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Bookmarker tag: topic/drift (19 notes)

Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and Us
by John Hills

different types of taxation
by John Hills

  • low and high earners should pay the same share of income in tax (a proportional system;
  • higher earners should pay a higher share of income in tax (a progressive system);
  • both should pay the same amount in tax (a regressive system).

They were also asked how state pensions and unemployment benefits should relate to their previous earnings--whether they should vary according to past contributions or likely need:

  • previous high earners should get more because they had paid in more, that is, they should be earnings-related;
  • they should get the same, through flat-rate entitlements;
  • previous low-earners should get more because their needs are greater, implying, for instance, that benefits should be means-tested.

options in a poll in the EU. it's weird cus i would support the last option (out of the last 3) and yet I know means-testing is a bad idea ... idk

conclusion: roughly evenly split between progressive and proportional, with the remainder supporting regressive

the other thing this example makes clear to me is that democracy itself is a great illustration of drift. the telos of having a democratic system is to produce a system that works. we use democracy as a heuristic because it seems like a reasonable one compared to others that have been tried. but there comes a time when we forget about the original purpose and start worshipping the structure. this idea that elections--as a symbol of democracy--are so incredibly important and pure and all that. when really democratic elections only "work"--that is, they only produce a system that works in the long run--if 1) you can trust people to vote correctly and 2) the options they are voting for are themselves optimal. elections should not be worshipped when we're living in an age that is essentially a hostile environment for democracy. when the average voter doesn't have all the information needed to make the right decisions and isn't truly empowered to make any important decisions. worshipping the idea of democracy as expressed through elections where one man = one vote will get you nowhere. you have to be able to modify the idea of democracy to fit the circumstances. you almost have to kill your heroes, actually

—p.36 | Are the poor too expensive? | created Aug 10, 2017

The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
by Mervyn King

no unique role for something called money
by Mervyn King

[...] Someone buying a meal in a restaurant might use a card, as now, but the result would not be a transfer from their bank account to that of the restaurant; instead there would be a sale of shares from the diner's portfolio and the acquisition of different shares, or other assets, to the same value by the restaurant. [...] There would be no unique role for something called money in order to buy 'stuff'.

this passage kinda boggles the mind (I say so now, but I think I felt similarly when I first read this) cus how can you imagine such a strange concept (which is really functionally equivalent) but not then take the next step of asking why such a transfer is needed at all???? it's still money??? like that startup that tried to get people to do favours for each other in exchange for virtual currency (which they called karma I believe). why is it necessary to transfer wealth in order to support production or consumption??? DRIFT i'm telling you

—p.284 | Innocence Regained: Reforming Money and Banking | created Aug 10, 2017

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
by Mark Fisher

bureaucracy was supposed to be have been made obsolete
by Mark Fisher

[...] With the triumph of neoliberalism, bureaucracy was supposed to be have been made obsolete [...] the way in which capitalism does actually work is very different from the picture presented by capitalist realism.

DRIFT (or, more accurately, a gap between expectation & reality)

—p.20 | Capitalism and the Real | created Aug 24, 2017

The Meaning of Life
by Terry Eagleton

the means of life become the end
by Terry Eagleton

As for wealth, we live in a civilization which piously denies that it is an end in itself, and treats it exactly this way in practice. One of the most powerful indictments of capitalism is that it compels us to invest most of our creative energies in matters which are in fact purely utilitarian. The means of life become the end. Life consists in laying the material infrastructure for living. It is astonishing that in the twenty-first century, the material organization of life should bulk as large as it did in the Stone Age. The capital which might be devoted to releasing men and women, at least to some moderate degree, from the exigencies of labour is dedicated instead to the task of amassing more capital.

good quote

relevant to drift

—p.89 | Is life what you make it? | created Jul 20, 2017

Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen
by Guy Standing

nothing sacrosanct about existing tax systems
by Guy Standing

The affordability issue essentially comes down to two sets of choices--how high should the basic income or social dividend be, and what are society's fiscal priorities? There is nothing sacrosanct about existing tax systems, most of which are excessively complex and highly regressive. And this is without counting the enormous sums that are lost to government coffers through tax avoidance and evasion.

think about existing tax systems as an example of drift

—p.146 | The Affordability Issue | created Aug 14, 2017

a basic income pilot in Namibia
by Guy Standing

[...] Once the cash transfers started, parents had enough money to pay school fees, and teachers had money to buy paper, pens, books, posters, paints and brushes, making the school more attractive to parents and children and raising the moral and, probably, the capacity of its teachers.

2008-2009 (small village of 1000 people), with a state-run primary school that required a fee, which many parents couldn't pay

the fact that you needed a "pilot" to be run to ensure this would happen is mind-blowing. sure it's a classic market failure example, but is it not the job of the government to ensure that the economy works??? is that not the whole point??? if the government recognises that primary school education is a good idea, is it not so obviously important to ensure that it's well funded even at the potential psychological cost of printing money? god, what drift

—p.231 | Basic Income and Development | created Aug 14, 2017

the existing system
by Guy Standing

[...] In the UK, the existing system was well described by the Scottish National MP Ronnie Cowan in a House of Commons debate on basic income in September 2016:

If we were all given a blank sheet of paper and asked to design a welfare system, nobody--but nobody--would come up with the system we have now. They would need thousands of sheets of paper and would end up with a mishmash of abandoned projects, badly implemented and half-hearted ideas so complicated that it lets down those who need it most.

basically a system that needs to be refactored


—p.284 | The Political Challenge--How To Get There From Here | created Aug 14, 2017

And the Weak Suffer What They Must?
by Yanis Varoufakis

the no-bailout dogma
by Yanis Varoufakis

Instead of asking 'How should we deal with this crisis?' the powers that be asked an almost religious question: 'How should we bail out Greece, Ireland and the others without seeming to violate the no-bailout dogma?' It only takes a second's thought to realize that by posing the second question rather than the first Europe was bound to go astray.


—p.244 | Europe's Crisis, America's Future | created Aug 06, 2017

Private Citizens
by Tony Tulathimutte

legitimately disabled influencers
by Tony Tulathimutte

"Power users! I don't just want uniques or impressions, eyeballs are cheap! I want young, cool, engaged, legitimately disabled influencers who'll bring in other active registered goddamn users!"She slapped her armrest and glowered at her glowering screen. "We only get one launch."

hello there drift

—p.277 | created Aug 13, 2017

Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism
by Slavoj Žižek

John Jay Chapman on political radicals
by Slavoj Žižek

[...] John Jay Chapman (1862-1933), today a half-forgotten American political activist and essayist who wrote about political radicals:

The radicals are really always saying the same thing. They do not change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania for power, indifference to the fate of their own cause, fanaticism, triviality, want of humour, buffoonery and irreverence. But they sound a certain note. Hence the great practical power of consistent radicals. To all appearance nobody follows them, yet everyone believes them. They hold a tuning-fork and sound A, and everybody knows it really is A, though the time-honoured pitch is G flat. The community cannot get that A out of its head. Nothing can prevent an upward tendency in the popular tone so long as the real A is kept sounding.

somewhat relevant to drift though almost in the opposite direction

—p.176 | Epignosis | created Aug 23, 2017

Against Elections: The Case for Democracy
by David Van Reybrouck, Liz Waters

electoral fundamentalism
by David Van Reybrouck

[...] Electoral fundamentalists refuse to regard elections as a means of taking part in democracy, seeing them instead as an end in themselves, as a holy doctrine with an intrinsic, inalienable value.

drift I tell you!

—p.39 | created Aug 23, 2017

the inventors of electoral-representative democracy
by David Van Reybrouck

When the supporters of the American and French revolutions proposed elections as a way of getting to know 'the will of the people', there were as yet no political parties, no laws regarding universal franchise, no commercial mass media, let alone social media. In fact the inventors of electoral-representative democracy had no idea that any of these things would come into existence. [...]

this is so drifty i'm crying

—p.41 | created Aug 23, 2017

a festival of democracy
by David Van Reybrouck

[...] Imagine having to develop a system today that would express the will of the people. Would it really be a good idea to have them all queue up at polling stations every four or five years with a bit of card in their hands and go into a dark booth to put a mark, not next to ideas but next to names on a list, names of people about whom restless reporting had been going on for months in a commercial environment that profits from restlessness? Would we still have the nerve to call what is in fact a bizarre, archaic ritual 'a festival of democracy'?

drift drift drift

(basically it needs refactoring)

—p.55 | created Aug 23, 2017

to replace it with an elected aristocracy
by David Van Reybrouck

The French Revolution, like the American, did not dislodge the aristocracy to replace it with a democracy but rather dislodged a hereditary aristocracy to replace it with an elected aristocracy [...] a new upper bourgeoisie took power. It derived its legitimacy no longer from God, soil or birth but from another relic of the aristocratic era, elections. This explains the exhausting arguments about suffrage and the severe limitations placed on it, as only those who paid sufficient tax could qualify. Only one out of every six citizens in France was allowed to vote in the first parliamentary elections, according to the constitution of 1791. [...]

he says later on that elections were "never actually intended as a democractic instrument in the first place" which is an interesting point that I'll need to incorporate into my theory of drift

—p.91 | created Aug 23, 2017

Work: Capitalism. Economics. Resistance
by CrimethInc.

the current economic system can't distribute access
by CrimethInc.

[...] When the International Monetary Fund forces austerity measures on a country, it's not like there's less food, housing, or education to go around than before--the problem is that the current economic system can't distribute access to these according to human need. The same goes for famines that plague one nation while another pays farmers subsidies not to grow crops: the means exist to eradicate famine once and for all, but they will never be used for this so long as resources flow according to the laws of profit.

drift! a great instance of capitalism dominating us because we let it

—p.308 | created Aug 24, 2017

Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents
by Ellen Ullman, Ellen Ullmann

the system became the justification for the system
by Ellen Ullmann

[...] How would it help if, in the awful and explicit way of computer systems, Reggie made clear what everyone knew-that there was a little fudging going on around the edges, so that providers could get a little extra and give a little more. In the absence of the machine, everyone could wink at these small rough edges. But Reggie-cute little Reggie with its guacamole-colored screens and the smiling face of an African-American man with AIDS-could make it all plain beyond deniability. "Don't do this," I said to the director. "Once you have this information, you'll have to do something about it."

But she was adamant. "The people paying for this system have a right to good data!" she declared.

In this way, the system became the justification for the system. We collected data, therefore it had to be "good" data. And since we could link one database to another, since it was possible to cross-check data here with data there, well, we should link them. And what was designed to store patients' information as a service for them, had somehow become the property of the "people paying for this system"- an agency of the federal government.

—p.84 | [4] Software and Suburbia | created Aug 29, 2017

keystroke monitoring
by Ellen Ullmann

Many years and clients later, this greed for more data, and more again, had become a commonplace. It had become institutionalized as a good feature of computer systems: you can link them up, you can cross-check, you can find out all sorts of things you didn't set out to know. "I bet this thing can tell me what everyone is up to all day," said the insurance agent whose employee of twenty-six years knew all his customers by name. "The people who own this system have a right to good data!" said the woman who had set out to do a favor for sick people.

I'd like to think that computers are neutral, a tool like any other, a hammer that can build a house or smash a skull. But there is something in the system itself, in the formal logic of programs and data, that recreates the world in its own image. Like the rock-and-roll culture, it forms an irresistible horizontal country that obliterates the long, slow, old cultures of place and custom, law and social life. We think we are creating the system for our own purposes. We believe we are making it in our own image. We call the microprocessor the "brain"; we say the machine has "memory." But the computer is not really like us. It is a projection of a very slim part of ourselves: that portion devoted to logic, order, rule, and clarity. It is as if we took the game of chess and declared it the highest order of human existence.

a pretty disturbing story of a client who wants his secretary's keystrokes monitored. she thinks of it as getting seduced by the promises of the system, though, whereas i would just call it drift

—p.89 | [4] Software and Suburbia | created Aug 29, 2017

How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System
by Wolfgang Streeck

democracy as a drag on efficiency
by Wolfgang Streeck

[...] Egalitarian democracy, regarded under Keynesianism as economically productive, is considered a drag on efficiency under contemporary Hayekianism, where growth is to derive from insulation of markets – and of the cumulative advantage they entail – against redistributive political distortions.

—p.52 | How Will Capitalism End? | created Sep 03, 2017

The Bleeding Edge: Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World
by Bob Hughes

under 'business as usual'
by Bob Hughes

Under 'business as usual', however, managements are less concerned with discharging an organization's avowed purpose (providing nutritious food, easy transport between A and B, warmth, comfort, and so on) than with discharging their responsibilities to shareholders (to provide healthy dividends and an ever-rising share price) or to themselves (to maintain their careers on a constantly rising trajectory and their children at private schools). Such organizations are simply not equipped to tackle their alleged aims, but Ashby's law decrees that the discrepancy between claim and reality must be made up somehow. [...]

by "shouting", basically

—p.275 | Planning by whom and for what? The battle for control from the Soviet Union to Walmart | created Sep 07, 2017