Datification: the ideology that says that data isn't ideological

Cennydd Bowles's essay on "Datafication and ideological blindness" attacks the business/product-design vogue to base every decision on "data" on the grounds that data reflects objective truth, free from bias. Read the rest

Roddy Piper in THEY LIVE: great analysis by Slavoj Žižek

They Live stars Rowdy Roddy Piper, who died July 31. It's one of the greatest political sci-fi films of all time, and fittingly, it's the opening film analyzed by Slavoj Žižek in The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. Read the rest

The Economist defends America's enslavement of Africans

When The Economist reviewed The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, its anonymous reviewer condemned it, sticking up for America's legacy of slavery as a means of wealth creation, saying "Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery; almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains -- this is not history; it is advocacy." Read the rest

Sales tax is still regressive, gravity still sucks, and George Osborne is still a delusional ideologue

In 2010, UK Chancellor George Osborne surprised the world's economists by declaring that VAT (the UK's ubiquitous sales- and value-added tax) was a progressive tax; this is surprising because there's widespread agreement that sales-taxes are regressive, and bite harder on poor people than rich people. Now the Office of National Statistics has confirmed what economists (except Mr Osborne) already knew: VAT is inherently regressive: "the poorest fifth spent 9.8% of their disposable income on goods attracting VAT in 2009/10, while the richest fifth spent 5.3%." Of course, VAT was only 17.5% then. I'm sure things are much better now that it's 20%. Read the rest