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The Standard

Sunday Reading

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, February 17th, 2013 - 3 comments
Categories: interweb - Tags: , ,

My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring).  This week: Billionaire interest groups, sex tapes and romantic love?

Sorry no post last week – the server was down late on the Saturday night when I wanted to write it…

The Guardian has uncovered a vast climate denial network funded by billionaires – as covered by Mother Jones.  They also cover the investigation of FreedomWorks, a billionaire Koch’s funded non-profit that trains hard-right Republican activists, and now having trouble with a video of a fake panda giving a fake Hillary Clinton fake oral sex, which the company deputy CEO starred in…

On a less smutty note, Mother Jones also cover the brain differences between Democrats and Republicans – and how beliefs shape the brain and vice-versa.

In the Guardian the call is for a left answer to ‘compassionate conservatism’, that chimes with the public.  Meanwhile a Guardian columnist has now become a UK Labour by-election candidate, with some interesting (very FPP-centric) comments:

You can’t just be your normal everyday self in democratic politics. You have to put on clothes you wouldn’t normally wear – metaphorically and literally. Lots of us on the left like the idea of not conforming, of each doing our own thing. Another phrase for this is “losing elections”. Is that why the left has not built enough on past victories, because we are more comfortable protesting than governing? Just by having had turns in power the Labour party is seen by many as part of the establishment, and so purists keep themselves untainted by sneering at any party that could win and actually pass legislation.

The New Yorker looks at how a higher minimum wage pretty much always works.

A quick reminder about how the Finnish education system is so much better the US one (and a hint as to which direction we should be heading).

And finally, in Valentine’s week, a viewpoint against romantic love – and a call to stand in love, rather than fall in love.

3 comments on “Sunday Reading”

  1. joe90 1

    Matt Taibbi’s Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail, drone home, Oliver Sacks on drugs, what is love, a bacterial world, the passing of Jungleyes Love and Marx at 193.

    • Joe90 had a quick read of Marx at 193.

      http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n07/john-lanchester/marx-at-193

      The writer says that Marx today got most things right, but that society is much more complex today than Marx could have envisaged.

      Yet the examples of ‘complexity’ he gives are such as a more ‘complex’ class system with lots of mixed identities rather than based on any one class position. Eg he claims that workers can also be bourgeois by virtue of being in pension funds. Tell that to the so-called middle class in the US whose Pension Funds have been stolen by owners! This is perhaps the basis of his claim that in the West the bourgeoisie are the majority class!!

      Second, he says that the working class is fragmented between and within countries rather than being internationally united force. Eg the massive Foxconn workforce in China won a big wage increase not by striking but through a NYT article exposing the rash of suicides. So Apple was forced to respond to global public opinion of a world working class (of consumers yes) that condemned its super-exploitation. Here we have to balance disunity that leads to suicides and unity that is expressed in its power of global consumption.

      His third example is Marx failure to predict the destruction of nature. This is outright wrong. Marx saw capitalism becoming increasingly destructive of the forces of production which are in the main nature, both as the source of raw materials, and human labour power. Global warming etc is the working out of this prediction in the deep structures of nature, just as is the rising global movement of humanity as workers to stop the destruction of capitalism.

      The relevant point here is that writer says that what let Marx down was his rejection of ‘empiricism’ which he defined as a preoccupation with surface forms rather than deep structures. This is the writers position and I would say that it leads him to say that the nature of capitalism has qualitatively changed as it surface complexity has increased. Yet the deeper dynamics that are driving capitalism continue to polarise classes in the extreme and I would suggest make Marx even more relevant at age 193.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    Yeah, there’s so much corruption and lies at the top these days it’s hard to keep up, so it’s best to assume everything official is corrupt or a lie until proven otherwise. As Max and Stacey on the Keiser Report note, wait for something to be officially denied: then you know it’s true.

    The hilarious part was David Cameron saying that money-printing does not cause devaluatiion, it just increases competitiveness. .

    The race to the bottom is on, with the currency wars underway.

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