Skip to main content


Showing posts from May 24, 2015

My poem for today. I'll call it melancholia meets the hounds of spring

This hand crabbed from the key dulled letter Sits, paleolithic, on the obsolete absolute page Its grip reduced to a spastic C Illustrating some text on graphology Section graphomania, dangers of. Notebooks Hanself and gretel back to the storied youth And up to the man long in the tooth If teeth there are so wrought by seasons Of unheeded sugar, the slave produce stored In poisoned plenty – is it not in this plenty I lived? And how my happiness grieved To see its imperial thunder mocked and tin Reduced to a mere tinkle in the heart. But what of it, weeper? Is it proved That the grave’s your major stockholder at fifty? As though out of stiff fingers no nifty Thought could throw off smothering bone And you have to face alone, alone. 

Paul Seabright and the contemporary mystification of competition

Competition is an all-explainer word - and as such, a contemporary myth. One throws it about as if we knew all about it. And we throw it about as if, knowing all about it, we know all about the world. We don't. The less we know, the more we throw it about - which is the way with myths. The more we know, the less inclined we are to throw it about without at least introducing a little explanatory curtain music. In theTLS last week, Paul Seabright, in a review of Melvin Konner's Women after All,   threw it about to make a semi-claim about the social dimension of human sexual evolution. Here are the two grafs that concern me. “Konner has two distinct stories to tell, and the one that occupies most of his pages is well told: it concerns what we now know about how biology shapes the difference between males and females, in many non-human species as well as in our own. It is no longer tenable (and has not been for some time) to think that biology determines only the anatomy o

competing as a royal screwing

The ideological work of the capitalist system is seen at its most successful in creating the character mask of the competitor for the laborer. In our time, the workers work against each other not only in terms of the price they put, or can put, on their work, but also in as much as they must partake of the treadmill of skilling and de-skilling, which has advanced beyond what it was in the first industrial era - much as Marx predicted. The capitalist system seeks the maximum level of interchangeability among all the members of what I’d broadly call the working class – that is, the class who do not own the means of production. Thus, as members of that class strive to attain a higher price for their skills – investing in education and training – the organizations that hire them strive to devalue those skills by breaking down the peculiarities inherent in their routines. That is, the system strives to make them purely quantifiable. Consequently, we see such things as this: in the white co