May 21, 2013
"This is a picture of a boomlet that may run a few more years — if the banking system doesn’t implode and the massive stream of capital doesn’t quit flowing to the shale counties. The excitement will all be over before 2020, but I suspect that troubles in finance and banking will put the schnitz on the shale gas mania long before that date. What will happen when the American public discovers that they were lied to about yet another important matter? The discovery will coincide with very severe changes in daily life that won’t be avoidable. Everyone will be affected. Many will be impoverished and suffer real hardship. That’s when the public goes apeshit and starts tearing down the house."
May 18, 2013
"My beef with Waterhouse is really a beef with the gambling industry as a whole, and in fact with anyone who profits from the misery of others. I think someone as talented as Tom Waterhouse – who by all reports is a very intelligent individual – could apply his efforts to any one of a million different pursuits which would make the world better for him, and for others. Instead, he’s chosen a pursuit which makes him rich at the expense of untold thousands of others. So in my opinion, he can get fucked."
May 18, 2013
"It’s a strange reversal. For most of history, the poor would have eaten the local pigs and known the origin of their socks, and the rich had better access to a global marketplace. But changing elite tastes and the relentless efficiency of supply chains have slowly inverted tastes: In many categories, the poor now buy from the exotic unknown, and the rich insist on what can be traced, from the pig next door to the locally sewn sock."
May 17, 2013
"‘I think some of them are very skilled at the art of bullshit; I think some of them are just deluded; some of them aren’t very smart; some of them are immoral; some of them are well-intentioned but wrong; some of them are behaving as party hacks. And there’s not a lot of incentive for them to change that.’ Most columnists are ‘a waste of space’, he says. ‘A lot of them are nice people, but they’re literally a waste of column inches. It’s like “We’ll put the stuff that has the ring of fact and truth in the news section” and so what does that imply about the stuff that’s not in the news section?’"
May 15, 2013
"in half a generation, green-minded intellectuals, movements and political parties have helped ensure that such matters as chemical pollutants, nuclear power, carbon emissions, climate change and species destruction are ‘in the air’ and firmly on the policy agenda of democratic politics. Public awareness that humans are the only biological species ever to have occupied the entire planet, with potentially catastrophic consequences, is growing. Green politics has helped popularise precautionary attitudes towards ‘progress’ and its blind embrace. It has also tabled vital tactical questions: for instance, should priority be given to civic initiatives and social movements or to the formation of political parties and alliances with mainstream parties? How can green parties best be kept ‘democratic’? Does their political success require broadening green politics to include themes such as immigration and gender discrimination? Despite these notable achievements, or so runs the argument, the profoundly radical implications of green politics for the way people imagine and live democracy remain poorly understood."
May 14, 2013
"Over the past few days, I have asked the Shell Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford, the university itself and the umbrella body Universities UK to explain the ethical difference between taking tobacco money for cancer research and taking fossil fuel money for energy research. None of these great heads, despite my repeated attempts to engage them, were prepared even to attempt an answer."
May 14, 2013
"There is one thing that we know for sure in this strange period when bankers have tried to manage reality in the absence of truth: that advanced industrial-technological economies designed to run on $20-a-barrel oil can’t run on $100-a-barrel oil, and that is why the US economy was subject to financialization in the first place — to offset declining productive activity by an attempt to get something for nothing. Notice that this macro-trend coincided exactly with the rise of legalized gambling all over America. That is how the idea that you could get something for nothing got to be normal. The world is about to find out that you really can’t get something for nothing. It will be a harsh lesson."
May 12, 2013
"markets reduce moral concerns. This is the main result of an experiment conducted by economists from the Universities of Bonn and Bamberg. The results are presented in the latest issue of the renowned journal Science. “In markets, people face several mechanisms that may lower their feelings of guilt and responsibility,” explains Nora Szech. In market situations, people focus on competition and profits rather than on moral concerns. Guilt can be shared with other traders. In addition, people see that others violate moral norms as well."
May 10, 2013
"There’s something seriously wrong when TV networks are happy to show gambling, rape and pillage, but are too afraid to air an ad for recycling."
May 10, 2013
"People need to realise that that NBN Corporation is set up as a government-owned corporation. The government holds an equity stake with the remainder of costs being financed using privately placed debt. The money isn’t being “spent”, it’s being invested. It’s the distinction between buying a carton of beer and consuming it versus buying a share in a brewing company. Over the life of the project, NBN Co is expected to generate a return of investment of 6-7%. The NBN will be valuable asset, generating steady, stable, cash flows into the future."