Monday, 13 January 2020

What I've Been Reading, November & December 2019



Capitalism, Communism, Anarchy

The New Fascism, and Antifa

I hear a lot of well educated people saying that the people some of us are calling fascists don't meet all the criteria for being "real" fascists. Others have even accused us of calling anyone we disagree with a fascist. I predict that a few decades from now those same people will be saying they wish they hadn't been quite so fussy with their definitions, and had acted sooner to oppose these "new fascists", even if they weren't identical to the fascists of the twentieth century.

Eco-Modernism, Decoupling and the Religion of Progress



Responding to Collapse,

Peak Oil

Climate Change

Economic Contraction and Growing Inequality

  • How the Finance Industry Fueled Four Decades of Inequality in America, by Ken-Hou Lin, Medium—Marker
    "The credit market has been revealed as a regressive system of redistribution benefiting the rich and devastating the poor."
    This is an excellent description of the effects of economic contraction (primarily inequality), without ever admitting that that contraction is happening, or venturing any idea about what might be causing it. In my opinion the contraction is indeed happening and is driven by decreasing surplus energy. Growing inequality is a result of the upper class manipulating the economy to retain a growing slice of a shrinking pie.
  • The Market Is Huge! Revisiting The Big Market Delusion, by Aswath Damodaran, Seeking Alpha
    One of the ways in which markets malfunction, bubbles get blown and eventually collapse. I can;t say I agree with the author's conclusion that bubbles are, on balance, a good thing.



Genetic Engineering

Before jumping to the erroneous conclusion that this section was paid for any of the big bio-tech companies, stop for a moment and understand that organic agriculture/food is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies on fear to get people to buy its product. Millions of dollars are spent yearly to convince you that genetically engineered organisms are dangerous, while the scientific consensus says just the opposite.

Practical Skills



Debunking Resources

These are of such importance that I've decide to leave them here on an ongoing basis.

Pseudoscience, Quacks and Charlatans

Lacking an Owner's Manual

The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.

Gender and Sexuality

There is No God, and Thou Shall Have No Other Gods

I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I am an atheist, but I may not have made it clear that I think any sort of worship is a bad thing and that believing in things is to be avoided whenever possible. Indeed, I do not believe in belief itself. That's what the "Thou shall have no other gods" is about—it's not enough to quit believing in whatever God or Gods you were raised to believe in, but also we must avoid other gods, including material wealth, power and fame.

Further, many people today (including most atheists) follow the religion of "progress", which is based on the belief that mankind is destined to follow a road that leads from the caves ever upward to the stars, and that however bad things seem today, they are bound to be better tomorrow due to, technological advancement and economic growth. This is very convenient for those who benefit most from economic growth, but it is hardly based on any sort of science and leads to a great many confused and incorrect ideas.

Intelligence and Consciousness

  • The consciousness illusion, by Keith Frankish, Aeon
    "Phenomenal consciousness is a fiction written by our brains to help us track the impact that the world makes on us."

Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Poverty, Homeless People, Minimum Wage, UBI, Health Care, Affordable Housing

Artificial Intelligence




Except for one new book (Little Coffee House of Kabul) onloan froma friend, I've been re-reading old favourites.