[Plura-list] Normal isn't enough; Why I love the Haunted Mansion; 1000 Hours of Outrage

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Sun Oct 4 12:09:42 EDT 2020

Today's links

* Normal isn't enough: The post-pandemic economy.

* Why I love the Haunted Mansion: My interview with Nelda Live.

* 1000 Hours of Outrage: A crowdsourced retrospective of the Trump years.

* This day in history: 2010, 2015, 2019

* Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing
projects, current reading


🦆 Normal isn't enough

Capitalism's most credible defender is Mariana Mazzucato, an economist
whose histories of - and vision for - a strong state that shapes and
manages markets is today's most plausible vision for a future under

Mazzucato has been warning that we can't afford to squander this crisis
the way we did with the 2008 collapse, talking about a future of
"climate lockdowns" if we don't make a change:


In "Capitalism After the Pandemic" in Foreign Affairs, Mazzucato
recounts how the current emergencies come from the ideological failures
of neoliberalism, and lays out a program for "building back better."


She lays out a vision for a post-disaster capitalism that's something
like the post-War boom of pluralistic, shared prosperity, and something
like the state-sponsored tech boom of the moonshot, in service to
building a world that's safer and fairer.

After all, the current system isn't working. Congress and the Treasury
made trillions available to prop up the economy during the crisis, and
rather than going into the productive economy, almost all that money has
been captured by the finance sector.

Now, if the finance sector was then allocating capital to the real
economy, maybe we'd have something. But mostly what the finance sector
invests in is...the finance sector. In the UK, only 10% of commercial
lending goes to nonfinancial firms.

In the world's advanced economies, more than 60% of lending is
real-estate based. The finance sector pumps money into the finance
sector, creates bubbles, the bubbles burst, and we bail them out. Then
they do it again. And again.

In the real economy, large firms are gnawing off their own limbs, buying
back more than $3T in their own stocks over a decade. Money gets spent
goosing share prices, rather than R&D;, training, new capital or higher

Thus do we lurch from crisis to crisis, and each time, the state
intervenes to rescue the system, but not to change it. That's why, when
the covid crisis struck, we had low-waged/gig workers who had no
insurance and no sick leave.

The rhetoric of shrinking the state that has been with us since the
Reagan years was never serious. Instead, the state has shifted to
subsidizing large firms whose core message is that governments are
incompetent, but who profiteer off government innovations.

Like Gilead, whose remdesivir drug came from $70.5m in federal R&D;
subsidy, costs $10/dose to produce, and sells in the USA for $3,120.

But it's not just pharma that reaps enormous windfalls from public spending!

Google's search algorithm was funded by the NSF. The US Navy developed
GPS. DARPA created the internet, touchscreens, voice recognition and more.

The companies that commercialized these technologies get 'em for free,
dodge their taxes, *and* campaign against the very idea of government
spending. They back a bizarre ideology that measures the economy with
nonsensical measures like GDP.

Under GDP, public school teachers are a drain on the system, while the
educated citizens they turn out are not accounted for at all.

And when Goldman Sachs got a $10b bailout, CEO Lloyd Blankfein was able
to claim that his workers were "among the most productive in the world"
because such a small number of people had generated $10b in income!

Handing money out to companies with no strings attached doesn't improve
the economy, it just lines the pockets of the finance sector. Congress's
PPP loans cost $500b and saved 2.3m jobs - that's a cost of $500k per job!

The $7T in stimulus has not resulted in any real, structural change that
will avert the looming crises on our horizon. We need to stop doing
corporate handouts and start structuring markets to deliver public benefit.

* Develop a "people's vaccine" that is patent-free and can be made
accessible to the whole planet

* Reform wages, health benefits, sick-pay and worker control over workplaces

* Give preference to payroll support over unemployment support, the
latter having thrown 30m Americans out of work

* When companies go bust, don't just bail them out - require an equity
for the public

* Ban companies that receive assistance from issuing exec bonuses,
issuing dividends, doing share buybacks, debt-loading, using tax-havens,
spending public money on lobbying or price-gouging

* Publicly subsidized pharma should be "narrowly patented and easily

* Issue a "people's dividend" where "the government takes a percentage
of the wealth created with government investments, puts that money in a
fund, and then shares the proceeds with the people"

Since the 2010s, a lot of us have been wishing for a "return to normal."

Normal isn't good enough. It was never good enough. Normal got us into
this mess.

We need to build back better: to create a moonshot for climate
adaptation that uses a muscular, capable state to invest people and

A moonshot that structures the economy to produce the clean energy,
infrastructure creation and retrofitting, transit, universal health care
(and other forms of care), universal network access - a future fit for
the human race.


🦆 Why I love the Haunted Mansion

It's no secret that I am obsessed with Disney's Haunted Mansion(s); my
first novel, DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM, involved a fannish war
for control over the Mansion in a post-scarcity society of immortal


I've even done some official Mansion work, as a writer on the
award-winning "Ghost Post" puzzles/merch boxes:


The Disneyland Mansion is closed right now, and the Walt Disney World
Mansion *should* be closed right now, and a lot of us in the
mansionophile world are heartily bummed out by this.

This week, Nelda Yaw had me on her Nelda Live show to discuss just what
makes the Mansion so great, why it inspires such ardor among its fans,
and what its future may hold.


We discuss:

* What is special about the Mansion

* How Walt impacted the Mansion, for good and ill

* A detailed walk-through of the Mansion, both on-stage and off

* Subtle details to look for

* Walt's death and the Mansion

* My favorite Mansions

* My first time on the ride

* The greatest Mansion souvenirs I never had


🦆 1000 Hours of Outrage

The strategy of Blitzkreig was grounded in the idea of disrupting your
enemy's decision-loop: that's the time it takes for someone to see what
has happened, understand what it means, decide on a course of action,
and then act.

Blitzkreig was effective because, by the time the decision had been made
and the counteraction was beginning, you would have already begun a new
foray, knocking your enemy off balance.

Much has been said about Trump's chaotic style of distracting us from
scandals by having other scandals - like the fact that we stopped
talking about his tax cheating so we could talk about his negligent,
self-inflicted coronavirus infection.

I think that's best understood as a Blitzkreig strategy, a relentless
shower of scandals that prevent us from ever catching our breath and
responding to them.

Revisiting those scandals, putting together the pattern behind the
chaos, is an important step towards orienting ourselves and mounting an
effective resistance.

With just 1,000 hours left until the election, Creative Resistance has
done just that.

The 1000 Hours of Outrage project is crowdsourcing 1,000 works of art
commemorating 1,000 of Trump's scandals, and publishing one an hour
right up to the election.


These defiant memorials for lost opportunities, cruelties petty and
gross, mendacity and corruption render Trumpian chaos into a regimented
indictment, one that spells out all that he has done to us in his four
short, long years in office.

Each of them represents the artist's own trauma and rage, rendered as
visual art, like:

* Tess Ramsey on Trump's neutering of fair housing policy

* Palomita Zapata on Trump's expansion of CIA dirty-tricks powers

* Kristopher Ingle on Trump's delegitimizing of mail-in voting

A thousand crimes, one an hour, until we are given our chance to deal
him a reckoning for his criminal misdeeds.


🦆 This day in history

#10yrsago XKCD’s Online Communities map, part 2 – the online world,
visualized with loads of funny https://xkcd.com/802/

#10yrsago KILL THE DEAD: Kadrey’s grisly, hard-boiled sequel to SANDMAN

#5yrsago UK top government official: human rights no longer a “top

#5yrsago UK Chancellor: I must cut tax benefits for working poor to help

#5yrsago Snowden broke a nondisclosure EULA in order to uphold his
Constitutional oath https://www.aaronswartzday.org/snowden-oath/

#1yrago Where would you put the word “fuck” in William Carlos Williams’s
“This is Just to Say”?

#1yrago Hong Kong bans makeup and masks so facial recognition cameras
can identify protesters

#1yrago US prosecutors say the “bankrupt” Sacklers still have billions
hidden away

#1yrago CBP officer refuses to allow American journalist into the
country until he admits he writes “propaganda”


🦆 Colophon

Today's top sources: Naked Capitalism
(https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/), Lawrence Lessig

Currently writing: My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel
about truth and reconciliation. Friday's progress: 516 words (68593 total).

Currently reading: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 16)

Upcoming appearances:

* Library Leaders Forum, Oct 6

* 3 Big Ideas To Fix the Internet, Oct 7,

* Wired Nextfest Italia, Oct 10,

* The Attack Surface Lectures: 8 nights of bookstore-hosted events in
which I and a massive group of entertaining and knowledgeable experts
discourse on my latest novel's themes, Oct 13-22

Recent appearances:

* If Big Tech Is Toxic, How Do We Build Something Better? (panel)

* On ‘Attack Surface’ and WiFi Fridges (What a Hell of a Way to Die

* Little Brother vs. Big Audiobook (Techdirt podcast):

Latest book:

* "How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet
analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a

* "Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new
introduction by Edward Snowden:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies

* "Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime,
gender, and kicking ass. Order here:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed
copy here:

Upcoming books:

* "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother book, Oct 20, 2020.

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
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provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link
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*When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla* -Joey "Accordion Guy"

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