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.]

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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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THE INTERNET AS COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

June 27, 2018

This playful ramble likens the internet to the unconscious of the whole of humanity. If we let it, the internet rubs our noses in our being as a species, warts, wonders and all. However, we argue, it is now possible to avoid this stark and partly painful self-revelation by retreating into echo chambers. The monetisation of the internet through advertising is partly responsible. We touch on the desirability of a de-centralised internet which encourages and rewards good content creators. [Free. 25 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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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART THREE: METAPHYSICS

February 22, 2017

In this podcast, we outline some of the resonances of The Matrix with metaphysics which we take to be the philosophical effort to characterise the being of beings as a whole. We particularly focus on Plato's myth of the cave and Descartes' radical doubt, regarding both of these as utilising the metaphor of human being as camera obscura and the real-apparent and subject-object distinctions. This is not as obscure as it sounds! [Free. 35 minutes.]

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“EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED” - DIRK GENTLY

January 27, 2017

Inspired by Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, I consider things, connections, processes, language, metaphoricity, information and detective work [amongst other things]. Dramatis personae: Heraclitus, Parmenides, Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein. [Free. 23 minutes.]

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GETTING INFORMED IN THE INFORMATION AGE

July 27, 2016

In his podcast, we consider the problems of negotiating the unprecedented access to information that characterises the modern age. We note that too much information becomes no information unless we have the means to evaluate what is relevant to our questions, to discern what is reliable and what not, and unless we have some grasp of interpretation and how it relates to states of affairs in the world. We go on to consider the struggle for the internet and the broad shape of the power which tries to determine and exploit our lives. [Free. 60 minutes.]

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TURBULENCE: TURKEY, BREXIT, THE STRUGGLE FOR THE INTERNET

July 24, 2016

This podcast starts with a discussion of flux which I characterize here as 'turbulence' and 'fragmentation'. The turbulence in Turkey [where there was an attempted military coup the day before this was recorded], the fragmentation in UK politics post Brexit, and the struggle for control of the internet are then considered. [Free. 36 minutes.]

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