Monthly Archives: September 2008

Civics, Politics in SecondLife

I wa slooking for a project for my undergraduate research studnet to work on.

The SL researchers listserv had a good suggestion.

Request:

He is interested in politics or civic discourse in virtual worlds.

Ideally, it would be a sim, island, community with either robust internal debate, or an explicit goal of being a forum, an agora of civics.

He would be doing some virtual ethnography to explore how expressiveness, community, and technology relate to political discourse.

And the first response form a Law School Professor:

1) If he hasn’t done already, he should read Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life, which is a good example of doing ethnography in SL.

2) He might look into the Coalition of Democratic Sims (or something like that), which is a group of sims that have instituted some form of democratic governance.

I hope he keeps us posted on his work. It should be very interesting.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

CEO murdered by mob of sacked Indian workers

CEO murdered by mob of sacked Indian workers – Times Online
Corporate India is in shock after a mob of workers bludgeoned to death the chief executive who sacked them from a factory in a suburb of Delhi.

Does this sound like 19th centruy America and labor unrest in the gilded age?

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Filed under Protest, Resistance, sociology

Conservatives Try New Tack on Campuses – NYTimes.com

Conservatives Try New Tack on Campuses – NYTimes.com
These initiatives, like the Program in Western Civilization and American Institutions at the University of Texas, Austin, or a project at the University of Colorado here in Colorado Springs, to publish a book of classic texts, are mostly financed by conservative organizations and donors, run by conservative professors. But they have a decidedly nonpartisan and nonideological face.

I’ll have to say more later…

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Filed under Uncategorized

Meanwhile, war in Pakistan

Great.

Pakistani Troops, Tribesmen Fire On US Helicopters
Pakistani troops and tribesmen opened fire on two U.S. helicopters that crossed into the country from neighboring Afghanistan, intelligence officials said Monday.

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Filed under Military, Politics, Power, Activism, Terrorism

0% almost never appears in public polls

The National Economy
No Americans say that the national economy is getting better, 13% say it is staying the same, and 82% say the national economy is getting worse.

National economy

Getting better

Staying the same

Getting worse

Undecided

Sep 2008 13% 82% 5%
Aug 2008 18% 19% 60% 3%
Jul 2008 3% 20% 76% 1%

You almost never see 0% in public polls. They must not have any BOA executives, gold stock holders, or other speculators who bet the right way in their poll.  Or maybe those folks see that their immediate gain comes with the risk of financial downturn for all?

And Bush’s approval is down to 19% among RVs in the same poll.  That has to be some kind of record?

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Filed under economic sociology, economics, macroeconomics

No blank check for Wall Street.

No blank check for Wall Street.
This is worse than a bad deal – this isn’t a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world.

This is a blog post with a petition linked to  it.  I may not agree with all the language, but this is not the time to let the desire for the perfect trump the reality of present action.

We should express our concerns as citizens about the parameters fo this extraordianry action, even if we don’t get to write the legislation.

Krugman on “Cash for Trash.

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Filed under activism, Banking, economics, macroeconomics, policy, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism

The end of history, again

When the Berlin wall fell, and then the Iron Curtain, and then the Soviet Union dissolved into national tribes pursuing free market economies, the academic conservatives were gleeful.  “The End of History” was the zeitgeist text and meme that Fukuyama penned.  The metanarrative debate and power struggle about the role of government at “the commanding heights” was over.  Government had little role in the economy.  She could (and the female pronoun is very apt) nurture the children and clean up the messes, but had to stay in the private sphere of domestic concerns and stay out of the public sphere of productive work and economics.

With the tectonic shifts in the last two weeks, leading to today’s headlines about a massive bail out of the bad debt and paper by a government agency; with the infusion of something like $300 billion Treasury dollars into Bear Stearns, the FMacs, and AIG; with monetary policy at  the bottom of the tool box with only a few thumbtacks left (the key T billrate dropping to essentially zero), I suggest its the end of history, again.

There are no Unicorns, and there can be no totally free markets.  The Fed and Treasury had to step in and take direct action, in the spirit of Keynes, because they had no other choice to avoid a massive, 1932-esque economic collapse.

The debate is on again about the role of government, law, policy, and institutions in managing the economy and how to achieve a more just society.

I am not going to even respond to any neoliberals or other market ideologues until they acknowledge that the Reagan-Thatcher revolution has come to a grinding end.  The overall governing philosophy that “markets are always better and government must be progressively marched to the sidelines of the economic game” is dead, dead, dead.  When real people had to make real decisions over the last two weeks, that world view came up empty of ideas and solutions.

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Filed under macroeconomics, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism, social theory

All that is solid melts…

My thoughts exactly…

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Now that the People own a major insurance company, it’s fair to ask how the People’s Insurance Company, along with the People’s Mortgage Companies and the People’s Investment Banks, will benefit the People who Own them. Can we expect lower premiums, equity sharing, and corporate perks for our hundreds of billions of dollars?

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Filed under economics, humor, macroeconomics, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism

FDIC does not publish its problem bank list

15 minutes of web searching for this mythical list of problme banks leads me to learn that the FDIC does not publiish the list.

Of course not.  It might cause people to worry about their deposits!  So, we have to protected from our own self-interest.

It is always the most critical information that is hidden.  One site did say I could pay for bank quality/soundness information.  Lovely, that won’t exacerbate inequality in America or anything.

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Filed under Banking, economics

This is Cool- An Innovation Center

Random surfing led to this find: The U MD Innovation center.

Their purpose:

With these imperatives in mind, the Center for Innovation is consulting with and doing research on science and technology in research organizations with the objective of helping them increase scientific technological advances.  The Center is developing theories that concern the process of innovation and the production of knowledge more generally.  Finally, it is developing several models and methods for guiding governments in their evaluations of S&T research.

Then tehy list research tracks:

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Filed under higher education, innovation, Research, technology