Tragedy of the anti-commons
is the opposite of tragedy of the commons - it's when too many owners create grid-lock, nothing can get accomplished. It exists everywhere from copyright law, tech patents, music industry, airport runway expansion, medicine
, etc.. it is pervasive across all aspects of modern capitalist societies. The concept was coined by Professor Michael Heller who published a book in 2008 called The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives
. In an excellent Authors@Google video, Michael Heller
explains what it is and how it undermines capitalism, in particular over the past 30 years with increased privatization.
posted by stbalbach
on Feb 10, 2009 -
In 1943, while the Allies were busy battling the Axis Powers and the Nazi Regime, there was another
kind of war that was being waged against a helpless populace (living on the Indian Sub-continent). A war
that has been largely ignored by the mass media and the history books of our time. It is known as the Great Bengal Famine
, and ended up causing the death
of an estimated 1.5 million to 4 million
posted by hadjiboy
on Aug 30, 2008 -
The black backs by and on which the fortunes of the New South were built:
On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy.”... Cottenham’s offense was blackness.... [After a brief trial] Cottenham... was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North — U.S. Steel Corporation — the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence.... he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners.... Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.
— from the Introduction to Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II
. The book's website
includes reviews of the book
, an excerpt of the Introduction, and an extensive photo gallery
that includes disturbing images of enslaved and tortured prisoners. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Jun 21, 2008 -
I asked Nathan Myhrvold, C.E.O. of Intellectual Ventures and widely considered to be one of the smartest people in technology, if he is brilliant. "If you put yourself in that camp, you might be correct," he teased. "But then, you're also an asshole." The Brilliant Issue
profiles Porfolio's picks for best game-changers, upstarts, rebels, connectors and other influencers. [more inside]
posted by Non Prosequitur
on May 2, 2008 -
Bill Moyers' interview with Dr. Benjamin Barber about the state of our modern capitalist society and how he believes capitalism threatens American democracy. PBS.org streaming video. [more inside]
posted by orelius
on Dec 23, 2007 -
Ghetto Capitalists At once an outsider and a welcome participant in the ghetto economy, he found that he was suddenly part of “a vast, often invisible web” of economic exchange. That web supports the residents of Maquis Park and adds a strange sort of order to their existence, tempering chaos and adding predictability to the lives of Chicago’s poor. For the most part, the people he meets seem eager to trade. It’s just that much of what they’re trading isn’t going to meet with the approval of a law-and-order Republican or a bleeding-heart Great Society Democrat.
posted by jason's_planet
on Sep 14, 2007 -
hosts a two-part essay on the environmentalism movement's attempts to fit within free market capitalism, and the problems therein. Part one, The Idols of Environmentalism
, focuses on the cross purposes of capitalism and environmentalism, and the apparent impossibility of the two working together. In part two, The Ecology of Work
, the focus is on the human impact of the work and consumption culture.
posted by knave
on Apr 29, 2007 -
"All over Orlando you see forces at work that are changing America from Fairbanks to Little Rock. This, truly, is a 21st-century paradigm: It is growth built on consumption, not production; a society founded not on natural resources, but upon the dissipation of capital accumulated elsewhere; a place of infinite possibilities, somehow held together, to the extent it is held together at all, by a shared recognition of highway signs, brand names, TV shows, and personalities, rather than any shared history. Nowhere else is the juxtaposition of what America actually is and the conventional idea of what America should be more vivid and revealing."
"Welcome to the theme-park nation." [more inside]
posted by wander
on Mar 2, 2007 -
The Mayfair Set [Google Video].
A BBC Documentary series on how City of London bankers systematically dismantled British industry from the 1960s-90s and removed the power of the state to protect people from the greed of the market
A thought provoking documentary from Adam Curtis
whose other documentaries The Power of Nightmares and The Century of the Self have been previously
discussed and well received on Mefi.
It is almost four hours long but well worth the effort.
posted by ClanvidHorse
on Dec 2, 2006 -
Now we're faced with a supposedly democratic
Russia where the opposition parties are established, crushed, united, their leadership changed
, all at the behest of the president. China, now clearly a capitalist state, albeit one without the democratic trimmings
, still calls itself communist
. Vietnam has gone much the same way
Some things remain the same, though. America's still meddling
in Latin America, just like it did during the Cold War
. The US Army is also fighting a guerilla resistance in Iraq, its leaders apparently ignorant of the lessons of history
, yet accusing others of exactly that
. It's just like the 60s, when it was just as obvious who had learnt lessons and who hadn't
posted by imperium
on Aug 30, 2006 -
Never wanna work/Always wanna play/Pleasure, pleasure every day.
What happens when the jobs go away and don't return?
Should we take the surpluses generated and pay people not to work?
What happens to the assumption of scarcity when nanotechology
allows us to generate potentially anything we want from grass clippings?
Maybe Marx had it wrong all along. Maybe, instead of fetishizing work and the authoritarian mindset that it generates, we should have been reading Paul Lafargue instead.
Just as a thought experiment, what would you do if your job category disappeared? How would you spend your time? Would you invest more time and energy in friendships and other relationships? Hobbies? If you were your employer, what technologies would you use to get rid of your position and save money?
posted by jason's_planet
on Jun 25, 2006 -
The Abrigded King James Version And the LORD Capital said unto the socialist, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Hope you enjoy!
posted by nofundy
on Feb 22, 2006 -
China's non-interventionist approach to Africa.
They recently lifted 200 million of their own people out of poverty
. Unlike the G8, they aren't concerned about corruption, aid, debt relief, social impact, human rights, the environment, or spreading democratic ideology
. They build governments, hotels and industrial plants in Sierra Leone, export 60% of oil from the 'genocidal' Sudanese
, sell weapons to both sides in war zones and deal arms to embargoed dictators like Mugabe. They'll be the third largest investor in Africa at the end of this year. The People's Republic of China: threatening
- or Jeffersonian
posted by Bletch
on Jul 5, 2005 -
Capitalism and other kids stuff
Four UK based socialists produced this hour long documentary in which some of the problems of capitalism are presented in a simplified, kindergarten model. Tought provoking, incomplete but NOT derailing into bipartisan hate for a change ..an hour well spent IMHO.
You can also DL it with Bittorrent
program.. a good reason to install it (5 minutes ) and witness how a distributed cooperative program such as Bittorrent can do wonders.
posted by elpapacito
on May 30, 2005 -
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
--...Although hotels and industry have already started reconstructing on the coast, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and India, governments have passed laws preventing families from rebuilding their oceanfront homes. Hundreds of thousands of people are being forcibly relocated inland, to military style barracks in Aceh and prefab concrete boxes in Thailand. The coast is not being rebuilt as it was--dotted with fishing villages and beaches strewn with handmade nets. Instead, governments, corporations and foreign donors are teaming up to rebuild it as they would like it to be: the beaches as playgrounds for tourists, the oceans as watery mines for corporate fishing fleets, both serviced by privatized airports and highways built on borrowed money....
Naomi Klein on "reconstruction" money after natural disasters--and who benefits. (Makes Wolfowitz seem like a less unlikely choice to head the World Bank after reading, too.)
posted by amberglow
on Apr 17, 2005 -
China engraves capitalism onto its constitution.
This is good development indeed. Although business investment and production has been flourishing in China, doing business there remained very risky because of the fact that private property rights have never been officially legalized. That has changed. The question now is: does economic freedom beget political freedom?
posted by VeGiTo
on Dec 22, 2003 -
Wal-Mart as Leviathan.
"The giant retailer's low prices often come with a high cost. Wal-Mart's relentless pressure can crush the companies it does business with and force them to send jobs overseas. Are we shopping our way straight to the unemployment line?"
posted by the fire you left me
on Nov 14, 2003 -