Contra Musk: There are Other Futures Besides a Governmental UBI

by Nick Ford

You’ve likely heard of Elon Musk, he’s a huge venture capitalist who helps run companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. Being such a huge name in the tech industry and especially Silicon Valley the things he has to say about the future of…well anything, is likely to garner some attention.

Back in November, Musk stated that:

“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

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Degrees of Complexity

This article is a follow on from my previous essay on the false narratives of Brexit and the wider meta-political discourses that it has shrouded. It also looks to add to some of the arguments Chris Dillow presents in his article on plebiscitary politics.

The world as it currently exists, despite the attempts at universalisable discourses and the production of narratives that are black and white in their dichotomies, is extremely complex and full of varying degrees of socio-economic knowledge. A full calculatory system that can aggregate these variable forms of knowledge and processes is practically impossible, as was seen in the failures of state socialism and in the many failures of capitalism (which requires continual subsidy to exist). These are the most important lessons of Hayek and Mises, but also the most ignored. Utopian thinking of a top-down kind continues to exist, with everyone from neoliberals to modern leftists believing that everyone is rational or believers in the universal. Things like parochialism, gaps in knowledge and complexity are tacitly ignored. Continue reading

The Paradoxes of Plebiscites

by Chris Dillow

In pointing out that re-joining the EU will be damnably difficult, Simon reminds us of the massive difference between representative democracy and plebiscitary politics.

One great virtue of representative democracy is that it allows for mistakes to be corrected. Wrong’uns can be booted out of office and bad policies can usually be reversed*. Under plebiscites, it is not so. These reveal the “will of the people” which must be obeyed. Whereas representative democracy is a system of checks and balances, plebiscites are battles of wills in which the victor wins permanently. As Mrs Thatcher said, plebiscites are “a device of dictators and demagogues.” Continue reading

Political Falsity: The EU Referendum

The EU referendum, and the resultant Brexit, has become increasingly more important and polarising since the original vote last year. Whether it be calls for a second referendum or a “hard Brexit”, the concept of consensus politics seems to have gone out the window as debate and discourse become increasingly more adversarial. In one sense, developing a wider engagement in politics that moves debate outside the typical forums can be seen as refreshing, as the consensus politics that has defined the British parliamentary system for the past century has been stultifying. Poor voter turnout and the increasing apathy of voters seems to have received a shock from this referendum. However, the stultification of representative democracy has not been truly broken. Instead, new efforts to develop some kind of “politics of truth” has developed on both sides of the referendum campaign, ignoring wider meta-political and socio-economic debates. Continue reading

Forming an Organic Right-Wing Social Order

by Vincent John

The historic election of Donald Trump has changed the course of American politics for many years to come. There are not many people who predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency against what seemed to be impossible odds. Donald Trump did not just have to campaign against the Clinton Machine and all of her donors. He also had to defeat establishment Republicans, which include political hacks like John McCain and Paul Ryan, the Never Trumpers, a mixed bag of neocons and cuckservative losers like Glenn Beck, the regressive left and the Bernie Bots throwing infantile tantrums in the streets, the corporatist far left media who cover for leftist demagogues like Obama and Crooked Hillary, big business who want cheap labor imported into America who lobby for illegal aliens from the third world to pour across the US border. There were many other individuals and groups of people who were vehemently against the idea of a Trump presidency, a presidency where a right-wing populist agenda would be front and center for the direction of the nation.  But things are seldom what they seem. Even though the corporatist far left media were the ones who gave the false impression that Trump would lose and Crooked Hillary would be the first female president, they underestimated the right wing populist movement sweeping across Europe and America. The corporate shills also covered up all of Hillary’s scandals and lies while painting a false picture of how Middle America would vote in the 2016 election by falsely claiming Democrats and Independents in the Rust Belt would vote for Crooked Hillary. This was of course wrong. Continue reading

Is Anarchism Worth It?

This question comes as a result of the lack of cohesiveness amongst the adherents of anarchism. Anarchists, while professing a common universality of values and beliefs, act as roving tribes when it comes to meetings between their different ideological sects. None seem to coalesce around any unifying concept, with each trying to outdo the other in how left-wing, anti-racist or intersectional they are. That’s all well and good for debate stages and internet forums, but it hardly builds a movement that can be politically and socially strong and that can challenge prevailing power structures. It leads to the question of whether anarchism, as the according ideology to so many beliefs, is really worth the time, the activism, the commitment that it is given. Continue reading

Trump Barely Papers Over the Cracks

One of the most unexpected political results has now occured. Trump is the next US president. Against all the odds, all the polls, all the pundits and significant chunks of the world’s population, Trump has inched Clinton to become president. But while surprising, even in a year where we’ve seen many revolts against the general ‘establishment’, including Brexit, the rise of the Pirate Party in Iceland, the rise of national populism in many European countries and so on, it’s quite evident why Trump won. Continue reading

Libertarians are Becoming Worse Than Useless

With the advent of Brexit in the UK, and the rise on the one hand of national populism (combined with demagoguery) and on the other hand liberal cosmopolitanism in America, libertarianism could be basking in the glory of its own radical praxis. It could advocate for economic and political decentralisation, for political pluralism and for the development of truly freed markets which limit the effects of capital accumulation and rentierism. They could be showing the world examples of stateless and quasi-stateless societies that have existed for millennia, or simply demonstrating the multitude of free market systems that exist within the cracks of modern state capitalism. Fortunately there are some that actually do this. However the majority seem more interested in defending corporate largesse, intellectual property and the plethora of phony free trade agreements that abound. Continue reading

On Being a Little Englander

I think this is relatively intelligent way of viewing international conflicts when ignorant of on-the-ground facts. Taking this position at the very least means moving away from the simplistic good-bad dichotomies that both naive pacificts and stupid neoconservatives hold.

by Chris Dillow Continue reading