Universal Basic Income

 

I’ve been more than a little disappointed by the ease with which “the Left” has picked up UBI over decommodification as a means of progress and recovery, post-pandemic. I am deeply suspicious of what could so easily be used as a disempowering, alienating form of alms; satiating the ever more wretched with just enough tuppence for them to quell their discontent by partaking in rabid consumerism at the detriment of the environment.

 

Of course, there are a variety of possibilities opened up by UBI, not all of them Huxleyan, but when Social Darwinist technocapitalists advocate for something, “the Left” should treat it with a lot of caution – as they should any idea claiming to be “non-ideological”.

 

Here’s an excellent article from a few years back, which has stayed with me ever since and is a particularly interesting read now:

‘The False Promise of Universal Basic Income’, Alyssa Battistoni

 

NB. The Finnish experiment, since seen as a failure, was in practice an exercise in Universal Credit masked as UBI.

 

 

Karl Rove: Cunt? yes. Genius? no.

 

An old but well written article about the “genius” Karl Rove from 2014. Though specifically about Rove, it highlights a particular preoccupation of mine, the media’s hyper-realities.

 

Ever spurned on by their own echo chambers and fawning over scandals like smack addicts, they tend to have about as much understanding of the ordinary person or life as the .1-percenters some of them oppose and most of them work for.

 

Perhaps it is because they over-estimate their own importance or the importance of the individuals and politics which form their major currency; perhaps it is because of the neoliberal mindsets which believe we live in meritocracies and success is always earnt and deserved – effectively sown into some people’s alleles; either way, it is evidently a hard worldview to shake as we see the media pulling out its old machiavellian narratives for the likes of Bannon (the man who lost Republicans the Alabama’s senate seat) and Dominic Cummings (the “secret” mastermind of Brexit who everyone knows about and really just broke a lot of electoral laws and invited the Mercers in) today.

 

Enjoy?:

 

Michael Tomasky, ‘Karl Rove May Be Evil, but He’s No Genius’

 

Below is a little article on a Karl Rove course now being offered by Masterclass:

 

Rove and Axelrod do Masterclass

 

I wonder if he’ll be sharing all his tactics – like darkening Obama’s skin in campaign adds like he did for McCain?..

“The use of the misleading term “populism” for everything that is either to the left or to the right of the Clinton-W-Obama consensus implies that the only real, serious and responsible policies are those of that consensus. But it is precisely these policies that are at the origin of the rise of “populism”. So we come to the paradoxical conclusion that to fight “populism” you need to support policies which have led to the rise of “populism” in the first place.”

            –   Branko Milanovic, 03/02/2019

 

Quote day (IN A NEW FORMAT!… Oooooo!!)

Yuval Noah Harari

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)

 

Danny Gutwein’s excellent play-by-play of The Chosen One‘s new book, 21 Lessons for the Twenty-First Century; very succinct, very enjoyable. So enjoy:

Danny Gutwein, ‘How Yuval Noah Harari Became the Pet Ideologist of the Liberal Elites’

 

 

Dani Rodrik discusses Hyper-Globalization and its Discontents.

If you don’t know Prof Rodrik’s work, you’re welcome.

There’s no shortage of criticism of the 21st century’s globalised form of feudalism we know as neo-liberalism, but to take it down so cogently, authoritatively and with such a ceaseless grasp of the economic facts is music to the ears.

As I grapple with my ingrained support for free trade; Rodrik’s words are never too many.

Enjoy,

 

Dani Rodrik (and Mark Blyth) – From Globalization to Hyper-Globalization and Back

“Sure looks a lot like conservatism” by Didier Fassin

Macron

Sometimes you just can’t say it better.

For those currently harbouring illusions about Macron or the future of France, here is Didier Fassin’s LRB piece in response to Sophie Pedder’s fawning hagiography “Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation” (The Economist, quelle surprise).

Not unlike his political alter egos – self-proclaimed progressives such as Obama and Trudeau – Macron has proven himself an expert showman and mountebank, an authoritarian and ‘president of the rich’, hiding in plain sight behind identitarian rhetoric and intelligent public relations.

Front National never stood a chance of winning in 2017. Will we be able to say the same in 2022?

Enjoy:

Didier Fassin, ‘Sure looks a lot like Conservatism’