- Big discussion on Modern Monetary Theory. I don’t have a complete opinion one way or another, other than to say that anything which is against austerity policy is prima facie superior to austerity policy. (from BoingBoing)
- Tor.com is posting their monthly roundups of genre fiction titles scheduled for release in March 2019:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez interviewed by The Intercept’s Briahna Gray at South by Southwest 2019.
- W00t! Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky’s annual State of the World discussion has just begun over at The Well.
- January 1 was Public Domain Day 2019.
- As one of my goals for 2019 is a serious study of economics and Left politics, I am listening to an audiobook of Marx’s Capital. Here are the YouTube links:
- Capital: Critique of Political Economy, 1 of 4
- Capital: Critique of Political Economy, 2 of 4
- Capital: Critique of Political Economy, 3 of 4
- Capital: Critique of Political Economy, 4 of 4
- The MacArthur Genius grants for 2018 have just been announced. And once again I have been cruelly snubbed simply for not doing anything of any particular note. The system is rigged, I tells ya!
- A good (for certain very depressing values of “good”) essay on why people are getting poorer without necessarily losing money. (from this MetaFilter post)
- Some mad genius has posted over 13,000 playable Commodore 64 programs to the Internet Archive. I would like to hereby apologize to any and all personal responsibilities which existed up to this moment. They will be missed.
- Latest catch-all thread on Metafilter.
- A compelling list of up-and-coming Asian writers, courtesy of LitHub.
- Charles Stross put a post up on his blog asking his readers to come up with story ideas which nobody seems to have done yet. Or more specifically, What are the current blind spots in SF? The (1,000+) comments and ideas therein are very much worth reading.
- N.K. Jemisin talks about world building.
- How hyperpolyglots got that way.
- TOR.com’s lists of the new genre books coming out in the next month:
- The Incredible, Rage-Inducing Inside Story of America’s Student Debt Machine. This makes me feel…guillotiney.
- Some new words: guillotainment, guillotaining – respectively, the televised proletariat revolution and the sensation of watching the televised proletariat revolution.
* A worthy list from BookRiot: 50 Must-Read Books with Gorgeous Writing. From this list I have read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Kite Runner, and White Oleander. Looks like my Mount Tsundoku will be growing soon.
* The Midwest Socialist has published an excellent 5-part (so far) primer on the basics of radical thought and history.
** Part 1 – Dialectical Materialism
** Part 2 – Alienation
** Part 3 – Class
** Part 4 – Value
** Part 5 – Praxis
* Goddammit so much. Anthony Bourdain has left the kitchen. Here is a good round-up of the best writing about Bourdain to be found on the web.
* Some words: incubate, incubus, cubiculum, cubicle, purgatory
* A small selection of Afrofuturism books to get started in the genre.
* Kim Stanley Robinson: Science Fiction is the Realism of Our Time
* Metafilter has posted a new catch-all thread following the current hell-state of American politics. Much information to be had from links and comments therein.
* Some words: phenotype, phenomenon, noumenon, nootropic, phenotropic
* This week’s Politician Cut from the Same Cloth as Emasculated President Donald Trump: Viktor Orbán of Hungary. What is happening in Hungary now is the same thing that Trump and his water carriers and lickspittles are trying to make happen here in the United States. Viktor Orbán Versus the Enlightenment. Look to Hungary if you want to know what you’re fighting against. The man who thinks Europe has been invaded.
* In honor of the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, here are some interesting links:
** Capital (PDF)
** Marxist Internet Archive Library
** Happy Birthday, Karl Marx! You Were Right!
** Crises of Capitalism
** The Seventeen Contradictions of Capitalism
* How Shareholder Primacy Hurts Jobs and Wages – Shareholders who are not also stakeholders are parasites, by and large.
* Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained – Now that they have Emasculated President Trump as a role model, the incels (of which Men’s Rights Activists, GamerGaters and Three Percenters are notable subsets) are able to overcome some of their cowardice and unleash their daddy issues upon the rest of the world. Just like Trump.
* I Joined the Tea Party to Drain the Swamp. Trump Isn’t Helping. – To the surprise of literally nobody with more than two working brain cells, Trump is like King Midas, except everything he touches turns to shit. See also: the entirety of the Alt-right, of which the Tea Party (and by extension, the KKK) is a subset.
* The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners – Congratulations to everyone on the list.
* Apropos of something or other, What is a Kakistocracy?
* 100 Years of Tax Brackets – Note that there is a direct correlation between rich people dodging taxes and the rise of fascism in any given country. See, for instance, United States of America, particularly during the Trump presidency.
* The Fall of the “Alt-right” Came From Anti-fascism – The alt-right is synonymous with the mainstream right in the United States. Thus Antifa is de facto the most patriotic way to be an American.
* Investigating Pathways to the Alt-Right – or, how racist trash becomes racist trash.
I spent a good chunk of my time this past year trying to get a handle on just what, exactly, had happened to the world economy, and how it had happened. I am absolutely not an economist, so most of what I heard made little sense. However, the parts that I did understand either made me furious, sad or scared. Seems that all of the “fixes” which have helped the economy “recover” are just band-aids, and have not fixed the fundamental problem, which is that, on the personal, local, national and global level, we are spending more money than actually exists, and the only way to prevent this whole edifice from collapsing is to continually spend more money. I realize this is an incredibly over-simplified view of the issue, but nothing which I have read has in any way contradicted it.
Two websites have been quite helpful in my research: Barry Ritholz’ The Big Picture and Naked Capitalism. Each publishes several articles a day, and do a good job of digging through the corporate/political smokescreens to get at the actual numbers.
Round about election time, I came across an online Federal budget simulator which allows users to sort out the Federal budget, with an eye toward “Stabilizing the U.S. Debt at 60% of GDP by 2018″. In other words, keep the debt from eating us. I ran through it a few times, and let me tell ya, it isn’t easy. In fact, it is impossible without making changes, increases, and cuts which would leave everyone’s oxen pretty well gored. The plus side is that the industries which lobby the hardest to get laws changed in their favor would be the hardest hit. I will post my solution in a future update. I will tell you that, among other things, I would not be eligible for social security until I was around 70, which is fine with me.
If I were the benevolent overlord of the world, one of my first commandments would be “Thou shall not make a profit in a manner which damages the system which allowed you to make that profit”.