#Promptbox: Melting

DSC_0200We have to go back to a few million years, when this world was hotter, so hot that there was no ice, anywhere, and no humans nor other animals, like us, a burning inferno…

But now, after only a few short decades, we have succeeded, to ruin our chances, to rob our children and grand children, and grand grand children, for centuries to come, of their life chances: poison in the oceans, in the rivers, filth on the land, more poison in the air…

But greed is good, and look how rich we are now, after all those revolutions: admire our cities, and the clever elites who live within – walled islands of wealth…

Satan laughs, quietly, in his corner, watching human stupidity, working hard, for him!

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Organic

Alive The term Organic may refer to an organism, or living entity, or to an organ. Wikipedia lists Organic references in: Chemistry (carbon-based chemistry, chemistry of carbon-based compounds), Agriculture and Farming (organic agriculture “conducted according to certain standards, especially the use of methods of fertilisation and pest control”, organic horticulture, organic food), Computing (organic computer built form neurones, computer systems with properties of self-configuration), Economics (organic growth “as opposed to mergers, acquisitions and take-overs”, flat structure businesses), Military (organic unit, “a permanent part of a larger unit that provides some specialised capability”), Law (organic or fundamental law), Music (several albums under that name, e.g. Freak Kitchen, 2005, and Joe Cocker, 1996) and a few others.

From Keywords: “Organic has a specific meaning in modern English, to refer to the processes or products of life, in human beings, animals or plants. It has also an important applied or metaphorical meaning, to indicate certain kinds of relationship and thence kinds of society…

The source of its common specific modern meaning is the major development of natural history and biology in C18, when it acquired a dominate reference to things living and growing.”

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Monopoly

James Christensen 1) Monopoly is a popular board game invented by Parker Brothers and made by the Hasbro toy and game company, dating back from the 30’s, although its origin goes back to 1900’.

2) According to Wikipedia, “a monopoly exists when a single person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity.”

From Williams: “Monopoly can be difficult because it has a common literal meaning but also a rather wider meaning which has been historically important. It came into English in C16 from monopolium (Latin), monopolion (Greek) (from monos: alone, single, and polein: sell). Two senses appear in the early English examples: (i) the exclusive possession of trade in some article, (ii) the exclusive privilege granted by license of selling some commodity…

… The modern phrase monopoly capitalism (describes) a phase of Capitalism in which the market (is) either (a) organised by cartels and the like or (b) dominated by increasingly large corporations. Either use can be criticised form the literal sense of monopoly, which would suggest that large corporations with or without formal cartels do not compete in selling: i.e., that there is only one seller.”

See also:

State Monopoly Capitalism

The Age of Monopoly-Finance Capital

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Liberal

Women's march on Versailles From Wiktionary: “adjective: either

Of or relating to the Liberal party, its membership, or its platform, policy, or viewpoint

Or

Generous, in great amount, a large proportion.

Noun: (politics) a member or supporter of a liberal party

UK (historically) Whig

In Raymond Williams: “Liberal has, at first sight, so clear a political meaning that some of its further associations are puzzling. Yet the political meaning is comparatively modern, and much of the interesting history of the word is earlier.

It began in a specific social distinction, to refer to a class of free men as distinct from others who were not free… In its use in liberal arts – ‘artis liberalis’ (1375) – it was predominantly a class term: the skills and pursuits appropriate, as we should now say, to men of independent means and assured social position, as distinct from other skills and pursuits appropriate to a lower class…

The most serious sense of the socialist use… is the accurate observation that liberalism is a doctrine based on individualist theories of man and society and is thus  in fundamental conflict not only with socialist but with most strictly social theories. The further observation, that liberalism is the highest form of thought  developed within bourgeois society and in terms of capitalism, is also relevant,  for when liberal is not being used as a loose swear-word, it is to this mixture of liberating and limiting ideas that it is intended to refer. Liberalism is then the doctrine of certain necessary kinds of freedom but also, and essentially, a doctrine of possessive individualism.”

See also article on Liberalism and Neoliberalism in Wikipedia.

To my US readers: this post has a definite British flavour, and I do acknowledge that the words liberal, liberalism, Whig etc. have a somewhat different notation in American history and language.

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Hegemony

Yalta summit, 1945 “Hegemony was probably taken directly into English from Greek, egemonia, (derived from) egemon – leader, ruler, often in the sense of a state other than his own. Its sense of political predominance, usually of one state over another, is not common before C19, but has since persisted and is now fairly common, together with hegemonic, to describe a policy expressing or aimed at political predominance. More recently hegemonism has been used to describe specifically  ‘great power’ or ’superpower’ politics, intended to dominate others, indeed hegemonism has some currency as an alternative to Imperialism.” (Keywords)

For a balanced view of the world-historical perspective, from Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System (Giovanni Arrighi & Beverly J. Silver): “Whereas domination rests primarily on coercion, the leadership that defines hegemony rests on the capacity of the dominate group to present itself, and be perceived, as the bearer of general interest.”

See also: Hidden Persuaders

#AtoZChallenge: April 28 – Y is for ¥

The Yen is Japan’s national currency. Its importance  in the world foreign exchange (Forex) markets reflect the size and dynamism of the Japanese economy. Japanese Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the measure of an industrial nation’s economic strength, is third worldwide, after the US and China.

Since the demise of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1973, the world’s currencies are floating, with the US Dollar (USD) succeeding so far in maintaining its position as primary reserve currency. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 that position is under increasing pressure, as the US stand accused by many of abusing their seignorage position, thus holding their creditors hostage to their ability to reduce the national debt through devaluation, and hence the downgrading of US Treasury bonds (the IOU’s held by the creditor countries, of which Japan, China, India and Saudi Arabia are leaders).

Among the world currencies the Yen, and, increasingly the Chinese Renminbi, dominate the Asian Forex markets.

The exchange rate between the US Dollar and the leading Asian currencies, Yen and Renminbi, are of crucial importance for the trade balance of those countries with America. There is a long history, since the onset of the “long downturn” in the 70’s, of a tug-of-war between the US  and leading exporting nations, Germany, Japan and now China, for which the US is the premium market.

World-class centres for Forex are located in Tokyo, Hong-Kong, Frankfurt, Chicago, New-York, Sydney and in the City of London (more exactly its extension of Canary Wharf). There the main Forex dealing institutions trade in Yen and hope soon to create Renminbi desks (so far restricted to Hong-Kong).