Saturday, 11 September 2010


Logorama is a 16 minute animation well worth watching. You can, and should, judge for yourself, and you may not like it depending on your political persuasion.  I just wanted to comment on the amount of effort which must have gone into this. And how utterly familiar yet alien - so many brands but without the intent to sell (except selling the creativity of the makers).

I've always felt the urge to resist advertising, especially after reading Commodify your dissent, which I lent to an ex-girlfriend from a long time ago - a Maori who designed underwear for Elle Fashion.  If anybody knows her - there can't be too many -  please ask her to post it back - I hate to lose a decent book.

 I'm a firm believer in the capitalist system as the least worst one we know of, and pay particular attention to the many unfair and creaky parts of it so love subversive acts like this.  Check out Adbusters too if you haven't come across it yet.

But the animation gives me moral permission to enjoy the logos of corporate America and the effort which went into their various designs.  Many billions of dollars probably went into the collective cost of those designs, and this artist has not only made a primary political statement, he's also made an unexpected artistic bond between his own high quality endeavours and those of the many ad men who created these appealing logos.

Given the world's hopefully now finding a litigation-free artistic space, can I suggest a project I've always wanted to do.  Take the Disney film Snow White and throw away the sound-track, to be replaced with a part- philosophical part-erotic dialogue between Snow White and the dwarves.

The hard work would be in scripting it to fit the images to perfection.  Any ideas for a title?

Capitalism 4.0 - Government: It's not how big it is, but what you can do with it that counts

I'm currently reading  Capitalism 4.0 by Anatole Kaletsky.  I've been enjoying it immensely, but I think I might have spotted a flaw in his reasoning.  What do you think?

It is in essence a history of recent Western politico-economic thought (version 1.0 as Adam Smith, 2.0 Keynes, 3.0 Friedman) together with some ideas about what the post-credit crunch future might bring (4.0).  The history part is fantastic - he presents a cogent macroeconomic story which is especially good on the 20th Century.

Also, his prognostications about the future also have a lot of merit.

However, he lays this all out with a kind of Hegelian thesis-antithesis-synthesis analysis.  And furthermore he makes a claim to justify many of his predictions based on the following logic.

Economics, he tells us, is really an adaptive system.  It is messy, pragmatic, experimental.  And so should our theories about it.  This justifies many of his 4.0 analysis and indeed it makes sense of his general criticism of the neoclassical / mathematical approaches within the 3.0 space.

I disagree with the 'should'.  I think it is a permutation of the is-ought problem is ought problem and is also a bit like Gilbert Ryle's category mistake.

Take other chaotic or adaptive systems.  These are usually modelled with mathematical precision or embodied in a running algorithm.  In neither case can you say the piece of mathematics is 'adaptive'.  You've no need or grounds for saying that.  The logistic map properties themselves don't have to be properties of the mathematics of the logistic map.

Given this disagreement, my question is: does it matter?  Under what circumstances does it matter in general, and when doesn't it?  It reminds me of those old exam papers where you had to identify the true primary statement from amongst a selection of statements.  Then you had to identify the true secondary statement from  another list, and finally  you had to work out statement A was true because statement B was true.

What do you think?

The Persistent Struggle

For me the persistent struggle is a struggle for quality in what we do.  I hope it'll cover a wide range of subjects and be of interest to some people out there.  It isn't a vanity project or self-aggrandising soapbox, though opinions will certainly be expressed.  Right now in my life, I have much less time for hanging around with interesting people and discussing ideas freely.  I hope this provides an outlet and that some of you might join me.