, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra
Leavis, Karl Polanyi, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, Dorothy Day, Woody Guthrie (whose singing made me for a while a Joan-Baez socialist: the leftish opponents of bourgeois dignity and liberty, alas, have all the best songs), Pete Seeger, (ditto), Lewis Mumford, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, J. K. Galbraith, Louis Althusser, Allan Bloom, Frederic Jameson, Saul Bellow, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Paul 48 Ehrlich, Stuart Hall, George Steiner, Jacques Lacan, Stanley Hauerwas, Terry Eagleton, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, Charles Sellers, Barbara Ehrenreich, Nancy Folbre, and Naomi Klein. Few people have defended commerce from this magnificent flood of eloquence from the pens of left progressives and right reactionaries — jeremiads which indeed stretch from the Hebrew prophets through Plato and the Analects of Confucius and down to the present — except on the economist’s prudence-only grounds that after all a great deal of money is made there.
From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time by Sean M. Carroll
Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Columbine, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, gravity well, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, lone genius, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pets.com, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Schrödinger's Cat, Slavoj Žižek, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, the scientific method, wikimedia commons
We have a bunch of intriguing concepts that we’re pretty sure will play some sort of role in an ultimate understanding—entropy, free energy, complexity, information. But we’re not yet able to put them together into a unified picture. That’s okay; science is a journey in which getting there is, without question, much of the fun. 10 RECURRENT NIGHTMARES Nature is a big series of unimaginable catastrophes. —Slavoj Žižek In Book Four of The Gay Science, written in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche proposes a thought experiment. He asks us to imagine a scenario in which everything that happens in the universe, including our lives down to the slightest detail, will eventually repeat itself, in a cycle that plays out for all eternity. What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unspeakably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself.
The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd
accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Wave and Pay, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
Realism—which seeks to capture value’s truth, as it were—plays an important part in such a critique. Paul Krugman described the system that made the crisis possible as “a world gone Madoff,” in which fraud is rife and bankers’ salaries are based merely on the illusion of profit. According to Krugman, “the vast riches being earned … in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality.”25 In a similar vein, Slavoj Žižek called the Bernard Madoff case “an extreme but therefore pure example of what caused the financial breakdown itself” (Žižek 2009: 36). Madoff’s crime (his wealth management business operated as a Ponzi scheme for many years before its collapse in 2008, costing investors around $18 billion) was merely a manifestation of a form of reasoning that is inscribed into the very system of capitalist relations, namely, that the sphere of circulation must be expanded—using “fraudulent” monetary instruments, if necessary—to keep the machinery running: “the temptation to ‘morph’ legitimate business into a pyramid scheme is part of the very nature of the capitalist circulation process” (Žižek 2009: 36).
Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond
Before he knew what was happening out rushed this book.26 During the Asian financial crisis of 1997/8, Mahathir Mohammed, prime minister of Malaysia, also a less benign view of Soros: “All these countries [in East Asia] have spent 40 years trying to build up their economies and a moron like Soros comes along with a lot of money to speculate and ruin things.”27 The Prime Minister made no mention of his own Pharaonic projects funded by borrowings from foreigners. Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek captured the essence of Soros: “Half the day he engages in the most ruthless financial exploitations, ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands, even millions. The other half [of the day] he just gives part of it back.”28 Wizard and Muggles In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasies, muggle, derived from “mug” or someone gullible, refers to people lacking magical ability. Foolish, befuddled muggles are contrasted to wizards born into the magical world.
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 by Anne Applebaum
affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, land reform, language of flowers, means of production, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Slavoj Žižek, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning
Available at http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/doctrine/large/index.php. 9. Gregory Bush, Campaign Speeches of American Presidential Candidates, 1948–1984 (New York, 1985), p. 42. 10. See Geyer and Fitzpatrick, Beyond Totalitarianism. 11. Quoted in Richard Pipes, Communism: A History (New York, 2001), pp. 105–7. 12. See Michael Halberstam, Totalitarianism and the Modern Conception of Politics (New Haven, 2000). 13. Slavoj Žižek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions in the (Mis)Use of a Notion (New York, 2001). Žižek argues that the description of Stalinism as “totalitarian” is nothing more than an attempt to ensure that the “liberal democratic hegemony” endures. 14. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-peron/rick-santorum-gay-rights_b_1195555.html; http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1328239165001/the-uss-march-toward-totalitarianism; http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/25/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20111225. 15.
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
The political scientist Karen Alter conducted an analysis before the war broke out showing that the Bush administration was unusually closed in its decision-making process.95 In a textbook illustration of the phenomenon of groupthink, the prewar policy team believed in its own infallibility and virtue, shut out contradictory assessments, enforced consensus, and self-censored private doubts.96 Just before the Iraq War, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld observed, There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. Johnson, following a remark by the philosopher Slavoj Žižek, notes that Rumsfeld omitted a crucial fourth category, the unknown knowns—things that are known, or at least could be known, but are ignored or suppressed. It was the unknown knowns that allowed a moderate amount of instrumental violence (a few weeks of shock and awe) to unleash an open-ended exchange of every other kind of violence. DOMINANCE The colorful idioms chest-thumping, having a chip on his shoulder, drawing a line in the sand, throwing down the gauntlet, and pissing contest all denote an action that is inherently meaningless but provokes a contest for dominance.
Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood
accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond