Monday, August 31, 2015

Quando anti-racistas usaram a bandeira confederada

When Anti-Racists Adopted the Confederate Battle Flag, por Jesse Walker:

This is my favorite picture of a Confederate flag:
Like "The South's Gonna Do It" mashed up with "Ebony and Ivory."

That was the emblem of the Southern Student Organizing Committee, a New Left group founded in 1964. At a time when the activists most likely to be waving a Confederate banner were affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, SSOC decided to adopt—and adapt—the battle flag for the other side of the civil rights struggle. The group did most of its organizing among southern whites, and it went out of its way to draw on regional iconography (...)

But not everyone in the movement thought the emblem was a good idea. "Explaining to their white counterparts that the battleflag had only one meaning to them," Michel writes, several "black activists stressed that no matter how SSOC altered the flag's image, African Americans forever would see it as a symbol of racial oppression." SSOC was predominantly white, but it wanted to become the biracial alliance implied by those clasped hands. And so it dropped both the emblem and the name New Rebel at the end of 1964. (...)

By that time, SSOC wasn't the only New Left group playing with Confederate signifiers. The Young Patriots were a Chicago-based organization made up mostly of working-class whites who had migrated to the city from the Appalachians; the Patriots joined the Black Panthers and the Young Lords (a Panther-like Puerto Rican group) in an partnership called the Rainbow Coalition. (This was unrelated to Jesse Jackson's outfit, which was launched much later.) "In a decade when symbolism mattered like never before, most Left groups chose their radical dress code—whether the dignified suits of civil rights leaders or the sleek leather jackets of the Panthers—to consciously send a message," Amy Sonnie and James Tracy write in Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power. "For better or worse, the Patriots adopted the Confederate flag as a symbol of southern poor people's revolt against the owning class."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

POUS falha primeira eleição?

O Expresso noticia que "Carmelinda [Pereira] pela primeira vez não vai a votos".

Na verdade já em 1991 não foram (se olharem para a coluna dos resultados de 1991, não encontram lá "POUS" - nem sequer "MUT", outro nome que o POUS usava ocasionalmente).

Porque é que eu sei (e me lembro d') isto? É que em 1991, com 18 anos, eu era um trotskista entusiasta e simpatizante do PSR; esta foi a primeira eleição (voltaria a acontecer em 1995) em que Francisco Louçã foi dado como eleito no principio do escrutínio, para horas depois a RTP, no fim da contagem dos votos, informar que afinal não o tinha sido. E lembro-me de nessa altura durante uns tempos ter achado que Louçã não tinha sido eleito por culpa da FER, que teria "roubado" votos aos PSR (que, com a estreita margem que ocorreu, teriam bastado para a eleição); ora, se o POUS tivesse concorrido, em principio eu não diria que a culpa tinha sido da FER, mas sim que teria sido da FER e do POUS, o que quer dizer que o POUS não tinha concorrido.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Subsídio implícito aos vendedores e fabricantes de armas

Martin Scorsese elimina armas reais cada vez que filma uma falsa

Gun Neutral é o nome da campanha criada por Carl McCrow para promover a redução de armas de fogo. O objetivo é que os cineastas que nela participem se comprometam destruir uma arma verdadeira por cada uma que apareça no seu filme.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Os limites à ascensão social (no Reino Unido)

Introducing the ‘class’ ceiling, por Sam Friedmane Sam Friedman:

There has long been a perception that Britain’s traditionally high-status occupations, such as law, medicine, and journalism, remain stubbornly elitist and research has continually shown that these occupations recruit disproportionately from the socially privileged and/or the privately educated.

Yet there is a danger of reducing social mobility to this one-dimensional issue of access. In particular it assumes that social mobility finishes at the point of occupational entry. But the reality is that while many working-class people may secure admission into elite occupations, they don’t necessarily go on to achieve the same levels of success as those from more privileged backgrounds. In a recent project, we have been investigating exactly this issue of social mobility within elite occupations.

In doing so, we have purposively borrowed the ‘glass ceiling’ concept developed by feminist scholars to explain the hidden barriers faced by women in the workplace. In a working paper recently published by LSE Sociology, we argue that it is also possible to identify a ‘class ceiling’ in Britain which is preventing the upwardly mobile from enjoying equivalent earnings to those from upper middle-class backgrounds. (...)

We are also able to look at individual elite occupations, where we find striking variations. At one end of the scale, engineering provides a notable exemplar of meritocracy, with negligible differences in pay regardless of social background. In contrast, our results reveal the arresting scale of disadvantage experienced by the children of the working classes in law, media, medicine and finance. The socially mobile (of any range) in finance have predicted earnings of £11,200 less per year than otherwise similar privileged colleagues, in media £9,440, law £8,830 and in medicine £5,050. This disadvantage also tends to increase the longer the range of mobility. In law, for example, the long-range upwardly mobile face a huge estimated annual pay gap of £19,700.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

James Corbyn e o "Quantitative Easing para o povo"

People's QE and Corbyn’s QE, por Simon Wren-Lewis:

Politicians can be adept at co-opting attractive sounding terms to their own cause, even when they distort their meaning while doing so. (...)

Is Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Peoples QE’ an example of the same thing? It is certainly true that the way that some macroeconomists, including myself, have used the term is different from Corbyn’s idea. For us Peoples QE is just another term for helicopter money. Helicopter money was a term first used by that well known radical Milton Friedman. It involves the central bank creating money, and distributing it directly to the people by some means. It is a sure fire way [1] for the central bank to boost demand: what economists sometimes call a money financed fiscal stimulus. (...)

The genesis of Corbyn’s QE seems rather different. Corbyn adviser Richard Murphy had previously suggested what he called a Green Infrastructure QE, which is that a “new [QE] programme should buy the new debt that will be issued in the form of bonds by the Green Investment Bank to fund sustainable energy, local authorities to pay for new houses, NHS trusts to build new hospitals and education authorities to build schools.” (...)

The main difference between helicopter money and Corbyn’s QE therefore seems to be where the money created by the central bank goes: to individuals in the form of a cheque from the central bank, or to financing investment projects. (...)

[However] suppose that a [National Investment Bank] is created, not on the back of QE but using more conventional forms of finance. (If the government wants to encourage it, just directly subsidise that finance with conventional borrowing. Don’t be put off doing so by deficit fetishism.) Suppose we also like the concept of helicopter money - not for now, but for the next time interest rates hit their lower bound and the central bank wants more stimulus. In those circumstances, it might well make sense for helicopter money to be used not only to send cheques to individuals, but also to bring forward investment financed by the NIB, or public sector investment financed directly by the state. If those investment projects could get off the ground quickly, and crucially would not have happened for some time otherwise, then what I have elsewhere described as ‘democratic helicopter money’ would make sense. [2] This is because investment that also boosts the supply side is likely to be a far more effective form of stimulus than cheques posted to individuals.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Um motivo para colonizar o espaço?

How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars, por Tim Urban (via Tyler Cowen):

Let’s imagine the Earth is a hard drive, and each species on Earth, including our own, is a Microsoft Excel document on the hard drive filled with trillions of rows of data. Using our shortened timescale, where 50 million years = one month, here’s what we know:

■Right now, it’s August of 2015
■The hard drive (i.e. the Earth) came into existence 7.5 years ago, in early 2008
■A year ago, in August of 2014, the hard drive was loaded up with Excel documents (i.e. the origin of animals). Since then, new Excel docs have been continually created and others have developed an error message and stopped opening (i.e gone extinct).
■Since August 2014, the hard drive has crashed five times—i.e. extinction events—in November 2014, in December 2014, in March 2015, April 2015, and July 2015. Each time the hard drive crashed, it rebooted a few hours later, but after rebooting, about 70% of the Excel docs were no longer there. Except the March 2015 crash, which erased 95% of the documents.
■Now it’s mid-August 2015, and the homo sapiens Excel doc was created about two hours ago.

Now—if you owned a hard drive with an extraordinarily important Excel doc on it, and you knew that the hard drive pretty reliably tended to crash every month or two, with the last crash happening five weeks ago—what’s the very obvious thing you’d do?

You’d copy the document onto a second hard drive.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Isto faz-me lembrar qualquer coisa

, por "Boz":

The Miami Herald has an interesting article on Ecuador’s dinero electronico, the government-backed official virtual currency to allow payments by cell phone. The currency is currently pegged to the US dollar, which is Ecuador's official currency.

As described in the article, there are two key risks. First, it is unclear if Ecuador's Central Bank will properly back the currency over the long term. Second, many people speculate that the government is attempting to create a parallel currency that would allow them to de-dollarize. If that is true, they are a long, long way from that goal (there is less than a million dollars of Ecuador's virtual currency in circulation), but that would change the day the government decides to pay its workers or its bills in virtual currency.

Friday, August 14, 2015

O projeto "ProSavana"

Camponeses do norte de Moçambique rejeitam ProSavana:

As populações que vivem ao longo da região onde deverá ser implementado o projeto agrícola ProSavana rejeitaram-no, alegando ser incompatível com a realidade das comunidades camponesas.

A versão zero do Plano Diretor para o Desenvolvimento Agrário do Corredor de Nacala, que esta semana foi apresentada e discutida num encontro entre o Governo e a Sociedade Cívil, trouxe informações divergentes.

As comunidades rurais e camponeses que estiveram presentes na apresentação do Plano diretor zero do ProSavana falaram da falta de clareza sobre os objetivos deste Projeto. Por exemplo, os camponeses do distrito de Malema e Monapo, que se localizam ao longo do Corredor de Nacala, referiram-se a alegada usurpação das suas terras.

Justina Wirriam disse que, o nome do ProSavana está a criar medo junto das comunidades na localidade de Mutuali, distrito de Malema e outros locais do Corredor de Nacala: "Em Mutuale estamos preocupados com o nome ProSavana. Ouvi dizer que as pessoas que foram falar no ProSavana são as mesmas que foram para Mutuale pela Agrimoz. E por causa da Agrimoz há famílias sem machambas e terras. E hoje também estou a ver as mesmas pessoas aqui."

[Isto é um artigo de maio, logo o "esta semana foi apresentada" deve ser interpretado em conformidade]

Thursday, August 13, 2015

O Estado Islâmico e o petróleo

Face à ideia de Donald Trump de que a solução para combater o Estado Islâmico era tirar-lhes o petróleo, tem sido notado que o EI não depende muito do petróleo - em 2014, as receitas do EI terão sido 600 milhões de dólares de "impostos"/extorsão, 500 milhões roubados aos bancos iraquianos e 100 milhões da venda de petróleo.

Mas a verdade é que durante meses a "sabedoria convencional", propagandeada pela comunicação social, foi realmente que a grande fonte de receitas do EI seria o petróleo (sempre me custou a acreditar, até porque, ao contrário dos diamantes africanos e da cocaina colombiana, o petróleo nem é um produto que seja fácil de transportar e vender clandestinamente).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Que impacto?

Esta notícia do Económico ("Desvalorização do yuan poderá ter impacto nas exportações portuguesas para a China") consegue, durante mais de metade do artigo, discutir sobre se a desvalorização do yuan vai ter impacto sobre as exportações portuguesas, sem dizer qual a natureza do impacto (claro que em principio uma desvalorização da moeda chinesa prejudica as exportações para a China - como é referido a partir do 5º parágrafo, mas só quase no fim o artigo refere isso).

Friday, August 07, 2015

Hayek contra o "free banking"

Hayek and Free Banking, por George Selgin:

I owe a heckuva lot to Friedrich Hayek.  Had it not been for him, I might never have heard of "free banking," (...)

It was two pamphlets that Hayek published in the 1970s — first, Choice in Currency (1976) and then Denationalisation of Money  (1978) — that caused the scales to fall off of my eyes and of those of  some other economists, thereby encouraging us to reconsider the merits of  private and competitive currency systems.  That reconsideration in turn led to a revival of interest in former free banking episodes, including those of Scotland and Canada, which monetary economists had previously neglected or overlooked. (...)

Yet Hayek himself was no free banker.  For starters, his own vision of "choice in currency" had little if anything in common with historical free banking arrangements.  In those arrangements, banks dealt in established, precious-metal monetary units,  like the British pound and the American dollar, receiving deposits of metallic money, or claims to such, and offering in place their own readily-redeemable liabilities, including circulating banknotes.  In Hayek's scheme, in contrast, competing firms issue irredeemable paper notes, with each brand representing a distinct monetary unit.  Far from resembling ordinary commercial banks, Hayek's "banks" resemble so many modern central banks in that they issue a sort of "fiat" money.  But they differ from actual central banks in enjoying neither monopoly privileges nor the power to compel anyone to accept their products. (...)
But Hayek didn't merely differ from free bankers in proposing a form of currency competition distinct from free banking.  He expressly opposed  free banking.  Asked, during a 1945 radio interview, whether he considered the Federal Reserve System a step along "the road to serfdom," he unhesitatingly replied, "No.  That the monetary system must be under central control has never, to my mind, been denied by any sensible person."And although by the 1970s he had come to believe it both possible and desirable to have a currency stock consisting of the irredeemable paper of numerous private firms, he also continued to maintain that, so long as government authorities supplied a nation's standard money, private firms should not be able to issue circulating paper claims denominated and redeemable in that money.
A oposição de Hayek ao "free banking" (isto é, a haver notas do Banco Português de Investimento e do Novo Banco a dizerem ambas "50 euros", podendo ser ambas trocadas aos balcões do banco respetivo por euros emitidos pelo BCE) será uma peculiaridade dele? Ou será simplesmente uma variante da oposição dos austríacos à reserva bancária fraccional? Ainda sobre este assunto, Why Didn't Hayek Favor Laissez Faire in Banking?[PDF], por Lawrence White.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Bernie Sanders e a "Segunda Emenda" (II)

Bernie Sanders' uneven but real support for gun rights has puzzled a lot of pundits, who tend to describe the socialist senator's position on the issue as "to Clinton's right" and who tend to figure it's just a byproduct of getting elected in a rural state where guns are everywhere. Both of these theses are undermined by this passage in Michael Tracey's new story for The New Republic:
The [Liberty Union] party, while Sanders served on its executive committee, adopted a platform in 1972 that called for the "abolition of all laws which interfere with the Constitutional right of citizens to bear arms." This may suggest that Sanders's relatively permissive views on gun ownership, already the subject of much consternation among liberals, could be rooted in sincere principle—not simply in the practical realities of winning election in rural Vermont.
Given the Liberty Union Party's penchant for taking self-marginalizing radical stances, I think it's safe to suppose this plank was not mere electoral expediency. But it fit snugly with the New Left's general tendency to be far friendlier to gun rights than center-left liberals were. (...)

I have to confess a certain fondness for the '70s incarnation of Bernie Sanders. (...) [T]he Old, Weird Bernie Sanders was much more libertarian on social issues than he is now, calling for the abolition of compulsory schooling, the legalization of hard drugs, and an end to "all laws which attempt to impose a particular brand of morality or 'right' on people." He even opposed mandatory flouridation and helmet laws. Of course he was also more prone than the current Sanders to call for enormous expansions of the government's economic power.