Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick—even the IMF says so

“I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary.” Aditya Chakrabortty on asset-stripping the United Kingdom.
www.theguardian.com

Brexit – the story so far

by Swanpride

Honestly, this whole mess has been ridiculous way longer. I mean, so far the story kind of like this [sic]:

UK: Yeah, your stupid little project, we don’t want to be part of it.
EU: That’s okay, we will do our thing over here and you can do your thing over there.
UK: We have changed our mind, we want to join after all.
France: Not sure if that is a good idea.
UK: Pretty please?????
EU: Okay, we kind of convinced France.
UK: Great. Now do what we want or we leave.
EU: What do you want?
UK: We don’t want to be in the Euro.
EU: Done.
UK: But we want the right to do Euro clearing in London.
EU: Done.
UK: We want a rebate.
EU: Done.
UK: We don’t want to be part of Schengen.
EU: Done.
UK: We want to expand the EU to the eastern European countries.
EU: Done.
UK: And we want Turkey to join.
EU: Eh…not sure about that one…I guess we can talk about this, depending on how Turkey develops…
UK: And we want extra rules for immigration because of all of those Eastern Europeans coming to us.
EU: But you wanted this. And you don’t even use the options you already have to control immigration.
UK: Otherwise we leave!
EU: Okay, if you want to. There is nothing more we can give you! Plus, we are kind of busy over here with a refugee crisis. You know, you could help, too? You were the one messing around in the middle east for centuries after all.
UK: You cause too much immigration! And you want Turkey to join! We have voted to leave.
EU: Yes, we noticed. Well, you know the rules, no trade negotiations until you trigger article 50 and then we first need to talk about how we entangle the UK from the EU [sic]. Than we can talk about trade.
UK: We need some time to discuss this.
EU: We aren’t in any hurry.
UK: We have now triggered article 50.
EU: Great so now we can talk about the divorce.
UK: But we want to talk about trade.
EU: First we need to clear up a number of important issues. So what is your suggestion?
UK: —
EU: How about this?
UK: No, totally inacceptable. What we want is our cake and eat it too.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: Go whistle.
EU: Ticktock.
UK: We have talked among ourselves. We want a transitional period or we won’t get done in time.
EU: Well, we might if you don’t delay all the time…but okay, provided that we made some progress. So what is you suggestion.
UK: We want all the advantage of the single market and the customs union while following our own standards and no free movement.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: YOU ARE BLACKMAILING US!!!!!
tvtropes.org

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Die AAA-Bürger

“So wie Alibaba und Amazon wissen, wofür sich ihre Nutzer interessieren und was sie als Nächstes kaufen könnten, will der chinesische Staat aus den Datenspuren seiner Bürger ableiten, wie sie sich in der Vergangenheit verhalten haben und in der Zukunft verhalten könnten und sie nach einem Punktesystem entsprechend bewerten. Wer zum Beispiel über das Internet gesunde Babynahrung bestellt, soll Pluspunkte erhalten. Wer sich hingegen Pornos ansieht oder zu viel Zeit mit Computerspielen verbringt, muss mit Abzügen rechnen.” Da trifft es sich gut, daß Felix Lee nichts zu verbergen hat und ein solcher Umgang mit Nutzerdaten überhaupt nur in China in Erwägung gezogen wird…
www.zeit.de

With thanks to Michael August

Wie, Du bist nicht bei Whatsapp?

“Wer Whatsapp liebt, sollte besser nicht weiterlesen, oder vielleicht gerade dann, denn Liebe macht ja bekanntlich oft blind.” Boris Pohler, selbst Lehrer und Vater von zwei Kindern, bennent den Preis für die Verwendung des weit verbreiteten Dienstes und erklärt, warum jeder Nutzer gegen deutsches Recht verstößt.
blog.pohlers-web.de

Motor der Ungleichheit

“Das vielleicht spektakulärste Beispiel dafür ist der Google-Mutterkonzern Alphabet. 2003, weniger als ein Jahr vor dem Börsengang, übertrug ‘Google USA’ seine Suchmaschinen- und Werbetechnologie an ‘Google Holdings’, eine in Irland eingetragene Tochter. Dank des irischen Steuerrechts kann das Unternehmen seine Gewinne mit einen Zwischenstopp auf den Bermudas versteuern. 15,5 Milliarden Dollar waren das bei Google im Jahr 2015, der Steuersatz für Unternehmen auf der Inselgruppe: null Prozent.” Gabriel Zucman fordert ein Finanzregister als effektive Waffe gegen die Intransparenz der Weltfinanzen.
www.sueddeutsche.de

End these offshore games or our democracy will die

“These are the fixes, but a real solution is ultimately political. We must accept that Big Finance and runaway inequality are incompatible with either a functioning democracy or a sustainable economy.” Aditya Chakrabortty sees a rotting core at the heart of our democracies.
www.theguardian.com

You are the product

“What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does—‘connect’, ‘build communities’—and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.” John Lanchester does not know what will happen should this $450 billion penny ever drop.
www.lrb.co.uk

Britain is still a world-beater at one thing: ripping off its own citizens

“Whether as taxpayers or consumers, pretty much everyone in Britain is now human feedstock for Big Capital. This may not be how you see yourself. After all, you’re a customer and in our dynamic, choice-stuffed markets the customer is king. Except that the propaganda doesn’t match reality.” Aditya Chakrabortty asks what Britain is actually for.
www.theguardian.com

Want people to behave better? Give them more privacy

“Team members had a kind of collective privacy—they were hidden from the constant scrutiny by management and other workers, even though within their shared workspace they were still visible to each other. The effect was to shrink the size of the surveillance audience and confine it to people the workers had a personal connection with. This kind of ‘privacy within team boundaries’ has been associated with better results in many workplaces, from Google to hospital emergency rooms.” David Berreby quotes research suggesting that workers often are more productive in an environment that does not monitor their every move.
www.psychologytoday.com

How can the international system do more to tackle corruption?

“The international efforts to reduce corruption that have developed over the past 20 years constitute a massive agenda which is being worked through in multilateral institutions, individual countries, companies and civil society campaigns. It will take years of reform to fulfil the commitments that have been made. But the prize is enormous.” Claire Short is in an optimistic mood.
www.opendemocracy.net

Das Gegenteil von Transparenz

“Wer sich hingegen am Ausverkauf der Demokratie beteiligt, scheut offensichtlich das Licht der Öffentlichkeit. Wenn die Unterhändler und Sigmar Gabriel wirklich überzeugt wären vom TTIP,  könnten sie es ja für alle zugänglich ins Netz stellen.” Katja Kipping beschreibt den eigens eingerichteten TTIP-Leseraum und seine Nutzungsmodalitäten.
www.linksfraktion.de

Can we afford to ignore what Katie Hopkins says about migrants drowning in the Med?

“So while we ought noisily to challenge her incitement to hatred and violence against the most vulnerable groups in society and to condemn the fact that major media outlets are providing her with the microphone to do this, we also need to organise for a different kind of politics in which those escaping war and poverty are welcomed and not left to drown in the seas that surround us.“ Des Freedman regards Katie Hopkins as merely a sideshow in an age of neoliberal politicians protecting uninhibited cross-border flow of capital while barring people fleeing poverty and persecution and refusing to help them when they vanish into the sea.
www.opendemocracy.net

Deutschland braucht Flüchtlinge

“Um es klar zu sagen: Es ist ein großer historischer Glücksfall, dass Deutschland just in dem Moment Menschen in großer Zahl aus dem Ausland anzieht, in dem diese Gesellschaft sie braucht.” Henrik Müller sieht in der aktuellen Zuwanderungswelle eine große Chance für Deutschland und die Deutschen.
www.spiegel.de

Kleptoremuneration

“There is an inverse relationship between utility and reward. The most lucrative, prestigious jobs tend to cause the greatest harm. The most useful workers tend to be paid least and treated worst.” While this inverse relationship doesn’t always hold, George Monbiot still maintains that our lives are damaged not by the undeserving poor but by the undeserving rich.
www.monbiot.com

Sale of the century: the privatisation scam

“But the gap where the economic rationale for privatising council houses should be becomes a window through which it becomes possible to see beyond the individual privatisations to the meta-privatisation, and its one indisputable success: that it put more money into the hands of a small number of the very wealthiest people, at the expense of the elderly, the sick, the jobless and the working poor.” In an article that should be regarded as compulsory reading for citizens everywhere, James Meek looks back at 35 years of privatising UK industries.
www.theguardian.com

Secrecy concerns around TTIP

“Shrouded in secrecy, our world leaders are currently negotiating a deal that will let multinational corporations wield power over national governments; lower environmental and safety standards across the EU; bring workers’ rights down to appalling US levels; and threaten the NHS as we know it.” Jim Sheridan expresses his concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the United Kingdom. Similar anxieties exist in Germany. Is Europe about to be sold down the river?
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

World processor

“Such are the perverse rewards we reap when we permit tech culture to become our culture. The profits and power flow to the platform owners and their political sponsors. We get the surveillance, the data mining, the soaring inequality, and the canned pep talks from bosses who have been upsold on analytics software.” Jacob Silverman critically examines today’s employment practices using past issues of Processed World as a guide to the great digital reorganization of work.
www.thebaffler.com

Wenn die Maschinenstürmer doch recht behalten

“Einerseits steige die Verfügbarkeit von digitalisierbaren Dingen und Diensten dramatisch, bei immer weiter sinkenden Preisen. Andererseits kämen die Erträge der neuen Produktionsweisen nur wenigen zugute, was in einer potenziell extremen Polarisierung von Einkommen und Entfaltungschancen resultiere.” Henrik Müller sieht uns einem verarmenden Produktivitätswachstum ausgeliefert.
www.spiegel.de