Mark Blyth, post-Brexit vote

Mark Blyth at 17:00 on Sam Seder’s Majority Report:

When 80 percent of the time 80 percent of the people are told by the top 20 percent that everything that they want is what they should want too, but 80 percent of their lived experience tells them they’ve been sold a bill of goods, don’t be surprised when they say No.

Mark Blyth segment from 13:13 to 49:24 above; excerpt in tweet below starts at 38:22

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the 24-second clip Mark Blyth refers to in Sam Seder’s Majority Report interview:

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Mark Blyth, pre-Brexit vote


the Atlantic slave trade

from The Independent:

The shocking scale of British slave ownership has been revealed in scores of official records which have found that thousands of modern-day Britons are related to owners who received huge sums in compensation when the trade was abolished.

A five-year project by University College London has compiled the identities of 46,000 Britons who owned slaves, mainly in the West Indies, on the day slavery was abolished in 1833.

David Cameron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Affleck and George Orwell are just some of the high profile descendants of the slave owners revealed in the files.

Records from the Slave Compensation Commission show that some 800,000 Africans were freed upon abolition after being kept as legal property.

Upon their liberation the Commission paid out the modern equivalent of £17 billion in compensation to the UK’s tens of thousands of owners – the largest government pay-out prior to the bailout of the banks in 2009.

The colossal sum represented 40 per cent of government expenditure in 1834.

compensation: equivalent today of $30,000 (US) per formerly enslaved person

so on average each former owner received 800/46 times that: $520,000 (US)


inside the imperial palace

Matt Taibbi:

The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially the case now that the Republican Party has collapsed under the weight of its own nativist lunacy. It’s exactly the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But they won’t do that, because they don’t see what just happened this year as a message rising up from millions of voters.

Politicians are so used to viewing the electorate as a giant thing to be manipulated that no matter what happens at the ballot, they usually can only focus on the Washington-based characters they perceive to be pulling the strings. Through this lens, the uprising among Democratic voters this year wasn’t an organic expression of mass disgust, but wholly the fault of Bernie Sanders, who within the Beltway is viewed as an oddball amateur and radical who jumped the line.

Nobody saw his campaign as an honest effort to restore power to voters, because nobody in the capital even knows what that is. In the rules of palace intrigue, Sanders only made sense as a kind of self-centered huckster who made a failed play for power. And the narrative will be that with him out of the picture, the crisis is over. No person, no problem.

This inability to grasp that the problem is bigger than Bernie Sanders is a huge red flag. As Thacker puts it, the theme of this election year was widespread anger toward both parties, and both the Trump craziness and the near-miss with Sanders should have served as a warning. “The Democrats should be worried they’re next,” he says.

But they’re not worried. Behind the palace walls, nobody ever is.

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Hayek on the need for a universal basic income (UBI)

quote - Hayek via JimRose69872629 CjVswj3UgAAHi5o

the post Jim Rose links to in his tweet links to this Hayek interview transcript as his source

The Big Disconnect


A few weeks ago I read and enjoyed The Big Disconnect. So it was good to catch the interview with the author on Tuesday morning – well done by both parties, by the way.

Following the trail that led to our present hyperindividualism is fascinating enough. But I’d like to see (and hear) Giles Slade spend more time on why we are no longer the way we were.

I suspect the answer is that there is/was no money in it. After all, how do you make money out of people simply enjoying being together?

There are hints in the book: “Competitive and financial values intruded into all aspects of human interaction, and, oddly, we became poorer for it. … As we adapted, we learned how to compete better and how to cooperate and to commit to each other less.” (pp. 176–77)

Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation made it very clear that insisting on what is thought of as a free market economy actually requires the breakdown of society. And the champions of this economic policy – come on down, Margaret Thatcher – have even maintained that “there is no such thing as society.”

related: the etymology of conversation
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Faith Can Save the Planet

letter to the Vancouver Sun:

Faith Can Save the Planet

Thank you for publishing that upbeat piece by Brian Lee Crowley (December 19). As he says, human progress is inescapably a matter of faith. While It may be true that doing what we have been doing has got us into this mess, doing more of the same will get us out of it. We don’t have to change our ways to save the planet – just keep on trusting in business as usual. That is such good news. Thanks again for spreading the word.

Unitarian Principles

The Seven Unitarian Principles for Kids

  1. Every person is important and valuable.
  2. All people should be treated fairly.
  3. We should accept one another and keep learning together.
  4. Each person is free to search for what is true and right.
  5. All persons should have a voice in the things which concern them.
  6. We work for a peaceful, fair and free world.
  7. We take care of the earth, the home we share with all living things.

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