Tag Archives | Money

Do You Have Change for a Bowie? The Advent of Artisanal Cash

Here’s a great retro trend that might actually be more than just a hipster fad: artisanal cash. The New York Times reports on the very cool bank notes emanating from the UK:

LONDON — Though paper money here typically bears the visage of Queen Elizabeth, the Brixton district of the city last month released a new 5-pound note designed by Jeremy Deller, an artist who won the prestigious Turner Prize in 2004. It features a fuzzy, psychedelic image of an androgynous face surrounded by rainbow clouds and coruscating, swirling etchings.

bowie

In England, a £10 note in Brixton, designed by Charlie Waterhouse and Clive Paul Russell, honors David Bowie.

“I wanted something old-fashioned looking,” Mr. Deller said. “Something almost pre-currency.”

One hundred and twenty miles west of Brixton, in the city of Bristol, a pound note issued after a design competition that was open to locals displays a colorful lemur striding atop a vibrant cityscape.

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It’s time to redraw the world’s very unequal knowledge map

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If the world were mapped according to how many scientific research papers each country produced, it would take on a rather bizarre, uneven appearance. The Northern hemisphere would balloon beyond recognition. The global south, including Africa, would effectively melt off the map.

This image makes a dramatic point about the complexities of global inequalities in knowledge production and exchange. So what is driving this inequality and how can it be corrected?

Money matters

Money and technology are needed to produce research. The average research and development intensity – that is, as a percentage of GDP – was 2.4% for OECD countries in 2009. But few developing countries had reached 1%. Without sufficient national funds, researchers must spend a great deal of time fundraising and dealing with grant organisations outside their universities. This means less time for actually undertaking and producing research.… Read the rest

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Why Are Beggars Despised? by George Orwell

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

Sandra Druschke (CC BY 2.0)

via Reddit (r/books):

It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary “working” men. They are a race apart–outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men “work,” beggars do not “work”; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not “earn” his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic “earns” his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless respectable people.… Read the rest

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The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved to the Matrix

swirl-optical-illusion

Sigmund Fraud Via Waking Times:

“In prison, illusions can offer comfort.” – Nelson Mandela

For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the deceptive act is committed, and for the fool, reality then becomes inexplicably built upon on a lie. That is, until the fool wakes up and recognizes the truth in the fact that he has been duped.

Maintaining the suspension of disbelief in the illusion, however, is often more comforting than acknowledging the magician’s secrets.

We live in a world of illusion. So many of the concerns that occupy the mind and the tasks that fill the calendar arise from planted impulses to become someone or something that we are not. This is no accident. As we are indoctrinated into this authoritarian-corporate-consumer culture that now dominates the human race, we are trained that certain aspects of our society are untouchable truths, and that particular ways of being and behaving are preferred.

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The American People Have Spoken: Get Money Out of Politics

Eighty-four percent of poll respondents said that money has "too much influence" in today's U.S. political campaigns. (Photo: takomabibelot/flickr/cc)

Eighty-four percent of poll respondents said that money has “too much influence” in today’s U.S. political campaigns. (Photo: takomabibelot/flickr/cc)

This was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare‘s posts here.

At the outset of an election cycle expected to attract unprecedented levels of outside spending from ultra-rich donors like the Koch brothers, a new poll finds that the American people, in fact, oppose the unlimited flow of dollars into politics, do not think money equals speech, and want to restrict the power of the one percent to buy ballot outcomes.

Released Tuesday by The New York Times and CBS, the findings “reveal deep support among Republicans and Democrats alike for new measures to restrict the influence of wealthy givers, including limiting the amount of money that can be spent by ‘super PACs’ and forcing more public disclosure on organizations now permitted to intervene in elections without disclosing the names of their donors,” the Times summarizes.

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Richland’s $4.1 million police station funded by civil forfeiture

Photo by Steve Wilson

Photo by Steve Wilson.

This won’t come as a surprise for most of our readers. Richland, Mississippi funded a $4.1m police station, higher-end training facilities, and a fleet of Dodge Charger police cars “through civil forfeitures of property and cash seized during traffic stops.”

Steve Wilson via Watchdog.org:

The Mississippi city of Richland has a new $4.1 million police station, a top-level training center and a fleet of black-and-white Dodge Charger police cars.

All of it was paid for through civil forfeitures of property and cash seized during traffic stops of what police say were suspected drug runners on Interstate 20.

Civil libertarians question the constitutionality of civil forfeiture, which has become a key part of revenue for state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. Under the laws of many states, citizens can be deprived of their property or even cash if police merely suspect the owners to be involved in criminal activity.

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Bitcoin and the Ontology of Money

Image representing the decentralised Bitcoin network

Image representing the decentralised Bitcoin network

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever created.

(Yuval Noah Harari 2011, 180)

Money has long fascinated me, and not for the obvious reasons. Although I’d like to have more of it, my interest is largely philosophical. It is the ontology of money that has always disturbed me. Ever since I was a child, collecting old coins and hoarding my pocket money, I’ve wondered why it is that certain physical tokens can function as money and others cannot. What is money made from? What is it grounded in? Why do certain monetary systems fail and others succeed?

For many years, I set these questions aside, convinced that I had a basic grasp of how they could be answered.… Read the rest

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Pope Francis Calls Money the ‘Devil’s Dung’

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis describes money as “the devil’s dung” in a speech carried by Vatican Radio. “When money becomes an idol, it controls man’s choices,” he said. “It makes him a slave”:

First, the Pope said, co-operatives must continue to be “the motor that uplifts and develops the weakest parts of our local communities and civil society.”

The first priority is to establish new co-operatives, while developing existing ones, so as to create new employment opportunities, especially among youth, he said.

Second, the Pope urged the co-op movement to be a “protagonist” in proposing new welfare solutions, particularly in the area of healthcare.

As a third point, he spoke of the economy and its relationship with social justice and human dignity. Speaking of the need to “globalize solidarity,” he urged the confederation to bring co-operatives to the “existential peripheries” and to continue to be “prophetic” by “inventing new forms of co-operation.”

The Pope spoke of “a certain liberalism,” which “believes it is first necessary to produce wealth—and it does not matter how—to then promote some state redistribution policy.”…

[continues at Vatican Radio, which has audio of the speech]

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Bitcoin, the Digital Deluge and the Seeds of an Open Source Society

IMG_6496It’s all been swept up by the digital deluge: the way we create, consume, socialize, learn, all of it. Yet no matter how much of the analog world seeps into the digital realm, the almighty dollar continues to resist the pixel-y tide. The act of currency creation remains an esoteric, behind-the-scenes process controlled by a few privileged, monocle-clad, suit-wearers with fancy titles and special permissions.

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Actually, we do have digital money and it’s called bitcoin. It does work, it’s safe and it’s easy to use. On top of that, for the first time ever, no government, corporation or human being can claim dominion over, control, destroy or create a currency. Bitcoin is decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer, lives completely online and created through a programmatic process.

Practicality wise, you can already buy basically anything using bitcoin and a growing number of merchants, services and corporations are accepting it every day.Read the rest

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Politicians or central bankers: who runs the world?

401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Mark Beeson, University of Western Australia

Global governance sounds like a good idea. Solving the sorts of “collective action problems” that are an inescapable part of geographically dispersed activities – especially economic ones – is something only some sort of supranational authority can do.

Until relatively recently we looked primarily to states to provide the institutional and legal infrastructure that allowed people to conduct commercial relationships with strangers. Now, when economic activities and relationships are increasingly transnational, states cannot provide such a regulatory framework – or they can’t on their own, at least.

Not all states are alike, of course, and some have a much greater capacity to influence the way economic activities are conducted, especially within national borders, than others. But even the most powerful states are now subjected to pressures and constraints that they’ve never faced before.

True, the US still exerts more influence over the structure and practices of the international economic system than anyone else, but even the world’s current hegemon finds its power constrained.… Read the rest

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