GCAS: 1st Annual World-Conference Athens July 16-19, 2015

February 18, 2015

Peter Thompson:

this looks like it is going to be good

Originally posted on GCAS--The BLOG:

The Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS) is pleased to announce our 1st Annual World-Conference
“Rethinking Democratic Possibilities: From Insurrections to ‘Event’”

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.29.02 PMJuly 16-19th (Thursday Evening-Sunday), 2015
Athens, Greece

Description:

Margaret Thatcher’s slogan, “There is no alternative” was a declaration of war that installed the horrors of neoliberal policies, which have greatly undermined democratic and public-based projects for more than 30 years. The global financial crisis of 2008 exposed these neoliberal policies that have paved the way for the rise of an untouchable oligarchical class whose top 80 members now possess more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population. It is now abundantly clear that neoliberalism has accelerated radical inequality and at the same time forced the world to conform to their unquestionable, anti-democratic policies, lest even greater disasters befall us. Faced with no alternative, on their terms, in 2011 a new series of insurrections began to emerge from…

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Reading Badiou’s METAPHYSICS OF REAL HAPPINESS (3): non-deterministic dialectics

January 28, 2015

Peter Thompson:

sounds very interesting. Will post it to my blog. I am doing a similar project to Badiou, which I call the metaphysics of contingency

Originally posted on AGENT SWARM:

Badiou links the various anti-philosophical themes of chance, risk, freedom, and change to the notion of negation: “one can say that I am pursuing from one end of my philosophical enterprise to the other … a meditation on negation. I am simply trying to explain the possibility of change, the possibility of passing from a certain regime of laws of that which is to another regime, by the mediation of a protocol of a truth and of its subject. I am thus in dialectical thought, and in a dialectical theory of happiness, which is the paraconsistent negation of finitude by a complete infinite” (82).

So Badiou can say that his thought embodies a dialectics without determinism: “as my dialectical thought includes a figure of hasard, it is non determinist” (82).

Hegel’s Absolute is deterministic. Badiou argues that as he incorporates an element of chance in his system, his Absolute is…

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Behind the Spreading Butter Comes the Knife

January 15, 2015

So all the hurrah about low inflation from Osborne is followed by news that BP is cutting hundreds of jobs because of falling oil prices and the prospect of them staying low. This is the reality of a deflationary spiral and it could easily issue into a slump as personal indebtedness combined with low wages destroys demand. On radio 4 this morning the question was asked as to why deflation is so bad because Japan has been in it for 20 odd years. The point now is that it is a global phenomenon rather than just national. Aggregate global demand will slump and affect all of us.


Zizek and radical Islam

January 14, 2015

Just reading Absolute Recoil and Zizek’s description of the relationship between the West and radical Islam as resembling that between Nietzsche’s last men (the west afraid to risk anything, settling for consumerist quietism) and the Jihadis as failed Uebermenschen, desperate to risk everything for a cause. But as Zizek points out, this apparent radicalism is actually an expression of their weakness; of the fact that their view of society is in its death throes. Any group which can be threatened by such pathetic and actually quite juvenile things as Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons is doomed to disappear because what their radicalism actually represents is their own recognition that the West has won, that modern liberal western capitalism will prevail in some form or another.

They know that the whole world is infected with the quietism of the great last men and their radicalism is like the hyperactivity of zombie slayers, decapitating people in order to stop the spread of the infection.

Wouldn’t it just be best if they admitted defeat and laid down like the rest of us and accepted their own irrelevance, like the rest of us former revolutionaries have done?


My Poem?

January 14, 2015

I am doing some detective work. I found this poem in an old notebook and the scratchings out etc. make me think I must have written it but somehow I don’t recognise it at all. Anyone know if it is from someone else. It feels a bit Simon Armitage but I can’t find it in his work. I do love his poetry so maybe I just absorbed and reproduced his style. Any leads gratefully received:

Usually the words skip over your surface

Like flat stones

The surface tension of the alcohol keeps them out of you

Until exhausted, they sink, unpoliced, laying amongst the others

This time, sober, the thing I said,

Not flat but big and clumsy and brick

Hit you straight on

And opened you down to the bed, to the bone

And though the hole closed up again

The damage was done

And the word lay there

Distinct, visible and this time causing ripples


Deflation

January 13, 2015

You really have to hand this year’s Oscar for Chutzpah to the UK Chancellor George Osborne, who is trying to claim the credit for an inflation rate that has today been declared as 0.5%. The target is 2% and the Governor of the Bank of England will have to write to the Chancellor (yes, the same Chancellor) to explain how things have gone wrong.

The point is that we are in a deflationary spiral that could be the precursor to a prolonged slump.

Deflation has several negative consequences: Spending dries up as people wait for prices to fall further and this applies to individuals as well as corporations and states. This means that economic activity slows down and production is not required and therefore redundancies increase. Capacity utilisation falls and is gradually liquidated and the downward spiral continues. At the same time, debt (both individual and state) becomes more of a burden as it does not decrease as wages and prices do.

it is difficult to overstate the seriousness of this crisis. If states do not do something to spend their way out of this deflationary spiral then it will issue into a generalized recession that will rip the whole world economy into a depression.

You read it here first! Well, perhaps not first.


The spectre of deflation

January 11, 2015

Peter Thompson:

excellent as usual

Originally posted on Michael Roberts Blog:

The huge fall in energy and other commodity prices towards the end of 2014 has driven the overall rate of inflation of prices of all commodities down. Combined with faster growth in GDP and employment in the US, this suggests a more optimistic scenario for capitalism in 2015. Lower gasoline prices means that American and other households can spend more money on other goods and so boost demand.

At least, that is the argument of the optimists among the mainstream. This argument was recently well presented by Gavyn Davies, former chief economist of Goldman Sachs and now a columnist for the FT (http://blogs.ft.com/gavyndavies/2015/01/04/demand-side-gains-for-the-global-economy-in-2015/).

As he put it: “After several years in which inadequate demand has seriously constrained activity in the global economy, causing repeated downgrades to growth forecasts, 2015 should see an improvement. Lower oil prices and a more demand-friendly fiscal/monetary policy mix should result in faster growth…

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