This is George Carty's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following George Carty's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
George Carty
Recent Activity
Blissex, The reason why test-trace-isolate hasn't really worked anywhere in Europe (nothing special about the UK) isn't because of neoliberal economics, but because Europeans aren't comfortable with having the state tracking their every move. While Aussies and Kiwis are more comfortable with that (for example they require QR code sign-ins not just at pubs and restaurants, but for all business premises and public transport vehicles) they still aren't _that good at it themselves, or else why would they go into snap lockdowns from just a handful of cases? China and Vietnam are of course totalitarian regimes that don't need to care about what the public thinks, while South Korea and Taiwan are societies militarized by existential threats from totalitarian neighbours (which have included threats of biological attack!) which may have led them to tolerate a level of surveillance that Westerners would never tolerate.
Toggle Commented Aug 2, 2021 on Cummings on complexity at Stumbling and Mumbling
"So Germany had a general glut, but England mismanaged theirs?" "A far more likely story is that Hitler printed money, because he understood that psychology and motivation was more important than economics." The standard of living in Nazi Germany was considerably lower than in Britain at the same time, in part because Nazi Germany sought to be as self-sufficient as possible. They only imported what they had to in order to build their war machine, and they only exported what they had to in order to pay for those imports. Food prices under the Nazis (who subsidized farmers at the expense of the urban population) were considerably higher than on world markets, and one of the most common gripes that ordinary Germans had with the regime (as discovered by the Gestapo) was that they were forced to wear synthetic clothing (because Germany couldn't produce its own cotton).
Jim: "Its relevance is that any policy that impacts ethnic minorities more than the natives in a Western country is automatically decreed 'racist' by the usual suspects. Thus a travel ban would be decreed racist because it affects people with families and connections abroad more than people who don't." It's not really a matter of "ethnic homogeneity" then, as "people with families and connections abroad" would be just as common in a land of mass _emigration_ as they would be in a land of mass _immigration_. It's more a matter of East Asians having a cultural tradition of isolationism: the only immigrants that the Japanese can stomach are ethnic-Japanese Brazilians, and even _them_ only barely.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2020 on Our priorities at Stumbling and Mumbling
Jim: "Indeed that actually did happen back in the early days of covid, when Trump closed the US borders to people coming in from China and all the Democrats went into 'Hug a Chinaman' mode, and called him xenophobic etc. Yet the lovely Jacinda has closed NZ entirely and she's a hero." What countries needed to do to keep Covid out was to quarantine _all_ incomers, including their own citizens returning from abroad. All the success stories in the Asia/Pacific region did this but the United States never did: Trump's "travel ban" was completely useless because it didn't apply to US citizens. It is striking though that even Boris Johnson (elected on a "Get Brexit Done" ticket, let's not forget) was staggeringly reluctant to close the UK to incomers. Perhaps it was because he knew he'd be accused of racism (which would have made Jacinda's wokeness an asset in the "only Nixon could go to China" sense), or perhaps it was more down to the British culture and economy? I suspect that many Leave voters in Britain are in denial about how European they really are, and wouldn't have reacted well to a complete shutdown of foreign travel. Australia and New Zealand (as sparsely populated commodity exporters) are probably far less dependent on visitors from abroad than the UK's concierge economy, and many East Asian countries have a tradition of extreme isolationism ("sakoku" in Japan, "swaegug" in Korea: those words look like they could be cognates!) which never existed in Europe. Note that during the late 19th-century heyday of European colonialism, most European countries had no immigration controls whatsoever! Jim: "South Korea on the other hand is an ethnically homogenous nation that has completely different views to the West as to what degree of mass public compulsion is acceptable. It is also effectively an island as well, due to its land border being land mined and heavily militarised on both sides. If anyone in the UK suggested the degree of controls on individuals that S Korea has imposed to control covid you'd call them fascists (and probably racists as well, that always gets thrown in)." I doubt that a South-Korea style panopticon policy would have flown in the UK, as South Korea had been so traumatized by the 2015 MERS outbreak that it pretty much tore up all its legal protections of privacy, while the UK can't even stomach compulsory ID cards (which is of course the main reason why it has a bigger problem with illegal immigration than continental Europe: once they're here, illegal immigrants can vanish into the black economy in a way that they can't on the continent). I'm not sure though how relevant "ethnically homogenous" is here, as the main obstacle to a SK-style policy against Covid would surely be the existence of subcultures with a strong mistrust of the state? While some of those cultures would be ethnic minorities (such as Orthodox Jews, black Americans or Muslims in Europe) others would be from the ethnic majority (rednecks in the US). And South Korea does have such a culture in the form of its large evangelical Christian minority, which was infamously responsible for one big super-spreader event, and which the political opposition has indeed accused the government of persecuting under the pretext of fighting Covid.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2020 on Our priorities at Stumbling and Mumbling
@Paulc156 China did use mass incarceration to suppress the virus: in their case they incarcerated all those who tested positive or had a cough or fever, along with any contacts of such people. In fact they resorted to this approach precisely because their lockdown of Wuhan had failed (it only reduced R from 3.9 to 1.3) All of the other Asia/Pacific success stories you mention never allowed the virus to become endemic in the first place: what screwed Europe and America over was the fact that a huge outbreak built up undetected in northern Italy in January and early February, and then easily spread across Europe's open borders.
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2020 on "A great deal of ruin" at Stumbling and Mumbling
If economic stagnation makes people more right-wing, doesn't that mean that green socialism cannot possibly work, because the "green" bit results in the economy shrinking, which causes the masses to seek to preserve their own standard of living at the expense of the weak? Note the recent rise of eco-fascism, as exemplified by the terrorists who murdered Hispanics in El Paso and Muslims in New Zealand...
@the truth US police back in the 1980s were even more racist than today. The _real_ problem that has given us BLM is that US police have become a lot more _trigger happy_. Perhaps the US needs to impose minimum size and physical fitness requirements, to ensure that they are competent at taking down suspects _without_ resorting to their guns?
Blissex, Since you brought up Likud, how plausible do you think it is that Israel's dramatic shift to the (economic) right totally eviscerating the original socialistic kibbutz traditions is because its ruling class realized that they needed a desperately poor Jewish underclass that they could weaponize against the Palestinians? (For example, most inhabitants of West Bank settlements aren't religious fanatics, but people who were attracted to suburban-style living and couldn't afford it in Israel proper...)
@Dipper 'There seems a perverse view on the left that it is fine for, for example, a muslim of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin to have a distinct identity and tradition but wrong for a white northern person to have a distinct identity and tradition.' Could you explain how exactly people on the left are arguing that it is "wrong for a white northern person to have a distinct identity and tradition"? (I'm all ears if I'm wrong...) AFAIK no liberals or lefties are arguing for the actual _suppression_ of the majority culture: they may argue that the majority does not have a right to _exclude minorities_ but that's a different thing altogether: if Pakistani or Bangladeshis in the UK tried to create communities from which those outside their respective ethnic group were banned, then I doubt any liberal or left-wing Briton would smile on that either.
"Unfortunately there has been no discovery/invention of an even cheaper, more energy dense fuel (electricity is not really a fuel) than oil." Actually we do have fuels (uranium and thorium) thousands of times more energy-dense than oil: why haven't they supplanted oil just as oil supplanted coal? One reason is that nuclear fuels emit deadly radiation in their operation, which means that nuclear reactors must be surrounded by many tons of shielding material. This means that small, lightweight engines (as needed by all transport vehicles except for the largest ocean-going ships) cannot use nuclear energy. The other problem is a wide-ranging campaign of fear that has been lavishly funded by the rentiers who currently benefit from the domination of oil (and gas, which largely comes from the same wells as oil). Oil and gas deposits are far more geographically concentrated than coal deposits and thus offer far more lucrative opportunities for rent extraction. The anti-nuclear-power movement really began in the immediate aftermath of World War II, when the Rockefeller Foundation suborned geneticist Hermann Muller.
Dipper: "why Essex? From my vantage point, being a few hundred yards outside it, I would say you can make a very good living in Essex without University qualifications. If you have a trade, are personable and entrepreneurial, you can make good money because there are so many rich people here and in London who will pay a lot for whatever task it is that needs doing." Good point on Essex, especially given the fact that the stereotypically anti-education "Essex" actually refers mainly to the part of the county closest to Greater London (and perhaps to some of the easternmost parts of Greater London itself which have a similar culture). That doesn't explain though why anti-education culture is also rife in other parts of England (such as the Midlands)... Blissex: "That's why given the option between raising their sons for a work career ("tiger moms"), or for a high reproductive rate ("ghetto moms"), they realistically choose the latter." Interesting thought on K- versus r-strategy! Black Americans are roughly constant as a proportion of the wider American population, suggesting that this cultural push for a higher reproductive rate is cancelled out by the fact that a lot of black ghetto males fail to reproduce (due to violent death, long prison sentences or drug addiction). I wonder if a similar logic also explains overpopulation in Africa, given that those countries have endemically high unemployment due to (neo-)colonialist policies which saw them as sources of cheap raw materials and captive markets for finished products?
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2020 on On cancel culture at Stumbling and Mumbling
Many places where anti-education culture seem most common are places which capital has abandoned (left-behind towns in England, black inner-city ghettos in the US). Perhaps one factor in its rise is that parents fear that they are more likely to be abandoned by their children if they get well educated (as there are few if any local opportunities to take advantage of a good education)? Of course that doesn't explain why Essex (for example) is so infamously anti-intellectual: perhaps property speculation has something to do with that? Maybe another factor in why immigrants do well is that while the may be working class here (due to racial discrimination, lack of English skills, or a strong work ethic which make them less sniffy about taking jobs for which they're overqualified), most of them were middle class (with all the cultural capital that goes with that) back in their original homelands?
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2020 on On cancel culture at Stumbling and Mumbling
Dipper, don't white working-class boys do badly at school not because of "oppression" but because of a toxic anti-education culture? Those who grow up in America's black ghettos are doubly screwed as they suffer both from racism and from an anti-education culture of their own: high achievers are mocked there as "acting white".
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2020 on On cancel culture at Stumbling and Mumbling
Dipper, It seems to me like the problem with the white English working class is that they don't really _have_ any culture that they can identify as their own, and I can't help feeling that the Empire has a lot to do with that. Perhaps it was because in most European nations took their rural peasantry to be exemplars of their culture, but England couldn't do this because it had largely eliminated its peasantry as a class via a combination of agricultural mechanization, and the offshoring of food production to the New World (not just to colonies but also to the USA and the Southern Cone countries: think Fray Bentos). Another possibility is that the English threw themselves so wholeheartedly into the project of Empire that their old national and regional cultures were washed away: I'm increasingly likening the UK to Imperial Germany, with England playing the role of Prussia and Scotland (which has a much more identifiable culture than England) that of Bavaria. Note that innocent stereotypes of Germans tend to mostly be southern (think Lederhosen and dirndls, oom-pah bands, beer halls and engineering brilliance) while the negative stereotypes tend to be Prussian (warmongers and arrogant aristocrats).
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2020 on Reclaiming freedom at Stumbling and Mumbling
Blissex, You often bring up how Western (and particularly English-speaking) societies have been warped by greed for residential land speculation profits. Isn't the West's addiction to foreign oil yet another negative consequence of this greed, as working people are priced out of urban cores and thus move to low-density suburbia where they are dependent on cars to get to work, shops and other amenities? I think there's a lot going for the Ecomodernist policy of dense cities powered by nuclear energy: the density fights dependence on oil, while the nuclear power fights dependence on the other fossil fuels. (Due to their inherently fickle weather-dependent nature, wind and solar are in practice mere supplements for natural gas rather than independent power sources.)
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2020 on The Deficit Myth: a review at Stumbling and Mumbling
Is it me, or does Bert Schlitz sound like a Nazi? His arguments sound a lot like those Hitler might have used in the 1920s against Gustav Stresemann: that economic progress under capitalism is nothing more than a cruel joke pushed by Jewish propagandists (and that the only true route to prosperity is genocidal expansionist war, although Bert isn't cocky enough to mention that bit).
Chris: "On top of this, there is the fact that the right (and centre) have no answer to capitalist stagnation. In the 80s, Thatcherites could plausibly tell a large client base 'vote for us and you'll get rich'. Today's Tories can't say that." If the problem was with the right and centre only, wouldn't Corbyn's Labour have won at least one of the last two elections? As far as the Red Wall (really the former coal country of England) is concerned it seems like the real issue is that there is no economic solution available. It is cursed by being on the periphery of Europe, while lacking the countervailing advantages found in Europe's other peripheral regions: the oil of Scotland, the timber and hydroelectric resources of Scandinavia, the tourism-attracting climate of southern Europe, or the very low living costs of eastern Europe. The only thing that Northern England _did_ have going for it was coal, and not only is it now largely exhausted, but it has also fallen out of favour for environmental reasons, blamed first for acid rain and then for climate change.
Dipper: "The government had a plan. The media and assorted people with anti-government axes to grind launched a hysterical onslaught which forced the government to change policy from one with a logic to one with no logic." 1. Wasn't the UK government coerced into introducing a lockdown more by President Macron's threat to close France to UK citizens (with the implied threat that other EU states would follow suit) than by any action on the part of the media or the government's domestic critics? 2. Wasn't the actual original strategy a test-and-trace one, which was dumped on March 12th (perhaps due to the influence of a document from 2007) because there were too many cases for the testing infrastructure to handle?
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2020 on Origins of a disaster at Stumbling and Mumbling
The product is driven by internal obsessions and not what customers want. If starting a political party I would not start from here. Indeed: surely that sea of Palestinian flags at the 2019 Labour party conference must surely have cost Labour hundreds of thousands of votes in the subsequent General Election, as it gave them good reason to believe that Labour's loyalty was not to Britain but rather to the global South. Could anyone imagine the Tories waving any foreign flag (American? Israeli?) with that level of passion?
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2020 on What centre? at Stumbling and Mumbling
"some voters looked instead at what they perceived to be the adverse cultural impact of it." Is this a way of saying that they voted for Brexit because they perceived immigrants to be disproportionately likely to commit crimes? If crime is the issue, why not say so?
"When you look at the data, this reflects the fact that pensioners and skilled manual workers who own their own homes are nonetheless classed as C2DEs, rather than a genuine shift in working class views." Plus of course the decline in factory employment means that C2s (skilled manual workers) are increasingly self-employed "white van man" types rather than proletarians in the Marxist sense.
Georgedelatour, certainly Nokia's _factory_ workers wouldn't have understood their firm's predicament, but perhaps their _marketing_ staff would have when they saw their own product sales cratering as customers embraced smartphones?
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2019 on Ownership and productivity at Stumbling and Mumbling
George Carty is now following The Typepad Team
Nov 21, 2019