Monday, June 25, 2012

Updatin' zee blog

Long time, no blog.

Over the past year, I've forgotten what a great exercise blogging is for any student. A habit of writing is also a habit of organizing and critiquing your own thoughts, as well as trolling the interwebz for trendy happenings in the field. After a blasé-faire year, it's time to get back into this.

So what's new?

New name
 -Blog is now Economic Memoirs....Memoirs of an Economics student was supposed to be a play on Memoirs of a Geisha (in my head at least), but I'm not sure that came through in text. So writing an economics themed memoir it is, although that sort of sounds like a collection of short stories...which would be cool too. I'm starting to think of a grad school as a microcosmic childhood- I'm in the rebellious, angsty teenager phase where I change my name, dye my hair, and move to a punk rock commune.

New layout
 -Now featuring one of my favorite old patents for a steam tricycle circa 1886. Old patent drawings are dope.

New intellectual disposition
-Grad school has made me feel angsty, despondent, and generally pissed off at the economic social "science", mainstream and heterodox alike. I'm interested less in debate, more in discussion. Less in right or wrong, and more in empathy. Less parroting, more storytelling.

Talking more about my own interests
-I've realized that what I care about is more broad than I realized. It's more just studying how people get by in different contexts (i.e. under capitalism, over time through history, by race/gender, in patriarchal systems, in whatever other types of relations that involve "provisioning") and how it involves different sets of groups and agents (individuals, families, the state, communities, onward.). Gettin' by is my new technical term for economics. (Since exploitation is a real interest, it can be broaded to gettin' by and gettin' screwed.) The education and student loan stuff are buried somewhere in here, under the intergenerational contract and social reproduction.
-Also, bicycles. I love bicycles. I REALLY love bicycles. I ride my bike hundreds of miles a week, tinker on the daily, read vélo news like I'm getting paid to do it, and truly think that the bicycle is the single most beautiful and elegant mechanical invention in human history. It's evolution and the dynamics of cycling (from racing to casual skooting) somehow represent to me a lot about industrial capitalism, its development, and where we are headed. Columbia Ordinaries were manufactured in old-timey-capitalistic style back in the late 19th the Mondragon Co-op Orbea produces some of the finest race bikes around. There's something creative and beautiful about capitalism that comes through in the bicycle (as well as other mechanical contraptions). What a conflicting feeling.
-Class IRL. We talk about class so much. Working class, exploited class, capitalist class, etc etc, but in reality it's so obfuscated. Class identity is confusing, conflicting, not-so-solidaritous. It's intersected with a gazillion other identities that are often alienated by the way Lefties frame class conflict and politik. It's so much more complex than just who's exploited and who appropriates.
-Local historical stuff. This actually relates back to bicycles. I love old mills, gears, steam engines, foundries, trespassing at abandoned factories, thinking about railroads and canals. Western Massachusetts is full of it. As a native, it's been the base of my historical imagination since birth, so I'm wanting to intersect that with all the nonsense I study.

1 comment:

  1. "It's so much more complex than just who's exploited and who appropriates."

    Not if you actually know a cross-section of the 0.1% -- they is mostly seriously nasty -- but you probably don't.