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The tendency of the rate of profit to fall

David Graeber in The Baffler has written a truly extraordinary article:

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit
End of work arguments were popular in the late seventies and early eighties as social thinkers pondered what would happen to the traditional working-class-led popular struggle once the working class no longer existed. (The answer: it would turn into identity politics.) Jameson thought of himself as exploring the forms of consciousness and historical sensibilities likely to emerge from this new age.

What happened, instead, is that the spread of information technologies and new ways of organizing transport—the containerization of shipping, for example—allowed those same industrial jobs to be outsourced to East Asia, Latin America, and other countries where the availability of cheap labor allowed manufacturers to employ much less technologically sophisticated production-line techniques than they would have been obliged to employ at home.

From the perspective of those living in Europe, North America, and Japan, the results did seem to be much as predicted. Smokestack industries did disappear; jobs came to be divided between a lower stratum of service workers and an upper stratum sitting in antiseptic bubbles playing with computers. But below it all lay an uneasy awareness that the postwork civilization was a giant fraud. Our carefully engineered high-tech sneakers were not being produced by intelligent cyborgs or self-replicating molecular nanotechnology; they were being made on the equivalent of old-fashioned Singer sewing machines, by the daughters of Mexican and Indonesian farmers who, as the result of WTO or NAFTA–sponsored trade deals, had been ousted from their ancestral lands. It was a guilty awareness that lay beneath the postmodern sensibility and its celebration of the endless play of images and surfaces.

That is very acute. Read below the fold...

healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

[And if you have your own experiences to share, and especially screen dumps, please add them in comments or contact me. Either Federal Exchanges, or state exchanges. I'm especially interested in Covered California! Thank you! --lambert]

Nice timing.

john.smith@gmail.com from Maine had a registration #FAIL at step 3. Here's the screen dump:

Read below the fold...

test

test

Optionally specify an alternative URL by which this node can be accessed. For example, type "about" when writing an about page. Use a relative path and don't add a trailing slash or the URL alias won't work. Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Cuomo goes soft on electing a NY Democratic Senate, throws Working Families Party under the bus

Boy, that's a shocker:

usiness leaders looking for some reassurance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo about his intention to campaign for a Democratic takeover of the state Senate may have walked away a little happier Friday, after the governor sought to downplay his enthusiasm for a Senate controlled by his own party.

Read below the fold...

Democrats run a private equity guy against Pat Roberts in Kansas

And by "run," I mean they threw the regular under the bus because they thought the private equity guy, an independent, has a better chance of winning. Yeah, Roberts, I know, but doesn't it look like if the Democrats can't find a vet, they'll settle for a bankster? Read below the fold...

Why is the US Waging War on Humanity? (20 Considerations)

Who’s your Daddy? “ISIS has many, many fathers, all of whom now deny patrimony.” Glen Ford

1.Terrorism is the symptom. US imperialism is the cancer. The war on terror is TERRORISM! (Garikai Chengu) Read below the fold...

Why the Ukrainian truce will hold

I have to admit that I thought it would have collapsed by now, as did the Saker (too lazy to find the link). It hasn't yet and here's a good theory why:

The war in eastern Ukraine, which has had more impact on the European economy than any news coming out of Frankfurt or Brussels, appears to be ending. Despite the sporadic attacks that have wrecked previous ceasefire attempts.

Investors have mostly assumed that the ceasefire would not hold, either because Russian President Vladimir Putin is deceitful and greedy for more territorial conquest, or because Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko would not accept the splintering of his country that Russia demands. But this fashionable pessimism is probably wrong.

The ceasefire no longer relies on good faith or benevolence but on a convergence of interests: [Henry the K would be proud]. Putin has achieved all his key objectives, and Poroshenko recognizes that trying to reverse militarily the Russian gains would be national suicide.

So, I assume, good, or not as bad as we might imagine. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Begonias at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

The photograph isn't really showing the scale here; these are more begonia bushes than begonia plants. I had no idea that begonias could get so large! Read below the fold...

Victorious loyalists run amok in Glasgow

Daily Mail:

Pro-Union demonstrators made 'Nazi salutes' in front of Police officers as Scotland's referendum vote began to turn nasty.

Hundreds of demonstrators waving Union flags arrived at George's Square in Glasgow, which up until recently had been the unofficial headquarters of the pro-independence movement.

Well, that should certainly reconcile the Yes voters to the result. Read below the fold...

UK Green policies for post-referendum Constitutional change

BBC:

In a policy paper published on Friday, the Greens stated that "dramatic" constitutional changes were needed to rebuild public trust in politicians and the political system.

It said the referendum process highlighted the "urgent need" for a new settlement. It also criticised the "profoundly undemocratic" move by Westminster party leaders to pledge further powers for Scotland without consultation.

"It is no longer tenable for politicians to defend the over-centralised entity that is the present-day British state," it continued.

The central tenet is for a "People's Constitutional Convention", which would consider a range of matters, including: Read below the fold...

Cuomo campaign orders student protesters threatened with pepper spray

Well done, Democrats!

NEW PALTZ — Students trying to protest during Gov. Andrew Cuomo's visit to SUNY New Paltz Tuesday were threatened with pepper spray and forced to back away from the building where the governor was speaking.

And college President Donald Christian is OK with that. Cuomo's office ordered the move, he said.

Cuomo's office said they were looking into the matter but had not responded with a statement as of early Thursday evening.

Nadia Alirahi, 21, a student senator and member of the student association, said about 15 to 20 students from NYPIRG and Democracy Matters wanted to protest outside the Student Union Building where Cuomo was to make an announcement of a $10 million state grant to the school. The students were opposed to fracking among other grievances.

Wait, I thought Cuomo was opposed to fracking? Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Josh Marshall on that creepy word, "homeland"

I dunno. While I wasn't watching, somebody seems to have swapped in the orginal Josh Marshall and gotten rid of the kidnapped one. This is interesting: Read below the fold...

Froomkin: NSA's Clapper "flat-out lied"

We know this. But it's good to have it re-stated. Froomkin in The Intercept:

Clapper flat-out lied to Sen. Ron Wyden during a Senate hearing in March when he said the NSA does not wittingly “collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Clapper has  previously said he “responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”

Clapper also complained about his limited budget. Read below the fold...

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