Sunday Thoughts XII (July 9-15)

Nato

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video. 

I. Another Great Week in Trump World

Calling Germany controlled by Russia because of energy dependency? Check. Insinuating NATO is obsolete and at the same time urging its members to more than double their military spending? Also check. Undermining the prime minister of the UK on a visit there, calling her handling of Brexit “unfortunate” and suggesting that her foe (who has an awesome haircut, by the way) would be a great replacement? Hell yeah. All the while driving the world ever deeper into a global trade war? You betcha. Meeting the Russian president in private tomorrow, who is so lucky because he doesn’t have to deal with pestering courts or disrespectful journalists? Very much looking forward to hit. Constant contradictions and bullshit overload to keep the failing media on their toes? No one does it better. So. Much. Winning. (see e.g. Financial Times) Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts XII (July 9-15)”

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Sunday Thoughts V (May 21-27)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Plastic Pollution

The oceans of our earth are drowning in plastic waste. Especially microplastics have become ubiquitous in the marine world: “On some beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, as much as 15 percent of the sand is actually grains of microplastic.” National Geographic runs a forceful piece on this topic in its June issue. The biggest problem are plastics used for packaging materials: “That trash now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally; most of it never gets recycled or incinerated.”

I was also reminded of an article I read years ago about Ivan Macfadyen’s voyage through a dead, silent Pacific Ocean, which left a lasting impression on me.
Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts V (May 21-27)”

Sunday Thoughts III (May 7-13)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Cadet Bone Spurs’ Thirst for War

To the day seventy-three years after the US came out victorious of the Second World War in Europe, they have now all but abandoned the allies they once celebrated this victory with. In line with the billionaires that back him, the Comb-Over Caudillo has announced on Tuesday that the US will reimpose sanctions on Iran. Good luck receiving trust in future international treaties… Together with the apparently war-thirsty Israeli government, Agent Orange and his hawks (Pompeo, Bolton, etc.) are trying to fan fear of weapons of mass destruction in Iran – without a shred of evidence, of course – and are preparing for war. This reminds me so much of the 2003 war crimes, it makes me sick. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts III (May 7-13)”

Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. New News

John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, writes about the transformation of journalism in the digital age. He stresses the importance of the subscription business model and the automation and personalisation of news. His views are of course biased towards optimism, but are readworthy nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Robert Shrimsley laments in the Financial Times the erosion of an outside mentality among journalists which makes the media complaisant and untrustworthy for the people it is supposed to keep informed. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)”

The Crisis of Social Liberalism – And Why We Need More of It

liberty-face

This article reflects my personal opinion.

On Friday was the inauguration of the new US president, Donald Trump. His speech, invoking a homogenous movement of the people, bore testimony to the threat that his presidency will constitute to a liberal society. He is the spearhead of a multifaceted right-wing movement that is on the rise in most Western countries. Many narratives have been conceived to explain this uprising. One states that modern social media tend to promote fake news and right populist explanations for complex problems. Others include rising nationalist sentiments and aggravating economic inequality. However, while all of these narratives have a true core, what unites all of these new political movements is their promise of change, their promise of overthrowing the existing order. The condemnation of “the liberals” and “the elites” has been commonly looked down on as only appealing to the bigots, the ill-educated, the “deplorables”. What is often ignored are the real inconsistencies and weaknesses of the established system and the fact that in many countries, there is no real political alternative addressing these issues. Make no mistake, most movements representing the “New Right” exhibit an appalling lack of cogent concepts, many disgustingly coquet with racism and use the calculated breach of taboo as their main means of advertisement and all of them have a distasteful style. But their political attacks can only be as rewarding as the systems they are aimed at are frail. Unfortunately, modern Western societies, frequently characterised by the term “Social Liberalism”, are neither very social nor exceptionally liberal. Continue reading “The Crisis of Social Liberalism – And Why We Need More of It”

The Times They Are A-Changin’

London_flat

This article reflects my personal opinion.

On Friday, supporters of the Remain campaign in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum were faced with the ruins of their beliefs. In contrast with most of the latest polls, a majority of the voters had decided for an exit of the UK out of the EU. Although the demographic analysis of the referendum has not yet been finalised, it is already rather clear where the lines between the two camps ran. Besides the obvious separation between London, Northern Ireland and Scotland as net supporters of the Remain campaign and most of the rest of England and Wales as Leave strongholds, voters divided alongside age-demographic and educational lines. Areas with many young and well-educated residents were more likely to vote “Remain” while areas with a high concentration of low-skilled workers and old residents tended to vote “Leave” (see this guardian article for a colourful demographic breakdown of Thursday’s referendum). A lot of young voters feel that their future has been sabotaged by a generation who will not be around long enough to suffer the consequences of their vote. Congruently, many academics and other high-skilled workers perceive the referendum as a blow to their economic opportunities by ill-informed protest voters. And together, Remain supporters all around the world ask themselves “How did this happen?” Continue reading “The Times They Are A-Changin’”