David Graeber v. Nicholas Taleb on Political Economy

Here is anarchist anthropologist David Graeber on hierarchy in capitalism and how anthropological value theory can demystify its operations (from his essay, "TURNING MODES OF PRODUCTION INSIDE OUT: OR, WHY CAPITALISM IS A TRANSFORMATION OF SLAVERY"): What I especially want to stress here though is that, when value is about the production of people, it is …

Slavery and Capitalism in America

I'm about halfway through The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2014) by Edward Baptist. Baptist's book embeds an economic history of post-revolutionary America in the personal stories of slaves. He brings into question the still dominant version of American history, "the half that has ever been told," which argues that slavery …

CIIS Commencement Speech 5/22

https://youtu.be/DeRQMTpRnAM Thank you, President Subbiondo. Thanks also to our Academic Vice President Judie Wexler, to our honorary degree recipients Angela Davis and Josef Brinckmann, and to all CIIS faculty and staff for the work you have done to make this day possible for me and for my fellow graduates. I am a philosopher, which is not …

In defense of other possibilities…

I always try to ration myself early in the month since I only get 10 free articles, but Charles Blow's op-ed in the New York Times this morning--"A Trump-Sanders Coalition? Nah"--seemed worth the read. Blow rightly points out why Trump's campaign manager is sorely mistaken about the prospects of winning over Bernie's supporters in the general …

The Religion of Reason (with Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein)

Hard to disagree with too much of what Pinker and Goldstein say about Reason. Yay Reason, right?! They also make a very persuasive case for (neo)liberal capitalism. Pinker's bit about empathy was a nice reprieve, but Goldstein shut him up fast by recounting Reason's historical march toward the Good. In the end, I prefer Schelling's, Hegel's, …