Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Post-modern existential anxiety, or "When it all falls into place"

Let me state right from the start that this post will be self-indulgent and somewhat exhibitionistic, and I'm not really saying anything particularly new or original. The reason, both for the content and this "disclaimer" should become obvious as we move along. Right then, with that out of the way let's get to it. I had a bit of a revelation today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Renewable energy - problem or potential

The earthquake outside Japan has got me thinking about genuinly clean and renewable energy sources. Regardless of your view on the risks of meltdowns in the Japanese powerplants, it should be obvious that nuclear powerplants aren't entirely safe - not to mention the dangers of uranium mining and disposal of nuclear waste. In addition to being environmentally hazardous, nuclear power - just as fossil power - is finite, localized and therefore controllable. As has been shown through numerous national and international conflicts, non-renewable energy is a constant potential source for geo-political strife and tension - but I believe it is also an obstacle we need to overcome if we are to achieve economic, social and ecological sustainability. There are also parallels with problems surrounding "intellectual property rights", the impact of mp3 technology on the music industry and WikiLeaks.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The dangers of polarization

Last year, The Spirit Level by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett made some (although not enough) impact on the Swedish pre-election debates and campaigns. About 6 months earlier, Tim Jackson's report Prosperity Without Growth surfaced as well, regrettably without making almost any noise over here. In April of last year, the Gulf of Mexico was hit by disaster on a major scale with the BP oil spill, and for half a century there's been an on-going oil spill - dwarfing what happened in the Gulf - in the Niger Delta. Add to this a massive global financial crisis, two Iraq wars, the Afghanistan invasion, the Darfur genocide in Sudan and countless other catastrophies as well as a global climate change escalating out of control. At the same time, we are witnessing a severe social, economic and political polarization. This all ties together.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A sustainable labour market

The labour market, and also labour market policies, today aren't really working. In many (Western) countries, unemployment rates are rising, there is a worrying shift in demographics where it seems a shrinking work force are required to provide services (as well as taxed labour) to an growing number of retirees, increased automatization as well as relocation ("outsourcing") of jobs are removing work opportunities. At the same time, overtime is increasing (and recently the government has even suggested that it become easier to order overtime), the wage gap between low and high income jobs increases, and cheap oil - a prerequisite for much of the aformentioned automatization - seem to be becoming a thing of the past.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Growth Dogma

Just read an article in Swedish magazine Effekt about the connection between what's happening in the Middle East and the currently dominating "growth dogma". In short, the writer suggests that world leaders are hesitant to support the people of the Middle East in their uprising, because this might lead to a severe rise in oil prices - and that rising oil prises, while being a potential problem for households, is a major problem for an economy based on eternal economic growth. Our current economy essentially runs on access to cheap oil. One question posed in the article is why the issue of growth (or rather, the critique of our current "growth dogma") is so taboo. I have some thoughts.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PRODUKT - Revolt . Conquer . Consume (2010)

"Revolt . Conquer . Consume" is the debut album of Sean "Satyr" Tracy's PRODUKT - a New York based machine rock/electro-goth hybrid. While it might be a debut, don't mistake Sean for a rookie or PRODUKT for an entirely new band - prior to starting up PRODUKT in 2004 Sean put in time as guitarist for, among others, Florida based industrial rock act Grim Fairies (with Curse Mackey of Evil Mothers fame on vocals) as well as doing remix work for the likes of Society Burning (see review here), Cyanotic and How To Destroy Angels. So what of "Revolt . Conquer . Consume"?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Making sense of Maher?

Against better judgment, I watched a clip of Bill Maher bashing Islam and Muslim men. It is a truly hateful and bigoted tirade he spews, but somewhere deep in the mess Maher actually does have a point - at least if you cut him a lot of slack.