Bert Olivier

Is capitalism destroying our planet?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to give some attention to the widely agreed upon evidence that it has been happening for some time, and, moreover, has accelerated. It is hard to know where to start and where to end when it comes to listing relevant “evidence” in this regard, even if there is…

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Technology, selective globalisation and control

How prominently does “technology transfer” to developing nations feature in the programme of globalisation? And what impact does it have outside of the West? In the book I have been discussing (Globalization, Technology and Philosophy, edited by Tabachnick and Koivukoski) Trish Glazebrook investigates these questions in light of what she perceives as a puzzling lack…

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Inside the machine – taking stock of technology today

In an essay titled “Looking backward, looking forward” — in the volume, Globalisation, Technology and Philosophy (Tabachnik and Koivukoski, editors; SUNY, 2004) — Andrew Feenberg takes stock of where humanity has come from, where we are now, and where we are heading in an increasingly technologised environment. He compares two important, but divergent novels, both…

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Germain, Baudrillard and Virilio on technology

I recently came across a wonderful essay by Gilbert Germain — in a book entitled Globalisation, technology and philosophy — on “the human condition in the age of technology”, where he takes a serious look at the reflections of Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio on contemporary technology. What immediately caught my eye is the striking…

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Lessons from Mexico’s drug wars

The drug wars, or massacres, in Mexico seem interminable, and irresolvable. The subject of a recent (11 July) TIME magazine’s cover story, details about the nature and extent of the human cost accompanying this apparently ineradicable scourge of Mexican society are almost too horrific to register consciously. (I know what some readers will say: so…

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Desire, democracy and Deleuze/Guattari

Escaping for a while from the suffocating Turkish summer in a beautifully carpeted teashop in Istanbul near the Hagia Sophia, we marvel at the unbelievable flows of energy exuded by one of the most vibrant and variegated cities in the world. It is as if every nook and cranny of this metropolis of 13-million people…

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Turkish delight

If at times, as Heidegger remarked, one forgets to be astonished at the very existence of the world, the the pulsating energy and sensory richness — to the point of overload — of Istanbul on the Bosphorus prompts one to remember to be astonished anew. Ten days in Istanbul, too much of it spent at…

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The growing resistance to capitalist work

Here in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the international ISTP (International Society for Theoretical Psychology) Conference has just ended, delegates seemed strangely reluctant to abandon the discussions that have occupied them for a week. And not surprisingly, given the quality of the papers, a case in point being the keynote address by Professor Silvia Federici from New…

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Protests in Greece

Thessaloniki is balmy and sunny, and my partner and I are enjoying our gyros and Mythos beer in the leafy shade of a sidewalk restaurant — an inexpensive and tasty way of surviving in this history-rich Mediterranean country. From where we sit, we can see the colossal statue of Alexander the Great on his steed,…

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Cinema, the growth of credulity, and time

According to Paul Virilio, illusionists (or television magicians like David Copperfield not long ago) find it increasingly difficult to make their tricks appear convincing as something “magical”, …”not for want of skill, but because the field of public credulity has expanded considerably in recent years, keeping step, indeed, with the progress of the mass media”…

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