The conversation hinged on one question: What's wrong with America and what does technology have to do with it? It pitted Graeber's anarchist beliefs that unnecessary corporatized bureaucracies within government, research-science facilities, and higher-education institutions have stalled innovation for the past 40 years or so against Thiel's libertarian beliefs that, well, it's all so messed up that the only way to effect change is to step outside the system and do it yourself.
The United States of America is not a democracy, but an oligarchy – with the rich controlling government decisions and the average American having practically zero influence over public policies. Some call it a capitalist dictatorship, where “capital” does the dictating. Here’s a good example of the oligarchy controlling the puppets. During the last four years, Americans have been coerced into focusing on a single, symbolic campaign to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
One of the great things about living near Chevron’s big East Bay refinery—yes, the one that caught fire and exploded two years ago—is its system of early warnings about new disasters about to befall Richmond, CA. In our post-Citizens United era, the nation’s second largest oil producer is now free to spend $1.6 million (or more, if necessary) on direct mail and phone alerts, designed to keep 30,000 likely voters fully informed about threats to their city.
The story of Pandora’s Box (which was really a jar) -- much like the Biblical tale of “forbidden fruit” -- is meant as a warning that once the evils of the world are released, it’s virtually impossible for them to be recalled. Sticking with the Greek mythology vibe, I guess you could say Adam Weissman has been playing the role of Cassandra in the struggle to inform others about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s recently released long-term predictions for the global economy through 2060 (Paul Mason, “The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060,” The Guardian, July 7), economic growth will stagnate to something like two-thirds its present level and economic inequality will increase. But growth will continue at a higher level in the developing countries until mid-century, because there are still significant gains to be achieved through the diffusion of the West’s existing technological advantages to the rest of the world. Still, the price for even this level of economic growth — obviously, from the perspective of the neoliberal wonks at OECD — will be growing inequality.
In a blurry black and white photograph from Italy in the 1960s, a worker rides a Vespa past a factory wall on which is scrawled operaist graffiti "Il Vietnam è in fabbrica" - Vietnam is in the factory. Today it would be more likely to find "The factory is in Vietnam" on the walls of the long-closed factory. Yet these two moments are not unconnected. So how did we get from the fall of Saigon to the fall of Lehman brothers, from Nixon to Obama? The answer from much of the Left seems to be "financialization", understood not as a materialist process, but as fulfillment of the Communist Manifesto's apocalyptic vision that "all that is solid melts into air."
As the commentary around the recent deaths of Nelson Mandela, Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger made abundantly clear, most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is arrant nonsense. This is not surprising, given our country’s history of Red Scares designed to impress that anti-capitalism is tantamount to treason. In 2014, though, we are too far removed from the Cold War-era threat of thermonuclear annihilation to continue without taking stock of the hype we’ve been made, despite Harry Allen’s famous injunction, to believe. So, here are seven bogus claims people make about communism and capitalism.
I want to start by mentioning Andrea Smith who [works on] indigenous liberation and [is a] prison abolitionist, and a co-founder of 'INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence'. In her work she asserts that the idea of "safe space" is foundationally problematic because of the fact that we haven't yet ended white supremacy, plantation culture, continued occupation of indigenous ancestral territories, and heteropatriarchy amongst other things. ...this assertion that we have safe space, or that spaces can be made safe is just a fallacy.
David Novak, the CEO of YUM! Brands, which owns Taco Bell and KFC, took home more than $22 million last year after exercising stock options, according to proxy statements. The average full-time fast-food worker, by comparison, would have made about $19,000 on the year.
Should a company be able to patent a breast cancer gene? What about a species of soybean? How about a tool for basic scientific research? Or even a patent for acquiring patents (see: Halliburton)? Intellectual property rights are supposed to help inventors bring good things to life, but there’s increasing concern that they may be keeping us from getting the things we need.