Economist Marshall Auerback connects the Boeing 737 disaster to the larger crises of late capitalism - as the failing aviation giant lifts above the reach of labor and regulation, a merge into the military industrial complex guarantees shareholder profit despite the company's decade of failing, and deadly, products.
Marshall wrote the article Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism for Salon.
Kanishka wrote the article The Crisis in Sri Lanka for Jacobin.
Lavinia wrote the essay The Power of Public Finance for the Future we Want for the Transnational Institute's State of Power 2019 report.
Jason wrote the post A letter to Steven Pinker (and Bill Gates, for that matter) about global poverty at his site. We talked with Jason in June 2018 about his book The Divide.
Richard is author of the essay Brexit and the "white working class" posted at his Patreon page.
DaMaris is author of the book A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland from Bloomsbury.
Finally, thanks Jeffy.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
I've been thinking about farmers and what Donald Dump, that cartoon duck with no pants on, has been doing to our partners in agriculture from the Latin lands to our south. Apparently it's been made more difficult to come from southern countries to farms here in the US, and I've heard that there are US farmers who can't pay enough to the workers who are here to maintain a sufficient labor force to do all the picking and such. And it's always puzzled me that growers of food crops always seem to be in need of subsidies, always worried about overhead, always on the verge of ruin, sometimes even when their crops come in abundantly. I know commodity prices can go up and down for a variety of reasons, but that's not what puzzles me.
Eating never goes out of style. All organisms must consume something to live, and humans eat just about everything, all the time. Being a farmer should be like being a mortician during a plague, a really going concern. And the world's farmers are really good at what they do! They produce more than enough food for all the people alive today, though that food somehow has a hard time getting to a lot of those people.
There's a recent ad from IBM saying that the world's population is going to top 10 million soon, and that food production will have to increase 70% to accommodate them all. 10 million is less than a 50% increase, closer to 25%, in the number of people that exist now, and we could feed all the people living now, so I guess IBM's artificial intelligence has decided that the new bunch of people are going to be genetically engineered gluttons or something. What's up your sleeve, IBM?
What we really need is not a system that produces more food, but a system that distributes the current amount produced to all currently existing people who would like to eat it. And we don't have that system. Growing more food or more nutritious food isn't going to feed the hungry people, if we can't even give them the food that we already have. Food we throw away.
Or maybe we don't have enough food. Maybe that is why people go hungry, because we don't have enough food. Is that why people go hungry in the USA? Because there isn't enough food here? I don't recall a run on the supermarkets where people with twenty-dollar bills burning holes in their pockets showed up demanding hams or cucumbers or microwave burritos and were turned away because... read more
Jacob wrote the article What Was New Atheism for The Point.
Cole wrote the article Back on the Offensive for Jacobin.
Ben wrote the article After the Storm for The Baffler.
Kate is author of the book Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots from Bloomsbury.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
The object of any capitalist enterprise seems to be to contrive, through law or violence, to control the greatest amount of resources possible, and to increase such control even beyond time and the possible. There is no point at which the capitalist enterprise is programmed to decide enough is enough. The resources it seeks to command include what we normally think of as wealth or capital, such as raw materials, space, time, and money, as well as physical human beings, where they are in space and how they exert their energy at any given time, but also including their ineffable attributes: loyalty, passion, purpose, wishes, sexual feelings, determination, perseverance, language, ignorance, knowledge, imagination, anxiety, pettiness, preference, and any number of other intangible energies, to which a name may or may not be attached.
Does capitalism succeed in its quest for control? Yes it does. What can put the breaks on its quest? Unions, the power of which has been waning since and partially because of the Reagan administration; government, which has been known to vacillate between bowing to the influence of the people and to that of capital, with capital in the excessively ascendant currently; and natural forces, although any limit imposed by so-called "nature" is often turned by capital into yet another opportunity or public excuse to exert other kinds of control.
All limits are just more business opportunities. Is the world crumbling due to fossil fuel emissions? Here's a battery! The concerned consumer never sees the emissions produced during lithium extraction, battery manufacture, and generating the electricity used to charge the batteries, all of which activities occur "off-camera."
Are unions forcing you to raise wages? There's a company you can hire to undermine labor solidarity. There are all kinds of lobbyists hired to convince governments to hire the capitalist to remove obstacles to capitalism, and think tanks to advise governments to listen to those lobbyists. It's big business, removing obstacles to business, and everyone wants in on that gravy train. It's a viciously circular feeding frenzy, and the great masses of us outside of uber-wealth are the bait ball.
The ability to profit from our emotions, both petty and grand, and the ability to turn catastrophe and human misery into investment opportunities, seem to be the two aspects of... read more
In 1700 – (319 years ago) — the Pacific Northwest area of North America was ripped by a massive 9.2 earthquake along a fault stretching some six hundred miles from Vancouver Island to what is now northern California. Although no direct records of the quake exist from that time, scientists have deduced its time and intensity from detailed records of a tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan shortly afterward. Further evidence of the cataclysm was also preserved in growth rings in trees, and is also found in the oral traditions of local Native American and First Nations people, which tell of an apocalyptic blast that struck without warning on a winter’s night, accompanied by floods and landslides that buried entire villages and swept people into the sea, never to be heard from again. Scientists have uncovered other clues suggesting that earthquakes in that region have occurred in a cycle of roughly once every three to five hundred years. In some estimates, they suggest a 37 percent chance of another major quake occurring in that area within the next fifty years.
In 1856 – (163 years ago) — fed up after months of chaotic battle with white settlers in what became known as the Puget Sound War, a force of several hundred Native Americans attacked a white settlement located on a small peninsula at Seattle. In their armed response, the settlers were quickly supported by Marines from the USS Decatur, a Navy ship anchored just offshore. The battle lasted all day, and it ended with at least twenty-eight Native Americans dead, eighty wounded, and the rest demoralized in retreat. The whites, meanwhile, had suffered only two deaths, and would go on maintain and reinforce their hold on the peninsula.
In 1977 – (42 years ago) — former vice president, presidential candidate, and New York governor Nelson Rockefeller died of a heart attack. The first news reports of his death claimed that he had been found slumped over the desk in his office. But contradictions quickly appeared in the official story, and it soon turned out that in fact Rockefeller had met his end while alone in a Manhattan townhouse with a twenty-five-year-old woman who worked for him, and whom he had helped to purchase a condo. While Rockefeller’s family struggled to deny rumors of an illicit sexual affair, the incident quickly became the subject of jokes on late-night television.
Rotten History is... read more
Nicole wrote the paper America’s Tipping Point? Between Trumpism and a New Left for Socialist Register.
Jorge wrote the article Washington Moves Towards 'Regime Change' in Venezuela for Venezuelanalysis.
Olivia wrote the article Are we prepared to pay the price for farmworker justice? for openDemocracy.
Dahr is author of the book The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption from The New Press.
Peter is author of the book The Worst Is Yet To Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide from Repeater Books.
Is that being near-sighted or far-sighted, I always get those two mixed up.