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By Herring (Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:45:58 AM EST) (all tags)
Yes, wibble again.

Today's Ohrworm is the theme from the children's TV programme Rainbow.



Article on the Grauniad website by Monbiot about biofuels. I knew that biofuels were dodgy, but I was surprised by the statement "Biodiesel from palm oil causes 10 times as much climate change as ordinary diesel". That's to say nothing of the morality of using food to power your SUV.

I find it a bit odd that everyone (well, government, car manufacturers) are so against more stringent fuel enconomy. Surely if you spend less money on fuel/energy, then that's a good thing? It strikes me that using less power for transport, heating, cooling etc. is a win-win for businesses. Oh well.

Incidentally, someone here without a proper job got a bee in her bonnet about the number of plastic cups we get through. I did try to advance the argument that petrochemicals tied up in plastic cups weren't being burnt and contributing to global warming.

At last, a new holiday year. And a four-day weekend coming up to celebrate capital punishment.

Was reading something somewhere. In a commentary on modern UKian TV, this guy pointed out that a few years ago, we had programmes that mocked Japanese TV programmes where contestants had to eat live insects etc. Now we're making these programmes ourselves. Hmm.

I think something almost happened in yesterday's Heroes.

I have what I think is a great political idea: people are really hacked off with the current political parties. So, encourage more people to stand for parliament. Things could get interesting if you had a couple of hundred independents. I also think the deposit for a parliamentary election should be lowered again. IIRC, Thatcher put it up to £1,000.

< 2007.03.26: Like sand through an hourglass, so ... | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Wibble | 43 comments (43 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
No need! by gpig (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:57:19 AM EST
Tea is better from a mug, and water is better from a glass.

I agree with your stroppy colleague.
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(,   ,') -- eep

It's quite likely by Herring (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:29:02 AM EST
that the plastic cups are incinerated anyway. But nobody picked up on that.

Don't get very good arguments here. I try.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Paper cups by Phage (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:35:33 AM EST
Just my 0.02

[ Parent ]
What about cold tea? [nt] by debacle (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:05:33 AM EST


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Pour it down the sink and make a fresh pot by Vulch (4.00 / 4) #14 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:30:07 AM EST

Natural act

[ Parent ]
Palm oil. by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:24:08 AM EST
Is often grown on cleared mangrove swamps. Although palm oil is an extremely efficient source of oil energy, what with producing easier-to-make saturated fats, and very little protein or carbohydrate overburden, the clearing of mangrove swamps releases huge amounts of semi sequestered carbon that's in the swamp soil.

Incidentally, carbon sequestration in soil is one of the most misunderstood aspects of CO&2082; control.

That by debacle (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:07:31 AM EST
And mangrove swamps are one of the few things I find really cool Florida.

The next time I get down there the everglades may be closed.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
Definitely. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:50:23 AM EST
They're tremendously important, and being destroyed at quite a rate (also for prawn/shrimp farming.)

[ Parent ]
Also, I believe by Herring (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:55:49 AM EST
Mangroves can take the edge off an incoming hurricane/tidal wave. Which might matter in Florida.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
I remember Zippy and Bungo by Phage (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:34:51 AM EST
But the tune escapes me. Bring back the Heath Robinson inventor from Vision On.

Can you recommend a band recommendation site where you feed in what you like, and gives a range of alternative new bands that you may not have heard of.

Oh, it should be a free service naturally.

Last FM? by Herring (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:44:51 AM EST
I signed up, but haven't really used it. Might do the job though.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
I'll give it a whirl by Phage (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:46:09 AM EST
I wonder how good the predictive model is.

[ Parent ]
Pandora, also by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:41:45 AM EST
here. I quite like it, and it seems to do a good job of finding stuff that I like but have never heard of.
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inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Pandora looks interesting by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 02:17:46 PM EST
But is US-only, and while they are "are working as fast we can to make Pandora available internationally", it's been that way for a long time.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Ah. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 03:44:46 PM EST
Bummer, that. Sorry I was inadvertently US-centric.
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inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
No worries by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #43 Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 12:06:45 AM EST
Like I said, it does look like a pretty neat service, and there are ways and means for non-USians to use it, but it's a bit of a hassle.


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
It's good by TurboThy (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:11:44 AM EST
once you get past about 10,000 scrobbled tracks. But then again I have a broad musical taste, so take this with a pinch of salt.
__
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
[ Parent ]
Rainbow by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #42 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 11:55:09 PM EST
Still on one of the UK cable channels around 7pm.
Here's a reminder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzxdulMGN4

[ Parent ]
Environment by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:48:10 AM EST
It's like losing weight, isn't it? The only thing that will work is cutting consumption.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

Plus by Herring (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:51:56 AM EST
People will suggest solutions that still involve consuming all the oil and dead animals you want.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Deposits by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:01:27 AM EST

It used to be £150 and you had to secure 12.5% of the vote to retain it; Thatcher changed it so that it cost £500, but you only had to secure 5% of the vote not to lose it. When you bear in mind that the previous system ran from the early twentieth century [after the first world war, I think] to the late nineteen-eighties [a period which saw population grow by 50% and the value of a quid change drastically], it's not quite as clear-cut; you could argue that Thatcher's changes were, in some ways, more democratic.

I seem to remember that the argument was partly fuelled by clones of the Monster Raving Looney Party; that the rise was intended to weed out those who were "serious" from those who weren't; some of the constituencies in the 1980s had over thirty candidates. Although I guess you could argue that the changes only succeeded in barring the frivolous poor while allowing the frivolous rich to continue having a go.

Personally, I quite like the ideas of liquid democracy, but it has two major downsides. The first is that I can't see a way of getting it to work well without handing vast tracts of administrative control and collation to a large computer system (and I help build systems for a living ...) and, secondly, it might well be susceptible to populace coercion by vested interests.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
It's an interesting idea by Herring (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:13:12 AM EST
Personally, I strongly suspect that people care enough about politics to whine, but not enough to do something. The disparity between the views of the major political parties (in the US and the UK) and the public is quite extraordinary. It's a bit like the situation described by Douglas Adams "The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people" "But you said it was a democracy?" "Yes" "So people vote for the lizards" "Yes - because otherwise the wrong lizard might get in".

Or something.

I like the idea of a load of independents being elected. Sure, there will be nutters and initially it will be really hard to get anything done. But I think ultimately we'd end up with more representative parties and a more engaged electorate.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
There was a segment by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:30:31 AM EST

on 'This Week' [the Thursday-night BBC1 political tabloid show for insomniacs] recently for which Marcus Brigstock attempted to analyse what had happened to rebellion in this country. He pointed-out that the two largest-ever political protests had made no impact whatsoever on political policy; that the culture of quasi-professional "oppositionalism" [the same groups attending G8 protests, anti-war protests, anti-road protests] was essentially self-defeating as it allowed politicians and the media to dismiss all the arguments in the same way. He also pointed-out that nobody seemed to want to do anything [as opposed to, for example, the French, who apparently once destroyed every CCTV and speed camera in Marseilles the day the were put up and who willingly riot at the drop of a hat over political issues]. After Brigstock's segment was over, they went back to the studio for a discussion, during which both Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo asserted that the majority in Britain are currently too content for real rebellion and consequently there was little to rebel over.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine was attending a political science post-grad lecture where a respected lecturer was discussing the issues raised by "spin politics", the professional politician, policy by poll and focus groups, government via media etc. When the time came for questions, one of the other attendees put their hand up and said, "You've talked for a long time about the issues raised and the problems which occur, but what exactly are you proposing we do about it?". The lecturer paused for a second before replying, "Well, I think some people are better at diagnosis than cure development; this is simply diagnosis". "Diagnosis must be contagious then", countered the attendee, "because everyone's doing it. Everywhere I turn there's diagnosis, yet no cure development". "What do you propose?", the lecturer came back, "That we all pick up kalashnikovs?". "As extreme and uncultured as that might be", said the attendee, "it would have the singular distinction of being a genuine plan of action". My friend said he got the impression that the lecturer had genuinely missed the point, probably ascribing the encounter to the questioner being a stereotypical agitated lefty student, whereas the main point was that it would have been a break from this endless orbit of inane and known diagnosis: Everyone putting flags on their rooftops sporting the legend 'The Government can suck my balls' would likewise at least be doing something, even if futile and silly.

And that's the point I think. People are generally discontented and, perhaps more importantly, pessimistic about the prospects for change from the current political mode, but — importantly — are nowhere near discontented enough to pick up automatic weapons or, less extremely, riot / strike, so we content ourselves with an endless circuit of whinging and diagnosis which doesn't, of itself, make anything seem more rosy. It's a malaise rather than a disease. Perhaps professional politics' main conundrum is that it'll never quite manage to locate itself closely enough to "the people" to be undespised, yet neither will it situate itself far enough away to foster genuine rebellion; and that's maybe the most depressing possibility of all.

I think it's interesting, though. By-and-large the country is more prosperous than ever before, and yet many are miserable, or at least claim to be. Maybe we just like complaining. Maybe we all think we should be in charge.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Hmm. by Herring (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:47:10 AM EST
"By-and-large the country is more prosperous than ever before". I take issue with that. Wages for ordinary people have been pretty stagnant for the last 10 years. Personally, in real terms, I'm considerably worse off than I was 5 years ago.

I think people should do something rather than moaning.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
With respect by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:37:38 AM EST

the mean gross salary in this country is £24,300; the median is £19,500; the lowest 25% earn less than £11,800. You may be worse off, but I'd wager that a.) you hardly count as "ordinary people" by any economic measure [indeed, I'm guessing you're in the top 20% (more than £32,600) and possibly the top 10% (£42,050)] and b.) your wages are more likely to be a function of IT sector variations than anything else: Hardly a measure of national prosperity. Most "ordinary people" are better off [not least because of the introduction of the minimum wage]; Earnings are up; GDP is up; the economy is higher; the Herring index is not yet an officially recognized measure.

Regardless; we could continue having an argument about that [I concede that it is to some moderate extent debatable], but it's not particularly interesting; what's more interesting is your implicit assertion that earnings are an index of political contentment. I concede they're a component of it [people need to be comfortable], but it's my assertion that the economic situation has little to do with the curent malaise as it's now pretty much as good as it has been for the last 50 years [ObBreakerTaxTrollNotwithstanding]; so what does?

We can't get around to proposing concrete solutions without understanding what the problems are; which implies that much of the current diagnosis is fruitless as it doesn't lead necessarily to proposals for action to be taken.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Politicians are specialists now by cam (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:53:16 AM EST
and have become increasingly specialised in the last fifty years. We are noticing it more as media management because that is where we come in contact most with politician's message, but they are careerists and do the job full time.

One of the problems is there is an increasing complexity in laws and politicisation of all aspects of society. Bureaucracies are becoming politicised, Australia's civil service is not what it once was. Because of the power and money in government, it gets everywhere. If you were to read the papers you would think everyone belongs to a political party, yet in Au, only 80,000 people countrywide are Liberal Party members!

Because they are specialists they have their own language that is often indecipherable and complex for the sake of it. As an example I could not get through a Virginian small business tax form yesterday. I got stuck in the form because I didn't know the exact right answer and couldn't progress to the next page. The legislation in that tax code requires another specialists to interpret it. It is no longer generalist. This is the same as when software developers make ugly interfaces causing users to know their language and system before they can use it.

I think part of the disenfranchisement between population and politics is because politics is a minority (very few are members of parties) participative form of specialisation. People are estranged from it in the same way they are estranged from other highly specialised skills - like astrophysics. The difference being that astrophysicists don't dominate the media, tax or pass selfish laws that everyone has to follow.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
I agree with much of that by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #28 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:02:47 AM EST

If you were to read the papers you would think everyone belongs to a political party, yet in Au, only 80,000 peJamie Whyteople countrywide are Liberal Party members

That many can read?! </ObColonialBashingInLightOfDismalSportingImpotence>
Having said that; according to Wikipedia, the UK Labour party has about 200,000 members, the Tories 290,000 and the LibDems 72,000 (bearing in mind that we've three times more people than Oz).

There are two additional points though, based on access and necessity; maybe they're the same thing.

Firstly: Access. There is little outside the limits of intellect (although time and money are also a barrier) which prevent anyone who wants to from becoming an expert on, and contributing to, astrophysics. Pace Kuhn, the astrophysical community may be more or less guarded regarding the contributions of an outsider, but if that outsider's contributions are valid, they'll be gratefully accepted (in fact, some dons will almost certainly try to steal them and pass them off as their own). In politics, it is not simply the case that people are excluded by their own knowledge (of the requisite specialized systems and language); they are excluded a priori; simply not acknowledged to exist (the aforementioned million-person march ignored). Without going through either the specialist adviser route, or the political selection route, it's hard for people to participate; indeed, there're numerous active barriers to participation.

Secondly, Jamie Whyte [in Bad Thoughts ('Crimes Against Logic' is the yanquified version)] makes the "necessity" point in the section where he tackles jargon and market consultants. Astrophysics isn't complicated because of a gated community making it intentionally obscure; it's complicated because it's complicated. Similarly, software development and computer science isn't intricate because developers like it that way; it's the nature of the beast (although there is certainly some obscurantism in IT). In market consultation and politics on the other hand, the complexification is largely unnecessary; it's there so as to wear the clothes of astrophysics; so that people see it as being akin to astrophysics, but it really is not of that nature in and of itself. The language isn't there to clarify and condense meaning (as with scientific and philosophical specialisms), but largely to obscure it. I don't find the response of "specialisation" to be a justification; it's precisely the specialisation which people feel is exclusionary, obfuscatory and unnecessary.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Interesting that the per capita numbers by cam (4.00 / 1) #33 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:51:50 AM EST
are similar. The Access component is part of the system design. It is intended to put some distance between the population and representative so that mob tyranny doesn't dominate. The problem is that it gives the parties permanent access to government - and they exist to gain majorities - so often tyranny and arbitrary government are just the parties acting selfishly for what their founding purpose is.

I think the specialist nature has been because of the increasing size and complexity of the state. Politicians and all their hangers on are for handling that complexity. Unfortunately it has got complex enough that elected representatives can say they didn't know. Howard and Downer used that in the AWB scandal. The political specialists are acting as an intended barrier between the representative and accountability.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Dunno if you've ever joined a political party by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #38 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:36:33 PM EST
I have both the Tories and Labour party in my misspent youth. The meetings are deathly dull which acts as screening mechanism for the truly committed. Also there's a hell of a lot of office politics of a  rather nasty kind which you wouldn't put up with voluntarily outside work.

[ Parent ]
No by cam (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:24:24 PM EST
Cant say I have ever had the pleasure. Though my parents got involved in the local Liberal Party political scene but that didn't last long. Probably as you said; the dullness and dullards scared them away.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Stats by Herring (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:04:21 AM EST
From the government. If you include taxes, house price inflation etc. it's not a lot. Also, would you say generally that anyone is under less pressure at work now than they were 10 years ago? So, we're doing more, more stressful work for no real material benefit. That's going to piss people off.

My own situation is odd ... because. And not really relevant.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Yes by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:22:47 AM EST

and those are figures representing pay rises which are well above inflation for the same period. The tax issue is complicated, which is why I conceded the debatability of the point; it certainly doesn't strongly support your case, though.

I'd say that work stress hasn't changed all that much in the last ten years, although it may have gone up incrementally; the astronomical rises in expectations and pressure were in the ten to fifteen years before that, not the last few. I certainly wouldn't say I was more stressed with any confidence; as stressed, for sure; more? no. Perhaps one of the main issues is the way inflation was redefined from a cost-of-living-index to a (consumer|commodity)-price-index, thus leaving some people wondering why their money doesn't seem to go as far as perhaps it ought.

Having just played minor-demon's advocate, I had to chuckle grimly when I just read the FP of the Beeb's site - it was the second link [although I notice they're still using a controversial measure for poverty which has been attacked before].


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Leaping in at the end here... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #27 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:53:18 AM EST
One of the differences between here and France is that they've retained some institutions in society (mostly unions in this case) which are able to mount a (semi)-coherent opposition to government policies and even governing political consensuses. More to the point, those institutions have enough respect that even non-members will rally to the cause.

This country doesn't seem to have that kind of institution left, the unions here aren't respected as a body and we don't seem to have developed many new ones.

You can argue that the French are a little too willing to strike/riot, but I think we've gone too far in the opposite direction.

I won't disagree that we're probably a bit more contented than the French overall, but I do think the institutional issue is a real one too.

The three biggest protests that have occurred (in my failing memory) might be listed (in no particular order) as Fox-hunting, Fuel protests and IraqWar protests.

It's worth noting here that part of the current problem may simply be that the people who most need to express their displeasure by mass action are those whom Labour is sort of meant to represent. So that plays into the dynamics.

I guess the question behind these other protests is why were there no strikes or riots? French farmers (a similar constituency to the Fox hunting lobby) would have had tractors blocking up the city and burning carcasses at Downing Street. Our lot? Demographically not their style, but also they didn't have that much sympathy overall.

Fuel protests was real strike type action. Economic consequences. I don't really recall if they got what they wanted though.

Iraq? Dirty hippies, the lot of them. No natural constituency in parliament.

Actually, that's probably another point, the system in France does give them a more diverse parliament, so maybe that adds to the mix.

To me, it seems like the biggest "cultural institution" issue is that we in Britain don't trust anybody to speak for any kind of common good. [Cue rambling thoughts about that mess of a Curtis documentary: The Trap.] Thus, any discontent easily dissipates unless it has instant massive support (for example, if they had put up a draft for Iraq.) That is in part a sign of a stable, contented society. But it's also potentially the sign of a loaded political/media environment where the levers of power are so far away that only incredibly sized strikes/riots have a hope of influencing policy.

Which brings to mind, bizarrely... Jamie's School Dinners. Seemingly real change in government policy, for the general benefit of a fairly widespread bunch of children.

Does that phenomenon mean something? Not sure, but it came to mind.

Anyway that was all pretty stream of conciousness, so maybe it doesn't make sense, but to reiterate my main point. There may be more to it than general contentment (although I accept there is a reasonable level of contentment) there may be something about a decline in societal organs to amplify change.

[ Parent ]
Don't particularly disagree. Good post. by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #32 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:49:05 AM EST

Especially the "cultural institution" paragraph. Don't get me wrong: I'm generally in favour of a little bit more Frenchness.

I'll try and address some of this later on as it's all beginning to get close to a diary I was planning on writing [some time ...].

I, too, was very disappointed by the shambolic 'The Trap'. As someone who's worked with game theory (and thinks it's pretty interesting), it tripped my prejudice-switch in quite a large way; I now have a good idea of why a psychologist friend found 'Century Of The Self' as objectionable as she did [although I rather liked it — especially and appositely for the modern politics episode, if only for Derek Draper's awesome closing monologue (even if he can be fairly objectionable, sometimes)]. It wasn't my main objection, though: it was more that it seemed logically contortionist (in precisely that way which would have the annoying objectionistas sneering "Yeah!" at every bad point and ignoring every good one), and in some instances had to engage in some extreme rhetorical gymnastics to avoid leading the viewer to certain conclusions unfavourable to Curtis' thesis. There is tremendous scope for a political documentary about "the way things are", and 'The Trap' had potential, but unfortunately ...

I think the Oliver episode is interesting, in that it's exactly what the government fear — a populist, middle-class celebrity with a fairly unobjectionable cause on a rabble-rousing mission. I doubt the equally-middle-class Mrs. Thomas from Leominster, Herefordshire would have been as successful with the exact same campaign, though, and therein perhaps lies the problem with that kind of dissent.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Right... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #34 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 10:22:45 AM EST
If it takes a celebrity even to get a middle-class friendly concern into action, that suggests the system is quite resistant overall.

I think The Trap suffered from a number of problems (this is not an exhaustive list):

  1. It tried to address too much at once within 3 episodes. There are a bunch of phenomena which have some cultural linkages (e.g. the psychology profession's move to "objective testing" and the associated rise of "apparently objective psychological normalcy" does link to the "rational-agent/libertarian/Hayek approach to economics") but... each of them actually evolved in different ways, which he glosses over, trying to make them all fit the same path. That just didn't work. And in the glossing over, he lost some of the thread of how they actually might have influenced each other.
  2. Blatant inaccuracies about things like the history of game theory and it's uses was bound to put certain people off.
  3. Further, he really didn't work at explaining some of the distinctions he was drawing. In that, to me, there has been a considerable abuse of game theory within government/thinktank/economist circles to explain things it's not ready to explain. And other times just used incredibly incompetently. But that's not a fault of the theory and all that blather about "invented by psychopaths" is rather misplaced and distracts from a genuine issue about the ends to which the tool has been put.
  4. He tried to weld together a narrative across historical episodes which have some different impulses buried in them, hence lots of those logical contortions I think. I found the last episode particularly bad that way in that the whole "War on Terror" rollback of "civil liberties" was just sort of bolted on the end with a backflip. Really to me, it's another example of the lack/decline of "cultural institutions" which does kind of follow from the rise of Hayek-ism, but it was all just not put together by Curtis coherently or persuasively to me.
  5. As you note, there are counter-conclusions which need addressing which he just didn't. The decline of the "psychiatrists" was an improvement in freedom, they used to put cheating housewives in looney bins for crying out loud. Freedom for women/gays/coloureds/other fringe groups is a lot higher than it was and it's not clear that you could get there without at least disrupting the myth of the "benign state" somewhat.
(Of course, you already know I'm of the idea that maybe we went too far in the other direction, so my comments won't surprise.)

[ Parent ]
Yup by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 11:22:49 AM EST

It's perhaps overly cynical and bloggish, but had you seen this?


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
No... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 12:29:21 PM EST
I hadn't seen it.

My first reaction is that it is a bit cynical. Curtis is far from coherent/correct/unbiased, but he's showing more ambition than 95% of programme makers and that's something.

But, OTOH, it's probably deserved.

[ Parent ]
Well above? by Herring (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 10:39:37 AM EST
They are slightly above (1-3%) a measure of inflation that doesn't include council tax or house prices (amongst other things).

The relative measure of child poverty isn't a brilliant one. There may or may not be an actual problem with child poverty, but it's difficult to tell from that.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
V2FP by garlic (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:39:03 AM EST


[ Parent ]
Candidates by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:08:07 AM EST
Having voted in election with 135 candidates, I think the concern of "too many candidates" is overblown.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Apropos of nothing by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 09:08:03 AM EST

Heh.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Business by MrPlough (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:31:09 AM EST
"Surely if you spend less money on fuel/energy, then
that's a good thing? It strikes me that using less power for transport, heating, cooling etc. is a win-win for businesses. Oh well."

Not for the fuel business! And their associated chemical industry.
No work.

We don't care about them by Herring (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:41:01 AM EST
They're evil.

Also, everyone has to admit that oil is a finite resource. When it's $500 a barrel, they'll be doing fine.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
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