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After Carbon Democracy | Dissent Magazine
"Capitalism is at the heart of the climate challenge."
No, no, no.
(1) Look at the environmental record of the USSR, or of pre-Deng China. Soviet Earth would be facing ~ as big a climate crisis as Neoliberal Earth (only with Comrade Mann in the role of Sakharov at best).
(2) Maintaining our _current_ sized economies _with our current technologies_ would get us cooked, so it's not _economic growth_ that's the problem.

Purdy knows better.
climate_change  environmentalism  progressive_forces  have_read  honestly_disappointed 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Direct Deliberative Democracy: How Citizens Can Rule, Crittenden, Campbell
"As American politics becomes ever more dominated by powerful vested interests, positive change seems permanently stymied. Left out in the cold by the political process, citizens are frustrated and despairing. How can we take back our democracy from the grip of oligarchy and bring power to the people?
"In Direct Deliberative Democracy, Jack Crittenden and Debra Campbell offer up a better way for government to reflect citizens’ interests. It begins with a startlingly basic question: “Why don’t we the people govern?” In this provocative book, the authors mount a powerful case that the time has come for more direct democracy in the United States, showing that the circumstances that made the Constitutional framers’ arguments so convincing more than two hundred years ago have changed dramatically—and that our democracy needs to change with them. With money, lobbyists, and corporations now dominating local, state, and national elections, the authors argue that now is the time for citizens to take control of their government by deliberating together to make public policies and laws directly. At the heart of their approach is a proposal for a new system of “legislative juries,” in which the jury system would be used as a model for selecting citizens to create ballot initiatives. This would enable citizens to level the playing field, bring little-heard voices into the political arena, and begin the process of transforming our democracy into one that works for, not against, its citizens. "
to:NB  books:noted  democracy  re:democratic_cognition  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial  progressive_forces 
may 2019 by cshalizi
The Public Option — Ganesh Sitaraman, Anne L. Alstott | Harvard University Press
"A solution to inequalities wherever we look—in health care, secure retirement, education—is as close as the public library. Or the post office, community pool, or local elementary school. Public options—reasonably priced government-provided services that coexist with private options—are all around us, ready to increase opportunity, expand freedom, and reawaken civic engagement if we will only let them.
"Whenever you go to your local public library, send mail via the post office, or visit Yosemite, you are taking advantage of a longstanding American tradition: the public option. Some of the most useful and beloved institutions in American life are public options—yet they are seldom celebrated as such. These government-supported opportunities coexist peaceably alongside private options, ensuring equal access and expanding opportunity for all.
"Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott challenge decades of received wisdom about the proper role of government and consider the vast improvements that could come from the expansion of public options. Far from illustrating the impossibility of effective government services, as their critics claim, public options hold the potential to transform American civic life, offering a wealth of solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from housing shortages to the escalating cost of health care.
"Imagine a low-cost, high-quality public option for child care. Or an extension of the excellent Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees to all Americans. Or every person having access to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank, with no fees and no minimums. From broadband internet to higher education, The Public Option reveals smart new ways to meet pressing public needs while spurring healthy competition. More effective than vouchers or tax credits, public options could offer us all fairer choices and greater security."
to:NB  books:noted  progressive_forces  institutions  economics  political_economy 
october 2018 by cshalizi
The Earth
"Our planet’s elliptical orbit around the Sun and its billions-of-years existence are facts we take for granted, matters every literate high school student is expected to grasp. But humanity’s struggle towards these scientific truths lasted millennia. Few of us have more than the faintest notion of the path we have travelled.
"Hubert Krivine tells the story of the thinkers and scientists whose work allowed our species to put an age to the planet and pinpoint our place in the solar system. It is a history of bold innovators, with a broad cast of contributors – not only Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, but Halley, Kelvin, Darwin and Rutherford, among many others. Courage, iniquity, religious dogmatism, genius and blind luck all played a part.
"This was an epic struggle to free the mind from the constraints of cant, ideology and superstition. From this history, Krivine delineates an invaluable philosophy of science, one today under threat from irrationalism and the fundamentalist movements of East and West, which threaten both what we have attained at great cost and what we still have to learn.
"Scientific progress is not a sufficient condition for social progress; but it is a necessary one. The Earth is not merely a history of scientific learning, but a stirring defence of Enlightenment values in the quest for human advancement."

--- There is a special delight to seeing a book like this from Verso, and to see them proudly including blurbs from Bricmont and Sokal. Less cattily, it looks intriguing.
to:NB  books:noted  geology  discovery_of_the_past  philosophy_of_science  history_of_science  progressive_forces 
august 2018 by cshalizi
The Anti-Fascist Boomerang
"Well-meaning laws that vest the authorities with the power to cleanse public discourse of speech we don’t care for have a way of coming back to bite us. Hate speech laws around the world are used to criminalize legitimate dissent and criticism. Anti-fake news measures have in many cases silenced marginal voices, including even those combating bigotry.
"And more often than not, the voices silenced end up being those on the Left. It figures — after all, left-wing viewpoints and activism tend to be anti-authority and challenge deep-seated power structures, making them a clear target for repression.
"Fascism and bigotry are ugly, violent, and at their worst, murderous. But vesting authorities with more power to suppress these movements today all but guarantees they’ll be used against the Left tomorrow."

--- It is very depressing that this needs saying.
progressive_forces  us_politics  us_history  defenses_of_liberalism 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States, Wall
"Elinor Ostrom was both a groundbreaking thinker and one of the foremost economists of our age. The first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics, her revolutionary theorizing of the commons opened the way for non-capitalist economic alternatives on a massive scale. And yet, astonishingly, most modern radicals know little about her.
"Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals fixes that injustice, revealing the indispensability of her work on green politics, alternative economics, and radical democracy. Derek Wall’s analysis of her theses addresses some of the common misconceptions of her work and reveals her strong commitment to a radical ideological framework. This helpful guide will engage scholars and activists across a range of disciplines, including political economy, political science, and ecology, as well as those keen to implement her work in practice. As activists continue to reject traditional models of centralized power, Ostrom’s theories will become even more crucial in creating economies that exist beyond markets and states."
to:NB  books:noted  economics  institutions  progressive_forces  political_economy  ostrom.elinor 
april 2018 by cshalizi
stuck in the middle with me – ideologjammin'
"Let’s consider your takedown of Vox. Vox sucks; no argument there. But your attack entertains two very different lines of reasoning as to what’s wrong with it. The first is a lit crit-style attack on concepts like “objectivity”, “expertise”, and “explanation”. Vox “falsely assum[es] that there can be such a thing as a ‘view from nowhere’”; Vox‘s analyses are “value-laden” despite purporting to be “neutral and dispassionate”; Vox‘s word “’explainers’ . . . has some interesting connotations” (“mansplaining”, “explaining away”, etc.; later, “explanation implies certitude”); Vox fetishizes policy but gives little attention to the values, or ends, such policies are meant to effect. The second is much more concrete: Vox writers mess stuff up a lot. There is, however, a bit of a problem here. For example, you illustrate the specific ineptitude of Matt Yglesias with an anecdote about Robert Ellickson, “a bona fide expert on housing and zoning with approximately four decades of experience in the field”, “ripping Yglesias’ pamphlet [The Rent Is Too Damn High] to shreds for its basic economic ignorance”. Sounds fun. But see how quickly “bona fide expert[ise]” has reentered your field of vision. As an expert, is Ellickson engaged in explanation? You bet he is. In accepting him as an expert, do we credit him for having an at least partially objective “view from nowhere” when it comes to housing? We must: his apparent advantage over Yglesias would be a matter of mere disagreement otherwise. This generalizes to the whole critique, though."

--- This seems like a fair criticism of a lot of critiques I read (not just of this particular episode).
have_read  via:?  us_politics  progressive_forces 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Hope Lies in the Proles: George Orwell and the Left, Newsinger
"Few figures on the left are as widely heralded as George Orwell. Yet his actual politics are poorly understood. Hope Lies in the Proles corrects that, offering a sympathetic yet critical account of Orwell’s often muddied political thinking and its continued relevance today. John Newsinger takes up various aspects of Orwell’s personal politics, exploring his attempts to change working-class consciousness, considering it alternately romantic, realistic, and patronizing—and at times all three at once. He examines Orwell’s antifascism, and how it fits in with his criticism of the Soviet Union; looks into his relationship with the Labour Party and feminism; and delves into Orwell’s shifting views on the United States. The result is the clearest understanding we’ve ever had of Orwell’s politics and their legacy."
to:NB  books:noted  20th_century_history  progressive_forces  socialism  lives_of_the_artists 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Rethinking 1950s how anticommunism and cold war made america liberal | Twentieth century American history | Cambridge University Press
"Historians generally portray the 1950s as a conservative era when anticommunism and the Cold War subverted domestic reform, crushed political dissent, and ended liberal dreams of social democracy. These years, historians tell us, represented a turn to the right, a negation of New Deal liberalism, an end to reform. Jennifer A. Delton argues that, far from subverting the New Deal state, anticommunism and the Cold War enabled, fulfilled, and even surpassed the New Deal's reform agenda. Anticommunism solidified liberal political power and the Cold War justified liberal goals such as jobs creation, corporate regulation, economic redevelopment, and civil rights. She shows how despite President Eisenhower's professed conservativism, he maintained the highest tax rates in U.S. history, expanded New Deal programs, and supported major civil rights reforms."

--- Competition!
in_NB  books:noted  american_history  cold_war  progressive_forces  20th_century_history 
march 2018 by cshalizi
The Left is now too weak for democracy to survive | Aeon Essays
"We have become squatters in the ruins of the great democratic societies of the past."

--- Don't know why I didn't bookmark this when I read it five years ago.
(Also, dollars to donuts that Henry was thinking of Gene Wolfe as he wrote that line, which has kept coming back to me all this time.)
our_decrepit_institutions  democracy  progressive_forces  political_science  kith_and_kin  farrell.henry  have_read  italy  re:democratic_cognition 
march 2018 by cshalizi
The problem with “critical” studies | In Due Course
Since this aligns very strongly with my prejudices, I _should_ try to pick holes in it. (E.g., maybe the book he holds out as an unfortunate example [kudos for actually giving a concrete example!] _also_ makes a reasonable case, _as well as_ engaging in the maneuvers Heath complains about? Or: How much of this is just territory-marking on behalf of a Habermas scholar, who grew up on the idea of "critical theory" as a specific project of the Frankfurt School, finding a beloved buzz-word deployed by other scholars from other traditions just close enough to be irritating?) But life is short and these recommendation letters won't write themselves...
academia  humanities  progressive_forces  heath.joseph  have_read 
january 2018 by cshalizi
A Fellow Traveller’s Tale – China Channel
I had no idea. (But surely her work on imperfect competition was much more important than what's discussed here?)
in_NB  lives_of_the_scholars  economics  progressive_forces  china:prc  robinson.joan 
december 2017 by cshalizi
Is Capitalism Obsolete? — Giacomo Corneo | Harvard University Press
"After communism collapsed in the former Soviet Union, capitalism seemed to many observers like the only game in town, and questioning it became taboo for academic economists. But the financial crisis, chronic unemployment, and the inexorable rise of inequality have resurrected the question of whether there is a feasible and desirable alternative to capitalism. Against this backdrop of growing disenchantment, Giacomo Corneo presents a refreshingly antidogmatic review of economic systems, taking as his launching point a fictional argument between a daughter indignant about economic injustice and her father, a professor of economics.
"Is Capitalism Obsolete? begins when the daughter’s angry complaints prompt her father to reply that capitalism cannot responsibly be abolished without an alternative in mind. He invites her on a tour of tried and proposed economic systems in which production and consumption obey noncapitalistic rules. These range from Plato’s Republic to diverse modern models, including anarchic communism, central planning, and a stakeholder society. Some of these alternatives have considerable strengths. But daunting problems arise when the basic institutions of capitalism—markets and private property—are suppressed. Ultimately, the father argues, all serious counterproposals to capitalism fail to pass the test of economic feasibility. Then the story takes an unexpected turn. Father and daughter jointly come up with a proposal to gradually transform the current economic system so as to share prosperity and foster democratic participation."
to:NB  books:noted  progressive_forces  capitalism  socialism  economics 
october 2017 by cshalizi
Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism, de Angelis
"In Omnia Sunt Communia, Massimo de Angelis offers a radical political economy, illuminating the steps necessary to arrive at a post-capitalist world. By conceptualizing the idea of commons not just as common goods but as a set of social systems, de Angelis shows their pervasive presence in everyday life, and he maps out a strategy for total social transformation.
"From the micro to the macro, de Angelis unveils the commons as fields of power relations—shared space, objects, and subjects—that explode the limits of daily life under capitalism. He exposes attempts to co-opt the commons, through the use of seemingly innocuous words such as “participation” and “governance,” and he reveals the potential for radical transformation rooted in the social reproduction of our communities, life, work, and society as a whole."
to:NB  books:noted  political_economy  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial  progressive_forces 
july 2017 by cshalizi
From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much | By Adolph Reed Jr. | Common Dreams
"The transrace/transgender comparison makes clear the conceptual emptiness of the essentializing discourses, and the opportunist politics, that undergird identitarian ideologies. There is no coherent, principled defense of the stance that transgender identity is legitimate but transracial is not, at least not one that would satisfy basic rules of argument. The debate also throws into relief the reality that a notion of social justice that hinges on claims to entitlement based on extra-societal, ascriptive identities is neoliberalism’s critical self-consciousness. In insisting on the political priority of such fictive, naturalized populations identitarianism meshes well with neoliberal naturalization of the structures that reproduce inequality. In that sense it’s not just a pointed coincidence that Dolezal’s critics were appalled with the NAACP for standing behind her work. It may be that one of Rachel Dolezal’s most important contributions to the struggle for social justice may turn out to be having catalyzed, not intentionally to be sure, a discussion that may help us move beyond the identitarian dead end."
have_read  gender  sexism  race  social_construction  us_culture_wars  reed.adolf  progressive_forces  identity_group_formation 
april 2017 by cshalizi
The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics - Niskanen Center
"Political fights aren’t won with universal principled arguments alone, and pretending that they are is often a mask for the identity politics of the staatsvolk. As citizens of a liberal state trying to preserve it, we need to be able to hear each other talking about particularized injustices, and to cheer each other on when we seek to overturn them. Members of disadvantaged minorities standing up for themselves aren’t to blame for the turn to populist authoritarianism; and their energy and commitment is a resource that free societies can’t do without in resisting it."
us_politics  political_philosophy  defenses_of_liberalism  progressive_forces  levy.j.t.  have_read  via:? 
december 2016 by cshalizi
Reconstructing Karl Polanyi, Dale
"Karl Polanyi was one of the most influential political economists of the twentieth-century and is widely regarded as the most gifted of social democrat theorists. In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi, Gareth Dale draws upon primary sources archived in the countries that Polanyi called home—Hungary, Austria, Britain, the United States, and Canada—to provide a sweeping survey of his contribution to the social sciences.
"Polanyi’s intellectual and political outlook can best be summarized through paradoxical formulations such as ‘romantic modernist’, ‘liberal socialist’, and ‘cosmopolitan patriot.’ In exploring these paradoxes, Dale excavates and reconstructs Polanyi’s views on a range of topics that have been neglected in the critical literature, including Keynesian economic policy, the evolution and dynamics of Stalin’s Russia, regional integration, and McCarthyism. He reinterprets Polanyi’s philosophy of history, his theory of democracy, and his economic historiography of Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, and guides readers through Polyani's critical dialogue with Marxism.  
"While the central threads and motifs of this study are intellectual-historiographical in nature, Dale also critically analyzes the views of Polanyi and his followers on issues of pressing present-day relevance, notably the clash between democracy and capitalism, and the nature and trajectory of European unification."
to:NB  books:noted  lives_of_the_scholars  economics  economic_history  polyani.karl  progressive_forces 
december 2016 by cshalizi
you have to do this work – Fredrik deBoer
"The conventional wisdom within progressive media is that this is a phony controversy: trigger warnings are optional for professors, not mandatory, and they’re just warnings, so they can’t censor anything. I have heard this line more times than I can count. The fact that it isn’t true seems unimportant to the people who push it. In fact the initial wave of debate about trigger warnings flared up precisely because there were people calling for them to be mandatory and because there were arguments that classroom material that carried trigger warnings should be optional. Here is a UCSB student government resolution calling for exactly that. They are not alone in that call. “No one says students should be able to use trigger warnings to opt out of course materials” is simply untrue. It is a dodge, a very common one in this discussion. It is a means for sympathetic voices in the media to avoid precisely the difficult intellectual and political questions at hand. That this insistence that “no one is calling for” what some people in my world are explicitly calling for comes packaged with smug eye-rolling only makes it more aggravating."
academia  academic_freedom  education  progressive_forces  deboer.frederik  have_read  circular_firing_squad 
december 2016 by cshalizi
A Blueprint for a New Party | Jacobin
Huh. That'd be an impressive piece of regulatory arbitrage, if it worked. (Of course it would also work for, say, a theocon party which piggy-backed on the GOP party line..)
us_politics  progressive_forces  ackerman.seth  have_read  via:henry_farrell 
november 2016 by cshalizi
A Delayed Review of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein
"The view that capitalism is a style of thinking, progress is a myth, and political contestation is irrelevant to “true” social change belongs not just to this one book but to all the commentators who found nothing to criticize. That’s the real problem."
book_reviews  climate_change  progressive_forces  dorman.peter  have_read  via:? 
august 2016 by cshalizi
On Algorithmic Communism - The Los Angeles Review of Books
I will be... very interested... in their analysis of the computational complexity of economic planning.
books:noted  book_reviews  progressive_forces  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
january 2016 by cshalizi
Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-porn Addicts || Zero Books || Book Info
"Economic growth, progress, industry and, erm, stuff have all come in for a sharp kicking from the green left and beyond in recent years. Everyone from black-hoodied Starbucks window-smashers to farmers' market heirloom-tomato-mongers to Prince Charles himself seem to be embracing 'degrowth' and anti-consumerism, which is nothing less than a form of ecological austerity. Meanwhile, the back-to-the-land ideology and aesthetic of locally-woven organic carrot-pants, pathogen-encrusted compost toilets and civilisational collapse is hegemonic.
"Yet modernity is not the cause of climate change and the wider biocrisis. It is indeed capitalism that is the source of our environmental woes, but capitalism as a mode of production, not the fuzzy understanding of capitalism of Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Derrick Jensen, Paul Kingsnorth and their anarcho-liberal epigones as a sort of globalist corporate malfeasance.
"In combative and puckish style, science journalist Leigh Phillips marshals evidence from climate science, ecology, paleoanthropology, agronomy, microbiology, psychology, history, the philosophy of mathematics, and heterodox economics to argue that progressives must rediscover their historic, Promethean ambitions and counter this reactionary neo-Malthusian ideology that not only retards human flourishing, but won't save the planet anyway.
"We want to take over the machine and run it rationally, not turn the machine off."
books:noted  progressive_forces  environmentalism  environmental_management 
december 2015 by cshalizi
The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian
I'll charitably presume he explains how to deal with actual material goods (e.g., computers) in the full book.
progressive_forces  economics  peer_production  capitalism  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
july 2015 by cshalizi
The Spirit of Philadelphia
"A new manifesto for global social justice.
"In 1944, the International Labour Organization laid out its “Declaration of Philadelphia,” a full-fledged social bill of rights in the same spirit as FDR’s State of the Union address of the same year. The welfarist spirit was then at its apex—but Supiot argues that with neoliberalism still rampant, even following the economic crash, the Declaration remains an important baseline. Then as now, social ties had been compromised in favor of market values; now, as then, the law must be reorganized to uphold social values and the spirit of solidarity.
"Short, punchy and often rousing, The Spirit of Philadelphia describes the worldwide triumph of neoliberalism as once-communist elites turn towards market dogma and the privatization of welfare states. Arguing against the return to social Darwinism, and the bureaucratic embrace of numbers and statistics as ends, Supiot champions the social democratic spirit, hoping for its revival in the wake of the recent crash."
to:NB  books:noted  social_democracy  progressive_forces 
august 2014 by cshalizi
Soak the Rich | The Baffler
Unsurprisingly, Piketty (to my eyes) comes out of this looking much better.
economics  political_economy  economic_policy  capitalism  progressive_forces  piketty.thomas  graaber.david  to:blog 
august 2014 by cshalizi
Bro Bash | Jacobin
"There’s nothing feminist about leaving numbers to the bros."

--- Has there really been much call for abandoning data & quantitative analysis & c. on the left? It sounds remarkably idiotic.
progressive_forces  feminism  sexism  data_analysis 
june 2014 by cshalizi
Karl Polanyi Explains It All
A decent-enough introduction to Polanyi and his relevance, which reminds me that I need to replace my copy...
polanyi.karl  economics  economic_history  political_economy  progressive_forces  have_read  books:recommended  to:blog 
april 2014 by cshalizi
The Effects of Participatory Budgeting on Municipal Expenditures and Infant Mortality in Brazil
"This paper investigates whether the use of participatory budgeting in Brazilian municipalities during 1990–2004 affected the pattern of municipal expenditures and had any impact on living conditions. It shows that municipalities using participatory budgeting favored an allocation of public expenditures that closely matched popular preferences and channeled a larger fraction of their budgets to investments in sanitation and health services. This change is accompanied by a reduction in infant mortality rates. This suggests that promoting a more direct interaction between service users and elected officials in budgetary policy can affect both how local resources are spent and living standard outcomes."
in_NB  to_read  democracy  progressive_forces  re:democratic_cognition  via:henry_farrell 
march 2014 by cshalizi
Improving Social Well-Being Through New Democratic Institutions
"We evaluate the role of a new type of democratic institution, participatory budgeting (PB), for improving citizens’ well-being. Participatory institutions are said to enhance governance, citizens’ empowerment, and the quality of democracy, creating a virtuous cycle to improve the poor’s well-being. Drawing from an original database of Brazil’s largest cities over the last 20 years, we assess whether adopting PB programs influences several indicators of well-being inputs, processes, and outcomes. We find PB programs are strongly associated with increases in health care spending, increases in civil society organizations, and decreases in infant mortality rates. This connection strengthens dramatically as PB programs remain in place over longer time frames. Furthermore, PB’s connection to well-being strengthens in the hand of mayors from the nationally powerful, ideologically and electorally motivated Workers’ Party. Our argument directly addresses debates on democracy and well-being and has powerful implications for participation, governance, and economic development."
in_NB  to_read  democracy  progressive_forces  re:democratic_cognition  via:henry_farrell 
march 2014 by cshalizi
Social Democratic America - Lane Kenworthy - Oxford University Press
"America is the one of the wealthiest nations on earth. So why do so many Americans struggle to make ends meet? Why is it so difficult for those who start at the bottom to reach the middle class? And why, if a rising economic tide lifts all boats, have middle-class incomes been growing so slowly?
"Social Democratic America explains how this has happened and how we can do better. Lane Kenworthy convincingly argues that we can improve economic security, expand opportunity, and ensure rising living standards for all by moving toward social democracy. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of social policy in America and other affluent countries, he proposes a set of public social programs, including universal early education, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, wage insurance, the government as employer of last resort, and many others. Kenworthy looks at common objections to social democracy, such as the oft-repeated claim that Americans don't want big government, which he readily debunks. Indeed, we already have in place a host of effective and popular social programs, from Social Security to Medicare to public schooling. Moreover, the available evidence suggests that rich nations can generate the tax revenues needed to pay for generous social programs while maintaining an innovative and growing economy, and without restricting liberty."
to:NB  books:noted  social_democracy  progressive_forces 
january 2014 by cshalizi
Is God Happy? - GeorgeScialabba.Net
Scialabba here _almost_ gets at what I find most characteristic, and frustrating, about Kolakowski's own philosophy, which is how it keeps making instrumental arguments for the absolute --- that giving up on belief in various transcendental realities would have bad consequences in this life, so we'd better believe in them, dammit. The obvious riposte, that this wouldn't be _honest_, isn't one which he ever dealt with satisfactorily, at least not in anything I've read by him.
philosophy  socialism  progressive_forces  communism  marxism  kolakowski.leszek  book_reviews  to:blog 
december 2013 by cshalizi
A World Without Wall Street?, Morin, Fijalkowski, Richardson
"As the aftershocks of the latest economic meltdown reverberate throughout the world, and people organize to physically occupy the major financial centers of the West, few experts and even fewer governments have dared to consider a world without the powerful markets that brought on the crash. Yet, as François Morin explains in A World Without Wall Street?, this is the very step that needs to be taken as quickly as possible to avoid a perpetual future of dehumanizing working conditions, devastated ecosystems, and the submission of public policies to private interests.
"In this insightful and radical take on global finance, Morin recommends nothing less than a revolutionary reconstruction of the international monetary system. More, he recommends that the laws of societies be reformed so that the power of management may be shared among all of the actors involved in production, not concentrated in the hands of the few. This shift, argues Morin, will transform the monetary system into a common good for all of humanity, rich or poor. With Wall Street at the center of the very power structure that needs to be dismantled, Morin takes broad aim at the purely speculative financial games and arcane instruments by which the global economy and its citizens are held captive. In this very timely and provocative book, Morin bravely offers a way forward—instead of simply triaging a hemorrhaging system, he persuasively asks us to consider a subversive reinvention."
books:noted  to:NB  financial_crisis_of_2007--  finance  economic_policy  progressive_forces 
may 2013 by cshalizi
Henry Farrell – On post-democracy
"The formal structures of democracy remain intact. People still vote. Political parties vie with each other in elections, and circulate in and out of government. Yet these acts of apparent choice have had their meaning hollowed out. The real decisions are taken elsewhere. We have become squatters in the ruins of the great democratic societies of the past."
democracy  politics  political_economy  our_decrepit_institutions  progressive_forces  farrell.henry  kith_and_kin  have_read 
april 2013 by cshalizi
Participatory Democracy in the New Millennium
"By the 1980s, experiments in participatory democracy seemed to have been relegated by scholars to the category of quixotic exercises in idealism, undertaken by committed (and often aging) activists who were unconcerned with political effectiveness or economic efficiency. Today, bottom-up decision making seems all the rage. Crowdsourcing and Open Source, flat management in business, horizontalism in protest politics, collaborative governance in policymaking—these are the buzzwords now and they are all about the virtues of nonhierarchical and participatory decision making.
"What accounts for this new enthusiasm for radical democracy? Is it warranted? Are champions of this form understanding key terms like equality and consensus differently than did radical democrats in the 1960s and 70s? And is there any reason to believe that today’s radical democrats are better equipped than their forebears to avoid the old dangers of endless meetings and rule by friendship cliques? In this admittedly selective review, I will take up recent books on participatory democracy in social movements, non- and for-profit organizations, local governments, and electoral campaigning. These are perhaps not the most influential books on participatory democracy since 2000—after all, most of them are brand new—but they speak interestingly to the state of participatory democracy today. Taken together, they suggest that, on one hand, innovations in technology and in activism have made democratic decision making both easier and fairer. On the other hand, the popularity of radical democracy may be diluting its force. If radical democracy comes to mean simply public participation, then spectacles of participation may be made to stand in for mechanisms of democratic accountability."
in_NB  to_read  democracy  institutions  organizations  bureaucracy  social_networks  re:democratic_cognition  and_I_wish_I_could_tag_this_for:aaronsw  progressive_forces  polletta.francesca 
january 2013 by cshalizi
Robots and Liberalism :: Peter Frase
I could do without the approving mention of Lenin, but, yeah.
political_economy  progressive_forces 
december 2012 by cshalizi
Ken MacLeod – Socialism and transhumanism
"Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a friend forwarded me a post from an obscure email list. The writer had calculated that the continued existence of Afghanistan would delay the Rapture by six months. Millions around the world who would have had a chance of eternal bliss would be irretrievably lost to natural deaths in the interim. According to strict utilitarian reckoning, exterminating the Afghans via a nuclear carpet-bombing campaign would be the kinder course.
"This heinous calculus didn’t come from the email list of some apocalyptic cult but from the ‘extropians’, advocates of a massive technological upgrade in the human condition. The event in question wasn’t in fact the Rapture but the Singularity: a predicted moment when the speed of technological advance would go off the scale and, in passing, let us abolish ageing, disease, poverty, and death. For extropians and other adherents to the doctrines of transhumanism, the human condition has been, in principle, a solved problem since 1953, when Watson and Crick published the structure of DNA. The rest is engineering..."

(Also: socialism as a political movement whose imagined community is the human race.)
socialism  progressive_forces  macleod.ken  transhumanism 
november 2012 by cshalizi
Stop Leftsplaining!
In which Comrade Solnit preaches a sermon on the text "The greatest of these is hope". Too good to excerpt.
moral_responsibility  hope  us_politics  progressive_forces  solnit.rebecca 
october 2012 by cshalizi
Democracy and the Left: Social Policy and Inequality in Latin America, Huber, Stephens
"Although inequality in Latin America ranks among the worst in the world, it has notably declined over the last decade, offset by improvements in health care and education, enhanced programs for social assistance, and increases in the minimum wage.
"In Democracy and the Left, Evelyne Huber and John D. Stephens argue that the resurgence of democracy in Latin America is key to this change. In addition to directly affecting public policy, democratic institutions enable left-leaning political parties to emerge, significantly influencing the allocation of social spending on poverty and inequality..."
to:NB  books:noted  progressive_forces  democracy 
september 2012 by cshalizi
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