Alan Lomax’s recordings free and online!

‘The Sound Recordings catalog comprises over 17,400 digital audio files, beginning with Lomax’s first recordings onto (newly invented) tape in 1946 and tracing his career into the 1990s. In addition to a wide spectrum of musical performances from around the world, it includes stories, jokes, sermons, personal narratives, interviews conducted by Lomax and his associates, and unique ambient artifacts captured in transit from radio broadcasts, sometimes inadvertently, when Alan left the tape machine running. Not a single piece of recorded sound in Lomax’s audio archive has been omitted: meaning that microphone checks, partial performances, and false starts are also included.’

http://research.culturalequity.org/home-audio.jsp

Alan Lomax’s recordings free and online!

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

Fascinating article about research into the structure of major companies across the world. Using complex systems theory the scientist have mapped the alliances and interconnectedness. They found that:

‘When the team further untangled the web of ownership … much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.’ 

The study is strictly neutral about the consequences of such a web of connections. Does it promote resilience, or is it source of potential weakness? The article suggests that: 

 ‘Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power, the analysis could help make it more stable. By finding the vulnerable aspects of the system, economists can suggest measures to prevent future collapses spreading through the entire economy. Glattfelder says we may need global anti-trust rules, which now exist only at national level, to limit over-connection among TNCs. Sugihara says the analysis suggests one possible solution: firms should be taxed for excess interconnectivity to discourage this risk.’ 

 Well, possibly. But it’s not a conspiracy the authors say: 

 ‘the super-entity is unlikely to be the intentional result of a conspiracy to rule the world. Such structures are common in nature,” says Sugihara.’ 

 It’s natural in its genesis: 

 ‘Newcomers to any network connect preferentially to highly connected members. TNCs buy shares in each other for business reasons, not for world domination. If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, says Dan Braha of NECSI: in similar models, money flows towards the most highly connected members. The Zurich study, says Sugihara, “is strong evidence that simple rules governing TNCs give rise spontaneously to highly connected groups”. Or as Braha puts it: “The Occupy Wall Street claim that 1 per cent of people have most of the wealth reflects a logical phase of the self-organising economy.” 

 Of course just because something doesn’t start out as a conspiracy, it doesn’t mean it won’t become one. 

 ‘ The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.’ 

 Indeed. 

 http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VRB_jBjfWrX

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

Kant’s home vandalised

  • Outside Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant’s home still stands, and now it’s adorned with a loving note in his memory: “Kant is a moron.” Russian police have made it their categorical imperative to find the vandals. “With Arthur Schopenhauer dead for 155 years, however, authorities start off with few strong leads.”

From the Paris Review: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/03/20/the-critique-of-pure-idiocy-and-other-news/

Kant’s home vandalised

Israel: The Stark Truth by David Shulman | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books feedly

The Stark Truth by David Shulman | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books 

David Shulman in the NYT on Netanyahu’s re-election. The other three consequences were not so good, too:

‘Fourthly, and most important, the moral fiber of the country will continue to unravel. Already for years the public space has been contaminated by ugly, violent voices coming from the heart of the right-wing establishment. As Zvi Barel has cogently written in Haaretz, “Netanyahu has succeeded in overturning the principle that the state exists for the sake of its citizens and putting in its place the Fascist belief that the citizens exist for the state.”

In accordance with that belief, there will be more hypernationalist, antidemocratic legislation, more deliberate and consistent attempts to undermine the authority of the courts, more rampant racism, more thugs in high office, more acts of cruelty inflicted on innocents, more attacks on moderates perceived as enemies of the state, more paranoid indoctrination in the schools, more hate propaganda and self-righteous whining by official spokesmen, more discrimination against the Israeli-Arab population, more wanton destruction of the villages of Israeli Bedouins, more war-mongering, and quite possibly more needless war.’

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Israel: The Stark Truth by David Shulman | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2015/mar/21/israel-elections-ugly-truth/
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Israel: The Stark Truth by David Shulman | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books feedly

If the bankers want the gain they should feel the pain | Jonathan Freedland

It’s not news but it needs saying over and over:

‘At present the financial uber-class expect to have the best of both worlds – all the rewards of being in charge without paying the price of responsibility. It’s an individual version of the injustice laid bare during the great crash: that while gains are privatised, losses are socialised. The bankers get the big bonuses when things go right, the taxpayers bail them out when things go wrong.

All this only grows more infuriating with the knowledge that the public realm still insists on accountability from the person at the top: just ask the last director general of the BBC. Some parts of the commercial sphere are the same, as Ian Holloway can testify. But the upper echelons of corporate life remain out of reach. That feeds the deeper sense, which lingers still, that those responsible for the calamity of 2008 have never been held properly to account for the damage they wrought.’ 

 
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/13/bankers-hsbc-rona-fairhead-firewall

Coincidentally I’ve just read this from The memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing:

‘Has there been a time in our country when the ruling class was not living inside its glass bell of respectability or of wealth, shutting its eyes to what went on outside? Could there be any real difference when this ‘ruling class’ used words like justice, fair play, equity, order, or even socialism? – used them, might even have believed in them, or believed in them for a time; but meanwhile everything fell to pieces while still, as always, the administrators lived cushioned against the worst – for to admit that it was happening was to admit themselves useless, admit the extra security they enjoyed was theft and not payment for services rendered …’

First published in 1974.

If the bankers want the gain they should feel the pain | Jonathan Freedland