Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
|Diachronic versus synchronic perspective|
Explanation of current form in terms of a historical sequence
Explanation of the current form of species
|How vs. why questions||Proximate view|
How an individual organism's structures function
Developmental explanations for changes in individuals, from DNA to their current form
Mechanistic explanations for how an organism's structures work
|Evolutionary (ultimate) view|
Why a species evolved the structures (adaptations) it has
The history of the evolution of sequential changes in a species over many generations
A species trait that evolved to solve a reproductive or survival problem in the ancestral environment
Monday, December 22, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
also interesting re welfare state as an institutionalisation of emergent mutual (aid) societies / insurance networks
"These institutions were the result of the strong position held by the workers' movement after the Liberation. They were invented by the workers' movement itself. From the nineteenth century onward, workers and unions had established mutual societies, for example, to pay benefits to those unable to work. It was the very logic of the market and the enormous risks it imposed on the lives of workers that pushed them to develop mechanisms for the partial socialization of income.
In the early phase of the industrial revolution, only property owners were full citizens, and as the sociologist Robert Castel emphasizes, it was only with social security that the "social rehabilitation of non-property-owners" really took place. It was social security that established, alongside private property, a social property, intended to usher the popular classes into citizenship. This is the idea Karl Polanyi advances in The Great Transformation, which sees in the principle of social protection the aim of withdrawing the individual out of the laws of the market and thus reconfiguring relations of power between capital and labor."
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
In parallel to the EU-US trade deal currently under way, the US is negotiating a similar agreement with 11 countries of the Asia Pacific: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Walden Bello, leading critic of neoliberal and corporate globalisation, identifies the global strategy underpinning the two agreements. Interview.
Protests against the WTO in Seattle in 1999. Steve Kaiser/Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.Thomas Fazi: Today bilateral and regional 'free trade agreements' – or better, mega-regional agreements, such as the TTIP and TPP – have effectively replaced negotiations within the WTO. Have we entered a new phase of globalisation?
Walden Bello: Yes. I think the triumphalist phase of globalisation, which peaked in the 1990s and then started to decline after the 1999 Seattle mobilisations, is definitely over. Today we are in a situation where corporate-driven globalisation and neoliberalism have led to a major crisis, and are on the defensive. We could say that the very concept of corporate-driven globalisation is in crisis. Its credibility has been severely damaged. But of course there are still very strong interests – supported by technocratic elites and most of academia – that continue to push for neoliberal solutions, such as the TTIP and the TPP.
TF: How much did the anti-globalisation and anti-free trade movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s help undermine the paradigm of corporate-driven globalisation?
WB: I think the movement's most important achievement was that it really shocked the triumphalism and the credibility of the whole project of corporate-driven globalisation. Seattle was a very historic event, in which the action of the people in the streets finally revealed that the emperor had no clothes. Even prior to Seattle it was already clear in so many statistics that globalisation was leading to greater poverty and inequality and was creating all sorts of inefficiencies, but somehow that truth was not getting through. In Seattle the paradigm was definitely shattered. What we witnessed wasn't just the collapse of the WTO ministerial – it was the collapse of the whole paradigm. I think this was the clear achievement of the anti-globalisation movement: that it really showed that there was a dark side to globalisation, that it was creating the opposite of what it promised.
The erosion of the WTO has been very critical, because this was supposed to be the prime instrument of globalisation. We are talking of the most ambitious commercial legal code ever created, and this architecture is now at a standstill.
This is why in recent years they have begun to move back into bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). But FTAs – pushed primarily by the EU, the US and Japan – are seen by these countries as a second-best arrangement, resulting from the failure to reach the sort of universal consensus that they had tried to work out within the WTO. This is not to underestimate the very deleterious impact of agreements such as the TTIP and TPP. But I think they are also very fragile. Just look at the growing opposition of civil society to the TTIP in Europe, or the resistance of agribusiness interests to the TPP in a number of Asian countries.
TF: What are the similarities between the TTIP and the TPP?
WB: The two treaties are very similar. Firstly, they are both being negotiated in secret; as the former US trade representative Ron Kirk said, if they were negotiated openly they wouldn't stand a chance of being approved by people. Secondly, they are not so much about trade, although there are trade aspects to them (such as further reductions of tariffs); they are really about asserting corporate control over every aspect of our lives, through intellectual property rights and investor-state arrangements (the infamous ISDS), in which basically the sovereign rights of states are curtailed by the ability of corporations to sue them.
Thirdly, they both have a geopolitical component: the TTIP is really the economic arm of NATO and is clearly aimed at containing Russia; the TTP, on the other hand, is obviously a very strong attempt to contain China, and to create an opposite economic bloc in Asia.
More in general, I think it's very clear that among the targets of both projects is the emergence of the BRICS and the efforts underway to create an alternative economic bloc to the western one. Finally, I think that both the TTIP and the TPP have an ideological component to them, in that they are being asserted as representing the 'good' western values – free trade, civilization, rule of law, etc. – as opposed to the alien values of 'the other'.
This also underscores the hypocrisy of the 'free trade' narrative: in a consistently free trade framework, these agreements should be extended also to countries like Russia and China. But that is clearly not the case.
TF: Would it be correct to view these agreements – and especially the TPP – as forms of neocolonialism or neoimperialism, in the same vein as the FTAs imposed by hegemonic nations to developing countries in the past?
WB: Considering that the geopolitical aspect is so prominent to both – in both cases we are not dealing with 'simple' trade agreements but with treaties where the political and security aspects are at least as prominent as the economic aspects – one could in fact say that there is an element of neoimperialism at play. There is a clear effort on the part of the hegemonic powers (the US and Europe), through these treaties, to strengthen and enlarge their sphere of influence and stem the threat posed by those forces that have the potential to displace the prominence of the west.
TF: Is the TPP linked to US military expansion in the Pacific?
WB: Yes, absolutely. Just like the TTIP can be considered the economic arm of NATO, the TTP is definitely linked to US military expansion in the Pacific and the whole 'pivot to Asia' strategy, which is fundamentally aimed at containing China. In this sense, these agreements risk having a serious destabilising effect in geopolitical terms.
TF: You mentioned the issue of secrecy, which is one of the most controversial aspects of the TTIP negotiations. We know that in the case of Europe even the national parliaments are often unaware of what is being discussed, as the whole thing is very much negotiated at the Commission level. How are the negotiations taking place in the Asia Pacific, where the US does not have such a 'privileged' counterpart?
WB: What's happening is that the deal is basically being negotiated by top trade negotiators. And corporations are being given special access to them, but not the general citizens and not even the national parliaments. So basically the big business groups in these countries are the ones that have access. This is totally anti-democratic. Parliaments should have this access. I'm really quite puzzled as to why this is not being challenged, why parliaments are not making a stronger challenge to this non-transparency, or making use of the various freedom of information laws in these countries.
I think part of the problem is that parliaments in most countries that are covered by these agreements are dominated by conservative parties that are ideologically partial to neoliberalism and are linked to corporate capital, and do not prize transparency. The same, of course, applies to Europe.
TF: In recent years a number of Asian countries – such as the former 'Asian Tigers' – have reacted to the disastrous effects of the IMF- and World Bank-imposed 'structural reforms' by pursuing more protectionist policies and partly 'rolling back' the process of globalisation. How is this influencing the negotiations over the TTP, which goes in the opposite direction?
WB: Globalisation has always strongly emphasised export-oriented production, but the downturn and long-term depression in the US and Europe, which were central key markets for Asian exports, has forced many Asian countries to re-examine the political economy models that they were pursuing.
I think that in many countries there has been a realisation that they had to move back into domestic demand-oriented growth, and what that means of course is that among other things you really need to pay attention to your internal market, and to a more equal distribution of income.
And that has meant using whatever little space is left to impose restrictions on trade, through sanitary and safety standards, as well as on financial flows, through capital controls (which even the IMF has recently acknowledged as being effective in preventing destabilising crises). In this sense, agreements such as the TTIP and TPP, which are an attempt to stop this process of de-globalisation, are riding against the tide of history. The same can be said for the German-led, neomercantilist strategy pursued by Europe.
TF: Speaking of Europe, social movements in the late 1990s and early 2000s were successful in rallying hundreds of thousands of people against neoliberal globalisation. Today this seems like an impossible feat, even though the agreement currently being negotiated, the TTIP, concerns European and US citizens much more directly than past FTAs.
WB: The dynamics of movements are closely linked to the contradictory dynamics of crisis. For example, we should ask ourselves why, in the midst of the crisis, so many European countries swung to the right.
I think this shows that crisis brings about its own dimensions, that often take away from the energy of political movements. Nevertheless, the devastating social effects of four years of austerity programmes in Europe are creating the conditions for the re-emergence of a strong anti-neoliberal and anti-corporate movement.
The question is: who will be able to harness the anger of the people, will it be the radical left or the populist right? Regrettably, the latter seems to be gaining the upper hand at this point in time. I think the left really has to move very quickly.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Monday, September 1, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Friday, August 1, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
In addition to being Zizek's teacher, adviser, and sponsor, Jacques-Alain Miller became his analyst as well. While familiarity between analyst and analysand is discouraged by Freudians, it was not unusual for Lacanians to socialize with their patients. Lacan's most controversial psychoanalytic innovation, however, was the variable, or "short," session through which he tried to combat a patient's resistance by introducing an element of discontinuity into the therapeutic process. In contrast to Freud's f ifty-minute "hour," Lacan's sessions ended the moment he sensed the patient had uttered an important word or phrase--a break that might occur in fifteen minutes or less. Miller had fine-tuned the logic of therapy to the point that few sessions lasted more than ten minutes. "To be in analysis with Miller was to step into a divine, predestined universe," says Zizek. "He was a totally arbitrary despot. He would say, come back tomorrow at exactly 4:55, but this didn't mean anything! I would arrive at 4:55 and would find a dozen people waiting."
One goal of the variable session is to keep a patient from preparing material ahead of time. In this respect, Lacanian psychoanalysis met its match in Zizek. "It was my strict rule, my sole ethical principle, to lie consistently: to invent all symptoms , fabricate all dreams," he reports of his treatment. "It was obsessional neurosis in its absolute purest form. Because you never knew how long it would last, I was always prepared for at least two sessions. I have this incredible fear of what I might dis cover if I really went into analysis. What if I lost my frenetic theoretical desire? What if I turned into a common person?" Eventually, Zizek claims, he had Miller completely taken in by his charade: "Once I knew what aroused his interest, I invented eve n more complicated scenarios and dreams. One involved the Bette Davis movie All About Eve.Miller's daughter is named Eve, so I told him that I had dreamed about going to a movie with Bette Davis in it. I planned every detail so that when I finishe d he announced grandly, 'This was your revenge against me!'"
Monday, July 21, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting he always insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He was known as the "Stingy Artist."
A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting. "How much can you pay?" inquired Gessen.
"Whatever you charge," replied the girl, "but I want you to do the work in front of me."
So on a certain day Gessen was called by the geisha. She was holding a feast for her patron.
Gessen with fine brush work did the painting. When it was completed he asked the highest sum of his time.
He received his pay. Then the geisha turned to her patron, saying: "All this artist wants is money. His paintings are fine but his mind is dirty; money has caused it to become muddy. Drawn by such a filthy mind, his work is not fit to exhibit. It is just about good enough for one of my petticoats."
Removing her skirt, she then asked Gessen to do another picture on the back of her petticoat.
"How much will you pay?" asked Gessen.
"Oh, any amount," answered the girl.
Gessen named a fancy price, painted the picture in the manner requested, and went away.
It was learned later that Gessen had these reasons for desiring money:
A ravaging famine often visited his province. The rich would not help the poor, so Gessen had a secret warehouse, unknown to anyone, which he kept filled with grain, prepared for those emergencies.
From his village to the National Shrine the road was in very poor condition and many travellers suffered while traversing it. He desired to build a better road.
His teacher had passed away without realizing his wish to build a temple, and Gessen wished to complete this temple for him.
After Gessen had accomplished his three wishes he threw away his brushes and artist's materials and, retiring to the mountains, never painted again.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Friday, July 4, 2014
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
In Joanna Hogg's 'Exhibition' there are scenes where Gillick's character 'H' is shown using Blender. This is amazing because it completely justifies all I really can be bothered doing these days in terms of real art making outside of fieldwork and research, which is sitting at home making Blender models and getting them built by others commercially. The fact that I have the exact same process as him and gets away with it is totally validating.
There's even a scene of him with an open book counting the number of shelves on some piece of Modernist architecture and replicating it in the program, which is exactly what I do.