company:dutch east india company

  • La VOC et les #GAFA

    peut-on comparer les « conquérants du cyberespace » avec les méga-compagnies commerciales du 18e siècle ? Recrutement, colonisation, organisation commerciale du monde…

    >> liens compilés par Patrice R. :

    How today’s tech giants compare to the massive companies of empires past

    Dutch East India Company (VOC), established in the early 17th century, would be worth $7.9 trillion in today’s dollars.

  • Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam*pksYF4nMsS3aKrtD

    Par Douglas Rushkoff

    To my surprise, the audience seemed to share my concerns. They’re not idiots, and the negative effects of their operations were visible everywhere they looked. Then an employee piped up with a surprising question: “What about UBI?”

    Wait a minute, I thought. That’s my line.

    Up until that moment, I had been an ardent supporter of universal basic income (UBI), that is, government cash payments to people whose employment would no longer be required in a digital economy. Contrary to expectations, UBI doesn’t make people lazy. Study after study shows that the added security actually enables people to take greater risks, become more entrepreneurial, or dedicate more time and energy to improving their communities.

    So what’s not to like?

    Shouldn’t we applaud the developers at Uber — as well as other prominent Silicon Valley titans like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, bond investor Bill Gross, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman — for coming to their senses and proposing we provide money for the masses to spend? Maybe not. Because to them, UBI is really just a way for them to keep doing business as usual.

    Uber’s business plan, like that of so many other digital unicorns, is based on extracting all the value from the markets it enters. This ultimately means squeezing employees, customers, and suppliers alike in the name of continued growth. When people eventually become too poor to continue working as drivers or paying for rides, UBI supplies the required cash infusion for the business to keep operating.

    Walmart perfected the softer version of this model in the 20th century. Move into a town, undercut the local merchants by selling items below cost, and put everyone else out of business. Then, as sole retailer and sole employer, set the prices and wages you want. So what if your workers have to go on welfare and food stamps.

    Now, digital companies are accomplishing the same thing, only faster and more completely. Instead of merely rewriting the law like colonial corporations did or utilizing the power of capital like retail conglomerates do, digital companies are using code. Amazon’s control over the retail market and increasingly the production of the goods it sells, has created an automated wealth-extraction platform that the slave drivers who ran the Dutch East India Company couldn’t have even imagined.

    Of course, it all comes at a price: Digital monopolists drain all their markets at once and more completely than their analog predecessors. Soon, consumers simply can’t consume enough to keep the revenues flowing in. Even the prospect of stockpiling everyone’s data, like Facebook or Google do, begins to lose its allure if none of the people behind the data have any money to spend.

    To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.

    Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.

    To venture capitalists seeking to guarantee their fortunes for generations, such economic equality sounds like a nightmare and unending, unnerving disruption. Why create a monopoly just to give others the opportunity to break it or, worse, turn all these painstakingly privatized assets back into a public commons?

    The answer, perhaps counterintuitively, is because all those assets are actually of diminishing value to the few ultra-wealthy capitalists who have accumulated them. Return on assets for American corporations has been steadily declining for the last 75 years. It’s like a form of corporate obesity. The rich have been great at taking all the assets off the table but really bad at deploying them. They’re so bad at investing or building or doing anything that puts money back into the system that they are asking governments to do this for them — even though the corporations are the ones holding all the real assets.

    Like any programmer, the people running our digital companies embrace any hack or kluge capable of keeping the program running. They don’t see the economic operating system beneath their programs, and so they are not in a position to challenge its embedded biases much less rewrite that code.

    Whether its proponents are cynical or simply naive, UBI is not the patch we need. A weekly handout doesn’t promote economic equality — much less empowerment. The only meaningful change we can make to the economic operating system is to distribute ownership, control, and governance of the real world to the people who live in it.

    written by
    Douglas Rushkoff

    #Revenu_de_base #Revenu_universel #Disruption #Economie_numérique #Uberisation

  • Le monde dans nos tasses

    « Thé ? Café ? Chocolat ? » Cette litanie du matin, formulée dans tous les hôtels du monde, évoque à chacun un rituel quotidien immuable : celui du petit déjeuner. Qui peut en effet imaginer se réveiller sans l’odeur stimulante d’un café, la chaleur enrobante d’un thé ou la douceur réconfortante d’un chocolat chaud ?
    Et pourtant, ces #boissons, pour nous si familières, n’ont rien d’européennes. Ni le caféier, ni le théier, ni le cacaoyer ne poussent dans les contrées tempérées. Alors comment ces produits ont-ils fait irruption dans nos tasses, et ce dès le XVIIIe siècle, au point de devenir nos indispensables complices des premières heures du jour ?
    En retraçant l’étonnante histoire du petit déjeuner, de la découverte des denrées exotiques à leur exploitation, de leur transformation à leur diffusion en Europe et dans le monde, c’est toute la grande histoire de la mondialisation et de la division Nord/Sud que Christian Grataloup vient ici nous conter.
    Ainsi chaque matin, depuis trois siècles, en buvant notre thé, notre café ou notre chocolat, c’est un peu comme si nous buvions le Monde…
    #livre #petit-déjeuner #mondialisation #globalisation #Grataloup #Christian_Grataloup #géohistoire #géographie_de_la_mondialisation #thé #café #cacao #chocolat #alimentation #RAP2018-2019


    • Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea

      With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term—té in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

      Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

      The term cha (茶) is “Sinitic,” meaning it is common to many varieties of Chinese. It began in China and made its way through central Asia, eventually becoming “chay” (چای) in Persian. That is no doubt due to the trade routes of the Silk Road, along which, according to a recent discovery, tea was traded over 2,000 years ago. This form spread beyond Persia, becoming chay in Urdu, shay in Arabic, and chay in Russian, among others. It even made its way to sub-Saharan Africa, where it became chai in Swahili. The Japanese and Korean terms for tea are also based on the Chinese cha, though those languages likely adopted the word even before its westward spread into Persian.

      But that doesn’t account for “tea.” The Chinese character for tea, 茶, is pronounced differently by different varieties of Chinese, though it is written the same in them all. In today’s Mandarin, it is chá. But in the Min Nan variety of Chinese, spoken in the coastal province of Fujian, the character is pronounced te. The key word here is “coastal.”

      The te form used in coastal-Chinese languages spread to Europe via the Dutch, who became the primary traders of tea between Europe and Asia in the 17th century, as explained in the World Atlas of Language Structures. The main Dutch ports in east Asia were in Fujian and Taiwan, both places where people used the te pronunciation. The Dutch East India Company’s expansive tea importation into Europe gave us the French thé, the German Tee, and the English tea.

      Yet the Dutch were not the first to Asia. That honor belongs to the Portuguese, who are responsible for the island of Taiwan’s colonial European name, Formosa. And the Portuguese traded not through Fujian but Macao, where chá is used. That’s why, on the map above, Portugal is a pink dot in a sea of blue.

      A few languages have their own way of talking about tea. These languages are generally in places where tea grows naturally, which led locals to develop their own way to refer to it. In Burmese, for example, tea leaves are lakphak.

      The map demonstrates two different eras of globalization in action: the millenia-old overland spread of goods and ideas westward from ancient China, and the 400-year-old influence of Asian culture on the seafaring Europeans of the age of exploration. Also, you just learned a new word in nearly every language on the planet.
      #mots #vocabulaire #terminologie #cartographie #visualisation

  • The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger | The New Yorker

    Tasmania, which is sometimes said to hang beneath Australia like a green jewel, shares the country’s colonial history. The first English settlers arrived in 1803 and soon began spreading across the island, whose human and animal inhabitants had lived in isolation for more than ten thousand years. Conflict was almost immediate. The year that the Orchard farmhouse was built, the Tasmanian government paid out fifty-eight bounties to trappers and hunters who presented the bodies of thylacines, which were wanted for preying on the settlers’ sheep. By then, the number of dead tigers, like the number of live ones, was steeply declining. In 1907, the state treasury paid out for forty-two carcasses. In 1908, it paid for seventeen. The following year, there were two, and then none the year after, or the year after that, or ever again.

    By 1917, when Tasmania put a pair of tigers on its coat of arms, the real thing was rarely seen.

    Like the dodo and the great auk, the tiger found a curious immortality as a global icon of extinction, more renowned for the tragedy of its death than for its life, about which little is known. In the words of the Tasmanian novelist Richard Flanagan, it became “a lost object of awe, one more symbol of our feckless ignorance and stupidity.”

    But then something unexpected happened. Long after the accepted date of extinction, Tasmanians kept reporting that they’d seen the animal. There were hundreds of officially recorded sightings, plus many more that remained unofficial, spanning decades.

    Expeditions to find the rumored survivors were mounted—some by the government, some by private explorers, one by the World Wildlife Fund. They were hindered by the limits of technology, the sheer scale of the Tasmanian wilderness, and the fact that Tasmania’s other major carnivore, the devil, is nature’s near-perfect destroyer of evidence, known to quickly consume every bit of whatever carcasses it finds, down to the hair and the bones.

    #Tasmanie #biodiversité #extinction

    • Many scientists believe that even now, in this age of environmental crisis and ever-increasing technological capability, more animals are discovered each year than go extinct, often dying off without us even realizing they lived. We have no way to define extinction—or existence—other than through the limits of our own perception. For many years, an animal was considered extinct a half century after the last confirmed sighting. The new standard, adopted in 1994, is that there should be “no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died,” leaving us to debate which doubts are reasonable. Because the death of a species is not a simple narrative unfolding conveniently before human eyes, it’s likely that at least some thylacines did survive beyond their official end at the Hobart Zoo, perhaps even for generations.

      Tiger enthusiasts are quick to bring up Lazarus species—animals that were considered lost but then found—which in Australia include the mountain pygmy possum (known from fossils dating from the Pleistocene and long thought to be extinct, it was found in a ski lodge in 1966); the Adelaide pygmy blue-tongue skink (rediscovered in a snake’s stomach in 1992); and the bridled nailtail wallaby, which was resurrected in 1973, after a fence-builder read about its extinction in a magazine article and told researchers that he knew where some lived. In 2013, a photographer captured seventeen seconds of footage of the night parrot, whose continued existence had been rumored but unproven for almost a century. Sean Dooley, the editor of the magazine BirdLife, called the rediscovery “the bird-watching equivalent of finding Elvis flipping burgers in an outback roadhouse.”

    • This is the dream that the explorer Abel Tasman was chasing when he sailed east from Mauritius on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, in 1642. (Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, had become a popular stopover for Dutch sailors, who restocked their larders with a large and easily hunted bird that lived there, the dodo.) Almost seven weeks later, his crew sighted land, which they took for part of a continent, never discovering that it was an island. Onshore, they initially met no people, although they heard music in the forest and saw widely spaced notches carved into trees, which led Tasman to speculate, in his published journal, that giants lived there—a notion that may have inspired Jonathan Swift’s Brobdingnagians. Tasman also wrote that a search party “saw the footing of wild Beasts having Claws like a Tyger.”

      Aboriginal Tasmanians, who had lived on the land for roughly thirty-five thousand years, were dying in large numbers, succumbing to new diseases introduced from Europe and attacks by colonists who wanted to raise livestock on the open land where they, and the thylacine, hunted. In 1830, just twenty-seven years after colonization, Tasmania’s lieutenant-governor called on the military, and every able-bodied male, to join a human chain that would stretch across the settled areas of the island and sweep the native people into exile. The operation, which used up more than half the colony’s annual budget, became known as the Black Line, for the people it targeted. That same year, a wool venture in the northwest offered the first bounties for dead thylacines, and the government of the island began offering them for living Aboriginal people—later to be amended to include the dead as well.

    • Éteindre une espèce, c’est souvent involontaire. (Conduire sa voiture, manger de la viande, jeter du plastique...). Découvrir une espece, c’est volontaire (financer une mission scientifique, s’intéresser aux sciences, choisir un métier sans débouchés en SVT...). Donc c’est incomparable.

    • L’article mentionne à plusieurs reprises des vies brisées par la passion pour cette quête : des mecs que leur compagne quitte parce qu’elles en ont marre de voir l’argent du ménage passer en caméras ou que leur mec soit toujours en vadrouille et ne parle que de ça. Très peu de femmes dans le reportage et la seule dont j’ai le souvenir est mesurée, elle a un propos d’ONG.

      Ça tourne mal pour eux mais n’est-ce pas genré, de pouvoir avoir une passion et la vivre comme ça ? Dans l’image que j’ai de la société à travers des reportages comme ça ou mes observations perso, les femmes ne peuvent pas se permettre d’avoir des passions et de les vivre, c’est un énième privilège masculin. Je pensais à ça en plaignant (ma première réaction) ces types qui compliquent leur vie avec la recherche de ce tigre (marsupial).

  • The #BullshitFiles: #KLM offers flights to ‘the #Dark_Continent’

    We’re not making this up. It turns out Royal Dutch flagship carrier’s KLM decision to hire the Dutch East India Company as its PR firm was a bad plan. According to their website, KLM will fly you to ‘the Dark Continent’ (their original inverted commas) to visit Lusaka, Zambia, a city of two million that […]