At the Ends of the World: The War for the Whole has Begun

It is oft said that we are in a period of unparalleled disorder. But the world is remarkably resilient to external pressures, including radical changes to the Earth’s climate wrought by our species’ burning of the dead remnants of ancient sea creatures. The planet is simmering under this man-made frying pan, ready to be cast … Continue reading At the Ends of the World: The War for the Whole has Begun

‘Treasure Planet’ and how trade causes war

The 2002 film ‘Treasure Planet’ opens with a portrayal of merchant ships carrying crates of gold, until they were sabotaged by pirates. The rest of the movie depicts the conflict over said gold. The hero graduates from his family’s bed and breakfast to a quest for a greater prize of trade: the excesses of commercial … Continue reading ‘Treasure Planet’ and how trade causes war

A world in crisis: The revenge of the 1920s, the rise of China, and the tragedy of the Titanic

In the new year of 1912, few would have thought that, within a few months, an Olympic-class ocean liner would be sunk by an iceberg, killing over half of its passengers. Even fewer would have thought that, within three years, the European great powers would descend into the largest military conflict the world had ever … Continue reading A world in crisis: The revenge of the 1920s, the rise of China, and the tragedy of the Titanic

Everything ends: Explaining the modern world

It’s fashionable to explain today’s world through two prisms: modern politics and modern economics—or the modern state and capitalism. Even the words sound slightly intimidating. So instead of defining them from a dictionary, I would like to give a historical account of how these pillars of the modern world evolved. Meet Niccolò Machiavelli, an early … Continue reading Everything ends: Explaining the modern world

The realist school: An emerging paradigm

Sometimes, intellectual thought undergoes a rupture that cannot be stopped. It does not matter how much you resist the conceptual tsunami, or how far you run. It will tear down what you know, and force any remaining ideas to cluster around the victorious Noah’s ark of the God-given intellectual inundation. ‘Après moi, le deluge’, said … Continue reading The realist school: An emerging paradigm

The rise and fall of the private state

There are three characters in our play of politics: Capital (or the economy), Commonwealth (or the polity), and Culture (or the society). Hobbes’s Leviathan: free from privatisation? To privatise a state (Hobbes’s ‘commonwealth’), capital either: Weakens commonwealth, allowing culture to dominate (indirect privatisation); orStrengthens itself to such a degree that capital can dominate (direct privatisation). … Continue reading The rise and fall of the private state

The fork in the path: The stakes of the UK general election tomorrow

Tomorrow, something important's happening. Though it has become a cliché, clichés are sometimes true, and this one is: tomorrow's general election will define the UK's future. Here's why. The NHS: At risk of privatisation (Creative Commons) If Boris's Conservatives win a majority--even if Boris himself loses his seat--the Conservatives will go through with their manifesto … Continue reading The fork in the path: The stakes of the UK general election tomorrow