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CONCENTRATIONS OF WEALTH &  POWER AND BIG DATA

CONCENTRATIONS OF WEALTH & POWER AND BIG DATA

February 7, 2020

This podcast is structured around a review of Peter Phillips' book, Giants: The Global Power Elite. I elucidate and assess the main points of the book, [1] that seventeen globally active asset management corporations each administer over $1 trillion, together totalling $41.1 trillion, [2] that these corporations are managed by 199 directors who Phillips gives brief biographies of; [3] that there are deep connections between these personnel and the three main propaganda and public relations global conglomerates, various 'think tanks' and policy bodies, and governments.  I further relate this connectivity to the role of big data as it is extracted and exploited by the tech giants Google and Facebook. I rely on Shoshana Ruboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism to make the latter connection. In the light of Phillips' and Ruboff's rigorous scholarship, I consider the vilification of the UK left by the billionaire-owned media and the prospect of a radical, progressive turn in world politics and what is needed to ensure it. [Free. 29 minutes.]

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

January 25, 2020

In this interview renowned Yoga Teacher Godfrey Devereux about a recent turn his work has taken. Godfrey has dropped the language surrounding contemporary Yoga to talk instead about resilience and how it is a consequence of a certain meditative self-enquiry. I ask Godfrey to elucidate this and particularly in the context of impending ecological catastrophe. I give my own take on these matters which is more inclined to speak up for activism. Listen to the following podcast, The Yogi and the Commissar, in which I explore some of the themes that emerged and in the light of Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

THE INTERNET & ELECTORAL POLITICS - GE 19

THE INTERNET & ELECTORAL POLITICS - GE 19

November 24, 2019

This podcast deals with the role that the internet is likely to play in the outcome of the UK General Election to be held on December 12th, 2019. We note that the internet is bound to be a site of struggle, that it presents many deep challenges to democracy, but that it has great possibilities, particularly for citizen journalism and the exposure of lies and propaganda. [Free. 53 minutes.]

THE CASE FOR LABOUR - GE 2019

THE CASE FOR LABOUR - GE 2019

November 6, 2019

This podcast is the first of several we will be doing in the run up to the general election to be held in the UK on December 12th 2019. It makes the general case for Labour as being the only party addressing the stark fact that 'business as usual is not an option'. It ranges quite far and wide, but with some focus on 'The Green Industrial Revolution'. [Free. 58 minutes.]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

June 9, 2019

This podcast, recorded in November 2018, continues with commentary on the Songs of No and Yes, and explores the theme of desire further. As well as asking if determinism universally applies, I ask what would be the existential consequences if it did. I conclude that metaphysical issues, like free will  - determinism are probably undecidable, and, in this case, of no existential consequence. The upshot for meditation practitioners is that they are well-advised to be engaged with the world and to make efforts to make a future of flourishing for self and others, rather than repudiating creativity, politics and altruism because "what will be, will be." (If such is their bent.) The practice of letting be with bright awareness, I argue, should be understood as applicable to all aspects of lived experience, including the active, creative and passive. The role of determinism in the scientific method is briefly considered. [Free. 18 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.]

LAO TZU 15

LAO TZU 15

September 7, 2018

In this podcast, we comment on Chapters 25 and 26 of The Tao Te Ching. In the first part, we elucidate Lao Tzu's cosmology and the categories of earth, heaven, the human and the Tao. We particularly highlight how, for Lao Tzu, the transcendent and the immanent are mutually dependent and how this precludes life-negation. Lao Tzu, we take it, arrives at this tremendous vision through his own contemplation and goes on to point out to us how we might do the same and how simple that task is. We flesh out Lao Tzu's contemplative [non] method, hopefully with some practical pointers. [Free. 37 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.]

INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

August 1, 2018

In this podcast I consider Nietzsche's accounts of promise-making, bad conscience, ressentiment, the mnemo-technics of pain and the rise of Christianity understood as the spiritual revenge of slaves as outlined in On the Genealogy of Morals [1886]. I offer a riposte to Judith Butler's objection to Nietzsche's account of the development of a continuous will which seems to be in contradiction to Nietzsche's account of language as a 'moving army of metaphors'. [Butler, 1997 - The Psychic Life of Power.] From there, I move on to consider how the concept of ressentiment can be utilised to understand the current populism in conjuction with the notion of ideology. To the Freudian-Marxists question 'Why do slaves aquiesece in their slavery?', the Nietzschean might answer, 'They don't always. Sometimes they seek subterranean means of revenge in order to experience the intoxication of exerting their will to power over others.'  [Free. 39 minutes.]

VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

July 29, 2018

This podcast is stimulated by David Graeber's remarks on value and a possible revolutionary ethical paradigm shift that could place value creation not in production of commodities but production of people. I follow Graeber, though with artistic license,  jumping off from the platform he provides to extol the virtues of 'naturally occurring communism', to praise idleness, to see hope in the revitalisation of the flame of humanness. I draw on Adam Smith, Marx, Engels, the TV series Silicon Valley and Bertrand Russell. [Free. 26 minutes.]