Hello A Correction listeners!
Welcome to the first of our new feature “A Weekly Correction,” a compilation of the things we're reading, listening to and watching each week. Our goal is to round up some of the best and most interesting content from our favorite publications on econ-related subjects, which we hope will serve as a useful platform for all those interested in contemporary issues within political-economy. This weekly feature will be curated by Mila Stieglitz-Courtney, an intern and recent addition to the A Correction team! You can find out more about Mila here.
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"The favourable position that the English were able to engineer for themselves was in practice nothing to do with the natural playing out of a straightforward mathematical logic, as Ricardo’s Principles implies it should have been. Rather, it was all about the use of political power to create commercial freedoms for some at the direct expense of a whole host of personal freedoms for others.” - Matthew Watson
What we’re reading:
How Facebook is changing our democracy and society (and what can we do about it).
McNamee, R. (2019). Zucked : Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.
This week, we’re reading Zucked (2019), a book that chronicles how Facebook has become an increasing concern for the stability of democracies around the World, and the complacency of the company in addressing it. The author Robert McNamee was a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of Facebook who, in more recent years years, has become a fierce critique of the platform and its leadership. He highlights the role of Facebook in the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, the atrocities being committed in Myanmar, along with countless other headline stories of political and social unrest. McNamee argues for broader and more comprehensive action to be taken to hold Facebook accountable, both through government regulation, as well as internal, company-wide reforms.
Who is Karl Polanyi?
Somers, M. and Block, F. (2014) “The Return of Karl Polanyi.” Dissent Magazine.
In the last two decades, Karl Polanyi has become recognised as one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century, namely through his publication The Great Transformation : The Social and Political Origins of Our Time (1944). Polanyi’s ideas formed in opposition to the dominant free-market economic thinkers of the 1920s, of which his central argument was that the vision of a completely self-regulating market system is a completely imaginary construction. After a comprehensive overview of Polanyi’s ideas, the authors conclude by providing a vision for the form that economic democracy should take in the 21st century.
The causes and consequences of the 2008 financial crisis : an explanation 10 years out.
Lanchester, J. (2018). “After the Fall.” London Review of Books.
In "After the Fall," John Lanchester presents a comprehensive overview of the 2008 financial crisis and its consequences over the past decade, starting with a simple question: what happened? He first chronicles the context in which the crisis took place, before describing the mechanisms through which the economy failed and the impacts of the recession in its aftermath. Lanchester argues that the largest consequence of the 2008 crisis is that, through austerity, not only have ordinary people been wrongfully straddled with the burden of fixing the crisis (while those who caused it were faced little punishment) — it is that those were “let off easy” have also become better off.
What we're watching:
Lecture: (2017) Migrant workers in China: Hukou, hope and beyond. Asia Society.
This week, we're watching a 2017 panel discussion at the Asia society focusing on migrant workers in China and the various social issues related to China's household registration system. This system known as Hukou, which limits migration of rural workers to urban areas, has resulted in severe discrimination and marginalisation of rural migrant workers in urban China, along with being a large driver of rural-urban inequalities.
What we're listening to:
Podcast: "Resistance is Futile," Throughline (NPR).
In this episode, Throughline explores three innovations throughout history that transformed how the world work, all of which were initially met with resistance but that eventually became common place, in order to make sense of the rapid technological innovation in present day that is changing how our society operates.
Podcast: Ear Hustle (Radiotopia)
A podcast by Radiotopia, Ear Hustle "brings you the daily realities of life inside prison, shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration." The podcast is produced at San Quentin State Prison by inmates Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, along with artist and volunteer Nigel Poor.