Posts Tagged ‘Paul Mason’

Yanis Varoufakis discussing Adults in the Room

May 1, 2017

Yanis Varoufakis and Paul Mason in conversation at Union Chapel to discuss Adults in the Room, an account of the European Deep State.

Larry Summers asked Yanis Varoufakis, are you in the inside or the outside?

In other words, are you one of us?

Christine Lagarde, after hours of fighting with Yanis Varoufakis, relaxing afterwards, admitted, he was right, and what was was being done to Greece was wrong, but it had to be done to satisfy the political establishment.

In discussion with US Treasury, they admitted, what was being done by the EU to destroy Greece, they were not happy with, but Greece was Germany’s sphere of influence, and they could not interfere.

Yanis Varoufakis was then  warned, be aware, in a week, a smear campaign will be launched against you by the EU.

One week later, that was what happened, a smear campaign was run. Lazy journalists, with ties to the Deep State, were briefed, they print their lies, and the rest  of the media regurgitates. Lies become facts.

If Yanis Varoufakis attempts to correct the lies, it is then reported as Yanis Varoufakis denies he said. That was never said, not reported.

Until that is he was interviewed by the New York Times, and said it was all a  pack of lies. Who should we believe, it is your word against theirs? Ah, yes, I recorded the meetings.

Not all journalists are of the calibre or integrity of Paul Mason.

Greece was neither here nor there. Greece had to be destroyed to serve as a warning to others.

We are seeing the same with Brexit. UK cannot be seen as being better off outside the EU. It must be punished to serve as a warning to others. That this will destroy Europe is seen as irrelevant.

Yanis Varoufakis set up the Untouchables, a secret task force to deal with Oligarchs and tax dodgers. They obtained records from the banks to show where the money was flowing, then compared with tax receipts. They then offered an amnesty, declare and we will tax you at 15%, we are letting you off lightly, fail to declare and we will bring criminal prosecutions, and by the way, we know who you are.

This programme, which would have brought in billions of euros, was scrapped by the Troika.

The Troika was supported by the Oligarchs, the Troika in turn supported the Oligarchs.

When Greece held its referendum, the media campaigned against No to the Troika. The media owned by the Oligarchs. The Greeks showed courage, they voted No, even though they knew there would be a price to pay. They were betrayed by Greek politicians.

A condition of the next bailout, was to scrap the programme to claw back the tax that had been dodged.

Know who is your enemy, the enemy within. In Labour, those who sabotage the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

In Brighton, it is insanity for Labour to oppose Caroline Lucas.

Everyone urged to join DiEM25 to form progressive alliances across Europe.

We have to transfer power back to nation states, back to town halls, back to people, at the same time, network and cooperate.

When Greece needed help and support, they were betrayed by politicians across Europe, politicians who pretend to be progressive.

When someone says they want to be a politician, want power, they are the people not to vote for.

Paul Mason discussing PostCapitalism

December 20, 2016

Что будет после капитализма?  — Paul Mason

What will come after capitalism? — Paul Mason

The ideal machine is one that costs nothing and lasts forever. — Karl Marx

Capitalism is an adaptive system, 50 year cycles, technological innovation commencing the next cycle.

How can we today, have technological innovation and no growth? Due to the unique behaviour of information and information goods.

With information goods, we should have abundance, instead we have artificial scarcity.

Since late 1970s, wages in US have flat-lined. Post-WWII, productivity and wages increased in step. Post-1980s they have diverged, productivity has increased, wages have not. A transfer of wealth from wage earners to owners of capital.

Who is to buy the output of increased productivity? If wages do not rise, it is financed by growing debt.

$57 trillion added to global debt since collapse of Lehman Brothers.

When the dotcom com bubble burst in 2001 global debt was 200% of GDP. Debt is now 300% of GDP.

If there is an over supply of something, its price falls. Cost of money has fallen. Interest rates have fallen. 12 trillion dollars of money worldwide now attracts negative interest rate.

When we speak of free money, we mean the money is free, ie no interest paid.

Classic Marxism, cost is the sum of land, money and labour. We now have  a fourth factor, information.

Information freely flows, information products can be reproduced infinitely at near zero cost, information does not wear out.

Information cost nothing to reproduce, does not wear out. A digital book does not wear out when I read it, I can run off copies for my friends. The same applies to digital music. It does not wear out no matter how many times I listen, I can run off many copies to my friends, I can share via the internet.

Feel free to listen to The Way of the Bow, share with your friends, download.

Information naturally flows, all that stops it flowing is Draconian intellectual property legalisation. This is not a freely functioning market, this is near monopolies using the law to control the market.

As we saw with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Draconian control ultimately fails.

Free flow of information encourages innovation.

With information products, the price tends to zero.

99p a song on iTunes. On Spotify a pittance.

Would have to sell 1500 songs on iTunes to earn minimum wage. On Spotify 1.2 million plays.

How then do we reward the creator?

On leanpub and bandcamp, artists set a minimum price. Those who choose to pay for a download, can pay more.

It is not only information goods where the price is falling to zero, also physical goods with a  high information contents. Or it would if we had a functioning market.

It is only monopolies or near monopolies, bought and paid for naked political power, that maintains the price.

Contrast the price of high performance smart phones, One Plus One, One Plus Two, One Plus Three, One Plus 3T, with equivalent phones from Samsung or Apple.

Nearly half of all jobs will be replaced by robots and automation. Many of the remaining jobs, low paid, temporary, zero hours.

We have the creation of what David Graeber calls bullshit jobs. Half a dozen immigants with dirty rags and a bucket of water replace an automatic car wash.

Peter Thiel represents all that is wrong with Silicon Valley. Serfs working for apps, transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.  No surprise he backs Donald Trump and is on his advisory panel.

Donald Trump has well documented links with the gangster capitalism Vladimir Putin heads.

When government shrinks, social spending cut, what rises is spending on surveillance, from which Silicon Valley will benefit.

Peter Thiel is reminiscent of the German industrialists who backed Adolf Hitler.

Capitalism ended in 2008. It has lost its ability to adapt.

A banking crisis led to an economic crisis, to a social crisis and now a global geo-political crisis.

TTIP is dead, CETA and TPP in final death throws.

The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. In 2017 we are likely to see the collapse of the EU. Brexit is now a side show. Italy is poised to hold a referendum on leaving the EU.

In Greece it was thought there may be a coup by the military. Democracy was destroyed by the EU.

Across the world there is now a grass roots reaction to neo-liberalism, which has led to a fall in living standards, transfer of wealth from poor to the rich, environmental destruction, global warming.

It is on the fringes we see collapse of Empire.

Blockadia represents the front line, often resembling a  war zone.

What are we do to do as capitalism collapses?

A  neo-Feudal system, oligarchs, politicians like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the rest of society reduced to serfs?

Or a cooperative system, contribution to the sharing and collaborative commons?

Paul Mason discussing Postcapitalism at De Balie

October 27, 2016
Paul Mason Postcapitalism discussion at De Balie

Paul Mason Postcapitalism discussion at De Balie

Capitalism ended in 2008. We are now in a post-capitalist world, a period of transition.

We have to decide what do we want.

Do we want a world of serfs working for apps, Uber, task rabbit, Deliveroo, atomised workers bidding against each other to drive wages below the minimum wage, of zero hours, bullshit jobs, of workers standing in the market place, the literal job market, hoping to be offered a job.

When a  worker offers his labour,  it is a perishable good, if not sold today, it cannot be sold tomorrow.

Or we can have a world of open source, peer-to-peer. sharing, collaborative commons, open coops.

The people who produce the wealth, are not sharing that wealth. In the US, wages have flat-lined since the 1970s. The wealth generated by a steady increase in productivity is flowing upwards to the one percent.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, that is how it has mange to survive.

Technological innovation, the railways, the steam engine, computers, the jet engine, lead to new periods of growth, 50 year Kondratieff cycles.

Since 2008, we have seen no new technological innovation, no growth.

In the past what spurred technological innovation and investment, was the high cost of wages. Now that wages are being kept low, there is no impetus to innovate. Robots could do many of the bullshit jobs, the only reason they do not, is because the cost of labour is so low.

Information flows freely, the price of information goods tends to zero. To counter this capitalism has monopolies, Draconian copyright and intellectual property legislation.

It is a natural human condition to wish to cooperate, to share. Could you pass me the hammer please? We do not demand a price. We show someone the way in the street. We do not expect anything in return, either now or in the future.

If you impose an artificial structure on how people relate to each other, it will eventually collapse.

Neoliberalism and globalisation are not writ in stone.

With Brexit, we are seeing the breakup of the European Union.

Wallonia, a small region in Belgium, said no to Ceta. Although it looks like they have now buckled under pressure from the EU dictatorship.

Quantitative Easing has failed. It lined the pockets of the rich, inflated stocks and shares and the bonuses of bankers and led to a property bubble.

Why are we buying the debt of VW, why are we bailing out the banks?

Use the money to buy up every student debt across Europe, invest in Green Infrastructure, but not in HS2, Hinckley Point C and airport expansion.

EU has turned southern Europe into a wasteland. Youth unemployment is running at 50%, in Greece 60%, poverty levels are rising.

We need to promote open source business models, the sharing economy, collaborative commons, a basic income, open coops. If this sector grows, people have less requirement to work for a living.

Education could be free. If it is free to the age of 16, why not beyond?

We have to seize control of local Town Halls, implement participatory democracy, but this does not go far enough,we have to have to have participation in all areas of the city, the transport system run as an open coop, then network these cities across Europe.

Look to Barcelona and Catalonia.

If we can design an iPhone, why can we not design a better society?

Innovation does not mean an iPhone without a headphone socket. Innovation is The Hive in Dalston, putting an empty building to community use, giving people a function in their community.

Yes, we can introduce touchscreens in McDonald’s, eliminate bullshit jobs, but is it not better to eliminate McDonald’s?

Do Not Buy The Sun

October 20, 2016
John McDonnell Do Not Buy The Sun

John McDonnell Do Not Buy The Sun

Brilliant comment by John McDonnell.

The Sun is not a newspaper, it is a vile rag.

It does not employ journalists, it employs hacks.

It is part of the Evil Murdoch Empire.

In the past The Sun has smeared Charlotte Church and Russell Brand.

Recently The Sun launched an attack on Paul Mason, who unlike the low life scum who wallow in the gutter at The Sun is a reputable journalist.

If you read The Sun, it is like raising a flag you are a complete moron.

Take direct action against The Sun. When you see it in the bins at a  supermarket or W H Smith, turn the top copies back to front and upside down, then pile other papers on top.

 

 

Party Animals

July 13, 2016

Written by Paul Mason and James Quinn, directed by  James Quinn, Party Animals is a brilliant political satire on the Blairites and coup plotters within the Labour Party.

Sound quality is a bit iffy, listen on headphones.

EU democracy-free zone

May 19, 2016
The reason I want to leave Europe is because it is impossble for the EU to be a democracy. -- Paul Mason

The reason I want to leave Europe is because it is impossble for the EU to be a democracy. — Paul Mason

The reason I want to leave Europe is because it is impossble for the EU to be a democracy. — Paul Mason

I assume Paul Mason meant leave EU, but otherwise, yes, it is as simple as that.

EU is not a democracy, it was never intended to be a democracy, it was not designed to be a democracy. It is a democracy-free zone.

When those say we have a pooling of sovereignty they are talking nonsense.

A pooling of sovereignty is when countries cooperate for a  common aim, for example a shared defence policy, an example of which we have with Nato.

Countries did not pool sovereignty, they handed sovereignty over to the EU dictatorship.

When in Greece in January last year, Greece elected a new government, they were told by the EU that democracy did not count. For daring to challenge the EU, Greece was destroyed to set an example to other countries.

EU was established as  a cartel for Big Business.

EU is pushing in secret TTIP which will remove even the fig leaf of democratic accountability, handing conrol to global corporations.

In how many countries were the citizens granted a referendum to ask if they wished to join the EU?  Few, if any.

The EU is on the point of breaking up.

When UK leaves, it will collapse.

In Czech Republic, they  watching closely, and will demand a referendum to leave.

Other countries will follow.

Let us replace the EU, with cooperating European countries.

And please do not confuse EU with Europe.

Future of Steel – Ken Clarke & Paul Mason

March 31, 2016
steel - Jeremy Corbyn

steel – Jeremy Corbyn

This week’s crisis in Port Talbot and elsewhere has not come out of the blue – Britain’s steel industry has been in trouble for a long time now. Yet the government appears to have been asleep on the job. — Caroline Lucas MP

The ministry that should have an industrial policy is run by a man who, when the space between his ears registers a thought at all, believes there should not be an industrial policy. — Paul Mason

Ken Clarke and Paul Mason on BBC Newsnight discussing the future of steel in the UK.

Ken Clarke knows all about the steel industry, he once drove past the steel works at Port Talbot.

Why does the BBC insist on wheeling out has been politicians who have not got a clue what they are talking about?

Sajid Javid another useless Tory idiot.

We have an old plant in Wales.  It cannot compete on the world market with modern steel plants.

If this was a short term problem, then yes, nationalise.

But the problem is we do not know.

A rescue plan was drawn up then rejected.

This should be published.

Steel is an old industry.

It is energy consuming.

It is resource intensive.

We should be moving forward to new industries.

What this illustrates is tha we have to move away from large plants, that if they close, they have a devastating impact on local communities.

If this was several companies, with the same total job losses, no one would act.

We bailed out the banks. That is not an argument for bailing out steel, it is an argument for not bailing out the banks.

Steel generates wealth, it adds value. Banks are parasites that bleed money from businesses. Banks do not create wealth. Making things creates wealth.

Is steel a strategic industry?

US makes steel. US does not have problem with steel from China. Why does UK, why does EU? US introduced tariffs. UK government blocked EU tariffs.

Five minutes with … Paul Mason

January 14, 2016
follow your dreams

follow your dreams

An interesting five minutes with Paul Mason courtesy of RSA.

Marxist theory of value: labour plus materials plus capital. We now have a fourth factor, information.

Information flows freely, all that prevents this flow is repressive intellectual property rights and the Copyright Mafia.

Networks of people are information networks.

We fail to take a holistic approach to life, we do what society expects, not what we really wish to do. We fail to follow our dreams, then spend the rest of our lives regretting it

A Basic Income would go some way to provide people with basic needs, and freeing them to do what they really wish to do, not forced to work to earn a living.

Paris Commune, people running their own affairs, an anathema to the state.

We  must reinvent the Paris Commune, launch Flatpack Democracy revolutions, seize control of local Town Halls, then network.

Paul Mason is a rarity, a journalist of integrity, who knows what he is talking about, who is not part of the media-political establishment. Economics editor of Channel 4 News. His book PostCapitalism is a must read.

#ThisIsACoup Yanis Varoufakis in conservation with Paul Mason

December 24, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis in conservation with Paul Mason discussing the 20 February 2015 agreement with the EU. Bad as it was, it was not as bad as it could have been, as Yanis Varoufakis managed to obtain agreement on changing the worst aspects that had previously been imposed on Greece.

Additional film footage for the Paul Mason documentary #ThisIsACoup.

I was in contact with a Greek friend on the eve of the referendum. She was in two minds of how to vote. She had last her job a year ago, after much effort she had found two temporary jobs. She had voted for Syriza in January. She had lost one of her two jobs, had not been paid for the other. She was in despair.

After the No vote, rejecting EU austerity, I thought she would be happy. No, they will punish us.

My friend, as with many Greeks, showed great courage in voting Oxi. To only then be betrayed by  Alexis Tsipras and Syriza when they signed a surrender document.

Talking to Greeks in Athens in October, where there was hope in January, now there is despair. They have lost all confidence in politicians.

The exception is Yanis Varoufakis. He commands a great deal of respect. My Greek friends working in a coffee shop in Cyprus (there being no work in Greece) refer to him as their hero.

The way forward is for Greek people to resist, they cannot rely upon elected politicians, to establish alternative sharing economies, alternative currencies.

PostCapitalism: Envisaging a Shared Future

November 3, 2015
St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

Paul Mason signing PostCapitalism

Paul Mason signing PostCapitalism

Paul Mason discussing PostCapitalism, the conclusions of a shared economy not the analysis, at St Paul’s in the City of London, under the auspices of St Paul’s Institute.

St Paul’s within the heart of the City of London. Does capitalism have a heart?

A couple of years ago, Occupy were camped outside offering a different narrative.

Capitalism is a complex system. Every complex system adapts to its environment, and in doing so, modifies its environment. There comes though a point when it can no longer adapt, it breaks downs, flips to another state, dies and its niche occupied by another complex system.

Below St Paul’s, lies a Roman Temple dedicated to Diana. St Paul’s is built on the site of a medieval cathedral.

The Roman Temple was built by military occupiers, probably using slave labour. The medieval cathedral by a feudal system. Wren’s St Paul’s built by mercantile capital.

Capitalism is not set in stone, though the City of London would have us believe so. Mercantile capitalism was followed by industrial capitalism, now we have financial capitalism.

Capital used to finance innovation, invest in productive systems, this generated wealth, from which we all benefited. Now we have financial capitalism, money is invested to create money, silly money chases silly projects like Uber and AirBnB.

Post-WWII we had growth through the 1950s and 1960s. It came to an abrupt end in 1973.

We are seeing boom and bust, bubbles, but no real growth. Crisis follows crisis. We are not seeing innovation.

Marxist Theory of Value, land, capital and labour, determines price. We now have a fourth factor, knowledge, intellectual property.

We have global monopolies, the like of which we have never seen. Companies like Apple. It costs 99 cents to download a track, because that is what Apple says it will cost. It is not determined by the market. Same applies to an iPhone. Apple uses its monopoly position to determine the price.

But this is not sustainable. Knowledge is free, it can be freely reproduced.

Check out FairPhone, or One Plus One or One Plus Two. Contrast with the latest offering from Apple or Samsung.

The price of stuff is tending to zero. Price is a signal on which the market functions. If the price is zero, the market can not function.

We need to move to open co-ops, a sharing, collaborative, gift economy, where we all contribute to the global commons, and draw upon the global commons.

Linux was created by collaborative effort, as was Apache. The internet runs on Linux and Apache, on Open Source Software, the world’s supercomputers run on Linux.

We can achieve more through collaboration, sharing, cooperating. Hierarchical systems are not efficient cannot easily adapt, networked systems are efficient, can rapidly adapt.

The share of wages of the global economy is declining. It is being driven by credit, confected money. If workers lack money in their pocket to spend, we are heading to crunch time.

Many jobs are robotic in nature can and should be replaced by robots. Freeing people to pursue more productive lives. This would necessitate a Basic Wage, sufficient to live on.

Agora is a bar in a quiet plaza in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. It is difficult to sit on ones own, people draw one into their conservations. These are externalities, which makes Agora an interesting place to be. Agora benefits because sells more drinks. Contrast this with facebook, we all contribute, we are the product, we produce the content,  facebook then profits, it captures and privatises the externalities.

Ann Pettifor gave a synopsis of PostCapitalism, but in her criticism, showed she had read but not understood. She confused Uber and AirBnB with the sharing economy. A common mistake.

Uber is a cowboy, unregulated taxi operation which offers unfair competition to legitimate taxi operators. The drivers take all the risks, Uber creams off the profits, and pays no tax.

Uber is often used as an example for what is referred to as the sharing economy, but in reality, and and there are many other examples, we have surfs working for apps.

Ann Pettifor is correct to raise her grave concern at this rapidly growing sector of the economy, but should not confuse it with the sharing gift economy, collaborative commons.

Phillip Blond seemed to have completely lost the plot. He talked of morality, bringing justice and fair play into the world. He did not understand the concept of artificial scarcity, monopoly, which forces up the price of what should be freely available. He talked of expensive art. His point though that all could be producers, was relevant. In the sharing, collaborative commons, we all have the opportunity to become producers and consumers, often making our own unique contribution.

Elizabeth Oldfield chaired the meeting. One of her rare interjections was to ask Ann Pettifor the meaning of rentier economy. Earning money from money, not from hard graft, getting your hands dirty, not from labour or the land.

Why is your book not free?

A good question. When we create, we draw upon what went before. Working for the Channel 4 and before that the BBC, public money has paid for the work.

We could also ask, why Penguin, why a big corporate publisher? Why not Zed Books, a small publisher, a co-operative, is that not more in keeping with the ideals of PostCapitalism? The Global Minotour is published by Zed Books, as is Change Everything. Or why not publish Unbound Books, which crowd funds books? It could be argued exposure, Penguin gets books on the shelves. But does not a book like PostCapitalism spread by word of mouth?

A hardback, a real book, real costs, paper, trees, shipping, warehousing, shelving, booksellers. With an e-book, the costs are zero. The costs of the servers written off years ago. Robots convert to appropriate download formats. Any publisher that charges more than a pound is blatantly ripping people off.

hardback

  • Foyles — £16-99
  • Guardian Live — £15-00
  • Penguin — £14-00
  • Amazon — £11-89

e-book

  • Kindle — £9-99
  • Kobo — £9-99
  • Google Play — £9-99

A couple of years ago, Paulo Coelho offered his entire back catalogue at 99 cents an e-book, a book for the price of a song. Downloads shot up by several thousand percent.

Jeremy Rifkin received a lot of stick for the high price for the e-book of The Zero Marginal Cost Society, a book the entire thesis the collaborative economy and the cost of stuff tending to zero.

Contrast with Sacred Economics, available for free download, pay what you wish, accept it as a gift from the author. What will you gift in return?

Or Europe after the Minotaur, an update of The Global Minotaur, available as a free download.

Phillip Blond spoke of friendship.

In the sharing economy, everything has a story, a social interaction involved. Not an anonymous purchase in exchange for cash.

I gave a friend a special 25th anniversary limited edition of The Alchemist. I have never before seen someone jump for joy. She did, when she looked inside and saw it was signed, not only signed but signed to her. She could not contain her joy, she ran across the road to tell her mother.

Would she have had the same joy had she bought a copy for cash? Yes, she would have had the pleasure of reading but one copy would be no different to another, replaceable if you have the cash.

If I go away, I do not load a Kobo Reader (far better than Kindle), I take real books. When I have read, I give them away.

I have bought four copies of PostCapitalism. I gave my orignal copy away to my friend. Ten days ago, on my way to Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with Paul Mason, I bought a copy of PostCapitalism to replace the one I had given away. At the venue I bought a copy, then a second copy, of The Global Minotaur. Sadly I did not get them signed. This evening, I brought along my copy of PostCapitalism, and bought two more. One signed for me, two to be given away as gifts.

Having bought four copies, should I not be entitled to free e-books?

Every book should have a unique code, use it to download the e-book. You have already paid for the book, the only difference is the format within which you read the book.

If I give my work away free, should others profit from my work?

Michel Bauwens, founder of P2P Foundation and leading advocate of the sharing economy, has suggested a new type of  licencing agreement. Contribute to the commons, from which all can freely draw, but if for-profit draw then they pay a contribution.

Those not familiar with the sharing, collaborative economy, are dismissive, think it will not work, they often give music as an example, people will not pay they will abuse the system.

Bandcamp shows they are wrong. Musicians will release their work, often at low price with people opting to pay what they think it is worth. Fans will willingly pay more than the asking price.

Sita Sings the Blues was released without the usual copyright restrictions. People can show, they are trusted to pay the producer.

In the spirit of the gift economy, tickets were free. Less than one hundred tickets still available the day before. On the night, not a single ticket left, 2,500 people. What will be their contribution to the gift economy, having accepted a gift? Mine, you have just read.

An ideal follow up meeting would be Paul Mason in conversation with Michel Bauwens discussing the sharing, collaborative economy.

Paul Mason is author of PostCapitalism and economics editor of Channel 4 news.