IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

August 12, 2018

This meander was stimulated by a recent repudiation by Zizek of the possible role of small communities in any future human flourishing. In this context, I revisit E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). I discuss some of the core ideas from that seminal work. In particular, I focus on the treatement of raw materials as [inexhaustible]  income and the treatement of the environment as a free dump by capitalism and the economic theories that act as its ideological justification. I touch upon intermediate technology, the role of 'spirituality' in the good life, the way in which economic theories and political practice often treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet, the 1984-5 UK Miners' Strike and the persistence of alienation in nationalised industries. I do this by discerning Zizek's 'inner Schumacher' and Schumacher's 'inner Zizek' and recounting instances of their expression. In both cases these inner others are mostly repressed, but vigorous enough to surface now and then in brilliant insight. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART ONE: POLITICAL SCOUNDRELS]

July 23, 2018

This podcast is a wide-ranging commentary on the Trump charm offensive on Nato, the UK Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin of last week [13/7/18 ff]. It draws on the relevant press conferences, the film The Vietnam War [Ken Burns and Lynn Novick], the film An Inconvenient Sequel [Al Gore] and broadcasts of the UK Parliament. I consider the thesis that the political class are largely scoundrels. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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REMARKS ON US/UK/FRANCE MISSILE STRIKES ON SYRIA [14TH APRIL 18]

April 15, 2018

In this podcast I question the legitimacy the UK government's decision to join with France and the USA in attacking Syria with missiles without Parliamentary debate and without clear evidence of the presence of the chemical warefare agents that were the alleged target. I draw attention to the fact that the UK state is complicit in supplying arms to dictators, which though 'legal', cause horrible human suffering just as efficiently as chemical warefare agents. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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ON INVENTION: THE CASE OF DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY

January 12, 2018

In this podcast, I draw attention to the question of the role of technological innovation in social, cultural and economic change. This leads to a consideration of various aspects of distributed ledger technology, including the internet of things, crypto-currency and blockchain. [Free. 40 minutes.]

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COMMENTARY ON 2017 SNAP GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

June 28, 2017

This short squib deals with the paradoxical euphoria of the Corbynistas, who did not get to form a government as a result of the election, and asks if the euphoria is justified. I conclude that it is and that a number of important transformations have taken place in the political landscape. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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YOGA AND THE FUTURE

June 23, 2017

In this podcast we discuss the future of Yoga both in a broad historical context and in the local UK context in which Yoga is being 'claimed' by the corporate fitness industry. The discussion naturally elides into a discussion of the potential roles that Yoga and Yoga practitioners should play in the unfolding of events as economic, cultural and ecological instabilities play out. We conclude that the fitness industry has to be strongly resisted by authentic yogis if Yoga is to be able to do its good work to maximum effect. An extended version of this talk was given at the IYN Yoga Festival on 2nd June 2017. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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HOMO ECONOMICUS: COMMENTARY ON ROB URIE’S ‘ZEN ECONOMICS’

May 29, 2017

This podcast is almost a review of Rob Urie's Zen Economics (2016). The thesis of Urie's book is that contemporary economic theory is a pseudo science which functions as an ideological mystification of consumer capitalism and bases itself on a spurious metaphysical conceptualisation of the human being along Cartesian lines. Urie marshals Zen and the work of Heidegger to mount his criticism with interesting results. [Free. 44 minutes.]

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CONTRA NOS: TALK GIVEN IN LONDON AGAINST THE NATIONAL OCCUPATION STANDARD FOR A YOGA TEACHER

January 23, 2017

This is my contribution to a public meeting put on by the Independent Yoga Network [IYN] to clarify the attempt being made by BWY and Skillsactive to institute a National Occupational Standard for a Yoga Teacher in the face of concerted and reasoned opposition from key players in the UK Yoga Community.  The meeting was held on the 14th January 2017. I am introduce by Ellen Lee, Chair of the IYN. Other presenters were Swami Ambikananda Saraswati [Traditional Yoga Association], Jim Gough [IYN Treasurer], Nick Elwell [BGi Insurance], and Satish K Sharma [General Secretary, National Council of Hindu Temple (UK)]. The complete proceedings, which run to over 3 hours, will be available from the IYN online magazine, namaskaram, shortly. [Free. 22 minutes.]

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