126 posts tagged with democracy and politics.
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Sapiens 2.0: Homo Deus?

In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2016 - 23 comments

Redefining Wealth and Prosperity in the 21st Century

Kennedy was right - "Much that is valuable is neither tangible nor tradable... Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production."* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 11, 2016 - 10 comments

WORLD OF TOMORROW

World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
posted by kliuless on May 7, 2016 - 23 comments

The Great Firewall of China has blocked The Economist

After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 20, 2016 - 24 comments

sources of obligation, sources of value

an introduction to fiat money (pdf) by Steve Randy Waldman:* - "Self-reinforcing bootstrap dynamics hold as strongly for a king's token as it would for any other thing, but much more stably so, since the king can reinforce and assure the stability of his token so long as he retains the political capacity to coerce or persuade payment of tax." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 17, 2016 - 40 comments

How 'Dark Money' Shapes US Politics

Jane Mayer takes on the Koch Brothers [1,2,3] - "For decades, billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have spent millions trying to reduce the size of government and slash regulations, making the brothers a target of the political Left and campaign finance reformers. But few people have dug deeper into the Koch empire and family history than New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, author of the new book 'Dark Money'. Among other revelations, she alleges that the brothers hired private detectives to investigate her after she published articles critical of them. We talk to Mayer about the book and about what the rise of Donald Trump means for the Kochs and their allies." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Mar 14, 2016 - 20 comments

What's changed and changing about (American) politics?

The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 4, 2016 - 77 comments

Witness the Firepower of This Fully Armed and Operational Battle Station

Helicopter drops might not be far away - "Central banks could be given the power to send money, ideally in electronic form, to every adult citizen. Would this add to demand? Absolutely."
posted by kliuless on Feb 24, 2016 - 36 comments

The unlikely and awesome rise of punk, anarchist, and hacker

Birgitta Jónsdóttir May Be Iceland's Next Prime Minister - "Poetry told Birgitta that she is alive. The internet taught her that she belongs in this world. The crisis showed her that she has a role to play, and politics showed her that everything needs to change." (Jónsdóttir, WikiLeaks & Iceland, previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 7, 2016 - 36 comments

"You have to respect the absurdity of it,"

Iowa's caucus system, explained. [YouTube] [Vox] Each US primary election season kicks off in Iowa. Learn the process behind one of the pivotal events of the general election. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jan 25, 2016 - 58 comments

Oligarchs R US

In the 2016 elections, the goal of the Koch network of contributors is to spend $889m, more than twice what they spent in 2012.
Dark Money though prominent is not confined to the political right.
How dark money affects elections.
posted by adamvasco on Jan 17, 2016 - 32 comments

UBI in NYT

It's Payback Time for Women - "Society is getting a free ride on our unrewarded contributions to the perpetuation of the human race." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 11, 2016 - 79 comments

The Unseen Threat of Capital Mobility

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions -"The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 4, 2016 - 31 comments

the tenuous blue wall

"There’s no question that recent demographic trends have aided Democrats enormously. In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of all white voters and won election in a 44-state landslide. In 2012, GOP nominee Mitt Romney carried 59 percent of all white voters yet lost decisively. What happened? African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and other non-whites — all overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning groups — rose from 12 percent of voters in 1980 to 28 percent in 2012.

It’s true that if every demographic group were to carry its 2012 levels of turnout and party support into 2016, Democrats’ lead in the national popular vote would expand from 3.9 percentage points to 5.1 points based on population trends alone. But, as FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver and others have argued, Democrats’ advantage in the Electoral College is much more tenuous than it’s often portrayed
." Run your own simulation with 538's Swing Tracker.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 4, 2015 - 34 comments

Faced with gaping moral and economic holes in society

Rewrite the rules to benefit everyone, not just the wealthy - "If there's one thing Joseph Stiglitz wants to say about inequality, it's that it has been a choice, not an unexpected, unfortunate economic outcome. That's unnerving, but it also means that citizens and politicians have the opportunity to fix the problem before it gets worse." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 11, 2015 - 112 comments

Good women seldom make history.

This is Professor Wangari Maathai. The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The first Kenyan woman to earn a doctoral degree. An icon of Kenya’s democratic movement who repeatedly put not just her mind but also her body on the line in order to secure a better future for Kenyans and their natural environment. But Maathai’s standing in Kenya is definitely ambiguous. She is beloved by feminists and environmentalists, and tolerated by everyone else... Women are expected to look backwards on guidance on what it means to be “good” – where “good” is primarily defined by men – but not too good because that makes women less interesting to men. This was not Wangari Maathai.
posted by ChuraChura on Oct 6, 2015 - 5 comments

The only thing I don't want to do is to raise the white flag.

What can we do about the privacy threat posed by online ad networks? And how much trust should we place in Silicon Valley to design the future of our society? What Happens Next Will Amaze You: Slides from a recent talk by (Mefi's own) Maciej Cegłowski.
It's no accident how much the ad racket resembles high-frequency trading. A small number of sophisticated players are making a killing at the expense of everybody else. [...] I don't believe there's a technology bubble, but there is absolutely an advertising bubble. When it bursts, companies are going to be more desperate and will unload all the personal data they have on us to absolutely any willing buyer. And then we'll see if all these dire warnings about the dangers of surveillance were right.
[more inside] posted by teraflop on Sep 22, 2015 - 103 comments

Basic Income: How to Fix a Broken Monetary Transmission Mechanism

FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2015 - 24 comments

The Closing of the Canadian Mind

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education. But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.
posted by standardasparagus on Aug 14, 2015 - 78 comments

A War Of All Against All

Why Turkey is bombing the Kurds more than Islamic State - "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party's absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 14, 2015 - 16 comments

A 'constant chorus of skepticism' about the"establishment."

"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2015 - 81 comments

“It’s not quite what it was... it’s more sophisticated now.”

A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.
posted by zarq on Aug 4, 2015 - 17 comments

Surely it can't happen here.....can it?

How the Nordic far-right has stolen the left’s ground on welfare
posted by lalochezia on Jul 26, 2015 - 23 comments

Where Is The Power?

A conversation with Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz
This is significant because in Europe all political thought is imperialist. This means that politics as we know it today, implemented by countries small, middle-sized or large, incorporates the experience of imperial politics from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. That was when the foundations of what we call "the political" were forged, which always entails a balance between power and weakness, and must be the result of an analysis of your strengths and vulnerabilities against the strengths and vulnerabilities of your opponent. To risk banality: politics without political realism is not politics. You see, all European politics is founded on political realism produced by imperial politics. And this experience is completely alien to Poles.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 15, 2015 - 11 comments

Nonpartisan Redistricting

Supreme Court rules against gerrymandering - "Ginsburg's opinion is now the law, and I suspect that, in a few decades, this case will be considered one of the most important of the term. Thus far, only California has copied Arizona and created an independent redistricting commission. But with the court's blessing, more states are likely to follow suit. These commissions have been hugely successful thus far, a real boost for representative democracy and a cure for the notoriously stubborn problem of gerrymandering. Had Justice Anthony Kennedy swung away from Ginsburg and aligned with his fellow conservatives, America would be facing down a distressingly undemocratic future."
posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2015 - 62 comments

How to fix inequality: Squash the finance industry and redistribute more

Joe Stiglitz on Inequality, Wealth, and Growth: Why Capitalism is Failing (video; if you don't have 30m, skip to 20m for discussion of political inequality, wealth, credit and monetary policy) - "If the very rich can use their position to get higher returns, more investment information, more extraction of rents, and if the very rich have equal or higher savings rates, then wealth will become more concentrated... economic inequality inevitably gets translated into political inequality, and political inequality gets translated into more economic inequality. The basic and really important idea here is that markets don't exist in a vacuum, that market economies operate according to certain rules, certain regulations that specify how they work. And those effect the efficiency of those markets, but they also effect how the fruits of the benefits of those markets are distributed and the result of that is there are large numbers of aspects of our basic economic framework that in recent years have worked to increase the inequality of wealth and income in our society... leading to a society which can be better described, increasingly, as an inherited plutocracy." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 2, 2015 - 27 comments

The free development of each is the condition of the war against all

Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2015 - 12 comments

China announces it is scoring its citizens using big data

China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 5, 2015 - 77 comments

Short-Termism, Secular Stagnation and Political Decay

Foundation: Public Goods and Options for the Bottom Billions - "Human beings just don't handle the very long run well" and that's where government increasingly comes in... (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2015 - 6 comments

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.

Incumbent President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan today conceded defeat in last weekend's election, and called President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him. The election has generally appeared to be the fairest in Nigeria's history and mostly free of the bloodshed of Jonathan's 2011 defeat of Buhari; this transition will mark Nigeria's first transfer of power to an opposition party after an election. Buhari's presidency will be his second administration as leader of Nigeria after acting as the head of a military junta from 1983 to 1985. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Mar 31, 2015 - 28 comments

Chinese Christianity

Religion in China: Cracks in the atheist edifice - "Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China's Christian population the largest in the world. Mr Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 1, 2015 - 47 comments

[GREEN] JOBS FOR ALL

Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 29, 2015 - 10 comments

'We Are Koch'

Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign - "an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history... These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. Now the Kochs' network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party's dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government."
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2015 - 77 comments

Dealing with the transition to the information age

BIG and BOT Policy Proposals (transcript) - "Many of our current economic policies originated during times of scarcity. But now, says investor Albert Wenger, we live in an era of 'digital abundance', when creating new products costs virtually nothing. To adapt to the resulting economic upheavals, we won't need just more tech, says Wenger, but some strong policies. Here he explores two: basic income guarantee and the right to be represented by a bot." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2015 - 14 comments

"It's something of a puzzle, this electoral politics thing."

The Persuadables
How strategists see the 2014 Senate battlefield, state by state, featuring exclusive voter data.
posted by davidstandaford on Oct 28, 2014 - 3 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

National Greatness

Francis Fukuyama on 'The End of History?' twenty-five years later: "liberal democracy still doesn't have any real competitors," but to get there... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Mayday, Mayday, democracy in danger . . .

The Mayday SuperPAC. Yesterday Lawrence Lessig announced the launch of the Mayday SuperPAC, "The SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs." Its ultimate goal is to achieve constitutional campaign finance reform. They've set out specific funding goals--$1 million in 30 days, $5 million in the next 30--which will be matched by Lessig and other (currently) anonymous funders once achieved. Their initial goal is to influence races in five House districts and if successful they hope to expand in 2016.
posted by schroedinger on May 2, 2014 - 94 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Affluence and Influence

Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no? Alas, no... (pdf)
posted by anazgnos on Apr 12, 2014 - 34 comments

Meanwhile, across the Black Sea and in the mountains of Pennsylvania

Turkey: The Erdogan-Gulen showdown - "A political fight to the death had just broken out between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, and his former allies in the movement of Mr Gulen... The prime minister argues that the Gulenists have set up a 'parallel state' within the bureaucracy, following orders from Pennsylvania and pursuing an agenda of their own." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 22, 2014 - 30 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

Democracy, Kleptocracy or Oligarchy?

What’s gone wrong with Democracy? It was the most successful political idea of the 20th century. Why has it run into trouble, and what can be done to revive it? Excellent Essay of the Economist.
posted by homodigitalis on Feb 28, 2014 - 115 comments

listen to the wealthy scream

The return of "patrimonial capitalism": review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st century (pdf) - "Thomas Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st century' may be one of the most important recent economics books. It jointly treats theory of growth, functional distribution of income, and interpersonal income inequality. It envisages a future of relatively slow growth with the rising share of capital incomes, and widening income inequality. This tendency could be checked only by worldwide taxation of capital." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 12, 2014 - 39 comments

Noblesse N'Oblige Pas.

The Endgame for Democracy: A short essay by Bill Moyers. [SLYT]
posted by phaedon on Dec 19, 2013 - 31 comments

"Stopping bad things is a significant public service."

"Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas"
posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2013 - 348 comments

Australia Decides: Old Moon-faced McPsychopath vs Sleazy McNoPlans

Australia goes to the polls tomorrow. Want the skinny on three word slogans? Want to know about the fabled voters of 'middle Australia'? Are you confused about preferential voting? Aussie comedian Dan Ilic has you covered with #C@%TASTROPHE 2013: Guide to the Election. [more inside]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts on Sep 6, 2013 - 280 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

It only gets worse from here

It became necessary to finish this thing. A U.S.-funded 'ally' has carried out one of the largest massacres of protesters since the 1989 assault on Tiananmen Square. At least 525 people (and counting and counting) have been killed since Egypt's police and army attacked two sit-ins in support of ousted president Muhammad Morsi on August 14th. Armored cars, police officers, and soldiers marched on the protests in Nasr City and Giza, opening fire with birdshot, tear gas, and live ammunition. It only gets worse from here. [more inside]
posted by ecmendenhall on Aug 15, 2013 - 143 comments

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