Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘primitive accumulation

Monday Morning Links!

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The first cut of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ was over 3 hours long. I’m sure that would have solved all the problems.

* Science Fiction and the Urban Crisis.

In short, riots aren’t counterproductive because they do not achieve their goals. They are counterproductive because they are an expression of those who are already-counterproductive, those “individuals committing the violence,” those ever-ready to riot.

Starfleet as the Federation’s “Dumping Ground for Orphans.”

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 18.5: “Peaceful Protest.”

* Wow: Rebuilt slave sites being unveiled at Jefferson’s Monticello.

The U.S. Civil War ended 150 years ago, but once a year, deep in the sugar cane fields of southern Brazil, the Confederate battle flag rises again.

Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably. They’re banning Sherman Alexie? Come on.

Salvage Accumulation, or the Structural Effects of Capitalist Generativity.

Executive Who Presided Over Nonprofit’s Fall Seeks $1.2 Million Payday.

* The names of the chemical elements in Chinese. More links below the chart.

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The Washington Post‘s Police Problem.

* Judith Butler’s talents are wasted on a “What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives Matter’?” piece that really should be obvious to everyone.

* The most amazing thing about this exchange is that Sam Harris thinks he won this argument so completely he needed everyone in the world to see.

* The headline reads, “Nepal’s Kung Fu Nuns Have Refused To Be Evacuated – They’re Staying Back To Help Victims.”

* “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things: Disability in Game of Thrones.”

Porn data: visualising fetish space.

* Ideology at its cutest (hat tip: Justin I.): Vermont Teddy Bear introduces Bernie Bear.

Big Bird Actor: I Almost Died on the Challenger and I Cry in the Suit.

Report: Cop Dismissed Freddie Gray’s Pleas for Help as “Jailitis.”

Christie signs law greenlighting fast track sale of N.J. public water systems.

The Great Victoria’s Secret Bra Heist of Pennsylvania.

* Behind the scenes of the Game of Thrones map.

* It’s always worse than you think: The CIA has been organizing clandestine TED Talks.

“Cool” is a bit of a moving target. Sixty years ago it was James Dean, nonchalantly smoking a cigarette as he sat on a motorbike, glaring down 1950s conformity with brooding disapproval. Five years ago it was Zooey Deschanel holding a cupcake.

* “Social media trend sees men ditching sit-ups for snack cakes.” My moment has arrived!

Tesla unveils a battery to power your home, completely off grid.

* I hate to link to an SNL bit, but their parody of a Black Widow movie was really pretty good.

* Area X novella coming… eventually. I liked the first book in the trilogy much, much more than the latter two, but I’m still in.

Can 3D printing save the rhino? Seattle-based bioengineering start-up Pembient believes it can. The company plans to flood the market with synthetic 3D printed rhino horn in an effort to stem the number of rhinos killed for their horns. But conservationists fear that the plan may backfire, undermining their own efforts to cut the demand for such products in China and Vietnam, the main black markets for rhino horns.

* The coming DC Cinematic Universe trainwreck, Suicide Squad edition.

* Life in the City of Refuge.

A University Is Not Walmart.

* Trustees are basically heroes, and the Chronicle is ON IT.

And LLAP, Grace Lee Whitney.

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More on Dams

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That photo below reminds me of one of the best pieces on globalization to be found on the Internet, Arundhati Roy’s essay on dams: “The Greater Common Good.” I must admit I was completely naive about the realities of dam-building before reading this article; dams are actually a tremendously important site for what Marx called primitive accumulation in the contemporary moment and therefore an important location for class struggle.

In the fifty years since Independence, after Nehru’s famous “Dams are the Temples of Modern India” speech (one that he grew to regret in his own lifetime), his footsoldiers threw themselves into the business of building dams with unnatural fervour. Dam-building grew to be equated with Nation-building. Their enthusiasm alone should have been reason enough to make one suspicious. Not only did they build new dams and new irrigation systems, they took control of small, traditional systems that had been managed by village communities for thousands of years, and allowed them to atrophy. To compensate the loss, the Government built more and more dams. Big ones, little ones, tall ones, short ones. The result of its exertions is that India now boasts of being the world’s third largest dam builder. According to the Central Water Commission, we have three thousand six hundred dams that qualify as Big Dams, three thousand three hundred of them built after Independence. One thousand more are under construction. Yet one-fifth of our population – 200 million people – does not have safe drinking water and two-thirds – 600 million – lack basic sanitation.

Big Dams started well, but have ended badly. There was a time when everybody loved them, everybody had them – the Communists, Capitalists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists. There was a time when Big Dams moved men to poetry. Not any longer. All over the world there is a movement growing against Big Dams. In the First World they’re being de-commissioned, blown up. The fact that they do more harm than good is no longer just conjecture. Big Dams are obsolete. They’re uncool. They’re undemocratic. They’re a Government’s way of accumulating authority (deciding who will get how much water and who will grow what where). They’re a guaranteed way of taking a farmer’s wisdom away from him. They’re a brazen means of taking water, land and irrigation away from the poor and gifting it to the rich. Their reservoirs displace huge populations of people, leaving them homeless and destitute. Ecologically, they’re in the doghouse. They lay the earth to waste. They cause floods, water-logging, salinity, they spread disease. There is mounting evidence that links Big Dams to earthquakes.

Big Dams haven’t really lived up to their role as the monuments of Modern Civilisation, emblems of Man’s ascendancy over Nature. Monuments are supposed to be timeless, but dams have an all-too-finite lifetime. They last only as long as it takes Nature to fill them with silt. It’s common knowledge now that Big Dams do the opposite of what their Publicity People say they do – the Local Pain for National Gain myth has been blown wide open.

For all these reasons, the dam-building industry in the First World is in trouble and out of work. So it’s exported to the Third World in the name of Development Aid, along with their other waste like old weapons, superannuated aircraft carriers and banned pesticides.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm