Friday, January 24, 2014

artificial negativity and the big society...,

itself | What is required, as opposed to artificial negativity, is ‘organic negativity’. Here, small communities or regions with practices sufficiently outside state-capital and its codes, resplendent with robust traditions, are capable of truly opposing the state and capital – a thesis that should be certainly familar to readers of this blog in its ‘the church as anti-capitalist’ modulations. In part, for a community to have organic negativity it must partially reject modernity as such. Hence Telos interest in all manner of communities and movements that it believes to be examples of organic negativity. Piccone’s personal favourite was the formulation of postmodern popularism and federalism. One example of this, he believes, was in the original project of the United States where local federated direct democracy combined with minimal centralised government designed to foster collaboration between individual and culturally specific and geographically delimited political communities. Everything, for Piccone, goes sour in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The punishment of the South for its practices of slavery leads to the centre, previously with strictly delimited functions, claiming control over the federation hegemonically. These “unbearable new relations of domination imposed after the Civil war” by the industrial North and Washington lead to resistance from the Midwest and the South against the destruction of their particularity. For Piccone the Klu Klux Klan (I kid you not) are self-defence organisations against the Northern occupation as Birth of A Nation allegedly shows. Hence “America is no alternative to Europe, but its future” – organically negative communities federated beyond the nation state, examples of which Piccone finds apparently across the Midwest and, presumably if he were still around, The Tea Party Movement. Pursuing further instances of artificial negativity lead to a collection of various instances: radical orthodoxy (where liturgy provides a critique of the flat empty time of modernity and connects the local particularities with the transcendent while not erasing their particularity), the French New Right (which broadly agrees with the analysis of modernity and liberalism proffered and recommends ethno-cultural regionalism against the nation-state and liberal European treaties) and one of its practical substantiations in the Italian Lega Nord. If artificial negativity is what is created, it is the ‘new class’ that is the creator. Piccone theorises that mostly The New Class is adapted from Marxist analyses of Stalinism, which claimed that the brutality of Stalin was the result of a formation of a new bureaucratic class of elites which replaced the bourgeois as the oppressors of the massed proletariat. In Telos’ analysis, the New Class similarly replaces the bourgeois in a Marxist analysis, but they are political and cultural as opposed to economic oppressors. Telos had always been indifferent to quantitive social science and the jettisoning of economics and political economy was the hallmark of Telos’ analyses even before its interest in organicity, yet after this turn any concern with the economic as significant category becomes itself complicit with artificial negativity – hence organic negativity is not concerned with economics but culture and politics, and indeed, capitalism is far from the enemy provided it is localised. The New Class is the embodiment of everything that Telos believes to be wrong and which is opposed by the forces of organic negativity: modernity, universality, human rights, large-scale capitalism and the welfare state, abstract individualism, rights discourse, the modern state, formal contractualism, multi-culturalism, affirmative action, repression of organic tradition etc. The New Class have had a fairly long history, and have flowed through a number of forms, including the New Deal and contemporary political correctness – Piccone sometimes traces the movement back to the 19th century, but some contributors, as we know, radical orthodoxy, trace it far further.

 The case of multi-culturalism provides a vital illustration for Telos of the New Class at work and the distinction between artificial and organic negativity. The New Class divides society up into often arbitrary racial groups whose needs can be reflected in and satisfied by the state, allowing the state to interfere with their affairs – artificial negativity. Yet those apparently ethnically delimitated communities who have, in common parlance, kept themselves to themselves and not joined the mainstream of American culture and the New Class politics have been those who have flourished most – an example of organic negativity. To give a flavour – Piccone thinks African Americians have fallen prey to the New Class, but Asian Americans and Italian Americans have not, the kind of posit derived from the French New Right.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

artificial political negativity of the Cathedral is a primary capitalist control mechanism...,

libcom |  It was in the ideological sphere as well that the third major protest, that against massification of the black community, was resolved. Although authentic Afro-American particularity had been undermined by the standardizing imperatives of mass capitalism, the black nationalist reaction paved the way for the constitution of an artificial particularity.[44] Residual idiomatic and physical traits, bereft of any distinctive content, were injected with racial stereotypes and the ordinary petit bourgeois Weltanschauung to create the pretext for an apparently unique black existence. A thoroughly ideological construction of black uniqueness — which was projected universally in the mass market as black culture — fulfilled at least three major functions. First, as a marketing device it facilitated the huckstering of innumerable commodities designed to enhance, embellish, or glorify "blackness".[45] Second, artificial black particularity provided the basis for the myth of genuine black community and consequently legitimated the organization of the black population into an administrative unit — and, therefore, the black elite's claims to primacy. Finally, the otherness-without-negativity provided by the ideologized blackness can be seen as a potential antidote to the new contradictions generated by monopoly capitalism's bureaucratic rationality. By constituting an independently given sector of society responsive to administrative controls, the well-managed but recalcitrant black community justifies the existence of the administrative apparatus and legitimates existing forms of social integration.

In one sense, the decade and a half of black activism was a phenomenon vastly more significant than black activists appreciated while in another sense it was far less significant than has been claimed.[46] As an emancipatory project for the Afro-American population, the "movement" — especially after the abolishment of segregation — had little impact beyond strengthening the existing elite strata. Yet, as part of a program of advanced capitalist reconstruction, black activism contributed to thawing the Cold War and outlined a model to replace it.

By the latter 1960s the New Deal coalition had become obsolete and it was no longer able to fully integrate recalcitrant social strata such as the black population.[47] The New Deal coalition initiated the process of social homogenization and depoliticization Marcuse described as one dimensionality. As Piccone observes, however, by the 1960s the transition to monopoly capitalism had been fully carried out and the whole strategy had become counterproductive.[48] The drive toward homogenization and the total domination of the commodity form had deprived the system of the "otherness" required both to restrain the irrational tendencies of bureaucratic rationality and to locate lingering and potentially disruptive elements. Notwithstanding their vast differences, the ethnic "liberation struggles" and counterculture activism on the one side and the "hard hat" reaction on the other, were two sides of the same rejection of homogenization. Not only did these various positions challenge the one-dimensional order, but their very existence betrayed the inability of the toally administered society to pacify social existence while at the same time remaining sufficiently dynamic.

The development of black activism from spontaneous protest through mass mobilization to system support indicated the arrival of a new era of domination based on domesticating negativity by organizing spaces in which it could be legitimately expressed. Rather than suppressing opposition, the social system now creates its own. The proliferation of government generated reference groups in addition to ethnic ones (the old, the young, battered wives, the handicapped, veterans, retarded and gifted children, etc.)[49] and the appearance of legions of "watchdog" agencies, reveal the extent to which the system manufactures and markets its own illusory opposition.

What makes the "age of artificial negativity" possible is the overwhelming success of the process of massification undertaken since the Depression and in response to it. Universal fragmentation of consciousness, with the corollary decline in the ability to think critically and the regimentation of an alienated everyday life[50] set the stage for new forms of domination built in the very texture of organization. In mass society, organized activity on a large scale requires hierarchization. Along with hierarchy, however, the social management logic also comes into being to (1) protect existing privileges by delivering realizable, if inconsequential, payoffs and (2) to legitimate the administrative rationality as a valid and efficient model. To the extent that the organization strives to ground itself on the mass it is already integrated into the system of domination. The shibboleths which comprise its specific platform make little difference. What is important is that the organization reproduces the manipulative hierarchy and values typical of contemporary capitalism.

Equally important for the existence of this social-managerial form is that the traditional modes of opposition to capitalism have not been able to successfully negotiate the transition from entrepreneurial to administrative capitalism. Thus, the left has not fully grasped the recent shifts in the structure of domination and continues to organize resistance along the very lines which reinforce the existing social order. As a consequence, the opposition finds itself perpetually outflanked. Unable to deliver the goods — political or otherwise — the left collapses before the cretinization of its own constituency. Once the mass model is accepted, cretinization soon follows and from that point the opposition loses any genuine negativity. The Civil Rights and Black Power movements prefigured the coming of this new age; the feminist photocopy of the black road to nowhere was its farcical re-run.

consumer democratization =/= economic democratization - respectable negroe status meant not questioning the existing economic order!

libcom |  Coexisting with this egalitarian ideology was the Civil Rights movement's appeal to a functionalist conception of social rationality. To the extent that it blocked individual aspirations, segregation was seen as restricting artificially social growth and progress. Similarly, by raising artificial barriers such as the construction of blacks' consumer power through Jim Crow legislation and, indirectly, through low black wages, segregation impeded, so the argument went, the free functioning of the market. Consequently, segregation was seen not only as detrimental to the blacks who suffered under it, but also to economic progress as such. Needless to say, the two lines of argument were met with approval by corporate liberals.[31]
Outside the South, rebellion arose from different conditions. Racial segregation was not rigidly codified and the management sub-systems in the black community were correspondingly more fluidly integrated within the local administrative apparatus. Yet, structural, generational and ideological pressures, broadly similar to those in the South, existed within the black elite in the Northern, Western, and Midwestern cities that had gained large black populations in the first half of the 20th century. In non-segregated urban contexts, formal political participation and democratized consumption had long since been achieved: there the salient political issue was the extension of the administrative purview of the elite within the black community. The centrality of the administrative nexus in the "revolt of the cities" is evident from the ideological programs it generated.

Black Power came about as a call for indigenous control of economic and political institutions in the black community.[33] Because one of the early slogans of Black Power was a vague demand for "community control," the emancipatory character of the rebellion was open to considerable misinterpretation. Moreover, the diversity and "militance" of its rhetoric encouraged extravagance in assessing the movement's depth. It soon became clear, however, that "community control" called not for direction of pertinent institutions — schools, hospitals, police, retail businesses, etc. — by their black constituents, but for administration of those institutions by alleged representatives in the name of a black community. Given an existing elite structure whose legitimacy had already been certified by federal social-welfare agencies, the selection of "appropriate" representatives was predictable. Indeed, as Robert Allen has shown,[34] the empowerment of this elite was actively assisted by corporate-state elements. Thus, "black liberation" quickly turned into black "equity," "community control" became simply "black control" and the Nixon "blackonomics" strategy was readily able to "coopt" the most rebellious tendency of 1960s black activism. Ironically, Black Power's supersession of the Civil Rights program led to further consolidation of the management elite's hegemony within the black community. The black elite broadened its administrative control by uncritically assuming the legitimacy of the social context within which that elite operated. Black control was by no means equivalent to democratization.

how come only black americans have "respectable negroe" leaders? where is the "respectable italian" leader of italian americans?

libcom | For the purposes of this analysis, the most salient aspects of the black community in the segregated south lie within a management dimension. Externally, the black population was managed by means of codified subordination, reinforced by customary dehumanization and the omnipresent spectre of terror. The abominable details of this system are well known.[24] Furthermore, blacks were systematically excluded from formal participation in public life. By extracting tax revenues without returning public services or allowing blacks to participate in public policy formation, the local political system intensified the normal exploitation in the work place. Public administration of the black community was carried out by whites. The daily indignity of the apartheid-like social organization was both a product of this political-administrative disenfranchisement as well as a motor of its reproduction. Thus, the abstract ideal of freedom spawned within the Civil Rights movement addressed primarily this issue.

Despite the black population's alienation from public policy-making, an internal stratum existed which performed notable, but limited, social management functions. This elite stratum was comprised mainly of low-level state functionaries, merchants and "professionals" servicing black markets, and the clergy. While it failed to escape the general subordination, this indigenous elite usually succeeded by virtue of its comparatively secure living standard and informal relations with significant whites, in avoiding the extremes of racial oppression. The importance of this stratum was that it stabilized and coordinated the adjustment of the black population to social policy imperatives formulated outside the black community.

Insofar as black public functionaries had assimilated bureaucratic rationality, the domination of fellow blacks was carried out in "doing one's job." For parts of the black elite such as the clergy, the ministerial practice of "easing community tensions" has always meant accommodation of black life to the existing forms of domination. Similarly, the independent merchants and professionals owed their relatively comfortable position within the black community to the special, captive markets created by segregation. Moreover, in the role of "responsible Negro spokesmen," this sector was able to elicit considerable politesse, if not solicitousness, from "enlightened" members of the white elite. Interracial "cooperation" on policy matters was thus smoothly accomplished, and the "public interest" seemed to be met simply because opposition to white ruling group initiatives had been effectively neutralized. The activating factor in this management relation was a notion of "Negro leadership" (later "black" or even "Black") that was generated outside the black community. A bitter observation made from time to time by the radical fringe of the movement was that the social category "leaders" seemed only to apply to the black community. No "white leaders" were assumed to represent a singular white population. But certain blacks were declared opinion-makers and carriers of the interests of an anonymous black population. These "leaders" legitimated their role through their ability to win occasional favors from powerful whites and through the status positions they already occupied in the black community.[25]
Given the racial barrier, social mobility for the black elite was limited, relative to its white counterpart. Because of de facto proscription of black tenure in most professions, few possibilities existed for advancement. At the same tune, the number of people seeking to become members of the elite had increased beyond what a segregated society could accommodate as a result of population growth and rising college attendance. In addition, upward mobility was being defined by the larger national culture in a way that further weakened the capability of the black elite to integrate its youth. Where ideology demanded nuclear physics and corporate management, black upward mobility rested with mortuary service and the Elks Lodge! The disjunction between ideals and possibilities delegitimized the elite's claim to brokerage and spokesmanship. With its role in question, the entrenched black elite was no longer able to effectively perform its internal management function and lost any authority with its "recruits" and the black community in general. As a result, a social space was cleared within which dissatisfaction with segregation could thrive as systematic opposition. 

From this social management perspective, the sources of the "Freedom Movement" are identifiable within and on the periphery of its indigenous elite stratum. As soon as black opposition spilled beyond the boundaries of the black community, however, the internal management perspective became inadequate to understand further developments in the Civil Rights movement. When opposition to segregation became political rebellion, black protest required a response from white ruling elites. That response reflected the congruence of the interests of blacks and of corporate elites in reconstructing southern society and helped define the logic of all subsequent black political activity. Both sets of interests shared an interest in rationalizing race relations in the South. The Civil Rights movement brought the two sets together.[29]

the social order legitimates itself by integrating potentially antagonistic forces into a logic of centralized administration...,

libcom | Over forty years ago Benjamin pointed out that "mass reproduction is aided especially by the reproduction of masses."[1] This statement captures the central cultural dynamic of a "late" capitalism. The triumph of the commodity form over every sphere of social existence has been made possible by a profound homogenization of work, play, aspirations and self-definition among subject populations - a condition Marcuse has characterized as one-dimensionality.[2] Ironically, while U.S. radicals in the late 1960s fantasized about a "new man" in the abstract, capital was in the process of concretely putting the finishing touches on its new individual. Beneath the current black-female-student-chicano-homosexual-old-young-handicapped, etc., etc., ad nauseum, "struggles" lies a simple truth: there is no coherent opposition to the present administrative apparatus.

Certainly, repression contributed significantly to the extermination of opposition and there is a long record of systematic corporate and state terror, from the Palmer Raids to the FBI campaign against the Black Panthers. Likewise, cooptation of individuals and programs has blunted opposition to bourgeois hegemony throughout this century, and cooptative mechanisms have become inextricable parts of strategies of containment. However, repression and cooptation can never fully explain the failure of opposition, and an exclusive focus on such external factors diverts attention from possible sources of failure within the opposition, thus paving the way for the reproduction of the pattern of failure. The opposition must investigate its own complicity.

During the 1960s theoretical reflexiveness was difficult because of the intensity of activism. When sharply drawn political issues demanded unambiguous responses, reflection on unintended consequences seemed treasonous. A decade later, coming to terms with what happened during that period is blocked by nostalgic glorification of fallen heroes and by a surrender which Gross describes as the "ironic frame-of-mind".[3] irony and nostalgia are two sides of the coin of resignation, the product of a cynical inwardness that makes retrospective critique seem tiresome or uncomfortable.[4]
At any rate, things have not moved in an emancipatory direction despite all claims that the protest of the 1960s has extended equalitarian democracy. In general, opportunities to determine one's destiny are no greater now than before and, more importantly, the critique of life-as-it-is disappeared as a practical activity; i.e., an ethical and political commitment to emancipation seems no longer legitimate, reasonable or valid. The amnestic principle, which imprisons the social past, also subverts any hope, which ends up seeking refuge in the predominant forms of alienation.

This is also true in the black community. Black opposition has dissolved into celebration and wish fulfillment. Today's political criticism within the black community — both Marxist-Leninist and nationalist — lacks a base and is unlikely to attract substantial constituencies. This complete collapse of political opposition among blacks, however, is anomalous. From the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott to the 1972 African Liberation Day demonstration, there was almost constant political motion among blacks. Since the early 1970s there has been a thorough pacification; or these antagonisms have been so depoliticized that they can surface only in alienated forms. Moreover, few attempts have been made to explain the atrophy of opposition within the black community.[5] Theoretical reflexiveness is as rare behind Dubois' veil as on the other side!

This critical failing is especially regrettable because black radical protests and the system's adjustments to them have served as catalysts in universalizing one-dimensionality and in moving into a new era of monopoly capitalism. In this new era, which Piccone has called the age of "artificial negativity," traditional forms of opposition have been made obsolete by a new pattern of social management.[6] Now, the social order legitimates itself by integrating potentially antagonistic forces into a logic of centralized administration. Once integrated, these forces regulate domination and prevent disruptive excess. Furthermore, when these internal regulatory mechanisms do not exist, the system must create them. To the extent that the black community has been pivotal in this new mode of administered domination, reconstruction of the trajectory of the 1960s' black activism can throw light on the current situation and the paradoxes it generates.  Fist tap Vic.

social anatomy of racial and ethnic disparities in violence

graphic source
nih | The gap between Whites and Blacks in levels of violence has animated a prolonged and controversial debate in public health and the social sciences. Our study reveals that over 60% of this gap is explained by immigration status, marriage, length of residence, verbal/reading ability, impulsivity, and neighborhood context. If we focus on odds ratios rather than raw coefficients, 70% of the gap is explained. Of all factors, neighborhood context was the most important source of the gap reduction and constitutional differences the least important.

We acknowledge the harsh and often justified criticism that tests of intelligence have endured, but we would emphasize 2 facts from our findings. First, measured verbal/reading ability, along with impulsivity/hyperactivity, predicted violence, in keeping with a long line of prior research.25–28 Second, however, neither factor accounted for much in the way of racial or ethnic disparities in violence. Whatever the ultimate validity of the constitutional difference argument, the main conclusion is that its efficacy as an explainer of race and violence is weak.

Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Blacks are segregated by neighborhood and thus differentially exposed to key risk and protective factors, an essential ingredient to understanding the Black–White disparity in violence.17 The race-related neighborhood features predicting violence are percentage professional/managerial workers, moral/legal cynicism, and the concentration of immigration. We found no systematic evidence that neighborhood- or individual-level predictors of violence interacted with race/ ethnicity. The relationships we observed thus appeared to be generally robust across racial/ ethnic groups. We also found no significant racial or ethnic disparities in trajectories of change in violence.

Similar to the arguments made by William Julius Wilson in The Truly Disadvantaged,20 these results imply that generic interventions to improve neighborhood conditions may reduce the racial gap in violence. Policies such as housing vouchers to aid the poor in securing residence in middle-class neighborhoods43 may achieve the most effective results in bringing down the long-standing racial disparities in violence. Policies to increase home ownership and hence stability of residence may also reduce disparities (see model 3, Table 2 [triangle]).

Family social conditions matter as well. Our data show that parents being married, but not family configuration per se, is a salient factor predicting both the lower probability of violence and a significant reduction in the Black–White gap in violence. The tendency in past debates on Black families has been either to pathologize female-headed households as a singular risk factor or to emphasize the presence of extended kin as a protective factor. Yet neither factor predicts violence in our data. Rather, being reared in married-parent households is the distinguishing factor for children, supporting recent work on the social influence of marriage44,45 and calls for renewed attention to the labor-market contexts that support stable marriages among the poor.46

Although the original gap in violence between Whites and Latinos was smaller than that between Whites and Blacks, our analysis nonetheless explained the entire gap in violence between Whites and Latino ethnic groups. The lower rate of violence among Mexican Americans compared with Whites was explained by a combination of married parents, living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of immigrants, and individual immigrant status. The contextual effect of concentrated immigration was robust, holding up even after a host of factors, including the immigrant status of the person, were taken into account.

The limitations of our study raise issues for future research. Perhaps most important is the need to replicate the results in cities other than Chicago. The mechanisms explaining the apparent benefits to those living in areas of concentrated immigration need to be further addressed, and we look to future research to examine Black–White differences in rates of violence that remain unexplained. As with any nonexperimental research, it is also possible we left out key risk factors correlated with race or ethnicity. Still, to overturn our results any such factors would have to be correlated with neighborhood characteristics and uncorrelated with the dozen-plus individual and family background measures, an unlikely scenario. Even controlling for the criminality of parents did not diminish the effects of neighborhood characteristics. Finally, it is possible that family characteristics associated with violence, such as marital status, were themselves affected by neighborhood residence. If so, our analysis would mostly likely have underestimated the association between neighborhood conditions and violence.

retail giants are dying and with them the malls they anchor...,

cnbc | Get ready for the next era in retail—one that will be characterized by far fewer shops and smaller stores. 

On Tuesday, Sears said that it will shutter its flagship store in downtown Chicago in April. It's the latest of about 300 store closures in the U.S. that Sears has made since 2010. The news follows announcements earlier this month of multiple store closings from major department stores J.C. Penney and Macy's.

Further signs of cuts in the industry came Wednesday, when Target said that it will eliminate 475 jobs worldwide, including some at its Minnesota headquarters, and not fill 700 empty positions.
Experts said these headlines are only the tip of the iceberg for the industry, which is set to undergo a multiyear period of shuttering stores and trimming square footage.

Shoppers will likely see an average decrease in overall retail square footage of between one-third and one-half within the next five to 10 years, as a shift to e-commerce brings with it fewer mall visits and a lesser need to keep inventory stocked in-store, said Michael Burden, a principal with Excess Space Retail Services.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

california drought as seen by kids from the edge of space

The Sierra mountain range as seen from the edge of space in January of 2014. The dry basin at the bottom of the photo is Owens Lake. (Earth to Sky Calculus /January 17, 2014)

LATimes | California's water problem is so bad you can see it from the edge of space.

In the images in the above gallery, some taken at an altitude of 100,000 feet, you can see just how little snow the Sierra Nevada have this year, even though we are halfway through the winter season.
On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in the state, and asked residents to reduce their water use by at least 20%.

The simultaneously gorgeous and disturbing images were captured by a group of high school students from Bishop, Calif., who have been launching large, helium-filled balloons up into the stratosphere on a regular basis for three years.

(If you click all the way through, you will get to see an image of a balloon at the moment it popped.)
The goal of these flights is to learn more about the top of the Earth's atmosphere -- how it is affected by solar activity, and what microbes live up there, for example. But on a flight earlier this month, video cameras attached to the balloon also caught images of the Sierra and Death Valley in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state in decades.

"We had a flight almost exactly a year ago, and at that time the mountains were almost completely covered in snow," said Amelia Phillips, 17. "In the recent images very few mountains were covered with snow. We knew we were in a drought, but it wasn't clear to us before we saw the pictures how bad it is." 

Michael White, 17, another member of the balloon-flying club called Earth to Sky Calculus, said he found the images troubling. "Given that last year was also a low snow year, it is very disconcerting," he said.

The student group is lead by Tony Phillips, an astronomer who runs the website
In one of the images above, you will see a picture of the balloons' launch pad -- a site about 15 miles southwest of Bishop. "For those of us who have been doing these balloon flight for years that is a really striking drought photograph for us," said Phillips. "Those mountains should be covered in snow by now."

baltic dry index: shipping of major raw materials sees worst slide since start of the financial crisis

zerohedge | Despite 'blaming' the drop in the cost of dry bulk shipping on Colombian coal restrictions, it seems increasingly clear that the 40% collapse in the Baltic Dry Index since the start of the year is more than just that. While this is the worst start to a year in over 30 years, the scale of this meltdown is only matched by the total devastation that occurred in Q3 2008. Of course, the mainstream media will continue to ignore this dour index until it decides to rise once again, but for now, 9 days in a row of plunging prices is yet another canary in the global trade coalmine and suggests what inventory stacking that occurred in Q3/4 2013 is anything but sustained. Baltic Dry costs are the lowest in 4 months, down 40% for the start of the year, and the worst start to a year in over 30 years... Fist tap Dale.

harpex: shipping of finished goods appears to be heading toward flatline...,

1. Weekly Rate Assessments

We shall publish on a weekly basis, charter rate levels in US Dollars for the following different size / specification of container ships. These assessments are basis 6-12 month fixtures and are based on actual fixtures reported or heard fixed in the container market each week.

  700 teu gearless abt   700 teu abt   400@14t gearless abt     8400 dwt abt 100 reefer abt 17kn
1100 teu geared abt 1100 teu abt   700@14t geared abt   14000 dwt abt 200 reefer abt 19kn
1700 teu geared abt 1700 teu abt 1100@14t geared abt   22000 dwt abt 200 reefer abt 19kn
2500 teu geared abt 2500 teu abt 1850@14t geared abt   34000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
2700 teu gearless abt 2700 teu abt 2100@14t gearless abt   37000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
3500 teu gearless abt 3500 teu abt 2400@14t gearless abt   42000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
4250 teu gearless abt 4250 teu abt 2800@14t gearless abt   50000 dwt abt 400 reefer abt 23kn
6500 teu gearless abt 6500 teu abt 4900@14t gearless abt   82000 dwt abt 500 reefer abt 24kn
8500 teu gearless abt 8500 teu abt 6350@14t gearless abt 100000 dwt abt 700 reefer abt 25kn

We believe these newly published rates will create a powerful research tool for our clients and readers who can now do the following:
  • Track the actual time charter rates for a particular size of ship over various time frames within the last 10 years.
  • Compare the market fluctuations in the charter rates of different ship sizes, for example, compare the rates for 1700 teu ships against the rates for 2500 teu ships over the last 5 years to see whether there is a correlation between rate changes over such a period.
  • Track the actual time charter rates for various sizes of ship and also show their respective moving averages.
2. Harpex Index

Given the changes above, we have decided to amend the methodology used to calculate our index. Our Harpex index was originally developed in 2004 and we feel now is the right time to update and improve the method of calculation in order to better represent the current container charter market. Based on the new methodology we shall be providing an index figure each calendar week, as we did previously. The index will now be based on rate assessments taken from following seven classes of ship, rather than the previous eight classes of ship.

  700 teu gearless abt   700 teu abt   400@14t gearless abt   8400 dwt abt 100 reefer abt 17kn
1100 teu geared abt 1100 teu abt   700@14t geared abt 14000 dwt abt 200 reefer abt 19kn
1700 teu geared abt 1700 teu abt 1100@14t geared abt 22000 dwt abt 200 reefer abt 19kn
2500 teu geared abt 2500 teu abt 1850@14t geared abt 34000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
2700 teu geared abt 2700 teu abt 2100@14t gearless abt 37000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
3500 teu gearless abt 3500 teu abt 2400@14t gearless abt 42000 dwt abt 300 reefer abt 22kn
4250 teu gearless abt 4250 teu abt 2800@14t gearless abt 50000 dwt abt 400 reefer abt 23kn

We have also retroactively calculated the index for the last ten years based on this new methodology and figures for the last three years are available on the website.

We hope everyone finds this useful and should anyone have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

sectarianism: these humans purportedly becoming less violent - with one exception

alternet |  Studies demonstrate the world is becoming less violent, and that human warfare is on the decline. There is one aspect of the human existence, however, that continues to ignite humans to commit violence and atrocities against fellow humans. A major new study published by the Pew Research Center [3] shows that religious hostilities reached a 6-year high in 2012.

Dr. Steven Pinker, Pulitzer prize-winning author and Harvard psychology professor, writes, “Today we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence.” He acknowledges: “In a century that began with 9/11, Iraq, and Darfur, the claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene.” Pinker points out, wars make headlines, but there are fewer conflicts today, and wars don’t kill as many people as they did in the Middle Ages, for instance. Also, global rates of violent crime have plummeted in the last few decades. Pinker notes that the reason for these advances are complex but certainly the rise of education, and a growing willingness to put ourselves in the shoes of others has played its part.

Religiosity, however, continues to play its part in promoting in-group out-group thinking, which casts the difference between people in terms of eternal rewards and punishments. Sam Harris, author of Letter to a Christian Nation, observes, “Faith inspires violence in two ways. First, people often kill other human beings because they believe the creator of the universe wants them to do it…Second, far greater numbers of people fall into conflict with one another because they define their moral community on the basis of their religious affiliation: Muslims side with Muslims, Protestants with Protestants, Catholics with Catholics.”

According to the Pew Research Center, a third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Notably, religious hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas, with the most dramatic increases felt in areas still reeling from the effects of the 2010-11 political uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

The study demonstrates there has been a sizable increase in the share of countries with high or very high levels of social hostilities involving religion. “Incidents of abuse targeting religious minorities were reported in 47% of countries in 2012, up from 38% in 2011, and 24% in the baseline year of the study (2007).” Pew cites several illustrations of religious minorities being attacked by the perpetrators of the majority faith. In Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, for example, monks attacked Muslim and Christian places of worship in April 2012. Several worshippers were killed in an attack on a Coptic Orthodox Church in Libya, which according to the U.S. State Department was the first attack on a church in Libya since the 2011 revolution.

“One of the common things we see in that group of countries is sectarian conflict,” said Brian J. Grim, senior researcher at Pew Research. “In Pakistan, even though minority religious groups like Christians face hostility, there’s also inter-Muslim conflict between Sunnis, Shias and Ahmadi Muslims.”


jamesrmaclean | Sectionalism has been used in two closely related senses. One refers to a regional division, such as a group of states (i.e., divisions of a country) or provinces. The other refers to a division of society that makes its money a certain way. The two concepts are closely related, since sectional divisions of a country usually correspond to reliable generalizations as to the source of each section's wealth.

Sectional interests often come into conflict, but typically the parties involved are aware of the unlikelihood of a victory in open struggle. There are a few historical cases in which sectionalism has erupted into civil war; this site takes the position that most allegedly "ethnic" or "sectarian" conflicts are actually sectional conflicts caused by a breakdown of sectional comity.

In the United States
The obvious example of a sectional conflict is the one that raged between the CSA and the northern states, or residual of the United States. Here, the most compelling difference between the two sections was that one relied heavily on slavery, while the other found slavery threatening. More schematically, one relied on the endless expansion of exactly the same system (gangs of slaves working on freshly cleared land to produce the same cash crop in ever-greater volume); the other was a diversified economy which ranged from semi-subsistence farming to large-scale industrial enterprise. The "sections" of the Union advanced fundamentally incompatible claims to the vast amounts of territory that the USA either bought, seized, or divided. Even when significant numbers of actual slaves were not present (Kansas) or never could be (as was alleged with New Mexico and Arizona), the dividing sectional principle was too basic to be resolved peacefully. A crucial claim of the Southern partisans was that, regardless of the merits of slavery, restrictions on slavery in the territories (or, for that matter, the states themselves) represented a violation of the equal protection of Southern slaveowners per se. Under slavery, captive humans in servitude were capital, but if slavery was illegal in a territory—or even in a neighboring state—then one type of capitalist was not allowed in. And while the great majority of Whites in the South owned few or no slaves, slaveowners were the politically decisive class.[1]

The North also had sectional interests, ones that bound the East with the West: the industrial system that united them depended on a much costlier system of public works, public education, and governmental regulation. Slavery typically faired best in cases where law enforcement was cheap and crude, and dominated entirely by slaveowners. In industrial systems where there was rapid innovation and complex networks of contracts, patents, public services, and technical competition from established foreign companies. The most obvious example was tariff policy and public improvements, but additional issues concerned the nationalization of state debts, federal control over banking and securities, and land policy.[2] The fundamental difference was that the survival of the Northern economy required a reliable foundation for rapid technological innovation and implementation, while the South was highly sensitive to cost. Moreover, the South was threatened by the relative rise of the North as a political counterweight.

After the Civil War, the sectional interests shifted somewhat. The South was still hypersensitive to costs, such as taxes and rising wages; the North was still responding to rapid changes in technology and high fixed costs for plants. But Southern planters could no longer control the entire political structure as easily as before; there were now rival bases of political power (between 1868 and 1898, African American voters were such a base). At the same time, the interests in the North who had demanded a strong government hand in the economy to ensure the creation of power industrial corporations, by the end of Reconstruction, were increasingly at swords points with the burgeoning populism of their workforce and small farmers. Tariffs were high, but labor was militant and populist democracy was corrupt; while the robber barons had tended to champion a strong government leading up to the Grant Administration, and bribed the one they had on a prodigious scale, they were faced with a sinkhole of malfeasance.[3] In response, they favored the creation of the firm as surrogate to the state: the modern industrial corporation. This was to be the ultimate counterforce to social democracy in the United States, and it meshed with the sectional interests of the planters. Not only could planters form a permanent coalition with the corporate elites to defeat social democratic legislation at the federal level, they could also continue to use their rising economic hegemony as a unifying enemy for poor Southern Whites. The South remained totally dominated by one political party (the Democrats) until the late 1960's, but in Southern states the party actually housed multiple rival factions; the politically conservative faction sided with Northern Republicans, while the populist faction sided with the (weak) Northern Democrats.

Since the time of the Civil Rights Movement, sectional alignments have evolved further; they still have a decidedly economic orientation, with the Democratic Party corresponding to industry and the Republican Party corresponding to resource extraction, farming, financial services, and business management. Casual observers usually assume the Democratic Party is liberal (and hypocritical), while the Republican Party is conservative (and sincere). In reality, both parties are conservative, but oriented towards different sectional interests. The Democratic Party favors public education, public works, and a robust regulatory regime; the Republican Party sometimes claims it does also, but its position towards all three is hectoring and unsupportive. The Republican Party, in turn, favors minimal government role in the economy, and a compensatory maximal role of the state in enforcing market incentives. These are compatible with the "night watchman state" popular among extractive industries such as factory farming, mining, and fossil fuels; and the punitive enforcement of incentives popular with financial services and business management (as a separate political section).

Monday, January 20, 2014

silent political privilege

slate |  The excuses are weak. In the words of the committee report, “it is difficult to believe that Holder’s judgment would be so monumentally poor that he could not understand how he was being manipulated by Jack Quinn.” And presidential pardons don’t just slip through like this, especially not pardons of wanted fugitives. If Holder had followed protocols and made sure the Justice Department was looped in, there’s no way that Rich would have been pardoned. Hundreds of thousands of men sit in American prisons doing unconscionably long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. DNA tests routinely turn up cases of unjust convictions. But Marc Rich bought his pardon with money and access, and the committee’s response to that purchase is worth quoting in full:
The President abused one his most important powers, meant to free the unjustly convicted or provide forgiveness to those who have served their time and changed their lives. Instead, he offered it up to wealthy fugitives whose money had already enabled them to permanently escape American justice. Few other abuses could so thoroughly undermine public trust in government.
But there was no real lasting damage to trust in government, or to anyone’s reputation, really. Bill Clinton retired to wealth and adulation. Eric Holder got his wish and eventually became attorney general. And Marc Rich died a wealthy man in Switzerland. He never came back to the United States—if he had returned, he would have been subject to civil suits, which would have ended up costing him money—but he was able to live out the rest of his life without having to worry about being arrested, having bought his freedom from craven politicians who were only too willing to sell.

silent technical privilege

slate |  It frustrates me that people not in the majority demographic often need to be tough as nails to succeed in this field, constantly bearing the lasting effects of thousands of micro-inequities. Psychology Today notes that according to one researcher, Mary Rowe:
[M]icro-inequities often had serious cumulative, harmful effects, resulting in hostile work environments and continued minority discrimination in public and private workplaces and organizations. What makes micro-inequities particularly problematic is that they consist in micro-messages that are hard to recognize for victims, bystanders and perpetrators alike. When victims of micro-inequities do recognize the micro-messages … it is exceedingly hard to explain to others why these small behaviors can be a huge problem.
In contrast, people who look like me can just kinda do programming for work if we want, or not do it, or switch into it later, or out of it again, or work quietly, or nerd-rant on how Ruby sucks or rocks or whatever, or name-drop monads. And nobody will make remarks about our appearance, about whether we're truly dedicated hackers, or how our behavior might reflect badly on “our kind” of people. That's silent technical privilege.

Ideally, we want to spur interest in young people from underrepresented demographics who might never otherwise think to pursue CS or STEM studies. There are great people and organizations working toward this goal. Although I think that increased and broader participation is critical, a more immediate concern is reducing attrition of those already in the field. For instance, according to a 2012 STEM education report to the president:
[E]conomic forecasts point to a need for producing, over the next decade, approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions. Fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. Merely increasing the retention of STEM majors from 40% to 50% would generate three quarters of the targeted 1 million additional STEM degrees over the next decade.
That's why I plan to start by taking steps to encourage and retain those who already want to learn. So here's a thought experiment: For every white or Asian male expert programmer you know, imagine a parallel universe where they were of another ethnicity and/or gender but had the exact same initial interest and aptitude levels. Would they still have been willing to devote the 10,000-plus hours of deliberate practice to achieve mastery in the face of dozens or hundreds of instances of implicit discouragement they would inevitably encounter over the years? Sure, some super-resilient outliers would, but many wouldn't. Many of us would quit, even though we had the potential and interest to thrive in this field.

I hope to live in a future where people who already have the interest to pursue CS or programming don't self-select themselves out of the field. I want those people to experience what I was privileged enough to have gotten in college and beyond: unimpeded opportunities to develop expertise in something that they find beautiful, practical, and fulfilling.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

NFL 2014: A Whole New Meaning to the Term Super Bowl

contraction, collapse, and joblessness definitely turn weak groups violent

WaPo |  Jorge Rios, 11 rifle rounds and a silver cross decorating his black flak jacket, lost his job as a dishwasher in Tucson for driving without a license.

Santos Ramos Vargas, at 43 the oldest of this gang, got deported from Menlo Park, Calif., when he was caught carrying a pistol. 

Adolfo Silva Ramos might be with his 2-year-old daughter in Orange County rather than wearing a camouflage cap and combat boots if he hadn’t been busted selling marijuana and crystal meth while in high school there.

The two dozen men standing guard on a rutted road that cuts through these lime groves and cornfields are just one small part of a citizen militia movement spreading over the lowlands of western Mexico. But as they told their stories, common threads emerged: Los Angeles gang members. Deported Texas construction workers. Dismissed Washington state apple pickers. 

Many were U.S. immigrants who came back, some voluntarily but most often not, to the desiccated job market in the state of Michoacan and found life under the Knights Templar drug cartel that controls the area almost unlivable. They took up arms because they were financially abused by the extortion rackets run by the Templars. Because they had family killed or wounded by their enemies. Because carrying a silver-plated handgun and collecting defeated narcos’ designer cellphones as war booty is more invigorating than packing cucumbers. Because they get to feel, for once, the sensation of being in charge. 

“Everybody’s with us, all the people,” said Edgar Orozco, a 27-year-old American citizen who left his job at a Sacramento body shop nine months ago to join the fight after the Knights Templar killed his uncle and cousin. “We’re not going to disarm. Never.” 

Up and down the ranks of this group challenging the authority of the Mexican state are men who have brought their formative experiences in the United States to play in this chaotic uprising.

The movement’s top leader, surgeon Jose Manuel Mireles, lived for several years in Sacramento and worked for the Red Cross. Since he was injured in a plane crash earlier this month, much of the movement’s military leadership has fallen to a 34-year-old El Paso car salesman named Luis Antonio Torres Gonzalez, known as “El Americano” because he was born in the States. He joined the militia after he was kidnapped on a routine family vacation to Michoacan in October 2012. His relatives sold land and took up collections to pay his $150,000 ransom. 

After that, he began plotting with Mireles and others to take revenge on the Knights Templar, an uprising that began last February when residents from three towns — Tepalcatepec, Buena Vista, and La Ruana — marshaled whatever rifles and shotguns they could find and seized control. Since then, the militia has spread to more than 20 towns, nearly encircling the region’s largest city, Apatzingan, a stronghold of the drug gang. 

The Knights Templar retaliated by attacking electricity substations and burning pharmacies and convenience stores. The militia has achieved what thousands of Mexican soldiers and federal police stationed in Michoacan have failed to do: impede the operations of this powerful cartel on a large scale.

does religion turn weak groups violent?

physorg | But new research by a team of Arizona State University faculty has uncovered one factor that increases the likelihood that weak groups will engage in with stronger groups, despite the likelihood of defeat. That factor is religious infusion, or the extent to which religion permeates a 's public and private life.

"Under normal circumstances, weak folks don't try to beat up on stronger folks," says Steven Neuberg, a psychology professor at ASU and the lead researcher on the project. "But there's something about a group being religiously infused that seems to make it feel somewhat invulnerable to the potential costs imposed by stronger groups, and makes it more likely to engage in costly conflict."

Their findings are published in the January issue of Psychological Science, the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. Their work was also written about in the Huffington Post last summer.

The study Neuberg and his team undertook, part of the Global Group Relations Project, spanned five continents and included nearly 100 sites around the globe. The countries included in the project together account for nearly 80 percent of the world's population.

"Our sites include the most populated countries of the world – China, India, USA, Brazil – as well as a wide range of others," says Carolyn Warner, an ASU political science professor and a co-principal investigator on the project. "This breadth and diversity is rarely the case in studies of religion and conflict."

Most research on group conflict employs one of two methods – the case study, which closely examines a particular location or situation in which conflict occurs – or a quantitative analysis of data pulled from existing studies.

For this project, researchers recruited a large, international network of social scientists with expertise on the sites selected for study. These "expert informants" responded to an Internet survey, answering a wide range of questions on a host of social, political, religious and psychological variables about the groups being studied.

Neuberg and his team examined the data to learn how religion might shape intergroup conflict around the world. They focused on two factors known to increase conflict: incompatibility of values and competition for .

They found that religious infusion was an important factor in predicting conflict in both situations. In cases where two groups held incompatible values, the groups tended to exhibit increased prejudice and discrimination against one another only if religion permeated their everyday lives.

More surprising, however, is the finding on how religious infusion affects groups competing for limited resources and power. Only the disadvantaged groups that are religiously infused are more likely to engage in violence.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

scientists growing more politically active and radicalized...,

peaksurfer | "Rather than spurning financial system terrorists, Holmgren urges activists to become “terra-ists”; to directly bring down the system by thousands of acts of economic disobedience."
A ferment in the environmental movement, brewing for many years, has now bubbled up into the blogosphere. We are dipping our ladle in here to take a little taste of it, even though we are quite certain it is not done fermenting.

Bill McKibben has been stirring the wort of whether social activism can save us for many years. In Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet, as in The End of Nature a quarter century earlier, he poignantly waffled, in elegant prose, between hope and despair. Since launching — “the first political action with a number for a name” — he has urged those of us with any remaining shred of hope for our children’s future, given what we now know about climate change, to step up and lay our lives on the line. Get arrested. Risk lengthy jail terms and even death to stop this atrocity. Do not go gentle into that good night.

Words to this effect we have heard much longer and louder from Derrick Jensen, another eloquent writer, the difference being that McKibben advocates for non-violence in the mold of Gandhi and King, while Jensen has no qualms about advocating violence. Naomi Klein, another stirring writer with an arrest record, calls for acts of resistance large and small. McKibben is tepid about taking on capitalism’s growth imperative, as though it were not a major contributing factor, while neither Holmgren, Klein nor Jensen have any such reservations.

Thus we are tasting many different flavors of leadership, or literary guidance, in the shaping of the nascent climate resistance movement.

Scientists themselves have been growing politically more active and radicalized, as Klein described in her October New Statesman essay. If you go back enough years you’ll find scientists like Dennis Meadows, Howard Odum and James Lovelock, all of whom correctly foresaw the impending collision between consumer civilizations and natural systems. Lovelock made a series of climate-and-society predictions that went unheeded for 20 years but hold up well in retrospect.

nytimes: all kind of obscure isht, but not a peep about getting rid of "race"...,

NYTimes |  Here are some concepts you might consider tossing out with the Christmas wrappings as you get started on the new year: human nature, cause and effect, the theory of everything, free will and evidence-based medicine.

Those are only a few of the shibboleths, pillars of modern thought or delusions — take your choice — that appear in a new compendium of essays by 166 (and counting) deep thinkers, scientists, writers, blowhards (again, take your choice) as answers to the question: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?

The discussion is posted at Take a look. No matter who you are, you are bound to find something that will drive you crazy. 

John Brockman, the literary agent and provocateur who presides over intellectual bar fights at Edge, his online salon, has been posing questions like this one since 1998. The questions have included what you believe but can’t prove, how the Internet is changing everything, and what you’ve changed your mind about.

“It’s really the same thing every time,” Mr. Brockman said over the phone, explaining that this year’s question had arisen at a conference on the social sciences last summer and immediately engendered a debate about whether it was suitable for the Edge forum.

Mr. Brockman’s contributors, many of whom are his clients, are a rambunctious lot who are unified by little more than a passion for ideas and the love of a good fight. (He represents several New York Times writers, although not this one.) 

Some are boldface names in the pop-science firmament, like Freeman Dyson, the mathematician and futurist at the Institute for Advanced Study; Steven Pinker, the best-selling linguist from Harvard; Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and best-selling atheist from Oxford University; and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist who invented the notion of flow, or being completely lost in what you are doing, and who says scientists need to let go of the idea that the truths they find are good for all time and place.

“Some are indeed true,” Dr. Csikszentmihalyi says, “but others depend on so many initial conditions that they straddle the boundary between reality and fiction.”