A bird's eye view of the vineyard
?US/Israel seek Lebanese civil war to derail a Hezbollah in its prime?: Qandil Mon Oct 18, 2021 14:16 | amarynth
Original link: http://middleeastobse... Description: In light of the recent massacre of seven protesters and the wounding of dozens of others in a highly sensitive district of Beirut, senior political analyst Nasser
Moveable Feast Cafe 2021/10/18 ? Open Thread Mon Oct 18, 2021 07:30 | herb
2021/10/18 06:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
Assessing the Russian counter propaganda efforts (Saker rant) Sun Oct 17, 2021 19:20 | The Saker
In 2016 I wrote an analysis I called “Counter-propaganda, Russian style” and, about a year later, another one I called “Re-Visiting Russian Counter-Propaganda Methods“. I ask you to please read
The Grayzone ? Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire with Michael Hudson Sun Oct 17, 2021 14:29 | amarynth
Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with economist Michael Hudson about his book “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.” Professor Hudson just published a 3rd edition that updates
When the West was itchin? to go to China Sun Oct 17, 2021 14:17 | amarynth
The old Silk Roads played a major role in connecting the world through trade, and the new version can too by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at
The Saker >>
?Notable, Significant and Abnormal? Purchases of PCR Lab Equipment in Wuhan, Summer 2019 Tue Oct 05, 2021 13:44 | Michael Curzon
Researchers believe that "abnormal" purchases of PCR lab equipment in Wuhan in the summer of 2019 suggest Covid was spreading "virulently" in the city far earlier than was previously thought.
The post ?Notable, Significant and Abnormal? Purchases of PCR Lab Equipment in Wuhan, Summer 2019 appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
12,000 Women Living with Undiagnosed Breast Cancer after a Year of Lockdowns Tue Oct 05, 2021 12:07 | Michael Curzon
Almost 12,000 women in the U.K. were living with undiagnosed breast cancer in May this year, according to new analysis ? and screening for the disease is still below pre-lockdown levels.
The post 12,000 Women Living with Undiagnosed Breast Cancer after a Year of Lockdowns appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
No Good Reason to Introduce Vaccine Passports Right Now, Says Sajid Javid Tue Oct 05, 2021 10:52 | Michael Curzon
Sajid Javid says there are currently no good reasons to introduce vaccine passports, but concedes that his comments do not mean "there can?t ever be a role for such an intervention".
The post No Good Reason to Introduce Vaccine Passports Right Now, Says Sajid Javid appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
Why Are People?s Risk Perceptions So Skewed? Tue Oct 05, 2021 08:08 | Noah Carl
For months, we?ve been treated to morbid ?daily death numbers? ? but for only one cause of death. Perhaps if these figures had been reported for all causes of death, people?s risk perceptions would be less skewed.
The post Why Are People?s Risk Perceptions So Skewed? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
And Finally? Tue Oct 05, 2021 00:10 | Toby Young
In this week?s London Calling, the talking points are the recent easing of travel restrictions (unless you?re unvaccinated), unsuccessful stalking adventures, the new Sharpe novel and Irwin Shaw?s Young Lions.
The post And Finally… appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
Lockdown Skeptics >>
Voltaire, international edition
Apple intends to rummage through your smartphone ... without your knowledge Sun Oct 17, 2021 17:03 | en
Iran's allies lose Iraqi legislative elections Wed Oct 13, 2021 19:38 | en
The political power of Facebook, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Oct 12, 2021 09:28 | en
Lebanon's bankruptcy deliberately caused by IMF under Christine Lagarde's watch Fri Oct 08, 2021 16:17 | en
China-US high-level talks in Switzerland Fri Oct 08, 2021 14:54 | en
Voltaire Network >>
The third industrial revolution is already happening
Sunday January 05, 2014 17:40 by Luke Eastwood
Technology is going to gradually push almost everyone into unemployment...
Many of you might be perplexed by the assertion above, surely there was only one industrial revolution and that was eons ago, right? It’s true that there was an industrial revolution in Europe in the 1800s; it changed the face of Europe and eventually that of North America. Industrialisation is in essence mechanisation, because in reality that is what happened – both man and beast were replaced by machines in a large number of businesses, in what came to be known as Industry. At the time of the 1st I.R. (Industrial Revolution) the majority of businesses were still owned by private individuals or by families, who through their enterprising use of machinery, managed to transform profitable businesses into vastly profitable businesses.
Of course there were inevitable consequences of these decisions, which are well-known: increased poverty, mass migration, decline or disappearance of some professions, social unrest (e.g. the Luddite movement), environmental degradation, new towns and cities etc. The 1st I.R. was not just a financial venture, although that was its main thrust, it became a social venture too, in that it transformed a fairly static European society in ways that had previously been un-thought of.
The arrival of fuel operated machinery (steam mostly) created the first known opportunity for employers to operate the physical aspects of their businesses with fewer or perhaps even no employees and animals. It also facilitated the end of slavery because it soon proved cheaper to use machines than to keep and maintain slaves. Of course moral reasons are usually given for the abolition of slavery, however I do believe that it might perhaps never have happened were it not for the 1st I.R.
This subject of the 1st I.R. is so familiar that I’ll not discuss it any further, and so, what of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, what on earth is that? I would suggest that the 2nd I.R. began after the end of WWII – in Japan. In the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of two Japanese cities and the conventional decimation of most of their other cities, the USA felt obliged to help rebuild what was a completely shattered nation, through re-industrialisation. This was in part in response the worldwide horror instigated by the first ever use of nuclear weapons, but also due to the USA’s desire to remould this crushed former industrial power in its own image whilst also providing a very cheap source military support (Korean war) and imported goods.
Had the American government foreseen what would eventually happen I am sure that they would have allowed Japan to wallow in a new dark age of poverty and deprivation. From about 1954 onwards, Japan began heavy industrialisation with initially USA being the primary recipient of it’s exports. The Japanese were extremely good at copying Western inventions and improving them, yet still were able to sell them at far lower prices.
As everyone is now aware, Japanese goods eventually became immensely popular throughout the world from the 1960s onwards, especially in the Western countries where their goods were relatively cheap. The incredible economic miracle of Japan has two startling effects that probably were not expected – the decline of European and American industry and the birth of Asian ‘copy-cat’ economies.
The rise of other Asian countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan, India and most notably China was, no-doubt, inspired by the run-away success of first Japan and subsequently Hong Kong. This fully fledged 2nd I.R. took some time to get up a head of steam (excuse the pun) but eventually the rise of the Asian Tigers led to further collapse of Western industrial nations and indeed the slow stagnation of it’s instigator – Japan.
Unlike the 1st I.R. which was the work of entrepreneurs, with or without the assistance of commercial banks; the 2nd I.R. was mostly the work of corporations, in most cases funded by venture capital from the financial sector. To mask the truth of what the 2nd I.R. truly is, it has been given a far more appealing name – Globalisation. Promising equality and prosperity throughout the globe, what the 2nd I.R. has really done is transfer the defunct industrial model of USA and Europe to eager non-industrialised nations who have yet to fully destroy their environment or deplete their natural resources.
This process, that can trace its beginnings to the 1950s, is now pretty much complete – most of the formerly ‘poor’ countries with any sizeable population and resources are repeating the same mistakes that began in Europe. These repeated mistakes will inevitably lead to the depletion of all natural resources, environmental devastation and social and economic coercion of the masses while a minority prosper, until there is nothing remaining to plunder.
If you follow my argument, I hope you can see that a fully fledged 2nd I.R. has taken place, although in an entirely different place from the first. So now, this brings us finally to the third and most probably final, industrial revolution. At the beginning of this article it states that the 3rd I.R. has already begun – if you look at what is actually happening then I believe that you will find it difficult to disagree.
With the invention of micro-processors in the early 1970s the potential for vastly accelerating mechanisation became a possibility. If took some time for programming and electronics manufacturing to reach a level of practical application, but by the 1980s robotics was beginning to replace human operated machinery and computers were beginning to replace human administration and management.
Science-fiction writers have visualised a world of leisure where machines do all of the work and humans are free to live a life of recreation and intellectual achievement. It would be wonderful were this utopian vision on the cards, however the emerging reality appears to be somewhat of a dystopia. Instead of just replacing the physical task that humans do, the 3rd I.R. is also about replacing human communication, human skill-sets and human decision making.
This process is still in its infancy right now, but already we are seeing unmanned machines in both military and civil applications, computer management of financial and social activities and replacement of human to human interactions with human-computer interactions in supermarkets, banks and even restaurants.
As the 3rd I.R. begins to gather pace, which it will do so increasingly rapidly, many people, both low and high-skilled, might find themselves being replaced by machines, just as has occurred in the previous industrial revolutions. It seems almost inconceivable that a machine might perform brain surgery in preference to an actual human, but this is very clearly the direction in which we are headed.
Ultimately the success of the 3rd I.R. can only culminate in mass unemployment, and unless there is a major change in our economic and social structures, that will mean a life of poverty for all but the smallest minority on this planet. Huge inequality is already prevalent, however once corporations no longer see human employees as essential, they will inevitably act in the perceived interest of their share-holders by firing most of them.
Continued mechanisation will most likely lead to even worse inequality than we have right now, with even larger corporate profits accruing as a result, until the point is reached where there is no-one left with money to buy the products that keep the wheels of industry going. At this point, where virtually everyone is in poverty, the economic system will completely collapse – leaving all these computers and machines with nothing to do and no purpose for existing.
The founders of the Venus Project have envisioned a different kind of technological revolution – one based on social benefit as opposed to financial/industrial benefit. Their vision is of a technologically advanced society, but one that is without money and operated on altruistic rather than predatory principles. It’s a very ambitious and forward thinking vision of the future – one that I sincerely hope can become a reality, as the road we are currently on can only lead to more poverty and ultimately catastrophe.