Category Archives: Technology

Luke Cage: a view from Harlem

With the expansion in cable television, and the even more recent rise of online television, we live in a golden age of television. The range of TV series, including high quality TV series, available is unprecedented. Marvel v DC I have a weakness for police procedurals, crime shows and superhero shows (though not the animated versions). Among […]

The founding falsities of postcolonialism

In his discussion with anthropologist Philip Carl Salzman, evolutionary psychologist and YouTuber Gad Saad offers (at 8.48) the following: By the way, in terms of generative grammar, whenever when I see the word ‘post’ before anything then that raises a flag that it’s bullshit. So post = bullshit; postmodernism, postcolonialism, post-structuralism. So, maybe Chomsky can one day weigh in on why the introduction of post implies that we are […]

Sex and gender

This is based on a comment I made here. If you think the bodies are sexed (clearly true) and psyches are sexed (a bit murkier, but broadly true) then it is easy to get more than two genders. Male (male in body and psyche) Female (female in body and psyche) Third (body and psyche don’t match). Plenty of human […]

Are we heading towards peak globalisation? The ages of trade, globalisation and IT

This is based on a comment I made here. The history of (long distance) trade can be divided into 4 eras, one of which is regional and transitional: Continental-coastal: outside local areas, trade was limited to thin networks of high value items with some (highly fluctuating) upward tendency in the extent of such networks, but […]

(Not) coping with the diversity of the real

The heterosexual/homosexual distinction is relatively recent, being coined in the mid C19th. Like all binary classifications, it is somewhat problematic in dealing with the diversity of the human. That being said, it is not merely a social construct: there is a real underlying diversity in human sexuality that it tries (somewhat clumsily) to grapple with. […]

Post-Enlightenment is the Counter-Enlightenment rebooted

There is a clear difference between the modernist Left and the postmodern progressivism. The modernist Left was an Enlightenment project, and proud to be so. This is the stream of political analysis and commentary represented in our time by such figures as the late Christopher Hitchens and Norman Geras, by Terry Eagleton’s jeremiads against post-modernism and by the Euston Manifesto. They are the […]

Moral sensibility and modernity

Religions have rituals and doctrines: mechanisms of participation and belief. They also engender moral sensibilities that provide ways of normatively framing the world regarding people, places, social arrangements. Most Swedes, for example, are not believing or actively participating Lutherans, yet centuries of Lutheranism being the overwhelmingly dominant flavour of religion has deeply influenced Swedish moral sensibility. When folk try […]

States start with violence and expropriation

I came across this passage in a collection entitled States and Development: Historical Antecedents of Stagnation and Advance (pdf): A realistic, even if stylized, account begins with the coalition building in which the elites of an emergent state are likely to engage, both with other power holders and with economically successful interests (p.11). It is in a similar […]

History and surplus: 10,000 years in one blog post

Human history has largely been driven by the creation and use of surplus production — that is, production beyond subsistence. (Subsistence meaning sufficient to sustain life and reproduction.) The change from prehistory to history is very much a matter of the generation and use of surplus production. There are essentially only three ways for such surplus […]

Open and closed state systems: the geography of regional unification

Recurring periods of unification were a notable feature of the history of China; notably the Qin–Han (221BC-220), Sui–Tang (589-907), and Yuan–Ming–Qing (1271-1912) periods of unification. (The Northern Song [959-1126] arguably do not count as a full unification, since they never controlled the northern regions, which was under the control of the Liao dynasty [907-1125].) Indeed, of all the major civilisation centres, China was unified more […]