Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The Arctic Hare and Walter Benjamin’s program for a proletarian children’s theater

The Arctic Hare and Walter Benjamin’s program for a proletarian children’s theater The hare was a child so badly treated and offended by the other people because he had such long ears that he went off to live alone. When he sees someone, he puts his ears back; for when he hears a man’s call, […]

How intelligence was distributed among the animals

How intelligence was distributed among the animals Illustration by Tom Seidmann-Freud In the beginning, none of the animals was endowed with intelligence. When they saw a hunter coming towards them who wanted to kill them, they stopped, looked at him, and were shot. So our Lord sent someone who put all the senses in a […]

Yet another one of those Matadors

Yet another one of those Matadors  Adorno’s metaphor of the “matadors of the culture industry” didn’t fall out of the sky. Nearly four decades earlier — sometime between 1931 and 1933 — he had written several short pieces, one of which was titled “Applause.”  I came across mention of it when I was looking to […]

One of those Matadors of the Culture Industry

One of those Matadors of the Culture Industry When Theodor Adorno referred to “one of those matadors of the culture industry,” in his “Free Time” radio lecture, he was presumably referring to the idols of stage, screen, television, or recording studio who are the staples of the supermarket tabloid personality cult. Oddly, though, his construction of […]

This Life: faith, work, and free time

This Life: faith, work, and free time The blurbs on the first few pages of Martin Hägglund’s This Life are so surprisingly accurate that it would be hard to describe the book with an original superlative. “Monumental!” “Powerful!” “Important!” “Electrifying!” “Profound, thoughtful, compelling, and insightful!” Those blurbs were not idle puffery. All that is left for me to […]

Mr. Etcetera

Mr. Etcetera The subtitle of T. R. Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population advertised its inclusion of “remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other writers.” In volume I of Capital, Marx did not mention William Godwin’s name.  One might say, rather, that Marx studiously avoided mentioning Godwin. He did, however, engage in a […]

A Free Market is Always Full of Cheap Ideas

A Free Market is Always Full of Cheap Ideas I may have scoffed in the past at the notion of “the marketplace of ideas” but I am coming around to think that maybe it’s not such a bad metaphor. Back in the days of primitive economy, families, clans, tribes produced and consumed their own subsistence. […]

Whole Lotka Shakin’ Goin’ On

Whole Lotka Shakin’ Goin’ On In a 1967 festschrift for Maurice Dobb, Richard Goodwin published an influential paper, “A Growth Cycle” on the “class struggle” model of cycles in economic growth. I only became aware of this famous paper because it had occurred to me that the dynamics of relative surplus population, necessary labour time, […]

Disposable time as a common-pool resource IX — Disposable time as a model for environmental governance

Disposable time as a common-pool resource IX — Disposable time as a model for environmental governance Not only could disposable time be regarded as a common-pool resource similar to other common-pool resources, but it could stand as the single most far-reaching and democratically vital model of a common-pool resource. Donald Stabile alluded to something in […]