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Pathfinders: Tempus Non Fugit

Socialists who are not among today’s socially-connected youth and who do not read The Sun newspaper will probably never have heard of Jack Maynard, the Brighton YouTube vlogger (like blogger, but with video, geddit?) and will certainly not care that he got himself thrown off I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here late last year after just three days on the show. But the reason for his summary expulsion from this must-be-seen-on if not must-see show is revealing.

Pathfinders: A Rattle of Blockchains

"Blockchains could change our world as much over the next two decades as the internet has over the last two" -  source: zdnet.com - https://tinyurl.com/mp372v5

The thing about revolutions is that it's not always obvious when you're in one. They only reveal themselves in hindsight. Now some are saying there's a new revolution on the horizon that will be as huge as the internet. They claim it will change capitalism, see banks disappear, even abolish global poverty. When we last mentioned this development (Pathfinders, October 2015) investment in it stood at around $360 million. Today it's close to $2 billion, and this may be only the trickle before the torrent (ft.com - tinyurl.com/yb5zpdeh).

This is the world of the blockchain, and it has implications for socialists too. To understand it though, it's worth understanding something about networks.

Pathfinders: The Fall and Rise of the Electric Car

Connoisseurs of outlandish conspiracy theories will fondly remember one set of nerdy non-petrol-heads who, a few years ago, were desperate to tell us at great length why and how the electric car industry had been effectively 'killed' by the existing fossil car producers. Not that the carmakers were entirely innocent of any ill-will, but the failure of this early horizon tech at that time didn't require any complicated or conspiratorial explanation. There was simply a lack of market demand and social infrastructure including charging stations. Fast forward a few years and these same nerds must now be mourning the death of their pet conspiracy, killed off by a changed political, environmental and commercial landscape. Now that France has announced a plan to phase out all diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and the UK has followed suit with a similar scheme, the electric car industry is well and truly plugged in and heating up once again.

Throw Away the Stick

Last month's headlines were dominated, to the surprise of many, by the revelation that a Hollywood producer was in the habit of using his position of power and influence to get aspiring young hopefuls to have sex with him.

This can't have been news to anyone but the naive. Theatre like everything else in capitalism has been reduced to a squalid money business where the rich exploit the efforts, and sometimes the bodies, of young people desperate for advancement and not rich enough to say no. Actors are workers and workers have to sell themselves as commodities on the labour market. That labour market is nearly always a buyer's market, and when the buyer is a man who has sex instead of scruples on the brain, it's not hard to grasp what is likely to happen.

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