Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Merle Sang

"I wear my own kind of hat," Merle H. sang. So often persons engage in their activities as members of a particular group. Or, they get married, which is for some reason the cause for a celebration, like New Year's. Is it really so great to be part of the group? Let's say you go out with someone. You need to decide on the wine. How would it be that you both want the same type of wine at the same moment? How can two persons ever have, at each moment, the exact same urges and desires? That is exactly as likely as a monkey painting the Mona Lisa.
     That well-know bit about the monkey painting the Mona Lisa is a cute one. The idea for cans and ribbons on the car of the newlyweds is a cute one. So is tooting horns awash in confetti at the New Year's Eve party. They're all great ideas. Haggard's song title is cute, too. But he is an artist, and he has more of a right to be cute. He must have had a real reason for that bit about the hat.
      And as for whether each person is fundamentally estranged from the other, I think that's one for the Ages.


From Jack's Notebook:

                    -                 -                     -                      -

How did a small group of human beings have the good fortune to be born into a situation characterized by relations of t he capitalistic sort? I think it is a good fortune since to be born into such a society, because it is to have freedom - I think it comes down to being essentially the freedom to obtain the job of one's choice. That is the crucial freedom. And also, to be able to vote.

                    -                      -                    -                   -

The way in which all of these things hang together has to do with sociality, a subject which, in turn, is almost ignored, which is one of the weird things about our hyperactive American capitalism. Nevertheless, in academe there has to be "social thought," if only because it is there in history, and scholars tend to be international, not confined to the particulars of teh American experience. So, the issue of the "social" comes up in "social" thought and where this discipline belongs relates to the issue of sociality vs. individuality.
     Which, in turn, brings us back around to the peculiar American reticence to discuss the issue of sociality. Although rare, it is possible for the philosopher to decide issues econcerning sociality and individuality in favor of sociality.
     For those that think that way, value is placed on people being together.

(both written sometime in the last six months of so) (note: in early June of this year I looked at these two "notes" and recast the whole deal)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Big Investigation

Revisited the "bigthink" site.

"  China, with its authoritarian efficiency; India, with its democratic vibrancy.  "

Give me a break. Except for the Brooks video, all I saw on this website was dumb stuff although I am not really interested anyway.... (p.s. that is pretty much how Brooks seems to function: sort of hangs out on the conservative, i.e. stupid end of the spectrum. That seems to make some sense. I might try researching what people say about him on the web. That might be a project...)

Part Two:
The investigation goes on. I just visited "bigthink." It may be run by Richard Branson. Anyways, everything seems very much "on line" in the sense of working everything out on the page, cerebrally, rather than feeling it first or working it out deeply. So, this approach is, indeed, very mental or cerebral. Not asking "who we are" as much as "what do we look like on a screen"

Today's Big Idea: Rethinking the Workplace 

I don't have any article for you here, not outside of the big words at the top of the homepage, that of the folks, as above. I saw a short talk at their site, though. That was good. It was by someone named David Brooks, whom I know wrote "Bohos in Bohemia." I would recommend this, a simple enough discussion on things like "clouds" and "clocks."

     As for the big words above I see that kind of talk a lot. It is a common thing to see that, or things like that.I'll give my take on it now.

     We do not really need to find a new job. We are in the "workplace." We have capitalism, that's our system. But this system we have arrived at does not really need to make any more things. It's just that it needs to clean up the environment, go green. Otherwise, we have enough freaking stuff already. Don't we?         

We don't really need to earn more money. We have enough. There is enough money, trillions and trillions of it. Money is an abstraction. There is no "it," yet it/money just swishes around the world, that's "churn." I think it is called "churn." For Ex. Who is "ex"? Is there something else there? 

     Does we need more hedge traders and Goldman Sachs people? It does not need to get smaller, it does not need to get bigger, but now we've arrived so we don't need a new job but we need to rearrange the furniture or "re-think the workplace." I love it: we need to ethink or rethink. And we do want to move the furniture, don't we?

People find themselves in these jobs they have, and that is life; that is their life. They do not necessarily want to move to the country anymore. That seems to be over. They are have at their jobs now. They are not looking to "get away from the rat-race" anymore. All that is over. We just need to "rethink the workplace." They just want to stay where they are, next to the garbage can, and eat the discarded pizza while I try to sleep. They can do that--they can stay where they are. But they want to "rethink."

(note: I am startled. This came out all caps. Now what? All can say is that - hello - this thing will probably come down soon) (or get edited, which is what I just did, June 12th. I guess I rearranged my workplace.) (Except it still comes out in small letters when composing it and caps when publishing it.) 


Other than the title of the article on bigthink and the Brooks video, I didn't really investigate this site too much. I am fully innocent of knowing anything about "bigthink," a.k.a. "smallthink," Ha ha. I so funny t-day.

Influence Peddlers, bloggers, and other artists.

Looking closely at something—and analyzing it—this is one method of inquiry. But there are others. Letting impressions wash over one would be a second method. 
    This would constitute a second method. I can think of a third, too. Let it all come down to how one feels, which would mean to be purely personal and subjective. We shall focus on the second method of inquiry, letting impressions wash over one.
    A public relations manager, or a marketer, would be a person who lets impressions come—in this case collecting up all the impressions one receives about how to spend money, or how "we spend our money." There are persons like that. Very commercial persons. I do not know how many, but I seem to feel them a lot, maybe because of the kind of things they do. Always trying to sell me things. Yuck. Why won't they go away? But anyway, they are out there, and that is what he (or she) looks at, or inquires into, or lets wash over his consciousness. This person in marketing or p.r. is receiving impressions generated by the greater outside world of economics, impressions about how persons who are enjoying a bit of excess income tend to spend it—how do they make preferences? How do they make their choices. This kind of person is interested in the inquiry only so that maybe a little of that money will turn towards him. He wants to bend that ongoing stream, to use that stream to his, personal, advantage. So when this type of person looks out at the world—when he or she observes the human or social world around him or her—it is only to redirect a little of this cash flow. We know what these types are called. They are like the "influence peddler," the lobbyist. 
     This type of things is not at all new. Not in the history of the West. It has been around since the Age of Romans.  
     Western persons always seem to use marketing and publicity systems in their societies.

As a marketer, then, he is interested in the spending decisions of others, solely to turn their spending into his own. (So what!? Well, I don't know. Maybe I'll add something tomorrow.) (I did: I updated this on June 12th)

Notice: Posting Policy

If I am perhaps getting some readers, I would just like to point out for you all that while I pretend (and aspire) to be very spontaneous, I actually make a practice of doing an "update" to many of my better blog postings, so, if you saw one you liked you should go back later to pick up the new, better-written version.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Newsweek, Tina

In my long-form review of Tina Brown covering an ish of her magazine from Feb., I said that "morally porous" was the keyword. Then I mailed that piece off to some email address of her's. (note: editorial at the daily beast.)
     Well you know these high-class intellectuals really must read their emails, this because Tina's column has now sported the word "moral" again, in her issue with the rainbow halo above the president, you see, and then, I also got the impression the word was there on May 14th (that issue). In response to my sending her a copy of my post about her February column, obviously. It wasn't. Yet "moral" was there, again, as an underlying theme. Nothing about Clint Eastwood this time, in a column about countries that put writers in jail.
     I paid for the May 14th ish, by the way, so I am now a paying customer, of hers or of her magazine. Of somebody's. But one of the wonderful things about language is that it is an unstoppable force for certain things like getting to know who an individual is. This is particularly so in a literate, as well as free, society.
     In a free and literate society, no one hides. (Language, therefore, is a beast.)

                       (this post updated: May 27th, and 31st)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

McClosky, Rhetoric

When I have my economist hat on, my job is to inform the reading public of the way normal economic theory -- the mainstream, you might call it -- is in error, and so much so, that I am sometimes even agast. This "mainstream," even though it is widespread, is just wrong. Sad.
     Nevertheless, there are so many elements -- including what are called semantic ones or elements of language -- that sometimes I do find myself referring to some part -- an element or a statement -- that I agree with momentarily. Now when this happens I point to the part I agree with and say: "look at your own theory. The theory says..." Is that like saying I agree? -with neo-Classical? I am only agreeing temporarily. I am only doing it to oppose them. But is that weird? It seems kind of like I am having it two ways; I am both agreeing with an element and disagreeing with the whole. What is weird is that I seem to have switched my stance, for a moment. Here, then, is my sense of what is going on.

     Anything can make sense.
     We cannot say that nothing in mainstream economic ideation (thought) makes sense, because nothing, even a bad economic theory, exists in total isolation all by itself. These theories are not structures with walls around them -- for example, amoebas, or walled cities -- and even if it were so that wall or barrier around it exists for a reason. The existence of the wall implies something else, outside, that could be breached. Then the point is that everyting relates to everything else. And, the point of any economic theory whatsoever is ------ to touch the world.
     Usually I say that mainstream economic theory has been naughty. Thus, needs to be refuted, spanked. But, when something I have pointed out agrees with their point of view, I find their point of agreement significant. Maybe that's weird.
     What does it mean? Does it mean, and I think McClosky says something like this, that everything is rhetoric?
     Or that I have some ulterior purpose? The answer is: no. And the reason for this can be expressed here, I think so. It lies in the fact that everything (as we mention above) is connected. If rhetoric is everywhere, or everything is rhetoric, which McClosky may or may not actually state but which she seems to be closer to than I, we are simply creating another encasement, a wall. That is the problem. The word "rhetoric" would then become inoperative. In that case, why not just use the word "language"? And say that everything is language? Everything is language. Right?
     So then, who needs "rhetoric"? Rhetoric's place is to function. And rhetoric is, t hus, practical. The function of rhetoric is that it engages us. It makes the piece more fun to read, actually. I think! McClosky's book shows this. She shows that rhetoric pulls us in and gets our attention. It functions. Not as reality, though.
     What pulls us in is not mere language itself -- which is perhaps compelling only to professional linguists -- but the kind of language. That is why rehetoric amounts to a list. (McClosky: "classical rhetoric was merely a list of terms..." p.5-9.)
     Everything is rhetoric. Everything is language. What do scholars do other than use language to argue things? We can say that, that's all fine with me. Everything is language, fine. But, even if language is involved here, it still has to "touch the world." Economic theory is argument. But it is not merely rhetoric, it has to mean something. Now, the rhetoric stuff is used to support and put over the argument itself, but the whole discourse in terms of the real practice, is not merely rhetoric. (Some would italicize "merely.")
     It is subtle, I think so. The process of argumentation uses language, yes. But it is not mere language. it has to touch the world, too. Otherwise, what is the point, again?
     Rhetoric supports you, or, it makes your argument stronger. Argument is real because it touches the world. (Or in the reversed order of call, reality coming first: The world receives the argument, which receives rhetoric.) This mutual linkage of rhetoric, argument and reality, however, reduces neither to mere circularity, nor to the notion that the outside world is rhetoric.
     The reason that rhetoric is not an endless circle is that it has to touch the world, and the world is not rhetoric.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rich Persons and Economic Deprivation

The Washington Post has this, linked to by William Saletin, via his twitter account:
“There is now a diverging trend between the euro area and the U.S., where the U.S. is picking up more strongly while the euro area is lagging behind,” Padoan said.

And also a gap between say, the rich countries and the third-Worlder or between the rich parts of the economy, like Bill Gates, and the deprived parts, or the wealth-lacking areas (like a few hundred million persons --- Africa, Asia, elsewhere).

No matter how you put it, there have ALWAYS been extreme differences between the wealthy and those having but little.

So, is that not the basic issue?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Everybody Do What They Want ----

Let everybody do what they want ----

Capitalism is a system that allows individuals to freely enter into a certain stream of human behavior or interaction. It allows ease of entry into that system, and this is the system of so-called "business." The policy of relaxing certain class constrictions, hence of letting those persons in, was the idea of our founding fathers. Since that time, the workability of the system has been demonstrated ----- at least so far ---- we can't say what the future will bring.
     No one knew for sure that this would be so. In the original event, their sentiment may have been something like, "why not let people do it?" Since we are saying that all men are free and so forth?
     The idea of, except for Mr. Hamilton, some very idealistic fathers was to relax these class constrictions. They had the idea to relax the constrictions on persons and create a government that was, as we like to say, "by, for, and of" ...who? ...the persons in the society, the society itself. Everybody knew that this was called democracy, there was no need to say it in the Constitution.
     The word is not found there, but, and D'Toqueville later affirmed it in his book, it was Democracy. As soon as democracy was introduced, and as soon as early America, which is something that you can still see vestiges of, if you take a road trip east, was established, there was the inevitable reaction. The "reaction." Now, the only thing that kept democracy from being lost entirely was -- this is my original idea -- capitalism.

     This is -- of course -- why a study of economics is so important. Because, democracy or any such thing did not come from ideals. Or three-cornered hats, I like to say.

    There are a few more things to say now. But it takes time. Well, maybe tomorrow!

Chicago Gets The Bad Out - Sighs In Relief

The evil bad protestors have been defeated. Consequently, the press then hallucinates, collectively. Now a proper solid account is manifesting, emerging. Account re: social dissent situation. Now we know how history is made.
     I tracked the protest strictly through media. I did not see any part in real life. I really did not feel that interested, but, when I did see some coverage, of the protesting part of it (not the Black Bloc), it looked good, and I felt the value of protest. That is what nobody in the mainstream wanted to acknowledge. We shouldn't have to drag that out of them. They should get it. Following the events this way, what I saw was that the Sun-Times, one of our two major news organisations, tended to make up various snappy phrases, acknowledging that something is happening here (Mr. Jones!!!) Some newsy-type items, OK ----- while as for their so-called "competitors," the esteemed Chicago Tribune ----- true to form, they just pretended it didn't happen,  which is one way of dealing with it, I guess. I could include the "Red Eye" version, but that would take up more space, and they are owned by the Tribune company anyway, so that kind of makes it redundant, doesn't it? (What are they? They are, in fact, the supposed "alternative" --- to their own "mainstream." You can't make this stuff up. ... that is "market"? - good material for an economics post)
      I didn't really take that much interest in it, but as NATO winds up, down, heads out of town, or whatever it is, and I really did not take that much interest because I don't know what NATO does but I think it's a military thing --- what I am picking up now is about the protest part and the press/establishment vibe.

     Things are really great in Chicago; the city is once again honorable and at peace.
     The police performed well and get laminated.
     Everybody go back to sleep.

     (I wonder, if possible, could it be that Emmanuel actually created all those protesters?)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stars Need Customers

Everybody is not so important----they don't have to be a superstar. You don't have to be a star.

We tend to emphasize singularity and uniqueness. We often seek to "valorize" individuals. Otherwise we cannot "value" a person or product unless that product has this tinge that characterizes it as being unique or special, making it proprietary to us.
     Everything has to be special, then. That's the way we only value the stars of society, but I think this to be a problem. To be a star, and outshine everyone, does not entail your detracting (an alternative word here is deducting) from them. Or canceling them out. Or saying they do not matter because they are not stars. It's to the contrary because you want them to be your customer, and -- therefore -- the "regular guys" have a certain kind of value.
     Those persons aren't really on the map today. All the stars seem to do is look for other trending stars.
     Capitalism is, I think, a kind of society. Instead of capitalism being like a society, it (capitalism or society) has degenerated into something more like a (you guessed it) star system.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19th, 2012

     Why does Burger King put up a B. King store somewhere? We could also say McDonalds or Starbucks, since there are so many of them all of these stores. Do they put up stores only in the interest of that particular store's making a profit? It is, it seems to me, also the case that they put up stores so no one else can put up a store there. Notice that this reality fits the definition of "competition" because if you stop the other guy from getting a store you are certainly "competing." It is clear: that is competition. Even if nobody wants to come in to your store or if your store happens to not quite even break even, even. Nevertheless it is competition. This is so, since the store is still continuing the "competition" with say, McDonalds. It is still competing. This kind of competition could be with anybody at all -- anyone who would try to put up a store on that corner. Does this sound like reality? Is this a little bit how business works? Probably.
     Next, ask why is what has just been said a "critical" approach? Because it departs from the normal, accepted standard, and the normal, accepted standard understands business activity as something that creates benefit, as it creates a "good." That good could be the store's profit. It could any benefit whatsoever, for example benefit in having satisfied customers (buyers). But in this case we say, in non-standard fashion, that B. K. "competes" merely by refusing to grant the desires of others, e.g. McDonald, Wendy, Starsky-Buckowski, Johnny, or Bobbie --- to have that particular spot. What happened in this case is that the store does not give anyone a better hot dog. It does not achieve better service to the public, or give them a better service, or help the public in any way. Neither do they help themselves, if by that we mean that there is a profit. Of course, "profit" can mean a profit in money, or in what they call "same-store sales" or whatever it is, or it can mean a benefit. This is what the semantic meaning of "profit" is. As noted, this idea of having a benefit can mean many things, but the point is that it does not give a benefit to anyone, not even the normal business profit: it does not give anything good to the public while at the same time accomplishing the feat of not generating a profit! It no food gets made, no money comes in. They just occupy a space on the street corner. But the critical difference is that this kind of competition seems to create a different kind of story, making it a "critical" way to frame capitalism and competition. This seem to be a situation of no benefit at all, in general, except, and only except (I believe), if we consider the probably either weird or illusory benefit of the company getting satisfied in a determination to "dominate." That corner?! For the BK company to have their store on (alt. word would be: clogging) that location. Then Burger King now rules or dominates or char-broils the world. Which makes who happy? I know what the business crowd wants to say...dominates the Market. This is the wrong meaning of the world "market." I am beginning to believe that the word "market" really just means the world itself and all the persons. So, they do not dominate the/a market. All I see left is the company's individual desire for power. I do not see any real capitalistic or market (or economic) situation at all, in the special case of a business only wanting to control a competitor by having so many stores. So, maybe ----- McDonalds is not capitalist!!!! Or it means  that such a company as BK or McDonalds, Wendy's, etc. is not capitalist in the sense of the spreading out into the society of opportunity or of a sharing of the wealth.
     This all helps us reach the conclusion that what we really want when we talk about economics is the benefit of everyone. For instance, notice the lack of interest we would have a particular kind of argument. The argument that corp. "X" defeated corp. "Y", in the specific case where the event did not sell any more product or make any other gain (need I say "growth"?) is not interesting.

     For further evidence that this is a good argument...  ...observe a street promotion. Sat. May 19th, in Chicago.
     There was a D. J. He played music. Lyric: "let's do it tonight/we may not get another chance." This is what we see. Meantime, a smiling young lady is handing out flyers promising payment of $75.. to anyone who opens a "direct deposit" type of account. The D. J. has one of those T-shirts with a "gothic" design. It says "Affliction," in fancy, ornamental letters. In sum, the bank's promotional event is a "friendly" attempt to do business, at the same time that music is stating, "Let's do it tonight / we migh not get tomorrow"  Basically something like that.  "Capitalism." "Economics." "Competitioin." Is it expansion, or is it "Affliction"? Investing for a return, or defeating others?
Good questions?

    All this is "helped" (not by the Beatles but) by Deirdre McClosky's observations about "rhetoric," from 1985. Everything is rhetoric. All the arguments are "slanted." So, it isn't the punk rockers or persons in T-shirts that say "Malaise" who are slanted. It is the economists who are punks. It is the economists who are perverse. McClosky forgot to say that. But that does not mean, if we allow ourselves to follow the argument, that is does not turn out to be true. I find McClosky a good writer, by the way. I have not read her later works. One can't read everything. But, based on the Wikipedia "leaked" info I clicked at, she seems to have, over time, arrived at som ething similar. "argument"? "rhetoric" ?
     So you are giving away free hot dogs (it is so). You are promoting your bank (at a cost of $75.oo per customer plus a thousand for the entertainment?!!). When you are doing it, your free stuff is also taking away the business of Bacci Pizza less than a block away (they charge money for their food).

     The resilient point, or real question, here, is that of whether you are benefitting persons.
And yes, Bobbie dear, it's that simple. And we like Gays; That is the nature of our  times.

Occupy + Free = This My Comment

According to the press in Chicago (a smaller-sized paper put out by one of the biggies, maybe the Sun-Times or else the other of the two papers), within an article on "occupy," in a "Timeline," this.

Jan. 2 ...  "Occupy Chicago approves a statement..." 
The aim of "Occupy" is, it says in the paper, to end "corruption and corporate influence in government." (Secondary source quote linked to the "Occupy" statement that the newspaper says was approved on JAN. 02.  (Thursday, May 10, p. 7)

And NOW a few comments, because you could argue that this is a free trade stance trying to separate business and government.  Although it is a decentralized organization, it seems to be a quote from some of the "Occupy" participants. Here's how I see it: (in terms of that short quote, which seems to be from some source linked to "Occupy.")

1) that is a free trade stance

2) this is so because it says: Keep the corporations clear from the government

3) A free trade type of stance sees various individual trade actors,. Presumably corporations would be also seen as trade actors. So, these "actors" are seen as the basic entities involved and the trading parties or actors, free trade theories state, should not be "corrupted," if you will, by illicity connections to other  groups such as, mainly, the government

Conclusion: Occupy's position as laid out in the quotation in the newspaper on Thursday, May 10th is a "free trade" position.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Economics, rationialism, capitalism, bla bla bla etc.

     People see what they want to.
     Some persons look at capitalism and they see self-interest. Some even call it rational self-interest. Three big words. Rational. Self-. Interest. Is there any part for sociality, or interaction? Why are those ("social" -ist) things supposedly separate from capitalism? Those things may appear to you to be separate things from capitalism, that is to say if you are indoctrinated.

     YET ---- EVEN SO ---- Everywhere we look, humans are found in a society. The truth is this. Self-interest is not really even that interesting. They may like to put self-interest and capitalism together. That does not make it true. To put the two ideas or  concepts, capitalism and self-interest, together rhetorically is to do something intentionally. It is something someone did. Rhetorically, even. But, to put to things together does not prove a relationship.

     We are just assuming it. The orthodoxy in the universities are so stupid, it is just awful. It's horrible. We are just assuming this relationship (capitalism and privateness or self-interestedness) is there. Their thesis is, more precisely, that capitalism is always associated with self-interest. Maybe that looks good on the surface, to the adherents of this view, just because we do live in, after all, a neurotic society. In this repressive society, all kinds of selfish idiots are running around in the streets preening and driving Lexuses and showing their feathers --- or, their latest dress shoes and cuff links. Wouldn't it be nice if there WAS an entire human system based on self-interest? Then they'd all be doing the right thing.

     Yet ---- and even so ---- people do live in societies. Now, how is it so certain that in fact sociality -- the aspect of human socialness -- and capitalism are actually all that separate.
     Maybe they are together. Maybe very intimately involved with one another. aAnd maybe that scares selfish people. Maybe whenever capitalism is successful, the persons in that society feel a social bond. And the selfish and greedy do not like that.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Th Good Old Ways

(updated and caused to read rather more better on June 12, 2012 A.D.)

We stick with the "good old way." The good old way is best, that's what we say. Instead, maybe the option is change.

In this context, that means "modernize." We should stop saying that "the good old way" -- which by the way happens to be unfair -- is best. We should stop thinking that way, as it doesn't lead to anything useful.
     It is not really "the good old way." It is a new version. This week's version of "the good old ways"?
     "The good old standard." The gold leaves on the Oak tree. You don't want to hear that they turn color? that they changed? Even a stick-in-the-mud conservative knows that seasons change.
     Inflexible modernity is change disguised as rigidity or conservatism -- fascism.
     Or -- painted in gold leaf. That would be only a change on the outside, for ornamentation purposes. Add a little gillitter to the exterior --- blind everyone. Some things don't change; some things do. "Turn, turn, turn." One of the best folksongs this fascist society ever stood still for (is that a "radical" song, Mommy?).

     Our (lives) life (are) is packaged into various forms. It's practical. We try to select a form that makes sense to us. Everyone does this. As Foucault explained this, the people (in French-like language, "the peuple" who get "governed") often express their will by saying (to their masters) "we want this kind of control (governmentality) rather than that kind. I think what he is saying is the flexibility, or hope in life, or something, lies in the fact that t he people try to mold the situation. SOPA did not pass. Something is happening as regards gays-----Richie Valens got all the white persons to dance to a Spanish rock song. A "barrier" disappeared. I once read about Louis Armstrong that his trumpet vibrato has even influenced most symphony trumpet players (even though "trumpeting while black"). People adapt. They try to control the conditions of that adaptation.
     Things stay the same. Things change. Writing styles change, for goodness sake. Everything changes.

Pathetic Attempt At Reaching A Wider Audience

Here is a thing that I managed to find somewhere...     Exciting....
So very exciting....
 -..........................................................    ....................................................    ......................
If you're like most girls, the idea of sending your lover a sexy text can be quite exciting. It also doesn't hurt knowing that the little ding of the cell phone text could alert your lover while he's in a meeting, in class, or in line somewhere. No matter where he is, he can get your message -- loud and clear. 
This is not some liberal reaction/response where I am going to criticize the evil world. But, also, this is someone's commercial venture.  ...  the web venture appears to my untutored eye to be related to how you (the girl) can use your (pink) cell phone to somehow titillate or dilate your boyfriend... So there has to be some fertile material somewhere here, for an intellectual genius like me (fertile, but no pun intended, I swear) and maybe I can learn what backlinking is while am there at it. I'll get that soon. I hope. As to my analysis of the above love material, the best part for  post-modernism or sub-Saharanism is that last part. Clearly. Loud and clearly.

What does it mean to get a message "loud and clear"? Well, what I think is that this is a pretty simple message in the first place, involving some kind of erotic messaging. Maybe even a hormonal or pheromone kind although I don't know how to spell it. Why not just say, "darling, fantasize about me." I think he'd go for it! Or just have an electronic device that gives him a shock in the groin, whenever you want. THAT 'd Be flirting! I think the technology is a problem. Actual pheromones must be delivered - through the phone.

OK, gang.  I'm going to see if this post ups my status or makes me more popular. I'll just sit back and wait for the reviews.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Note Concerning My Popular "Graphene" piece

Tuesday, May 1st, brought us "Graphene," my essay. I have added two comments that any readers might want to see. Statistically speaking, according to my tools as a blogger, I see  that apparently this was my most "popular" essay of the last few months, in terms of the readership as it shows up on the "statistics" part of my end. (Am I supposed to just give that info away? I don't know, but I am starting to check that stuff, according to my pathetically small amount of knowledge, as a consumer-end user of the Google equipment. Assumedly, those fifteen do not include myself? How does blogger know? I use other persons' computers. I do not even own a computer!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Georgia, Georigia

Sinclaire Coffer, a 17-year-old high school student with autism, is fighting to be allowed to graduate from North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs, Ga., after the state Board of Education ruled against it, WSB-TV reports.
While Coffer has passed every other portion of the state's graduation exam, he has failed the math portion five times.
"We’ve gotten a private tutor," his mother Linda Coffer told WSB-TV. "He’s taken classes that are offered by the school in summer and throughout the school year.”

According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Coffer applied for a waiver which would have allowed him to graduate despite failing the exam. The state Board of Education, however, voted to deny his request.
Still, the student's family maintains that he is unable to pass the math portion of the exam due to his diagnosis, rather than a lack of hard work.
"Once he starts it, and he learns it, he can do it. But when you walk away, he forgets the steps," Coffer's mother told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Newscore reports that Georgia recently changed a law to require all students pass the math exam in order to graduate. However, those changes will not go into effect until next year. Meanwhile, Coffer's family has not been given a reason for the board's decision.
(JacksGreat comment): It is like that in Georgia, I reckon. I think the following. I think these are people who think they have to prove things. These are people who need a reason, or need to look like they have one. They need to think they have a reason for everything. 
     It is that they follow reason. This is my idea: that they are thinking like this.
     It was in Georgia, after all. The tip-off was Georgia. I reckon. Hate to say it, but it seems that things like this happen in Georgia. Always Georgia... What's with those people? People in Georgia must have the idea, "I am using reason. I am strictly guided by reason." Like that makes them so hi-class. They so logical, bro.

(note: please understand that I am merely using a sense of humor here: I repeat. "A sense" of humor. It's kind of like "A Taste of Honey," which was an accepted pop song, on the charts, baby. Unimpeachable. Speaking of peaches... )

Chomsky Off Target?

"The Occupy movement spontaneously created something that doesn't really exist in the country: communities of mutual support, cooperation, open spaces for discussion ... just people doing things and helping each other," Chomsky says. "That's very much missing. There is a massive propaganda - it's been going on for a century, but picking up enormously - that you really shouldn't care about anyone else

Saying that "people just doing things and helping each other" does not exist at present seems imprecise to me. If so, is there then this "massive propaganda structure"? -and, is that the thing that is to be blamed? -for everyone who has difficulty connecting? His reasoning implies to me that there is some "thing" that is responsible for the lack of support, cooperation, and openness. Is there a "thing" of some kind? Something, at any rate, is definitely stopping us from relating to and helping one another.

Well, that is a good starting place for discussion, anyway. What keeps it like that? Just what keeps us all from being regular and helping each other? It is a perfectly reasonable question. Another approach that I have used for going at this same question, is to ask: is this a problem? Is it a problem at all, that I do not know the folks in the downstairs apartment, because they always keep to themselves? Should life really work that way? Is it quite OK? To be cut off from everyone in this fashion? Of course not.
     I give you my unequivocal answer, which is: NO. I am not sure about the rest of Chomsky's quoted words, however and cannot agree that some "force" is "out there." He did not use either of those words, but that is what comes to mind. If there is a "thing" out there, do we know what it is? It is beating people over the heads. But is "it" even there? In any easily identifiable way? What is he saying? That it is 'THE MAN'?
     We may ask whether there is propaganda in the world that many persons actually fall for, and also propaganda that is stupid, and clueless, and the fault of the ruling class? There is this clueless garbage from the elite money-grubbers in our society, yep.
     "It" tells you "that you really shouldn't care about anyone else." Wait. Why "really" ? What does the "really" really mean? Why is that there? Is it really true? When is something "really" true? Here is another sentence, OK? What does this mean?  ...You do not really have to not care -- you could have, but it would have been hard, but you did not care only up until project 'Occupy,' a.k.a. your/the movement, came. Cheers for Occupy! 'Occupy' frees you. That is the thing that frees you all up. Right? R U better now? All better?
     I don't know, I think maybe it reads two ways, but beyond forever parsing my brilliant post here, I can share with all the fuzzy touchy-feelie sensitive types something: I want to share that I am actually disappointed with the last two things I have seen (on my electronic antennae communication device/system) concerning Noam. It seems wrong. The man had a good run, a VERY GOOD one indeed!!! So three cheers for him, even though he finally went, Um----sour.

Hey. More. The dude now needs to basically (trying to remove my vernacular now) shut up about shit and get back to the people and just hang ---- maybe with a different crowd, too, dude!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rhetoric, and "Lower Cost"

What is the actual economic benefit of lowered cost in a world --- we could say "environment" --- of trade? What is the benefit of lowered cost, as an analytical stand-alone entity or concept, in the trade-based economy? (Are there other kinds? Probably there are. "The economy" is the trade-world.)
     In the trade-world money circulates. It is because of this that one persons' cost is just another person's income. Eventually all the money in an economy has to be spent, even if we frequently see persons trying to behave in the opposite way. (i.e. they want to "lower their costs")
     In the long run money is spent (, or we can say "circulated").
     Businessmen generally try to make money (in order) to increase their stash. They "make money" by taking in more than they pay out. They make money means: they acquire it. Yet the money you make has to be spent, for it to do anyone any good. Otherwise, what's the point? To keep it in shoeboxes? At the end of the day you will have paid out what you have taken in ---- just that. This indicates to me that "Lowering costs" is micro rather than macro. One the macro level we want increase. There is no differentiation to be made here, between "cost" and "income" (or however you smarites want to put that ---- the word "cost" seemed easy to arrive at, and I guess you can yse "profit" for "income" if you want). The only difference, then, would be on the "micro" level. A neutral trade entity, such as a person, or a company, and "agent" in the trade world, does not cause us to privilege either "cost" or "money made." It is the same thing.
     It does not matter (and this is a separate point, it appears) whether the neutral agent, or economic "player" is in the economy or the whole economy (or anything in-between).
     Our subjective, or culturally stated view, is that of increase. We want something to increase, right? Then what "should" increase? Wealth? Something like that, right? We want more products, then? We need more stuff? Not really.    
     WHat we really want to increase is something more like our quality of life. We think we do that by increasing our income. Then, the issue is that of how we can usefully increase  ...something.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 09, 2012

Making dough, and interacting. They are similar. The business world is not simply individuals seeking after self-interest. There are quite different explanations that could be offered, aside from that old standard explanation of things.
     Capitalism exists when it has a society that it is based on, or when it has a basis in phenomena of a social kind. The most successful capitalist systems ---- the U.S., England, say Italy in the 12th century ---- they were also successful societies. Is that in any way surprizing?
     Societies have persons who are interested in helping others. Economies have persons who are interested in what is in their pocket.
     But an economy (in the modern sense) only succeeds where there is a successful society already present.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 08, 2012

Making money and interacting with persons are two very similar things. In the case where we talk about “an economy” this refers to both components which is to say, the making of money and the social interactions. Today economics involves a situation in which interacting with a lot of persons causes us to make more money. In earlier periods of capitalism, or even before capitalism dominated, maybe making money led to knowing others—and, maybe not. There are all kinds of different ways that it can happen, because there is constant change in capitalism.
     Because I do not see capitalism as individualism, capitalism is not defined here as the situation in which there are isolated firms here or there doing things like “raising capital.” I am not interested in the isolation of their ventures but rather in the full social impact of those ventures. To a certain sort of observer, those persons trying to make money appear to be “self-interested.” But that kind of view is, in fact, pointless. The story of capitalism is not only the story of individuals. Human beings also live in societies, societies are groups of persons and denying it is futile. It is just a part of human nature. It is obvious that we live as groups! Capitalism is not an exception to this, rather it is a reflection of it.    
    When we refer to “an economy” as we so like to do what we are indicating is the presence of a profit motive interacting with a social motive, or we should perhaps say, a social dynamic. Capitalism is the entire situation, the transformation of an entire society. 
     Intellectuals today get this wrong. Right-wingers constructing their theories consider sociality a thing that does not concern them, or that does not need to be discussed at all in terms of economics. The Left thinks of sociality but they think also of some utopian “socialist” world, a world that actually no one has ever seen (and one that we cannot and should not try to describe ahead of time -see Zizek). Both of them are wrong about where sociality is actually located. It is located in society. An “economy” obviously is a thing that is social; and we need to face the fact.
     For example there is the “social sciences.” They got their name in an earlier period of intellectual history. If you look at Economics in your college catalogue, it is (considered) a “social science.” Then that is the last time you will hear any form of the word “social.” What I am suggesting is that sociality should be at the essence of these concerns, which are, concerns that are linked to what a certain group of scholars calls economics. This is a different thing from someone saying she combines philosophy or history with economics with the “social” stuff included therein (Deirdre McClosky). It is also different from saying that there are considerations that happen to be social ones, and that are nice to look at—that  is Richard Sennett I am thinking of now.
     Finally, let me clarify that, since economics has got to be social, when you leave the sociality out if it then your so-called “economics” is not even the valid designation of a scholarly enterprise or scholar's field of enquiry. You are getting everything wrong. Persons are not little numbers, or dots, on some graph or neo-Classical economics curve.

(As a point of clarification, it seems that Deirdre agrees with me on some of this although my strong impression from reading her awhile back was that she is definitely not seeing what I am. She had, by the late eighties, in fact left the field of economics entirely, it seems. In this regard, I suppose she agrees with me on some points. She may have a lot to say, in fact, from a certain point of view, but I will have to read the work more closely: see the quote and other materials on

A Bit of Foreign Policy Advice for My Friends in the White House

From the Guardian (UK):

Four days after he visited Afghanistan, Obama said that money saved from ending wars should be used to reduce the country's debt and to boost healthcare, education and infrastructure.
"The tide of war has turned in Afghanistan," he said in his weekly radio and internet address. "We've broken the Taliban's momentum. We've built strong Afghan security forces. We've devastated al-Qaida's leadership. And one year ago our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set to defeat al-Qaida and deny it a chance to rebuild is within reach.
"After more than a decade of war, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home."

Seems pretty stupid. What kind of talk is this? If you want to defeat your opponents you have to convince them they do not have a cause. If they keep feeling committed, if they continue to feel they are right, they will continue on as enemies. As long as the Taliban (or that other group) continue to feel they are right I do not see any reason to be confident about their going away for Obama’s convenience, in an election year, which kind of seems to be what his words amount to. Silly speech.
     What is needed is that the U.S. takes away their feeling that they have a real cause.  Until we do that, and it involves both the reinforcement of our own legitimacy and messages or arguments about their lack of it, these persons will still feel they are right. And then there is no stopping them. They will stay motivated. They will continue to do what they are doing. Even if they die doing it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In My Life...

In my life I have chanced upon some pretty darn unique insights that occurred in the field of "economics." I do not know exactly what "economics" means as a term. But so what. That would be my area. The term describes a field of enquiry, I think. It is a field of enquiry. That is the field in which my insights occur, and, occurred.

     Basically, I had the idea that you could give away things.

     This idea gains traction as we ponder what Google and Hotmail do. They do give away free email.
     And so, the third-Worldish persons should get free food.That's close to the original idea that I had that made me become an economist. There were then more ideas, after that.
     Members of the economic network (not scholars but rather the world population) are in a social group. So, it is normal and proper that they get the appropriate "services." Those services are free to the members of that network, it is a property of the network. They do not have to pay for that, it comes with the society. This can change some of our ideas that we have about economics.
     It turns out, when you look at things this way, that capitalism is a network, and a social system. That should shock you, I suppose so.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Got Graphene?

(note: first half revised, July 13)

Imported from "New Scientist" magazine, , by John Fisher:

Why is it that some academic researchers and state funding bodies still regard commercialisation as a dirty word? We have all come across such people: happy to promote the myth that inspiration alone should be the driving force behind scientific labour.
     The economic doctrine which has been aggressively forced on us is that the market works automatically to supply society's needs. All we need to do is not meddle. Do you remember that stuff? Just leave the market alone, they used to say. But if that were true, Mr. Fisher would not have needed to write his piece, because the old market would have been purring right along, resolving all mankind's problems. Basically that was a view that was taken seriously. But it is not true; it was a propaganda program. All that yammering on about the "free market" should be called what it is, trash. It's not true, dammit. It's not any explanation at all and that is why professor Fisher needs to discuss his new problem. He indicates that a problem exists in channeling innovation to the economy, which is to say intervening in the economy. Here, intervention is to go towards what he calls "commercial uses." Commercialization does not mean non-intervention in this quotation. Fisher wants "commercialization." Also, he clearly wants to intervene, presumably politically. 
     What he does not want to talk about is the standard economic theory of leaving markets to do their wonders. The standard ideas, as I have implied, are not actually that good. But certain people liked it, and certain other forces allowed it to be promoted. It was allowed to steadily ride up to top of class and dominate the world (in fact, it was the capitalist world that was interested).  These wrong ideas slowly came to dominate and now we have arrived at the present. The ideas weren't any good, they just had nutcases advocating for them. They just insisted and insisted and insisted, and as long as capitalism remained strong, nobody cared. Now we see it does not work, even Mr. Fisher is talking about something entirely different. When an idea is that bad it cannot stay afloat; no one can keep it afloat, although it may kill everybody, when it fails. And still the ideas are not challenged. In that world of ideas in economics the gainfully-employed economists do not really challenge the world they live in. They live to serve that world, not to challenge its truisms. But the ideas do not work. Now everybody just turns their back and walks away.
     Today there are "challenges" in Mr. Fisher's terminology. This is in the "Science and Society" section of "New Scientist." He speaks of a need for "innovation." He means "commercial" innovation or public intervention in commerce. Specifically, Mr. Fisher wants to bring certain products like graphene into their appropriate commercial applications and the means does not seem to be in place. Getting back to the old free market theories, now, they said it simply would happen. The normal would be that the "free market" would be there. And they did not suggest that there were exceptions to what was "normal." Can we begin to get an idea of how bad that theory was? A true supporter of this doctrine or theory, or whatever it is, would have to say here that free market economics, or the "market" -- or maybe the "dynamic" of it all (quote marks just make the word zing yet more) -- or "competition" -- or self-interest -- or what is called "the" or "a" "marketplace" - all scrumptuous words, no doubt -- is adequate. It should bring all products to all who need them. Actually, rhetoric never delivered product number one.
     We can get more insight into the old theories if we understand that this old idea is really a statement about what life is. Economic activity always sprouts up as a function of life. It is a life function. Economics is the function of society. They are describing how life works. That is the idea. This is a general idea which says that persons express themselves in various ways. That has merit. Persons do express themselves, they are human, they are social beings. So the old "free market" theory is a faux-theory about society. That's also why the word "dynamic" works so well.
     The idea that commercial activity is a necessary part of life is the idea that commercial activity arises in parallel to, as an analogue of, or companion to life itself, per se. Thus, humanity, or human activity per se, is the unfettered free market. Does that idea of how persons live in society really make sense? Not any more. It's time is over. This idea will continue to make less and less sense, although no one, except the present visionary economist, will specifically recount its history. I know that some persons even still believe it. I am pretty sure that what is a social theory disguised as individualism, remains, for some, because I get some group like that. They are still promoting that stuff way past the time the smart have ceased to believe. But even as the majority don't believe it, still no one tries to actively get rid of the it ---- we just silently turn away.
     Let's say there are still a few protagonists. They arrive at Fisher's website to comment. Such a party would tell of tampering, intervention, or — I think I like this one — fettering. If only you would stop that stuff! And then everything will be better. Darn~! Also, it will be more dynamic, which, again, means alive, human, social, free, individual, competitive...all social thought. All these things just take care of themselves. That old free market theory is just remarkable, in the way it says that all will take care of itself... there is also some implication that it will take off by itself. Speedy growth — speedy growth through free markets. I know there is a gas station called "Speedy." Hey, it's a good gas station, and a food theory. Give me "ethyl." But now, I suspect, the good old days of free market theory are over and common sense has caught up to itself and we won't see this kind of argument anymore. We'll see that persons are no longer making "the argument-formerly-known-as-free market." Truly put, the old argument did "fetter" us. Sad. And I was just getting to like that word.
     Again, the reasons for the survival and even flourishing of the idea of an unfettered, free market economy seem political. Involved here are persons who want to have power. The conservatives, the powerful, certain politicians — they were good with those ideas. Who could blame them? As long as they capitalistic economy was strong, they felt they could use those ideas. This is just how ideas get selected. Social forces existed who wanted and desired those ideas. The ideas were necessary. They wanted to paint economics in a certain way. Those ideas were part of the plan.
     They were also ideas stated in grammatical English. It makes sense that companies wanted to block economic interventions to some extent. Their motives are hard to explain, and probably not worth the time. I do not think their motivation was sincere, they just had power and wanted to keep it. They were far from objective. Again, we need to say that their real motivations in pushing for these theories of "free markets need less government intervention" were "political." Now, the time is here for that old, outdated economic theory that they have stuck us with to be rejected.
     Otherwise, it will be harder to change things in those commercial spaces Fisher operates in. So, to do that, you need to get rid of the wrong idea of commerce. But, apparently, that is very hard for us; ideas do not really work that way. They work more the way McCloskey says they do. Milton Friedman was wrong. That is all there is to it, in a sense. Wrong is wrong. Isn't it? That those ideas are wrong, however, is just too simple -- too damn simple. You cannot put a fact that simple across, I am afraid. It is difficult to work in such a propagandized space. (I sound a little post-modern here. Don't I? Do I?)

     We have to ask why that happened, why that economic theory existed in that way. We need to ask about truth, not just say "it's rhetoric."
     What is the truth? If not "unfettered" markets and so forth? For starters, intervention is OK. It wasn't ever bad. That's all. Just say that. It is not wrong in principle (sorry, Milton). But we scarcely know how to do it, nor do we know what interventions should be made. We do not have any ideas, even. We are not even talking about them or getting down to deciding what those interventions need to be. So, it is not like these political forces have had no effect. They disturb our ability to reason things out. We need to ask, what does the economy really need? And this is what we need to discover, since our thinking is occluded. There is a lot of work to do, then. (Hey! Jobs!)
     Fisher wants to know how do we deliver the benefits of a thing like graphene in a similar manner as the market was able, in the nineties, to deliver the glories of the semi-conductor. Fisher tells us that "without further investment directed towards appropriate goals it [graphene as a commercial product] will remain hot air." Whatever the "market" is, "it" is not going to do that automatically any more. What, then? Human intelligence has to do it. We have to actually think. With the economic conditioning, with our ideological conditioning, the idea comes to the ear as a novelty.
     The model that needs to be changed is more than the switch from inspiration to "challenge," Fisher;s way of putting it, in his own sort of jargon or his code words. Changes are needed in the standard - and political - model of what an economy is. In the first place. That's a little more in  the line of big-picture thinking. A change in ideas is needed. The old ideas have to be, Um---deconstructed, I don't know, something like that. The old ideas were never any good anyway, they just held in place by the "order of things," for various political-type reasons. Now they seem to be getting in the way, though, which is a natural outcome, for I would suspect that is what bad ideas do.
     Society needs to determine (see above quote) "appropriate goals." That is the import of what he is saying. He is trying to influence other persons in society. Just how does "appropriate" action happen? There are these two possibilities, as we have been discussing: it may be that the story as told by the old "free market" windbags is true. Is that ole "magic of the market" stuff actually correct or not? Im gettin' tard o' twiddlin' me thumbs here. Is there really something out there called "the market" that "magically" (yes, they really did use that word) determines how resources, possibilities and innovation are put into play? All the time? Or should persons determine that by intervening? Some of the time?
     These are the two basic choices, letting the market do its thing, and intervening, and they are distinct. These are distinct theoretical approaches. What both approaches are trying to explain, however, is the same, and this is the matter of how society provisions goods, or how it distributes what these economist-types love calling "resources." I am not totally certain why it is always "resources." Maybe somebody can help me. We can just call it the "goods and services" that have to get to persons. This really is the problem. There are items that have to get produced and have to get distributed to persons. Even if we did not have all of these  technologically advanced products, we would still have the question of how to get them (or even whether to get them) to the people out there in the world, how much to whom, and so forth. What I think articles like Fisher's show is that we are beginning to intuitively understand (that's the best way anyhow, I suspect) that the old free market paradigm is repugnant to the mind. And it's wrong. There never were such economic systems at all.
     There are, in fact, many interventions that could be employed and that have been employed. There always has been intervention, very effective interventions, as many economists will admit. Fisher calls for "properly directed investment."  The question is: how do you do that?
     While the dominant strains of economic thought opine that that should just happen automatically ----- as the function - somehow - of "the markets," this may not be true. Their pernicious ideology states that it "should" happen through, or because of, "markets" ----- but it is high time to understand that there must be some other way to do it. There is no "market" out there that will automatically cause any final, positive outcome for humanity, for us.
     What Fisher seems to understand is that new approaches need to be tried. This means by society. He is in favor of social interventions. Economic theory always has to be social theory, since it has to deal with a whole group of persons who produce and consume. Some persons try to disguise the inherently social nature of economics, in favor of theories of individualism. But this is all, in any case, ideology. Fisher thinks it is just a matter of innovation or challenge vs. pure research. In fact we need to intervene more broadly and comprehensively. There are many ways to do that, but we need to at least start thinking a little more clearly.