Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Another summer is gone, woo-hoo!
This was a strange summer. I don’t think it was nearly as hot as last year’s, but I reckon it was a lot drier. There were some strangely cool spells (rather nice, actually), interspersed with extremely humid (mostly in the early morning) heat waves lasting a week or ten days. But no rains.
And something I really loved: no mozzies! You know how it is: no rains, no mozzies. Sure, there were cockies galore, but mozzies? Nope.
Come to think of it, I saw very few spiders and flies.
Friday, 23 February 2018
I suspect one must be really interested in Marxist and socialist history for the name Eduard Bernstein to ring a bell. I am and I have already written about him, without focusing specifically on him.
The bottom line is that Bernstein has been forgotten, but he would be a case study in the unintended consequences of the kind of charlatanry the liberal/leftish intelligentsia mastered.
Monday, 19 February 2018
Friday, 16 February 2018
Resuming from last time: Signs that things weren't fine for capitalism and that people started to notice didn't end with a few scattered economists discussing things among themselves, or some economics students demanding unspecified changes in academic syllabi. Not even with the mega rich performing their annual rituals at Davos.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Whether one likes it or not, Marx and Engels didn’t think much of rural life.
This is an early example (1848):
“The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life.”Now, let’s pause. Those guys used the word “rescued”. It’s there. You can see it: I emphasised it.
Time to use our noodles. Marx and Engels used the word rescue and we know that to rescue something is to save that something from a danger or a difficult situation. Right?
Friday, 9 February 2018
Welcome to the second part of my "It's a Long Way to the Top" series: an absolute beginner's guide to optimisation … by an absolute beginner to optimisation. :-)
In the first installment we went through an intuitive exposition of the logic of optimisation. Now it's time to put that in a slightly more formal language. Here is an intuitive explanation of what a function and its derivative are and how to find its maximum. It's not meant to be complete and readers interested are advised to consult a text (you can try here, but it's up to you).
Mathematically one represents Fateful Mountain (from our previous post) like so
y = f(x).
Friday, 2 February 2018
It doesn’t take a sharp observer to realise things of late are going pear-shaped for capitalism, one needs only to follow the news: globalisation gone mad, financialisation, private debt growth, housing bubble burst, GFC, bailouts, repos, recession, unemployment, inequality in all shapes and colours, wage stagnation, the bloody aftermath to the Arab Spring, terrorism, rise of the surveillance state and the far right, Europe, US, South America. And that’s without mentioning climate change, ocean acidification, mass extinction, the risk of global pandemics, and now the growing likelihood of Cold War 2 or even a nuclear war.
Don’t believe me? Even as I wrote this, our reptilian plutocratic overlords were performing their ultimately inconsequential but newsworthy Davos annual hand-wringing ceremonies.
Things didn’t seem so bad twenty years ago, yes?