February 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
February 13th, 2009
By David Goldman
I am not sure who wrote this but it is an intriguing addition to the puzzle of hub economics and advantage.
“The spillovers in knowledge that result from talent-clustering are the main cause of economic growth.
Well-educated professionals and creative workers who live together in dense ecosystems, interacting directly, generate ideas and turn them into products and services faster than talented people in other places can. There is no evidence that globalization or the Internet has changed that. Indeed, as globalization has increased the financial return on innovation widening the consumer market, the pull of innovative places, already dense with highly talented workers, has only grown stronger, creating a snowball effect. Talent-rich ecosystems are not easy to replicate, and to realize their full economic value, talented and ambitious people increasingly need to live within them.”
This view of the modern art scene as a way of grasping the collapse of finance is helpful.
It’s early days in what promises to be the long death of a galactic civilization so it is going to be hard to discern how things might reshape themselves under this bombardment, how a re-ordering might be imagined, how art and the art-world might re-articulate new models of value. The developments of the last few decades suddenly seem to make it redundant. As James Buchan writes, ‘In societies governed by fashion and luxury, the public finds that there is almost nothing that it cannot do without.’ (‘Frozen Desire, an enquiry into the meaning of money.’) Looking over the wreckage of the ‘Mobile Art’ tour, Karl Lagerfield was visited by a strange moment of lucidity, ‘Today,’ he mused to the interviewer ‘everyone can say that something is for financial reasons when they want…for me, artistic reasons are more important. I always thought the building was a sculpture. I prefer it empty.’
That this art in the end represents only itself and the functions of value rather than any complex alternative religious, moral, immoral or political sphere (as art used to claim to) supports perhaps Alain Badiou’s proposal that we live in a social space in late capitalism that is progressively ‘worldless’. Planet Finance, is without a worldview of its own, and there is not a ‘global capitalist civilisation’, rather it operates in and across all civilisations: Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, East or West. Its global dimension can only be expressed through the ‘Real’ of the global market mechanism.
Excellent background to understand, lots of postings. Well organized
From world social forum last week
Across countless Forum events, environmentalists and labour leaders alike called for a “green New Deal” based on massive public investment in the environmental sector to stimulate job creation as well as environmental preservation.
John Kay on financial models
John Kay’s recent piece in the Financial Times is a useful warning to people doing financial—and other kinds of—forecasting: understanding the historical limitations of your model, and how badly things can go when the assumptions built into your model no longer hold:
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Changemakers.nethave launched “Designing for Better Health,” a competition that calls for projects that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to enouraging behavior changes to improve people’s health. In a letter to the Changemakers community, RWJF explains:
“People worry about the housing bust and the drop in consumption,” he added, “but the biggest story is the drop in capital spending. Corporations are concerned about whether they will survive so we’re seeing a global collapse of (capital) spending. That’s why something must be done on the stimulus side to diminish the contraction of economic activity.”
I can’t help but choke when again “since the great depression..” I and some others think it worse, because the bottom is too hard to define. We are probabaly not going back to a consumer culture because the buying was based on borrowing, and we can’t produce that much to replace it. The list is pretty good.
The worst economic turmoil since the Great Depression is not a natural phenomenon but a man-made disaster in which we all played a part. In the second part of a week-long series looking behind the slump, Guardian City editor Julia Finch picks out the individuals who have led us into the current crisis
This is an important reframe.
.Scholars like Christopher Howardand Jacob Hacker have been arguing for years that the American welfare state is at least as large as the average European welfare state. The main difference is that our welfare state operates through tax subsidies rather than direct spending, and these tax subsidies tend to benefit the middle class and the rich rather than the poor. And so our level of after-tax inequality is much higher than in European democracies, even though our level of pre-tax inequality is about the same as it is in Sweden, Britain and France. It could be that we’ve been socialists all along, just not very good ones.
In The Primacy of Politics, political scientist Sheri Berman argues that it wasn’t democratic capitalism that won the ideological struggle of the 20th century. Rather, it was social democracy, a political creed that insisted that politics take precedence over markets, and that the needs of the community should trump the appetites of the individual. In a sense, laissez-faire liberalism and Marxism–the alternatives against which the social democrats positioned themselves as a “third way”– were twins: Both emphasized the primacy of economics, and both strenuously opposed nationalism. As a result, both liberalism and Marxism failed to capture the imagination of the masses in the new democracies.
And that leads me to look for Sheri Berman. At Dissent magazine
- The Winter 2009 Issue
- Getting Out: The American Colonies, The Philippines, India, Korea, Algeria, and Vietnam
- Sheri Berman: Has Social Democracy Won?
- Michael Walzer on the Good Society
- Mark Levinson on the Economic Collapse
- Edward Friedman: Can China Democratize?
- Andrew Koppelman on Charles Taylor’sThe Secular Age
- The Gaza War: Fawaz A. Gerges, Todd Gitlin, and Michael Walzer
Where I find
The left, which until relatively recently had seemed adrift across much of the Western world, lacking in coherent and convincing responses to globalization and neoliberalism, appears once again poised for a comeback, as citizens yearn for stability and security in difficult times.
The emergence of capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries led to unprecedented economic growth and personal freedom, but it also brought dramatic inequality, social dislocation, and atomization
Accordingly, a backlash against the new order soon began. During the early to mid nineteenth century, a motley crew of anarchists, Lassalleans, Proudhonians, Saint Simonians, and others gave voice to the growing discontent. Only with the rise of Marxism, however, did the emerging capitalist system meet an enemy worthy of its revolutionary power.
But its extraordinary accomplishments, he argued, came at a fearsome human cost. Capital was like a vampire that “lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”
Crudely stated, Marxism had three core points: that capitalism was a great transforming force in history, destroying the old feudal order and generating untold wealth and productivity; that it was based on terrible inequality, exploitation, and conflict; and that it would ultimately and naturally be transcended by the arrival of communism.
One democratic faction
Rather than working to transcend capitalism, therefore, they favored a strategy built on encouraging its immense productive capacities, reaping the benefits, and deploying them for progressive ends.
By Michael Walzer
What Is “The Good Society”?
By Michael Walzer
PRELIMINARY Dialogue: The co-editor of Dissent argues with a philosophical friend to determine the truth (or a truth) of the matter.
MW: The definite article is wrong. How could there be one good society, given the immense variety of human cultures?
A Philosophical Friend: Well, there is one human nature, recognizable across many historical and cultural settings. So why shouldn’t there be one good society that “fits” human nature and enables all men and women to reach their highest potential? Isn’t this the goal of philosophy since its Greek beginnings, and of most of the world’s religions, especially the monotheistic ones (think of the city on the hill, the holy commonwealth, the messianic kingdom), and of the left also for the last several centuries? Isn’t the pursuit of justice, truth, and beauty also, simultaneously, the pursuit of the good society, in which our higher nature would finally be fulfilled?…
WASHINGTON — The $787 billion economic stimulus bill approved by Congress will, for the first time, provide substantial amounts of money for the federal government to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness.
For Silicon Valley
Bizjournals.com – 1 hour ago
More green energy development and better job training are being called for in a report that details the sudden drop in the Silicon Valley economy last fall.
Recession Starts to Worry Silicon Valley, Report Finds New York Times
Recession catching up with Silicon Valley abc7news.com