A Thought for the Day
Just as one cannot control or even direct, and certainly will never be able to choose, even one’s closest family—parents and children, their manifestation in the world an obvious aggregate of one’s own and more or less random partners’ potentialities—so too might occasions occur when one can only estrange these intimate relatives from one’s inner circle and cast one’s lot with relative strangers whose proclivities, goals, and values more closely match what one imagines as both productive and sustainable, central and necessary, in one’s own evolving existence.
Today is World Sickle Cell Day and, in an entirely different vein, World Sauntering Day, as well as being, in the United States, ‘Juneteenth,’ celebrating the acknowledgement of slavery’s end in Texas, in 1865; in France seven hundred forty-eight years ago, a ninth King Louis ordered that any Jew who failed to wear a yellow identification badge would be liable to a ten livres fine, payable in silver; four hundred and thirty-one years prior to today, British colonists on Roanoke Island, trying to stave off complete annihilation, left their homes for parts unknown; one hundred and ninety-six years in advance of this moment in time, Ottoman forces temporarily consolidated their control of Hungarian regions by crushing the Filiki Eteria at Drågåsani; MORE HERE
Doc of the Day
predation "political economy" taxes OR "rent extraction" "finance capital" contradictions capitalism crisis = 15,600 results
Interesting People Places Things of Note
A Jacobin article that highlights the work of a fascinating and impactful historian: “A founding member of the legendary British Communist Party Historians’ Group that fashioned “history from below,” Hobsbawm was a titanic figure among the twentieth-century intelligentsia. Prodigiously active as an intellectual, scholar, and, as he put it, “participant observer” in political life, he was, ironically, defined by the time of his death by what he did not do: he was the one who did not leave the Communist Party.
A Public Books post that looks at the plight and possible solutions to the crisis in public university education: “It should be worrisome that university bosses and their viziers are applying lessons an idiot could glean from a 1980s movie about the auto industry. Not because it’s unoriginal, but because it is not at all clear that it works. A public university does not sell cars, or phones, or frozen pizzas. Teaching and learning, like performing a string quartet or doing detective work, require real-time virtuosity. They resist automation in this regard, and moreover they offer no real commodity to cheapen. Despite what some mavens of the new economy might spout at a dinner party, the university does not make graduates, or degrees, or knowledge. At best, public universities prepare people to be better commodity-makers after graduation, just as top-tier private schools replicate class privilege. But the productivity fix won’t help make that process more cost-efficient.”
General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues
A Nieman Lab post that looks at ways that podcasting can still be a lucrative venture: “Which brings us to an interesting question: Just how much does S-Town’s success actually tell us about the opportunities of the space as a whole? Or is it just a story that only tells us about the strength of This American Life and Serial Productions?”
A City Lab posting that looks at the current rental markets that never recovered: “Ten years out from the start of the Great Recession, the housing market in the U.S. has finally returned to normal. Home prices in 2016 eclipsed the pre-crisis highs from about a decade ago. The number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages continues to plummet. Homeowners are making back some (but not all) of the wealth they lost to the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
The nation may be free of one housing crisis, but it’s still deeply mired in another one. That’s one jarring conclusion from the State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2017. Produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the report highlights a rental affordability crisis that shows little sign of abating.”
General Past & Present Issues
Another thoughtful offering from Ian Welsh that contextualizes current reality in a useful way: “After the election of Donald Trump I had an interview with Jay Ackroyd, and he said that as long as he’d known me I’d been more pessimistic than others, but now I was optimistic, and what gives?
Simple, the trends had turned.
Sanders had happened and he had done better than any self-avowed socialist in America in my lifetime. He came very close to winning the nomination, despite the Democratic party fixing it against him.
Corbyn had already happened, in that he had won the leadership of the Labour party and then seen off a coup attept.”
The trends had changed.