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Showing posts from December 21, 2008

Organizing Human products: the ants speak of the aphids

The last time LI mentioned Steve Levitt, the Chicago School economist, was his defense of lucky ducky inequality – while it might seem, by any sane account, that the level of wealth inequality in the U.S. has soared in the last thirty years, when you look at the cheap tat from China that the proles can buy and you compare it to, say, the soaring price of yachts, you can see that there´s been this neat consumer equality going on. This argument seemed to LI to be a perfect emblem of the epoch of the Great Fly: a contrarianism based on a ferocious class warfare premise, presenting itself as a cool gotcha idea. A couple of days ago, Levitt posted this: John Lippert presents an interesting and extremely well-reported article on the financial crisis’s impact on the thinking of Chicago economists. It does a nice job of capturing the multifaceted nature of the institution, with people on all sides of the issues. I absolutely love the following excerpt, which better captures what it is like to

journal at the limit of the sea

In the essay, The Writer on Holiday, Barthes uses a picture of Gide reading Bossuet while floating down the Congo as the point of departure for a reflection on the mythology of the ´writer´ as an essence: ¨one is a writer as Louis XIV was a king, even on the toilet.¨ Barthes, of course, always had a shrewd sense for the connotations of the image, and surely Gide, serene amidst a landscape alien but chosen by himself, and yet so wrapped in the third life of reading that he doesn´t see it, is acting out the master. On the other hand, what can Gide tell us about the Congo? Or LI tell us about Mexico? Myself, I think that noticing does have an end, especially as the references unfold into a jungle darkness one has neither the will nor the strength to explore – say the 17 square inches of cortex inside the head of the woman traipsing up and down the beach here at Playa de la Cuesta, selling slices of mango on a stick to lounging tourists. I´m told the beach here is treacherous. While it bea