This is a collection of online articles that merit a good old read!
The Internet’s Unholy Marriage to Capitalism, John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. Chesney. Monthly Review, 2011, Volume 62, Issue 10. Discusses how the Internet started almost like a public utility but has an infrastructure that has subsequently lent itself to commercialization and “network effects” that effectively give companies like Google and Apple monopoly power. Fans of democracy will be disconcerted!
The Disappearing Intellectual in the Age of Economic Darwinism, Henry Giroux. Truthout. July 12, 2010. Universities now mostly turn out compliant, indoctrinated workers to do the bidding of our neo-liberal overlords. What’s wrong with this picture?
Why Conservatives Should Read Marx, Jonny Thakkar. The Point Magazine, 2010. The scope of this ambitious article encompasses family values, J.S. Mill, Edmund Burke, pornography, Karl Marx (duh!) and comes to the conclusion that any consistent and rational conservative should be anti-capitalist.
Are the American People Obsolete? Michael Lind, Salon. July 27, 1010. The corporate elite in America are outsourcing jobs and even military responsibilities, leading this writer to ask the obvious question – are Americans obsolete? And should they all just emigrate in search of opportunities overseas?
The Quiet Coup, Simon Johnson. The Atlantic Magazine. May 2009. I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I see it cited all over the place and it’s not hard to see why. No less an authority than the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund – no radical leftist organization here! – writes in detail about how the United States is now an oligarchy.
A Marxist explanation for the current capitalist economic crisis. An interview with Robert Brenner. January 22, 2009. (Originally published in Hankyroh, my link is to the English translation at the International Journal of Socialist Renewal).
The Un-usable Past, Walter Benn Michaels. Baffler Magazine. December 16, 2009. A critique of the last few decades of American literature, which the writer argues has produced novels that fit the neo-liberal paradigm perfectly. Society is just individuals and families – really? Jonathan Franzen et al have the blinders on. A provocative piece to be sure!
Newspapers and thinking the unthinkable, Clay Shirky. December 2009. Just a regular ol’ blog post, but one that online chatterers interested in the future of news circulate frequently. It’s not so much that Shirky knows what will happen to news; it’s that he argues pretty persuasively that we’re undergoing an enormous paradigm shift equivalent in scope to the invention of the printing press.
First Do No Harm: Life and Death in the ICU, Andrew Ellner. n+1. May 16, 2006. There is so, so much worthwhile reading in n+1, quite possibly the best magazine ever made, so why single out this one? Because it sheds light on a subject that really doesn’t get much attention, at least not among early-to-mid thirties types like me: what happens when you die? This harrowing tale from a doctor discusses how technology conspires to prolong life as long as possible, even if the “treatment” sometimes feels like torture. An unsettling read.
The Problem With Music, Steve Albini. early 1990s sometime. An alternate title could be, “How record industry moguls screw over the artist at every step of the process, milking millions out of them and sharing mere pennies.”
What You’ve Done to my World, Mark Grief. n+1. June 22, 2009. Explains, among other things, why my favourite band, Fugazi, is essentially one of the most important musical acts of all time!
Pay attention to the world. An essay by Susan Sontag about the importance and moral imperative of narrative, in particular, the novel.