Philosophy Overdose published this short clip of Michel Foucault discussing power in an interview with André Berten from 1981.

In response to the protests of the gillets-jaunes the President Emmanuel Macron has started a “grand débat national” to discuss the grievances. In an opinion piece for AOC-media, Bruno Latour discusses how for the general public describing their problems may difficult however as we are between different visions for civilisation:

La situation créée par les « gilets jaunes » est une occasion rêvée pour rebondir politiquement : c’est en effet la première fois qu’il devient clair pour tout le monde qu’il existe un lien direct entre transition écologique et justice sociale. Inutile de continuer à opposer économie et écologie : il faut les conjoindre, tout en reconnaissant que c’est ouvrir la boite de Pandore. (…) La tension actuelle vient de ce que la société civile n’est pas plus capable que l’État de s’organiser vers ce nouveau régime comme on le voit par l’irréalisme des demandes. Il n’est donc pas facile de passer de la plainte à la doléance (terme entendu au sens ancien des Cahiers de doléance qui décrivaient des territoires en fonction des injustices commises et des moyens d’y remédier par une autre organisation de la fiscalité et du droit). La désorientation est donc générale, d’autant que ce qui reste des anciens partis continue à organiser la dispute selon l’ancien vecteur — identité nationale ou ethnique d’un côté, mondialisation et progrès de l’autre, sans oublier la révolution en costume d’époque enfin, si l’on voulait compléter le désespérant tableau de « l’offre politique ».

An interesting interview with Professor Mark Blyth on the “crisis of globalisation”. His view on commodification of our personal data seems a bit unsophisticated though: how would we actually be able to put a price on the use of our data, and wouldn’t this still leave all the power with the big companies to buy them off from us? But I agree that there is a general problem in governance.

[…] get people to individually license the use of their data to these firms. We auction off the digital spectrum to telephone companies. Why don’t we auction off our personal data? Basically give the data on a ten-year lease that’s revocable.

Another interesting point he made is about global international labour and its effect on wage inequality:

[…] labour’s ability to command its share of the surplus declines to zero. The strike becomes a meaningless weapon. Strikes decline to function—like to zero—in the western world. And you get prolonged wage stagnation, because essentially all the surplus goes to capital. There’s no reason for it not to. So labour’s ability to push up wages goes to zero.

Fifty year ago today the Prague Spring dream was crushed.

Discourse and politics

“There were those who thought the point of thinking was to interpret the world, those who thought it was to change it, and those who thought it was to be struck dumb with wonder at it. The one commitment the canon demanded of us was a commitment to engage in a conversation between different and often incommensurate perspectives. In the midst of the conversation, you still had to choose where you stood.

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The influence of Sociologists vs Economists

The New York Times blog Upshot asks: What if Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists?. If you read the news, the economy seems to be the most important way to estimate how healthy a country/society is. And a growing influence of economists on policy makers has made this possible by steering what governments look at: ”Once economists have the ears of people in Washington, they convince them that the only questions worth asking are the questions that economists are equipped to answer,” said Michèle Lamont, a Harvard sociologist and president of the American Sociological Association.

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