March 9, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on March 8, 2018

I need to sit down and figure out some spells. There is only spelling. Shape your mind to spell (riffing on Leon Thomas’s “shape your mind to die“). Resist the undirected meandering of the laissez-faire mind.

Yesterday I re-listened to Evgeny Morozov’s twenty-minute talk at the “Elevate” conference. He laid out this tripartite structure of modern liberalism and then showed how two of its parts have been completely weakened by and subsumed into the now dominant remaining part, which itself grew from a kind of laissez-faire capitalism into corporatism. Thus, political liberalism (which guarantees–no, wrong word–which is supposed to support civil and human rights, etc.) and welfare or social liberalism (which started in 19th-century Prussia as Bismarck’s way of co-opting worker unrest, and which provided a socialized safety net: it socialized risk) have been done in, and what survives is economic liberalism (which is now not even laissez-faire, but is instead outright monopoly corporatism, state-supported). He then showed how economic liberalism justifies itself using the areas of finance / financialization; technology / data / algorithms; and cities / urbanism / creative class-ism.

Yesterday A. and I went for a walk–his first time out the door since coming home from his surgery on Monday. It was very warm, if windy, and we up drove to Manchester-by-the-Sea. Parked in town, walked to Singing Beach, then up and down its length. The beach was full of dogs, happy place. W. had been in Boston to interview with a company he doesn’t want to work for, and was on his way back to B. while we were on our way to Manchester. I’m trying to convince him to take an MIT online course, which starts on Tuesday 3/14, about cyber-security. Runs for six weeks, six hundred bucks. I think it would be good–get a certificate upon completion and have access to a forum (which could be a great networking opportunity). The job in Boston is “out” for a couple of reasons. He’s not keen on their business model (gathering data by giving a service “for free” to doctors, clinicians, hospitals, with a view to selling that data, presumably to Big Pharma, down the road), their field (illness), and their location, which is nice enough in Boston near [x], but which, because of the lousy transit within Boston, adds half an hour to the commute (that’s how long it took just to get from North Station to South Station, on a day when there were no snags and everything actually was running smoothly). Transit in–i.e., within–Boston itself is ridiculous and terrible.

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