In the shadows of the global financial crisis of the early 21st century, another revolution is gathering pace, whose repercussions reach far beyond the current correctable economic buckling. It impact on the world will compare with Gutenberg’s. And with it, the era of the printed book will come to a close. Dissolved digitally like sound and image beforehand, limitlessly copyable, globally downloadable by the million with the click of a mouse, the book is entering the world of multimedia like its disembodied cousins from film, photography and music. This is the disintegration of the oldest serially produced data carrier in terms of form and content.

This essay describes the workings – and indeed, the work force – of a variety of capitalism that has spread outwards from its Anglo-American core to reshape the entire planet. At the centre of contemporary capitalism is a set of financial instruments called derivatives, and a group of people called traders. The text draws links between their highly abstract formulas and the aesthetics of lived experience. It begins not with the azurean blue, but with the curve of a dark horizon.

Rising energy costs and the eco-social consequences of climate change are causing anxieties about the future to increase, while trust in the ability of political elites to solve these problems is evaporating. Reaching eco-political targets calls for more participation of citizens as active architects of their society, write Claus Leggewie and Harald Welzer.

“[W]hat they sell us as realpolitik these days is a complete illusion, because it doesn’t address any the problems of the future – climate change, dwindling resources, mounting water and food deficits, the escalating global conflict potential, the exploitation of our children’s future. If you look at it this way, it’s the realpoliticians who seem who have a fondness for crises. Crises also provide an excellent opportunity to score points for tireless crisis management. This is good for distracting from the fact that there is nothing on the political agenda.”

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Important review of a VERY important book. “[W]hat is the message of This Time Is Different? In a nutshell, it is that too much debt is always dangerous…. Yet people—both investors and policymakers—tend to rationalize away these dangers. After any prolonged period of financial calm, they either forget history or invent reasons to believe that historical experience is irrelevant…. There were superficial differences between debt now and debt three generations ago: more elaborate financial instruments, seemingly more sophisticated techniques of assessment, an apparent wider spreading of risks (which turned out to have been an illusion). So financial executives, policymakers, and many economists convinced themselves that the old rules didn’t apply…. Encouraged by these rationalizations, people run up ever more debt—and in so doing set the stage for eventual crisis.”

Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done. In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.

The problem of oversharing in the age of the Internet of Things….

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