What the Hell is Going on in the World? LINKS 01/11/18


The vintage beauty of Soviet control rooms:





On China’s “social credit” system:

This article wasn’t meant to be about China so much as foreign coverage of China. China’s Social Credit is often used as removed way of discussing our own situation from a safe distance. This is, of course, also the role that science fiction like “Black Mirror” and Orwell’s 1984 has traditionally played, so it isn’t surprising to see them invoked here as well. We look at exotified foreign nations or speculative futures in order to reflect on our present, but what we take away from it likely says more about us than about the subject of our examination.

This is all fine, but it’s important to also remember that there are two stories worth exploring here; what is actually happening in China and what we fear is happening to ourselves.



Is everything we think we know about depression wrong?

Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific.” Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”



Ryan Cooper on “the dawn of American socialism“:

…of all countries in existence, Norway has gone perhaps the furthest in the world towards the overall vision of socialism…and it’s not notably un-free. Some 35 percent of its workers are employed directly by the government, and 70 percent of its workers are unionized. It has state-owned enterprises whose total value adds up to 88 percent of GDP (as compared to 0.4 percent in the U.S.). Most notably, Norway has considerable oil reserves, and has used them to build up a tremendous sovereign wealth fund, which owns about $950 billion in assets — among them about 1.3 percent of all the listed equities in the world.

Contrary to the red-baiting of The New York Times’ Bret Stephens, who insists that anything even slightly socialistic is a short route to Soviet gulags, Norway is not a totalitarian hellscape. On the contrary, it’s one of the most decent, free societies on the planet, and was ranked the happiest country on the globe by the United Nations in 2017 — rather remarkable especially given how cold and dark the place is much of the year.

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