Listening to the episode on economics. Starts off making the same point as Kate Raworth in Doughnut Economics, that the majority of economics education focuses only on one very narrow view of economics (neo-classical).

Listened to Owls at Dawn episode on the accelerationist manifesto. Good stuff. Good discussion of how the left should organise, horizontal vs vertical, how the left should use tech.  But with a bit more philosophical chat, for example what do they even mean by tech?

Also a bit on what they actually mean by accelerate, as that’s kind of an overloaded term now.

A mix of both horizontal and vertical seems like a sensible conclusion. I keep in mind Kevin Carson’s rebuttal to Inventing the Future though, maintaining that they straw man folk politics.

Final episode of The City & The City was really good.  David Morrissey really grew on me as Borlu.  I read a few reviews after finishing, quite a few a bit sniffy. But I really liked it.

I guess a point if criticism, it didn’t really explore the whole idea of ‘unseeing’. There’s a lot in that, but we ended up more focusing on the mystery and the personal relationships.

If you work with PHP, and are looking for an MVC framework, I would very highly recommend Laravel.  I came from a background working with ASP.NET MVC, and if anything I am finding Laravel more enjoyable to use.  I much prefer C# to PHP as a language, but for some reason I find Laravel incredibly feature-complete and easier to use right out of the box.  The wider ecosystem is great too – for example, we needed some auditing functionality, and lo and behold, there’s a FOSS auditing library that does 99% of what we need already.

I know that in PHP land there is something of a Symfony vs Laravel debate.  From my peruse of the discussion on that, Symfony could be seen as a more rigid and principled framework, while Laravel allows you a little more flex.  In our case this made sense, as we were migrating from a bespoke MVC framework, so a little bit of flexibility helped us reuse a lot of the existing code.

Been doing some reading about lexers and parsers in PHP.  Some useful resources:

The City & The City is really good. Just watched episode 2 and getting hooked. It’s a really interesting concept of a mental border. A means to segregate people psychologically even when there is no physical border.

Plus, loving all the Northern accents.

My fiction book at the moment is Blue Remembered Earth by Alistair Reynolds. I’m enjoying it so far. The characters are a bit flat, but it’s got an interesting mystery in it. One thing I really like is the background world, it’s around mid-22nd century, and Africa, China, and India are the big world powers. It’s not discussed at all in the narrative – but it seems like a very possible future. It’s relatively peaceful and quasi-Utopian, although it’s hinted at that some of that peace seems to come from authoritarian-sounding mass surveillance.

Just watched the first episode of The City & The City. I enjoyed it. It’s a great book and they’ve done a good job of capturing some of the atmosphere of the book. It didn’t look 100% how I pictured it, but I got into it really quickly. It’s a fascinating story.

On a side note, did a street called Gunterstrasse actually feature in the book? It feels like a blatant reference to old divided Berlin, and I don’t recall the book being quite so explicit about that, but maybe I’m just forgetting.

Really interesting to learn that the developer of the ideas of Gross National Product (Kuznets) was also a very vocal critic of it being used as the only measure of a country’s success.

“the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income”.

Was looking for a decent fake smtp server to run locally.  Used papercut before back on Windows.

A good alternative for Linux (cross-platform in fact) looks like Lunatic SMTP (


Episode 21: Worker Cooperatives & System Change with Esteban Kelly

What role can worker coops play as part of a movement for system change?

Really enjoyed this interview with Esteban Kelly of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

Hits some great points like common misconceptions of worker coops (e.g. totally flat structure); the question of ‘get big’ vs ‘replicate’; how coops avoid boom bust cycles.

Interesting distinction of anti-capitalist and acapitalist, that’s a new one on me.

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The Broken Spoke bike coop in Oxford is fundraising to move to a new home – send some solidarity their way if you can spare anything!

They do DIY workshops, mechanics courses, cycle training, events for underrepresented groups, and lots more great stuff.

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Worker Cooperatives Part 2: Islands Within a Sea of Capitalism

by Upstream Podcast from Upstream Podcast
The second episode in our Worker Cooperative series takes a deep dive into the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, the largest network of federated cooperatives in the world.

Another great episode of Upstream. It discusses the coops of Mondragon, and the challenges they faced as they got bigger and brushed up against the global capitalist system. And discusses Cooperation Jackson and their learnings from Mondragon. Emphasises the need for strong political direction in addition to forming coops.

I like the metaphor of islands of coops forming in the sea of capitalism, and eventually they all join up.

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“The oppressed are in a position to build a counterhegemonic practice that mirrors the embryonic values and institutions of the future socialist society, while living within the existing capitalist, patriarchal and racist social order.”

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