The Commodification of Self | The Commodification of Everything | #commodification #self #bestof #psychology #identity #impulse #individualism #responsability #freedom #narcissism #consumerism #expression #sociology #marketing #fiction #images #personalbranding #selfbranding #economy #market #relationship #reductionism #utilitarianism
Full article: Democratic regression in comparative perspective: scope, methods, and causes | #civilsociety #decline #democracy #democratic #economy #fear #institutions #media #politics #populism #regression
“[Denmark] government also said that companies which pay out dividends, buy back own shares or are registered in tax havens won’t be eligible for any of the aid programs”
Coronavirus has shattered the myth that the economy must come first
Since the 1990s, faith in ‘the market’ has gone unchallenged. Now even public shopping has become a crime against society.
The coronavirus shutdown of 2020 is perhaps the most remarkable interruption to ordinary life in modern history. It has been spoken about as a war. And one is reminded of the stories told of the interruption of normality in 1914 and 1939. But unlike a war, the present moment involves demobilisation not mobilisation. While the hospitals are on full alert, the majority of us are confined to quarters. We are deliberately inducing one of the most severe recessions ever seen. In so doing we are driving another nail into the coffin of one of the great platitudes of the late 20th century: it’s the economy stupid.
Coronavirus shows the folly of stripping state and society to the bone
Once upon a time we thought we knew what was up and what was down. According to the lingua franca of the 1990s, in the wake of the cold war, it was obvious that the economics were the fundamentals, and the rest followed. It was the west’s economic success that felled communism. And the economy ruled not only over creaky communist dictatorships, it defined the scope of possible politics in democracies. Arguing against globalisation, Tony Blair insisted, was as absurd as arguing against the seasons.
Then came 2008 and we were left wondering who the economic masters of the universe actually were. It was followed by the extraordinary, politically induced catastrophe of the eurozone debt crisis, in which conservative fiscal populism and dogma – disguised as expertise – ruled over the need to ensure employment and grow the pie. Then in 2016 the UK referendum delivered a majority for Brexit in the face of predictions of economic disaster. Months later, Donald Trump, a narcissistic billionaire, was swept to power by working-class votes in the face of opposition by the great and the good. Both the UK and the US have since pursued policies of spectacular economic irrationality without fear of a crushing veto by the markets. Liberal elites waited in vain for the market vigilantes to arrive.
And now Covid-19. Imagine if blunt economic interest was, in fact, dictating our response. Would we be shutting the economy down? What we know about the virus tells us that it most often kills what are by the numbers the “least productive” members of society. The majority of the working population experience symptoms barely more significant than a regular flu. Unlike regular flus it does not threaten children, the future workers. The virus may be bad, but simplistic economic logic would dictate that until we have a vaccine it would be best to keep life going, because, you know, “it’s the economy stupid”.
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That was indeed the first reaction of the British government. The headline was that Britain was staying open for business. Journalists with good memories dug up Boris Johnson’s fondness for the mayor in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws who insists that despite the fact that a sea monster is eating his constituents the beach should stay open. The higher wisdom of public health, we were told, was that the productive workforce would acquire immunity. We know how that bold experiment in heroic economism has ended: a panic-driven withdrawal in the face of the disastrous scenario of hundreds of thousands of excess deaths, overwhelmed NHS hospitals and a crisis of political legitimacy.
It suddenly became obvious that when matters of life and death are concerned the calculus is different. Of course, old and sick people die. We all will in due course. But it matters fundamentally how and under what circumstances. A huge surge in mortality, even if it is limited to “vulnerable” populations with pre-existing conditions, is existentially unsettling. So too are the apocalyptic scenes that will unfold in our hospitals. In an earlier age, they might have remained behind a decent veil of obscurity. (No doubt the NHS and the BBC will work out the protocols for “embedded” reporting from the clinical frontlines.) But the words and images that have already come to us from northern Italy and Wuhan are bad enough. Faced with all of this, the stupidity lies in not recognising promptly that we must act, that we must shut down, that even the most essential individual activity of the market age, public shopping, has mutated into a crime against society.
This is not to say that economics is not shaping the crisis. It is the relentless expansion of the Chinese economy and the resulting mix of modern urban life with traditional food customs that creates the viral incubators. It is globalised transportation systems that speed up transmission. It is calculations of cost that define the number of intensive-care beds and the stockpiles of ventilators. It is the commercial logic of drug development that defines the range of vaccines we have ready and waiting; obscure coronaviruses don’t get the same attention as erectile dysfunction. And once the virus began to spread, it was the UK’s attachment to business as usual that induced fatal delay. Shutting down comes at a price. No one wants to do it. But then it turns out, in the face of the terrifying predictions of sickness and death, there really is no alternative.
It is once you have overcome that political, intellectual and existential hurdle – to realise that this is a matter of life and death – that economics enters back in. And it does so with a vengeance. The logic revealed by the well-organised Asian states is that it is best to conduct a severe quarantine regime in the hope of being able to return to normal activity as soon as possible. The Chinese economy is already resuming step by step.
In the west, the scale and breadth of the epidemic is such that our response now will have to be a blanket shutdown. And that begs gigantic questions of economic management. Even conservative governments on both sides of the Atlantic are pulling every lever of monetary and fiscal policy. In a matter of weeks they have embarked on gigantic interventions on a scale comparable to those in 2008. They may be able to soften the blow. But it is an open question how long we will be able to persist, how long we will be able to freeze the economy to save lives.
In making the difficult choices that lie ahead we have at least gained one degree of freedom. The big idea of the 1990s that “the economy” will serve as a regulating superego of our politics is a busted flush. Given the experience of the past dozen years we should now never tire of asking: which economic constraints are real and which imagined?
Turkey finally releases epidemic figures: coronavirus epicenter in Istanbul-Al monitor
“Another 79 people died in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 356 people, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Another 2,456 people tested positive and the country now has 18,135 confirmed cases, he said.”
World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King | Business | The Guardian
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STOs & CoinBX: The Coming Revolution Worth Hundreds of Trillions of Dollars
Find out more at aXpire.ioEquities and securities traded on public markets have existed for centuries. The first financial markets appeared in Northern Italy during the Middle Ages with credits and trade rights traded between merchants.Later, during the Age of Discoveries, these kinds of activities thrived in the Netherlands as well, most prominently used in order to fund commercial expeditions in Africa and Asia; the ‘IPO’ of the Dutch East India Company is perhaps the best example of the importance the stock market had on the community which it served.Nowadays, financial markets are an important backbone of the international #economy. As of February 2017, the total capitalization of stocks traded around the world was 69 trillion USD, roughly 100% of the world’s GDP. The total amount of (...)
Show #377: #factory / Teapoint / Factory
Playlist up after the broadcast.
How to Survive the Next Financial Crisis: Student Loan Debt
In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the overall cost of college rose 63%, increasing student loan debt by four times and and pushing the collective American student loan debt over the trillion threshold. For many #students, the price of college is more than just financial; it even possibly comes at the price of adulthood.Hearkening back to the Great Depression and Great Recession, the student loan crisis isn’t looking good these days. At $1.4 trillion, the American student loan debt is worth more than the combined value of Facebook and Microsoft, each valued at $541.5 billion and $750.6 billion respectively. For recent college grads saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, getting a start into adulthood is harder than ever, preventing them from buying homes, making a (...)
What gives cryptocurrencies value?
Just over a year ago, after #bitcoin had just retraced from it’s all time high, I naïvely bought my first Bitcoin and fell down the rabbit hole. One thing I’ve learned is that cryptocurrencies are not just a technological innovation but potentially have a major economic and political impact on society as well. In this article I’ll discuss some of the lessons on the economics behind cryptocurrencies that I’ve learned over the past year to give other newcomers to the space a better feel for what got people excited in the first place.What is money?The ‘coin’ in Bitcoin and ‘currency’ in #cryptocurrency clearly suggest their intended use case; they’re meant to be a form of money. The first thing that comes to mind is likely the native currency you use to buy groceries. But where do they come from? Who (...)
Trust as a Commodity: Can a #trustless #economy Survive and Thrive?
image source: pixabay.comCrypto technologies are often referred to as “trustless.” While often cited as one of their defining features, the label can actually be quite confusing. How can something that’s “trustless” be used for activities that typically require trust?Blockchain is already starting to change the way we transact and do business by opening up the exciting new possibility of a trustless economy where #blockchain apps and services are widely used to facilitate transactions.For crypto to have a real chance of being accepted in the mainstream, it’s important for users to understand the technology’s nuances, starting with the idea of trust.Making Sense of TrustThe way the word “trust” is used in blockchain is similar to the way it’s used in the world of finance. Financially, to trust (...)
America’s economic #growth has come from #subprime borrowing by the poorest 60% / Boing Boing
But it turns out that nearly all of the economic growth in today’s #economy has been driven by subprime borrowing by the poorest 60% of Americans, who have zeroed out their savings and then gone into heavy debt to get university degrees, start “businesses” (often by leasing a car to drive for a rideshare company or trying in some desperate way to get a toehold on the ladder), and maxing out credit cards.
It’s like a rerun of the 2008 crisis in more ways that one. The loans that enabled this debt-fueled growth have low teaser rates that are starting to expire, with new, much higher interest rates about to kick in. When that happens, expect waves of defaults.
“Enhance Your Penis!”Companies are collecting data about people. We shouldn’t let them do that. The data that is collected will be abused. That’s not an absolute certainty, but it’s a practical, extreme likelihood, which is enough to make collection a problem.— Richard StallmanI agree that collecting data on people can have unintended bad consequences. However, banning the practice of data collection would effectively ban targeted #advertising. This would have unintended consequences as well.Twenty-two years ago, there weren’t large #internet companies tracking your every move and serving targeted advertising. But that does not mean that life was perfect for Internet users. Those were also the days when we were deluged with emails with the subject line Enhance Your Penis!. The emails were sent (...)
#South_Africa needs a new public debate
Economic and political crises typically encourage new avenues for conceptualizing a reordering of society. This is because they open up spaces in the realm of discourse due to the discrediting of traditional narratives and systems of thought. If that is generally the case, it is interesting to note that one could hear a pin drop…
Well - I guess that “heads or tails” is one form of monetary policy...
"President Donald #Trump was confused about the #dollar : Was it a strong one that’s good for the #economy ? Or a weak one ? So he made a call ― except not to any of the business leaders Trump brought into his administration or even to an old friend from his days in real estate. Instead, he called his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike #Flynn"
Crisis and the meaning of money
Robert Mugabe Junior has the word “melanin” in his Instagram biography. I discovered this when I went to his profile, a little indulgence I allow myself every few weeks to see just how well the eldest son of our 92-year-old leader is living in Dubai. This time, his profile was locked. Maybe someone had told […]
Number of bankruptcies declines in Latvia and Estonia; grows in Lithuania
In total, the number of insolvent companies had declined in nine out of thirteen countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 2015. The biggest increase in bankruptcy cases was noted in Ukraine (+20.8%) and Lithuania (+16.3%), where the majority of insolvency cases took were registered in trade, construction and production sectors.