How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - "A former academic mathematician and ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics, with results that cause damage both financially and to the fabric of society. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: Weapons of Math Destruction." [more inside]
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)
The Future of (Post)Capitalism - "Paul Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy." (previously; via) [more inside]
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]
Several recent articles draw attention to the power of demonisation, outrage and weaponised language within contemporary activist culture - and question whether this focus is doing more harm than good. Jack Halberstam, director of the Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California: When groups that share common cause, utopian dreams and a joined mission find fault with each other instead of tearing down the banks and the bankers, the politicians and the parliaments, the university presidents and the CEOs? Instead of realizing, as Moten and Hearny put it in The Undercommons, that “we owe each other everything,” we enact punishments on one another and stalk away from projects that should unite us, and huddle in small groups feeling erotically bonded through our self-righteousness. [more inside]
Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
There's been little discussion about the problem of poverty in the current Presidential election, the conventions pretty much ignored it. "The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C." Both candidates responded.
Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies (ted/yt) - "We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust." (previously)
Remove the scourge of conflict - "Taming mass violence is the theme of the World Bank's latest World Development Report, which focuses on 'conflict, security and development' [pdf] ... Mass violence destroys all hopes of progress. We should make a huge effort to eliminate this scourge. It seems feasible. It is desirable. So try."
Interviews: Russell Banks, Susan Orlean, Tibor Fischer, Azar Nafisi. | Writing on social justice: Susan Power on Bosnia. Barbara Erenreich on poverty. | e-books: Aristotle, Emma Goldman, Buddha. | New Non-fiction, fiction. | Hundreds of Reviews. Graphic Art, Poetry, Music, and much more from identity theory, one of the best literary websites I've encountered, thanks to an incredulity-inducing amount of work by what seem to be volunteers. Wow. (Specific interviews already MeFid in these threads.)