And Boom Goes the Capitalism

Yeah yeah, mm-hmm, “don’t talk about capitalism unless you can supply an alternative system that could provide equal or superior quality of life to as many people” yes yes very good.

I have so many subjects and thoughts to get in order, an ideological scrapbook of sorts, all of it geared towards a singular purpose: Reconfigure capitalism to the point where it (and herein lies the rub) leads to convergence rather than divergence in living standards. A bunch of other good things would come with that, too, many of them whirling around the space inhabited by the word “ethics” like enraged gannets sent on a pointless mission to the sheet-ice of a polar cap. They need the ice to be broken before they can make the water, and in this metaphor, the ice is called “what people talk about when they talk about human nature.”

Does this make sense? It doesn’t make sense. It’s very late and I’ve been chased by three thoughts all day:

Oliver North is theperfect spokesman for  Call of Duty   for reasons that only get more terrifying the more you think about them;

French food company Nutriset makes tens of millions in profit each year from selling emergency food supplies (mainly Plumpy’nut, which is used to save thousands malnourished children every week) to UNICEF and a select group of NGOs with sufficient purchasing power. Nutriset can do this unimpeded because it owns the (ridiculously broad) patents for Plumpy’nut and other emergency foods, and France is a member of the World Trade Organisation. Nutriset’s nationality gives it the right to assert its patents worldwide under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) legislation and bar competition, or not-for-profit groups, from producing its lifesaving foods at a drastically reduced cost. Children starve every day because of this, and TRIPS makes it unstoppable (it also prevents people in developing nations from being able to purchase cheap generic medicines because big pharma and its lovely R&D budgets tend to live within the WTO-loving West);

and finally, I read somewhere the other day that the man who invented the seatbelt that is still used in modern vehicles (I think he worked for Mercedes) only let go of its patent because he didn’t think anyone would use it. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it would not surprise me if it were.

I’ll come back next week and put this in order. Especially Oliver North’s deal with Activision. It tells us so much about the modern world and the place of media which are dependent on advanced technology, and none of it is good. So tune in next week for that, if you feel like it.

The work on Nutriset and Plumpy’nut will take much longer to collect and organise, but I’ll get round to that soon after. I’m barely scratching the surface with it at the moment. I’m really, serously apprehensive about what deeper research will reveal.

Also if someone could mail me a unifying theory of politics that takes into account the present rights and habits of the human population I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

Sleep well x

Alba

(For a quick primer on Scottish independence, see second half of post.)

When I was 16 years old, I was a vehement supporter of the Scottish independence movement. Looking back, I can’t really remember why it was that I felt this way; but reason perhaps lies in that word, “felt”. When I was 16 I hadn’t studied politics at all. Everything around me told me that the English were bad, unfunny, and didn’t like us at all. I disagreed with the war in Iraq and wondered if Scotland would’ve been able to disengage itself from that conflict were it an independent nation.

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"Angry Face"

Juhayman “Angry Face” al-Otaybi was head of a snappily-named Salafi group called The Salafi Group That Commands Right and Forbids Wrong (TSCTCRFW to its friends) in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s. He strove to be as puritanical as he possibly could, shunning every act and thought which did not reflect the teachings of the Prophet and even abandoning the ulema (elders, scholars of Islam) when they said his group was twisting both Islam and the minds of its young initiates.

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Things You Can Do At Age 22

By the time he was 22 years old, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud had already recaptured the city of Riyadh from some seriously fierce pro-Ottoman assholes. Doing so was his first step towards restoring the glory of his exiled family and uniting the tribes of the Nejd under his banner.

I am sitting in my house avoiding making my dinner. I am also 22 years old. I am not sure what to make of this, but then again, my family never had either Riyadh or glory so I guess I’m off the hook for now. Phew.