John Carlaw's documentary series Revolution (1996) mapped the social and economic changes in New Zealand society in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Part 1 - Fortress New Zealand (55'17) [Youtube]
This first episode focuses on NZ's radical transformation from a heavily regulated welfare state to a petri dish for free market ideology. It includes interviews with key political and business figures of the day, who reveal how the dire economic situation by the end of Robert Muldoon's reign made it relatively easy for Roger Douglas to implement extreme reform.
Part 2 - The Grand Illusion (55'35) [Youtube]
This second episode argues that in its first term in office, the Labour Government promoted neoliberal reform via illusory ideas of consensus and fairness, while PM David Lange mined goodwill from its indie anti-nuclear policy (famously in an Oxford Union debate). The interviews include key figures in politics, the public service and business: an age of easy lending and yuppie excess is recalled, while those in rural areas recount the downside of job losses.
Part 3 - The Great Divide (55'40) [Youtube]
This third episode looks at the lurch of the Kiwi stock market from boom to bust in 1987, and the growing philosophical divide between the "head boys": PM David Lange and finance minister Roger 'Rogernomics' Douglas. Within two months of the October 1987 stock market crash, $21 billion was lost from the value of NZ shares. Lange and Douglas give accounts of how their differing views on steering the NZ economy eventually resulted in both their resignations.
Part 4 - The New Country (56'19) [Youtube]
This final episode sums things up, after examining "the second wave" of neoliberal reform when National took power in 1990, shortly after Telecom was sold to American interests. Incoming finance minister Ruth "mother of all budgets" Richardson oversaw a reduction of welfare payments, a shake-up of the health system, and a curbing of union powers. Richardson: "in a human sense I understood that [community outrage], but that wasn't going to deflect me".
Alister Berry has made a trio of documentaries critical of the neoliberal revolution:
Someone Else's Country (1996) (1'47'11) [Youtube] looks critically at the radical economic changes implemented by the 1984 Labour Government - where privatisation of state assets was part of a wider agenda that sought to remake New Zealand as a model free market state. The trickle-down 'Rogernomics' rhetoric warned of no gain without pain, and here the theory is counterpointed by the social effects.
In a Land of Plenty - the Story of Unemployment in New Zealand (2002) (1'47'18) [Youtube] From the 1930s to the mid 1980s, successive New Zealand Governments regarded full employment as the first objective of economic policy. With the election of the fourth Labour government in 1984, the policies and institutions which had sustained full employment were abandoned or modified, and unemployment became an instrument of economic management.
A Civilised Society (2006) (1'38'34) [Youtube] This documentary looks at the new right ideology that transformed public education in the 80s and 90s and the schism it caused with teachers. Interviews with parents, teachers and unionists are cut together with archive footage of treasury officials and politicians advocating that schools be run as businesses. There are vexed board of trustees' meetings, an infamous deal between Avondale College and Pepsi, and teachers take their opposition from the classroom to the streets.
Bryan Bruce (Red Sky Film & Television) has made a series of documentaries exploring the far-reaching consequences of NZ's deregulation and privatisation and its impact on child poverty, the gap between rich and poor, the education system, and the housing crisis:
How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy [The Guardian] "For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud's death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. Now Freud is viewed less as a great medical scientist than as a powerful storyteller of the human mind whose texts, though lacking in empirical evidence, should be celebrated for their literary value. The following debate, conducted through emails, was prompted by the forthcoming publication of Frederick Crews's book Freud: The Making of an Illusion, which draws on new research materials to raise fresh questions about Freud's competence and integrity." [Previously.]
"Frederick Crews, the eminent literary critic and perennial Freud censor, opens his new study with an important question: "If Freud's career and its impact are so well understood, what justification could there be for another lengthy biographical tract?" This question is especially pertinent since, as Crews goes on to note, Freud's scientific reputation has plummeted over the past generation. Medical authorities have broadly recognized the faulty empirical scaffolding of psychoanalysis and its reliance on outmoded biological models. Mainstream American psychologists moved on decades ago. Yet, confoundingly, Freud "is destined to remain among us as the most influential of 20th-century sages," Crews writes, claiming that the attention bestowed on him by contemporary scholars and commentators ranks with that accorded Shakespeare and Jesus. Here is a fascinating conundrum: The creator of a scientifically delegitimized blueprint of the human mind and of a largely discontinued psychotherapeutic discipline retains the cultural capital of history's greatest playwright and the erstwhile Son of God."
• Why Freud Survives: He's been debunked again and again—and yet we still can't give him up. [The New Yorker]
"The arc of Freud's American reputation tracks the arc of Crews's career. Psychoanalytic theory reached the peak of its impact in the late fifties, when Crews was switching from history-of-ideas criticism to psychoanalytic criticism, and it began to fade in the late sixties, when Crews was starting to notice a certain circularity in his graduate students' papers. Part of the decline had to do with social change. Freudianism was a big target for writers associated with the women's movement; it was attacked as sexist (justifiably) by Betty Friedan in "The Feminine Mystique" and by Kate Millett in "Sexual Politics," as it had been, more than a decade earlier, by Simone de Beauvoir in "The Second Sex." Psychoanalysis was also taking a hit within the medical community. Studies suggesting that psychoanalysis had a low cure rate had been around for a while. But the realization that depression and anxiety can be regulated by medication made a mode of therapy whose treatment times reached into the hundreds of billable hours seem, at a minimum, inefficient, and, at worst, a scam."
"He portrays Freud as "aroused" by "envy" of the well-connected young French psychologist Pierre Janet, and claims that Freud simply borrowed Janet's conceptions of the unconscious and symptom formation. But the Standard Edition of Freud's writings has sixty references to Janet and his ideas, tracing a sustained argument with him between 1888 and 1925. Freud may want to win the debate, but there is nothing to indicate that he thought his own ideas came to him ex nihilo—as his own notes and countless references to literature ancient and modern suggest. Crews brings a great many, if highly selective, facts to his case. His early Freud is not only a sloppy neurologist but a deluded cocaine addict, a betrayer of friends, homoerotic in his desires (though he may have committed adultery with his sister-in-law), and a doctor who had very few patients on whom to base his ever-changing theories. Those he did have he let down or harmed or falsely suggested ailments to. His only patient was himself. When he didn't steal his ideas from others, he provided no verifiable evidence for any of his own. He was also neurotic, depressive, and sex-obsessed. The rest is all a giant con. The whole edifice of psychoanalysis, Freud's insights over many volumes, is a sham—as must, by deduction, be the worldwide institution of psychoanalysis from Brazil to China and its offshoot therapies."
"Crews goes gunning for two distinct Freuds: the doctor/scientist and the man. The former, as Crews acknowledges, has suffered a steep fall in reputation over the past 45 years. The biological model on which psychoanalysis was based has been superseded by newer discoveries, particularly in neurochemistry. Freud published the works that would establish his reputation as a savant of humanity's unacknowledged inner life in the early 1900s; over the subsequent century, it has become ever harder to ignore the lack of empirical evidence for the effectiveness of psychoanalysis as a therapy. Our growing understanding of the complexity of consciousness and the dizzying variety of human experience makes Freud's rigidly universal model of the unconscious and its drives—from the Oedipus complex to penis envy—seem laughable, blinkered by his background as a patriarchal, bourgeois 19th-century Viennese. But to Crews' annoyance, these erosions haven't done enough to wear down Freud's reputation as a bold, original thinker who revolutionized our understanding of the human mind. "
• Finding Freud: Can the founder of psychoanalysis still be relevant today? [The National Post]
"Harsh criticism of Freud has become its own intellectual tradition. Long ago, Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, questioned Freud's status as a scientist: Experiments that cannot be replicated do not fall in the category of science, Popper quietly pointed out. After enjoying a great vogue in the middle of the 20th century, psychoanalysis lost its popularity among psychiatrists and their patients. It proved too unreliable and far too expensive. As psychotropic drugs developed, they often proved more efficient. [...] But Freud persists as a great figure not for what he learned in the consulting room but for the insights he drew from life, literature and his patients. By the power of his imagination he became, as W.H. Auden declared in his elegy, "a whole climate of opinion" in which we conduct our lives. Freud told us that sometimes love and hate co-exist. He made us believe that sometimes childhood experiences echo through life. He knew (as few did, or admitted they did) that female sexual desire is as powerful as male. He gave legitimacy to sexual desires that were hated or dealt with in the criminal courts. He taught us that sometimes part of our mental life exists in ways mysterious to us. Even after Crews has done his worst, that legacy remains, still vibrant, still full of meaning, still a challenge to all our most sacred thoughts."
Bennett Foddy, he who made exquisite torture games QWOP (MeFi), CLOP (MeFi) and GIRP (MeFi), released a new game as part of the October Humble Monthly, called Getting Over It. It'll be available on Steam on December 6, but in the meantime you can watch this trailer. It is a surprisingly realistic model of a guy in a cauldron with a pick trying to climb a mountain.
-Wilbur's lyrics for Candide, together with revisions, collaborations, and alternate songs by Leonard Bernstein, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim, and others.
-"Get Happy," Adam Kirsch's 2004 New Yorker profile on Wilbur. ("If Wilbur's essentially hopeful temperament leaves him ill-equipped for certain kinds of moral inquiry, however, it is also the source of his enormous poetic gifts. No other twentieth-century American poet, with the possible exception of James Merrill, demonstrates such a Mozartean felicity in the writing of verse.")
Kick at the rock, Sam Johnson, break your bones:
But cloudy, cloudy is the stuff of stones.
We milk the cow of the world, and as we do
We whisper in her ear, 'You are not true.'
Now winter downs the dying of the year,
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin
And still allows some stirring down within.
I've known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell
And held in ice as dancers in a spell
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,
They seemed their own most perfect monument.
There was perfection in the death of ferns
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown
Composedly have made their long sojourns,
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii
The little dog lay curled and did not rise
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze
The random hands, the loose unready eyes
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.
These sudden ends of time must give us pause.
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.
From a translation of Baudelaire's "L'Invitation au voyage"
See, sheltered from the swells
There in the still canals
Those drowsy ships that dream of sailing forth;
It is to satisfy
Your least desire, they ply
Hither through all the waters of the earth.
The sun at close of day
Clothes the fields of hay,
Then the canals, at last the town entire
In hyacinth and gold:
Slowly the land is rolled
Sleepward under a sea of gentle fire.
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
It's much less polished than my usual work, but that's part of the point. Writing, penciling and inking an 18-page comic like this would normally take me a few weeks. I did this over parts of four days using a bad brush pen and art supplies from Target--Sharpie pens, highlighters and crummy paper--because Target was the only open store I could find within 20 miles.
It's a first-person report from the front line. They're not always pretty.
Page 9 has some profanity. Actually, it has nothing but profanity. Sorry. I wrestled with that, but that's exactly the way it happened and I am an honest reporter.
Martha Earl is my/ name
Hackensack is/ my station
Heaven/ is my dwelling [place]/
And Christ is my [sal/v]ation
When I [am]/ dead and in my grav/
- e and all my bones/ are rotten
For/ this you sea remem/ber me
That I are/ not forgottin/
She was born August/ 1 AD 1781
If every person who has been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.Me too is sweeping across facebook and Twitter. Note: this is a post about sexual harassment and assault.
The CORE project (for Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics) seeks to change all this. It sprang from student protests in Chile in 2011 over the perceived shortcomings of their lessons. A Chilean professor, Oscar Landerretche, worked with other economists to design a new curriculum. He, Sam Bowles, of the Santa Fe Institute, Wendy Carlin, of University College London (UCL), and Margaret Stevens, of Oxford University, painstakingly knitted contributions from economists around the world into a text that is free, online and offers interactive charts and videos of star economists. That text is the basis of economics modules taught by a small but growing number of instructors.
"The Economy", as the book is economically titled, covers the usual subjects, but in a very different way. It begins with the biggest of big pictures, explaining how capitalism and industrialisation transformed the world, inviting students to contemplate how it arrived at where it is today. Messy complications, from environmental damage to inequality, are placed firmly in the foreground. It explains cost curves, as other introductory texts do, but in the context of the Industrial Revolution, thus exposing students to debates about why industrialisation kicked off when and where it did. Thomas Malthus's ideas are used to teach students the uses and limitations of economic models, combining technical instruction with a valuable lesson from the history of economic thought. "The Economy" does not dumb down economics; it uses maths readily, keeping students engaged through the topicality of the material. Quite early on, students have lessons in the weirdness in economics—from game theory to power dynamics within firms—that makes the subject fascinating and useful but are skimmed over in most introductory courses.
Teaching the CORE curriculum feels like doing honest work, says Rajiv Sethi, of Barnard College, who contributed to the CORE textbook. Academic economists do not hide from students the complications they grapple with in their own research.
A New Way to Learn Economics - "The CORE approach isn't particularly radical. (Students looking for expositions of Marxian economics or Modern Monetary Theory will have to look elsewhere.) ... The CORE curriculum also takes economic history seriously... The text stresses that technical progress is the primary force driving economic growth. Citing the Yale economist William Nordhaus's famous study of the development of electric lighting, it illustrates how standard economic statistics, such as the gross domestic product, sometimes fail to fully account for this progress. Befitting a twenty-first-century text, sections devoted to the causes and consequences of technological innovation recur throughout the e-book, and the information economy receives its own chapter."
Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems - "This introductory course, taught by Raj Chetty, shows how 'big data' can be used to understand and solve some of the most important social and economic problems of our time. The course gives students an introduction to frontier research in applied economics and social science that does not require prior coursework in Economics or Statistics. Topics include equality of opportunity, education, health, the environment, and criminal justice. In the context of these topics, the course provides an introduction to basic statistical methods and data analysis techniques, including regression analysis, causal inference, quasi-experimental methods, and machine learning."
Adjusting to Trade... and Innovation - "Beyond the overly simplistic framing of trade as 'good' or 'bad' — by politicians, by Econ 101 — why is the topic of trade (or rather, economies and people adjusting to trade) so damn hard? A big part of it has to do with not seeing the human side of trade, let alone the big picture across time and place... as is true for many tech innovations, too... And where does China come in — and out — of this picture?"
Dan Drezner on the economics of ideas - "Dan Drezner, writer and professor of international politics, joins Cardiff Garcia to discuss his latest book, 'The Ideas Industry: how pessimists, partisans and plutocrats are transforming the marketplace of ideas'. They also talk about the global populist wave, identity-based politics, and how to resist the temptation to say yes to everything."
The explanations include automation, globalization/offshoring, the high cost of housing, a decline of corporate competition (i.e. the dominance of cartels and quasi-monopolies), a failure of our educational complex to keep pace, stagnating gains in productivity, and so on.
Each of these dynamics may well exacerbate the trend, but they all dodge the dominant driver of wage stagnation and rise income-wealth inequality: our economy is optimized for financialization, not labor/earned income... capital and profits flow to the scarcities created by asymmetric access to information, leverage and cheap credit — the engines of financialization.
Financialization funnels the economy's rewards to those with access to opaque financial processes and information flows, cheap central bank credit and private banking leverage.
Together, these enable financiers and corporations to get the borrowed capital needed to acquire and consolidate the productive assets of the economy, and commoditize those productive assets, i.e. turn them into financial instruments that can be bought and sold on the global marketplace...
The 5 Steps to World Domination - "You don't need an army to achieve World Domination; all you need is enough cheap credit to buy up everything that generates the highest value and/or income."
While the delayed death via attack on pressure points or poison is also a trope of its own, though named on TV Tropes for Kenshiro's stoic statement, "omae wa mou shindeiru" or "you are already dead" from Fist of the North Star is the most parodied and meme-ified image and phrase, if you're searching for general foolishness.