EU: the new soviet bloc

In 1956, the USSR invaded Hungary, after a spontaneous revolt against soviet policies. In 1968, it did so again to Czechoslovakia. Surely this is not unlike EU policy to Greece, in ignoring the popular will?

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Greece as a battlefield

Despite its size, Greece has been a key battlefield in the economic crisis since 2007

In 2007, when the credit crunch hit, followed by deep recession in the US and Europe, no-one had any doubt as to the cause. Reckless lending by a deregulated financial industry combined with dodgy economic equations, had produced a property boom that, once exposed, put almost every financial institution at risk. Credit dried up and turned the crash into the Great Recession (here’s a fairly standard interpration from The Economist). At this point there were were few, laughable, voices stating that what was need was more flexibility in the labour markets and cuts in government spending, but it generally dismissed as nonsense.

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It’s the socio-economics, stupid

MAKING SENSE OF TERRORISM

Having spend the last two weeks arguing with various people in various corners of the Internet who seem to know little or nothing about Islam and Islamic terrorism (much like me) I thought I might try and bring my poorly informed, although furiously expressed, opinions together in this blog post, thus giving my blog, which has being lying dormant for some time, a kick start.

Initially, what depresses me is, despite many people’s willingness to hold forth at length on Islam, there is a general ignorance of its historical, social and economic context, or its actual doctrine. Such knowledge would seem basic to me. Most of the opinions I have been arguing against, blame terrorism firmly on Islam itself, either through stupidity (Fox News, giving them the benefit of the doubt) or cynicism (Nigel Farage), on the Quran and on the idea that the logical outcome of Islamic fundamentalism is violence, given that it also promotes female genital mutilation, oppression to women, stoning to death, and so on and so forth. I shall leave Reza Aslan to deal with those idiots (worthing noting: Islamic countries have elected nine women heads of state). What I want to address is this idea that Islam, or any religion for that matter, is inherently violent, or even peaceful. Continue reading

A song for February

This song goes on a while, starting off in a reasonable sort of way; you go about your business, leaving it on in the background, then you realise your head is banging, your foot is stomping and things are not quite the same

Song for November

Having listened to a lot of so-called Krautrock recently, well this month’s song is possibly my favourites. I’m not a big fan of that term, as it was used rather disparagingly in the mid-1970s, but the oh-so-superior Brits, referring to the funny Germans with their attempts at rock music. However, the sound created by the groups at that time, the most famous being Kraftwerk, but there’s also Neu, Faust and others too, have become massively influential, and can be heard in the work of Paul Weller, Human League, David Bowie, Portishead and many more.

The original of this song was, I think, about twice the length, this is the better known edited version. If anyone finds the full-length version I’d love to hear it.

Can – Mother Sky

Ideology as Science: Revolt in Economics schools

Since the Thatcher/Reagan era, neo-classical economics has tried to cloak it’s ideology as science. It has to; neoclassical economics can’t actually declare its ideological aim, which is to defend the ceaseless accumulation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, so it waffles on about free markets and the importance of not distorting them as if these were some sort of natural law. Continue reading