Review (Guest): The Utopia of Rules – on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

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David Gaeber

A Fresh Take on Bureaucracy

By Peter Richardson on March 19, 2015

What intense pleasure this book gave me, despite the dull topic: bureaucracy. Anthropologist David Graeber is perhaps best known for Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011), which became required reading for the Occupy Wall Street movement. In that book, Graeber showed that the standard explanation for the origins of money, rehearsed in dozens of economics textbooks, was a fairy tale.

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Mar 23

Review (Guest): Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public

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Steven M. Drucker

A meticulously documented account of corporate influence overriding sound science at the U.S. FDA

By n brown on March 7, 2015

Author Steven Druker raises an interesting parallel between computer systems and genetic manipulation. While computer systems – especially those that are life-dependent and life-sustaining – are carefully tested and retested to make sure that no “glitch” or “bug” could cause catastrophic harm, alterations to the far more complex genetic code of plants are made without similar precautions. These novel plants are grown, harvested, and consumed with little or no independent testing.

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Mar 10

Review: On Marx

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EDIT: I have placed in bold the paragraph everyone is missing.

Alan Ryan

5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a Book, Author’s Synthesis is Priceless, March 6, 2015

I picked this up at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland (10 times bigger than Tattered Cover in Denver, both worth going out of your way to visit) and it is a GEM of a book in two ways: the author provides a summary overview of Marxism that is hugely beneficial to anyone looking for a sound critique of capitalism as we know it today; and the author has selected a few pieces by Marx to be read in the original.

Peter Linebaugh’s Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre) is what forced me to reconsider Marx’s critique of capitalism and I recommend that 2014 publication to anyone who wishes to think critically about capitalism today, with this book as a very fine follow-on.

QUOTE (64): “The modern republic attempts to impose political equality upon an economic inequality it has no way of alleviating.

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Mar 9

Review: Reform or Revolution and Other Writings

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Rosa Luxemburg

4.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, Some Valuable Provocative Original Thinking, March 6, 2015

I bought this book along with On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian (Liveright Classics) at Powell’s in Portland, one of the truly great bookstores in the USA along with the Tattered Cover in Denver (which is a tenth the size of Powell’s). I bought it largely because of its focus on the general strike versus the partial strike as a tactic that might or might not be possible depending on the country and where it is in its economic degeneration.

Although I received a very good education in political thought from Charles Bednar at Muhlenberg, I confess that it is only now at 63 that I have realized that most of what our government, media, think tanks, and even universities offer in the way of commentary on “political economy” is ideological crap — they do not do their homework, they really have no clue, and they get away with it because everyone else has no clue either.

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Mar 9