The dog days of summer saw a new development in what some are calling a new world-historical event, and not in a good way. It is the creation of Sidewalk Labs on the Toronto waterfront through an *innovative* (one hears this word a lot) and perhaps unholy alliance between the Alphabet subsidiary (Alphabet is both Google's and Sidewalk Labs' parent company) and an odd bird of municipal governance, Waterfront Toronto.
Citizens' Press sat down with five commentators to discuss the current Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The dialogue has been edited and presented here to help inform the broader discussion of Facebook on the left.
The fight against privatization is framed by liberals and the right-wing as a clear and unsubstantiated ideological position of the left. And, no matter how much research is presented exposing how privatization of state services and programs costs more and has no positive (but, in many cases negative) impacts on quality of services, the dominant narrative is privatization works. But, at this point, believing that privatization leads to increased efficiency and lower costs is akin to the denial of climate change and thinking vaccines cause Autism. Decades of real life examples, economic analysis, and trial and error policy show that there are so many ways that do not work when it comes to privatization. So, why do people still believe this nonsense?
For the republican Arab world, the past twelve years have been defined by foreign invasion, civil and proxy wars, revolution and counter-revolution. It has been devastating. However, it should be remembered that, within the republican Arab world, the twenty-first century began with the American backed crushing of the second Palestinian uprising (intifada).
There is something not quite right with the regulation of the financial-technology world. The focus of regulation since the financial crisis was on risk (even if these have since been rolled back). However, the main problem in the end might have not been the high risk, but that the negative consequences of high risk are not borne by those taking the risk.
Reading the news today is like living through a poorly written dystopian novel, but without any of the exciting grittiness that comes with a real apocalypse or the fun of Zombieland. And, the current contradictions make it difficult to focus on a topic to write about. We have economic growth with rising inequality. Right-wing populism without a populist left-wing response. The decline of social democratic parties, but with a rising acceptance of democratic socialist values. Increased access to knowledge, but less real understanding. Increased politicization, but no clear path to political power. It makes one's head spin.