Max Weber’s ‘Iron Cage’: Who Will Bend Its Bars?

Yesterday morning, as the students in my Social Philosophy class and I discussed an excerpt from Max Weber‘s The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit of Capitalism, we ran out of time. As my students got up and started to head out for their next commitment (work or the next class), I began reading out loudContinue reading “Max Weber’s ‘Iron Cage’: Who Will Bend Its Bars?”

Nationalism and Climate Change

Many contemporary commentators–sages all of them–have noted that the single most important barrier to expeditious action being taken on climate change is nationalism, that the prioritization of national priorities, the elevation of ‘local’ concerns–possibly short-term and limited in impact–over global ones would ensure failures of co-ordination between precisely those entities–nations–whose joint action is required toContinue reading “Nationalism and Climate Change”

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Consumer Society and its Foundations

The consumer society and the vast political economy it engenders and sustains has long been a subject of philosophical interest, of concern, attention, critique and satire. These acquire an added edge as the toll it exacts on the environment–via global warming–becomes increasingly clear. Novelists have not been immune to its fascinations either. For a longContinue reading “F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Consumer Society and its Foundations”

Sandy: Master Interdictor of Supply Chains

It was on Wednesday morning I finally began to understand New York City had been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, because that symbol of the 24/7 city, the subway, wasn’t running. Since then, there have been dozens and scores of unsettling images: neighborhoods under water (if you can call a foul toxic sludge containing oil,Continue reading “Sandy: Master Interdictor of Supply Chains”

Sandy: A Royal Pain in the Arse

It is Wednesday morning, October 31st, Halloween, here in Brooklyn, in New York City; the sun is out, the winds have died down even as they retain their fall nip, and the subways aren’t running. That little nugget of information should tell you all you need to know about why it’s not business as usualContinue reading “Sandy: A Royal Pain in the Arse”