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Showing posts from July, 2014

technical maturity miscellany

(c) Alberto Magnelli (c. 1909)

I am often guilty of comparing down in socioeconomic matters - that is, when questions of UK social justice come up, my first thoughts are things like, “Yeah, but the British minimum wage is in the top 15% of global incomes”. I assess the British working class by reference to the global working class. This comparison is true and important, but for some purposes it is also stupid, since it distracts from ratios that would justify domestic intervention (ratios like the change in real wage over the past four years, or the change in capital’s share in national income in the past thirty).

When discussing British policy*, unless giant public transfers to GiveDirectly are in fact a politically viable option, it does not serve justice to paint the locally poor as globally rich. The point is that some people are grossly inefficiently rich on any reading, and it’s these that policy should hunt.**

However, remember that the converse – comparing up, to a better a…


"a world where no such road will run
From you to me
To watch that world come up like a cold sun,
Rewarding others, is my liberty."
           - Larkin
Who can’t see autumn coming?
Come cloudburst, who falls in?
Whose victories are numbing?
What was; where have I been?

What is, I don’t get out much:
am unemployed on call
since the sky hitched up its moving-parts
and bolted through the wall.

I who can’t hear for my own hum,
the undone product less than sum,
the dolt in longing for The Femme
what reason could there be?

Charges: blind to dimming ardour,
Trying badly, missing harder
Last resort hint chance discarder –
I would not blame you me.

What was was shock superfluity.
What was is repossessed.
None own their shares in earthly beauty.
Make do. Lie; “s’for the best”.


wandering in extremis of your
rambling curtilage, I stumble over
miles, miles of dull ramparts. Not yours;
this is your siege, an élite ignored
critique, a cottage industry of line-toers
dressing a dead man down. Or,
no not dead but petrefacted: a door
closed but leaking light & snores
enough for one interpretation more.