Sarah Jeong at The Verge writes about what she calls the ideology “information-nationalism.” According to her this ideology has two main assumptions:

  1. When your country acknowledges human rights abuses, you are made weak
  2. You can weaken rival nation-states by exposing their human rights abuses

And that information-nationalism “is not about mythologies or misinformation. When you play the game of information-nationalism, you don’t slander your enemies; you tell the truth about them, while hiding the truth about yourself.

In her article she gives a lot of examples of how this explains recent controversies in the relations US-China relations such as the forced sale of TikTok. Read her full article here.

Two new video’s I liked from Vox. Of course in their trademark style, but I gained interesting insights on some of the current events in the US:

Ian Bogost and Alexis C. Madrigal wrote a fantastic piece at The Atlantic, “How Facebook Works for Trump”. In this article they explain how the systems developed by Facebook to optimise advertising campaigns based on machine learning and with little human interaction are effectively exploited by the Trump campaign. They are very right in their conclusion that in this way Facebook systems are taking over some of the work of the campaign.

Noam Chomsky explaining how the work ordinary people do every day that form the base on any change in the world. Via Open culture

I am currently watching the second part of the documentary series “In Europa”. This series focuses on news stories that did not gain so much attention, but could perhaps be seen as a sign of what was to come. With this in mind I find these news articles about China expelling American journalists as an example of such a news story of history in the making.

This move seems to signify a striking change in international relations. Read the full articles:

The trolley problem though experiment of ethics in coronavirus times:

Christopher Nehring at Deutsche Welle writes about the surge in conspiracy theories and rumours that circulate during pandemics such as the current coronavirus:

These, and other conspiracy theories, however, rely on arguments that are never weighted in evidence. The conspiracies tend to emerge in the early stages of a pandemic — when little is known about a pathogen’s origin and spread.

The digital revolution, meanwhile, has amplified the dissemination of rumors and disinformation. Online posts are shared much quicker on social media and through messenger apps than any medical or health authority can refute them. The digital age has allowed conspiracy theories to go viral.

In an article by Standpoint Magazine Joseph Rachman uses insights from author Umberto Eco to understand the rise of new far right movements. I found the following quote interesting because it describes how the far right now also uses the “Semiological Guerrilla Warfare” tactics that Eco proposed.

Today’s far Right is also counter-cultural, setting itself against existing institutions, seeing the media, universities, courts and parliaments as lost causes or compromised. Far-Right supporters form networks on social media where news is reinterpreted into evidence of the conspiracy they ‘know’ exists. They also show impressive sensitivity to the media’s weaknesses. When the far Right claim, semi-ironically, common symbols such as the OK sign and the Facebook “trash dove” as their own, they garner media attention and force liberals to worry about previously innocuous signs.

Read the full article here.

Listened to two great podcasts from the BCC series “In Our Time” related to political economic theory from the late 18th century:

Both episodes are interesting to understand the historical context and moral elements in their theories. Crudely summarised I would say that both of their theories are dealing with the abrupt transformation of economies during the Industrial Revolution. And both authors bringing their moral philosophy of what should be done in that tumultuous time.

Fisnished watching a documentary from DW Documentary, “The Big Bang that created today’s world”. The two part documentary gives an overview of important events in 1989 that still shape our world today. See the video part 1 and part 2 on Youtube.

1979 was a year that still shapes our world even today. That was when three fundamental forces - the collapse of communism, neoliberalism, and politicized and radicalized religion, fused into a single potent force.