mike + uk   26

Corbynomics would change Britain—but not in the way most people think - The great transformation
Criticism of Labour’s plans has focused on its fiscal and monetary ideas. Its proposals to “democratise” the economy are far more radical
economics  labour  uk  politics 
july 2018 by mike
The cult of Mary Beard | News | The Guardian
For Beard, the very point of being an academic in the public sphere is the ability to be a kind of intellectual awkward squad – unlike elected politicians, who inevitably seek popularity. “The right to be unpopular is important – that’s what academic freedom is about,” she said.
Being a classicist helps this way of thinking. The point of the discipline – the study of people at once familiar, since they have haunted western culture for so long, and at the same time deeply alien – is to “turn the focus on you, and make you an anthropologist of yourself”. It is to make us seem strange to ourselves.
Classics  tv  cambridge  media  uk 
april 2018 by mike
William Davies · Why the Outrage?: Cambridge Analytica · LRB 5 April 2018
It’s sometimes said that data is the ‘oil’ of the digital economy, the resource that fuels everything else. A more helpful analogy is between oil and privacy, a concealed natural resource that is progressively plundered for private profit, with increasingly harmful consequences for society at large. If this analogy is correct, privacy and data protection laws won’t be enough to fight the tech giants with. Destroying privacy in ever more adventurous ways is what Facebook does.

Just as environmentalists demand that the fossil fuel industry ‘leave it in the ground,’ the ultimate demand to be levelled at Silicon Valley should be ‘leave it in our heads.’ The real villain here is an expansionary economic logic that insists on inspecting ever more of our thoughts, feelings and relationships. The best way to thwart this is the one Silicon Valley fears the most: anti-trust laws. Broken into smaller pieces, these companies would still be able to monitor us, but from disparate perspectives that couldn’t easily (or secretly) be joined up. Better a world full of snake-oil merchants like Cambridge Analytica, who eventually get caught out by their own bullshit, than a world of vast corporate monopolies such as Amazon and Facebook, gradually taking on the functions of government, while remaining eerily quiet about what they’re doing.
Surveillance  politics  usa  uk  brexit  trump  ethics 
march 2018 by mike
Stumbling and Mumbling: What do earnings tell us?
Sam Gyimah’s proposal that universities be ranked by graduates’ earnings has been criticized as missing the point that the purpose of a university education is more than personal enrichment. There are, however, other problems with it. I’ll take just seven:

First, at what stage of graduates’ careers do you measure earnings?

Secondly, there’s a massive variation in earnings.

Thirdly, qualifications alone do not determine earnings: a passing glance at your contemporaries will tell you this.

Fourthly, earnings can be enhanced by irrationality. In particular, overconfident people are likely to do better than ones with a rational assessment of their ability. A good university – surely – would teach its students to be rational.

Fifthly, and perhaps relatedly, we know that people from posh backgrounds earn more than those from poor ones even with the same qualifications.

Sixthly, even if we grant that we could measure how universities enhance earnings, by controlling for all the other factors that influence earnings, what would this tell us? It would tell us what universities were like a few years ago. But what use is that to someone considering attending now?

Seventhly, any university worth the name will encourage a sense of curiosity in its students. This, however, might not enhance their earnings.
education  academia  uk 
march 2018 by mike
William Davies · Reasons for Corbyn · LRB 13 July 2017
This cultural epoch introduces a distinct set of problems. Which event from the past will pop up next? How can a clear narrative be extracted from the deluge of messages and numbers? What does my data trail say about me? Can past judgments of oneself or others be revised or revoked? It can seem as if there are only two options: to immerse oneself entirely, or to not give a damn.

It is also telling that these successful populists are significantly older than your average 1990s ‘third way’ politician. Where the latter was a man in his early forties (now re-enacted by the even younger Emmanuel Macron), in the last two years we have witnessed the unforeseen rise of Bernie Sanders (75), Jeremy Corbyn (68) and Donald Trump (71), the oldest man ever to become president. These men have lurked on the margins of public life for decades, and a stockpile of images and stories has accumulated around them.

One event that did a great deal to push the ‘big data’ sensibility into UK politics, yet had little to do with the internet (it was triggered by a newspaper freedom of information request), was the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009. Its significance for our subsequent democratic upheavals hasn’t been fully appreciated.

One of the striking results of this new media ecology is that traditional smears no longer seem to work as effectively as they did. Both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Theresa May in 2017 sought to do down their opponents by drawing attention to their past behaviour.
politics  uk  usa  internet  socialmedia  news 
march 2018 by mike
Stumbling and Mumbling: Getting away with murder
Simon reminds us of the massive costs of fiscal austerity: not just a loss of around £10,000 per household, but tens of thousands of deaths, despair for millions of victims of a harsh benefits system, and the economic cost and social divisions caused by Brexit which would almost certainly not have happened were it not for austerity.
brexit  uk  economics 
march 2018 by mike
No Country For Ye Olde Men • Damn Interesting
Britain’s practice of transporting convicts to American colonies was a fearsome punishment, but not for the chronic criminal James Dalton.
history  usa  crime  uk 
july 2017 by mike
The Love Portfolio: Darryl Pinckney + James Fenton | Out Magazine
And sometimes, when I’ve been away and come back, he’s had things that he can’t have around me, like game and oxtail and offal—English things. And you think of these sad heaters that you have to put these heavy coins in that you see in black-and-white films—that gray dampness. And then the stoicism is just maddening.
culture  usa  uk 
february 2017 by mike
A Perilous Nationalism at Brexit - The New Yorker
The notion that those middle-aged and older, working-class English who voted Leave have more in common with privileged Englishmen than with middle-aged and older, working-class Spaniards is problematic. And yet fellowship with other disadvantaged people across Europe has been forsaken for allegiance to a nation riven with inequalities. It is an archaic, ethnic notion of collectivity that shares ground with racism.
europe  uk  eu  brexit  racism 
july 2016 by mike
Why are the boomers so angry? | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
This is the last ‘fuck you’ from the baby boomers. They took the secure corporate and government jobs with the guaranteed pay rises and final salary pension schemes and benefitted from property they bought cheap and sold dear. They burnt the bridges behind them by colluding with the dismantling of the very things that had brought them prosperity. Their last act will be to burn the economy before they die.
politics  uk  europe  economics  investments 
june 2016 by mike
Despair Fatigue | David Graeber
"In the end, all that the Blairites managed to produce was a world-class marketing sector (since that’s what middle-class people are actually good at); otherwise, they had nothing to show for themselves at all."
uk  politics  socialism  economics 
march 2016 by mike

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