undant Futures” of the “TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art” collection, however, clearly shows that neither the Art of the bourgeoisie nor its most “sensitive” members can even imagine a decent future for the human species whose social work they organize. For them abundance means scarcity just as peace means war.
While the war in Ukraine occupied all the media attention this week, a whole series of news stories that we cannot overlook slipped off the front pages. We list headlines with brief commentary.
Chips are in short supply. Souring the hopes for improvement heralded a few months ago, the industrial world is still in turmoil due to a lack of components. Imperialist squabbles are aggravating the situation and driving the militarization of chip production.
The topic of the day in Spain is the approval yesterday of the Labor Reform in Congress thanks to the blunder of a PP member of parliament who was not allowed by the Presidency to change his electronic vote once it had been cast. The representative insists that it was a “computer error” but in the same day he had made a mistake in at least three votes. What at first glance seems just an anecdote of parliamentary formalism actually reveals the historical moment of the society in which we live.
It is expected that 65% to 70% of the world’s population will be crowded into cities by 2050. The news warns about the urban population of tropical countries literally dying of heat exhaustion in their cities, while there is no week in which images and videos of some new Chinese ghost city -product of large-scale real estate speculation- fail to show up in the international media.
The entertainment content on TV is scarce and not very comforting this season. We discuss a close-up look at the USA of precarity (Tiny House Nation, Netflix); Alejandro Amenábar’s first series (La Fortuna, Movistar); and the most incompetent reading imaginable of Asimov’s “The Foundation” (Foundation, Apple TV).
The Anglo-Saxon press keeps the origin of Covid’s virus -SARS-CoV-2- as an open question. Scientists however realized long ago that the theory of “escape from the laboratory” has no material basis. The theory of animal origin, defended in the WHO report, strengthens and, far from excusing Chinese capitalism, reveals its most anti-human contradictions… and those of capitalism in general.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery and purification of insulin, a natural hormone crucial for treating the growing epidemic of diabetes and on which, in theory, there has been no patent attached for decades. However, the world’s insulin production is still monopolized by a handful of companies in Europe and the U.S., which sell it at astronomical prices. The WHO has described this situation as a “catastrophic moral failure” and it certainly is, but how did this happen, and more importantly, how do we get out of it?
We have all encountered dozens of magazines, stories, websites and commercial applications with an aesthetic similar to that of the illustration adorning this article. That style is known as “Alegria” or “Corporate Memphis.” It is a product of the precarization and devaluation of labor and has dozens of variants and versions, all equally lifeless and repetitive. But there is more to the homogenization of graphic representation than bad news dressed up in false corporate optimism.
The IPCC released yesterday the first part of its sixth report: 3949 pages of accurate and detailed scientific information showing that the origin of climate change is “human activity” and associating with varying degrees of probability the relationship between the global phenomenon and its most worrying manifestations. However, a good part of the global media do not seem to have read the IPCC report but rather something else.
The industrial development of antibiotics is often presented as one of the last great contributions of capitalism to human development. It was so, but fraught with contradictions from the very beginning. Antibiotics were industrialized for war and were the basis on which the great global pharmaceutical monopolies were built. All in all a breakthrough for the species. But the triumph against bacterial infections is a race against the clock and is being lost. The reason? Developing up-to-date antibiotics is not attractive enough for big capital.
China is getting ahead of the U.S. in the quantum race. Last week, it announced beating Google’s most advanced quantum computer. Meanwhile, IBM began installing a major quantum computer development project in Germany, announced to great fanfare by the German government, which it claims will generate €75 billion of “value.” The imperialist conflict is being played out in several fields at once. Information technologies and in particular the quantum race are among the main ones.
The “No profit on the pandemic” campaign is spreading an important message throughout Europe: the intellectual property of pharmaceutical companies is a barrier in the way of halting Covid’s spread. Unfortunately, the reasoning is at the very least incomplete and the means unproductive. But it is worth a discussion.
Answering several questions from our readers about the relationship between pandemics and major historical crises.
Is it possible to open borders? Why do states say they can’t even absorb refugees?
Just as with Economic Theory and its experts , social knowledge and the needs of capital diverge because human needs and capital accumulation are increasingly antagonistic. The “expert” then becomes a stuntman whose task is to justify policies and to reassure the population.