I was called this morning by the BBC. It
wanted me to comment on the claims that Sports direct, a chain of
sports clothing shops, mistreats its workers – keeping them on zero-hours contracts,
sometimes not paying them even the minimum wage, scaring them out of
going sick, generally treating them like dirt. Would I care to go on air
to defend the right of employers to behave in this way? I am
increasingly turning down invitations to go on radio and television, and
this was an invitation I declined. I suggested the researcher should
call the Adam Smith Institute. This would almost certainly provide a
young man to rhapsodise about the wonders of the free market. My own
answer would be too complex for the average BBC presenter to understand,
and I might be cut off in mid-sentence.
is the answer I would have taken had I been invited to speak on a
conservative or libertarian radio station on the Internet.
First, it is a bad idea to interfere in market arrangements. Sports Direct is in competition with other firms. Making it pay more to its workers, or to give them greater security of employment, would require it to raise prices and make it less competitive. A general campaign against zero-hour contracts and low pay would raise unemployment. In even a reasonably open market, factors of production are paid the value of their marginal product. Establish a minimum price for labour above its clearing price, and those workers whose employment contributes less than this to total revenue will be laid off. If I felt more inclined than I do, I could produce a cross diagram to show this. The downward sloping curve would show diminishing marginal productivity, the upward the supply of labour at any given price. The point of intersection would show the clearing price. Draw a horizontal line above this clearing price to show the minimum allowed price, and you can two further lines from where this intersects the curves to create a box showing the unemployment that would result. I leave that to your imagination. Or here is a representation I have found on-line:
Why don’t you grow up, Nicky? That’s the tried old refrain that never seems to get older than I do. It seems like I hear it from pretty much all the token adult figures in my life; my parents, my therapist, my government. And maybe they’ve got a point. I am over thirty, unemployed, painfully single and I still live at home. To be fair, I’m also certifiably mentally ill. As a slowly recovering shut-in, my lingering agoraphobia makes it damn near impossible to hold down even a part time job. But If I’m to be 100% honest to a gut-shiving fault, which is pretty much my whole shtick, my aversion to adulthood is far more complex than my inability to properly regulate good and bad stress.
I was raised in the wrong fucking gender by an establishment of adults who I was led to believe held the mandate of god himself, the ultimate adult figure. By in large, growing up, the adults in my life were cruel, petty, two-faced zealots who had their way with my trust until it quite simply ceased to exist. There is a very firmly moralist part of me that yells at the top of her deeply closeted preteen lungs, WHY THE FUCK WOULD I EVER WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!
I’ve talked about this disembodied voice before. The invisible girl who’s tired of suffocating beneath the biological trappings of manhood. She wants to come out and play with matches but she’s not particularly intrigued by the late capitalist banality of modern adulthood. And, in 2019, she’s not alone.
It seems like I come from an entire generation of kids who are downright allergic to adulthood. We are a lost generation that has chosen in overwhelming numbers to stay single, unemployed and live at home. We also seem to be a culture that is defined by our collective nostalgia. We’ve somehow managed to make washed-up boy bands and thirty year old cartoons a downright viable industry. we’ve gathered on the Internet into rabid cults devoted to everything from anime to My Little Pony. In the process, we have also become the butt of an endless barrage of jokes from older generations for refusing to conform to what their interpretation of what adulthood is. But isn’t that precisely what adulthood is? An interpretation, not unlike other equally subjective concepts like normality and sanity, of what constitutes a successful existence in a collapsing society running on fumes?
So what is an “Adult” in 2019. What earns one that cherished class distinction in the waning hours of the American Century? According to postmodern western society, an adult is someone who pays their taxes and votes for sensible centrist warmongers.
This month’s thematic has been a real challenge for us and raised many questions in our minds. Why? The history of decentralization is complex and non-linear. But most of all, it is difficult to be considered from an objective point of view, stripped of the predominance of the state.
Talking about decentralization leads obviously to discuss about centralization; to find the ghosts of history, to cross-reference the victories and failures of social-political movements; to discover some contemporary alternatives to the generalized centralization of our lives. Unless we consider that a technology is neutral, in the end, we cannot talk about decentralization without talking about governance, suffrage, politics or apoliticism, autonomy, organization… and the dominant model of centralization: the nation-state. Still, if a very vast literature and documentation concerns rise of states, it must be stated that the one granted to the opposite, i. e. the absence of a state, is almost non-existent. More…
“I ascribe the Success of our Revolution to a Galaxy,” Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams, in 1812. He wasn’t invoking the astrological. It was commonplace then to associate a bright assembly of people with the starry band in the night sky that Chaucer called “the Milky Wey.” Yet Rush crossed out “a Galaxy” and wrote in, perhaps for the sake of specificity, “an Illustrious band of Statesmen—philosophers—patriots & heroes.” Historian Jill Lepore has written that, in the “comic-book version of history that serves as our national heritage, where the Founding Fathers are like the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends, Paine is Aquaman to Washington’s Superman and Jefferson’s Batman.” And Rush? I posed this question to Stephen Fried, author of the recent book, Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. Fried replied, “Dr. Strange.” More…
The War on Cash isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s an
open agenda. It’s being driven by an alignment of interests among bankers,
central bankers, politicians, and Silicon Valley moguls who stand to benefit
from an all-digital economy.
Last week, Facebook – in partnership
with major banks, payment processors, and e-commerce companies – launched a
digital currency called Libra. Unlike decentralized, free-floating cryptocurrencies,
Libra will be tied to national fiat currencies, integrated into the financial
system, and centrally managed.
warn Libra is akin to a “spy coin.” It’s certainly not for anyone who wants to
go off the financial grid.
Many of the
companies involved in Libra (including Facebook itself) routinely ban users on
the basis of their political views. Big Tech has booted scores of individuals
and groups off social platforms for engaging in “far right” speech. If Libra
one day becomes the predominant online payment method, then political
dissidents could effectively be banned from all e-commerce.
still obtain some degree of anonymity in the offline world by using paper cash.
But that will become impossible in the cashless future envisioned by bankers.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan touted new developments in digital payment
systems while speaking at a Fortune conference. He said, “We want a cashless
society…we have more to gain than anybody from a pure operating costs.”
They gain –
at the expense of our financial privacy. A cashless society is the end of a
long road to monetary ruin that began many decades ago with the abandonment of sound money backed by gold and silver.
Stefan Gleason is
President of Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 “Dealer of the
Year” in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A
graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader,
investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently
appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC, and
his writings have appeared in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street
Journal, Detroit News, Washington Times, and National Review.
is one of the best analyses I’ve seen to date on what an actual Civil
War 2 would look like. It’s political, geographical, and cultural
analysis is spot on, although its main weakness is that it largely
leaves out social class (which is fragmenting both the Red and Blue
Tribe) as well as cultural/social cleavages among the Blue Tribe which
are growing exponentially.
An actual Civil War 2 would not be the Red Tribe vs Blue Tribe per se (although that may be an impetus that gets the ball rolling). It would be more like the Lebanese civil war of the late 1970s/early 1980s with dozens of different factions. For example, in some geographical areas showdowns between rival gangs would be just as important as political rivalries. Also, the fragmentation of the state itself would be an issue (or multiple issues).
AFP / Lionel Bonaventure (file photo) | A tourist double decker bus in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Paris aims to ban tourist buses from the city centre to spur visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport, tackling complaints about nuisances caused by mass tourism, the French capital’s deputy mayor said.
Emmanuel Gregoire told Le Parisien newspaper that the situation in Paris was not as bad as in tourist-swamped Venice or Barcelona but Parisians were concerned about the influx of tourist buses. More…
Neanderthals glued their stone tools into place on wooden handles, a new study suggests. Archaeologists found chemical traces of pine resin on 10 stone tools from Grotta del Fossellone and Grotta di Sant’Agostino, on the western coast of central Italy. That’s pretty solid evidence that Neanderthals living in Italy were hafting their stone tools and securing them in place with resin between 55,000 and 40,000 years ago—long before Homo sapiens set foot in Europe. More…
New article from the lady who wrote “The Really Big One,” that Pulitzer Prize winning article about the inevitable super earthquake that is supposedly going to destroy a nice chunk of the coastal Northwest. If this kind of stuff interests you I’d recommend reading this article before reading the newer one that I’ve posted below.
The New Yorker
by Kathryn Schulz
JULY 1, 2019
Other than asteroid strikes and atomic bombs, there is no more destructive force on this planet than water. Six inches of it, flowing at a mere seven miles per hour, will knock a grown man off his feet. Two feet of it will sweep away most cars. Two cubic yards of it weighs well over a ton; if that much of it hits you at, say, twenty miles per hour, it will do as much damage to your body as a Subaru. In rough seas, a regular ocean wave can break with a force of two thousand pounds per square foot, more than enough to snap a human neck. A rogue wave—one that is more than twice the height of those around it—can sink a nine-hundred-foot ship. More…
If one day a disturbingly precocious child were to ask what part you had played in the nature/ nurture war, what would you reply? Were you with the massed intellectual ranks who, since the philosopher David Hull’s ground-breaking 1986 classic ‘On Human Nature,’ have denied that there is any such thing as a common nature for all humans? Or did you join Stephen Pinker’s 2003 counter-revolution, when The Blank Slatesought to reclaim the ground for the Enlightenment, and the idea that there is something essentially the same about all humans across time, space and culture?
If you are not quite sure where you stand, or perhaps too sure where you stand, then this pleasingly eclectic collection of ten essays on human nature, and whether we can meaningfully talk about such a thing, will be of great help. Its contributors, who come from psychology, philosophy of science, social and biological anthropology, evolutionary theory, and the study of animal cognition, include human nature advocates, deniers, and sceptics. We could perhaps call the sceptics ‘so-whaters’ – they agree there may be something we can attach the label ‘human nature’ to, but query whether it really matters, or carries any explanatory weight. These people would take our (hopefully apocryphal) infant prodigy aside and say, ‘well there are some conceptual complexities here that make it quite difficult to give you a straightforward answer.’ More…
When Scott Udall first played Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance shortly after it came out in 2005, he was in a vulnerable spot. Udall, who grew up Mormon in Salt Lake City, Utah, was very religious, and his family were all politically active Republicans. His parents had gone through a messy divorce, and he’d lost contact with his father’s side of the family. He found solace in Path of Radiance’s world, and when the sequel, Radiant Dawn, came out two years later, he was excited to revisit the characters. He didn’t realize when he started playing that Radiant Dawn would become a catalyst that shook him from his previously held convictions. More…
Two Stanford historians discuss how the United States’ Declaration of Independence became one of the pillars of American civic life and other lesser-known historical facts about what happened on July 4, 1776.
BY ALEX SHASHKEVICH
On the historic day of July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, Thomas Jefferson, its primary author, went on a small shopping spree and bought seven pairs of women’s gloves.
Celebrating the Declaration of Independence on July 4 is an American tradition, but it took a while for that tradition to develop. (Image credit: todd taulman / Getty Images)
Your company made big headlines when it announced it would be launching a cryptocurrency called the Libra in 2020. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the times, the project has been greeted with intense criticism and skepticism. Don’t lose heart. In one sense, the idea of a company creating its own kind of money is an old one. The airlines’ frequent-flier miles are really a form of money that customers can earn and use to buy trips and various other things. Credit card companies, hotels and numerous retailers have all sorts of loyalty programs in which people earn points that will let them buy all manner of goodies.
But if you play your cards right with the Libra, you could be to money and finance what Henry Ford was to automobiles. Your new currency could take its place alongside the inventions of coins and paper money many centuries ago. It could replace the U.S. dollar as the global currency. More…
An economist and a business advisor discuss what might happen if the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.
Inequality is on the rise in the United States. Stanford experts discuss possible solutions. | Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
The U.S. economy hit a historic high in 2018, and today unemployment is at its lowest rate in five decades. Yet wage growth for the vast majority of Americans has stalled, and more people are struggling to afford housing, health care, education, and other basics.
The local population is at its lowest since the 1950s, with no turnaround in sight, as tourists continue to chase locals out.
by Chiara Albanese, Giovonni Salzano, and Federico Vespignani
If you’ve been to Venice, you get it. Even the most jaded globetrotter can’t help but do a double-take at the sheer originality—and beauty—of the centuries-old city built entirely on water.
Yet even the quickest visit reveals that Venice is no longer a living city, with scores more tourists than actual Venetians crowding its lagoon, bridges and walkways. The numbers bear that out. The city’s population basically peaked in the 1500s, and though it rallied again to near 16th century levels in the 1970s, today there are just one third as many Venetians as 50 years ago. More…
This needs to become a global trend, like McDonald’s.
By Harry Stewart
The culture trip.
We’ve all heard of places like Liechtenstein and the Vatican, tiny European nations with minuscule populations. Yet these are internationally recognized states—actual countries, if you will. Even more bizarre are Europe’s micronations: quirky little self-proclaimed lands which have come into existence for the strangest of reasons. Here are the most unusual on the continent.
The Republic of Saugeais
This tiny slice of eastern France actually formed as a state in jest back in 1947. The owner of a restaurant of the same name jokingly asked a visiting government prefect if they had permission to enter his kingdom. Upon further interrogation, the sharp-witted proprietor invented details of his kingdom on the spot, and was somehow officially appointed president of the new republic. Primarily made up of good-humored retirees, Saugeais once elected one of its many presidents after the latter received a particularly vigorous round of applause.
If you’d like to live in a country that caters to your values and lifestyle, why not build your own? Nearly half the earth’s surface is a blue frontier over which no country holds sovereignty,
and startup cities that float permanently in international waters will
soon be economically feasible as construction materials get cheaper,
greener and printable in 3D form. These will be homesteads on the high
seas — or seasteads.
Joe QuirkBy 2020, Blue Frontiers, our for-profit spinoff from The Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, plans to provide fresh jurisdictions on floating sustainable islands designed to adapt organically to sea level change. These will be privately financed and built by local maritime construction firms employing the latest in sustainable blue tech.We’ve already raised our seed round of investments to perform research and secure legislation, so get ready for the next wave of nations.Of course, the need for seasteads could not be greater. Americans are fed up with their government — in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans reported that they trust neither the Democratic or Republican establishment to represent them.But this isn’t a new sentiment. America’s founders were also fed up with their government. The New World served as a platform where political innovators could experiment with unconventional ideas. As new states and territories were established piecemeal across the frontier, they became incubators for novel ideas of governance — eventually shaping the country we have today.
Caitlin Johnstone on why it is the “centrists” who are the real extremists.
By Caitlin Johnstone
watched two mainstream political videos back-to-back from what is
conventionally referred to as America’s political “center”, and just by
coincidence they happened to completely contradict each other. The first
was a Bill Maher segment
in which he barely even attempted to tell any jokes, spending the time
instead explaining to his viewers why the Republican Party is “the party
of Putin.” The second video was a recent CNN interview
with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on
Foreign Affairs, who proclaimed that the US needs to be “more
aggressive” toward Russia “across the board”, and described his party’s
unified efforts to help escalate that aggression.
Royce is a Republican.
I have never recommended that anyone watch a Bill Maher video before, and I don’t expect that I ever will again, but this segment was really extraordinary in the shrillness and seriousness with which Maher advanced his ridiculous argument that the Republican Party loves Russia. I recommend taking a look at it and just noting the near absence of actual jokes and the few pity laughs the audience gives him.