I’ve got some pushback on my idea that the European Commission might be a place where it’s ever possible to exercise ethics or transcend dehumanized institutional logics. The point I was trying to take from Duncan Kennedy is that we cannot know, until we have spent some times engaging with an organization, whether it is so internally inflexible and on balance harmful that it should be resigned to the scrap heap of history.

Now, […More] ‘ Cogs ‘

Make Work

A friend, who has the intellectual chops for academia, charm enough for sales, and the ethical heart of a British-style social drama, writes to ask if I would “kill him” if he told me he was entertaining thoughts of working for the European Commission.

The background here being not only that he’s young enough to still be choosing a career, but that he had previously expressed particular distaste for certain of those among his peers […More] ‘ Make Work ‘

There is no ethical progress, and no strategy, in silence.

So I love–love–Freddie de Boer. There is, given the defensiveness in his writing, obviously a big slice of the American left-liberal blog-o-sphere who absolutely hates him for his politics, or for the way he expresses his politics, or for the timing of his expression of his politics or…something. But I find his engagement with questions of ethics and strategy, his resistance to the fetishization of American machine politics as the sole locus of social change […More] ‘ Out of the wilderness ‘

The Rub

Even if you hope that the Scots choose (choose!) to stay with England and Wales and Northern Ireland (and the Cornish :D), this piece by Irvine Welsh is an essential expression of what’s thrilling about the Scottish vote, which is that it represents a vindication of something true and real and powerful about the democratic principle. If the Scots choose to stay, it feels as if ‘politics’ will go back to process, to back and […More] ‘ The Rub ‘

Teach the Controversy

Over at the Soros-funded Institute for New Economic Thinking, there have recently been a few blog-posts about the potential of, and the need for, economics curriculum reform. In a recent example, Abdul Alassad characterises the problem as follows:

rational debates of ideas has been replaced by dogma, to the detriment of society. A dogma is a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. Today, economics is taught as a set […More] ‘ Teach the Controversy ‘

We're All Capitalists Now

Those concerned about inequality often place emphasis on the “income share of labour,” a.k.a. the ratio between the amount doled out in wages and the amount doled out in profits, treating it as a useful index of “how workers are doing.” This is logical enough insofar as workers are the ones, so the story goes, who have to rely on wages to eat.

In this sharp if somewhat technical review of Piketty’s Capital in the […More] ‘ We’re All Capitalists Now ‘

Democracy for Everyone!

Good news, everyone: finance is getting more democratic, because technology.

You know how democracy works, right? It means that a service that was previously only sold to some people gets sold to everyone now. It used to be that only finance dudes got to have finance, but now everyone does. Hooray! Let’s watch a video of democracy happening.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah: today’s breathlessness about the democratizing potential of financial institutions […More] ‘ Inconceivable! ‘