Dry Not White Powder – Close-Up Culture
Often with great success as evidenced by stage play Enron and film The Big Short. The latest director to cast their beady eye over the dark side of capitalism is Sarah Burgess whose play Dry Powder has just opened at the Hampstead Theatre in North London. Financial terms litter the script although buyers of the play’s programme can get to grips with them beforehand if they turn to the useful ‘glossary of terms’. The play is built around a deal that KMM Capital Management, a Manhattan based private equity manager, is trying to complete. KMM director Seth has been working on the purchase assiduously, in the process assuring Landmark boss Jeff Schrader that all will be good once the deal has been done. Everyone seems happy bar Seth’s fellow director Jenny. Jenny, a ruthless driven piece of work, believes the best return on Landmark can be made by offshoring all production to Bangladesh, sacking all bar a handful of the Sacramento staff and selling its luggage into China. The only love affair Jenny has had is with algebra as a child – and her job. The only clue I will give is that this is not a play where the moral case for private equity is advanced. The play’s opening and closing are a little underwhelming – Jenny first discussing with Rick a speech she will be making to finance students at New York University – and then at the play’s death her delivering it. Maybe Atwell’s Jenny sets the ‘bastard’ bar too high. Occasionally, the play disappears up itself in financial jargon but the set is clever and it all has an energy that keeps you watching straight through for one hour and 45 minutes.
compassion – Septisphere
The problem with political beliefs is there’s not much you can do with them. If your government offends your sensibilities there’s little you can do except complain about it and perhaps try to convince others of your point of view. You can of course try to bring about political change but this is a very large undertaking, and it brings a whole set of problems and compromises. The great thing about personal ethics is they apply to everything you control, and nothing you don’t. My ethics apply to my own sovereign self; to my actions, my habits, my goals, my relationships and my interactions with others. It’s strange that my culture places a very high value on democracy, yet has not incorporated it into day-to-day morality. At a guess, this is because democracy only appeared for us roughly 200 years ago, but our traditions of personal morality are much older, and haven’t kept up with the changes. The person who is just doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings; she seeks the outcome that is fair to all involved. The democratic person cares less about the outcome than about the process; she tries to ensure that the outcome is determined by those who are most affected by it, and not simply by those who have the most power. A democratic person would never impose a solution on others, even if that solution was kind and just. She would influence others, not by force or intimidation or manipulation, but through persuasion, negotiation and compromise. Of course it wouldn’t make sense to be 100% democratic all the time, any more than it would make sense to always be 100% compassionate or 100% fair.
Due to social and infrastructure collapse brought about by war. Thanks to American economic and foreign policies, these people have had much taken away from them, even hope. I believe ISIS has more to do with economic injustice than religion; if those people did not have to suffer such deprivation, they would likely not need to turn to violence. I find it just that they are fighting back against the U.S., because we have authored much of their misery through our economic policies. Conservatives seem to prefer individual charity over just social policy. I suppose giving charity makes them feel good when they deign to provide it, but the problem is that individual charity is spotty at best, and so does not reach as far as needed. There are simply not enough people to give money or time or goods where they are needed, so individual charity does not have much effect. It certainly does not change the cause of the suffering. Perhaps this is another reason conservatives are against social justice – it reduces their opportunities for doing feel-good charity. I prefer to change society, so that suffering of the magnitude mentioned above does not occur. Although Band-Aid work such as that provided by Mother Teresa is necessary in the short term, larger change in attitudes and policy is needed. By all means, contribute to your favorite charity, but also vote properly and work to change society so that all can share in our prosperity.