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THATCHERISM REVISITED

THATCHERISM REVISITED

March 24, 2019

In this podcast, I read a short essay I wrote in 1989 describing and analysing the previous ten years of Thatcherism. [Margaret Thatcher became PM of the UK in 1979.] I offer it here to illustrate how the Thatcher electoral victory of 1979 gave rise to ideological and practical dominance by neoliberalism which still has momentum, though now running down. [Free. 13 minutes.]

CAPITALISM WITH A HUMAN FACE?

CAPITALISM WITH A HUMAN FACE?

November 9, 2018

This podcast was stimulated by a riposte to Aaron Bastami's adage that 'Tories exist to break the poor' which cites Disraeli's lament at the class split in the nation as well as to the building of hundreds of thousands of council houses in 1950s UK as evidence of a right wing benevolence. The main point I make against this notion that Capitalism may have a human face is that every working class advantage was either struggled for or 'granted' by the powers that be for reasons of economic necessity rather than generosity. In this context, I discuss the industrial reserve army and the high cost of training workers as productive technology historically got more sophisticated. I take a detour around the recent Greek economic crisis, the power of information and money, the instability of the money system, and the value and danger of utopian thinking. [Free. 29 minutes.]

JUNK ECONOMICS

JUNK ECONOMICS

November 9, 2018

This podcast is a squib inspired by Michael Hudson's J is for Junk Economics [2017] and the tumbleweed now bowling along the deserted high street. In this light, I examine Amazon's rapid metastasis and the phenomenon of believing that 'the stock is the product', to quote Action Jack Barker of Silicon Valley. Consideration naturally follows of Hudson's central thesis that neo-liberal economists are not really followers of Adam Smith, but have inverted his message, championing finance capital, [and, more generally, gaming the system], over and against productive capital. [Free. 30 minutes.]

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

October 12, 2018

This podcast is an abstract consideration of universal basic income which relates it to plenty, scarcity, money in general and political power. I explore both dystopian and utopian possibilities. [Free. 26 minutes.]

IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

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.]

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

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.]

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

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.]

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

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.]

ON INVENTION: THE CASE OF DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY

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.]

COMMENTARY ON 2017 SNAP GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

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.]