Berfrois

Information Over Muskets

Information Over Muskets

Kim Jong-un, Vasily Galaktionov, 2013 by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman The changing dictatorships Dictatorships are not what they used to be. The totalitarian tyrants of the past – such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot – employed terror, indoctrination, and isolation to monopolise power. Although less ideological, many 20th-century military regimes also relied on mass…

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Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots

In the next two decades, 47 per cent of employment is ‘in the high-risk category’, meaning it is ‘potentially automatable’.

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Greece Rejects Austerity!

Greece Rejects Austerity!

In one week I had seen plenty of misery in Greece’s train of misfortune. Apart from protest slogans covering public and private walls, the homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks, and the soup kitchens, it is the generalized distress that has struck me.

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Divestment is both moral and economically wise…

Divestment is both moral and economically wise…

When the fossil-fuel divestment movement first stirred on college campuses three years ago, you could almost hear Big Oil and Wall Street laughing.

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No-one ever got rich outside of social relations between people…

No-one ever got rich outside of social relations between people…

The rich get rich through wealth extraction, not wealth creation. It’s time that was put to an end.

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Dissenting Economics

Dissenting Economics

The dissent of students to the dominance of neoclassical economics in the curriculum is not new. As early as 2000, a group of French students organized under the name ‘Post-Autistic Economics’.

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Watching, Trading

Watching, Trading

So all is well, then? Certainly not. This is only the mandate for the EU negotiators. In any international agreement, it takes at least two to tango.

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Piketty’s Response

Piketty’s Response

This is a response to the criticisms - which I interpret as requests for additional information – that were published in the Financial Times on May 23 2014. These criticisms only refer to the series reported in chapter 10 of my book Capital in the 21st century, and not...

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Modern finance is human and intellectual waste…

Modern finance is human and intellectual waste…

Mammon and His Slave, Johann Jacob Weber, 1896 From London Review of Books: One of the most adroit things about Flash Boys is the size of its frame: Lewis tells his story and then lets the reader draw her own conclusions about its meaning and consequences. He keeps the...

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A Second Belle Époque

A Second Belle Époque

From The New York Review of Books: Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics, isn’t a household name, although that may change with the English-language publication of his magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Yet his influence runs deep. It has become a...

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Is work about doing what you hate?

Is work about doing what you hate?

The focus of conventional employment policy is on creating ‘more work’. People without work and in receipt of benefits are viewed as a drain on the state and in need of assistance or direct coercion to get them into work. There is the belief that work is the best...

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A Call for National Food Sovereignty

A Call for National Food Sovereignty

Farmer in Brittany, Axel Törneman, 1905 From Monthly Review: In human terms, land grabs mean real people and families are dispossessed. When people lose access to their land, they also lose their means to obtain food, their communities, and their cultures. … The commodification of land—that most basic of...

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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