Is This Progress? This Is Progress.

What Is Kaputall?

Oxford defines Kaput as "broken and useless; no longer working or effective" - similar to our unbalanced economic system. This is a page dedicated to the intersection of capitalism and social, political, and environmental problems.

Friday, 16 January 2015

One Hundred

It's hard to believe, but after nearly four years of writing I've reached a milestone I never really foresaw until recently: my hundredth post. Kaputall started when I was in grad school studying political economy. After a particularly challenging course came to an end, I resolved to continue my exploration of economics and chose a blog as my medium. I really didn't expect to keep up with it, especially not this long.

But this isn't about me: it's about everyone who has participated. Kaputall wouldn't mean anything were it not for everyone reading, sharing, and commenting online or otherwise engaging with me in person. Somehow I've managed to gain a following outside my personal network in North America. I've had hundreds of hits in Russia, France, Japan, and Malaysia all en route to my nearly ten thousand views.

Given that I've managed (somehow) to write a hundred posts, I thought I would share my favourites as a retrospective. Please indulge me. Here are my highlights:

Jian Ghomeshi: Privilege and Consent (October 2014) This was one of the hardest blogs I've ever had to write. It tooks me days to put together my thoughts on the situation, larely out of disbelief. In looking back at Kaputall, I've always attempted to stay current, but this post marks one of the first instances where I was posting on a topic that had truly exploded in Canada. Because my blog often circulates Facebook there were several concurrent threads where intense debate about rape culture, privilege, and consent were taking place. In some measure, this was probably my first truly successful post.

Politicising a Non-Partisan Issue (July 2012): This is one of my favourite posts because it's one of a select few that puts the focus squarely on co-operatives, a topic that I've sadly failed to comment on recently. In the transition between grad school and becoming a teacher I worked for the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation. Having never been exposed to co-operatives I was enamoured with their structure and impact. I was there during the International Year of the Co-operative where I was able to participate in a variety of seminal events, notably the Québec summit. Concurrently, the federal government was attacking the Co-operative Development Initiative, a fund designed to help with the startup and maintenance of co-ops. In writing this post I went to parliament to observe the debate about the CDI and the proposal by Mauril Bélanger, who has gone on to be the real champion of co-ops at the federal level.

Young Capitalists (May 2011) This is one of my earliest pieces - my fifth post in fact - and in reading back on it nearly four years later, I can't help but feel sentimental. I placed this one on the list for the simple reason that it encapsulates what I wanted this blog to be about when Kaputall was conceptualised. It was a critique of culture and society insofar as it was influenced by economics. That was, in a word, my goal when I first started this blog. I've deviated pretty substantially from that in the sense that economics seems to play a smaller and smaller role in my writing, but from time to time it reemerges as a dominant part of Kaputall. Reading back on this post has already given me inspiration for a few new topics on finance. Stay tuned.

What's In a Name? (August 2014) Sometime in the past few years I developped a taste for writing about issues that were personal, removing myself from the detached criticism of the world around me and bringing the spotlight on my own life. On the tenth anniversary of my decision to start going by James, I wrote about my struggle in identifying who I am. It was well received and, to my suprise, actually had a marked impact. My deepest respect goes out to everyone who listened to my message in this post.

Talking About Remembrance (November 2013) I have saved what I feel to be the best of my posts for last. I feel the topic is so incredibly personal while at the same time dealing with my area of academic expertise: history. I wrote about the importance of remembrance, not in some statist conscruct where we sanction war, but in the sense were we work on the act of remembering collectively and individually by taking a critical stance. I wrote specifically that I hoped we would all consider Remembrance Day to be an opportunity to reflect on the cost, meaning, and impact of violence, peace, democracy, and other questions. I'm proud of this piece and I feel that I have not heard the last of that post.

That's how I see one hundred posts. I'd be curious to hear your side.

But before I close, let me just say that I feel so privileged to have people reading my thoughts. Kaputall would not be here were it not for you. Thanks so much for putting up with my writing. It means the world to me that you follow and engage, however critical you are of my perspectives. I hope you can handle one hundred more.

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