[Warning: Arachnophobia, AI art]
I mentioned this in the comments of my last posting, but I think it’s worth going into a bit more detail.
I have added another book to my recommended reading list [stderr] Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. In the last few months, I have gone backward and forward through it, trying to make sense of how the facts it exposes fit with my historical understanding.
If you pay any attention to US history, you know that slavery and racism are one of the supporting institutions that have defined and shaped the United States. You cannot understand the United States without understanding slavery and racism. But, that understanding has always felt incomplete, to me; I knew there was more. Obviously, there are details, but what is the big picture?
One of the things I loathe is America’s infatuation with its military.
The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is scary and, having been in the path of a near-lethal coronavirus, one of the worst parts is wondering, “how much worse can this get?” and suspecting that the answer is “a whole lot.”
Apparently Trump tried a transparent grift, suggesting that the next G7 be held at one of his resorts, where he’d make a ton of money. Other diplomats basically jeered him, rather than asking, “are you offering this as a courtesy? You are generous to offer to put us all up for free.”
Despite of my sniffiness about AI, I have to admit that Amazon.com’s “books people like you liked” algorithm is pretty good. That’s not surprising, because they have so much data behind it, nobody has been arsed to spend the money to manipulate the reviews in my part of the market, and the algorithm is really easy to implement. I’ve tried to cut back on my purchases via Amazon, but sometimes I use the recommendations to search for the books on Ebay.
A friend of mine retired from an IT executive job and she and her husband decided to become wealthy capitalists in their retirement. Since the evils of capitalism are a frequent topic here on FtB, maybe it’s a good idea to do a quick explainer of how a few of those evils work. These are the simple ones, and I’ll describe them as cleanly as I can so you can understand what’s going on when you hear about it elsewhere.
This is a piece I stumbled across a few years ago; it’s interesting, especially considering when it was written: 1949. The author was looking back at Europe’s successive troubles and accurately saw the disturbance as an effect of the economics of the industrial revolution. The analysis seems pretty simple to me: imperialism was waning and the vast changes in the European powers’ economies brought on by new industrial processes (in particular, weaponry) created a perfect storm of events that – for a time – discredited capitalism. The Russian revolution was through the process of turning into Stalin’s dictatorship – discrediting communism in turn. Aristocracy, in the form of the family of elite pinheads who destroyed Europe, didn’t look particularly good, either.