Rigged and Rotten

A short run through some of the painfully obvious ways in which Disaster Capitalism – operating through US-idolising, Social Darwinist meritocrats – stretched out its slimy tentacles from No.10 Downing Street and fucked the shit out of the country. Happy Birthday NHS… Enjoy..

‘The Pro-Privatization Shock Therapy of the UK’s Covid Response’, Rachel Shabi

“Playing the refs”

If you’re not abreast of these phenomena, than you’re simply not involved. Enjoy…

‘Trump Is Doing All of This for Zuckerberg’, Zeynep Tufekci

“Playing the refs by browbeating them has long been a key move in the right-wing playbook against traditional media. The method is simple: It involves badgering them with accusations of unfairness and bias so that they bend over backwards to accommodate a “both sides” narrative even when the sides were behaving very differently, or when one side was not grounded in fact. Climate-change deniers funded by fossil-fuel companies effectively used this strategy for decades, relying on journalists’ training and instinct to equate objectivity with representing both sides of a story. This way of operating persisted even when one of the sides was mostly bankrolled by the fossil-fuel industry while the other was a near-unanimous consensus of independent experts and academics.”

”Impartiality”

In a time of demagoguery, “impartiality” and “establishing the facts” are contradictory terms. Another sterling example of the Fourth Estate failing the people, speaking for power and making a mockery of the facts. Enjoy 😏

‘Why is the BBC bending to the Government’s definition of impartiality?’, Owen Jones

“When faced with a very clear choice between yielding to government pressure or serving viewers by telling them the truth, BBC management, shamefully, chose the former,” says one Newsnight source. “BBC bosses believe this helps preserve the organisation. All it will really do is sign its death warrant.” 

Love in the Time of Corona

My Top Coronavirus Pieces for Quarantine

 

Firtsly, if you’re part of that small group of 7.8 billion people who didn’t read my last post, go there for Tom Pueyo’s excellent back-of-the-envelope analysis of the COVID-19 figures.

 

A long read (but fuck it, what else have you got going on):

 

‘Social Contagion’, Chuang

 

A brilliant analysis situating COVID-19 where capitalism and nature collide – brought together by the vanity of techno-politics and the inescapable contradiction in their supposed dichotomy. Fear not though, unlike my own ramblings, this is a detailed and very accessible explanation; as the authors put it:

Now is not the time for a simple “Scooby-Doo Marxist” exercise of pulling the mask off the villain to reveal that, yes, indeed, it was capitalism that caused coronavirus all along! That would be no more subtle than foreign commentators sniffing about for regime change. Of course capitalism is culpable—but how, exactly, does the social-economic sphere interface with the biological, and what kind of deeper lessons might be drawn from the entire experience?

For those who enjoy, can I recommend Rule of Experts by Timothy Mitchell!

 

The Economic Consequences of the Chaos

An ill-forgotten word of warning and call to arms from the wise one:

 

A Brave New World

Yuval Noah Harari warns that the pandemic might unleash Surveillance Capitalism in a way not yet seen outside of China, as people, choosing essential security over essential liberty, walk willingly (and with 2 meter distancing) into the Panopticon. As Harari puts it simply, “The same technology that identifies coughs could also identify laughs.”

‘The World After Coronavirus’, Y N Harari

 

Polemic

Laurie Penny’s reverie on how epidemics exploit the weaknesses in our societies:

 

‘Panic, Pandemic, and the Body Politic’, Laurie Penny

 

Climate Change

There’s been a fair bit of commentary recently on the environmental benefits to the shut-downs we’re seeing around the world and, for sure, the satellite images of GHG emissions dissipating have been great fun to watch. Eric Holthaus, however, provides a nice corrective to some of the more short term and lazy discussions. The threat COVID-19 poses to emissions is transitory and minimal; the threat is poses to economic inclusion (essential for environmental sustainability) and green transitions is real and deadly.

 

‘No, the coronavirus is not good for the climate’, Eric Holthaus

 

Very short feel good story:

Not for the first time in Revolutionary Cuba’s short history have so many owed so much to so small a nation…

 

‘How Cuba is Leading the World in the Fight Against Coronavirus’, Alan Macleod

 

EMs!

 

‘This Pandemic is an Ethical Challenge’, Martin Wolf

Martin Wolf raises important concerns for the threat the virus poses to the developing world.

 

Update 27/03/2020

 

Tomas Pueyo update

‘The Hammer and the Dance’, Tomas Pueyo

 

Bail-out Conditions

Bill McKibben of 350.org urges the House to attach conditions to the coming bail-outs and too fucking right, there’s no shortage of historical precedent!

‘If we’re bailing out corporations, they should bail out the Planet’, Bill McKibben