Sovereignty, Aphex Twin, Usury, Walmart, Extinction, Simone Veil


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The Sovereign Myth

Jacob Levy | Niskanen Center | 15th June 2017

“Growth, stability, and expansion of powerful states governed by representative democracy was in part a creation of the credit market, bondholders, and international finance. That’s not a world in which democratic decision makers ever had unconstrained sovereign decision-making authority over public finance, even in the powerful core states of the international system. It also means that the representative state emerged out of a kind of market competition for creditworthy providers of government” (1,800 words)

Aphex Twin Talks To Tatsuya Takahashi

Richard James | Warp | 7th July 2017

Conversation about electronic music. Impenetrably geeky in parts, but full of ideas in its more accessible moments. “I don’t know how anybody worked out humans only hear to 20 kHz. Even if you can’t hear above 20 kHz, that doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t feel it. You don’t just experience it through your eardrums. A good example of this is listening to a recording of your own voice. It always sounds thinner and smaller, as you don’t feel the vibration of your chest and body” (6,300 words)

Of Money And Morals

Alex Mayyasi | Aeon | 7th July 2017

“Today, a banker listening to a theologian seems like a curiosity, a category error. But for most of history, this kind of dialogue was the norm. Hundreds of years ago, when modern finance arose in Europe, money lenders moderated their behaviour in response to debates among the clergy about how to apply the Bible’s teachings to an increasingly complex economy. Lending money has long been regarded as a moral matter. So when and how did most bankers stop seeing their work in moral terms?” (3,000 words)

What Happened When Walmart Left

Ed Pilkington | Guardian | 9th July 2017

If you think it’s bad when Walmart comes into town, consider what it’s like when Walmart pulls out, leaving local commerce gutted. “Peep into the glass doors of the front of the store and you can start to appreciate the brutal simplicity of the Walmart concept. There is nothing inside its windowless walls, just 103,000 square feet of air. A Walmart super center is no more than the name implies: a big box, an empty stage on which to summon up a million retail dreams” (2,900 words)

The Uninhabitable Earth

David Wallace-Wells | New York | 9th July 2017

A worst-case climate-change scenario for humanity. “It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. Rising oceans are bad, but fleeing the coastline will not be enough. Parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century” (7,250 words)

Homage To Simone Veil

Bernard-Henri Levy | Project Syndicate | 6th July 2017

Remembering the French politician and humanitarian Simone Veil, holocaust survivor and champion of women’s rights. “Who are you, when you are deported to Auschwitz just days after receiving your baccalauréat and survive the impossible, having looked death directly in the eye? How can you do anything but keep your distance when you have experienced both disaster and miracle?” She lived on “as a sort of stowaway in an era that she would never fully embrace”, always celebrated and always sad (1,050 words)

Video of the day: Why Do Cartoon Characters Wear Gloves?

What to expect:

Perhaps you didn’t even notice. But they do. It humanises them, and makes the animation easier (4’50”)

Thought for the day

History is the study of unprecedented events, ironically used as a map of the future
Morgan Housel

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