“We sometimes hear people say that they do not know
[wissen] what they are supposed to think in connection with a
concept they have grasped. When it comes to concepts, nothing
further needs to be thought than the very concept itself. What those people mean to express, however, is the yearning for some familiar, current representation [of things]; when deprived of its manner of representing, consciousness feels as if it had lost the ground in which it is otherwise so firmly rooted and at home. When it finds itself transposed into the pure region of concepts, it no longer knows [weiss] where in the world it is. - As a result, those writers, preachers, speakers, etc., are regarded as the most intelligible who tell their readers or listeners things which they knew already by heart: things which are familiar to them and ‘self-evident’.”
— G.W.F Hegel, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline, Part 1: Science of Logic [The ‘Lesser’ or ‘Encyclopedia’ Logic], Cambridge U, 2010, p. 31
2:30 am • 28 July 2014 • 20 notes
Kathy Acker Interviews the Spice Girls for Vogue in 1997
All Girls Together by Kathy Acker
The Spice Girls are the biggest, brashest girlie group ever to have hit the British mainstream. Kathy Acker is an avant-garde American writer and academic. They met up in New York to swap notes - on boys, girls, politics. And what they really, really want.
Fifty-second street. West Side, New York City. Hell’s Kitchen - one of those areas into which no one would once have walked unless loaded. Guns or drugs or both. But now it has been gentrified: the beautiful people have won. A man in middle-aged-rocker uniform, tight black jeans and nondescript T-shirt, lets Nigel, the photographer, and me through the studio doorway; then a chipmunk-sort-of-guy in shorts, with a Buddha tattooed on one of his arms, greets us warmly. This is Muff, the band’s publicity officer. We’re about to meet the Girls …
They are here to rehearse for an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Not only is this their first live TV performance, it’s also the first time they’ll be playing with what Mel C calls a ‘real band’. If the Girls are to have any longevity in the music industry, they will have to break into the American market; and for this they will need the American media. Both the Girls and their record company believe that their appearance here tonight might do the trick. There is a refusal among America’s music critics to take the Spice Girls seriously. The Rolling Stone review of Spice, their first album, refers to them as ‘attractive young things … brought together by a manager with a marketing concept’. The main complaint, or explanation for disregard, is that they are a ‘manufactured band’. What can this mean in a society of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and En Vogue? However, an e-mail from a Spice fan mentions that, even though he loves the girls, he detects a ‘couple of stereotypes surrounding women in the band’s general image. The brunette is the woman every man wants to date. Perfect for an adventure on a midnight train, or to hire as your mistress-secretary. The blonde is the woman you take home to mother, whereas the redhead is the wild woman, the woman-with-lots-of -evil-powers.’ So who are these Girls? And how political is their notorious ‘Girl Power’?
3:04 pm • 14 July 2014 • 461 notes
Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre e Che Guevara se conheceram em 1960, quando os dois filósofos franceses estiveram em Cuba a convite de Fidel Castro. [A foto é de uma série feita para a revista Verde Oliva pelo fotógrafo Alberto Korda e faz parte do acervo do Museo Che Guevara.]
2:30 am • 23 June 2014 • 65 notes
“The top decile [10%] of the wealth hierarchy already owned between 80 and 85 percent of all wealth at the beginning of the nineteenth century; by the turn of the twentieth, it owned nearly 90 percent. The top centile [1%] alone owned 45–50 percent of the nation’s wealth in 1800–1810; its share surpassed 50 percent in 1850–1860 and reached 60 percent in 1900–1910.”
— Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, 2013, p. 311
2:30 am • 21 May 2014 • 35 notes
“To be sure, older individuals are certainly richer on average than younger ones. But the concentration of wealth is actually nearly as great within each age cohort as it is for the population as a whole. In other words, and contrary to a widespread belief, intergenerational warfare has not replaced class warfare. The very high concentration of capital is explained mainly by the importance of inherited wealth and its cumulative effects: for example, it is easier to save if you inherit an apartment and do not have to pay rent.”
— Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, 2013, p. 226-7
2:30 am • 16 May 2014 • 52 notes
“….the structure of the income and wealth hierarchies in nineteenth-century France was such that the standard of living the wealthiest French people could attain greatly exceeded that to which one could aspire on the basis of income from labor alone. Under such conditions, why work? And why behave morally at all? Since social inequality was in itself immoral and unjustified, why not be thoroughly immoral and appropriate capital by whatever means are available?”
— Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 2014, p. 222
[Has anything changed?]
2:30 am • 15 May 2014 • 78 notes
“By the age of thirty, you will be a judge making 1,200 francs a year, if you haven’t yet tossed away your robes. When you reach forty, you will marry a miller’s daughter with an income of around 6,000 livres. Thank you very much. If you’re lucky enough to find a patron, you will become a royal prosecutor at thirty, with compensation of a thousand écus [5,000 francs], and you will marry the mayor’s daughter. If you’re willing to do a little political dirty work, you will be a prosecutor-general by the time you’re forty.… It is my privilege to point out to you, however, that there are only twenty prosecutors-general in France, while 20,000 of you aspire to the position, and among them are a few clowns who would sell their families to move up a rung. If this profession disgusts you, consider another. Would Baron de Rastignac like to be a lawyer? Very well then! You will need to suffer ten years of misery, spend a thousand francs a month, acquire a library and an office, frequent society, kiss the hem of a clerk to get cases, and lick the courthouse floor with your tongue. If the profession led anywhere, I wouldn’t advise you against it. But can you name five lawyers in Paris who earn more than 50,000 francs a year at the age of fifty?”
— Balzac, Honoré de, Le père Goriot, p. 131.
2:30 am • 14 May 2014 • 12 notes
The owner of capital can obtain interest because capital is scarce, just as the owner of land can obtain rent because land is scarce. But whilst there may be intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of land, there are no intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of capital. An intrinsic reason for such scarcity, in the sense of a genuine sacrifice which could only be called forth by the offer of a reward in the shape of interest, would not exist, in the long run, except in the event of the individual propensity to consume proving to be of such a character that net saving in conditions of full employment comes to an end before capital has become sufficiently abundant. But even so, it will still be possible for communal saving through the agency of the State to be maintained at a level which will allow the growth of capital up to the point where it ceases to be scarce.
I see, therefore, the rentier aspect of capitalism as a transitional phase which will disappear when it has done its work. And with the disappearance of its rentier aspect much else in it besides will suffer a sea-change. It will be, moreover, a great advantage of the order of events which I am advocating, that the euthanasia of the rentier, of the functionless investor, will be nothing sudden, merely a gradual but prolonged continuance of what we have seen recently in Great Britain, and will need no revolution.
Thus we might aim in practice (there being nothing in this which is unattainable) at an increase in the volume of capital until it ceases to be scarce, so that the functionless investor will no longer receive a bonus; and at a scheme of direct taxation which allows the intelligence and determination and executive skill of the financier, the entrepreneur et hoc genus omne (who are certainly so fond of their craft that their labour could be obtained much cheaper than at present), to be harnessed to the service of the community on reasonable terms of reward.
— Keynes, John Maynard, The General Theory, 1936, Chap. 24:II.
2:30 am • 10 May 2014 • 10 notes
“It is important to understand that these very large net positions in foreign assets allowed Britain and France to run structural trade deficits in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Between 1880 and 1914, both countries received significantly more in goods and services from the rest of the world than they exported themselves (their trade deficits averaged 1–2 percent of national income throughout this period). This posed no problem, because their income from foreign assets totaled more than 5 percent of national income. Their balance of payments was thus strongly positive, which enabled them to increase their holdings of foreign assets year after year. In other words, the rest of the world worked to increase consumption by the colonial powers and at the same time became more and more indebted to those same powers. This may seem shocking. But it is essential to realize that the goal of accumulating assets abroad by way of commercial surpluses and colonial appropriations was precisely to be in a position later to run trade deficits. There would be no interest in running trade surpluses forever. The advantage of owning things is that one can continue to consume and accumulate without having to work, or at any rate continue to consume and accumulate more than one could produce on one’s own. The same was true on an international scale in the age of colonialism.”
— Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 2014, p.114
2:30 am • 8 May 2014 • 27 notes
“First, throughout this book, when I speak of “capital” without further qualification, I always exclude what economists often call (unfortunately, to my mind) “human capital,” which consists of an individual’s labor power, skills, training, and abilities. In this book, capital is defined as the sum total of nonhuman assets that can be owned and exchanged on some market. Capital includes all forms of real property (including residential real estate) as well as financial and professional capital (plants, infrastructure, machinery, patents, and so on) used by firms and government agencies.”
— Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, 2014, p.48
2:30 am • 7 May 2014 • 17 notes