"We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." - A Soviet joke The Future is History by Masha Gessen is in someways the flip-side of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. While The Origins of Totalitarianism explains exactly that, how societies lose themselves to totalitarian ideology, The Future is History deals with the … Continue reading The Future is History
It has been rather depressing to watch people get exactly what they want. In South Africa in March, people begged to "be lead" through the COVID crisis - and they were. Crop-bottom pant regulations, arbitrary prohibition and all. They are now number three on the global misery index. In the UK, people demanded schools were shut down - … Continue reading Be careful what you beg for
Good money chases bad out of circulation. That's Gresham's Law. But what happens when the good money and the bad money are controlled by different groups? One private and backed by sweat; the other public and backed by blood (or the threat thereof). This is not a stable equilibrium. Taxation (or wealth redistribution) is the … Continue reading BTC in the sheets, MMT in the streets?
Minecraft users have been building a 1:1 replica of Earth to preserve a record of our planet and our current civilisation in event of its destruction (and goodness knows there are enough options for total world-ending destruction available these days) for some time now. As a sub-plot to that grand plan, Reporters Without Borders is … Continue reading The Uncensored New Library of Alexandra
The Cryptonomicon (also sometimes referred to as the Old Testament of the contemporary crypto community, I title it competes for with The Sovereign Individual) was apparently "required reading" for Elon Musk and Peter Thiel's team members in the early days of PayPal. After reading the book myself, this is an urban legend I am inclined … Continue reading The Cryptonomicon
“Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” ~ Milton Friedman Right now, Modern Monetary Theory (aka Magic Money Theory, aka MMT aka a new branding for monetary stimulus) as popularised by Stephanie Kelton’s The … Continue reading The Deficit Myth (and the Free Lunch Fantasy) of MMT
I have an affinity for dark Soviet humour. There is a lot we can learn from those who have been through the dark places we are headed towards. One such old joke runs as follows: A hare is running frantically though a forest. A bear stops him and asks, "Why are you running?". The hare … Continue reading The Hare and the Camel
"The winner takes it all" ~ ABBA The quote above really sums up the near-term effects of the combined COVID-19 and social crises on the 2020s ahead. I was recently asked to submit a chapter to Aftershocks and Opportunities, and I wrote on exactly that; how crises highlight and amplify the deep-seated cracks and devastating … Continue reading The Winner Takes it All
Robert Nozick's 1974's Anarchy, State and Utopia deserves a re-read right now. As the long-suppressed cracks begin to open in the WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Developed) world, we are forced to face the scaling problems of party-politics democracy; and to begin to seriously consider the alternatives on offer. Common logic (of the upper … Continue reading Anarchy, State and Utopia
Postalgia is a term used by science fiction writer William Gibson to explain the future fatigue plaguing contemporary culture. Postalgia is a hankering after the present; as opposed to nostalgia, which is a hankering after the past. Postalgia is the sense that things right now are as good as they will ever get. It is … Continue reading Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?