Month: July 2020

  • The network versus the hierarchy

    The network versus the hierarchy

    ‘IT IS EASIER to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.’ So wrote the critical theorist Frederic Jameson in New Left Review in 2003, attributing the sentiment to an unnamed ‘someone’ whom posterity, with nothing else to go on, has decided to call Frederic Jameson.

  • Two books in the ‘Grail Tradition’

    Two books in the ‘Grail Tradition’

    For well over a quarter of a century now the Holy Grail of centre-left politics has been to square the imperatives of enterprise and entrepreneurship with a greater degree of social cohesion, fairness and equality.

  • Collapsology


    In his most recent novel,The Second Sleep, Robert Harris imagines a future England in which life is lived according to the rhythms and mores of the pre-modern era. Technology is primitive, Christianity taken literally, and, notwithstanding a parrot or two (an effect, perhaps, of global warming), the landscape indistinguishable from that of medieval England.

  • Two books on memory

    Two books on memory

    If this year’s federal election proved one thing, other than the fact that polling firms are hilariously overpaid, it’s that social media is now an invaluable resource for journalists seeking a juicy story or political operatives looking to embarrass their opponents.

  • On Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future

    On Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future

    In his 2015 book, Postcapitalism, Paul Mason described the way in which information technologies are undermining market forces. Since information can be reproduced for close to ‘zero marginal cost’ its tendency is to collapse traditional price mechanisms and thus the ability of businesses to turn a profit without ‘rent seeking’ (i.e. through creating artificial scarcity).

  • Eagleton on Humour

    Eagleton on Humour

    Not long ago a new category appeared, temporarily, on the Netflix homepage, called something like ‘Politically Incorrect Comedy’. Whether this was meant as a warning or a promise, or a bit of both, is hard to say; but there’s no doubt it spoke to something in the culture: a self-consciousness in debates around women and…

  • Review of Huntley and Fagan

    Review of Huntley and Fagan

    Despite the efforts of pollsters and analysts to tell us how we’re going to vote, our general elections do retain an element of unpredictability, which is just as well, because the manner in which they’re conducted is as predictable as a Happy Meal.