Posts Tagged ‘Capitalist paradigm’

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4dc7ab46-0424-11e3-a8d6-00144feab7de.html#axzz3dAA8MvsG

By Tim Harford

The more unequal a society, the greater the incentive for the rich to pull up the ladder behind them

When the world’s richest countries were booming, few people worried overmuch that the top 1 per cent were enjoying an ever-growing share of that prosperity. In the wake of a depression in the US, a fiscal chasm in the UK and an existential crisis in the eurozone – and the shaming of the world’s bankers – worrying about inequality is no longer the preserve of the far left.
There should be no doubt about the facts: the income share of the top 1 per cent has roughly doubled in the US since the early 1970s, and is now about 20 per cent. Much the same trend can be seen in Australia, Canada and the UK – although in each case the income share of the top 1 per cent is smaller. In France, Germany and Japan there seems to be no such trend. (The source is the World Top Incomes Database, summarised in the opening paper of a superb symposium in this summer’s Journal of Economic Perspectives.)

But should we care?

There are two reasons we might: process and outcome. We might worry that the gains of the rich are ill-gotten: the result of the old-boy network, or fraud, or exploiting the largesse of the taxpayer. Or we might worry that the results are noxious: misery and envy, or ill-health, or dysfunctional democracy, or slow growth as the rich sit on their cash, or excessive debt and thus financial instability.
Following the crisis, it might be unfashionable to suggest that the rich actually earned their money. But knee-jerk banker-bashers should take a look at research by Steven Kaplan and Joshua Rauh, again in the JEP symposium. They simply compare the fate of the top earners across different lines of business. Worried that chief executives are filling their boots thanks to the weak governance of publicly listed companies? So am I, but partners in law firms are also doing very nicely, as are the bosses of privately owned companies, as are the managers of hedge funds, as are top sports stars. Governance arrangements in each case are different.
Perhaps, then, some broad social norm has shifted, allowing higher pay across the board? If so, we would expect publicly scrutinised salaries to be catching up with those who have more privacy – for instance, managers of privately held corporations. The reverse is the case.
The uncomfortable truth is that market forces – that is, the result of freely agreed contracts – are probably behind much of the rise in inequality. Globalisation and technological change favour the highly skilled. In the middle of the income distribution, a strong pair of arms, a willingness to work hard and a bit of common sense used to provide a comfortable income. No longer. Meanwhile at the very top, winner-take-all markets are emerging, where the best or luckiest entrepreneurs, fund managers, authors or athletes hoover up most of the gains. The idea that the fat cats simply stole everyone else’s cream is emotionally powerful; it is not entirely convincing.
In a well-functioning market, people only earn high incomes if they create enough economic value to justify those incomes. But even if we could be convinced that this was true, we do not have to let the matter drop.
This is partly because the sums involved are immense. Between 1993 and 2011, in the US, average incomes grew a modest 13.1 per cent in total. But the average income of the poorest 99 per cent – that is everyone up to families making about $370,000 a year – grew just 5.8 per cent. That gap is a measure of just how much the top 1 per cent are making. The stakes are high.
I set out two reasons why we might care about inequality: an unfair process or a harmful outcome. But what really should concern us is that the two reasons are not actually distinct after all. The harmful outcome and the unfair process feed each other. The more unequal a society becomes, the greater the incentive for the rich to pull up the ladder behind them.
At the very top of the scale, plutocrats can shape the conversation by buying up newspapers and television channels or funding political campaigns. The merely prosperous scramble desperately to get their children into the right neighbourhood, nursery, school, university and internship – we know how big the gap has grown between winners and also-rans.
Miles Corak, another contributor to the JEP debate, is an expert on intergenerational income mobility, the question of whether rich parents have rich children. The painful truth is that in the most unequal developed nations – the UK and the US – the intergenerational transmission of income is stronger. In more equal societies such as Denmark, the tendency of privilege to breed privilege is much lower.
This is what sticks in the throat about the rise in inequality: the knowledge that the more unequal our societies become, the more we all become prisoners of that inequality. The well-off feel that they must strain to prevent their children from slipping down the income ladder. The poor see the best schools, colleges, even art clubs and ballet classes, disappearing behind a wall of fees or unaffordable housing.
The idea of a free, market-based society is that everyone can reach his or her potential. Somewhere, we lost our way.
‘The Undercover Economist Strikes Back’ by Tim Harford is published this month in the UK and in January in the US
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COMMENTS:

logicus Aug 16, 2013
The uncomfortable truth is that you have become an apologist for the wealthy.

Myweehoney Aug 16, 2013
The main reason to be worried about increasing wealth inequality is that the 99% are the spending and tax base for western economies. The very rich spend much less proportionately of their income and always manage to be taxed at lower rates. How will economies grow if consumer spending, ie the 99%, is continuing to be squeezed. And where will the tax income be harvested to pay for reasonable government services.

NIHILIST Aug 16, 2013
Educate people into understanding that a rich life is independent of financial wealth.

Pepijn Aug 16, 2013
I wonder whether inflation plays a role. The database shows the top 1% income share declining from 1950 to 1982, a period when inflation was steadily rising. As of 1982 the trend reverses and the top 1% share starts growing rapidly. Maybe the ability to preserve capital as inflation declines plays a role (assuming the top 1% make a good share of income out of capital rather then labour alone). On the other hand, for those in debt declining inflation is obviously bad news.

InterestedReader Aug 16, 2013
“In more equal societies such as Denmark, the tendency of privilege to breed privilege is much lower.”

Hold on, you’re confusing inequality of wealth and inequality of income here; Denmark has very low income inequality, but also one of the world’s highest levels of wealth inequality (by Gini coefficient).

Voice of Truth Aug 15, 2013
Easy to do when you have the financial muscle to transfer increasing amounts from the middle and lower classes to the top 1%, while having complete control of the system.

Alan Hutchinson Aug 15, 2013
@the white rabbit : Good point. Tom Palley has argued the same. There was a minimum of greed in or around 1978 (see the database which Tim Harford cites). Since then, middle class affluence has been funded by increasing debt which led to the crash of 2008.

DEBT SLAVE Aug 15, 2013
Blood will flow in the streets eventually…

francobollo Aug 15, 2013
good article

AB99 Aug 15, 2013
Agree with Burtonshaw. Too many smart and potentially productive young people in USA, UK lured away from science, engineering etc. into finance and law. Yes, we need the rule of law to allow markets to function but isn’t there a point beyond which more lawyers actually means more complexity and lower competitiveness?

A_Reader Aug 15, 2013
Dear All,

A comment: the impact of the very few in the Society is obvious. The not so obvious is that the inequality does not come from now. It is a very long process that might have begun some centuries ago, but now with the complete absurd actions of Central Banks and the existence of technology the main points became enormously clear.

Technology made it possible to see what has been happenning for a very long time… maybe it has been a pattern of Human development since the first start.

Concentration of power implies in “too big to fail” structures. Through them we have power in the hands of a very interconnected few that together have the control of absolutely everything… and more specially in the so called “Capitalist and developed” world. And BTW there is nothing of Capitalism in it, it is the old Plutocratic regime that controls the State and its institutions through “institutionalised” criminality (the absurd “legalised” actions taken by a few).

The population is taught since a very early age to behave and accept not only the ways things are but why’s. Films, magazines, the midia besides schools and educational systems are stablished to keep all the “frame(work)” in place. No talk on Civil Disobesience. No talk of independent thought, unless when coming from the well connected few (so called “famous”) institutions that keep the control. From there comes the “networks” and in such a way that going agaisnt them can become professional (and maybe even mental) suicide.

It is simply a pattern that governs the small and the large: it is the same structure. One can certainly make a model of this so called “anthropological dynamics” and the math behind it is quite simple in its description but very sofisticated to make it in an analitical way. It is all about the work of Prof Benoit Mandelbrot that has been propositaly neglected by the so called Scientific Establishment. And the reason is very simple: it is too complex and influencial for the simple minds who have been on the top and for a very long time. The Establishment can make it through lies that benefit themselves (=> “The majority is allways wrong” or “Every majority is stupid”).

The work of Prof Mandelbrot proves the stupidity of the vast majority of the so called “Scientific” work outside there. It also proves their irrelevance. As a matter of fact it also proves the structures behind the dynamics and why they are orgamnised in that way: the greedy behind the Human Condition.

Will there be enormous destruction in the coming years? Are we close to wars that are ultimately caused by reactions to the current (anthropological) organisations / social and anthropological orders?

Nature has Its ways to make Itself heard. The paradigm should be the one of SME’s and not “large powerfull too big to fail” structures controlled by “Yes men” with very close to psycho behavior.

I hope to be wrong … although I have a quite good track record….

Many thanks,

Best regards,

A_Reader, Ph.D.

A Hole in the System

The outrageous, untold story of how big business dumps its costs on us.- By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 29th April 2015

Wrapped up in this story is everything that’s wrong with the way our economy works. Corporations ream the land with giant holes, extract a stack of money, then clear out, leaving other people with the costs. There’s a briefer description: legalised theft.

The-Ffos-y-fran-coalmine-009

This is an account, scarcely mentioned in the national media, of the massive unfunded liabilities emerging from coalfields throughout Britain, that opencast mining companies have been allowed to walk away from.

It’s comparable in terms of irresponsibility to the failure by the nuclear industry to fund its decommissioning costs. And it offers a solid argument, even to those who continue to reject climate science, for keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

As I write, Neath-Port Talbot Council in South Wales is considering a new application for an opencast coal mine. The mine is unpopular, but its proponents argue that it’s necessary. Why?

Because only by digging a new pit, they say, can the money be made to fill in an old one. How could this be true, when millions of tonnes of coal have been extracted? Where did the money go? You think you are inured to the worst of British politics? Read on.

When British Coal was privatised by John Major’s government in 1994, the company that took over in South Wales, Celtic Energy, was granted a 10-year exemption from paying a restoration bond, in return for offering a slightly higher price for the assets. That higher price disappeared into national accounts, doubtless in the form of one of Mr Major’s tax cuts for the rich.

After 10 years, the exemption expired, and Celtic Energy had to start putting up a decommissioning fund.

At East Pit, where the application for new mining is now being considered, the bond now stands at around £4m, while the restoration is likely to cost about £115m.

At another vast pit, Margam, near Bridgend, there is £5.7m in the kitty – against an estimated restoration cost of £56m.

In 2010 Celtic Energy sold the land rights, and the liabilities, at East Pit, Margam and two other mines, to a company in the British Virgin Islands called Oak Regeneration, for £1 per mine. Oak Regeneration then passed the liabilities to Pine Regeneration, Beech Regeneration and Ash Regeneration, none of which appear to have the assets required for restoration. Five senior executives at Celtic Energy walked away with benefits worth more than £10m.

The people involved in this transfer, including two directors of Celtic Energy and the former chief executive of Cardiff City Council, were charged with fraud. But last year the judge threw out the case, saying that, while some might regard their actions as “dishonest” or “reprehensible”, they were not illegal.

So all that is left, the opencasters argue, is to dig more holes. It’s like the old woman who swallowed a fly.

In a paper commissioned by the Welsh government, I was struck by the mention of the Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine, on which I reported in 2007. This pit was justified as a “restoration scheme”, which would remove the old adits, shafts and spoil heaps left behind by deep mining. Local people were sceptical: one of them told me “you don’t go down 600ft and blast 5 days a week to reclaim an area.”

But the report finds that the bond laid down by Ffos-y-fran’s operators, £15m, “falls well short of a worst case restoration cost which could be in excess of £50m”.

The “restoration scheme”, this suggests, cannot fund its own restoration.

In some cases, villages and towns find themselves perched on the edge of sheer drops, overlooking running black sores sometimes hundreds of metres wide.

At Margam, for example, the pit is some 2km across and, according to the latest estimate I’ve seen, the water gathering there is 88m deep. In East Ayrshire, in Scotland, 22 giant voids have been abandoned by their operators. Restoration work there would cost £161m, but just £28m has been set aside. As the local MP explained, “they are so large they cannot be effectively secured from trespass… unstable head walls and extremely deep water bodies with vertical drop-offs make for dangerous playgrounds.”

An independent report found that the collection of restoration bonds by East Ayrshire Council officials was “wholly deficient and defective”, while the failure to appoint independent assessors was “completely inexplicable”. While officials took their eye off the ball, East Ayrshire councillors took gifts and hospitality from the coal operators, including a trip to watch Celtic play Barcelona in Spain, premier league tickets, lavish meals, food hampers and nights in hotels. When the two companies running the pits went bust, the council was left in a gigantic hole.

Nationwide, the unfunded liabilities counted so far amount to £469m. That’s likely to be just the beginning.

This is a price we pay for limited liability. Why should the people who own and run these companies be allowed to walk away with millions, while shrugging off the costs they leave behind? Limited liability is one of our social silences: a giant gift to corporations that we won’t even discuss.

And why are we digging coal anyway, when we cannot afford to burn it? Climate breakdown is the greatest unfunded liability of all, for which future generations will have to pay.

Yet in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, the amount of coal for which companies in Britain have permission to dig rose from 12m tonnes to 24m.

Eight new opencast pits were approved in that year, and only three rejected. In which parallel universe is this compatible with the commitment to limit climate change?

Last week, lost in the election turmoil, the Welsh Senedd did something remarkable. It voted, by 30 votes to zero, for a moratorium on opencast coal mining. With the Welsh ban on fracking, this could have meant that Wales was the first nation on earth to keep its fossil fuels in the ground.

But the Welsh government refused to accept the decision, using the restoration argument. Past crimes are used to justify new ones.

Fire and forget: that’s the psychopathic business model we confront, and the forgetting is assisted by the press and political leaders.

To them, the victims are non-people, the ruined landscapes non-places. All that counts is the money.

www.monbiot.com


"Intolerant Bastards: if this is Man, then what?" - Discordion, 2014.

“Intolerant Bastards: if this is Man, then what?” – Discordion, 2014.

These Tory quacks and charlatans are beyond belief


For some time now, Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby has been reassuring his adopted party they will reach “crossover”. This is the term he’s been using to describe the moment when they take over the lead from Labour in the polls and push ahead.

The date of crossover, rather like the rapture, keeps being pushed back. It was meant to be Christmas last year, but nothing of significance happened then apart from a particularly good Dr Who special. January was also disappointing, February was frigging desolate and March passed without a squeak.

Now we’re in the middle of April, what TS Eliot described as “the cruellest month”: for the Tories that’s proved true, with Labour and Conservative still stuck on more or less 33%.

It would be easy then for David Cameron to give up on Mr Crosby and his promise of good polls ahead; except, he can’t. Lynton Crosby is his Designated Bastard, the man his party has paid fistfuls of money to order all of them about and get them to do whatever it takes to win. It’s the stuff of tradition for Tory governments to get in an expensive Designated Bastard at election time; it’s the line of life, a cycle of comfort. The Designated Bastard arrives, tells them not to be pussies, puts up posters about Labour’s tax bombshells, flashes up cartoons of the Labour leader in the pocket of someone, or being the poodle of someone, sitting on someone’s lap, wearing someone’s hair, or being stuck up someone’s arse.

Usually, the party pays devoted attention to the Designated Bastard.

First, because he’s so expensive but really because he’s such a Bastard. He gets them to do things they’ve spent the past five years being ordered not to under any circumstances. For five years, they’ve been clenching their teeth and talking about partnership and coalition. They’ve been pushing Big Societies and feeling everyone’s pain by sobbing that we’re all in it together.

Except, this time, it seems not to be. Lynton Crossover hasn’t worked.

And that’s a problem, since there is no plan B.

The Tories believe in tradition and the tradition has always been that being a Bastard works.

So panic sets in. Once panic starts, rational political behaviour falls apart. Hence the true “crossover” we got last week – the much commented on swapping of clothes brazenly taking part in the Labour and Conservative manifestos.

Labour painted themselves as the party of fiscal rectitude, while the Tories went crazy on uncosted spending commitments. In this crazy looking-glass politics, Labour turn out to be the party with the most conservative financial commitment to the NHS, while the Conservatives are the most profligate.

This muddle has been a long time coming. For decades now, each main party has been defining itself on how similar it is to the other and how different it is from its own past. New Labour stole Thatcherite prudence and Cameroonian Conservativism detoxified its nasty image by going green and socially aware. Like two galaxies drawing closer to each other, it’s no wonder they ended up in a massive swirl of confusion.

The spinning can’t be stopped: if anything, it gets faster and faster until you can’t tell which one is which.

Labour’s paranoia about looking like Old Labour I can understand: battered for so long by a mostly rightwing press, it still clings to a suspicion that even in this digital age the old tabloid headlines still affect people’s opinion.

The Tory volte-face I find truly extraordinary, though. Normally, this type of trickery is done with just words. Last election, it was the verbal gymnastics contained in such slogans as “Vote Blue, Go Green” or that most perfect of semantic paradoxes, “Vote for Change: Vote Conservative”. It’s a basic trick with words, in which you take a word and insist it means its opposite. The more you insist, the greater chance people will believe you. (We know it as Orwellian double-speak)

This time round, though, there is something desperate about the trick.

  • They will “spend” on the NHS more than Labour, but that spending will be funded by carrying on with their “track record” on the economy.
  • They’ll block Scottish MP’s voting on certain tax laws but that will somehow keep the UK united.
  • They will rail against recklessness, but concede a European referendum (to stave off a threat to their support)
  • and pledge billions in public spending based on no more than an inkling the economy’s going to keep growing.

All this time, they’ll muffle this panic with words such as “steady” and “on course”, words used to conceal an unsteady veer away from stability.

They’re like bad magicians who, at the moment of subterfuge, simply shout: “What’s that?” and point to the other side of the room in the hope we’ll turn away.

This isn’t wordplay – this is charlatanism pure and simple.

David Cameron is indulging in basic quackery, trying to sell you stuff he knows doesn’t work. He’s doing it with our money and he’s conjuring with people’s lives.

We know there’s no magic; the money will come from the cuts and deficit reductions and benefit targets and financial squeezes on those Cameron knows won’t be voting for him anyway.

It’s the bastardly misuse of the public purse and the final proof, if any were needed, that he is unfit to lead his country and his party unfit to govern.


Mark McGowan

Katie Hopkins is the typical private school toff.

Her parents never cared about her much, never said they loved her, and packaged her off to some boarding school aged 7. She’s a twisted victim of her upbringing. She sees the world as cold and loveless as her childhood and realised a great way to get attention is to spit bile and vitriol and draw shocked reactions to her attention seeking. She should be in a psychiatrist chair not on tv and in newspapers. She is mentally unstable, possibly sociopathic, and is being exploited by Murdoch media for entertainment.


I still Don’t care” is the ideology of David Cameron and Katie Hopkins, it is the message of our time.


The David Clapson story  – David Cameron left furious after the Andrew Marr interview

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-left-furious-andrew-5551652

David Cameron was left fuming today after being grilled on live TV over the death of a diabetic ex-soldier whose benefits had been stopped.

The angry Prime Minister’s “lips went thin” with rage after he was quizzed about tragic David Clapson, according to witnesses.

Downing Street did not deny the PM was angered by the questions but rejected suggestions he “stormed out” of the studio after filming finished.

The Mirror told last summer how David, 59, died with just £3.44 in his bank account after his £71.70-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance was axed because he missed an appointment .

Tests show he died from diabetic ­ketoacidosis – caused by not taking his insulin.

His devastated sister Gill Thompson said he may have stopped injecting himself with the lifesaving drug after becoming so desperate over his lack of cash and work.



The famous Irish backbone has been ripped out and replaced with a spineless bunch of suckers in thrall to the Bank$ters that THEY bailed out with th€2.7 billion it gave Permanent TSB!

When a Tory Manifesto pushes a policy such as Right To Buy housing association rental homes, I always ask myself what’s in it for their City Financier overlords.
The signpost is currently happening in Republic of Ireland where Permanent TSB Bank has hiked up it’s variable rate mortgage interest to 4.5% despite the European average being 2.9% and the cost of the Bank Borrowing Rate being between 0% – 0.5%
This bank was bailed out by the Irish Government – even though it should not have been as loans were made in bad faith, thus, the Bank’s own fault – to the tune of €2.7 billion.

The Tory push for right to buy is intended to get more people indebted to the Bank$ters. It’s fuck all to with Aspirational economics. It’s an attempt to start another Ponzy scheme!

In this racket, fairness is not an option

The Permanent TSB mortgage scandal is just part of the same dodge as Irish Water, writes Gene Kerrigan

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/in-this-racket-fairness-is-not-an-option-31135362.html

Last week, the airwaves were full of reports of Permanent TSB mortgage holders pleading with bankers to be fair.

Get real, folks. The penny should surely have dropped by now. This, after all, is 2015. Since 2008, we’ve been watching billions of euro being transferred from us to a small minority of empty-eyed money-men.
Let’s stop pretending that fairness is an option.
There are two sides to this: the takers and those who get taken. Variable mortgage holders are being taken.

They’ve found their role in life – which is to be suckers.
In fact, it’s official government policy that they be treated as suckers.

Accept it gracefully, folks, and stop whining. Allow yourself to be fleeced by the bankers. Or, do something about it.
The variable-rate mortgage scandal is right up there with the Irish Water scandal, as one of those stories that will make the jaws of future generations hit the floor.
Like all the best stings, it’s simple. It affects 300,000 variable-mortgage holders, plus their families. And they’re being fleeced by a number of banks, including Permanent TSB.

These days, money is cheap. With the right connections, you can borrow for as little as 0.05pc.
Across Europe, the average mortgage rate is 2.09pc. Good times, you might think.
But the bankers here are charging approximately 4.5pc on a variable mortgage.
Why? Because they can.
Permanent TSB is losing money, and the bankers want it to be profitable, so it can be sold. At that stage, all sorts of empty-eyed money-men will reap bonuses and the Government might get back some of the €2.7 billion it gave Permanent TSB.
So, they forcibly extract whatever rate of interest they think they can get away with. And in their back pockets, there’s the implied threat of repossessing people’s homes.
It’s a breathtakingly simple sting – one that we might christen the Bonnie and Clyde technique. You have money, we want it, we take it.
This is using a position of strength to unfairly reap unwarranted profits from a helpless element of the market. The mortgage price being charged doesn’t relate to costs or hazards – it relates only to the capital needs of the bankers.
Isn’t there a law against this kind of thing? Probably not – given the beliefs of the people who make the laws.
Like most of us, I grew up believing that the government is a kind of independent referee, answerable to the electorate, arbitrating fairly between the competing interests of various sections of society.
Anyone still believing such fairy tales got a jolt in late 2008, when the politicians immediately agreed to whatever the bankers requested – to the potential limit of about €400bn.
Since then, whether within the EU or at home, the demands of the bankers have overridden the interests of the rest of us. Blindly, €64bn was given to bankers.
And if the bankers decide they need another 10 or 20 billion, can anyone doubt it will be provided to them (after the general election)?
And the hole in the public finances will be patched up, using more charges and spending cuts.
Some think that the Government should ensure fair play to mortgage holders – after all, it “owns” Permanent TSB. And it “owns” AIB and it “owns” 14pc of Bank of Ireland.
Surely it could, if it wanted, stop this deeply unfair practice?
It could, but it doesn’t. Because (a) it agrees with what’s being done; and (b) its “ownership” of the banks is not really ownership.
The Government provides whatever amount of public money a bank demands. And, as in any commercial transaction, it must receive what’s called “consideration” in return. So, it is given token “ownership” of the bank, in order to make the transaction legal.
But such is the deference of politicians to bankers that they make a virtue of ignoring how the banks are run. Oh, they proudly announce, we wouldn’t dream of interfering in commercial matters.
Even when – as in the variable mortgage racket – the unfairness is blatantly obvious.
This shameless protection of the bankers has nothing to do with old-fashioned corruption, where the bankers are cronies or relatives of the politicians. It has nothing to do with an exchange of brown envelopes.
This is ideology – an element in the version of right-wing politics that has dominated us since the 1980s.
This says: the financial sector is central to society and must be protected as though it was a precious child. Do this and the markets will prosper and things will get better for all.
This, by now, is so ingrained in the minds of our leaders that it’s taken to be not so much an element of right-wing principles as a natural law.
Like gravity.
There has been clear evidence from 2008 that the financial sector was a glorified casino, run by people who don’t understand banking and who despise common businesses. They understand only profit and bonuses.
Not to worry, the ideology is deeply entrenched and the banks will continue to receive the protection of the politicians.
What’s happening to the variable-mortgage customers is merely an extra element in the array of charges, levies, cuts and other money-extracting techniques employed to transfer wealth to the empty-eyed among us.
One of the most ambitious projects was Irish Water.
Some may consider Irish Water to be the worst company ever set up anywhere, at any time, by anyone, for any purpose.
It’s as though Irish Water managed to corner the market on ham-fisted eejits programmed to make a balls of whatever task they are given.
This is not true. There’s no evidence of innate stupidity among Irish Water’s staff, many of whom manage to dress themselves on a daily basis.
The problem with Irish Water is that Enda Kenny and Phil Hogan tried to do too much at once.
They wanted a cash cow that would provide a healthy revenue stream, to replenish the depleted state coffers.
Second, the company was to amass a substantial database, based around PPS numbers, which would be a lucrative asset when it comes time to privatise the water supply.
Third, it had to be an off-the-books operation, so the Government could pretend it was keeping inside the deficit rules.
And – as an afterthought – it had to fix the leaks that are losing 49pc of the treated water. No private company would buy Irish Water until the leaks are fixed at public expense.
And, needless to say, this project has inevitably provided a healthy revenue stream to the usual consultants, advisors and managers.
And it worked, up to a point. In the process a lot of the usual geniuses made large dollops of money, There’s a nice logo and all the trappings of a utility.
Try as it might, however, this multifaceted operation couldn’t pass itself off as a water utility with a mission to fix the leaks.
It became an assault on our credulity, as well as a raid on our pockets.
So, large numbers of people refused to play the game. The Government cut the charges, to seek to entice some dissenters into signing up – after which the charges will soar.
As the bills arrive, the jury is out on what happens next.
The variable-mortgage suckers plead for fairness. It won’t work. They could try a mortgage boycott, but if there are too few they’ll be hammered mercilessly. If there are many, the bankers might well flinch at an uppity customer base – it sends a chill through investors.
Meanwhile, maintaining its reputation for screwing up every single thing they try to do, Irish Water have sent out a bill to a man they knew was dead.
We know they knew he was dead because when they addressed the bill they carefully typed (RIP) after his name.
Truly, future generations will marvel at what we have wrought??

Max Keiser:

Is This How We Are Forced to View The World In A Certain Way? | True Activist.

 

Putting A Lid On Ones Autonomy

The imposition of Will on autonomous beings, an experiment with Fleas mirrors social control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl9PPOVQ8wI

How to Block a Surveillance Camera: A DIY Art Tutorial from Ai Weiwei

by 

A wine opener usage George Orwell would approve of.

“When things get tough,” Neil Gaiman advised on in his fantastic commencement address on the creative life“this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art.” One could easily extrapolate, “Big Brother on your ass — make good art.” Amidst recent outcries against the present-day surveillance state we live in, what else is there to do but make good art? Cue in celebrated Chinese artist, provocateur, and human rights championAi Weiwei. From Do It: The Compendium (public library) — the fantastic collection of famous artists’ wide-ranging instructionals for art anyone can make based on 20 years of legendary curator and provocateur Hans Ulrich Obrist’s project of the same title, which also gave us David Lynch’s tutorial on how to make a Ricky Board — comes this antiauthoritarian creative project from Ai Weiwei, a DIY way to stick it — spray it, rather — to Big Brother:

CCTV SPRAY How to make a spray device to block a surveillance camera: Do you feel uncomfortable, confused, disgusted, or even irate because of a surveillance camera fixed at the wrong place? To block its view, spray-painting would be the best choice. It is highly accessible, inexpensive, and effective. Moreover, it is a perfect gesture in presenting street culture. It is difficult to spray on a surveillance camera at a high place directly by hand. Instead of carrying a ladder on the streets, it is more practical to make an adjustable, easy-to-carry, and low-cost spray device. It is best to use materials easily found from daily life to create this tool.

He goes on to list the materials needed — a spray bottle, a wine bottle opener, a bike bottle cage, a bike brake bar, a screw, and a stick — with the instruction to “choose materials that are as practical and reliable as possible” and are also “cheap and easy to obtain.” He then moves on to the step-by-step “Production Procedure”:

First find a long stick of suitable height. Considering portability, a collapsible tree pruner is recommended. Then select a stable frame that can secure a bottle or a can. For example, a bottle cage for bicycles would be a good fit. After that, find a trigger and fix it at the top of the stick. A wine bottle opener is a good choice, because its flexible lever structure can reduce the force and distance needed to press the spray nozzle. We also need a linkage device to control the wine bottle opener at the top. A bicycle brake bar is an excellent choice. Finally, prepare screws and nylon ropes as needed.

Under “Usage,” he instructs:

First fix the wine bottle opener at the top of the tree pruner (a.01). Then set the spray can into the bottle cage. Make sure the handle of the bottle opener is affixed to the right position, where it gives easiest nozzle control. Use screws to secure the bottle cage (a.02). Fix the brake bar at the other end of the tree pruner (a.03). Secure the spray paint can and use a nylon rope to fasten the flexible shaft (a.04). Adjust the height of the stick. Then connect the handle of the bottle opener to the shaft of the brake (a.05–a.06). The homemade adjustable spray device is now complete.

Complement this exercise in creative civic disobedience with BBC’s excellent Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour. Do It: The Compendium is superb in its entirety, brimming with similar irreverent gems by some of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. Sample it here.

See also my ongoing blog “Subversives in Art” https://discordion.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/reviews-of-subversives-in-art-ongoing-project/

ANOTHER FANTASTIC MUST READ ARTICLE By George Monbiot!

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/18/corruption-rife-britain

 

It just doesn’t compute. Almost every day the news is filled with stories that look to me like corruption. Yet on Transparency International’s corruption index Britain is ranked 14th out of 177 nations, suggesting that it’s one of the best-run nations on Earth. Either all but 13 countries are spectacularly corrupt or there’s something wrong with the index.

Yes, it’s the index. The definitions of corruption on which it draws are narrow and selective. Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded; common practices in the poor nations are emphasised.

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read by anyone who believes this country merits its position on the index.
Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers. As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny….

State spies have been engaged in mass surveillance. And the police, adopting the identities of dead children, lying in court to assist false convictions and fathering children by activists before disappearing, have infiltrated and sought to destroy peaceful campaign groups. Police forces have protected prolific paedophiles, including Jimmy Savile, and – it is now alleged – a ring of senior politicians who are also suspected of the murder of children.

Savile was shielded too by the NHS and the BBC, which has sacked most of the those who sought to expose him while promoting people who tried to perpetuate the cover-up.

There’s the small matter of our unreformed political funding system, which permits the very rich to buy political parties. There’s the phone-hacking scandal and the payment of police by newspapers, the underselling of Royal Mail, the revolving door allowing corporate executives to draft the laws affecting their businesses, the robbing of the welfare and prison services by private contractors, price-fixing by energy companies, daylight robbery by pharmaceutical firms and dozens more such cases.

Is none of this corruption? Or is it too sophisticated to qualify?

It just doesn’t compute. Almost every day the news is filled with stories that look to me like corruption. Yet on Transparency International’s corruption index Britain is ranked 14th out of 177 nations, suggesting that it’s one of the best-run nations on Earth. Either all but 13 countries are spectacularly corrupt or there’s something wrong with the index.

Yes, it’s the index. The definitions of corruption on which it draws are narrow and selective. Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded; common practices in the poor nations are emphasised.

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read by anyone who believes this country merits its position on the index.

Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers. As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny.

State spies have been engaged in mass surveillance. And the police, adopting the identities of dead children, lying in court to assist false convictions and fathering children by activists before disappearing, have infiltrated and sought to destroy peaceful campaign groups. Police forces have protected prolific paedophiles, including Jimmy Savile, and – it is now alleged – a ring of senior politicians who are also suspected of the murder of children. Savile was shielded too by the NHS and the BBC, which has sacked most of the those who sought to expose him while promoting people who tried to perpetuate the cover-up.

There’s the small matter of our unreformed political funding system, which permits the very rich to buy political parties. There’s the phone-hacking scandal and the payment of police by newspapers, the underselling of Royal Mail, the revolving door a llowing corporate executives to draft the laws affecting their businesses, the robbing of the welfare and prison services by private contractors, price-fixing by energy companies, daylight robbery by pharmaceutical firms and dozens more such cases. Is none of this corruption? Or is it too sophisticated to qualify?

Among the sources used by Transparency International to compile its index are the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. Relying on the World Bank to assess corruption is like asking Vlad the Impaler for an audit of human rights. Run on the principle of one dollar, one vote, controlled by the rich nations while operating in the poor ones, the bank has funded hundreds of white-elephant projects that have greatly enriched corrupt elites and foreign capital while evicting local people from their land and leaving their countries with unpayable debts. To general gasps of astonishment, the World Bank’s definition of corruption is so narrowly drawn that it excludes such practices.

The World Economic Forum establishes its corruption rankings through a survey of global executives: the beneficiaries of the kind of practices I’ve listed in this article.

Its questions are limited to the payment of bribes and the corrupt acquisition of public funds by private interests, excluding the kinds of corruption that prevail in rich nations.

Transparency International’s interviews with ordinary citizens take much the same line: most of its specific questions involve the payment of bribes.

How Corrupt is Britain? argues that such narrow conceptions of corruption are part of a long tradition of portraying the problem as something confined to weak nations, which must be rescued by “reforms” imposed by colonial powers and, more recently, bodies such as the World Bank and the IMF.

These “reforms” mean austerity, privatisation, outsourcing and deregulation.

They tend to suck money out of the hands of the poor and into the hands of national and global oligarchs.

For organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, there is little difference between the public interest and the interests of global corporations.

What might look like corruption from any other perspective looks to them like sound economics. The power of global finance and the immense wealth of the global elite are founded on corruption, and the beneficiaries have an interest in framing the question to excuse themselves.

Yes, many poor nations are plagued by the kind of corruption that involves paying bribes to officials. But the problems plaguing us run deeper. When the system already belongs to the elite, bribes are superfluous.

 

‘Art as a Weapon’

My favourite quote (and one that motivates all my art outcomes) George Grosz –

“My art was to be a gun & a sword; my drawing pens I declared to be empty straws as long as they did not take part in the fight for freedom.”

Peter Ulrich Weiss, vols I-III, ‘Aesthetics of Resistance / Die Asthetik des Widerstands’, (1975-1981) said:
“Meaning derives in the refusal to renounce resistance no matter how intense the suppression and it is in and through art that new models of political action and social understanding can be found.”

Mar 2, 2015

Staff at the National Gallery London held a 5-day strike against privatisation. This is a report on the Day of Action against Mark Getty, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gallery.

PUBLIC SERVICES SHOULD BE FOR THE NATION, NOT FOR PROFIT!

National Gallery Strike against Privatisation

by Drift Report

CLARA speaks to Mark McGowan (The Artist Taxi Driver)

The National Gallery is attempting to outsource all 400 gallery assistants to a private company. The Board is made up of Getty and Rothschild Billionaires, Heseltine’s wife, and ex City Hedge Funders.

The PCS Union rep was suspended hours before the worker’s first industrial action. The same is happening to public art galleries as is happening to the National Health Service. Privatisation by stealth.
Build a bonfire put the Tories on top
pt1 –


pt2 – 

 

The Elites are practicing what Joseph Nye called Soft Power. This is not what capitalism is about, it should more correctly be called CORPORATISM. The binding together of Fascism and corporations.

David Graeber​ and Brian Eno​ in conversation 2014 – On The Phenomena of Bullshit Jobs and Bullshit education plus a long Q&A. Excellent stuff!

http://www.artangel.org.uk/projects/2000/longplayer/conversations/2014


 

 

The 2014 Longplayer Conversation between Brian Eno and David Graeber took place 7pm, Tuesday 7 October 2014 at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7.


Audience Q&A

Artangel invited members of the audience to ask Eno and Graeber questions after the event via email or social media. A selected number of those are answered below.

Q. Brian, I was interested to hear your criticisms of the current pressure on art, students to produce theoretically-informed personal statements alongside their artistic practice. If students quote French (or whatever) theory in a merely token manner in response to a bureaucratic requirement then this is surely wrong. But theory is frequently taught in art schools in an attempt to help students see what you have elsewhere called ‘the, bigger picture’: how, that is, their art practice relates to the broader culture. You referred in the Longplayer discussion to how artists were expected to be inarticulate but they will in many cases remain that way if they are not introduced to (sometimes difficult) critical ideas.

Rather than needing more and more A-Levels to get into art school today, the opposite is becoming the case: as long as potential students can pay the required fees, then their intellectual (or other) abilities are not questioned when they apply for a place at art school. I know of one major London institution in which management have instructed teaching staff to dispense with interviewing candidates or looking at their work prior to offering them a place on the course – the only thing that matters is their ability to pay the fees. This might look like – but is definitely not – democratic access to education. You mentioned the government’s obsession with getting ‘everyone’ into university: this is more about making profits for ‘educational’ institutions than producing an educated nation, echoing the example you gave about philosophy pupils being told not to question anything, just to read the books and pick up the certificate at the end.

A related problem is that being an artist is now seen as a ‘proper’ job.This ‘professionalising’ of art attracts (mostly) young people who hope to benefit economically from having a degree. In fact the general, radicalism of the 1960s, which contributed greatly to the critically, playful ambience of the art schools when they were still worthy of that name has been historically distorted and commodified. How does one teach and defend art as something worthwhile in its own right in an increasingly corporatised culture, one in which art students themselves accept and even want institutional validation? How does one encourage a model of the artist as critically and culturally aware, without reducing ideas to mere jargon as in the examples you cited from your time as an external examiner? Where and how does culture renew and extend itself if the (arguably) fantastic places that art schools used to be have been restructured around business, money, and competition rather than collaboration and critique?

Sorry for such a long question. Thanks for your time in considering these remarks.
– from Peter Suchin, by email.

A. (Brian Eno) As you could probably tell, this is a bit of an obsession for me. Art schools have been forced into a position where they feel they have to justify their existence by proving that art is a ‘real’ academic subject – not just a bunch of people enjoying themselves being intuitive and wasting taxpayers’ money. Aside from the resentment that governments seem to feel that people might enjoy themselves (shouldn’t real education be difficult and arduous?) there is a sense that artists aren’t really that useful anyway, so the whole idea of art schools is that they are a ‘luxury’ that we could probably do without. This disdain has unfortunately transmitted through to the colleges, which now feel obligated to prove to someone that every artist is a fully fledged degree standard philosopher. A similar pressure comes from the art world itself, which revels in obscurantism and expects students to do the same – to speak and think in the language of critics.

I don’t have anything against artists who base their work in concepts – I’m in fact one of those artists – but I object to people being made to think that you’re not a real contemporary artist unless you can do that. One of the effects of that prejudice is that it filters out so many interesting people. It’s doubtful that Picasso or Matisse or Rauschenberg would have made it into a modern-day art school. And part of the dynamic of art schools – as I said in the talk – was the fact that it was a very unusual mixture of people from all sorts of academic and non-academic backgrounds, that mixing was good for everyone.

About fees.
Yes you’re absolutely right. Because of the incessant cuts of the last few years, the selection process is inevitably skewed more and more towards high fee-paying students – which means foreign students. It’s nice that there are foreign students but it’s not nice when you get the feeling that their acceptance in the school was predicated on the fact that they can pay three times as much as British ones.

So the issue is really what you’ve identified: how do you convince governments that art schools are a net ‘good’ for society and not just a fancy add-on? Well, there are very good arguments but there’s only one likely to convince the market-fundamentalists who currently run things: and that’s the economic one. It’s not the first argument I’d choose to make, but it’s probably the one that would have the best chance of acceptance. A few years ago I did some research into the economic value of art schools. I included in my calculations not only the most obvious people – the big selling artists – but all the peripheral people who passed through art schools or benefitted from the sense of creative freedom and experimentation that the art schools have inspired here: fashion designers, pop musicians, graphic designers, product developers, comedians and so on. They make up the backbone of whatever it is that is ‘cool’ about Britain. After all, we’re a small country without much in the way of exports…we’re not the huge manufacturing centre we once were. But we earn a lot from exporting our cultural products.

You might think that invoking the economic argument is playing into the hands of the enemy. But as I said, it’s a real argument and at least it’s quantifiable – and quantifiability seems to be the Holy Grail right now.

*

Q. Would love to hear any thoughts you might have on how we can create more “non-bullshit jobs”.
– from @joe_shreeve, via Twitter

A. (Brian Eno) Give people more time to invent them! Reduce working hours all round and people will start finding ways of filling their ‘spare’ time – and some of those ways they find will turn out to be of real value to themselves and to other people too. Most people don’t want to sit in a sofa all day watching daytime TV: people like doing things that are useful or fun or joyful or exciting – if they’re ever given the chance.

A. (David Graeber) I totally agree with Brian on this one. I always use the example of prisons.
Even in minimum security prisons where people are fairly comfortable, they use work as a reward: if you don’t behave, we’ll take away your work privileges.

If there was ever proof that people don’t want to just be fed and sheltered and sit around all day that’s it (especially when you consider these aren’t a collection of the most public-spirited people in the world.)
The question is, what system is likely to come up with a better idea of what you have to contribute to the world: the “market”, or letting everyone decide for themselves.
You might say the latter might lead to a lot of people spending their lives on silly or useless projects, but at least they’re almost certain to be more interesting silly or useless projects than all those bullshit jobs the market has produced.

*

Q. Hello, I enjoyed the conversation, but I would have liked for the ideas of virtualisation and Dunbar’s number in relation to structures ofrepresentation to have been explored a bit further than ‘in my day the, Internet was much better because it was personal’. Is there a way that we can make a globally connected world function as a small scale collective society does? Given that we are not going to turn our backs on social networks any time soon is there any way we can account for the isolation that the virtual world creates and the lack of personal accountability that appears to go along with this? Is it simply a case of copying every tweet one posts to one’s mum?* Are any of the current model social networks useful forums for societal change, given that they have essentially commoditised friendship? Finally, given that the middle classes are entirely risk averse, how does one ever convince them that a mediocre status quo is less favourable than an unknowable and unquantifiable alternative? 

*or other arbiter of personal responsibility.

– from Edric Brown, by email.

A. (Brian Eno) Good question. Sorry if I sounded a bit old-fogeyish there with my ‘in my day’ but the point I was trying to make was that anonymity destroys the important social constraints of honour and shame. If nobody knows who you are you can act like an arsehole and get away with it. If people do know who you are you’re inclined to think a bit more about your reputation, and that’s a constraint which filters out the worst excesses. Of course it doesn’t constrain everyone – some people revel in their arseholeness – but generally I think it produces better results. And of course we shouldn’t assume that every ‘advance’ in social media technology is automatically a real advance in civilisation. Twitter, for example, has produced decidedly mixed results.

The ‘mediocre status quo’ issue is a real one. I think it’s natural that people will default to security in the absence of any real chance at freedom if that chance seems to carry a high enough risk. And we have a lot of societal mechanisms that are designed to convince them that the risk is high: governments count on them. This is what I meant by ‘manufacturing insecurity’. Every government knows that the best way to win an election is to ramp up the insecurity so that people decide to stick with the devil they know rather than risk an alternative. Also governments know they can limit freedoms by creating an atmosphere of threat – people give their permission. I don’t claim that this always is some kind of global plot, but just a natural response that powerful people have learnt works.

As for ‘scaling up’, well I suppose that’s what federalism means. Smaller groups represent themselves as ‘individuals’ in larger collections of similar group/individuals. We can work out federalisation between countries – the EU and the UN are examples – so why not with entities that don’t call themselves nations but nonetheless have an identity? Dunbar’s number could still apply, but now used to count up the number of entities rather than the number of individuals. The UN has recently exceeded Dunbar’s number…I predict an imminent split into two or three or four subgroupings.

A. (David Graeber)

I wonder about this scale question.
I think it’s probably true for certain very intimate or intense forms of interaction. But I think there are ways to get us working on a much larger scale with more diffuse and scattered networks, and with many of them at the same time.

In my vision of utopia, everyone would be guaranteed in their basic needs, and then decide for themselves what forms of higher value they wish to pursue, but there’d be an infinite variety of those: you’d be in a spiritual group, a chess club, a local neighbourhood group, a society that makes and repairs antique blimps, and so forth ad infinitum…

The overlapping and criss-crossing of loyalties would ensure a kind of overall cohesion that would make conflict almost impossible. There are some precedents for this you know. Think of certain parts of East Africa, at least traditionally. Most people knew half a dozen languages. There was one language you might use at home, another when dealing with politics, another language for commerce, another for your craft perhaps, since crafts were organised into guilds and secret societies… Or perhaps another language or two just for such secret societies. When speaking each, you’d know and be in ongoing contact with a different collection of people.

Humans are capable of living in more complicated ways than we think!

*

Q. So, when you guys were talking about Capitalism: now the system is not oppressive anymore, instead I think it is kind of seductive (everything is smart, stable, pretty), it controls freedom and it seems to me like we are stuck in this. So, I was wondering: why do you think the resistance dies so soon? What would you suggest to do? I mean, as a regular citizen, as society…do you think a ‘mental-revolution’ can happen?
– Berenice Zambran, by email

A. (David Graeber)

Well, I certainly don’t think that the system is no longer oppressive!

In fact poverty, fear, insecurity, among the population even of the richest countries appears to be increasing, and we have the first generation seeing the prospect of doing substantially less well than their parents did.

To be honest I think the system is increasingly held together mainly by cynicism. That is: no one really believes the official line, that the system is fair, that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded, that the rich are rich and the poor are poor because in some sense they deserve it.

They are all saying to themselves, “obviously it’s a con, I know that, I’ve figured it out, but the problem is, all those other people, they’re sheep, they’re idiots, they actually believe this nonsense.”

So in fact you have an ideology no one believes but everyone thinks everyone else does.

So the first thing we have to do in order to break the spell is stop imagining everyone else is naive and stupid.

The second is to unshackle our imaginations again.


Eno has a long history with Longplayer, forming part of the think tank that helped Finer develop the original project and writing the first Longplayer Letter to Nassim Nicholas Taleb last year.

Graeber is currently Professor of Anthopology at the London School for Economics. He is an activist who has worked extensively with the Global Justice Movement and Occupy Wall Street. Graeber is also the author of a number of books including Debt: The First 5,000 Years and has written articles for The Guardian, Al Jazeera andHarpers.


After a decade of Longplayer Conversations devised and presented by Artangel, from 2015 onwards this annual fixture will become part of the ongoing programme of The Longplayer Trust.

http://www.artangel.org.uk/projects/2000/longplayer/conversations/2014

Wondering where UKIP get their policies?
The immigration debate… Margaret Thatcher – 1978!
A YEAR before the bitch became Prime minister she was stirring up fear of the Other… the Other being those ethnic minorities that the British Empire had exploited for generations.

pages 3 -5

Click to access Black_Phoenix_2.complete.78.pdf