What I am listening to
Analysis – Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academicshttp://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/analysis/rss.xml
Ken and Robin talk about stuff - Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff is the podcast of authors and game designers Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws. Stuff talked about includes hobby gaming, history, occultism, chrono-travel, food, cinema, narrative, art, politics, food, maps, Cthulhiana, and in fact any matter subject to jocular yet penetrating erudition. Their recurring seminar at Dragonmeet was a highlight of the show. Now they put on their show weekly for the world’s entertainment. Early shows did stray a bit toward self promotion and product puffing but they soon put that behind them.http://www.kenandrobintalkaboutstuff.com/index.php/feed/
Both are weekly though Analysis is on hiatus until the Autumn.
Two free podcasts have tried charging for their content. For every 100 listeners who subscribed only 1 is prepared to pay. I listen to one but not the other.
Yog Radio was stopped at episode 50 and was replaced by The Silver Lodge, available to patrons of Yog-Sothoth.com. Their shows
also include audio games of most Chaosium Cthulhu campaigns.
The HP Lovecraft Literary
podcast changed format once they had reviewed all of the Lovecraft’s work. They now cover the wider world of weird fiction.
What I am watching
Community on DVD – One of the more interesting shows of recent years. If the Big Bang theory is a mainstream view of geek culture then Community is a show from that weird part of youtube
. Is Community too meta
or is it a reflection of emergent culture where the socially, politically or culturally awkward parts of society have found a place to evolve before their inevitable rise to global domination.
Stargate from Pick TV on freeview. One of the many genre shows filmed in Vancouver, it is the opposite of Battlestar Galactica in its story progression and character development. In the world of stargate there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome, no foe that cannot be beaten or talked round. While BSG is an American parable on the consequences of empire and the loss of life, liberty and happiness; Stargate is a Canadian fantasy where no one is truly bad and everything can be resolved with just a little understanding. Peace, prosperity and good govt, blandness as a civic virtue? Or just Liberal Fan service.
What I am seeing
Spain has a 27% unemployment rate and they recently downgraded their growth prospects from -0.5% to -1.5%. Some say that they should quit the Eurozone, default on their debts and restart growth by becoming a cheap destination for inward investment. Forget the foreign banks and bondholders, what we need is jobs for Spaniards and we need them now.
There is a problem with this plan and that is Spain’s reserve social security fund. In 2007 the fund was invested 50/50 with national debt/foreign debt. By 2011 it was 90% Spanish debt. In 2012 it had invested 97% of its funds in Spanish Govt debt. If Spain defaults it takes a massive hit on all the payments to pensioners, the poor and disabled.
There was rejoicing amongst economists, even amongst doomers like Nouriel Roubini, that the Philippines were upgraded by credit rating agencies to Investment grade status. Slowly but surely the world is growing and developing. Some people are becoming richer and absolute poverty is decreasing. Is that really that simple? Yes and no. A solid economy that is built on sound finances, yes; But one which is subject to price shocks from actions taken in another country, no.
The stimulus spending out of America (QE, Quantitative Easing) is reckoned to have pushed up prices around the world and in doing so driven up food prices which prompted the revolts of the Arab Spring. Here people felt the harsh effects of inflation, which destroyed the value of their savings.
Japan is determined to end its cycle of debt-deflation, it has had 20 years of poor to no growth and it has had enough. This is the cycle that Europe is entering. Therefore the Bank of Japan has a new round of QE that is an order of magnitude greater than before. The US spent $85bn a month, Japan will spend $200bn a month. Their target is to create growth and to achieve an inflation rate of 2% in an economy a 1/3 the size of the US. The possibility of unintended consequences and profound inflation for other countries around the world is high.
Actually understanding what is real or will be real into the future is becoming increasingly difficult as govts/banks/cultures are conducting increasing bold experiments in an effort to maintain living standards of the past. We are driving forward with lingering glances in the rear mirror. Anti-capitalists may not have to come up with a new narrative if capitalism dies under the weight of its own contradictions. Their dream of arriving at a pre-industrial post-feminist utopia will not occur due to someone inventing something which catapults society into a completely different direction.
Save or spend? Buy now or save for tomorrow? There's so many pros and cons. How can you decide? The good folks at econstories have this helpful video to help you make up your mind.