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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

See how far you follow my line of thinking here: (1) Democracy (institutional and not just majoritarian/representational) is better than the alternatives. Let’s live with it (and defend it). (2) Democracy as practiced in the U.S. today is partial, compromised, and somewhat muzzled, but still better than the alternatives. Let’s fix it up. (3) Democracy, […]

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Here’s a back-of-the-envelope hypothesis on the “new media regime” and some open questions that follow from it. Two groups are faring best these days under the current (new) media regime.* The first is surveillance capitalists, who have developed ways to monetize and harvest new data technologies directly for the accumulation of wealth. (That covers the […]

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The Covid-19 situation in the United States, which has become the epicenter of new infections because of its flawed and chaotic response to the pandemic, is seen by some around the world as an emergency case of its own, requiring some sort of defensive response by countries that could become similarly infected. The Week‘s Ryan […]

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I’m reading Shoshana Zuboff’s widely lauded The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which some have placed alongside Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as essential reading for understanding today’s global economy. The big conceptual idea I find most useful in it is its insistence that we are in the midst of a “fourth great transformation” […]

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Yesterday was a perfect illustration of how exciting (and bewildering) it can be to read the U.S. national news. Here’s a multiple-choice quiz about it. Which of the following occurred yesterday?

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A casual comment on a minor article in a provincial newspaper in a faraway country (Ukraine) got me going on a response to what is, essentially, the white world’s default position on all things racial. (Social media comments, as a rule, aren’t indicative of anything, but this one is so symptomatic it’s worth examining.) The […]

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As I explain in Shadowing the Anthropocene, process-relational philosophy in a Peircian-Whiteheadian vein takes aesthetics to be first, ethics to be second, and logic (which, in our time, we need to think of also as eco-logic) to be third. This is not a temporal sequence, but a logical one: aesthetics is found in the response […]

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The “reopening” of the world’s economies, locally and nationally, piece by piece, after the sudden and massive stoppage of the entire economic system, is raising important questions about whether the system can be put back into motion selectively and into a more viable direction than it had been moving beforehand. Some observers have suggested, optimistically, […]

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The global pandemic of Covid-19 has been accompanied by a proliferation of competing narratives of what the crisis is and means, and how it should be addressed. The UN and the World Health Organization have called this an “infodemic,” that is, an epidemic (or pandemic) of information that, in its confusing diversity, has made it […]

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I have many friends who are despairing that, with Bernie Sanders’s exit from the presidential race, the United States has lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elect a leader who is honest, reliable, and completely untethered to the vested interests that keep our whole system careening towards catastrophe (climate change, ecological collapse, mass extinction, out-of-control AI, […]

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There’s a lot of interesting thinking going on in response to the coronavirus pandemic and how it will “change everything.” Here’s the beginning of a curated sampling. It takes for granted that there will be suffering, a lot of it, unequally distributed and with a preponderance of it coming down on first responders and low-wage, […]

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This was originally posted over a week ago, but then taken down by request as it was being considered for publication elsewhere (but not published there). A shorter version of it appeared yesterday at VT Digger. The school I work for, the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, recently undertook a […]

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