twenty-four things tagged “capitalism”

“It wasn’t brains that got me here I can assure you of that.”

I cannot help rewatch this powerful scene from “Margin Call”. A masterclass in acting by the great Jeremy Irons.

Every sentence, glance, and gesture projects complete and menacing presence, power, and finality, and is done to absolute perfection 👌

Friendly’s Staff Fails To Live Up To Restaurant Name, Writes “100% Sh*t Show” On Receipt by Chris Morran

I read this story a long while ago and have been searching for it since. I have related increasingly exaggerated variants of it from memory every few years to friends who laugh nervously when I lose my damn mind to the “She just went home I guess” part.

To me, few things are funnier than stories of the wittingly incompetent and their inadvertent courage in this boring, rigged dystopia we live in.

Mare of Easttown (2021) IMDb A+

Watched with LD. Kate Winslet is an amazing actor and this miniseries is her best work yet. It is excellent everything: story, score, cinematography, dialogue, casting, acting. About economic depression, blue-collar America, forgotten America, the opioid epidemic caused by unchecked Capitalist greed, community, family, single parenthood, decline in religious participation, and the country’s abysmal attitude towards the treatment of mental illness.

That’s a lot of layers and facets and it’s all done exquisitely, gut-wrenchingly well.

AppleTalk

“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” [Tim Cook] said. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”

[…] “For now, let me simply say that I look forward to seeing your faces,” he said in closing. “I know I’m not alone in missing the hum of activity, the energy, creativity and collaboration of our in-person meetings and the sense of community we’ve all built.”

Apple asks staff to return to office three days a week starting in early September”, The Verge

“Come back or get fired. We didn’t build this giant spaceship for nothing. And how’s our overpaid middle-management supposed to micro-manage you?”

Buy Good Shit

Neil Panchal on substituting shitty, ineffective, and expensive consumer-grade items with their industrial and military grade equivalents. Emphases mine:

The average consumer is an idiot, so the bean counters keep milking them. Let’s stick RGB lights in what used to be the BMW, you know the ultimate driving machine. The entire consumer market is rotten. TV? It’s going to come with smart apps. Get one from NEC that’s meant for commercial use.

The average consumer wants this stuff. It sells. They want pizzaz over functionality and durability. They want shiny stuff in a bigger box.

The Onion is reality. I don’t think corporations/businesses are to blame. We’re not voting with our wallets and instead regressing into buying more fricking touch screens. The average consumer is extremely ill-informed, sometimes that’s due to the lack of time, but more often than not, it’s due diligence.

The industrial, military and commercial market doesn’t mess around. They want to purchase equipment that works reliably and performs to a specification. It’s professional and their livelihood depends on it. It sort of self filters the entire market. Shitty things drop off the radar due to poor sales.

“Overkill Objects for Everyday Life”

While I don’t think I’d serve guests beer in “ASTM Specification E960, Type II”-compliant beakers1, I will certainly try out things like this cleaner, for example.

  1. For I wouldn’t have any friends left if I did that. ↩︎

American Polarization

One of the most disheartening charts I’ve seen about the current hyperpartisan political climate. We fear each other so much more.

CBS poll on American Polarization

Source

I suppose all’s fine and dandy if you’re in news or social media and are spiritually obligated to deliver Value™ to stakeholders via those almighty engagement metrics that do nothing more than sow rancor among people who have a lot more in common than they’re led to believe. All Facebook does is hold a mirror up to society. All the news media does is report. Ethics and responsibility are for the Value™-illiterate. The only thing that matters, as the society and country you and your children live in devours itself, is making gobs of cash.

On Doing Things Right and Doing the Right Thing

There’s a difference between doing things right and doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is wisdom, and effectiveness. Doing things right is efficiency. The curious thing is the righter you do the wrong thing the wronger you become. If you’re doing the wrong thing and you make a mistake and correct it you become wronger. So it’s better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. Almost every major social problem that confronts us today is a consequence of trying to do the wrong things righter.

Peter Drucker

On Privatizing Gain and Socializing Loss

Though capitalism has had a longer lease of life than some of us would’ve predicted or that many of our ancestors of the socialist movement did predict or allow, it still produces the fax machine and the microchip and still able to lower its costs and still able to flatten its distribution curve very well. It’s central contradiction remains the same; It produces publicly, it produces socially, it conscripts and it mobilizes and educates whole new work forces of people, it has an enormous transforming liberating effect in that respect but it appropriates privately. The resources and the natural abilities are held in common, the earth belongs to us all. You can’t buy your child a place at a school with better ozone. You can’t pretend that the world is other than what it is which is one and human and natural and in common. Though capitalism must do that because it must make us all work until the point when the social product is to be shared. When suddenly the appropriation is private and suddenly Donald Trump outvotes any congressman you can name and anyone with a vote because of the ownership of capital and its that effect, that annexation of what we all do and must do — the influence of labor and intelligence and creativity on nature; the same air, the same water that we must breathe and drink. That means that we may not have long in which to make this critique of the system sing again and relevant again and incisive again.

Christopher Hitchens, Is Socialism Obsolete? (Recorded in Washington DC on October 11, 1989)

Democracy Dies Behind Paywalls

Why can't Bezos fund WaPo in perpetuity?

World’s richest men added billions to their fortunes last year as others struggled: Billionaires have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began” (WaPo, Paywall.)

(Even though The Post is a complexifier for me, I do not at all regret my investment. The Post is a critical institution with a critical mission. My stewardship of The Post and my support of its mission, which will remain unswerving, is something I will be most proud of when I’m 90 and reviewing my life, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, regardless of any complexities it creates for me.)

Jeff Bezos, “No thank you, Mr. Pecker

So why can’t the World’s Richest Man fund a paper as “critical” as the Washington Post in perpetuity?