Monday, January 18, 2016

What will happen to our MEdia Dragon digital heritage in 2116?

 Ed Walker’s piece below Capitalism Versus The Social Commons  makes a big argument in an impressively compact space. I wanted to add a couple of thoughts. One reason capitalists wind up with profits that they do not adequately reinvest is that they set their return targets too high. This has been documented periodically. A recent example comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England on short-termism and how it leads to underinvestment.
Second is that many projects are best undertaken by government, such as infrastructure that will serve as the foundation for growth, basic research, or other projects where the time frames are too long, the payoffs too ambiguous, or the resource mobilization too great to make sense for the private sector. In keeping with the Ed Walker’s use of writings from long ago to shed light on our supposedly modern problems, Michal Kalecki explained in Political Aspects of Full Employment why businessmen prefer to have lower employment and as a result, growth:
The reasons for the opposition of the ‘industrial leaders’ to full employment achieved by government spending may be subdivided into three categories: (i) dislike of government interference in the problem of employment as such; (ii) dislike of the direction of government spending (public investment and subsidizing consumption); (iii) dislike of the social and political changes resulting from the maintenance of full employment.
When you have finished Walker’s fine piece, please go immediately and read Kalecki’s short, penetrating essay.

By Ed Walker, who wrote as masaccio at Firedoglake and now writes regularly at emptywheel. You can follow him at Twitter at @MasaccioFDL, and here’s his author page at Shadowproof.
For a long time, and particularly since WWII, societies around the world have managed substantial parts of their productive activity in non-capitalist zones. In the UK, for example, health care is provided by the National Health Service. It operates in a market society, but it is not part of the process of capital accumulation. The education system is an example in the US. We can think of these non-capitalist enclaves as a social commons. We all share in them, and we all have a stake in seeing to it that they operate at a high level.

*What will happen to our digital heritage? The Network

“While the top languages in the world today are Mandarin, English, Spanish, and Arabic, Natixis has produced figures that show French will be number one in 35 years time.” The Daily Mail (UK) 

Reading online, are we mindless clickers racing against the onrush of published content? If so, it’s because of our expectations, not the dragon ... 

“It’s not law but the sprawl / of our separate wills that keeps us all flowing.” Our world is a perfect mess: just when you think things could not get any worse, small miracles right the course for a few important moments. Poetry is a snapshot form, and Karr’s poem captures the feel of the city, the world unraveling in a million directions. The narrator watches the “unprecedented gall” of piano movers “shoving a roped-up baby grand / up Ninth Avenue before a thunderstorm.” Those movers “knew what was coming, / the instrument white lacquered, the sky bulging black / as a bad water balloon and in one pinprick instant / it burst.” They are saved by unlikely heroines. “A Perfect Mess” ends on an ellipsis, because, she says, “You only unplug from [the city], the current never stops …” The Millions 

Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and Grace Land“I was ten when I read James Baldwin’s Another Country. This one book is responsible for everything that I have become as a writer, including my obsessions. Though I couldn’t have shaped the words at the time, this book, more than any other, spoke to me of the glory of devastated beauty and an imagination capacious enough to hold all the light of the contradictory and small self in the thrall of something bigger, in service of something we might attempt to call human. James Baldwin has been my muse ever since. A flawed but deeply human man who wanted nothing more than to be witness to a world of unsentimental, life-affirming love. This is literature’s gift to us: that we can find the worlds of our imagination, soul, love, self,and loss in the pages of a writer’s courage, and in this way believe again in the possibility that it can all mean something. My writing is a love letter to James, and to my parents, and to my siblings, and to all the lost and small people of the world, by which I mean me. Blessing be upon James Baldwin.”

Every four seconds, Lee Child sells a book somewhere in the world. His daily regimen: 26 cigarettes, 19 cups of coffee, 2,000 words... Jozef Imrich reads them all 

Republicans may have a lock on Congress and the nation’s statehouses—and could well win the presidency—but the liberal era ushered in by Barack Obama is only just beginning.

Why America Is Moving Left

In Maine, Local Control Is a Luxury Fewer Towns Can Afford New York Times

About half of retiring senators and a third of retiring House members register as lobbyists Vox

Cheap web cams can open permanent, difficult-to-spot backdoors into networks Net Security

Forget the Quarterback Sneak: A Deception Play for the Ages New York Times

The Chart That Explains Everything Mike Whitney, Counterpunch

Convincing the Young to Blame the Old, Not the Rich Dean Baker, FAIR