miscellaneous

What we learned this week

I love the ZedPod, a zero carbon affordable mini-home that can be built in a car park, and I’ve been waiting for the first proper ZedPod development. It was announced this week, and it’s going to be down the road from me in Dunstable. Good work Central Bedfordshire College, who will be building 23 starter homes for local nurses, firefighters and teachers.

I’ve always figured that the Conservatives’ enthusiasm for fracking would only last until the applications starting landing in their own constituencies.  With local MPs being lobbied by angry voters, we’re now reaching that point. Little information yet, but there are rumours of a tory rebellion on fracking.

Using a similar metaphor that Katherine and I use in our book, Umair Haque asks if America has a case of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to capitalism.

Placemaking is something I think about at the local level quite often, so I was interested to come across Urban Pollinators this week, a think tank all about community regeneration.

After a succesful trial in London last year, Google Streetview cars are going to start measuring and mapping air pollution around the world.

This week I’ve been reading the news from the Carribean. I have learned that Jamaica is planning a plastic bag ban, and that Donald Trump has reinstated the sanctions against Cuba that Obama lifted.  Of course he has. I haven’t taken in West Africa yet, so next week I’ll be reading GhanaWeb and the Ghana News Agency.

9 comments

  1. Thanks – I loved the Umair Haque article; a very insightful analysis on capitalism I felt.
    There may be some signs of hope – this intriguing article suggests younger people are rejecting capitalism (although data is messy/uncertain):
    http://theconversation.com/todays-youth-reject-capitalism-but-what-do-they-want-to-replace-it-94247

    I’ve come across other commentators who feel this is a cohort effect (people are hanging on to their more anti-capitalist views as they age), but I haven’t managed to track down good references for this. Has anyone else?

    1. I’ve not heard of the cohort effect. I might look into that. I’m just reading Paul Mason’s book ‘Postcapitalism’ at the moment, which may partially answer the question of what comes next.

  2. The problem with the false consciousness idea is that it requires Capitalism to have failed. It isn’t false consciousness to support Capitalism if you aren’t a Capitalist IF your personal results from Capitalism are better than you would expect from another system. At the extreme it’s better to be in the American middle class working 14 hour days than a Venezuelan eating your pets.

    Much of the rejection of Capitalism is based on comparing it to imaginary alternatives, never any actual ones. Let’s us say altogether: ‘That’s not Real Socialism’. The younger people may we’ll come over to Capitalism if the experience the lack of it.

      1. Umair Haque’s article explicitly comes from a Marxist direction so hardly unfair to point that out.

        I accept there are plenty of non Marxist imaginary alternatives to Capitalism.

  3. However, non-imaginary alternatives DO exist. I think there’s enough evidence from Scandinavian social democracies, and elements of other systems, to say it’s more reasonable to seek at least a modification of the current incarnation of US-style capitalism.

    1. Scandi Social Democracies are economically very neo-liberal and open, have no minimum wage, low or zero inheritance taxes and much higher wealth inequality than the UK. Is that what you are looking for?

      They really have no truck with Marx.

    1. Because I’m not paying attention, that’s why… I wrote the sentence intending to finish it with the Seychelles and Madagascar, but none of the papers I’d put down for them had international news. Apologies to Ghana.

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