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Open Thread of the Week

by afew Mon Mar 23rd, 2015 at 11:36:30 AM EST

23-29 March


Display:

This Is What Humanity's Impact On The Planet Looks Like -- The Huffington Post

A new photo book from conservation experts aims to shine a light on humanity's impact on the planet and convince people to think about their contribution. Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot includes photos and essays exploring man's complicated relationship with the planet.

The book "presents the stark reality of a world transformed by human action, action that threatens our future and the buzzing, blossoming diversity of life with which we share the planet," an introduction reads.

The full introduction here.

Also (from Salon.com): This is absolutely terrifying: "There are really only two big patches of intact forest left on Earth"

by das monde on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 02:08:07 AM EST
There's nothing wrong with growing cereals like that...except of course all of the chemicals that go into making such a monoculture worthwhile.

And it won't go on for much longer as the Ogallala aqifer, on which the US midwest depends is eing emptied.

Basically, everything between the Rockies and the Mississippi is turning into a dustbowl in the next 50 years

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 02:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The wrong thing is that people (or the leaders they admire) never know when to stop.
by das monde on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 03:51:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Humans are like locusts. They stop when the resources run out and then move on to another area to despoil. With a limited Earth, population growth still out of control, and no miracles in sight, the aim of the oligarchs to "secure" the planets remaining resources seems like a good one ... for their survival ... "they" being their family group and hangers on. The rest of the human population is SOL. But will it happen before the Earth looks like Mars? Tune in in  another 500 years to find out. Remember the recent rework of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with Keano Reeves?  Keano made the wrong decision when the he spared the humans. I can imagine him lamenting if HE came back 500 years later and saw the wasteland the Earth becomes.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 03:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
population growth still out of control

You mean popuation growth declining both in percentage and in real numbers.

Population growth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, which is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.[4] Each region of the globe has seen great reductions in growth rate in recent decades, though growth rates remain above 2% in some countries of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.[10]

Some countries experience negative population growth, especially in Eastern Europe mainly due to low fertility rates, high death rates and emigration. In Southern Africa, growth is slowing due to the high number of HIV-related deaths. Some Western Europe countries might also encounter negative population growth.[11] Japan's population began decreasing in 2005.[12] The United Nations Population Division expects world population to peak at over 10 billion at the end of the 21st century but Sanjeev Sanyal has argued that global fertility will fall below replacement rates in the 2020s and that world population will peak below 9 billion by 2050 followed by a long decline.[13]

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 04:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I mean in raw numbers of humans, not growth rate. I don't care about kinetics, just concentration, number of people per planet. I saw a piece just after the last Gaza "lawn cutting"; a Palestinian man, sitting amidst the rubble of what was his home, was lamenting the death of 4 of his 9 children. This guy had nine kids!!!  And he's probably not done! Is war our only form of reliable population control?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If your only standard is if total population is shrinking, then no it is not shrinking. But then your "growth" and "out of control" means exactly the same thing.

Low-intensive war like in Gaza is a good way of keeping people in a cultural mode where it makes a lot of sense to have nine kids. But still birth rates are falling there too, even if slower then in other countries in the Middle East. But then again Gaza is so small that it does not matter on a global scale, which you just stated is what you care about.

Peace, prosperity and equality on the other hand has led to birth rates below 2.1 per woman in a large part of the world. So no, war is not the only reliable way of population control, it is not even a reliable way.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
High birthrate is a cultural fixation of Palestinians, so I heard. Demography is a politically significant topic in Israel.

Palestine-Israel Journal: Demography and Politics in the Palestinian Authority

The Israeli government's new strategic thinking is motivated, among other things, by growing awareness of the demographic problem -- that by 2006 the Palestinians will be the majority of the population between the sea and the Jordan River. The Palestinian population will continue to grow by 3 percent a year while the Jewish population will grow at only 2 percent a year and the proportion of the Jewish population will decline by 40 percent by the year 2020. This will mean a death sentence for Israel as a Jewish-Zionist and perhaps democratic state. Arafat's speech (in July 1987) in which he likened the Palestinian woman to a "biological bomb" only served to exacerbate this feeling.

On the other hand,

Israel's Demographic Miracle - inFocus Quarterly Journal

Israel's fertility rate of three children per Jewish woman is higher than that of any other country in the developed world, and the only fertility rate substantially above replacement. Only the United States among the world's industrial nations has a fertility rate around the replacement level of 2.1 [...]

Just as remarkable is that fertility in most of the Muslim world has fallen below Israel's, while the fertility of Israeli Arabs and Arabs in Judea and Samaria has converged on the Jewish fertility rate in Israel [...] A 2006 study by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies claims that the West Bank and Gaza population in 2004 was only 2.5 million, rather than the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinian authorities. Presumably the numbers were inflated to increase foreign aid and exaggerate the importance of the Palestinian population.

[... The Israeli fertility rate] exceeds the industrial nations' norm by such a wide margin that Israel -- assuming that fertility remains unchanged -- will have a larger population than Poland by 2085. Poland's median age, moreover, will be 57, an outcome impossible for the Polish state to manage (because the majority of Poles in that case would be elderly dependents), while Israel's median age will be only 32. Even more remarkable is that Israel will have more young people than Italy or Spain and as many as Germany by the end of the century if fertility remains unchanged. A century and a half after the Holocaust, that is, the Jewish State will have more military-age men, and will be able to field a larger land army, than Germany.

by das monde on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 02:43:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Jewish State will have more military-age men, and will be able to field a larger land army,

In 40 years, to the extent that you can trust any such estimate, half the Jews will be Haredi (see p.17). They may be military-age, but there are unlikely to be in the army....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 03:00:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This must be not for the first time in history that Haredi fertility rate looked unreal in relation to their land. The Torah must be providing decent guidance to get through that.
by das monde on Sat Mar 28th, 2015 at 05:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The advice is more likely to come from Malthus than from the Torah. And yes, I've heard of cases where the rabbis approve of vice (i.e., contraception) in cases where the woman has had "enough" (for an appropriately high number of "enough") children. But the state supporting them makes cases like this rare.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Mar 28th, 2015 at 11:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We might notice before long. The Abrahamic scriptures could be more than just cultural DNA. Possibly, they could sneakingly address some once-in-millenium issues, including demographics, geopolitics.
by das monde on Mon Mar 30th, 2015 at 02:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the real Machia turns up, he's going to be pretty pissed off.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 30th, 2015 at 07:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's always been on the cards.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2015 at 07:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The choice, I believe, is between continued population growth and unsustainable economic growth and consumption of non-renewable resources and an alternative which embraces a planned decrease of population back to low single digit billions over a few hundred years combined with massive recycling of non=renewable resources and a shift to renewable substitutes as well. A large part of this is a shift to a new economic paradigm that is compatible with a declining population. The current paradigm is a massive FAIL on these measures. There simply is not capacity to allow the return on investment to a tiny if comp  minority  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 06:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that the Club of Rome report did make an impression to responsible elites - even if it looks like the world is consistently adopting exactly the wrong policies since the 70s, 80s. The idea might be that the responsible club should not be large, as action is more important than intellectual-humanitarian agreement. It is plausible to resolve a coming overshot by sharpening it (and then letting chips, bodies fall where they may), while demonstrating unsustainable growth for normality as a masking social BS strategy. Then the default paradigm is actually the old-fashioned but more stealthy resource "managing" by concentrating them into few hands, leaving the oblivious majority for a rare experimental role. The indication is the political disbalance of consistently moving towards and through economic-social crashes, squeezing the working majority, with the humanitarian opposition remarkably weak.

Openly planned decrease of population would be an authoritarian, hierarchal, manipulative undertaking. One way or other, population control means preventing a lot of people from having kids - and this is against their supreme human destinies however you put that. If you really want to have an impact on the process, act within your capability instead of dreaming about planned arrangements for which you will never have the power. The world will be fine - after a short period of mess, and still with the emergent (or forced) awareness hierarchy.

by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 11:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
It is plausible

A vast array of science fiction stories are "plausible". This one belongs among them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 02:28:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Far less science fiction is important to your skin.
by das monde on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 03:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the proviso that the Club of Rome is, even amongst the relatively small number of members, still quite competitive amongst themselves, I think das monde captured the major default agreement they have between themselves - the looting must continue. They are, after all, a small group of very wealthy libertarians. And, at the time of the Meadows report The Limits to Growth - in 1972 the world was only recently off the gold standard, so the whole concept of floating currencies and the possible advantages thereof, especially to the issuer of the de facto 'world reserve currency', had not sunk in. The members of the think tank were still drinking gold standard coolaid.

The members of the 'think tank' were mostly the nominees or front men of those who funded the group. According to Wiki:

According to its website, the Club of Rome is composed of "scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies."

These would be the same collection of representatives from the business world, the MIC, heads of world organizations and academia about which C. Wright Mills in The Power Elite, etc. and which Sheldon Wolin described in Democracy Inc. as 'Inverted Totalitariansism - where this group of individuals are the front men of the oligarchs - employing 'shock doctirne' tactics and mis-direction to achieve the ends of the oligarchs with minimum protest from the people involved. In fact, Milton Friedman was a representative of academia in the front group. This is where TINA was born. It very much makes sense to me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 06:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to solve problems when the population is wildly unstable, whatever other problems a people face. Gaza's population is more than 10 times what it was 60 years ago. Yemen's population is 4 or 5 times greater in the same period, with close to half the population less than 20 years of age. IMHO, the only people who can thrive in such circumstances are those who crave instability.
by Andhakari on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 03:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
true. But it could be argued that these countries are the exceptions.
by IM on Sat Mar 28th, 2015 at 11:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is always a cheering section for any new geoengineering project, etc. When the answer is simply STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, that is a very hard sell.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Fri Mar 27th, 2015 at 10:08:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Survival of the fittest might have actually been survival of the richest​ - The Washington Post

Roughly 12,000 years ago, humans started farming commercially. Those with fruitful harvests discovered what it meant to be wealthy. And wealthy men apparently fathered way more babies, according to a new study.

Survival of the fittest might have actually been survival of the richest.

Researchers recently uncovered a sharp decline in genetic diversity in male lineages across the world during the Stone Age. The study's authors hypothesized that material gains made through early agricultural success -- a proxy for wealth -- gave smaller groups of related men the reproductive upper hand for generations [...]

Computer and statistical modeling showed throughout history two ancient "bottlenecks," or significant decreases in genetic diversity, according to the study, published last week in Genome Research. Migration from Africa drove the first shift, Wilson Sayres said. The rise of agriculture -- and a new way for prospective mates to gauge male desirability -- likely drove the second. For every 17 women who passed on their DNA, researchers could find genetic evidence of only one male whose lineage stretched to modern times.

by das monde on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 05:01:11 AM EST
NYT - Paul Krugman - This Snookered Isle : Britain's Terrible, No-Good Economic Discourse

The 2016 election is still 19 mind-numbing, soul-killing months away. There is, however, another important election in just six weeks, as Britain goes to the polls. And many of the same issues are on the table.

Unfortunately, economic discourse in Britain is dominated by a misleading fixation on budget deficits. Worse, this bogus narrative has infected supposedly objective reporting; media organizations routinely present as fact propositions that are contentious if not just plain wrong.

Needless to say, Britain isn't the only place where things like this happen. A few years ago, at the height of our own deficit fetishism, the American news media showed some of the same vices. Allegedly factual articles would declare that debt fears were driving up interest rates with zero evidence to support such claims. Reporters would drop all pretense of neutrality and cheer on proposals for entitlement cuts.

In the United States, however, we seem to have gotten past that. Britain hasn't.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 02:25:26 PM EST
The biggest threat to feminism? It's not just the patriarchy | Finn Mackay | Comment is free | The Guardian
Choice feminism can be found particularly in media representations of what feminism is and what women's empowerment might look like. There is an attempt, unfortunately fairly successful, to reduce feminism to simply being the right for women to make choices. Not choices about whether to stand for parliament, or instigate pay transparency in the office or lead an unemployed worker's union, or form a women-only consciousness-raising group in their town; far from it.

Excellent article.  I've not come across the term 'choice feminism' before but it sums up my feelings well. Well worth a read.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 02:51:30 PM EST
I have an issue which, sadly, is less about the content and more ad hominem (or ad feminam if you prefer) on the author herself. Finn MacKay is well known as a TERF, ie a trans-erasing radical feminist. That is, she doesn't like me or people like me, denies our rights to seek medical treatment for our condition.

She may claim that she would never misgender me, but is a well known advocate and associate of those, such as Janice Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys and Julie Bindel who happily would do so. Indeed, when MacKay first resurrected the "Reclaim the Night" marches, trans women were banned. It was only when MacKay's influence diminished that we were finally allowed in, although I know several who have never really felt able to participate because of previous aggression.

So, I read her essay with a somewhat jaundiced eye. I thought it was just a bit old-fashioned, a return to the culture wars of 2nd wave feminism. Indeed, she's an advocate of political lesbianism, that rather charmless demand by 2nd wavers that you can't be a proper feminist if you give any energy to men. Which is pretty stupid on many levels.

But really, I'll simply quote Lynne Segal, who's a lot better at this sort of thing that I

Times Higher Education - Lynne Segal - Review : Radical Feminism: Feminist Activism in Movement, by Finn Mackay

Although Mackay is aware of the familiar faultlines of her radical feminist text, she tends to downplay them. She provides no definition of pornography, which - alongside sex work - is presented as a cornerstone of male dominance. While she is surely right that most mainstream pornography demeans and objectifies women, and much commercial prostitution is exploitative of them, she still needs to establish exactly how, and why, it is these practices that remain overall key to the subordination of women. But no evidence is provided here that links their prevalence to shifts and continuities in gender relations. Indeed, she shows little interest in analysing any shifts in women's social, cultural and political situation over the past generation, whether in the UK or elsewhere. Her overriding emphasis on male violence sidelines any such analysis.

Finally, Mackay insists that she, like all the feminist activists she interviewed, is politically on the Left, anti-capitalist and in favour of a peaceful, egalitarian world. Yet how you get from Reclaim the Night marches to such a goal remains unexplored. There is no discussion of whether or how segments of movements might form coalitions, or find some other way of working together to influence mainstream political parties. A feminist, anti-capitalist revolution is her goal, and her means are to build upon women's "self-organization" and "lived experience from the ground up". Mackay is well aware of the divisions between women, yet remains confident that once we organise ourselves separately from men, "opposing male violence", we automatically head towards an anti-capitalist, socialist and peaceful future. Sadly, there are no arguments here to convince me that she is right.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 05:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radical Feminism: Feminist Activism in Movement, by Finn Mackay | Books | Times Higher Education
Mackay, although condemning of what she sees as genuine transphobia, is sympathetic to the concerns of women who feel "unsafe" with people who did not live through the experience of being "the subordinate gender" when in their most formative years.

I see. That's as good as saying that there is a typical, normed socialisation of women, and a condemnation of everyone who does not fit the prescribed standard. Er, very liberating idea.

Apparently she wants life to be a lot simpler than it is.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 06:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She condemns transphobia, but is sympathetic to those who are transphobic.

Yea, right.

But, actually her attitude to me and other trans people is neither here nor there. As you point out, the main issue is her assertion of  a unified theory of femaleness which claims that women can be anything, but deviation from x, y or z is merely false consciousness. It's just so old-fashioned, feminist theory has moved way beyond this. Where has she been?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 06:46:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, where has she been. I know the sort of noise, including the anti-male aggressiveness, and I found it thrilling too. But then I turned 20. Does every generation of women need to make the same mistakes?
by Katrin on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 06:55:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By your existence you attack binary categories. Of course you are not the product of the typical female socialisation--but who is, and what should that be, and do we really want to answer that? I should hope not! I can't understand how feminists (older than 20) can wish this categorisation, and I am glad that there are trans people to remind us all what nonsense (and damaging nonsense to all of us) this binary thing is.  
by Katrin on Tue Mar 24th, 2015 at 07:08:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally, gender is irrelevant to me, in terms of how I engage with people and develop relationships. People are people. However, I'm hugely conscious that gender is extremely relevant in how society works and in how people are oppressed and marginalised on that basis.

What's a 'typical woman'? Who am I expected to be today? I'm glad I'm well beyond caring these days.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 05:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people become more interested in policing tribal orthodoxy than anything else. I'm getting more and more grumpy about it as I get older.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
policing language isn't just an easy option, it's a way of controlling language to meet your own needs as a way of establishing dominance.

It's a power-play. And it works

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:33:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. Some days I think part (or maybe all) of the point of the increasingly fractal tribal divisions that identity politics seems to be setting up is to give would-be big fish small ponds to swim in.

Conveniently this ends up fracturing opposition to prevailing power structures into ineffectively small groups that just bicker among themselves.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:40:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like a caste system where the goal for each caste is to advance in the greater hieracrchy. No wonder a handful of englishmen could rule India.

And yet, Mahatma Gandhi occured.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've yet to see a feminist demand the right to just stay at home and do fun stuff - not traditional house-wife stuff, but non-traditional not-work-full-time fun stuff - without having to think about having "a career just like men do."

It's been a brilliant win for capitalism. Twice as many worker drones competing with each other for tiny increments of workplace power, status, and consumer display of same, and the almost complete collapse of organised resistance to capitalist beach heads like audit and performance culture, zero hours contracts, educational systems that put people into indentured financial servitude, unaffordable housing, and so on.

If feminists think about these things at all - some do, many don't - they seem to blame "patriarchy" for them. Which apparently means "men" benefit from them. And even if they don't, they're not nearly as oppressed by them as "women" are.

I'm not sure if feminists have considered the possibility that this is perhaps not the most effective of all possible recruiting messages, considering.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 08:35:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I've yet to see a feminist demand the right to just stay at home and do fun stuff - not traditional house-wife stuff, but non-traditional not-work-full-time fun stuff - without having to think about having "a career just like men do."

Actually, that describes my life right now. Although I didn't arrive here by choice, I'd like to keep to the equilibrium I've reached.  I'm an awful lot happier for it.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 04:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It also fails to recognise that people who have grown up in the wrong gender have by that very process gained the life experience necessary to understand what it is like to be "subordinate" surely?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 05:07:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for that, I wasn't aware of her wider views regarding transgender people.  It's very short sighted and oppressive in itself to be prescriptive about what criteria should allow an individual to be seen as a woman by others.

Thankfully the Reclaim the Night marches have moved on, men are encouraged to attend too. I was a speaker at a recent one in Cardiff.  I do feel that feminism is becoming more inclusive and it has to be - there are good men (good people, whatever gender) in the world too and we need to have them with us, we can't break down patriarchy and inequality any other way.  

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 04:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes. Campaigns need allies, and too often we most readily alienate the ones we need.

Trans advocates have a passionate adherence to naming conventions, which seem to change with the waxing and waning of the moon. I actually have no idea what the "correct" terminology is to describe myself these days within the community. Fortunately I don't care. But their willingness to beat up potential allies over a mis-step in naming conventions is saddening, as well as being self-defeating.

It's rather like when Benedict Cumberbatch used the term "coloured" to describe black or maybe even BAME actors. He was flayed on twitter for it, yet he was so obviously speaking in defense of their employment, that you'd have thought he might catch a break.

All such behavior does is contribute to the idea that trans or women or BAME can sympathize, speak or lobby about their individual situations. And when the powerful / privileged from whom you seek redress are excluded from the conversation it's hard to get your message across.

I was much taken with a TV programme, The Big Question, recently where they were discussing race. The white people in the audience were talking about how they felt intimidated from discussing the subject wheras the black people were frustrated cos how white people felt was, in their view, irrelevant. To quote one speaker, "the biggest issue black people face right now is racist violence and unemployment discrimination, yet the conversation is being dominated by white people saying that the big problem is they are afraid to talk about race?".

And this is the same with Finn MacKay and her concept of political lesbianism. Her feminism is self-regarding and exclusionary. She may feel that is a necessary action to establish women's autonomy, but it simply detaches feminism from most women's experience, alienating them fro the very idea of feminism. We end up back at Greenhmam Common, the most spectacular own goal in the history of political consciousness-raising, destroying feminism as an idea in common culture for the best part of 20 years.

We all need allies for our campaigns. Establishing a language to describe our new ideas is necessary, but insisting that anyone learn all the nuance before they can speak to you is probably not a good way to go about bridge building

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<googles to find out what BAME means> <screams inside in frustration>

Is there a weekly memo you can subscribe to figure out what the appropriate jargon is this week? With a summary of the penances to do when you get it wrong?

All such behavior does is contribute to the idea that trans or women or BAME can sympathize, speak or lobby about their individual situations.

That's "... the idea that only trans ..." right?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BAME = black asian middle eastern (I think)

And yes, you're right about my sloppy phrasing

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have said "minor mistype" rather than "sloppy phrasing".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to BAME Labour (doesn't that sound too much like "Blame Labour"?) it stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:30:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I do blame Labour ;-)


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BAME is british for PoC?
by IM on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 08:11:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also worth pointing out that disability is largely excluded from feminist perspectives.  

Wales recently passed the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act which makes absolutely no mention of disability.  None of the campaigns pushed for inclusion of disability issues within the Act.  For reasons I can't go into I wasn't well enough to get involved with the campaign but I wish I could have the last year back and raise this.

Perhaps there is scope to include mention of disability equality within the guidance, but it is hugely disappointing that disabled people have been marginalised when they are a high risk group of experiencing domestic violence.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 05:05:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the term is good, I think the article misses an opportunity.

The biggest threat to feminism? It's not just the patriarchy | Finn Mackay | Comment is free | The Guardian

Westminster politics, for example, is nearly 80% male, and overwhelmingly white; we are still waiting for a government that looks like the people it dares to govern. Business leaders, the judiciary, senior police, management in education and the media: wherever you look you will find that power is in male hands. This is sexism, base, raw and simple. It means that our society is shaped by one half of the population alone; that it reflects, aggrandises and normalises its group perspectives and its image of power.

Yes, power is in male, white, upper-class hands. And to act against this one needs to notice that it means that most of the population has common interests here. Yes, men who are not upper class has priviledges that women do not, just as non-upper class whites has priviledges that persons of color has not. But power over society, that rests firmly with a small minority and if something is to be done about that then alliances are needed.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 06:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been reading the Guardian a lot recently, and I'm genuinely shocked by how strongly it keeps pushing the "blame men" line.

I hate to use a word like misandry, but I don't think it's unfair in the circumstances. The standard line is that women are always victims in some way, and that men are always either the perpetrators and beneficiaries, or disappointing inept failures.

In fact the whole point of many of the op-eds seems to be to repeat this line over and over in different ways.

I've seen absolutely no evidence at all of genuine interest in male social issues - the high suicide rates, the total lack of support for male victims of relationship violence, the fact that so many boys are doing incredibly badly at school and university now, the way the pay gap for the younger generation is swapping, and so on.

I don't think the Guardian feminists have any interest at all in these problems. If they do, they're hiding it extremely well.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 08:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as identity politics is mostly about squabbling over slices of a completely insane pie it's not going to get anywhere terribly useful: best case is that everyone is as powerful, respected, secure and happy as almost all white males. Which is not very.

It just means the demos being screwed over by a polyamorous pansexual woman of colour instead of an old white guy. This isn't really that much of an improvement.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, this is hardly a revelation: lots of the core writers on race, feminism etc. recognise this but it doesn't really seem to get into the mainstream discussion these days. Like in economics the mainstream discussion happens entirely in terms that aren't threatening to the current system.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
being screwed over by a polyamorous pansexual woman of colour

Sounds like fun, actually. YMMV etc.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact a diversion. It is not hard to see "us" winning the cultural battle again as in the sixties and losing the economic war because it is never even engaged. Inclusion translating to equality of exploitation.

That said, I am astonished - why, I don't know - to find that some of the commenters here who resonate most with my own cast of mind turn out to be trans. This has happened on other fora as well.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:24:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So intersectionality came just to Liverpool?
by IM on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 12:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that's entirely fair, I have read several pieces in the Guardian about male social issues and that feminism should embrace the whole issue of socialisation. It's just that they tend to be ether web only or lost in G2; that strange nether world of articles that are printed but don't seem to make it onto the web.

It tends to be a young feminist thing, as the idea is relatively new. People like Laurie Penny are right to the mark on it. Equally, although she is a bit poor on some things (eg trans) Suzanne Moore is quite good on male issues as well

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 12:07:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can see a list of Moore's posts here. I couldn't find much - actually anything - explicitly about male issues. (I gave up on Page 4.)

She does seem to have a sort-of lefty perspective, but it's not exactly radically radical in the sense of imagining entirely new possible futures.

And it's balanced by op-eds from Mackay, who still seems to be living in the 1970s.

So generally - maybe not. If you Media Studies™ the Guardian I think there's a clear party line, and it's a very soft radicalism tailored for a specific and not particularly thoughtful audience.

It's a slightly blurry version of the usual left-wing interest in reclaiming, occupying, debating, being right, and so on. It provides a useful illusion of political engagement, but it's not going to change anything that matters.

The one possible exception is Naomi Klein. But she's not exactly in the feminist mainstream.

Ironically the Mail and the Telegraph are much better at attacking the Establishment in ways that actually hurt. But both balance the attacks with regular dogwhistle pieces, so the overall effect is wildly reactionary. (And the Mail has a unique interest in gore and horror. What is that about?)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a male feminist, I have always felt like a fifth columnist in an patriarchal environment.

Feminists will get the balance we need when we encourage all genders to see the S/M element in all patriarchies, and the friction it produces.

Patriarchies as almost as cruel to young -and superseded- males as they are to women. Women, understandably, can lack the compassion needed to perceive this suffering because their own history of subjugation is even crueler.

The most perverse conditioning of all can be when mothers collude in persuading their sons of their intrinsic superiority to females. This takes similar levels of self-hatred as does patriarchy's historical suppression of the feminine principle itself, personified in their own wives, mothers and daughters.

The term Feminism is heavily booby-trapped, misunderstandings abound. There is no correspondent Maschilism except for Macho, to which the feminine equivalent might be Vamp.

Feminism reiterates the duality, thus I prefer Gender Equality as a term to unite all of us who recognise the patriarchal system as the source of our world's greatest problems, fully capable of creating our own destruction as a species.

It could be aptly named Testosterone-fuelled hyper-giantism, a societal priapism brought into full ugly flower in the behaviour of fratboys, Wall St highrolling, skyscraper design, military dick-waving, bearbaiting and soccer match thuggery, all similar symptoms of hormonal mismanagement. All designed to enhance alpha charisma with corresponding benefits for procreative choice. Women still collude in this until they learn what they are enabling and become true feminists themselves. If both -all- genders decide to change this we can, but there is enough resistance already from the patriarchy without creating more through factionalism, thereby playing right into the enemy's hands.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 10:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The most perverse conditioning of all can be when mothers collude in persuading their sons of their intrinsic superiority to females. This takes similar levels of self-hatred as does patriarchy's historical suppression of the feminine principle itself, personified in their own wives, mothers and daughters.
That is not perverse at all, but in mother's genetic interest. It is more perverse socially manipulated when a mother teaches her son to be overly nice to women without any backbone - and really spoiling his seeding options.

Based on my recent (and pitifully old) experience, I can guess that feminism is light years away from really changing the human condition. However logically just its ideals are, it should really be more curious about certain social-biological-genetic-ecological realities. Its probable mode of survival is as a misguiding tool of the same oppression it opposes. Would explain more, with a better cost/benefit ratio.

I will just remind the yin and yang principle in East Asian cultures. The yin is the passive/reactive/female principle in nature, while yang is the active/creative/male principle. The associations might look anthropologically arbitrary - but there is a deep sense behind them. The domination/submission dance is quite a key to the cosmos. Sexual relations in East Asia are subtly (but definitely) based on the yin/yang distinction - that I can tell from living in Japan for 10 years, meeting other people from the region, knowing quite a few troublesome international marriages. Feminism might have some impact here in social/corporate positioning, but not deeply. Especially when competition for resources is getting tougher. The anthropological overshot singularity is going to reset the feminism progress, I guess, because you cannot sing Kumbaya to everyone.

by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 02:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh for fucks sake.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 02:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to expand on Colman's comment...

What you're talking about is our animal origins. What Melo is talking about is civilized behaviour. Unless you actually aspire to the civilizational regression which, in your worldview, seems to accompany the "anthropological overshot singularity", you might be better off looking at those societies where male/female equality is most advanced, and works best (by general concensus : the nordic countries). I find it interesting that these are the same societies that take sustainability most seriously, and are generally on track to avoid your pet singularity.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 06:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What you're talking about is our animal origins.

To be accurate: he's talking about one story about our animal origins, filtered through the views of the society that it purports to explain and justify.

It's amazing how many social hierarchies Victorians found in the non-human animal world.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 06:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not just origins, though evolutionary legacy should be taken seriously.

Resource limitations is really a kicker, both originally and in the future. For most of the time, "a man secures resources for a woman to raise a family" worked ingeniously fine - and will we know anything better?

The civilization (including feminism) quite forgot the resource limitations for the last 70 years, but not for longer. It is indeed indicative that the sustainability aware countries show most thorough social progress. But it's been only so many years of the post-WWII bliss - and the real tests are coming up just now. The governments would rather fly everyone on "Germanwings" (metaphorically speaking) than resolve an overshot they never saw.

by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 07:30:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For most of the time, "a man secures resources for a woman to raise a family" worked ingeniously fine - and will we know anything better?

Bollocks. Just so stories. Bourgeois fantasies than only ever applied to a vanishingly small proportion of the global population.

You think women on a traditional farm worked less hard than the men?

Do you have any idea how much effort it takes to make clothes, butter, prepare food, wash clothes, grow a kitchen garden without all our new technology? You think the women left behind in the settlement while the men tended the herds worked less hard than the men? You think they contributed less than the men to obtaining the required resources for them to raise a family?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 08:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Work/effort and resources are not the same thing. Whether they are fairly valued in relation to each other is an other conversation.
by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 08:24:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define "secure resources" then.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting stuff (including raw food, shelter, land) so that the rest could be done by own labour. Roughly that.
by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Raw food? Crops? Who do you think worked in the fields? Who do you think gathers food in hunter gatherer societies?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Food is now gathered in supermarkets. The actual resource is money. In the case of crops, it is land+labour. The rentier economy is not a bullocks fantasy, it is reality.
by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 10:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bollox? Depends on the value and time range assigned to the phrase 'most of the time' and the modes of social organization that can be IMPUTED to the gender division of any given society's organization of labor, prestige and power - and these are contentious issues currently in paleoanthropology. The biggest problem is paucity of evidence for most societies, certainly complex, settled societies, extant prior to ~ 1,500 BCE. Knowing something about Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, the Hittites, etc. leads most to overestimate the extent of the data available world wide.

IF one accepts Riane Eisler's thesis in The Chalice and the Blade there were complex settled societies, even with two story wood buildings, in parts of Central Europe, and, excepting perhaps the two story bit, is generally acknowledged. From dated figurines and other cultural materials she and others have argued that this was a society in which women had high status and that a 'mother goddess' of fertility was worshiped. She has also argued that this social organization with its high value placed on (at least some) women was violently overthrown and substantially repressed by warlike nomadic societies with a patriarchal, patrilineal organization and much lower status for women. What this says about the division of labor in each society is harder to say.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The argument that the historical record supports a social order based around a fantasy of 1950s white middle class America or 19th C upper class England is undoubtedly bollocks. Paleo diet class bollocks. and Jesus riding dinosaurs class bollocks.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:47:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With this standard, feminism is a white middle class fantasy as well.

I mentioned only Asian "fantasies", and had no imperative suggestions apart from appreciating some uncomfortable realities.

by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 10:07:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because feminism is putting forward a standard of how we should behave, not justifying being assholes on the basis of specious stories about the good old days.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 11:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My working theory is that complex settled human societies are at least 80% older than we think.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:49:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I agree on the Bollix of both of these and with your positive conclusions. But, I think you will agree, this is a small part of 'most'. And I would extend the start date back to the first colonization of the New World by the English, especially, but with the proviso that there were, even then, strong regional and class distinctions also involved. But 'most' would apply to the bottom 98% in Virginia to perhaps the bottom 90% in New England - all of the 'believers' - authoritarian character types who would stand up reflexively to support a charismatic leader making a charismatic appeal, usually to their detriment.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 10:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Evolutionary legacy should be taken seriously, but it's not our destiny. That's the singularity humanity has already achieved : we are not condemned to exhibit the social behaviours programmed by genetics, we have choice in the matter.

If you really believe we should live according to some idealized palaeolithic social organization, I presume you have already adopted the palaeo diet?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that we don't have a single evolutionary legacy: we have a wide range of them.  Look at the diversity in young children's personalities and behaviours.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 09:51:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diversity in behaviours can have strong survival values. One of the things that I have always been fascinated by, is that people are instinctively either exogamous or endogamous. One can see the survival value  : in any given gene pool, some will stay at home, marry a cousin or whatever, and contribute to the group's wellbeing; others will find an outsider, and either spread the group's genes, or bring some fresh genes into the pool.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 11:15:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"it's not our destiny" It is for those still trapped in an authoritarian mindset. ALL progress, individual and social, depends on breaking that stranglehold over the mind and personality. (Part of an upcoming diary, :-) ).

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 10:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
That is not perverse at all, but in mother's genetic interest.

Aye, well there's the rub... It is both, and that's why so much cog-diss.
If I as a mother raise a bully who can beat and trample his way to material success, then (maybe, but I've upped my chances)I get the payoff of dying in nice linen instead of the gutter.

But it perpetuates the current stand-off -and male misbehaviour that's raping and suffocating our biome, just as we are taught and modeled to rape and suffocate our inner femininity to become cunning, shifty, ruthless operators.

As for yin and yang, yes things were easier in some ways when women's bodies evolved according to womens' work and chief function, propagation. She couldn't give birth and fight off sabre-tooth tigers at the same time so created a male version of herself to be more muscular. Gender roles were perfectly synergistic and complementary, making solid sense for who knows how long before we started going in for heirarchic social structure and attendant authoritarianism.

In Mauritania they want their daughters to be fat so start fattening them up at 4-5, because men love fat women there. Here we have bulimia/anorexia.

Our experiment in gender-neutral existence (a clumsy attempt at better equality) has had some fascinating and unexpected outcomes, but its modernity makes it as now still too young to judge it as entirely beneficial even it may have bettered the lives of many.
If this is a transition we are making as species, with liberal societies in its hormonal vanguard, it could better so many lives and thus become canonical.
Or it could be a historical blip like the Oneida Experiment, even a luxury of the Petroleum Age, and need must take us back to an age when women were women and men were men, glorious in their difference.

It may take centuries to decide whether it's evolution or a random experiment in social engineering inflicted by the needs of a patriarchal, capitalist society obsessed with its own awful power to decimate anything fine that stands in its way. Instrumentalising peoples' need to survive by doubling the workforce and helping create more unemployment for males' dwindling work possibilities.

Women understandably have a lot to gain from feminism, what is less appreciated perhaps is the benefits to males of letting go of the patriarchy within themselves. That's why it's as -or more- important for us to encourage equality as it is for them.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 11:50:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The welfare/production social dynamics is pretty more subtle that "raising a bully is cool". It is better to differentiate the spectrum of "stand-off male misbehavior", move to the right direction gradually rather fail in authoritatively promoting your ideal (against authority no less).

In Mauritania they want their daughters to be fat so start fattening them up at 4-5, because men love fat women there.
If you look at worlds's most extravagant wedding ceremonies, puberty rituals (such as nasty virginity mutilation, dumb risky coming-of-age rites), they are most typical for rather isolated societies, say, Oceania islands, including New Guinea, Sumatra. The meaningful "just so" story for this is that (pretty deliberately or not) those societies thereby limit the pool of reproductive youngsters, keeping the population number within the carrying capacity of the island. In the broad world, the implicit population control can be less physical: religions, "ignorant" governments, wars, revolutions, financial crises, economic and social sciences, dumbing media.
by das monde on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 10:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering your tendency to read evolutionary patterns into behaviour, how do you square this with Japan having less children then replacement rate since the 70ies?

I can guess that feminism is light years away from really changing the human condition.

Again, if one likes to read these things in evolutionary patterns (which I don't, culture is not transmitted genetically) then feminism is indeed changing things as post demographic transition more gender equal socities has higher birth rates then the more gender hierarchial ones. So if it continues like this (which it never does) then somewhere around 2200 there is just the hyper-equal societies and the Haredis and Mormons left.

If one also likes to connect it to sustainability then during the demographc transition there is more kids for more generations in the more hierarchial ones and it goes down faster in the more equal ones. The more equal one is (absent violent conquest of living space) the one less likely to cause ecological collapse.

by fjallstrom on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 10:41:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan is an island nation, with not that many own resources. They already have a recognized history of demographic stagnation, dealing with resource limitations. The world is apparently learning, for better, for worse and for uglier.

The famous Edo period (1603-1868) was the time of reclusive economic growth, peaceful prosperity, popular enjoyment of arts, and - suprise! - about zero population growth since the shogunate started recording in 1720, until 1840s. Wikipedia says that this is "often attributed to lower birth rates in response to widespread famine, but some historians have presented different theories, such as a high rate of infanticide artificially controlling population". The social order was very hierarchical surely, though silently the craftsmen, merchants rose from formally below peasants to an economic powerhouse. I see here one of the first rises and hubris of a "capitalist" rentier economy. Money was also a governing issue in marriage and sexual recreation.

As Jared Diamond described in "Collapse", Japan almost ran out of wood by the 1660s, but the shogunate installed a strict logging policy, and systematic forestry was developed.

Resource limitations have thus a vast historic, cultural (if not genetic) imprint in Japan. The Japanese might know from social-economic signaling (applied to own position) that there is not that much point in reproducing. As I put up in the new open thread, the signaling is pretty depressing to increasingly many. The famous 90s bubble was possibly manufactured -- if so, then quite likely with the "greater good" of staying within ecological limits in mind. Japan is probably going exactly where it is supposed to go - and the world is going follow then.

Replacement rate, aging population, exponential future projection - these things are peanuts for mental masturbation, compared to ecological limitations. Just as bloated debts will never be repayed, Japan will never have a double population of what it has now. The real evolutionary crossroads (what else if not hierarchical management?) for the civilization are only starting right now.

by das monde on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 02:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And after that demographic stagnation they had a population increase in the early decades of the 20th century when 5 children per woman was average. Neither of which explains todays birt-rates.
by fjallstrom on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:06:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The industrization and free trade sure expanded the "carrying" capacity for Japan.
by das monde on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
more gender equal socities has higher birth rates then the more gender hierarchial ones
What?! Where do you see that?!

I have to say this here... If there is considerable truth to what the pickup/relationship coaching industry is suggesting, hyper-equal societies and their fans will have vast difficulty to stay become competitive in breeding. Their advanced counsel goes like this: Total equality, sameness are killers of sexual attraction. You need some congruent "yin/yang" polarity to generate genuine sexual tension. Particularly, more educated, emancipated, free-to-choose women perceive (without conscious awareness) fewer appealing sexual choices. Sounds ironic, isn't it? Worth testing personally.

Relatedly, we discussed last September peculiar difficulties of the rational discourse around times of civilization busts.

Fireworks now...

by das monde on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 02:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if they think equality is equivalent to sameness then I might be able to point out their problem.

But since they're really about justifying borderline to actually abusive behaviour I don't think there's much to be done for them. There's a saying about it being hard to persuade a man of something when his livelihood depends on him not understanding it. It's pretty much impossible when he thinks getting his dick serviced depends on not understanding it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 07:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
more gender equal socities has higher birth rates then the more gender hierarchial ones
What?! Where do you see that?!

Check out the data series here :
http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/reports/chart.aspx

If, for example, you compare female workforce participation (taking its similarity to the male participation rate as a proxy for sex equality) and compare to fertility rate, you will see a strong positive correlation, in developed countries. Compare, for example, Finland to Japan. Empowered women have more babies.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 03:07:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I get an "unexpected error or a session timeout" clicking on the data link.

If you compare to Japan, a lot more is going on than just emancipation differential. Wait until Finland has a comparably monumental RE bubble crash and a "lost decade". If it is just resourceful women/families having more babies, that is not big news. The question is then not of a genetic evolution, but how many women (and for how long) can a society empower.

by das monde on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 11:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean like having a worse crisis then in 30ies? Already happened when Finalnds largest export market had a does of shcok doctrine.

Early 1990s recession in Finland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The early 1990s recession in Finland was one of the worst economic crises in Finland's history, even worse there than the depression of the 1930s.[1]

The depression of 1991-1993 had a deep effect on the economy of Finland throughout the 1990s, especially in terms of employment but also in culture, politics and the general sociopolitical atmosphere. During this period the gross national product decreased 13% and the unemployment rose to 18.9% from 3.5%.[2][3] Since then, despite overall recovery, the unemployment has been persistent, and Finland has never returned to the state of near full employment that existed before the crisis.

by fjallstrom on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How was the birthrate in Finland in the 90s?

Consumer credit was a minor factor in the crisis, among corporate debt (partially to foreign banks), break up of the USSR, oil price rise. Generally, indebted consumers could be a major factor in lower birthrate, as debt repayment would take priority.

by das monde on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:52:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finland during the 90ies: between 1.7 and 1.9.

But the mayor problem with trying to make it about economic or ecological conditions of Japan is that Japan is not unique in having a low birth rate past the demographic transition. Most countries have. Locking at east asia alone most countries are either still falling or stabilised around 1.5.

by fjallstrom on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 06:30:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
more gender equal socities has higher birth rates then the more gender hierarchial ones
What?! Where do you see that?!

Gapminder.org is my primary source for contemporary demographics. Look at Europe (because the demographic transition started here and we are farthest out of it), and when it comes to children/women you have one group around 2 children, consisting of the nordics, the french, the anglo. Then you have the other group around 1.5 which is most of the continent.

das monde:

I have to say this here... If there is considerable truth to what the pickup/relationship coaching industry is suggesting, hyper-equal societies and their fans will have vast difficulty to stay become competitive in breeding.

That is a big if. But also probably irrelevant as you don't have to have much sex to reproduce and you can (thanks to modern medicine) have a lot of sex without pregnancies.

And even if amount of sex was determining the number of children, the pickup industry might be the wrong place to look for answers.

Couples who share housework have the most sex and best sex lives - The Washington Post

[I]t turns out, using more recent data from 2006, couples who split the housework fairly are the happiest between the sheets. They have the most sex, are the most satisfied with their sex lives, and express the highest level of sexual intimacy.

That's at least according to new work that will be presented at the upcoming American Sociological Association annual meeting.

"The conventional view, based on data that's a quarter century old, is that sexual arousal for heterosexual couples is dependent traditional gender roles, on a man being manly and a woman being feminine," said Dan Carlson, a sociology professor at Georgia State University and one of the authors of the new study. "But given the changes in attitudes over time and what people want, we weren't so sure that conventional gender behavior was the only thing that turns people on anymore.

"There's a lot of evidence that men who engage with their children and are involved at home are sexy, and women who are strong and independent turn men on," he added.

And it turns out, he and his coauthors were right.

by fjallstrom on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 06:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree to the extent that so much of what remains of the progressive agenda has effectively divorced itself from issues of the economy and economic policy, settling for various special interest concerns. This is self defeating, as, if you get the economy and economic policy wrong, in the end you will lose everything. The economy and economic policy is fundamental.

But this is a 'hard case', for reasons Helen outlines, and "hard cases make for bad law." Worse, this WILL be used to press the case against social issue or 'choice' liberalism. I find it to be very problematic.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 07:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 12:52:22 PM EST
That makes an awful lot of sense. Most of the senior people will live in Bucks or Oxon where it's just as easy to commute to Brum as London.

It's cheaper. Not just for the actual office space, but the housing for staff. That means recruiting is just so much easier while starting wages can be so much lower. When you add in that only a few of the starters will ever progress on to the big bucks, that means the wage bill over the entire company is substantially reduced.

London is over-crowded, the South Eat is over crowded. House prices are ridiculous and I doubt it is possible to build enough homes to reduce the prices to a level which is might be considered reasonable and genuinely affordable.

So Barclays have decided to change the game. I wonder if others will follow suit

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 01:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also more time to hide the dodgy paperwork when they're warned the regulators are about to visit.

I'm not sure it's genuinely cheaper, because there will be huge relocation costs in the short term.

Longer term there might be some savings on salary and premises, but it's an odd move when a lot of clients are still based in the City.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2015 at 07:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's cheaper in the medium term because recruiting for london is probably beginning to become difficult.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 03:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're moving the HQ functions, probably admin and back office, which can't even begin to compete salary-wise with legal and financial. And banks have been complaining they can't pay their junior finance people enough to live in London.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 05:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen no comment here on one of the world's great sporting events, currently in its final phase in Australia and New Zealand. OK it's not a major European sport -- in fact the only European team to make it out of the group stage, Ireland, lost a competitive quarter-final to Pakistan.

The second semi-final is currently being played in Sydney. India are in trouble at 125 for 4 in reply to Australia's 328, so the last few hours will be interesting...

Frustratingly, the matches played in NZ correspond exactly to my sleeping hours. I entirely missed the other semi-final, where NZ beat South Africa in a cliff-hanger. Also : no cricket on the telly in France, not even on the four Al Jazeera sport channels (not enough South Asians here I guess).

So I think I'll make a special effort for the final this weekend, and stay up all night, if I can find a stable video feed on the net.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 05:52:59 AM EST
Will be cheering for the Kiwis.
But hardly watching: I need to catch a 6am flight. On the day the clocks go forward. So that means catching a cab at 3 am that will feel like 2.

And of course the game will be decided when I am in the air. But good luck to the Black Caps.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 11:08:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although it's a horrible story, I think the person who wrote this dKos headline will probably change it soon

dKos - BREAKING: Bridge in Texas collapses

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 26th, 2015 at 05:03:55 PM EST
Guardian - Obituaries - Guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn, founder of Pentangle, dies

The English guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn has died aged 70 at his home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Best known for his work with the folk group Pentangle, he had been on tour with the guitarist and singer Wizz Jones.

Renbourn was due to play at the Ferry in Glasgow on Wednesday night but colleagues became concerned when he failed to turn up. Police found him at his home on Thursday morning, 26 March, where it is thought he had died from a heart attack.

Renbourn's manager, Dave Smith, who worked with him for about 25 years, described him as a "delight". "He was just larger than life. Game for anything. He was just finishing off a tour with Wizz Jones - and was looking forward to the next. He was a great teacher - he was always putting himself down as a teacher and running weekend workshops all over Europe, where he would have students come and learn from him."

when I was at university I used to go to an elective course on blues and folk music. The lecturer invited John and Jaequi MacShee in to demonstrate various blues styles he'd been discussing. For 50 minutes about 10 of us were utterly blessed to be in their presence so generously giving their time and passion for us. It is a treasured memory

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Mar 27th, 2015 at 08:32:42 AM EST
He and Bert Jansch were the british acoustic steel-string guitarists, both brilliant and ahead of the curve. I saw them often in the mid sixties on the folk circuit, both seminal, excellent players. Pentangle did some lovely stuff as well.

RIP John



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2015 at 10:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the Neu-ish beat of this.

bonus for Dodo to tell us which line the video was shot on



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Mar 27th, 2015 at 12:26:53 PM EST
0slo – Bergen.

As it happens I wanted to ride it this summer (20 years after having been there on my only Scandinavian holiday), but with the professional chaos I was/am in it should wait another year.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 03:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My kinda Song



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 28th, 2015 at 07:22:52 AM EST
Left Futures - Does the party of the welfare state talk tough because it doesn't know where the centre ground is?

Sometimes I suspect that not a syllable escapes the lips of Rachel Reeves unless it somehow encapsulates the pitch for the latest Channel Four eat the poor documentary while simultaneously disgusting a sizeable chunk of Labour activists. Most recently, her declamation that Labour is not the party of the welfare state and doesn't represent those out of work - or in work and on benefits, for that matter - has horrified many socialists.

Worse than that, it has horrified many people who fall into those categories and are still considering how to vote on 7 May. Moreover, Ms Reeves has got previous as long as your arm. In her very first interview on her appointment as work and pensions spokeswoman, back in 2013, she promised to be tougher than the Tories on cutting the welfare bill. Vote Labour, get IDS, only that bit nastier.
[....]
Alienating those who want to be reassured the welfare state will still there should they need it will cost more votes than can possibly be won by pandering to ingrained lower middle class prejudices about the great unwashed. The warmed-over neo-Blairite rhetoric of Rachel Reeves may well be costing Labour votes at a ratio of two or three to one. For the sake of our prospects of getting Ed M into Number Ten, a period of forbearance might be in order.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 29th, 2015 at 04:23:24 PM EST
Shouldn't there be a new open thread?

Anyway, just read this:

From Genocide to Ecocide: The Rape of Rapa Nui by Benny Peiser (pdf)

The physical destruction of one of mankind's most illustrious civilisations and its people occurred during much of the 19th and 20thcenturies. These atrocities took place in the open. They were witnessed, recorded and decried by many observers. Yet the disappearance of Rapa Nui's civilisation has generated a myriad of bizarre theories and wild speculations, most of which focus on what is often regarded as its "mysterious" culture and its "puzzling" downfall. The real mystery of Easter Island, however, is not its collapse. It is why distinguished scientists feel compelled to concoct a story of ecological suicide when the actual perpetrators of the civilisation's deliberate destruction are well known and were identified long ago

Turns out Easter Island did not suffer ecological collapse, it was European guns, germs and steel as usual. Including slave-trading and intentional destruction of agriculture.

To make it even more brutal, Diamond's collapse is modeled on an imagined civil war from Heyerdahl's stories about a white supreme race that built wonders and was genocided. And Heyerdahl contocted these stories while the descendants of the survivors of the real genocide where still living in an internment camp, courtesy of the Chilean government.

by fjallstrom on Tue Mar 31st, 2015 at 05:33:03 AM EST
Well, he's perhaps debunked Diamond the ornithologist and Heyerdahl the white supremacist -- but these are essentially strawmen, being easy targets, and he has by no means debunked the notion of ecological collapse. He tries to date this to the post-European contact, but he needs to disparage reliable witnesses (example : James Cook) and validates some pretty wild theories to get there.

The most plausible, to me, of the many theories (a number of which may be true, as events generally have many causes) of causes of ecological collapse relies only on physical evidence : the original Polynesian settlers brought rats (deliberately), which, colonising a mammal-free environment, caused devastation by eating specific seeds, leading to non-regeneration of the forest. Sorry, no links to hand...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 31st, 2015 at 10:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Razmig Keucheyan - The French are right: tear up public debt - most of it is illegitimate anyway

As history has shown, France is capable of the best and the worst, and often in short periods of time.

On the day following Marine Le Pen's Front National victory in the European elections, however, France made a decisive contribution to the reinvention of a radical politics for the 21st century. On that day, the committee for a citizen's audit on the public debt issued a 30-page report on French public debt, its origins and evolution in the past decades. The report was written by a group of experts in public finances under the coordination of Michel Husson, one of France's finest critical economists. Its conclusion is straightforward: 60% of French public debt is illegitimate.
[....]
This new internationalism could start with three easy steps......



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 07:53:06 AM EST
whoops, wrong week. Re-posting in current thread

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 07:53:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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