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

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 to…

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,…

Towards a “Thermopolitics” (question for Levi Bryant)

Levi Bryant just posted on what he is calling “thermopolitics.” He wants to shift the discourse in philosophy away from its exclusive focus on linguistic analysis and the critique of ideological superstructures toward the energetics of the universe that provide the condition for their possibility. Bryant writes: This is not a metaphor.  At this very…

Alf Hornborg on Ecology, Economy, and Technology

A few excerpts from professor of human ecology Alf Hornborg‘s book The Power of the Machine: Global Inequalities of Economy, Technology, and Environment (2001). “We seem to have difficulties understanding exactly in which sense human ideas and social relations intervene in the material realities of the biosphere. Rather than continuing to appraoch ‘knowledge’ from the Cartesian…

A Time to Mourn, A Time to Weep- The Many Faces of Progress

Great piece by Trevor Malkinson on the state of the planet: A Time to Mourn, A Time to Weep- The Many Faces of Progress. Malkinson quotes the process theologian John Cobb Jr. from this recent interview: If I tried to be very philosophical, and look at things very broadly, I think that the divine experiment on…

William Irwin Thompson on Planetary Transformation

Adam/Knowledge-Ecology and I interviewed the integral philosopher William Irwin Thompson a while back. He recently posted a transcription of part of that encounter on his blog. Here’s a sample: So imagine in a noetic polity that a girl is born, the very fact that she is a member of that polity would empower her to…

No one is in control…

…because power has left the nation-state; politics has been overcome by financial flows. -Zygmunt Bauman