I made no attempt to contact any of the people who had been so important to me in the past. I had already let important connections unravel through inattention, and that carelessness has been a bane to me all my life
August 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Debate is heating up in Tokyo about the advisability of hiking Japan’s consumption tax. Which should come first- economic growth or fiscal reconstruction? The prime minister must decide in a matter of weeks.
It’s after midnight and I’m sitting in a Roppongi bar discussing the subject with a knowledgeable Japanese bureaucrat.
“It’s essential to raise taxes,” he says, cradling a well-aged Islay malt. “If we don’t, investors will lose confidence and our bond market will collapse.”
“Aren’t you risking a serious recession?”
“A temporary blip, maybe. But the strengthening of public finances will be good for future growth.”
The year was 1997. read more
July 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
We often hear that our ecological crisis is the result of our short-term egotism: obsessed with immediate pleasures and wealth, we forgot about the common good. However, it is here that Walter Benjamin’s notion of capitalism as religion becomes crucial: a true capitalist is not a hedonist egotist; he is, on the contrary, fanatically devoted to his task of multiplying his wealth, ready to neglect his health and happiness, not to mention the prosperity of his family and the well-being of environment, for it. There is thus no need to evoke some high-ground moralism and trash capitalist egotism. To put it in the terms of Alain Badiou: the subjectivity of capitalism is not that of the “human animal” but rather a call to subordinate egotism to the self-reproduction of the capital.
In other words, self-interested egotism is not the brutal fact of our societies but its ideology – the ideology articulated in Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit under the name of “the spiritual kingdom of animals” – his phrase for the modern civil society in which human animals are caught in self-interested interaction. read more
ART: Stefan Jellinek