philosophy - humanist @ roua.org :

on capitalism and religious fundamentalism

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Žižek in NewStatesman:

What Max Horkheimer had said about Fascism and capitalism already back in 1930s - those who do not want to talk critically about capitalism should also keep quiet about Fascism - should also be applied to today’s fundamentalism: those who do not want to talk critically about liberal democracy should also keep quiet about religious fundamentalism.

"liberal democracy" not liberal democracy. FTFY.

There's no democracy where the zombie wealth of a few shuffles lives over the entire world with no responsibility whatsoever: that's a liberal mix of private dictatorships into a transvestite democracy breeding irrationalities, among them, religions, and amid these, fundamentalisms. That's what education as a commodity brings. That's what a for-profit society becomes: a few superrich surrounded by darkness and sorrow. The personal wealth of each person should be limited to a statistic of the society that person's living in; more precisely the total personal wealth of each person should be limited to a (maximum) lifetime of average salaries per its national economy, updated automatically and periodically.

This is a fix for both kinds of tribes: "liberal democracies" and religious fundamentalisms.

Because of the lack of the above limit, we still don't know yet: Who made those bullets? Who made those guns? Who sold them? Who's driving uselessly cars in the cities consuming oil ultimately funding this criminal mess and the criminal mess in the middle east?

After we all find the answers to the above, what is there to do?

The rational algorithm "How to get rid of terrorism in 8 steps": 0. Limit the total personal wealth to a (maximum) lifetime of average salaries per own national economy, updated automatically and periodically. 1. Arrest the chiefs of the companies which produced and sold guns and ammunition to citizens which should not carry guns and their commercial intermediaries in these transactions. These are supporting international terrorism. Send them in jail for life or block their bank accounts, or exile them, or ban their entrance. 2. Ban all guns that can kill at a distance; torrents don't do that, bullets do. 3. Reinstate the death penalty for those who killed. 4. "Randomly" search houses of any religious persons for guns and ammunition: if found, exile their families and strip them of citizenship. Jail their providers. 5. Only allow armament in the country's military defence. 6. Withdraw from any war you might be involved in, use bikes, trains and internet instead. 7. Watch George Carlin --- Religion is Bullshit and George Carlin - Life is Sacred 8. Repeat until we all enjoy living again and consent to having children, if ever.

earth 2100

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Earth 2100: yet another proof of how medieval is the american thinking, even when it's progressive: "Caspian fever" (not Chicago fever or texan fever). And if the energy problem gets solved, guess what an american thinks: we will then have electric cars. So that's the salvation, yet another product that can be sold per capita, producing return on investment. More brainwashing is impossible.

To quote "by tackling climate change, you end up tackling energy, you end up tackling food, you end up tackling water resources.[...] You could change this vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle." The kind of upside-down thinking: when producing profits, no need of governments to interfere or tax, no need of somebody else to tell you you shouldn't drive a car burning an irreplaceable fuel. But beyond crisis, OK, tackle climate change and you end up tackling the rest :).

Only by limiting the total personal wealth to an amount equal to a lifetime of average wages, you end up tackling energy, you end up tackling food, you end up tackling water resources.[...] You could change this vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle. Then you tackled global warming if it's not too late. FTFY

A person in the first 1% financially rich of the american population is equivalent, in terms of financial wealth, with about 150000 persons in the financially lowest 80% bracket. His/her capital is a headless beast moving everywhere to transform anything into profit/return on investment/interest rate: it never cared if lives are involved, or if the planet becomes a desert.

That means that, on average, a person in the top 1% bracket can hire or dispose of 175000 persons in the 80% bracket. That's the democracy we're talking about here.

How does one get to this number: the top 1% financially owns 42.1% of what there is to be owned, while the bottom 80% owns the 4.4% leftover. The relative power of ownership is then: (42.1% / 1% )/ (4.4% /80%)= 763. This is how many more times capital a person in the first 1% has in comparison with one in the bottom 80% (that is, you, or me).

Right from the outset a top 1% can employ or dispose of 763 people in the "bottom" 80% bracket.

But this relative capital power doesn't stop here, it is deposited in a bank, and a bank can lend more than 10 times their real cash deposit (aka fractional reserve banking). So the number gets 7630. But wait, there's the leverage: an investor (such as a bank) can use leverage dollars for each dollar actually owned. This leverage was 30 for Lehmann-Brothers and 20 on average over USA in Nov. 2008. In Europe the average leverage was 60 at the time (if one were to believe rumors on FOREX).

So we have, for US: 763*FRB*LEV=763*10*20=152600. For E.U.: 763*FRB*LEV=763*10*60=457800.

So, the capital of one person in the first 1% financial bracket, can hire/dispose of 152600 persons from the "bottom" 80% in US and 457800 in EU.

Next time somebody talks about democracy, or about acting for climate change, either slap him or tell him the above.

If the limit proposed here would be in place, all the fast profit activities which are the most distructive today by externalising more consequences would disappear; they will be replaced with acts negociated in larger numbers before moving some stupid shit that makes fast money and leaves everything else dead.

Any politics starting from anything else is pure bulshit.

my eurovote

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

There is a crucial issue missing from the elections debate, as, perhaps, always in history: the capping of personal wealth. It's a systems engineering issue rather than a political one, it has nothing to do with beliefs or hopes and everything to do with rationality and logic.

I will write a NONE OF THIS on all the votes I have the right to cast (thus making my vote invalid, but my presence noticed), as long as no candidate on my vote list promotes the following principle (call it cap the personal wealth principle): the total personal wealth of everybody is capped to a value equal with the amount of a lifetime of average wages; here, "average wages" means the average of wages across EU..

It should be clear to anybody that any viable democratical politics starts with this, all the rest is just 80% bulshit (that is, all your lifetime efforts are allocated to increasing the wealth of a minority to which you may belong only in 20% of the cases); that, if we're optimistic.

I am aware that these answers (and yours) are irrelevant outside the frame provided by the principle above, however, for the love of the internet, here below is my would be vote on other issues (this list of issues is framed by Election 2014):

  1. Should there be an increase in the EU’s multi-annual budget for the period 2014-2020? No
  2. Should the Common Agricultural Policy remain a policy priority for the EU? Yes
  3. Should the EU continue to support financially the development of poorer EU regions and cities? Yes
  4. Should the EU continue to spend money on development aid to poor countries? No
  5. Should the European Commission have greater powers to enforce budgetary discipline in Eurozone countries? No
  6. Should the countries of the Eurozone pool their public debts by creating Eurobonds? No
  7. Should there be a new tax on financial transactions in the EU? No
  8. Should the EU strengthen and extend its internal market for services? No
  9. Should the EU negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States? No
  10. Should the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) be adopted? No
  11. Should fishermen be required to fish less, in order to protect fish stocks? Yes
  12. Should EU Member States be given additional rights to restrict the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Yes
  13. Should EU Member States be urged not to authorise any new shale gas projects? Yes
  14. Should nuclear energy be phased out in the EU? No
  15. Should maternity leave on full pay be extended from 14 to 20 weeks across the EU? Yes
  16. Should the EU encourage measures to tackle homophobia? No
  17. Should EU Member States guarantee the right to safe abortion? Yes
  18. Should Schengen area countries be allowed to reintroduce border controls on a temporary basis? No
  19. Should the EU have its own diplomatic service? No
  20. Should the European Parliament have the right to decide where it meets? Yes

Compare @ Electio2014.eu

As for the principles I really care about (and, in all modesty, you should too), here they are.

And here's an alternative look at the same problem (Lawrence Lessig). This proposed solution is less effective or certain than capping the personal wealth, at least because it relies on continuous maintenance by a larger population.

The larger context is described here.

the capitalist poverty

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Digital Humanist (Data Analyst / Web Developer) (f/m) : "The employment will start on 1 May 2014 and run initially until 31 December 2014."

Why not start on the 1-st of May and run it until a week after? People are so mobile and poor+cheap these days that they would do anything for this kind of job.

Is this a joke? If it is, it runs for a decade now, it's no longer funny (well, it never was). I suggest that people announcing it should be put out of their current jobs and get hired under these new conditions. See how that feels. And I bet these people have children too. WTF are they thinking?

And on and on : "We expect a thorough knowledge in the areas of ● XML-technologies (XSLT, XPath, XQuery), ● Semantic Web technologies (RDF, SKOS, LOD), ● Web Design, Interaction and Visual Design (HTML5, CSS),"

mkay? SKOS and LOD absolutely necessary for a half a year's jumpy job that's beginning to sound like trip-hop (actually trip-hop sounds much better).

And here's more: " A good familiarity with ● scripting languages (Perl, Python, PHP), ● Linux systems, shell scripting, ● server technologies "

nothing less. Before you begin to finish writing your CV, the job funding is over, move to some other country, and do some project for some other weeks. Maybe teleportation is working already and I didn't catch the news (I was aware that Zeilinger et al. were working on that but wasn't expecting they're so advanced; but no, they can't be that advanced because prof. Zeilinger is not working on monthly projects).

I only expect a high-quality outcome from these job conditions: one month moving in, one month getting your head around the subject, one month for IT support to install your mouse, and the local telco to install your net connection, then one month to call them all to stop the bills which were on autorenew. Maybe an idea will jump on you on a red eye train to a conference and wake up from the nightmare you're living. Add to that the children and their school, or simply having them.

Capitalism: hey it's poverty, but at least it's mobile. Jobs on couch-surfing, that's an idea for the bright future capitalism has for you.

To liberals, capitalists, and all those who have nothing to say about this kind of poverty, I only wish you and your children to get only this kind of jobs.

This pest has invaded scientific research since at least 1998. I felt it in Romania, we needed more time to write internal research reports and proposals than doing the actual research. Too much bureaucracy or too much capitalist stupidity? Didn't have the time to research on that.

No problem, you'll get the nachos you called for pretty soon.

Anyway, even if you're young, don't bother answering to this kind of announcement. Let them dry. Anything else is worth doing. From my own experience, it costs you about 70kUSD to change 6 research jobs and 6 countries in 14 years. And you only get older after that. Don't believe me? then test it, motherfucker, it's your life after all.

open-access, again

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Lately, open-access seems to be flourishing somehow, with the condition that those who made money out of publishing, keep making them, and those who paid for the "published" research keep paying twice for it (once for the research to be done, and once for it to be read).

That's why open-access comes in various colours to you, diamond, green, gold, shiny, cacao etc.

Also a lot of high-level people seem to be concerned by open-access, even supporting it in some twisted way (e.g. the author pays kind of open-access).

Obfuscation is endemic.

Despite the apparently complicated issues, this is a simple phenomenon, and time is ripe for the public research to be available to the public who paid for it. No further costs, no further discussions, no further qualifiers and colours. The existence of internet enables it.

There are two simple and cheap things to be done here:

1. Forbid public research personnel to hand over the copyright to publishing companies. A law phrase is enough to cover that. Work circulates under a CC-BY license at all times.

2. Understand that the flow of a scientific article needs to change, from the traditional way: author->peer review->publisher on paper->libraries to author->peer review->digital library->(optionally) publisher on paper. This means: only fund public research if it gets published in a digital library when it's done.

Note also the change from libraries to digital library, plural to singular. There's no reason to have more than one digital library per country. Moreover, the digital library is self-sustaining because publishers on paper will have to pay for their commercial access to the digital library to assemble works on paper for various interested parties.

Then implement a public access digital library of publicly funded research results per language.

You're done.

It's easy, and cheap: such a "national" library doesn't need more than 200 msq of office space populated by 4 persons and more than, say, 10 TB of storage capacity for now.

Anything else, or more, is plain bulshit.

If you don't believe me, hire me and I'll prove it (I will only work for Greece, Portugal, Spain, Romania, France, Belgium or EU institution with offices in one of those countries), given the law phrase above is official and the obligation for the publicly funded published research to be passed to the "national" digital library).

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