Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Unlimited Scientific Understanding

We believe greatly in our unlimited scientific understanding. We believe we understand everything when we actually do not. Neither do our pundit specialists, those socially linked to us, those surrogates, who will rescue the community. On the one hand, we feel that believing in ourselves alone, without the "specialist" on T V , we'd perish but on the other hand it seems that believing too much in ourselves creates another problem (which seems to be related to the first problem).
     We live in a world of economy, or economics, but is there any hope of understanding economics? Even the word "economics" is basically useless. What does it conjure? Vague images of dollar bills and empty, clutching hands, I suppose.
     But may I suggest smething? I would like to suggest that maybe it is not really all that hard to grasp the meaning of the term economics. There is no question about our views in the case where most persons are not able to secure a livelihood (or a job---what we call employment). Since everyone agrees that would be a crisis "economics" simply put is a question of whether basically everybody - "most persons" - i.e. nearly everyone in the social unit (general population, society) - every body can "get money"---so it's as simple when you look at it that way---and "money" here means they get the things they need, like food, housing and so forth. Granted this is a kind of poverty thinking or poverty-oriented economics, but it makes sense (isn't that more "economical?). They need that; this is a need-driven approach, not a number-driven approach. The question of economics then becomes that of whether persons can get what they need. We also note a definite distributional bias. That way, economics isn't so difficult to understand. This formulation makes sense; and it is a very basic definition or demarcation of what "economics" is.
     At present persons do not get what they need from the ground, or from engaging in agricultural labor. This is because things have changed over historical time. So, we do not get it from trees anymore and a person must get his living-stuff from what we call "the economy."
     This is the way it is in our world. (Which, I might have the temerity to add, is the world in which we are defining "economics.")
     An economy can thus be understood as primarily being about distribution. (Not so much production although obviously in a technological society we also must produce.) Another important question is that of who these products are going to (being distributed to)? They are persons----the persons of this world, the people of this or that country----in our age, in the age of globalization.

     Now, I am not blind to how disconcerting this is to the normal science of "economics." It takes the humans, or the populace, i.e. the society, and takes them from their peripheral role, a role grudgingly included under "labor" or "employment" and makes the subject of "them," "the people," central. And yes, I know: nobody of the conservative schools want to hear that.
     This (the person) is the bias of the society. This is the wrong view everyone has, which, in short is about the idea that everything in economics is about numbers. It must be, right? Well why?!! So, here's the view I am presenting: when we talk about economics in our time we mean capitalism, and capitalism means paying attention to people. What it does NOT mean is that (as per Marx) there are two entirely distinct classes and the money/wealth never goes to one of them.


 "Exponentially rising levels of debt, based on assumptions of future economic growth to fund repayment, will shudder to a halt and then reverse. Unfortunately, our financial system does not operate in reverse."

This link came to me due to an automated Google search request I have out. The author's main points, quoted above, seem valid to me. It is probably better writing than I do, that too. He's has a concept of "exponentially rising levels of debt." That sounds right, and he knows about "assumptions of future economic growth" that are supposedly going to fund repayment. There is, then, the assumption that all of this debt will be repaid, and that assumption seems to be linked to another assumption, and rather idiotic assumption about "growth," which assumes that this thing called growth will just go on forever, which I do not believe and which Schumpeter did not believe. So there's two persons who do not believe it. If we understood capitalism it could somehow "grow" in some sense, but without understanding it, there is no hope. He next links all of that to an comment that "our financial system does not operate in reverse." I declare. I do like the words, buddy.

Just the other day I was thinking about the "one-way" nature of present-day economics which mandates a profit underlying (at some point anyway) every business transaction, and this author seems to be onto this same insight. Simply put, every transaction has to have (or be somehow linked to) a profit. To "do" anything in a transactional system (simply a buy-sell system of economics), you have to receive money in exchange for some "product." And it is an individualistic system, that's the point...

There is still a difference between me and he. (Or "I" and he or me and him---WHATEVER.) The blogger, like other writers in general, just wants you and your family to be "prepared," so you and your family can "profit from the downturn" and so forth. This seems to me a quite distinct type of mentality and I do not really follow. I feel like I am not approaching matters this way. But this type of kind of mentality is of course the one supported by current mainstream American culture. Therefore many of the economics and business books out there on the market will imply the views represented by such a person, all of whom seek this kind of textual representation ---- innocently throwing information out, to others.

Anyway, you can find this gentleman's message-in-a-bottle for us at his website. He seems to have a corporate background of some sort----
" an economic researcher & futurist specializing in energy and resource depletion. He is the founder and editor of the website, as well as its popular video seminar, The Crash Course.

---Like others he wants to start a cult. That would be a cult of survivors, who read (that's the preterit version of the "read" sign) his blog. Probably he wouldn't use the word "cult."  
    But the insights are great. I thought the insights above kind of made sense, so I excerpted them to give my public. Maybe he sees the future more clearly than I do. Nevertheless, I cannot really support...

This type of person has a few insights but the guy is wandering around --- in cyberspace! There's a certain cluelessness, a wanderingness around the yard if you will.  How is Corporate Chris and his cult of readers going to make it in the bleak future? Stay tuned for the FYOOTURE. After all, it will definitely come.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Open Letter to the NYT

To the New York Times:

Someone in Europe referred to the Norway killer as an "icon." As in Arizona, in the U.S: In both slayings, there emerged persons that praised the killer. These persons publicly stated that they were happy. The NYT has this to say: "Nonviolent political parties can hardly be blamed for the violent actions of a terrorist or a homicidal person."

That's hardly the point. It is extreme individualism.

Further down in the NYT article, a Social Democrat in Germany calls it "individualism." That is what it is. Pure individualism. Nonviolent political parties are to blame; yes, because we all are. Society is to blame for individualism --- who else? For an individualism that opens fire on randomly selected persons merely because they are of the European ruling class, because they are at the opposing party's outdoor rally, or because they work at a facility in Oklahoma that is run by the government... It is not a matter of casting a glance around in order to name who or what it is that is "hardly" to blame.
     I don't think individualism is wrong. Individualism is alright. It's alright for those who can handle it. For those who are lacking an interior sense or voice that tells them not to shoot others we need a society for them, a society for that, a society with a bit less individualism.
     Basically, that means being concerned about one's own society and being engaged. You only can go so far with the theory of individualism, whether in North America or in Europe.

Just Don't Go There...

This sounds to me like a perfectly good explanation of mathematics as well as language and numbers ... I hope you "get" what I am trying to say.

Every time we get to a thousand dollars in our system we then multiply those dollars by one thousand. This is in order to get a word. We need new words, like a "million" --- which is one thousand dollars times one thousand, or one thousand repeated one thousand times.

One billion dollars is a thousand million or a hundred increments of ten million each. That makes a billion.

The debt ceiling argument is about increments of 1,000 of those one billion dollar increments. That is called one "trillion;" however, when we get higher, we are lacking a word. So, I am saying no word exists for ten increments of one hundred trillion. I my opinion there is no such word.

So: that reality does not exist. It will be possible to talk about increments of ten trillion, or 30 trillion, or 40 trillion, for many years into the future --- so why worry?

"Media Circus" -H. Kurtz

Like anyone, the Press think mainly of themselves. It's a bit odd, but true enough. They are supposed to be informing the nation of the news, like a "reporter," or a conduit or something. But, they are human enough. Also greedy and grasping. They got that job, didn't they?
    Their problem is ego, like so many of us. They think their newspaper or T.V. job is about themselves. How do you think they got their jobs? By thinking about themselves -- get it? OK so they're thinking about themselves but unfortunately they're employed as reporters. In a competitive capitalist system, who gets ahead economically? Those who think primarily about themselves. Yes, but their j-o-b is informing us on the news. Well, I'm sorry --- that's too hard. What they can do, thank you, is report on their own stories: where the story came from, how it developed, what tomorrow's newspaper-selling "news" is going to be, etc.
    This is the press talking about themselves. The press write about themselves. They write about the press. Their industry's "product" is a little too creative I think and it slips away from them. There is not really a "product" --- except for what they write. The "story" becomes merely an exercise in their own egotism (that, plus: they spell really, really well). And they of course may just think that this is what the public craves --- more of their wonderful stories. Isn't that rank? Isn't that rank stupidity? Isn't that egotism?
     A number of these persons have a bit higher integrity, though; they aren't all equally bad and these press of the better sort have endeavored, ala Howard Kurtz (on the back cover, he is, appropriately, called a "media reporter." Huh? What else is there? As if there was any other kind of reporter! Ha ha ha ha ha. He's at the Washington Post), ...a few individuals of the press --- writers with a media background --- have laid out how this works in practice. So, go read about it.

     Now look at what Tina Brown, that poor misguided soul, said, when Kurtz went over to her "Daily Beast" in 2010: "I have great respect for Howard as a journalist and newsbreaker, but I admire him most of all for his understanding of media and politics as the story of our era." Sorry, Tina. That's what I'm talking about. Now you may be married to a special man who was a good editor of a British newspaper, but what you are saying is that the "story" is the "story" --- and that just sounds a little too much like what I am talking about above. She says that the "story" is media and politics. Oy Vey. That just works like a funnel pointing down (they usually do) to exactly the problem that Kurtz was illustrating in his book, "Media Circus." Maybe Kurtz, too, has gotten lost in his own industry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Observing, pt 2

In my earlier post, which was called "Observing The System," Friday, July 22nd, the question is basically, to what do we owe our freedom? We do not owe our freedom (apologies to those in jail/prison) to the theories, to the ideals that certain persons in powdered wigs may have entertained; and, nor do we owe it to the "planners," who it seems to me would be smoking their pipes, in pin-stripped suits in, for example, the 1930s.
    Our society's language always calls it, "freedom." It was not me who picked the word; it is used in American culture, so I use it.
     As for "freedom," then, why do we have it? I think it is due to the fact that, in the long course of time -- this is to say historically or in historical fact -- capitalism proved to be the more effective system. This is etched into history, part of the record of historical fact. Any survey of history will likely bring out just this transition. And so, everyone agrees. Capitalism replaced the earlier systems, which we may call the hierarchical or aristocratic (and therefore also, at the other end, serf) societies. This is my view of where this "freedom" of ours comes from, then.
    This points to a broad trend in history, which is that it moves from pre-capitalist societies to capitalist societies. This is historical, and visible. It is my practice to call the current human reality/society "capitalism." I don't think that is unusual, since many call it that. This word "capitalism" means something broader that "the economy," of course, when by "the economy," we mean "only" the aggregate of all business deals.  (Or maybe we are right back to it----something like "business civilization," as R. Heilbroner has it in his short book.)

    If we desire a further way to define capitalism, let's call it: a society with a strong economic component.

    Following the above considerations, I think that it is economics, not politics, that is driving things. My "economics," however, links with the idea of "society." I mean to say that economics is society, not individuals. The rise of economics ushers in a new society. These ideas work out very nicely: and the kind of analysis I am making can help us can understand what is going on in the world. Based on these ideas, we can see that, with economics the main factor, government eventually loses its grip. Society loses its grip on itself and we get carried away into capitalist anarchy. Society fails to regulate itself, to plan. Government loses its footing and its correct function. The link between the people and the government is broken. Based on my thinking, I can see how this could have happened but that doesn't mean I like it. I don't like total disorder. This abdication of government to the rich just leaves a power vacuum, since the rich really don't want to govern in the first place, and, of course, it is not their job collectively. So capitalism is not government, despite all we've said, and it is poppycock to think that "the market" will just take over. That was the worst theory ever. Economics is non-sentient, it is just a non-conscious historical force. It is quite astounding what a huge force it has become, but the "market" cannot make policy. It cannot think. Only people do that. So at that point everything collapses. We have out-of-control capitalism, non-government by the rich. We get a world of no order at all, many deprived, needy countries, the money-makers creating all kinds of wealth, but with no good coming out of it. What kind of "wealth" is that anyway? It isn't social wealth, it is greedy wealth for a few. This is the greedy "super-capitalism" without values, and, on that, there are certainly books to read.
     What we needed to understand was this. First, economics does kind take over things, which I suppose corresponds somewhat to what the right says about things, but then we also needed to take things over at some point, to get politics back in control and guide the system. That's called regulation, governance, intervention, whatever it is exactly the correct idea. We did not understand that we needed to be in control, instead we believed this rubbish that the market (whatever that is) controls itself. We needed to get back control, and govern capitalism. And that is why, even though there is a certain principle that functions, this economic monster is now getting ready to eat us all up, which means, curiously, that it is eating up the same society it helped create.
     Always at the back of things there was man, there was intelligence. But we listened to right-wing poppycock. Intelligence refused to do its job, and we seem to have failed. We were not able to bring our intelligence into play, as regards this phenomenon of economics that we in some sense created (although not intentionally, or by ideals).
     We fail to understand that we do need to regulate. Now is the time but no one is doing it. Actually, there are perils to controlling the economy and there are perils to not controlling it. We would have to strike a balance. It is difficult. You need need some brains, and you need to have a plan, but we didn't even come close. But if we ever want to do it, here's my humble suggestion. The first thing I would suggest we do is feed the needy. This would not just help the needy but would help everybody; I am talking about the most needy in the poor third-World, who stand to benefit from directly appropriating food, water and health-related products, out of the existing economy, and deploying it somehow, redirecting that wealth to the "account" of those who really need it. That would be a good first step, in the area of "regulation." It might help the world poor, a little, but, really, it would help create a new kind of capitalism.

Civilization, predicted by Heilbroner

Dear Devoted Followers,

I have been reading. I read the first part of Heilbroner's take on the culture, which he calls a "business civilization" in his small volume that I read a small part of: "Business Civilization in Decline."
    He sees a sort of slow decline.
    I think. At any rate, Heilbroner, himself a bit of a radical, describes how "the [typical] radical" sees things: "the radical sees...a pervasive and ultimately irresistible dynamic[s]." (and believe me, there is really an "s" in the original - WWNorton, 1976.) The radical sees "irrepressible contradictions" of "a system threatened with self-destruction." The next paragraph now: "I think the radical is essentially correct...Nonetheless, I find a weakness in the radical view." OK, I kind of expected that, but, at any rate, next I will ask what is that weakness? "It is the tendency to assume a subservience of the political apparatus to the economic interests of the system -- a subservience that ultimately defines too narrowly the independent shaping influence of social institutions [right --- the planners, from my previous posting event]. As I [meaning Heilbroner] have put it elsewhere, the radical view sees the economy as the engine and the government as the caboose.." (p. 30)
Now, this is R.H. disputing that, but what has history shown? Since 1976, when this book was published, it tells us a story rather more in keeping with those radical types.
    I do not see any sane, sober government of1930's style "planners." Capitalism --- with its runaway overheated nature, has indeed become what R. H.'s "radicals" predicted it would become (and Bohner the usher). It has indeed becomes the engine of the train, and it has shown us no human intelligence, no ability at planning, only its own vapid, non-sentient, irresistible desire for self-immolation. How does government look in the present situation? It looks more insane --- worse --- than economics does. Even worse. Where is the "independent shaping influence" that Robert Heilbroner saw and was at pains to capture in that awkward phrase? Is that like the pink tiger with the purple stripes? (I seem to have some kind of photographic negative in mind) It look like a race of two crazinesses, a race to discern whether the enraged, out-of-power Republican pro-business conservative crowd can beat capitalism to the punch line. Government truly is more dangerous than economics, and the Republicans are proving that.
    The bottom line is that of no more culture of planning --- no more sober men in pinstriped suits, puffing on pipes, laying down guidelines for the "business executive," or guiding the "business" sector of society.
     Capitalism, left on its own, self-destructs, whether by the "sober, fiscally-minded" (i.e. suicidal) Republicans in government, who are insane (having philosophized themselves out of a job), or, if you prefer, death by the economy itself (also not sane, nor even sentient.) It does not matter whether we say "government" or "economy." What matters is that what we evolved, what came about, was a country of zero discerning intellect, and therefore a country that refuses to control or regulate capitalism. At that point government and economy are the same thing. Now, the correct thing is also given in the book by R.H. That is covered by another Heilbroner analogy, to "a train in which there are two engines, one economic, one political, capable of pulling in different directions as well as coordinating their efforts." But we never go to that, and the radicals were right to say that it would have taken a revolution. We never got there. We never got to that, and for that reason, the radicals turn out to have been right to say that.
    But it would not have taken a radical's revolution --- not a Left revolution attacking their great conceptual enemy "capitalism." It would have taken a revolution of honesty and of moderation, a revolution in common sense, to understand that capitalism can do better, and still be capitalism, that it does not have to be a runaway train with the hedge fund operators at the front, dragging an out-of-control, psychopathological government.
     The challenge would have been, quite simply, to get capitalism under control. But we never did. The wealthy right just kept on cashing the checks they were receiving from an economic system that favors the wealthy, and, having the upper hand in some way, they maintained their strong position as a kind of upper crust. When Bush finally showed the people the weakness of this approach, it was too late. The Right were so far gone, so empowered and arrogant by this time, feeling they were "Dead Right" as the book has it, that nothing mattered to them, not even the people, who had voted for a moderate Democratic president. The Republicans just went hostile. And in the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2008 they went berserk, because, after all, the economy, not government was in control, just as I pointed out above.

     We never even came close to knowing which policies to put in place, If we did, we would have smaller cars in the city. There would be full employment due to massive projects to avert the effects of global climate change. Business windfalls would be taxed at higher rates, rewarding the entrepreneur but rewarding the people who bought those products as well. Smaller business would be actively encouraged, including smaller, more environmentally conscious agriculture, to be mostly sold in local areas, with a little bit of it going, at higher prices of course, to the restaurants. Rich could be happy and working or lower income could be happy, too. Why not? Such are the wonders that capitalism could have brought --- if we would control it.
    When you sit down to think about it, there are so many of these things one can think of. What is sitting and thinking of something called? It's just planning. But planning for the whole is taboo. There is no rational reason for such a bias. Some people just don't want to cooperate, I guess.
    Planning takes intelligence. I wish we really had some. I wish I had been stronger.
    "The Times They Are A'Changin." Not exactly the way the radicals had hoped, though.

Let it Rain, then

Things happen as they happen. In the whole complex universe of "things happening" there seems to me to be much less happening according to such things as plan and policy than we are wont to ascribe.
    Our plans and our policies are more like commentaries.
    Things happen, then, out of their own accord. And all by themselves.
    Take this week's exciting event, the budget showdown. I don't really know him, but I always seem to think that Bohner, as the head Republican, must be a bonehead. With that name? Well, I know I am being unfair, but I tend to think he just wants to go down in history as a great supporter not of the country but of his side. As for the country's side and his, I guess that, if I am right about this, he just cannot separate. It's all ego with these guys, know what I mean? I think he, and all of his right-wing clones, just want their own side. Then, I suppose, although I know I am not being fair, that they are just petty people in high office, and the problem with Republican so-called "leaders" is that they went higher than they deserved. OK, Democrats have problems, too, anyway, I see these Republican with their high positions and their business connections as just the archetype of the feuding white loser-type person, a war of all against all (Hobbes, I admit) in which a bunch of spoiled babies want to take over the country. Not that they could, without wrecking the place. So, to continue this mean and unfair rant: They have no common platform except for their philosophy, a visionary ideology, ha ha ha. It seems to amount to the idea of that government should not tax, and I mean don't you just hate taxes?, and, therefore, does not spend. No, it does not make any sense, you got that right. It's just nonsense. This is about the idea that those dollar are real. That is the shred of sanity it traces back to. "Fiscal responsibility. That's their heritage. They think that if only they can "save a trillion," that'd make a difference. But they have no real idea of the economics involved, so it's just a ship sailing under an idiot flag.
    But it's a little too late to fix, a little late for mankind to get straighter on mankind's economics. So, who really cares anymore if they get their little budget or not? I don't care anymore, I vote to let nature take its course. Let it come down, then. Who cares if a trillion is a real thing or not? Obama for his part is without a way of stopping them. And what is his plan? To go to the rich people to get their advice. As mentioned, I just do not think that planning or policy drives events. Our plans and policies amount to nothing, or at any rate, have less importance than we think. The alternative is to let nature take its course. Let the markets decide to kill themselves. Sacrifice the whole thing. Global warming thanks you. (Because, you see, if the economy fails there will be less pollution going up into the skies so there is a good part.)
    So things should take their own course. Once things take their own course --- this occurs, nowadays, usually within the realm of some "economic science" that we do not yet totally understand, but after all, the weatherman knows which way the wind blows --- then we can all create our commentaries. That's more fun anyway, isn't it, and didn't I already mention "commentaries," above? It will be quite the fun time, reading in a magazine (maybe "the Economist," dare I hope in trembling anticipation) the chronicles of why the U.S. slipped down to the lesser nations. And just think: when the U.S. takes its new seat in the gallery section, Rep. Bohner will be usher! That's almost like becoming a rap star, you Usher. Come on, smile, baby! Maybe that's his back-up career: usher. Ushering Congress along, ushering the fall of civilization. He's the Usher!
    I say keep it up, Bohner. I don't want to see interference by political policymakers over the natural course of things in the world. Screw all the policymakers. Let's let nature take its course. Let's let history take its motley course and we can get on with the only thing we really know how to do --- the business of the writing of the commentaries. No more this "predictive," scientific stuff!Let the system kill itself, Usher, you big, bad Bohner guy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Observing the System

What is characteristic of our system? The characteristic of our system, or one of its most important characteristics, is that each person has his/her own individual freedoms. We leave persons these freedoms.
    This can be seen upon observation to be a genuine characteristic of how we live ---- we allow one another individual freedom, and I think this is occurring under the present system of capitalism. This is the freedom to do what one likes, or express ourselves as we like. Members of a certain family may oppress one another ---- but out in the general society what we are discussing is a situation in which we are quite tolerant, so it is true that we allow one another to do what one another wants to. You will see this cultural characteristic, in particular, in the newer and more affluent districts more so than in small towns or in rural life.
    Likewise these districts are the more capitalistic ones. In more rural areas there may be other cultural styles. There it may be more homogenious, more conforming; and those too are parts of the society so we do have these two zones. The more powerful persons in our society live in an atmosphere of tolerance, and not an atmosphere that is more puritanical or conformist. And I think that this "diversity" - if I may call it that - or tolerance - characterizes the type of a society we have in general, since such tolerance encompasses quite a few persons within that developed country. This, then, is one of our main characteristics, and this is the system that might be characterised as contemporary "Capitalism."
    When we see that we have this practice of allowing each other freedom, another question comes up: "where does it come from?" Usual answers have to do with politics and ideas. This tolerance of one another is said to come from ideas, or from the overthrow of more hierarchical societies through revolution, or radical reform. I don't thnk so. I don't think it comes from politics, or democracy. And it does not comes from noble ideas, either, which is to say ideology --- like saying our freedom came from men in powdered wigs. I think a better answer would be that it comes from capitalism. Now it is hard to understand how a society could grow up, structurally, around money, around pecuniary interest. Yet that is what happened. A society came about through money. But that is cultural, and not a mere matter of individuals pursuing individualistic plans to make "x" amount of dollars. Capitalism, therefore is a "great transformation," of society, from one form to another. How did that happen? How did what some economists call "institutions," and also the entire institution, the society itself, somehow get organized around people making money?

    At any rate, this is what happened, and, thinking this way, I call the entire structure "social" which automatically brings about a contrast with descriptions of capitalistic social processes as being of necessity "private" or "individual." I do not think we should miss this social (socialist) part. Everything is not "private" or "individual." Because of the fact that humans are social, there were social structures already in place when any changes occurred, and it is within these social structures that capitalism evolved, so that a new, "bourgeois" kind of society replaced the older one, and this tolerant society diffused outward, affecting a larger number of persons.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Browsing at Barnes and Noble

The green revolution is going to turn you into a taco

The negro loves electricity

(a is inspired by a leftist-type book, on the third-world, like "Peoples' History"

b owes a shout out to D. Coupland's bio of Marshal McCluhan who said many odd things)

Dark Future

Capitalism, as it exists today, is an interference. This is true of the present state of affairs --- today capitalism is like an intrusion, like a knock on the door in the dark evening, or a disturbance of privacy.
      As capitalism has developed over the years, it arrogates more power unto itself. Eventually, it pushes its way into private spaces: it comprises an invasion of dignity and decency. Complicated games are played by those in control of marketing and as well by others who hold the keys to business, and money.
     Long ago, it was decided to include commercial advertisements interspersed with programming on the new medium of television. This means that as a viewer, at his or her home, relaxes, the concerns of the economy "ought to" intrude in upon the experience of leisure and privacy. When associated with capitalism the word "private" seems to come down to meaning that those that who own firms are to be protected from intrusion by others, in the form of government or state control.
     In today's world of social networks, however, all of one's affairs are intruded upon. What manner of capitalism is this? Privacy lessens; only ownership of wealth creates privacy; everyone else becomes a pawn, intruded upon by all kinds of processes.
     This is (and has been) called "socialism at the bottom, private ownership at the top." It may be called the private ownership system, or capitalism, but it intrudes on (nearly) everyone's life --- destroying the privacy of practically everyone. Rupert Murdoch seems to have a private life. Others do not quite have it.

     Does a serf have a private life? Does a slave?
     To enter into the market in the system called capitalism is to enter it as a private person. Only while commanding one's own self-respect and dignity can a person contribute in a true, dynamic, and creative fashion to a free society. So, losing one's privacy intrudes on the dynamism of capitalism. I hardly think the business world, which is getting to be more and more ingrown, will protect our interests. If the business world does not promote freedom, but lays our private lives open to marketing departments, who will --- the government?

Direct Transfer Plan

I believe in a direct transfer plan that would involve balancing the form of society we call capitalism. My position is that capitalism is not valid unless it has balance. Today, we understand the system in its global dimension, or as a "global"-ized thing.
    The wealthy countries of the industrialized world should comprehend that they have a large amount of physical wealth - a bit more than they need. I suggest that goods may, if we like, be supplied in a way that could be free of the usual notions of payment or compensation and so forth, which occur normally within the terms of individual transactions where one individual supplies something to another individual, in exchange for money. Instead, in this system, "the individual" (individual trader) comes to mean a whole group of individuals, "the poor," supplied by direct transfer from another group or large "individual," or individual trader, the capitalist producers, with so much to offer. Food, in this method, can hypothetically be directly supplied to any hungry person without asking that person to pay, and yet if this is conducted in a large-scale, organized way it is still valid capitalism.

To note my own personal experience, what I see when I look around are examples of rich people creating trade with others of the same station, other rich folks. Whereas this idea of mine, expressed above, and which I have also expressed on-line a few other times, is a program for trading --- or giving --- money to the poor, or, more accurately, products to the poor (since I think giving money directly is not advisable).

Part of the understanding behind this comes from a view of capitalism as a method of social engagement that references an entire population. Capitalism as a social and economic system should, in my view, be understood as a system that always relates to some population group, not just a few wealthy individuals. We rarely pay any attention to the fact that anyone can buy most anything one wants to in capitalism, as long as one possesses the substance of the money, and as such, capitalism is really quite social, and always relates not just to a few individuals, but to whole societies. Capitalism is, therefore, quite simply, social.

And this renders quite astounding that we still think that calling capitalism "individual" makes any kind of sense.

Monday, July 18, 2011


On CNN this morning, there is the representation of two --- two "persons" to be dealt with in the British News scandal. There's Rupert Murdoch, and there is his company, you see. Wall Street, from what they tell me, treats the company (News Corp. I think it is called) just like a kind of person, with a future, hope for success, possible trauma from scandal, etc. The company has its needs, but then Murdoch himself seems to as well. That's something else: a perfectly pleasant old autocrat with ridiculous political notions. He also seems to think he actually owns his own company.
     Wall Street apparently has other ideas. Also in rotation: the debt. Leave it to the media though, to come up with some kind of totally irrelevant idea. They ask, "will the country run out of money or patience first?," That is just pointless. Did I say "irrelevant"? Yes, I think I did say that.

Pieper, Josef (1947 lectures, Bonn)

Pieper points out that we have lost our depth, or lost our leisure, as we have become utilitarian. We are concened only with, Pieper says, a culture of "total work," "workers state," the proletarian, etc.
     Pieper counters with, I think, the suggestion of total leisure or of a totally good and self-sufficient leisure. That must be why there are couches in Starbucks.
     This is a refreshing view because so much in contrast with the "total work" view that others hold to. Bill Gates could afford only baloney sandwiches, while building M.Soft, working 22 hrs. a day, and so forth. He favors (p. 36, of the Mentor paperback) "leisure" activities, or "non-utilitarian modes of human activity." I blog.

It's called, "Leisure -the basis of culture," Josef Pieper, Mentor-Omega, pub. by the New American Library (1952, 1963)

Reading a Little bit of Robert Penn Warren

The novelist looks at the world and he sees something big there and grand. And there is something important, too, about economics, in the way this world turns 'round. At least there is to us. We feel our concept of "economics." Many words have been written about economics. Meanwhile the nation amasses what former Sec. of State Condoleeza Ricey-Dicey calls "treasure." This country, however, also: oddly claims that this treasure is amassed only to be held in private hands.
     The novelist sees a story there. And it is going to take at least 300 or 500 pages, you know, because all the details are so rich.

Everything we see or feel or touch we believe in. We do not feel the world is going to crumble at our fingers. It is not allowed to crumble in our fingers. It has to be there. For another day.
     And that day will be chronicled, in New York, or, in the U.S.A. Today.
The first section of the newspaper is national and world news. Later there will be the sports, the only section normal persons care about, and then something usually called the business section or the financial pages, which businessmen mostly read.
     The first section is there for the politicians because, after all, we need to know why we vote sometimes. The newspaper really is a creation of the elite classes, for they need to know we have a genuine world. And for this they create the/a newspaper.
     It also makes for a good front corporation, for example in Chicago, for other goods such as the local baseball team (The Cubs), or, the television station (WGN). All of that is owned by the Tribune corporation. Forgive me for not using a capital "C."
     And, it makes for a grand building --- so-called "Tribune Tower," that beautifies the place on the lake where the river breaks into the city and canyons of buildings are there but the Tribune building does not quite break my heart the way the Wrigley building across the street, does. The Wrigley building is white, and even more yummy, like chewing gum.
     And the evidence of our senses is  that this world is real. What binds it together does not crumble, and must not.
     In a grand effort at novelizing, Robert Penn Warren's "World Enough and Time", it is the yellowed newspaper, its scraps "huddled" together like  November leaves or else some letters, "also yellow", that are "bound in neat bundles" with the tape so "stiffened and tired" that it parts "almost unresistingly at your touch."
     It is the tape that crumbles not the newspaper -- I don't know that it makes a difference. We may define a metaphor as both a physical and a verbal gesture, but always created with words. Why did this writer choose the metaphor that invokes, naturally with both materiality and idea, that what binds together can disintegrate? I'm not saying that Robert Penn Warren intended to say just that, and he still had another 511 pages to write, but he used a metaphor for something crumbling. Is something crumbling? I do not know but he believed in the world and he wanted to knit together a novel about it.

     Capitalism has to hold together.

     Each piece cannot be conceived as totally independent or individualist.

     What is capitalism? Well, this is a question I am usually always thinking about and capitalism seems a kind of social network, and one that functions despite anything that anyone says about it.
     But how does capitalism take care of human needs?
     Well, as for that ---
     It does not do so independently. It needs to be guided, and regulated. That is not a wrong idea, and there is not something bad or evil about it.

                                               THE END

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Studying Banking with Jack

A $1,000 loan goes from a bank to Borrower "B."
Mr. "B" now spends the $1,000 somewhere, presumably within the economy.
Whomever he spent it with has got to put it somewhere. When that person puts it in a bank, it goes -- I'll suggest -- to the same bank. This means that...
The bank has loaned out some of its deposits, and then those deposits came right back to the bank.
What would it signify, should this bank now lend that that $1,000 out again?
Better go to a diagram now. We'll start with the depositor of that first $1,000, whom we did not mention yet:
depositor  arrow> ;bank  arrow> ;loan customer  arrow> ;spent on somebody who makes a deposit  arrow> ;bank  arrow> ;2nd loan customer .............etc.
We can see here how that money is continuously circulating in the economy.
It goes from one person to another.
As it does so, the bank both earns interest, from the loan customer, and it pays interest, at a marginally lower rate, to the saver. Twice.
The bank now has two savers and each of them think the 1,000 is theirs.
If both now withdraw their savings they would have two thousands dollars.
They had better not try to do that!

And the bank had better not tell anybody the truth about what they do everyday!

After all, money is only a symbol, created by someone, that symbolically "stands for" our willingness to accept that.  It is humanity's "trust."
And bankers, correctly, call this "trust" (like in "trust and savings bank," right?)

In one another.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can Scientists Capture Behavior?

Can the logic of the universe be captured, in a bottle? Can it be "contained" — on a paper or in an essay? I always get the idea that some persons think they can put logic on the page. Of course not everyone thinks they can do this, but some writers do. I, for one, do not see why anyone at all should think that we can do that, but leave it to the white man. Those guys are so progressive. Actually they are. Of course we all try our best. But can logic be on put on pages? Do they actually think they can put logic itself on a page? I always marvel at this. Obviously, I just don't "get it."
     Can a person put the nature of logic on paper? (A perfectly good word substitution here would be [into] "language") The Western social scientists group seem to go too far with this kind of thing. This is what they seem to think they can do all the time. There seems to be a pretense that they can actually capture it, "it" being something like the wheels of the universe. In the case of so-called "social science," a term I have always despised, this has to do with capturing (or representing) certain processes that human beings engage in: these are of course certain social processes.
    The timeless, transcendental value of science is that it discovers what is the case. The stars and atoms will always operate the same way. The application of science to inorganic or very simple organic matter works because inorganic matter doesn't think. So, in that case the rules can be discovered because discovering the rules of atoms does not upset the atom in question. When dealing with simple organic matter, or with any sort of inorganic matter whatsoever, the rules can be laid bare.
    The project works. The stars and atoms do not have any opinions about what you say about them. By contrast, humans are touchy and they suffer.
    As sentient beings they suffer. Social behavior is the sum total of what upsets or does not upset particular persons.
    A scientist who aspires to extend the meaning of the word "science" thereby creating "social science" means to sit down amongst a certain human population and discern the rules by which that group operates. This, I suggest, is a dicey proposition.
    And, how can one pretend objectivity when one is oneself a human? ---- when the researcher himself is a human being, embedded in his society? So much for anthropology, perhaps. But is the situation significantly better when human beings attempt to create what they believe should be called "social science" by studying their own behavior, as sociologists, economists or so-called "political scientists"?
    The project to create "social science" seems to be a rather whack-assed project. What would "political science" be? That guy would be saying that precisely because what politicians do is practice politics, it remains for the "social scientist" to do the science part. So, because what politicians do is not science, it follows that what the "social scientist" does "ought to" be? Perhaps he thinks the world "ought to" leave a special room for scientists. But that itself does not sound to me scientific.

I say this: what is social cannot be delimited that way; it probably cannot be "captured" in a book. Writers create the illusion of containing logic right there on the page, but the logic of things can be in the things.
    This is why there is literature. This is why we have art. This is even, perhaps, why R. Crumb made his comic books. The difference between the artist (or cartoonist) and the one who tries to put the logic of the spheres onto a kind of solid form in terms of the pages of books is that the former groups give room to their sense of humor.
    The difference between artist and scientist is t hat the artist works out of an acceptance of his limits, while the scientist takes himself much too seriously, and he mistakes the idea of discovering the simple "case" with doing so. He is all taken up with his process. So, they have the arrogance of those that think they are something like omnipotent --- or is that omniscient? Whatever.
    Artists create effects, scientists facts. What would it mean to create a fact? it would mean to confine it to the page. They want to take the logic of the universe and transfer it to some contained form, some representation, be it in some kind of prosaic or technical language or by means of charts, equations, metaphor. And science has made enormous gains that way. Everyone knows it. And it is true. Naturally, as time went on, they said "we'll try to do this for society as well." and they started to call themselves "social scientists"  but before they had properly discerned whether that was possible or not.
    This of course is because they are human --- they have ambition. But can one study that tendency to have ambition? I do not think so, but it may be that there are special cases. Take Karl Polyani, for example...

Contrast, Again

If capitalism is all about diverse, innumerable contrasts, what does one need, in order to live in "contrast world"?
    You need to be able to see differences.
    The Chasidic Jewish man I saw bopping down the street isn't doing that. He ignored me, as I looked up at his face. He sees the same thing all the time.

    He does see one contrast. He sees the contrast: "us vs. them." That isn't what I mean by living in the "contrast world."

My Pet Peeve

Living in proximity to wealth -- my current arrangement -- I go over to Michigan Avenue, for coffee. My trip went downhill almost immediately, for I had to move over to other side of the room. This in order to avoid a loudmouth man there in the middle of the coffee shop on that side. As I believe I recently said above, he was yammerindo --- all about his numbers and money.
     I don't do that. This is more boring than anything I can imagine. I would rather hear just about any other conversation than a man talking about his wealth in numbers. It is intolerably dull. I would rather intentionally publish spelling mistakes or hear rap music.
    Then the vulgar scene repeated itself. It happened again, in other words, this time on the other side. And I mean these are the better sort, the rich people if you know what I mean.
    Anyway, the new motor mouth, money-confessional-tell-all-two, was on the cafe couch, and he was a little bit skinnier. But it was basically the same hyperactive money garble.

    So... Yet again, I had to move! By Jiminy!

    I ended up next to some European tourists. They were OK -- had nice kids, too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

pt 2, as promised


Is fairness basic to capitalism? We can locate the concept of fairness in two ways. The order could be either of two: f to c or c to f. Causality can be set up plausibly in either of two directions.
    The implication of fairness being basic to capitalism could be expressed as the notion that fairness precedes successful capitalism. This is one way of stating that fairness is basic to capitalism. But there is another way as well, and I think there could just be some young persons today who, while they do not hold to the concept of fairness in quite the same way as their "fair" forefathers two or three generations back, would assert that such fairness as may be had in the world -- i.e. today's world -- occurs as the result, not the cause, of capitalism. But the thing to remember is that we have to posit capitalism's success. Capitalism, when it works, is a success with some relationship to fairness.
     Now fairness, like freedom, would be considered a virtue. Capitalism would not. And freedom and fairness are basic to capitalism abeit that it is hard to say just how.
    Certainly the development of capitalism didn't somehow just suddenly "make everybody be high," as Bob Marley's song goes. Marley is, in fact, rejecting those in his society that hold wrong values. Certainly the development of capitalism didn't somehow make everyone suddenly become fair or get high on fairness, but it is a success based -- somewhere -- on fairness. Somehow, fairness is basic to capitalism, isn't that so?

Is fairness basic to capitalism? We can locate the concept of fairness in two ways. The order could be either of two: f to c or c to f. Causality can be set up plausibly in either of two directions.
    The implication of fairness being basic to capitalism could be expressed as the notion that fairness precedes successful capitalism. This is one way of stating that fairness is basic to capitalism. But there is another way as well, and I think there could just be some young persons today who, while they do not hold to the concept of fairness in quite the same way as their "fair" forefathers two or three generations back, they perhaps would assert that the fairness one may experience in the world is the result, rather than cause, of capitalism. But the thing to remember is that, in any case, we have to posit capitalism's success here. Capitalism, when it works, is a success with some relationship to fairness.
     Now fairness, like freedom, would be considered a virtue. Capitalism would ot. And freedom and fairness are basic to capitalism abeit that it is hard to say just how.
    Certainly the development of capitalism didn't somehow just suddenly "make everybody be high," as Bob Marley's song goes. Marley is, in fact, rejecting those in his society that hold wrong values. Certainly the development of capitalism didn't somehow make everyone suddenly become fair or get high on fairness, but it is a success based -- somewhere -- on fairness.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 19, 2011

What makes it fun is the element of contrast.
The contrasts.

A capitalist society is "fun" -- or functional -- when it has contrasts. All it has to offer is the thing that surprises. When two things come together, and/but they are different, we say that that is "contrast." Maybe that is all capitalism has. It is all about contrast, and capitalism can just play one thing off against a different thing until... until forever. There are other factors that will get in the way in real life, there are all the flaws in humanity, but within theory, or in some kind of relative dmension -- I would say that if you live in the world of theory capitalism can play with contrast forever, so, in some sense, all there is is contrast.
Contrast is the spice of life, you know, and if you look at the first few pages of a book by K. Marx, called either Das Kapital or "Capital, vol. 1" or whatever, he takes two different things, contrasts them and gets a common value that he seems to call the "exchange" value, and this seems to be the value set for the purpose of making an exchange, for which purpose you put one thing up against another. That is contrast -- one common value comes out of the contrast, but, nevertheless, it starts with a comparison or a contrast between two things, like paper and iron (that is the example given in the original), and these are qualitatively different, and have the element of contrast. So, that is just one example of contrast.

Conservative capitalists or traditionalists make entreaties to tradition. They may speak of traditional values, or, in a related sense, they may speak of "fiscal restrain" and frugality. But capitalism wends its way through the past and present, and into the future, and where in the final analysis is there any tradition? If capitalism is in some sense all about contrast, essentially there is not any tradition at all.
There isn't any tradition at all. It's all contrast. One thing is different from another thing. Those two things trade. This is being presented as a broad principle. Persons, too, are different from each other and that, too, is contrast. The system of course continually advances, or progresses. Capitalism is progressive. And that advancement is a very mysterious march forward in time, and there are surprises at every turn. Surprises, of course, meaning "contrast," once again.

I propose, then, that this element of contrast is all that the system needs.

But, in accord with ideas presented both on this blog and on Jacksilvermaneconomicsblog, I do not think this means you would not regulate, necessarily. I therefore would not say that this means I agree with the view that individuals acting on their own will always automatically do the right thing and so forth ---- what Stiglitz calls the economic "ideology" we are irratioinally sticking to in our times. I do not think that we can necessarily expect individuals to just automatically develop the appropriate contrasts, in terms of the various different items that they trade, against one another. I see not reason to assume that. Contrast is basic to the system in many ways, intended and unintended. As always, the whole "do not regulate" phlosophy turns out to be completely irrelevant.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday, Just 08 (pt. 1 of two parts)

Fairness or evenness is a virtue. Through history – from around the middle Ages at least – observe a great love of chivalry and fairness. If I look at a newspaper from 1809 – I have this – it’s a copy – what I see is concern at a boarding house with separating out the “gentlemen” from the apparent commoners. There is this ad in there, for a boarding house and it is “gentlemen” they are asking for.
In the first chapters of his book on what he thinks is America’s or the U. S.’s “radicalness” in changing over from one socil theme to another, Gordon S. Wood tells of it. With the Revolutionary events of the late 18th cent., America/US apparently went through some kind of a shift. If everything is all about competition and self-interest why did olden-time people prefer those that were “gentle?” The concern in around the 1760’s, says Wood, was always with enquiring as to determine whether an individual had “virtue,” or was truly Upper-Class. I’m using 18th century capitalism there in that sentence! This according to Wood was just before his “radicals” broke with England and established a more egalitarian system but I do not think the concern with who had the Upper-Class quality just dissolved so quickly. You cannot draw a straight line from such ubiquitous cultural pre-occupations as that to the present, and say the present is more, or less, fair and even-handed. Instead, the inherent value of fairness appears to be the same throughout. Fairness is a useful thing to have. It is useful during the ascent of capitalism – so much so that I think it is alright actually, to say that capitalism is based in fairness.
     It implies evenhandedness, and the word itself flourished in some pretty brutal times. Especially women were praised by the just and good, as being “fair.” All of this fairness and goodness becomes much less popular in our age, and now we hardly even know what the word means exactly. Does that mean we are less fair than those of say the 14th century?
     Businessmen are not fair today – no, they are brutal competitors interested in return on equity whatever that means.
     But how exactly are we to attempt to live in a world without the concept of fairness? When you dismiss the concept of the “fair,” what do you exactly dismiss it in favor of? Brute force? Strangulation your bag?

Is fairness basic to capitalism, and, if so, in what way? [t.b.c.]

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Disconnect Between IDeology and Facts

In the last post, that was July 02, it says it would be "extremely foolish to regard those ... facing the oncoming social change of capitalism not as people but as somehow only individuals."

Of course I could have said "historical" instead of "social," but what I do is I call the oncoming change those persons faced a social change. Why not? I cannot take it out. I wouldn't make any sense. In my universe of economic thought I cannot proceed at all unless I use the word "social." It has to be there at some point. I have tried to take it out. It doesn't make any difference. In the long run I have to say "social" or use some substitute, such as "historical," in the example above. This is the only way it works, and I do not think I am the one who is wrong. If I took that social language out, I would be pretending to views I just do not hold. That would not work; and it wouldn't make sense. It is the assumption that everything takes place on the individual level that does not work for me anymore. I would be writing fiction; but I can't say what does not make any sense to me -- it's impossible.

But that means I disagree with a lot of people. Where do these extreme disagreements come from? I think we are dealing with two things now. We are not dealing with only economics, anymore. We move on to another topic. Now we are not dealing with economics. We are dealing with ideology, and that means with thought -- it means I am talking about human thought processes as regards how we choose what we believe.

It is a conflict between truth on the one hand and ideology on the other. The problem as I would frame it is that there are persons who don't want to deal with the truth. On one side of  this conflict is the ideological view; and on the other side is what can only be called the truth. Following after a blogpost I read today, there is what can be termed a "disconnect." There is a disconnect with reality. Now, my personal experience is that "everyone," or "society," in one (slightly different!) sense of the word, seems to hold to some consensus that equates economic explanations which concepts about "the individual," blabbity-blabbity-bla. My views are unique, so it is not a conspiracy against me personally, but at any rate I am saying that to me, this doesn't even make sense; it is not comprehensible. I am seeing a different world than these guys in the newspapers and mostly in the universities are, although there are many great dissident voices in economics that the newspaper wisdom simply ignores (including Adam Smith). This is what we are seeing over and over again. So, you've got to discuss it finally.  I could not exist in a university. They would put me on a sedan chair, carry me across the border - or across the street from campus - and dump me on a front lawn.
I can generalize by moving from my own personal experiences to what is going on in the economics discussion in general. Since there is a general choice in favor of unreality, at some point the person who wants to be active in the world (a world that has an exceptionally important economic aspect) has to shift over to the question of ideology; this is the case even though, then, you are not even talking about economics anymore. Rather you are on to a second subject area here. The point is that you have to deal with the question of ideology in order to get at the matter of a choice in favor of an "other" or an other-worldly version of reality. But that is  the version the public culture in general, as exemplified by public or press utterances, is attached to, and which they claim they believe in, despite the contrary views of many economist (they are not as extreme as I am but they do seem to be my fellow dissidents ---- I just looked at what was said about Galbraith, [ft.note below] and his view is strongly dissenting from the standard or publicly disseminated or newspaper-ordained view, which is to say the standard ideology).
    What, by the way, is "reality"? Reality is what comes up when persons actually think things out. That would be a reality that is the result of persons actually thinking. Then, they are not actually thinking. And that indeed sounds like what I am saying here. These sources of cultural materials like magazines and newspapers and or course the business pronouncements, financial magazines, "The Economist," etc. prefer the other version ---- even if it is disconnected ---- even if it does not represent truth.
This is what is strange and this is what one needs to account for. And of course it is a strong position I am taking, one that seems to me impossible to take in the context of a university culture -- although I am not at one so I don't know, for sure, how that would work. You could call it a "disconnect", then, in a double way (the two sides of the economics question, and that between the newspapers and reality) but at any rate I am saying that it is a disconnect between what is said in our culture or public consumption, or what "everyone" is saying, and ---- what can only be called the truth.

There is not any other way to put the concept of such a divide: between what everyone is saying, on the one hand, and what you would say if you actually looked and thought and paid attention, on the other. Certain parties have made their choice. We don't want to pay attention. This is the deliberate choice to not pay attention to some other view. We do not pay attention, but what we do is that we import "received wisdom" from outside the realm of our own sincere investigation. Why would we do that? Who knows? Gore Vidal calls it "RW" -- received wisdom  All of this also seems to me related to the post I just now saw on naked capitalism. The title of a talk by one William Reese is, "on [the] dangerous disconnect between economics and ecology."  (07/07/2011 - Yves Smith -  naked capitalism)

This is consonant with what I am saying. It's a dangerous disconnect. But how about reading that as "economics and reality," not "economics and ecology" --- that is the way I was reading it anyway! Ecology is just reality ---- the animals and plants and such.  The ideologist isn't inventing that. So, I suggest we frame this disconnect or this divide so that the word "economics" is changed to "ideology" and the word "ecology" gets to become reality. This is the contrast I have already discussed what we say reality is and what it is. Those are the two elements: what is the case and what ideology says it is. Ideology and reality.
    In the example of the title of the Yves Smith blogpost, "ecology" represents the element of the truth (the real plants and animals is the truth, and what Reese says will happen to the earth is also the truth, for example what will happen if these persons do not abandon their practice of holding up the concept of what is called "economic growth"), and the science -- if that is what we call it -- of "economics" represents ideology. If reality is given the name "ecology" and economics the name "ideology," then it fits my scheme here.

This is all rather loopy -- is "loopy" a good word? What is actually going on in economics is no longer (related/connected) to our discussions of economics. Economists who do not agree with the RW or newspaper wisdom are intentionally ignored. It is intentional. That is all that can be said about it, but, we have to say that.  This is based on their choice. This is their intentional choice. I am thinking that a person makes a choice about what to believe. But I think that we we do not ---- and perhaps cannot ---- know why. We can't ask why an individual makes the choice. He or she just does it. He makes that choice, to, for example, say something that is not true. "Why" is not really our business. It doesn't open itself to our knowledge. We can say that they are doing it intentionally.
    That we can say and we are in the area of madness, of disconnect with reality, of state propaganda, but I have not used those kinds of analogies in making my point because I am seeing it fresh and trying to file a report on my insights. At any rate, I will use one literary reference here, to point out that it is very much something out of Kafka.  (Ooooo...scary...)  I think we need to be aware of it, just on basic moral and ethical grounds.
   With this situation there is a disconnect with reality, and, also, the subject matter itself of economics, in which latter would represent another activity entirely, that of actually paying attention.  So, again, why is society uninterested in the truth? We see that it is a difficult topic. You cannot just have an opinion about it so easily. You cannot have an opinion on this one right out of the gate or right off the bat. It is not something you can respond to so easily and quickly. But we need to say what is ---- what the situation really is.

Our two areas of enquiry are now economics itself, and, the human thought process itself. On the one hand, most of our ideas on economics are wrong. But that is solvable. We could try to think deeper thoughts. Someone could have stumbled onto some original insights, as I myself have. And there are other means (but all reality-based).  But  there is that "other hand." It seems that as a society, we like the wrong view more than the right one. That is a question of how our minds work, not an economic question. It has to do, I would suggest, with ideology or something, but it is not a question of economics.

It is also a question of choice.  In saying we "like" the wrong view more I mean that we are involved in choosing ---- something I already said, above. We are making an active choice in that direction. I do not know why, and it is very hard to know what to say about this.

    What we have here then, in summation, is an observation of a divide between what persons believe or say they believe, and what can only be called "the truth." We have to tell it like it is, baby!

the link below was obliquely referenced:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Social Phenomenon, Not an Individual One

There was a time before capitalism (before capitalism was the dominant system it was just a minor, regional tendency in a few places). Today, everything seems oriented to capitalism, but, as Ha Joon Chang probably knows, capitalism came from somewhere. It is no sin to be historical in one's approach.

And there were people back then, too. It would be extermely foolish to regard those who were facing the oncoming social change of capitalism not as people but as somehow only individuals. Did this historical capitalist penetration take place on an individual level? I am not aware that anybody does think so, but it helps us understand that there is a dominant ideology going on.

It seems clear to me that capitalistic penetration of life did not take place, necessarily, on an individual level. Rather I think it is a social phenomenon, and I think it is social from start to finish. All social ---- not individual. That capitalism is "individual" is best understood as the tale that they are telling, or the lie that they are telling. How in fact could any historical phenomenon be called individual rather than social? That does not seem to make any sense but their reaction is to take the history out. Therefore, much economics today is not historical. (Notice that in the last sentence "Economics" means the field, not the thing.)

That is why someone notes of the body of workd that economist Ha Joon Chang has created that it is historical, whereas most other economics today (again: as a discipline, not as a thing) is not historical. Chang, naturally enough, is the one exception.

In my opinion capitalist penetration did not take place on an individual level, which you would expect me to say, since I think what we have always missed is that economics/capitalism is social. Even the sentence "capitalism is social" sounds funny, doesn't it? I wonder why. This is what we need to understand. Whenever capitalism is on its way to becoming a real force, for example, we can see that it always shares the wealth. Alright, it might take a while sometimes (Sandra Halperin speaks about this) but it does spread out -- the wealth -- into the entire society. The rule, then, is that wherever capitalism works, it shares wealth in general. So, that must have something to do with the nature of capitalism itself.

Capitalism is a social phenomenon, but they needed to frame it as individual. They create a whole philosophy for that. In my view? I don't see capitalism as just something that just happened to a few individuals here or there.

Capitalism in the Afternoon (the Sunset of Western Civilization)

Although today we have 120 channels on the television in addition to the right - thank the gods - to turn it off, persons didn't always get to choose their reality. In the 16th or 17th century, 40% or so had no choice but to die before twenty and war, too, robbed, stole the essential force of life. Death was no stranger to these people and I do not believe that being a small or even a big businessman was a bulwark against that fundamental lack of right to choose all things. They were closer to things that are inevitable, like death. And so reminders of basic impermanence were there for them. Life always contains these challenges, even for us, and no one could wish them away; but the social systems that come along are a way of overcoming them.
    Were these people individualistic? Sure. They were. For maintaining a rich, diverse, social life, whites have the greater difficulty. They have difficulty maintaining these social ties, social links. That is where capitalism or markets or "choice" comes in. It helps them. I won't get into the difficulties of conceptualizing "choice," but this development, which is to say that of capitalism, helps whites out with their social problem. There is nevertheless a problem with all of this, which is that not all of them want to be helped. So, even though capitalism comes along, I am not saying it just has the power to just fix everything.

    So, the story up 'til now: white people have great difficulties with "communion" or sociality. So, they are going to have difficulty establishing coherent social organizational systems, social institutions. Natch --- but capitalism takes them up, guides 'em by the hand. Whites are individualistic, and cantankerous. My view is that cruelty and hatred are lurking around every corner and behind every bush. Or maybe that is just my poor attitude?

    Capitalism just comes along. It is not intentionally created. I think it just happens. These persons had no choice about participating in the building of capitalism. It was a social development that just happened. When it did evolve, they did not want to admit the social aspect of the thing, or that in this system their selfish (private) interest was not the only thing being taken into account. They would have feared and hated this sociality component.

I'm sure of it: they had to accept capitalism, since it was a development that just came along by itself. They had no real control over that, but, as one thing lead to the other, they desperately had to frame capitalism - their new living space - as individualistic and as "private." Which is all rubbish.