Extras — No.53

Last week was skipped for a little rest but I ended reading just as much, so No.53 is almost a two for one.
Here’s “the rest” of what I wanted to share.


A New Kind of Economy—An Interview with Andrew Yang

Placing this under “tech” even though it’s politics because it’s mostly interesting for his (Yang, seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2020) “diagnostic” about automation. I think he’s right in most parts as to where we are and the near future but his vision for solutions is hand wavy in many parts and, even after looking at his campaign site, I still don’t believe in his ideas for financing a UBI, which is central to his plan. Still, interesting to look into because there aren’t many candidate with this kind of outlook. (Oh, and, “Freedom Dividend” puh.lease!)

Briefly, his policy proposals include implementing a form of Universal Basic Income (also known as UBI, or what he calls the “Freedom Dividend”), universal healthcare, a “digital social currency,” and a redefinition of GDP that more accurately reflect the health of the nation. If this sounds like socialism then, according to Yang, your thinking about the economy might be antiquated. He contends that the capitalism/socialism spectrum is no longer relevant or useful if we take an honest look at the modern world. […]

Capitalism’s efficiency and GDP are going to have an increasingly nonexistent relationship to how most Americans are doing.

A Genocide Incited on Facebook, With Posts From Myanmar’s Military

This is absolutely horrible. I honestly don’t know how Zuckerberg and his top brass sleep at night. Shut the whole thing down!

Facebook confirmed many of the details about the shadowy, military-driven campaign. The company’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said it had found “clear and deliberate attempts to covertly spread propaganda that were directly linked to the Myanmar military.” […]

Some military personnel picked up techniques from Russia. Three people familiar with the situation said some officers had studied psychological warfare, hacking and other computer skills in Russia. Some would give lectures to pass along the information when they returned, one person said.

Also: Deleting Facebook is not enough: without antitrust, the company will be our lives’ “operating system”.


Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.

I quite like this idea of a practice, of value independent of outcome. It also aligns well with Alex Steffen’s idea of “being a good ancestor.”

Given the stark facts, this approach might be the most useful. Practice has value independent of outcome; it’s a way of life, not a job with a clear payoff. A joyful habit. The right way to live. […]

This practice starts with a deep understanding of the problem, so it will mean reading a little about climate science. Our actions must be to scale, so while we undertake individual steps in our lives, like retrofitting light bulbs, we must realize that real progress comes from voting, running for office, marching in protest, writing letters, and uncomfortable but respectful conversations with fathers-in-law. This work must be habitual. Every day some learning and conversation. Every week a call to Congress. Every year a donation to a nonprofit advancing the cause. In other words, a practice.

Why the cooperative model needs to be at the heart of our new economy

Good interview about coops and Nathan Schneider’s new book on the topic. Some good references and insights.

African Americans, following the abolition of slavery, pioneered the formation of co-op lending circles, stores, and insurance pools to support one another when the government neglected them. […]

[T]he various cooperative models are not only feasible in the modern economy, but could also help rectify some of its more serious ailments, from social inequity to economic disenfranchisement. […]

“When we know the diversity and dexterity of past models, we’ll be better at finding the combinations we need for the present.” […]

CPA is one of those powerful co-ops that operates mainly in the background of society. It’s not “disrupting” anything around it, but rather solidifying bonds across a community that the mainstream economy often fails. That, to Schneider, is the true power of cooperative models.

Those left out of economies past have learned that shared prosperity only really comes with shared power.