Party Blog

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 4: Transparency

George Walkden's picture

Transparency and its sister, the flip side of the coin, privacy, are at the heart of Pirate politics. The first of the seven principles on which the PPUK constitution is founded states that society is built on the sharing of knowledge (and we've already seen how important that is in reducing inequality, according to Piketty). The third principle makes this more explicit with respect to the role of government: "Everyone should have a say in the structure and processes of governance and the right to know what is done on their behalf".

Cybercrime: The Study of Carding

As someone whose used the internet for many years, the term 'Carding' was moderately familiar to me, a term used on unsavory forums and websites to describe the increasingly regimented process of stealing and laundering credit card information.

Drafting a brief history on Wikipedia, I reached out to Reddit's /r/DarkNetMarkets forums for some pointers which has led to be writing the first ever almost-complete history of Carding.

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 3: The Rich Shall Inherit The Earth

George Walkden's picture

One of the refreshing things about Piketty’s book - at least for a humanities academic like me - is that he uses literary sources, particularly the novels of Austen and Balzac, as evidence of attitudes to wealth in the nineteenth century. His favourite episode is from Balzac’s Père Goriot, in which the young protagonist Rastignac is faced with a dilemma: marry Victorine and inherit a vast fortune, or work his way to the top? The cynical Vautrin comes to the rescue with a timely lesson, explaining to young Rastignac that even at the height of a career in law - for which he would have to fight hard and sacrifice much - he would still earn far less than he could simply by marrying into a wealthy family.

A depressing thought for anyone with the slightest attachment to meritocracy. But that sort of society is dead and gone. Isn’t it?

A Pirate reads Piketty, part 2: The Caprices of Technology

George Walkden's picture

Part 2 of Piketty's book deals with the relationship between capital and income over time. There are fluctuations, there are differences between countries, and some forms of capital have changed in importance: agricultural land, for instance, has shrunk to a tiny proportion of the overall capital of the countries investigated. Still, the overall trajectory is pretty clear: capital is on the rise. Piketty cautions that "there is no natural force that inevitably reduces the importance of capital ... over the course of history" (p234).

One contention that should resonate with Pirates is that "technology, like the market, has neither limits nor morality". Piketty clarifies this by arguing that "Progress toward economic and technological rationality need not imply progress toward democratic and meritocratic rationality", and hence that "If one truly wishes to found a more just and rational social order based on common utility, it is not enough to count on the caprices of technology".

6 Years Back - 6 Years Forward - #WeArrSix

Mark Chapman's picture

As the Pirate Party UK celebrates its 6th Birthday this week, it's an opportunity to both look back at what we've achieved as a party, and what we can strive towards over the next 6 years.

In some ways, we've achieved a fair amount simply by still existing - the majority of brand new political parties fold again within the first 5 years. We can be proud too of the many things where we have been at the forefront of campaigning - the Digital Economy Act, DRIPA and the Snoopers Charter, Copyright Reform, Internet Filtering, Democratic Reform and many others.

Over the next 6 years we should be looking to build rapidly on this solid base. We should be focused on building the Pirate name and the Pirate brand across the country and across elections. Having looked at those parties in the UK which have been successful recently (UKIP and the Green Party) what can we hope for in terms of electoral representation over the next 6 years?

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