Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Euston Manifesto

With 2006 drawing to its end I read Roger Cohen's column in today's IHT. It addressed something called "The Euston Manifesto", the kind of progressive democratic alliance so urgently needed in America (and perhaps also in a Europe with politicians like Pia Kjærsgaard and Lech Kaczynski?).

To sign up:

http://eustonmanifesto.org/

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Season’s greetings, ehh... a Merry Christmas!

Out travelling again, this time to Stockholm, there I will spend the holidays with Nilla and her family. With the sun barely peeking over the horizon at this time of the year in Sweden, one really comes to appreciate the few hours of daylight that we do get. Surprisingly, first class turned out to be cheaper on this busy travelling day so right now I am relaxing in a large comfy seat, enjoying free coffee and the Swedish forests.

As some of you might have noticed, I have been rather absent from the blogosphere lately. Sorry for this but there has simply been so much exciting political philosophy to do. Yesterday I finished my WPSA paper for Las Vegas (thanks Marcus for valuable comments!), and right now I am getting ready to write the ECPR paper Beyond the Rawlsian Monologue due for presentation in Helsinki later in May. In my work I think I am finally seeing some progress on a long-standing puzzle (the non-identity problem). In a slightly hyperactive mode I wrote 18 pages in two days, finally ridding myself of the writer’s bloc that I have been suffering from in the last months. Now, I am more than eager to actually tour those conferences and get some feedback on my new ideas.

Finally, I wish you all a frohe Weihnachten und alles Gute im neuen Jahr!

PS. Great news yesterday from space as well, Fuglesang made a safe landing at Kennedy Space Center, wrapping up his 13 days and 8.5 million kilometres voyage, a voyage which has finally brought space into the lunch room at Eden...

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Procrastination in space

With Fuglesang in orbit and a bleak sun shining through the windows of Tornhem, I once again have a hard time concentrating on writing my WPSA paper due for presentation in Las Vegas in early March 2007.

While browsing endless internet pages I came across this:

Beyond the Drake Equation

Take some time off and read this page, enter your own estimates, and explore how the formula works. I did it and, even as I have been writing about Drake before, it give me a sense of renewed direction in my own work. Don’t worry, I will not put this in the final paper, I just had to write it down for myself:

"It is likely that each generation considers themselves to be living at a critical juncture in time. Yet, it is hard to argue that the stakes for humanity have ever been higher than in the past half century. As our instrumental capacity has continued to surge we have become increasingly responsible for the future of our species and the survival of the planet at large. Looking ahead, it seems warranted to speak of a bifurcation in human history. By the end of the 21st century we will most likely know where the balance lies; if we will use the destructive forces of modernity to annihilate ourselves or if we will be able to tame the same forces and build a planetary civilization of peace and prosperity."

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Discovery on its way!

And… we have lift-off!

The last days, a lot of focus in Sweden has been on our first-ever astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, who, two days delayed, blasted off from Kenedy Space Center early this morning on a twelve day mission to the International Space Station. As some of you know, I have myself been doing some research on space policy and also vigorously advocated space industrialization as a strategy for achieving environmental sustainability.

With Christer on his way I can only hope that this will lift our spirits and increase public understanding in Sweden about the importance of further space missions.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Keynes

After a long night, waiting for Christer Fuglesang to not launch into space while writing a research application with Nilla, I feel rather tired this morning. To get some inspiration I once again turn to John Maynard Keynes, something which warrants a quote from his wonderful essay The Economic Possibilities of our Grandchildren, written in 1930:

“We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the nineteenth century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down ... I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another”.

So true.

Monday, December 04, 2006

December

December. Following a large serving of microwave lasagne in the lounge car, I am now curling up in my seat as the high-speed train makes it way south towards Lund. The same forests and lakes as below, only that today the distances remain somewhat more tangible.

Inclined to agree with Mikael Persson in the latest issue of Vagabond, it is indeed more civilized to travel by train. Though maybe not as epic as when abroad with olive trees outside the window, there are still those hours of solitude; time to reflect, do some editing and perhaps listen to Ebba Forsberg. Who, by the way, was on posters all over Stockholm. And, thanks for all insightful comments on my paper to re-public, I will submit it any day now.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Time and the politics of climate change

While waiting at Arlanda Airport for Nilla to return from Vilnius last Friday, I spent the afternoon working on a text for the on-line journal re-public and their upcoming special issue on “time and governance”. First I published a draft (entitled "time and the politics of climate change") here on Rawls & Me, soliciting for comments. However, since Google has an excellent memory for everything published on Blogger I decided to remove it in preparation for final submission to the journal.

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