Having a cow has been the goal of ownership from time immemorial. (Heads of) cows is the root of capitalism, and the word "cattle" too originally meant "property".
The most successful mammalian species (measured in biomass), success has come at a cost. And the relationship with Homo sapiens sapiens is also up for reevaluation. Are we at last leaving the Age of Taurus, or are we reinventing it?
For those of us that enjoy the American spectacle every leap year and the fulfilment and joy that comes with it. Who's in, who's out? Who'll win and who'll claim it's all rigged? Who'll have the best party and who the longest hangover?
Yet there is a growing feeling among economists, political scientists and even national governments that the nation state is not necessarily the best scale on which to run our affairs. We must manage vital matters like food supply and climate on a global scale, yet national agendas repeatedly trump the global good. At a smaller scale, city and regional administrations often seem to serve people better than national governments.
How, then, should we organise ourselves? Is the nation state a natural, inevitable institution? Or is it a dangerous anachronism in a globalised world?
These are not normally scientific questions – but that is changing. Complexity theorists, social scientists and historians are addressing them using new techniques, and the answers are not always what you might expect. Far from timeless, the nation state is a recent phenomenon. And as complexity keeps rising, it is already mutating into novel political structures. Get set for neo-medievalism.
I am referring to the self-proclaimed Caliphate in the war zones of Iraq and Syria, under a variety of names and English translations, like ISIL, ISIS, IS and Da'esh, with a territory from actual to megalomaniac; their ambitions and actions, their people and ideology, and how the people and countries are affected by them, and react to them.
I enjoy documentaries both for what they show as they go along and for the genre itself.
You have the British style, presented by a learned fellow in jeans walking along a beach, a meadow, a street, the dark side of the moon, whilst elucidating how the world turned out to be what it is.
Or the American style with the disembodied steroid-enhanced gravel voice (unless we're talking about Michael Moore) going through discoveries by the number until we get to the one that left the whole community of scholars, scientists, or worker termites completely flabbergasted, a discovery impeccably timed to happen right after the next advertisement break.
The journalistic variety emphasise how clandestine the program or film you're watching is. The more shaky the handheld or hidden camera is, the better the journalistic credentials.
Are there any documentaries (or dramatisations) you have found interesting, and why?
Do we invest too little in public infrastructure, or too much? Should we spend more on new infrastructure, or in maintaining what we got? Should old infrastructure be replaced, upgraded, removed, or saved for posterity? Who should pay for it? Who should use it? What infrastructure should we have more of and what less? Is it good for your town, country, world, even if it is away from you? Where can we find good infrastructure and where bad?