Walking away from hard problems

by Julia Powles on May 4, 2017

Written under the working title Utopia, Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway is billed as a fable of hope in the automated wastelands of the late 21st century. The protagonists are a likeable team of off-grid hackers and makers who have turned their backs on ‘default’, the loveless, jobless plutocratic society run by the ‘zottarich’. As a novel, Walkaway is loose and scrappy, frequently indulging in long, jargon-heavy, mechanical descriptions and smart-ass monologues from characters who all seem to speak the same way. What is perhaps most interesting about the book is in fact what it doesn’t discuss—the unstoppable juggernaut of power, capital and technology that drives today’s digital culture. This matters, because with endorsements from heavy-hitters like Edward Snowden, William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, this book is being boldly pitched as a blueprint for the builders of tomorrow. [click to continue…]

Debt and taxes

by John Quiggin on May 4, 2017

To misquote Benjamin Franklin and others, the only certainties in economic life are debt and taxes. Among the themes of political struggle, fights over debt (demands from creditors to be paid in the terms they expect, and from debtors to be relieved from unfair burdens) and taxes (who should pay them and how should the resulting revenue be spent) have always been central.

I mentioned in a comment recently, that Pro-debtor politics is always in competition with social democracy, and a couple of people asked for more explanation.
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