Showing posts from July, 2018

21. The politics of division

Current politics are about division. They pitch Catalans against Spaniards, British against Europeans, Americans against all comers.  This is no coincidence, it is a ploy of capital. Capital, as a concept, is united in its aims. Unity of aims and purpose, and even of method, is a competitive advantage if your enemy is divided. The unity of the people, whether it is trade unions, across borders cooperation or financial and tax regulation, weakens capital, reduces its power. Capital can jump fences, and those who try to control it cannot, so capital builds fences. This is not a new concept. Julius Caesar is credited with the maxim ‘Divide et conquere’. It was a less subtle World, where conflict was more obvious and a lot more bloodied, but strategies remain fundamentally the same. Foster division and, if there isn’t any, seed it first, then foster it. One more episode of the capital versus the people. Passion and sentiment, so easily manipulated 

20. The fatuousness of wealth accumulation

As I progress through life, I become wealthier, in economic and knowledge terms. The more this happens, the more I think about what to do with this wealth. We live in an age in which wealth, at least economic, is more concentrated than ever in the hands of a few, individuals and corporations. However much I think about it, I cannot find any purpose in this accumulation. I cannot escape the realisation that any money that survives you is money wasted, a lost opportunity. As inheritance, it is nearly always too late. In our current capitalist system, money has huge power to change lives, if used appropriately. And every single cent you own, once your needs (basic or not, that is an individual choice) are covered, should be used for this purpose, made to work to the full. If you have it, use it to change outcomes. I don’t know a lot, but I know that, if you ever stop to think at the time of your death, a bulging bank account will make you feel regret for what could have been.

19. The importance of knowledge

I have been reading Javier Marias in @elpais today. On occasion of the death of the historian John Julius Norwich, Marias reflects on the widely held opinion that having general knowledge is not important nowadays, since the data are a few clicks away. He laments the excessively pragmatic nature of current education, and the fact that the last generations are less prepared than their predecessors, know less. Today, he regrets, it is possible to cross the World without knowing anything about it, to visit places and people without knowing how they came to be, what made them what they are. I do think that, as we improve the data/human interfaces, knowledge will be more immediately available and holding it will be less critical. However, our ability to navigate the World successfully will, until we are superseded by AI, still depend on our individual knowledge and understanding of the World that surrounds us. Without this knowledge, we drift without purpose, tools of the system