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Arts and Culture

Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality

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Posted on Jul 22, 2010

By Troy Jollimore

“With the collapse of communism, markets and the political theories that advocate expanding the market have been enjoying a considerable resurgence,” writes Stanford University professor Debra Satz in her new book, “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets.” “Markets are not only spreading across the globe, but they are also extending to new domains, such as environmental pollution. For many people market institutions are assuming the role of an all-purpose remedy for the defects of the cumbersome government bureaucracies of the Western world, the poverty of the Southern world, and the coercive state control of the planned economies. This remains true despite the recent economic downturn.”

Indeed, the market’s stock has perhaps never been higher, and the idea that the voluntary exchange of goods between free individuals might answer every significant economic, social and even ethical question has perhaps never been more widely accepted. But in the midst of all this celebration of the market’s virtues—and let us admit, as Satz is perfectly willing to admit, that a market can indeed be a very efficient and effective means of coordinating complicated activities among a large group of individuals with differing agendas—there are also some reasons for concern. Efficient, after all, does not necessarily imply admirable or just (or even, on occasion, tolerable). Moreover, technological advances have made available types of markets that were not possible before. Fertile women can now rent out their wombs for nine months and become surrogate mothers. And while it is not yet legal in this country for individuals to sell their kidneys and other bodily organs to those who need them, such a day may not be far off.

Indeed, given the current shortage of healthy organs, the creation of a market for them might seem not only inevitable but eminently sensible. And there is also, of course, the moral argument for allowing such sales: My kidneys are mine (if not, then whose are they?), and the fact that something is mine gives me certain rights over it, including, ordinarily, the right to sell it to someone else at a price that we both agree on. This argument forms the core of the standard libertarian explanation of why we should have free markets in organs, in surrogate motherhood, in prostitution and, indeed, in pretty much everything.

 

book cover

 

Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets

 

By Debra Satz

 

Oxford University Press, 264 pages

 

Buy the book

Is it true, though, that the right to something must always include the right to freely exchange it? Take what is perhaps the most compelling apparent counter-example, that of vote-buying. I suppose we could imagine a supremely committed libertarian who would argue, in Robert Nozick’s memorable phrase, that government ought not to prohibit “capitalist acts between consenting adults”—not even when what is for sale is an individual’s right to vote in an election. But it would be difficult, one suspects, to find very many people who would accept this. Nearly all of us understand that the very functioning of a democracy depends on the powerful and wealthy not having the ability simply to buy their way into the country’s political offices—at least not in so blatant a manner.

Vote-selling, then, is a fairly easy and noncontroversial case of a market that ought not to be permitted. But where else should the market not go? The most controversial cases discussed by Satz are probably those of surrogate motherhood, which is currently permitted in the U.S., and organ selling, which is not. In contrast to the vote-selling case, allowing a market to operate in either of these contexts might not seem inherently anti-democratic. The popular perception, indeed, is that if restricting markets in such goods is justifiable, it is so because to put such goods on the market is to value them in the wrong way: It degrades or demeans a womb or kidney to offer cash for the use of it.

But of course this reason for prohibiting such markets meets strong opposition from the libertarian, who will simply ask: Shouldn’t it be up to the person who owns the good in question whether or not offering it up in exchange for cash is appropriate? If an individual agrees that kidneys are sacred, in a way that makes such exchanges inappropriate, then she need not offer her own kidneys for sale. But what right do we have to impose our own value judgments on others?

To see long excerpts from “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale,” click here and go to Google Books.

Satz’s approach is quite different, and renders the cases of surrogate motherhood and organ sale much closer to the vote-selling case. On her view, what all or nearly all “noxious” markets have in common is that they undermine the ideal of equal standing between persons, or of equal democratic citizenship:

A market exchange based in desperation, humiliation, or begging or whose terms involve bondage or servitude is not an exchange between equals. On my view, lurking behind many, if not all, noxious markets are problems relating to the standing of the parties before, during, and after the process of exchange.

I will also argue in this chapter that some markets are noxious and need to be blocked or severely constrained if the parties are to be equals in a particular sense, as citizens in a democracy. […] As I see it, a major problem with noxious markets is not that they represent inferior ways of valuing goods (as those who link the limits of markets to social meanings claim) but that they undermine the conditions that people need if they are to relate as equals.

Particularly worrisome, in terms of equality concerns, are exchanges in which one of the parties is in a position to exploit the “underlying extreme vulnerabilities” of the other:

[W]hen a desperately poor person agrees to part with an asset at a fire sale price, even if the exchange improves his well-being we are rightly concerned with the fact that his circumstances made him willing to accept an offer for his asset that no one with a decent alternative would ever accept. When a person enters a contract from a position of extreme vulnerability he is likely to agree to almost any terms that are offered.

Such vulnerabilities are morally salient in, for instance, the organ case: According to many people, Satz writes, “a kidney sale is objectionable because it is a paradigmatic desperate exchange, an exchange no one would ever make unless faced with no reasonable alternative.” Sales of this kind are objectionable on the individual level, but the objections multiply when one considers the general social context. “It has been keenly noted that international organ markets transfer organs from poor to rich, third world to first world, female to male, and nonwhite to white.” (One might be reminded of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “Never Let Me Go”—a comparison explicitly drawn by Satz—which depicts the plight of a subclass of human clones grown solely so that their organs can be harvested for the benefit of the ailing wealthy.)

Organ sales also tend to involve another characteristic feature of objectionable markets, weak agency, which in Satz’s usage most often indicates that one of the transacting parties is significantly under-informed. Many potential organ sellers in India, for instance, are quite unaware of the results of a recent study of kidney sellers in that country: Over 86 percent of participants experienced a substantial decline in health following their surgery, and 79 percent said they regretted the decision to sell their kidneys. And even if one knows those facts, imagination can fail us: It is hard to anticipate, perhaps, what it is like to have a kidney surgically removed and to live without it.

 


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Use tinyurl.

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By Foucauldian, September 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

The third link failed to register, but the entire work
is available online.  I’ll post a good link come
Monday.  Ciao.

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By Foucauldian, September 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, Shenon,

It looks as though this comment thread has reached
its natural end.  I invite both of you, however, to
resume general discussion of a number of related
sundry topics on my Blogcritics thread, as per link: 
http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/bye-bye-miss-
american-pie-part2/comments-page-55/#comments

Look in particular for the last two pages or so of
comments, where I discuss several problem areas which
I intend to examine at length in my “Foucault paper.” 
It goes without saying that I do appreciate your
input.

Lastly, let me refer you to the links which energized
my thinking.  These are
http://www.jacweb.org/Archived_volumes/Text_articles/
V13_I1_Wood.htm (“The Dialectic Suppression of
Feminist Thought in Radical Pedagogy”) and Marx’s
socio-political analysis of event in France in the
post-Napoleonic era: G:\18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

Anyway, I do look forward to your comments.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG – there are two forums where your program of socialized
capitalism could be presented that I think you ought to check out. 

http://tinyurl.com/26ghhwk
The Amy Goodman interview of Robert Scheer about the Great
American Stickup

and

http://tinyurl.com/274mwud
It’s the Mortgages Stupid.

Now is your chance, again.

I’ve mentioned it on both forums but you have the firmest
understanding of socialized capitalism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, August 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Repost for ThomasG:

There are many forms of capital; private capital is only one form of capital, among many.

The U.S. Government is presently funded by a form of capital that could be called Government Capital that uses the population as a Capital Asset to produce a revenue stream of taxes; understanding that the U.S. Government is and always has been funded by a form of capital allows us to ask the question, can a revenue stream from Social Capital in the form of money, currency, from business, industry, and commercial enterprise of Socialized Capitalism be used to fund both social business, industry, and commercial enterprise, as well as governmental operation as a replacement for the revenue stream of taxes? —— Both the revenue stream from Social Capital and Government Capital are revenue streams from different forms of capital, so the change from funding governmental operation from the revenue stream of taxes to the revenue stream of Social Capital would be nothing more than changing the use of the Capital Assets that produce the revenue stream needed to fund governmental operation from the population as a Capital Asset of the Government to business, industry, and commerce of Socialized Capitalism and Capital Assets of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism being used to fund governmental operation.

The question then becomes, if taxes are a revenue stream of Government Capital that presently funds all levels of governmental operation, and Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism can be interchangeably used as an alternate form of capital to fund governmental operation the same as Government Capital, why is it that none of the revenue stream of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism is used or ever has been used to fund government operation?

When Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is implemented to fund government operation from the revenue stream of Social Capital from social enterprises of business, industry, and commerce, as a replacement for taxes on the population, Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism must also be made to pay its fair share of the revenue stream of Private Capital to fund governmental operation, a responsibility traditionally evaded by Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

There are many forms of capital; private capital is only one form of capital, among many.

The U.S. Government is presently funded by a form of capital that could be called Government Capital that uses the population as a Capital Asset to produce a revenue stream of taxes; understanding that the U.S. Government is and always has been funded by a form of capital allows us to ask the question, can a revenue stream from Social Capital in the form of money, currency, from business, industry, and commercial enterprise of Socialized Capitalism be used to fund both social business, industry, and commercial enterprise, as well as governmental operation as a replacement for the revenue stream of taxes? —— Both the revenue stream from Social Capital and Government Capital are revenue streams from different forms of capital, so the change from funding governmental operation from the revenue stream of taxes to the revenue stream of Social Capital would be nothing more than changing the use of the Capital Assets that produce the revenue stream needed to fund governmental operation from the population as a Capital Asset of the Government to business, industry, and commerce of Socialized Capitalism and Capital Assets of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism being used to fund governmental operation.

The question then becomes, if taxes are a revenue stream of Government Capital that presently funds all levels of governmental operation, and Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism can be interchangeably used as an alternate form of capital to fund governmental operation the same as Government Capital, why is it that none of the revenue stream of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism is used or ever has been used to fund government operation?

When Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is implemented to fund government operation from the revenue stream of Social Capital from social enterprises of business, industry, and commerce, as a replacement for taxes on the population, Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism must also be made to pay its fair share of the revenue stream of Private Capital to fund governmental operation, a responsibility traditionally evaded by Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

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By Shenonymous, August 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Roger, ”theory and practice - although they’re not as as neatly
distinguishable as most people would like to believe…

“Which is one of my beefs with Shenon:  she tends to simplify this
complex relationship by speaking of “mere theory.”
 
Do you have a citation?

I believe most everyone understands theory as a set of ideas/concepts
but more than that, a theory also includes the theorists’
recommendations.  Otherwise it is not a theory, but is merely a
description of a concept.  I see you are at your usual passive attack
mode of attributing to me what you have not specified and essentially is
not true.  It is such a bad habit to broad brush stroke me without
saying precisely what it is that you have a beef with.  You obviously
have an issue with my whole frame of mind and wish to diminish my
thinking, but your pot shots are not specific enough to really give an
argument of any value.  You set it up so that I would have to box
against a ghost.  Perhaps you just cannot help it???  It is a disputant’s
strategy.  Of what exactly do I oversimplify a complex relationship?  If
theory and practice “are not as neatly distinguishable as most people
would like to believe,” then simplification by reduction through
associating them closer than ordinary practice is what you actually
voiced!  Somewhat a shade of contradiction there.

You say that ideas/concepts inform practice, and I would say that it is
out of practice that ideas and concepts are engendered first then
reapplied to practice when it is seen that something was missing.  So in
effect we are not that far apart, just seeing differently where the
process begins.

More later, other things are demanding attention.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

”the creation of an industrial proletariat in China and other such
places is the final working-out of the Marxist schema, and will be
followed by the Marxist apocalypse everywhere, is something I’ve
heard before.  I suppose it’s a plausible fantasy even if there is little
evidence to support it.  It’s quite a bit like the Second Coming.”
 

Funny but this describes my sentiments as well and I have expressed
it before if not in the same exact semantics. I think the Marxist
schema is antiquated and not able to be overlaid in this era.  Or it
would need radical revision for adaptability which I think the
experiments it has had have not panned out. His was for a different
provincial mindset that perhaps only exists to some degree in the
third world but even they helplessly are being pushed inexorably into
the current century by technology and toward a capitalistic economy.

”The U.S. may already be a satellite of China.  In any case I think that
is what seems to be its fate. “
 

I hope you are wrong, and I do not think it is its fate.  There is a huge
difference between Americans in general and Chinese in general.  They
as a people, not as their government, are way, way far behind even with
their sterling education program.  Most of the peasants are not included
and their upper-middle and upper classes are the only ones reaping the
benefit of education.  Here education for the middle class and the poor
has become a guiding icon.  And one wonders exactly what is the
Chinese’s curriculum besides the three Rs.  What kind of sociological
classes are the Chinese kids getting and if they do what grade does it
start?  What history of countries other than China do they read and
according to whose point of view?  State-owned historians are not
exempt from bias.

Seems to me listening to the various economists and financial reports
about the US and the world in general, the US did get its head pushed
down into its gullet by the so-called fiscally responsible but ostensibly
self-serving conservatives.  The effect of those policies has
handicapped, literally crippled, the economy of the US and its direct
influence in the world.  I don’t subscribe to the idea that the US must
dominate world.  I do subscribe that it usually wakes up in time to put in
place some correctives that brings it back to reality and because of its
democratic mind set the people do actually get involved to a degree
with their own destiny.  Although not enough and that is what we, those
of us who do want rational change for the common good, are working
for.  I do work in my own way, through those who are in classes I teach.

I liked your post Anarcissie about change being able to be effected.  I
was on a particular track in my last post and I will continue in that vein
next time.  I have to go for now but I am very interested in what you
had to say.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 23, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

I haven’t given much thought to China because I have no way of making direct observations of that particular set of phenomena; thus, I can’t check what I told (or hear or read between the lines).  Whatever I get is strongly filtered.  I guess I would expect China to expand very rapidly, as capitalist economists measure things, until some kind of internal damping factor slowed or halted its growth—what we might call the Japan Syndrome.  The idea of your interlocutors, that the creation of an industrial proletariat in China and other such places is the final working-out of the Marxist schema, and will be followed by the Marxist apocalypse everywhere, is something I’ve heard before.  I suppose it’s a plausible fantasy even if there is little evidence to support it.  It’s quite a bit like the Second Coming.

The U.S. may already be a satellite of China.  In any case I think that is what seems to be its fate.  For instance, I believe China, India, Russia, and other major powers are okay with the trashing of the Middle East and the Muslims as long as the U.S. does the heavy lifting, and this is why they continue to fund the U.S. and the U.S. continues to perform its role as cop of the world.  The recent financial disasters are more a consequence of ruling-class incompetence than of some deep plan or inexorable unfolding of history, but they have worked to make the U.S. more like China: a more or less fascist arrangement.  Perhaps this will facilitate satellitization.  No wonder China, Japan and so forth continue to lend our homegrown money buffoons hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

Patel seems to be talking about ‘externalities’.  The bourgeois solution to the problem is regulation by the same elites who run everything else.  I believe the rich will allow their enterprises to be regulated as long as they remain much better off than everyone else, that is, any price which must be paid to salvage the environment must be paid by the working class.  Of course, humans may not know what needs to be regulated, which could lead to some rather difficult moments.

It all seems rather far off to me.  I can’t do anything about China or BP beyond joining the yelping on blogs and in the streets.  I might be able to do something about starting non-coercive institutions and relations in the U.S.—although my success rate thus far is not very encouraging.

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By Foucauldian, August 23, 2010 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

You might want to take a quick look at the following “futuristic” little piece in Blogcritics, “The China Syndrome, Take Two,” as per link:  http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/the-china-syndrome-take-two/

In particular, look at the link to Patel’s Overloading Capitalism And “The Value Of Nothing”, as per the following NPR digest:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122125016

Also take a peek at the short discussion thread on the article I link to in the first paragraph of the subject piece.  (Case you’re wondering, Mark is “troll.”)

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By Foucauldian, August 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Those are two different aspects, or moments, Anarcissie - theory and practice - although they’re not as as neatly distinguishable as most people would like to believe.  Theory - what I really mean by that is ideas/concepts - inform practice, provide it with a stimulus; and in the opposite direction, ideas emerge out of experimental practice.  The relationship is not unlike that obtaining with respect to language and experience.  Here, too, they inform one another through ongoing interaction.  Indeed, novel experiences often gives rise to novel concepts. 

Which is one of my beefs with Shenon:  she tends to simplify this complex relationship by speaking of “mere theory.”

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

I think change can be effected.  In fact, the world is always changing; the question is how.  The qualities I mentioned, probably not an exhaustive list, are what is needed to affect the direction of change.  My main point was that they are much more rare than ideas.

Several years ago I was reading about ‘Participatory Economics’ (yet another revolutionary scheme) and the forums which contained theoretical discussions had ten or twenty times the activity as the forums which carried practical discussions and accounts of real-life experience.  I don’t know what’s happening now, but it doesn’t seem to be coming to a theater near me any time soon.  If you’re curious, though, try searching Google for ‘parecon’, or look at this Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economics

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

christian96, August 21 at 10:41 am

Well, christian96, he won’t do that again.

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By christian96, August 21, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Beware of messing with other folk’s money.  It’s
their God.  Look what happened to Jesus after he
turned over the tables of the money worshippers and
ran them out of church. HE GOT CRUCIFIED!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, August 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

You listed, Anarcissie, what it would take to change the society in a
major way:  Attention (power of the mind to focus on something
particular
, effort (the use of physical or mental energy),
discipline (self-control),and commitment (binding oneself to
a commitment of action) and you ostensibly said that people who
can meet those criteria are rare and to implement would be
expensive.  Well for the most part you appear to be correct as
history would bear you out.  But to believe it as a conviction would
be to think change cannot be effected.  But we know change can be
initiated from various quarters, politics being only one of them.  We
are hoping the population themselves will take the reins for a
significant part in determining their own destiny.  The perennial teacher,
and trying to see if there are ways to answer your four criteria for
change to be instigated in the society, I’ve done some reading from
books in my own library as well as getting some background from the
‘Net and giving some concentrated thought on the problem of social
change I’ve concluded the following. So I’ll give it a whirl:

Addressing your first item: attention

There needs to be a social incentive to engage the attention of the
society at large.  In order for the human to act, his/her emotions have
to become affected.  Self-control or self-regulation is an action that is
an essential part of healthy emotional development.  We know that, at
least many Americans, have a capricious attention span. And therefore,
strategies would need to be plural and rotated so that boredom does
not set in, at least too quickly before any learning can happen.  So what
is it about the economy that rivets the attention of the public?  Seems
like a couple of things are associated:  any attention getter involves a
quick snapshot of undeniably dubious but instantly recognizable
information.  And the recognition that one tactic understands that
change is instigated and sustained by small random shocks.  Once we
have one or more credible idea a campaign could be designed.  How
these criteria can be adapted for the socialized capitalism approach
goes to the heart of the problem.

The next ingredient:  effort. 

How to galvanize a society to put in the effort that has some promise of
a better and more fruitful life will be a challenge that would need to be
brainstormed?  Getting people off their butts is not an easy thing to do.

I am a bit tired so tomorrow I will conclude this latest input with
discipline and commitment.

I have read your two posts ThomasG and actually I find them optimistic
even if the girlfriend did say she would need a refresher course.  I find
that a natural response.  It is appears to be an easy concept but in
reality it will be difficult and arduous to install.  I think mainly because
of the scale to which it would have to be applied.

I also feel that if this course were begun, organization would occur
somewhat naturally as it is the way humans are.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, August 20, 2010 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

As I understood, what my nephew’s girlfriend told me about understanding Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, from her perspective, it is all about understanding a revenue stream, where it comes from and who it goes to, with Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism the revenue stream comes from Social Capital, goes to communal benefit, and eliminates taxes; and with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism the revenue stream comes from Private Capital, goes to Private interests, and does not eliminate taxes.

These points are the points that two hours of questions, answers, and dialogue led to, and it would indeed be wonderful if understanding in others came with the same ease.

My nephew’s girlfriend is a college student and she did tell me that although Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, seemed clear to her at the time that it may have to be reexplained to her at some point in the future, because she was not entirely certain that the concept would stay with her, since it was inconsistent with her traditional understanding.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, August 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 19 at 4:02 pm,

My nephew’s girlfriend, told me that key to her understanding Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism was the realization that taxes produce a revenue stream, Private Capital produces a revenue stream, and that Social Capital produces a revenue stream, that taxes as a revenue are used to pay for government operation, that Private Capital as a revenue stream is used to pay for private purpose, and that the revenue stream of Social Capital would be in part used to replace the revenue stream of taxes.

With regard to Private Capital and Social Capital and markets that use and produce Private Capital and Social Capital:  oil, minerals, water, and air were used to explain the concept to my nephew’s girlfriend.

Title to oil rights, mineral rights, and water rights that have been bought up and privatized as capital assets can produce a revenue stream of Private Capital.

Title to oil rights, mineral rights, and water rights that are on public land, property of the U.S. Government, along with National Forests, and air waves can be used as Social Capital to provide a revenue stream of Social Capital that will replace the revenue stream of taxes.

Once my nephew’s girlfriend comprehended that capital, whether it was Private or Social, produced a revenue stream and that both the private sector and the public sector had assets capable of providing a revenue stream, and that the revenue stream of taxes could be eliminated by a revenue stream from Social Capital, my nephew’s girlfriend indicated that the concept became clear and that she understood.

From my perspective, however, the fact that this line of reasoning made the concept of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism clear to my nephew’s girlfriend, does not necessarily mean it will do so with others.

I hope this is helpful to you.

If so, I can engage in further direct dialogue with others in the same way as with my nephew’s girlfriend and find out by direct dialogue what others feel is key to their understanding of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—Looking at history, I see that certain bottom-up, paradigm-shifting movements have been successful, at least for a while: Christianity, liberalism-capitalism, the U.S. Civil Rights movement among others.  Some of the people within these movements exhibited clarity of word and purpose, but on the whole they seem rather foggy and ambiguous to me, especially once they began to reach a substantial number of people.  What they all did have was a set of people who were willing to live the life they talked about, at least within the perhaps very limited realm of their powers.  This does not mean one shouldn’t strive for clarity, which I appreciate as much as anyone, but it does suggest that clarity is not the most necessary element in moving to some other way of doing things.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Unfortunate, ThomasG, but that is the reality.  At least from one who
had never been initiated into the mysteries of socialized capitalism. 
Likewise I had a conversation with one of my best friends who is aso a
professioinal colleague, a professor at a college in the northwest.  She
has been teaching about 30 years comparative Literature, English, and
critically thinking using Greek mythology as a vehicle.  In other
words, she is very bright.  I told her a bit about social capital
and socialized capitalism and what we have been talking about. 
Due to our respective preoccupations we could not talk for very
long and she asked, because she was intrigued, if when we talked
again if I would explain it to her.  Of course I will but my point is
that the notion is not off the wall nor completely radically out of
touch.  I have the opportunity to affect someone who can affect
another hundred people in her classes.  And of course I will be able
to do the same when classes start back up for me.  So my job is to
put what I understand in the most clearest of terms.  You are well
able to do that because it is your conception.  I will have to struggle
to put it in cogent form.  In order to get disseminated enough as
Anarcissie reminds us, for it to seep into the consciousness of the
millions it will take to be a workable system, some integrated
formulation will have to be codified. 

I do wish you were not so defensive and feel you have to repeat so
much of what the idea consists.  What it is about is not the problem.  I
think we have deduced it plenty.  Now I know my friend is well capable
of doing her own research and I am sure she will, but I have a large
suspicion most will be like your nephew’s girlfriend and will need much
explaining.  You spent two concentrated hours.  You then have it
codified enough to at least outline a course of study for the purpose of
discussion for surely there will be those who will resist and challenge. 
A textbook or at least a handout guide would be very helpful for
teachers who would find the idea exciting enough to include it in their
syllabus. For textbooks to be relevant for college classes, they have to
be current publications, or at least current enough.  I order textbooks
so I have a feel for how that works.  Classics are even given new
republications.  It is the book business and enough books have to be
available to be useful for a class.  How do you think this ought to be
taught?  For if it is indeed a solid program, it should hold its own
against the teaching of capitalism and socialism.

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By ThomasG, August 19, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

This morning I had a conversation with my nephew’s girlfriend on Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, and it took about two hours of give and take face to face questions, answers, and dialogue to convey understanding of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism; when understanding of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism by my nephew’s girlfriend was achieved, she told me that the reason she did not understand quickly was that the conflict of what she had been taught about Time Warp Communism and Socialism was framing her perception, so that she could not have ever understood without clarity of terms, step by step through the process of dialogue, so that her understanding did not become confused with learned framing that she had been taught that conflicted with what I was saying.

I suspect that the same problem exists here on the Truthdig Forum and that is unfortunate.

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By ThomasG, August 19, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 19 at 1:01 pm,

“By ThomasG, August 18 at 2:53 pm

Fat Freddy, August 16 at 8:35 am,

I am not interested in a misplaced effort at pedantic parsing to establish blame in support of one person’s or another’s greedy self interests.

I am interested in having an economic system of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism that can compete with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

If you had read what I have posted with regard to Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, you would know that I am NOT for State Control of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism; what I advocate in this respect is independent institutions ran by Boards of Directors and Operating Officers that are responsible to the level of their establishment, i.e., Federal, state, county, city, or community, so that the people at the level of the institution’s origin become the investors; and the Board of Directors, and Management become responsible to the people directly as investors, rather than the Government.

Whatever it is that you are talking about, it must mean something to you, because you stated what you had to say with great authority, as if it applied to my proposal, but it does not have anything at all to do with my proposal regarding Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.”—ThomasG, August 18 at 2:53 pm

Shenonymous, the above post to Fat Freddie on Truthdig’s “Is Congress Subsidizing Slackers” thread is applicable to banking, business, industry, and commerce with regard to the practical application of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

When I say that capital is capital, and that capital as Social Capital can be used in the same way as Private Capital, that is exactly what I mean.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, ”but I can’t tell you how to convince even a single person
that actually doing something about it would be a good thing.”
 

You are talking about psychology of the masses.  You are right about
it, but the difficulty of persuading even one person requires absolute
clarity of an idea and articulate powers of influence.  And as far as I
can imagine the only way to effectively cause change in this kind of
synergistic and systemic thinking is through public education.  I think
we have already listed that as the number one Agent of Change short
of violent revolution.  So it doesn’t hurt to repeat it.  If there were
some finite number of steps, which Anarcissie and Roger and I are
calling for then those who are professional teachers would have
something formal from which to understand then find the intellectual
wherewithal to invest in their curriculum.  Again and although it might
seem like a broken record, more clarity of the program is demanded. 
It can only be frustrating, ThomasG, that what you provided has not
been enough.  But I think it is worth the extra trouble to employ
grandiloquence rather than take exception to our appeal.

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By Shenonymous, August 19, 2010 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

There is no argument for what you say, ThomasG.  The Bank of
North Dakota is one example and I would agree that it is a
prototypical example, however socialized capitalism will have to
consist of more than the banking industry if it is to replace the
economic system of an entity as large and complex as the US.  By
pointing only to the banking structure, and I agree it is a huge
element, too much is still being left to the privatized capitalism
and socialized capitalism will simply be regarded as a minor
economic anomaly by the larger sector which in my estimate will
continue to operate as it has been.  Examples of other successful
agents of social capital is called for so that a portfolio of success can
be presented.  It is not my intention to bait you, ThomasG, as perhaps
others might be.  I am serious and my intention is to see if the theory
has real grand-size application.  It is my intention to encourage your
intellectual power and vigor in this conception.  It really is important
that economic traffic be set on its best course than has been the entire
history of the fate of the population from the poor to the middle class.

christian96, sorry, but I think you shall have to read the thread for your
questions have been answered tenfold.  Perhaps Socialized Capitalism is
still to be absolutely definitively defined, but it has been bandied about
sufficiently.

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By christian96, August 19, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

What is “social capital?”  Does it fit within the
system of “Socialized Capitalism?”  If so, what is
Socialized Capitalism and how will it benefit all
people?

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By ThomasG, August 18, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 16 at 1:21 pm, Anarcissie, August 16 at 11:58 am, Anarcissie, August 17 at 10:43 am,

“Practice is the imperative, not in the pragmatic sense but in the “doing,” not simply believing in theory is enough, no matter how passionately, is what is most important in human existence.  Theory provides a method for a design and construction to make predictions, set a systematic guideline for building a reality where one can dwell, so to speak, on a scaffolding where contemplating potential elements for rational comparisons is possible to provide coherence with what really is the case.  What really is the case, or what some call reality, is the crux of human existence.  Without application to real life, theories are impotent.  This is precisely why we demand an applicable plan from ThomasG and Roger as well for their respective theories.  Doing is specifically acknowledged as necessary by Anarcissie.”—Shenonymous, August 16 at 1:21 pm

Subjective causal understanding makes theory and objective causal application of causal understanding makes objective reality.  Causal understanding of theory is connected to objective reality by way of objective application, and subsequent growth and development of that same applied causal understanding results in a growing and developing model of objective reality; that model of objective reality that is ready for growth and development is Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, as I have advocated Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism; the objective reality of the application of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism exists in North Dakota as the Bank of North Dakota, as well as other efforts of Arthur Charles Townley that were moved past the realm of theory and applied at State level in North Dakota and have been institutionalized in North Dakota from 1915 to the present as objective reality.

After 95 years of practical application of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism in North Dakota, Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is well beyond theory, into objective reality and is ready for growth and development that will apply Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism beyond North Dakota and the limited way it has been used to date since inception of the use of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism by North Dakota in 1915 by way of the efforts of Arthur Charles Townley.

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By Anarcissie, August 17, 2010 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Let me perhaps unnecessarily emphasize that the ‘CCCU’ was simply a hypothesis showing how banking cooperatives (credit unions) might be scaled up to the level of a country or the world.  In my experience, good ideas, although very useful, are plentiful and cheap; attention, effort, discipline, commitment are rare and expensive.  Practical knowledge also seems to be rare: I can tell you how to theoretically scale up imaginary banking cooperatives with great ease, but I can’t tell you how to convince even a single person that actually doing something about it would be a good thing.

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By Shenonymous, August 16, 2010 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Practice is the imperative, not in the pragmatic sense but in the
“doing,” not simply believing in theory is enough, no matter how
passionately, is what is most important in human existence. 
Theory provides a method for a design and construction to make
predictions, set a systematic guideline for building a reality where one
can dwell, so to speak, on a scaffolding where contemplating
potential elements for rational comparisons is possible to provide
coherence with what really is the case.  What really is the case, or
what some call reality, is the crux of human existence.  Without
application to real life, theories are impotent.  This is precisely why we
demand an applicable plan from ThomasG and Roger as well for their
respective theories.  Doing is specifically acknowledged as necessary by
Anarcissie.

To be redundant for the purpose of emphasis, theories are necessary
for the picture they present for adjudication with the real experienced
world.  In that way they are like universal ideas, or abstractions as they
might be described.  That is why Anarcissie’s CCCU plan is an
important step toward change from a system that has proven to be
unresponsive to the majority of the people that funds the economy of
this country.  But it is presented in theory form and given with the
instruction “Start One or Join One.” That in itself could become a
political motto of the CCCU movement.  But it is simplistic and based
on a skeleton of a plan.  This is not intended to be a negative criticism. 
Nevertheless, an orderly, functional, structured whole needs to be
conceived.  Such is the value of theory.  But she ought not to be the
only one with that responsibility, though I bet she is up to it. 
Regardless, the word movement means action and that is where theory
must come to rest.

Since the word connotes what is anathema to most, if not all, humans,
using the world ‘slavery’ does no real good. The word incites an
emotional response which interferes with rational thought and seeing
the right road to travel. It might seem like all Americans, except those
who have the wealth and power, live under slavish conditions.  But the
shackles are allegedly worn, and are a figure of speech to reflect what is
felt.  No chains actually fetter bodies in the sense dealt with here.  Sort
of like being “chained to the desk,” or “chained to the kitchen,” or “to
the farm,” “to one’s children, or pets, etc.” 

It would be better, rather, rational, to explain what the word really
represents rather than left codified as a cryptic word.  That way each
particle of the social ills can be dealt with one by one thereby
exterminating them once and for all. 

This is one skill I think would go a long way to re-educating, to de-
reify and bring to the level of reality, what needs to be done, yes it is in
the doing, Anarcissie, on this we are agreed.  As is theorized, action
speaks louder than words, and words are the elements of theory.

With regard to authorities as an absolute reference to justify action,
sometimes they are useful (as in declaring Aristotle right even for once,
although I believe he was right on many things but not “all” things). 
But just as often they are not.  The words peace, equality, and freedom
maybe be simple and their force may have become lost in the shuffle of
dealing with a hostile environment, both naturally and man-made, but
they still stand iconographically on behalf of the individual, and defy
the utter dissolution of the individual under strong socialism.

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By Anarcissie, August 16, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

It’s tempting to use authority to skip over the tedious work of disseminating one’s ideas and advancing the culture and its technology, but it has the significant disadvantage of recreating the class system and hence the necessary spirit of autonomy, non-violence and cooperation is not encouraged among the people.  My approach is to show by doing.  If it’s a good idea to have credit unions, cooperative HMOs and supermarkets and apartment houses, producers’ cooperatives, communes and so forth, start one or join one.

Peace, equality and freedom are simple ideas, but we have lived for a long time under slavery and domination and need to re-learn the skills they require.  To some extent we don’t know what the skills and the problems to be solved are.  In this regard, Aristotle is right for once: ‘The things we need to learn to know how to do, we learn by doing.’

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By christian96, August 16, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—-Thanks for the reference to “Chafin
Examines FOIA Response.”  It’s hard to believe they
are contemplating raising the turnpike toll on the
West Virginia turnpike which is in reality Interstate
77 with signs posted throughout the turnpike.  I loved the comment “toll money is spent on other highway projects.”  Well, I know personally the funds
aren’t spent on potholes surrounding my hometown.
I know Gov. Joe Manchin personally.  I’ve known his
entire family for years.  I could write him but I wrote him before about a project and never heard from
him.  Seems like once you reach the heights of
politics you forget old common friends.  He will get
an ear full when I see him in person. He has money
invested in the coal driven electric power plant in
my hometown.  Huge coal trucks travel the narrow
country roads 24 hours a day to the power plant.  I
sat on my cousin’s front porch and watched them
daily.  You can hear them while in bed at night.
People around town are talking about an increase in
cancers in the area since the power plant arrived.

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By Shenonymous, August 15, 2010 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Thanks MarthaA, but all the other forums come in just fine.  Now here
is what is really weird, after there are enough posts to add a page, the
weird wideness reverts back to normal.  I just don’t get it.  Could some
hacker do this?  A pox on them if it is!

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By Shenonymous, August 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

You might be on to something there MarthaA (is that you or is
it Thomas? I get confused).  Try http://tinyurl.com/3838glv 
scroll down to “Chafin files FOIA over turnpike” to see what West
Virginia government corruptionis going on, christian96.  Course you
might not ever go that way again, lol.

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By MarthaA, August 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

As an aside, you asked awhile back if anyone else was getting their messages stretched out horizontally to hither come yon, or something like that, and the answer is yes.  I do not think it is Truthdig, but someone is trying to make it difficult for correspondence to be read;  but we just do a lot of sliding back and forth, and read every word of your posts anyway.

Also, as an aside, your Mulberry Tree information was interesting.

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By MarthaA, August 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

christian96, August 15 at 11:50 am,

There is a good possibility that someone in a foreign country owns the toll roads and are not interested in repair of U.S. roads.

The Conservative Private Capitalist Bush administration and the Private Capitalist Conservatives in Congress during the Bush administration were into selling off United States roads, bridges, ports, institutions, and whatever of the social infrastructure of the United States, like Conservatism’s Old England Troll Bridges; maybe not, but it is highly likely the State of WV gets no money from the toll you paid.

Conservative Private Capitalists sell off the social infrastructure because they are loyal to the United States, you know; that way it makes them even closer to China, or whatever other country, where their low paid workers are located.

Just a thought as to why the roads are in ill repair with toll charges.

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By ThomasG, August 15, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Much was said about “investor confidence” on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour”  http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/  and that being the reason for Private Capitalists hoarding trillions of dollars of capital surplus that is preventing the U.S. Economy from making a recovery.

Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism is holding the United States as a nation hostage, because Private Capital has monopoly control of the U.S. Economy by way of trillions of dollars of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism that is absent competition from Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism that functions to balance the interests of the Private GREED of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism with Social Benefit from Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

With regard to the capital surplus of trillions of dollars that is NOT being reinvested by Privatized Capitalism, because of what they claim to be a “lack of confidence” by Private Capitalists, this problem will disappear when Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism have to compete with Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism for the survival of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism; without Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism has no incentive to reinvest its hoarded capital surplus.

When Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is institutionalized on a National scale, and Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism has to compete with Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism for its own survival, Privatized Capitalism will, in the pursuit of its own survival, reinvest its hoarded capital, or be faced with losing its markets to Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, an event that will herald the decline and death of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

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By Shenonymous, August 15, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Good morning christian96 and all.  Ah yes, potholes, the bane of
drivers,
especially at night!  Someone should write a book (perhaps you?)
about Potholes of America!  You could probably make a fortune. 

Anarcissie, I was shocked when you said states are not really
considered sovereign any more so I went on a quest to see what
is the situation.  And while the 10th Amendment is consistently
challenged, and there is a huge movement to nullify it, it has not
yet been nullified and is still the law of the land.  But what exactly
does that mean?  I cannot find any definitive answer!  I have read for
the last 24 hours (taking a break to sleep and make fresh coffee for and
having breakfast, haha), the history of state sovereignty and to no
resolution.  It is so humorous and laughable that I had to get a Kleenex
to wipe the tears from laughing from my eyes.  I give up.  And I guess I
now have to retract everything I ever said about states being sovereign
(except supposedly when it comes to paying for and the quality of
education as that is guaranteed in the Constitution). And I’ve had an
added education about the Constitution simultaneously in learning
about states’ sovereignty on my trek through the Net.  I really am
laughable too!  I almost always take digressions of searches when
something catches my interest and therefore am all over the map in
everything.  Yikes.  And I thought I was a well-educated human being!

Well one thing I learned is that the Constitution provides that all bills
for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. It is
customary for appropriation bills to originate there also (Art. I, sec. 7,
cl. 1).  It seems then that House Representatives are the one that need
heavily petitioned to make changes.  Convincing them will convince
Americans at the same time.

ThomasG, you are right in that some authority is sought when it comes
to radical ideas.  Now socialized capitalism is not so radical an idea
anymore as searching history has shown us.  You are right, in my
estimation, that it is time for a change in America. And from all that I
see in the media, change is certainly coming.  Your program appeals to
my sense of what is pragmatically workable.  Anarcissie’s step by step
program of using the paradigm of credit unions for a national program
seems most promising.  There are still many blanks however regarding
a reeducation program to take the stigma out of the word socialism. 
Some of that is happening far as I can see in the dialogues I see on tv,
but it is not being taken seriously and that is what has to happen. 
When she mentioned cooperatives early on in this forum I was very
skeptical and voice that I had not heard of any significant ones. But that
was my ignorance speaking and since then in looking at the data I find
there are many examples in agriculture and now banking and many
others as well, like the fishing industry, etc., that are more than the
token anti-establishment examples that emerged in the “hippy” back to
nature era of the 60s and 70s.  I am duly impressed and find it most
promising that there is some possibility that reason can take over.  It
does need nudging from various reliable and esteemed personalities
who has influence.

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By christian96, August 15, 2010 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—-The potholes ALREADY GOT ME!  My brief
excursion home to West Virginia was somewhat enlightening.  I learned you can travel on interstate
77 FREE in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,
and Ohio.  However, traveling 77 in West Virginia will cost you 6 bucks, 3 toll booths at 2 bucks a
piece.  Gasoline in Florida, South Carolina, North
Carolina and Virginia will range in price from $2.54
to $2.69.  When you get to West Virginia you will
cough up $2.85 immediately.  It was obvious all these
bucks being consumed in West Virginia were not being
spent to repair “POTHOLES.” Politics in West Virginia
as any historian will confirm has been among the elite when compared by corruption. How much of that
corruption can you find in history books across
America?  Very little, if any.

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By Anarcissie, August 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

I welcome criticism and opposition.  It is only by means of these that I can advance my thinking.

Roger—my hypothetical behemoth was constructed to answer Shenonymous’s question about how the cooperative idea could be scaled up.  In my view, there should be no requirement that there be only one, or that anyone would have to join one.  I assume that reasonable people would form cooperatives with democratic governance and protected minority rights, in which case behemoths would be likely to offer some advantages (stability, broad areas of service) along with some disadvantages (hyperconservatism).  In any case, should such systems start to develop, I’d anticipate a long period in which cooperatives and private capitalist banks (and other enterprises, of course) would coexist.  If the cooperatives offered better service than the traditional banks, most traditional banks would then modify their behavior in order to keep their customers, which would hopefully improve their banking lot.

I’m not familiar with the political structure of the Star Trek world.  At the moment, though, we are not talking about a state or comprehensive political framework but a particular kind of business.

Shenonymous—the states of the United States are not really sovereign any more—sovereign meaning top-level.  There were two contradictory views of the United States as a (generic meaning) state in 1783 which were papered over at the time, but eventually the contradiction came to the surface and was resolved by war.  (As usual, humans doing things in the worst possible way.)

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By ThomasG, August 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

People, being what they are, need someone to fixate on with regard to Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, and that person should rightly be A. C. Townley, because A. C. Townley is the person responsible for the successful application of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism in North Dakota by way of the Bank of North Dakota, that has been in existence in successful competition with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism for ninety five (95) years, the better part of a century, in service to the best interests of the people of North Dakota, protecting the people of North Dakota from the excesses and ravages of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

All that I have said about Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is proven by ninety five (95) years of successful practical application of A. C. Townley’s Model of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism that exists as a practical application of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism in North Dakota, the Bank of North Dakota, the first and only institutionalized version of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism that shows by practical application how Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism has been used for the past ninety five (95) years and can be used as a guide to evolve Socialized Capitalism that can be used in the future to protect all of the people of the United States from the cyclical excesses and ravages of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism; this no doubt was the mission envisioned by A. C. Townley for Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, and this is the mission that the Bank of North Dakota has successfully completed for ninety five (95) years, since its founding in 1915, and this is the mission that the Bank of North Dakota continues to serve.

http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2010/06/governor_candidate_virg_berner.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/16/business/main6212789.shtml

It is time for a change.

It is time for Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism to compete with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism in an expanded and inclusive form that serves all of the people of the United States as a nation.

It is time for Social Welfare to Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism to end, and if Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism cannot survive without Social Welfare, it is time for Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism to die a natural death and let natural selection take its course in favor of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

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By Shenonymous, August 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Roger, we already have a United Federation of States in the United
States.  Each is a sovereign entity.

The first draft of the preamble to the US Constitution reads:
We the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York,
New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-
Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare, and
establish the following Constitution for the Government of
Ourselves and Our Posterity.

It had been approved by a committee that was exhausted.  When the
sobering bright light of day 24 days later brought them to their senses
they realized some crucial problems and after much debate recomposed
the draft.

The preamble of the new and final draft reads:
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect
union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the
common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and
establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Considerably different.  From a compendium published in 1964 by the
Virginia Commission On Constitutional Government, some information
is taken from its introduction by James J. Kilpatrick, noted conservative
columnist and television news magazine debater.  I am not a
conservative.  If I were to be called anything (besides fence sitter), I
would prefer to be called a centrist liberal given that I support the
social programs that have been legislated on behalf of the American
people, of which I am a part. The following is an excerpted history of
the original relationship between the States and the new Federal
government created to administer it.  It cannot hurt to have background
history when considering issues of great magnitude.

The difference in changing from naming individual states to that of the
United States was for the express purpose to unify the collection of
sovereignties and to generate a government for the people of all the
States.  And “to assure the suspicious Patrick Henry that no such thing
as a consolidated national government was being proposed. Edmund
Pendleton, one of the Constitution’s strongest advocates, agreed with
Henry that a consolidated government, annihilating the States,
necessarily would “terminate in despotism.” Colonel Henry Lee said that
“we the people” obviously meant, “we the people on whom the
Constitution would operate” that is, the people within each separate
State. “It is not binding on the people until it becomes their act.”
Madison gave positive assurances: The people who were mentioned in
the preamble were “not the people as composing one great body,” but
rather “the people composing thirteen sovereignties…”  Furthermore,
“The principle concern of the Virginia Commission on Constitutional
Government, a century and three-quarters later, is to raise again some
of those warnings against centralism voiced by Henry and Mason, and
to urge a renaissance of those sound principles of federation advanced
by Madison, Pendleton, Franklin, Hamilton, Jay and others.”

In delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal
government, the States retained, individually and respectively, the
exclusive and sole right over their own domestic institutions and police,
and are alone responsible for them.”

As a pre-existing model for Anarcissie’s CCCU economic proposal,
individual States confederated as per the following criteria:  “In the
adoption of the Federal Constitution, the States acted severally as free,
independent and sovereign States. Each for itself, by its own voluntary
assent, entered the Union with a view to its increased security against
all dangers, domestic as well as foreign, and the more perfect and
secure enjoyment of its natural political and social advantages.

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By Shenonymous, August 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

And so you should be, Roger, skeptical of any proposal.  Skepticism
as illustrated in my next somewhat lengthy post, is about the early
American history of the relationship between the Sovereign States
and its 1787 newly formed Federal Government.  It is related to your
reservations and Anarcissie’s credit union plan.  It is always possible
some crucial detail, ramification is forgotten or error made in the
“heat” of forming a new program.  Nothing worthwhile is never easy. 
At least never as easy as one might think.

The impassioned doubt expressed by a few heroes of the American
Revolution is what led to a rethinking of the preamble causing it to be
written more appropriately. 

Anarcissie’s analysis indeed is impressive in scope and depth.  And I
am glad we pressed on.  It is all right to look at propositions with
squinted eyes in order to filter out shortsightedness or overextension. 
There is now meat on the table, not merely a carcass.  She should be
given our gratitude at her bravery of putting her ideas out for us to
look at…and assess.  My role was meager in comparison.


christian96, are you kidding?  Anyway, glad you made it home all right. 
Pot holes will getcha if you don’t watchout.

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By christian96, August 14, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

I have been out of town for a week.  I went to my
cousin’s house in West Virginia.  I was going to
attend a high school reunion but after a few days
I was driven back to Florida by the country roads
full of pot-holes caused by the large coal trucks.
Next time you hear John Denver singing “Country Roads” just think of the number of cars being ruined
by the potholes in those country roads. When I got
home yesterday I discovered 125 comments waiting on
me from truthdig.  I’m not going to read them.  If
anyone said anything significant please repeat it.
Thank you.

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By ThomasG, August 14, 2010 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

I am encouraged by Anarcissie making a concrete proposal, and I am hopeful that her proposal will be the first of many proposals and counter proposals that will generate an evolutionary process that will contribute to the evolution of a new economic system of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism for the United States and the people of the United States.

You, Shenonymous, generated Anarcissie making her proposal, and hopefully Anarcissie’s proposal that you generated will be the first of many by herself and others with regard to proposals and counter-proposals that are necessary to establish Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism as an Institutionalized Economic System for the United States.

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By Foucauldian, August 14, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Of course I am very skeptical, Anaricissie of the pyramid-like scheme for coops as per your credit union example, nor am I convinced of the desirability of such a behemoth-like structure, logical and doable as is appears on paper.  What would be the purpose of enrolling everyone in one organization unless we’re talking of centralization for the purpose of achieving some specific (national?) objective.  The right kind of formula is to decentralize rather than to centralize in most cases.  And those cases which may call for centralization will have to be specified and provided with a rationale.  Internet services, for example, might qualify for the latter kind of approach, if only in the interest of standardizing global communications, but even here one can envisage mom ‘n pop operations on a community-by-community basis.  Indeed, the legitimate ares for a centralized type of system may be few and far between, dealing with only what’s deemed as most essential, administrative task.  Preventing wars and conflict, and providing arbitration services, come to mind, but we have to assume here, of course, a “neutral” and fair-minded administrative body not motivated by any special (national?) interests but only but sense of justice and fairness.  Of course, we’re talking past the time of nation-states.

That’s why the Star-Trek scenario is not really that far-fetched.  Human societies may yet evolve to the point of appreciating some such arrangement.  It would be, in a manner of speaking, the best of all possible worlds, featuring a proliferation of semi-independent, autonomous communities (a la Castoriadis) and a “United Federation of Planets.”

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By Anarcissie, August 14, 2010 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I did not come up with my ideas in a flash, but they’re floating around so it would not be hard to get them off the shelf and put them together quickly anyway.  The cooperative movement in the sense of real-live working enterprises has been around for a century and a half at least.  The idea of having them reinforce and assist one another is also not new.  Generally, coops wisely strive to avoid looking revolutionary since people are generally quite conservative (in the wider sense of the word).

People like Sachs and Krugman, being servants of the ruling class, don’t waste their precious time thinking about cooperatives.  But that is just as well, because if they did think about them they would try to think of how to destroy them.

The only way to get a whole nation (that is, state, country) going about one thing at one time is to use violence or fraud.  The way to achieve peace, freedom and equality is through the use of peace, freedom and equality: the way is the same as the goal.  Noncoercive relations and institutions have to be cultivated, not instituted from on high by some authority.  And they need to be simple enough in principle to be easily understood by a wide variety of people.

I think all of the above is just common sense.

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By Shenonymous, August 13, 2010 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

WOW I don’t’ know what to say except WOW.  I have nothing on
which to judge the relative merits of the CCCU but it looks amazing.
My credit union site gives a fascinating history of credit unions in
the US as well as talks about the credit union movement.  Now who
knew there was a CU movement?  The following is the last paragraph
of that description.  It is a bit too long to post in its entirety in one
comment submission, but if you would like I’d put it online here for
you.  I don’t know if it would add anything to your algorithm but it
might give some ambience for what you are proposing.

  “Today, over 12,000 credit unions with $316 billion in assets
    serve 70 million people in the United States. More and more
    people join credit unions every year and they are pleased with
    the service. Credit unions have rated number one in customer
    satisfaction as financial institutions for the past 10 years,
    according to the American Banker Newspaper’s annual
    customer satisfaction survey.”

Looks like on an average each CU has more or less 5800 members.  If
you are talking 100 million, that is only 30 million more than already
exists as individual CUs.  Imagine someone or some group able to put
your plan into practice?  You came up with this in a flash!  With all the
high profile economists that sit around and pontificate, i.e., Krugman,
Reich, Jeffrey Sachs, Elinor Ostrom, et al… one wonders why they have
not stumbled upon this?  It seems so simple, but of course you must
have been well educated in economics and have a sense about it.  Or
math.  If not formally then autodidactically.  Well, hopefully some
others will assess your plan and write in about it.  I can see that the
first trick would be to get the CUs to form cooperatives. 

I have been listening to the financial reports rather intently these days
and I am hoping I am typical in that “new” habit.  I am very dismayed
with what I hear and the sort of powerlessness these wizards have in
solving what looks like an elementary problem.  I understand your talk
about thralldom and it really looks like ignorance is the slave master.  If
there are those who would take advantage of others, well that is a
human characteristic from the macrobiotic stage onward. 

I’ve read some on permaculture as I may have mentioned a friend of
mine builds geodesic dome dwellings and last year he built 5 for a
group out in some woods somewhere in the southeast.  He tells me
many people are opting for alternative living styles.  Now you are
talking about settlements and other productive systems which I think is
an awesome way to go if enough humans would get involved to make it
significant.  In this country there is the Phoenix Permaculture Guild, the
Permaculture Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a few other
organizations where interested parties can either join or become
involved in someway, at least get some informaton.  Spiralseed is a
publishing and educational company that has a cool website at
spiralseed.co.uk.  Some of the critics say that the idea is not applicable
to any but small groups.  How to get a whole nation into it is a
herculean feat, even a small nation.  Well there are certainly some
interesting stabilizing concepts that have been opened up for
discussion here.  It really needs to be put on the web in a major way
somewhere for any of them to be instigated.  Roadmaps of action of
this nature I’m afraid are slow going unless a fire is lit under the butts
of enough people to edify and make a movement happen.  Here is
where Hoffer’s ideas about mass movement could be instructional.

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By Anarcissie, August 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—In order to scale the idea of the credit union or banking cooperative up to national or world size, we have to assume that there are a large number of people who want to participate in such a system.  I do not propose that any sort of governmental requirement or pressure will be involved.

The first step (assuming there are already some credit unions) would be to have these join in a cooperative of credit unions.  The function of the larger organization would be not only to provide services but also to guarantee the stability and practices of the member CUs.  For this purpose the CCU, as I will call it, would be ceded important powers by its members, because it would have to be able to oversee and discipline its members in order to guarantee their stability.

Similarly, CCUs could form a higher-level circle of cooperating CCUs, which I will call a CCCU.  The function of the CCCUs would be to do for their member CCUs what each CCU would be doing for its CU members.

It is pretty obvious this system of structures within structures could be built to any reasonable height.  As a round figure, let us say each level consists of 100 members.  Then we have

100 persons -> 1 CU
100 CUs   -> 1 CCU (10,000 persons)
100 CCUs   -> 2 CCCU (1,000,000 persons)
100 CCCUs   -> 3 CCCCU (100,000,000 persons; enough
  for the U.S., probably, in just 4 levels.

The idea of a system of cooperatives and cooperatives of cooperatives not only leads to a complete national or world financial system, but also leads to the possibility of a kind of ‘people’s money’ issued by individuals and immune to government interference and manipulation.  After a certain amount of experience with a member, a CU, like a bank, could guarantee the credit of the member to a certain level.  The individual could then issue ‘money’ up to this level, payable, as with government money, with a certain amount of goods or labor.  It would be something like writing a check to ‘cash’ but since it would be cosigned by the credit union could be widely implemented, such as figuring out how to base the value of the money, but if it could be done it would liberate the people from the constant monetary chiseling of governments.  (Note that privately-issued money has often existed; it has generally been forcibly suppressed by governments since their monopoly over money gives both wealth and power to their leaders.)

I got my ideas from observing the way in which the more respectable commodities exchanges operate; I hope they won’t be taken as some sort of hippie fantasy.  Everything I have mentioned has the simple-mindedness suitable for large affairs and is, so to speak, off-the-shelf.  The reason we do not see things being done this way is not because there is something objectively difficult about them, but because we dwell within the shadow of slavery.

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By Foucauldian, August 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

I believe I referred you once, Shenon, to the Solari site - http://solari.com/ - dedicated to projects of this type.  The term is “permaculture.”  (I’ll provide another link to similar experiments in India.)

On another note, I’d like to refer to what Adorno called “micrologies” when referring to Walter Benjamin’s One Way Street and A Berlin Childhood pieces.  It’s too complex to explain - see Lyotard’s The Post Modern Explained,, pp 90-91 - and the relevance is rather tangential, but it does bring the general point home in that viable solutions are small-scale and local.

Anyway, the themes expressed by Foucault and elaborated by Lyotard - the themes concerning the regimes of truth and knowledge are, at this stage, my primary interests (the subject matter of economics being on the back burner, though it’s also the driver).  I also referred you earlier to Lyotard’s earlier text, The Postmodern Condition:  A Report on Knowledge.  Have you gotten around to getting those two texts?  The first-mentioned is more readable, but both are required readings in order to continue the postmodern dialogue (which includes economics).

Lyotard was one of the seminal thinkers of the latter part of the 20th century, and he places Foucault’s thought in a wider context, far more representative of the times in which we live.

Anarcissie - you should give it a try too.

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By Shenonymous, August 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Well it would be a megachallenge to do so.  And it would be a
monumental undertaking but momentous without a doubt.  You
would solve what no one else was able to do, including Robert
Reich.  If a credit union beau ideal were feasible, and if it worked
like my credit union works, it would be self-funding and actually
be able to generate more social capital than just merely conduct
usual banking functions.  My credit union requires a savings
account, which I am quite sure they use for investments (a la
capitalistic venues).  Also since they are involved in various kinds
of loans there is that structure already set up. There are education
loans as well as auto loans and low interest credit cards (I hate credit
cards though and only have one open account having given up all
others.  It is a credit union credit card).  I’m just saying that a layout
is already in existence to be used as the scaffolding from which to build
a national prototype.  Anyone interested who has economic savvy would
not have to reinvent the wheel, is my point. 

Well if my imagination is not running away with me, this has an air of
animation about it.  Maybe not a runaway truck or anything as dramatic
as that, but more like a glacier, it is slow, but sure and unstoppable. 
Having no sense for financial institutions or the way they work,
anything that smacks of possibility has to be more than intriguing.  The
lack of popular enthusiasm can be overcome by fermentation through
the right PR.

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By Anarcissie, August 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—are you asking me how the credit union concept could be scaled up to a national level?  I would be glad to describe this, but it might take more than a sentence or two.  And again, it can’t be accomplished unless people are willing to do it.  For the most part people are not yet at that stage of culture (or it would have happened already).

I know credit unions operate under all sorts of Federal and state laws and restrictions.  I have been referring to their fundamental modes of creation, maintenance and behavior.

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By Shenonymous, August 13, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Yes, sorry this discussion has tired you out, Anarcissie.  I can see
how it has and would.  And into a rabbit hole it surely seems to
have fallen.  Zen logic aside, for I often find it quite meditative and
even sometimes enlightening as I focus on the heart of the matter,
I understand what you mean by the credit union format of social
financial interchange, having been a member and using one as my
banking institution for more than 35 years.  They do appear to be
the epitome we are looking for, yet they are federally insured by
NCUA (National Credit Union Administration, a US Government
Agency) so there is government involvement. But as a model, this
is their doctrine:

“As a financial cooperative, our Members share ownership of their credit
union, and have democratic control (one Member, one vote), electing
from their midst a volunteer Board of Directors. All excess earnings are
passed along to our Members through competitive rates, expanded
products and services, and lower fees.”

You raise an excellent point of using the only true socialized financial
institution as a means of funneling financial social capital into being the
economic system by which the country is run (I cannot see how
completely eliminating government is possible).  Could you be specific
on how it would be possible in a country the exact size and complexity
as this one?  One or two unit examples don’t really address the
magnitude of this entire nation.  Not at all sure how that could work,
but on the surface it seems as if it could.  But there are hundreds of
these unions (which by the way are socialistic entities) already in the
country.  Seems more are the imperative.

OB1Canobe surely would be able to solve the problem with his laser
sword! and neat disappearing act.

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By Foucauldian, August 13, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Did you mean Jedi logic, or an old Jedi trick perchance?

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By Anarcissie, August 13, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I was not bemused by the occurrence of the word state.  According to what I have read, the State Bank of North Dakota is owned and operated by the state (the specific political entity) government of North Dakota.  It is, therefore, an example of top-down state (the abstraction) capitalism, however wonderful it is.  A state is not a ‘partner’ with a community, it subsumes the community and claims that it represents the community.  A truly community-based, cooperative bank is called a ‘credit union’ and arises not from the actions of the government but the actions of the people who compose it, its constituents, its customers.  We do not have to evolve them from the State Bank of North Dakota.  They already exist.

In any case I am tired of the Zen logic here with regard to ‘socialized capitalism’.  First there is a state, then there is no state, then there is.  If I complain that it doesn’t make practical sense, I’m told I’m incapable of understanding higher thought; my intellect is as a dog’s compared to yours and ThomasG’s.  If one asks what the first step towards ‘socialized capitalism’ is, silence falls.  If one asks what the structure of ‘socialized capitalism’ is to be, one is told to read an 18th-century physiocrat and intimate of the French royal family.  We have obelisks inspiring monkeys to evolve, straight out of the movies.

If the discussion were only in verse, we could attribute it to Lewis Carroll.

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By Foucauldian, August 13, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Cool post, Shenon - we are getting somewhere, at least on some major points.  One exception, however. 

You say, “I am not attempting in any way to ‘keep everyone happy’ and that is a pathetic defense on your part.  If you are confused that is your problem.”

I didn’t offer it as any kind of defense (as though in support of my argument).  I was rather hypothesizing about your state of mind.  And I wasn’t confused either, just getting you to come out out and say what’s case.  Now that you have, everything’s fine.  At least I think so.

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By Shenonymous, August 13, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie - A yelp is not really a bite.  It is inarguable that any
entity that has the word State in its name is a ‘state’ owned
structure.  But it is also conceivable as a ‘mass’ noun, or a collection
of predicates, sort of like a college or university that is composed of
many units and if one stood in the middle of a campus and looked
around one could not really see “The College,” but would only see
what are its constituent concrete parts.  And even perceiving those
parts, for example, one can see students and faculty and books,
buildings, etc., but they are only collectively called “The College.”  But
the college is a go between from ignorance to being relatively more
learned, viz., educated. How it functions or operates is not “visible” but
ultimately can be seen in its results of graduating learned people. 
Function and operation are not “visible” as in sense perception but in
the how things work perception.

Analogously, the State of North Dakota Bank is not an ordinary bank.  It
is unique and is a hybrid concern between the state and the
community.  It is an evolutionary step made visible in its concrete
buildings and in its abstract operations.  So it cannot be lumped under
the aegis of a ‘pure’ state entity or like any other bank.  It’s purity of
being a state owned entity is tainted with its intention and its operation
and if it is a model step toward a more social owned and operated
financial institution then amen (not in the religious sense but in the so
be it sense). 

It seems to me, if we are capable of critical thought, then we ought to
be able to synthesize ideas and garner the best of what is there if not
as a permanent solution then as a step in the more auspicious
direction.

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By Shenonymous, August 13, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Roger - Since I have respected Reich, the economist, since becoming
aware of him in his Clinton years, I will see if I can get the book you
recommend.  I often think when I watch him in either lecture or in
interviews that he has some of the pretenses for which Plato criticized
Gorgias the Sophist.  But even so Gorgias did make some good points
even in his hubris.

I agree that the phrase capitalist democracy is oxymoronic since
capitalism has too much of the individual’s self-interest involved,
where as social democracy has embedded in its phraseology the
idea of the many and not merely the one.  However I cannot criticize
liberal democracy in the same way that you do.  Representative
democracy has been the basis of this country for over 200 years and
whether it is perfect or not, it has proven to be extremely workable, uh,
my pragmatism in the same way Foucaultism works for you.  The notion
of anarchy as a basis for any huge complex body such as is the United
States is absurd in my mind. 
Nevertheless, I agree that “capitalism” as it is used in the present tense
is a farce and has to be modified. 

” Why would you pose me…as believing anything contrary to what
you’re saying there. “
 

I’m not.  I was saying that ThomasG had the perspective.  Yes of course
I know you are “absolutely aware that capitalism is totally unresponsive
to the needs of the people.”  Well with that I absolutely disagree!  It
obviously is responsive to some degree.  And we could engage in what
are its virtues as a side issue and I am willing to go through it…again.

Now you wish to paint me as striding the fence and that of course is
your prerogative, but it is a wrong portrayal.  Being of the mind to want
to find the truth does not put me in any particular camp much as the
proponents of a side would like to add bodies to their “side.”  I am not
attempting in any way to “keep everyone happy” and that is a pathetic
defense on your part.  If you are confused that is your problem.

Since we are in a dialogue, I will take the time to say what I mean,
exactly.  Regulation is self-explanatory.  In the name of socialization of
the economic system of this country, I would think that was self-
explanatory as well but to put it simply, that means the economy is for
the express purpose of promoting the welfare of the people not private
business.  Is that clear enough?

I agree that elucidation of the socialized capitalism economic system is
expected. And Roger, I don’t know how many time I need to say that
first of all I am not an economist but I am certainly a new student of
that domain of human action.  I am not capable of providing “A
Manifesto of Socialized Capitalism” and you know this fully well so you
are just baiting me.  Silly boy.  You may not expect ThomasG to do it,
but I do and I’ve offered to extend my powers of logic and purposeful
reflective judgment concerning what to believe or what to do about the
issue to help.  If those powers are meager, or too meager, well amen
again.

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By Foucauldian, August 13, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

You’re just a hound dog, Anarcissie.  Let’s just admit it and get it over with.  And let’s leave the high-power thinking to those who are truly fit for it - the gods on Mount Olympus.  My palate isn’t refined enough to appreciate nectar and ambrosia.  I’d just as well settle for table scraps.

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By Anarcissie, August 13, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

When the State of North Dakota owns and operates a bank, this is exactly a top-down government institution of the sort which can be called “state capitalism”, like the TVA or PeMex,  But we were definitively told that “socialized capitalism” was not state capitalism.  No doubt my confusion here arises from the limitations of my canine intellect.

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By Shenonymous, August 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

The Jon Stewart ‘analysis’ of the Republican economics, yes, was
very funny, but at the same time poignantly showed the miserable
straightjacketed minds that epitomizes the unbelievably septic
thinking that is the Republican Party.  Their insanity needs to be
highlighted and intensified at every instance available.

I think the success of the State of North Dakota Bank as the example
does indeed provide a powerful model for others to follow suit.  The
strategy needs some good PR to catalyze the approach.  For the
project to work, it seems there will have to be some very prophetic
fail safe measures built in. Just a thought. 

Roger, I will reply tomorrow to your last post addressed to me.  Yes, I
think it is better to work together rather than at odds.  Perhaps there is
a point of confluence we and others can come to?  It is worth working
at.

And why has the page become so bloody wide?  Aaaarrrgh!  Is anybody
else’s computer doing that?

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism has been in effect in a postnatal incubative form in the State of North Dakota for 95 years, after 95 years it is a bit late for anyone to be talking about Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism as a subjective theory that needs to be explained by some sort of a Capitalist Manifesto.  See the following videos about The Bank of North Dakota:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8pcADnsEs

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/bank-of-north-dakotasocia_n_463522.html

Those who make the claim that Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is subjective theory need to wake up and become aware that Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is an objective reality that has been around since 1915, shortly after the start of World War I, a period of 95 years, founded by A. C. Townley in service to the people of North Dakota and the State of North Dakota, protecting both the people of North Dakota and the State of North Dakota from the excesses of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism; this is the mission for which Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism was founded, and this is the mission that Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism must serve in service to the United States as a Nation and the people of the United States as a whole.

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

For a little humor, here is Jon Stewart’s take on Republican Economics: 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-11-2010/deductible-me

The original Meet the Press full interview with Boehner is last after the Browner interview:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38593566/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

“The only difference I can reason through to is that socialized capitalism does not eclipse privatized capitalism but rather becomes its competitor.  They exist simultaneously.” Shenonymous, August 12 at 2:00 pm

With regard to your above statement that Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism would exist as a parallel competing system with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism, your statement is correct; and, this, too, has already been effected in the State of North Dakota, and this, too, can and will evolve beyond what has already been effected and currently exists in the State of North Dakota by serious minded people striving with independent thought and action to evolve the currently existing Model of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism into a nationwide Institutionalized Economic System of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is not just a theory; Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism exists in North Dakota in postnatal incubative form.  The Economic System of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism; therefore, currently exists in its North Dakota incubator and needs to grow and develop as an already existent Economic System into an Institutionalized Economic System that can and will compete Nationally with Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

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By Foucauldian, August 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Continuing from the last post.

Secondly, you say: ” Now Roger is also right that some coherent program needs expressed.  But ThomasG is also right in that capitalism as it stands is unresponsive to the needs of the common population and needs systematic regulation and a redefinition of funding.”

Of course you’re correct about the first part of your statement.  But here is a question for you:  What’s the function of the remaining part?  Why would you pose me - and never mind the fact that “hyperbole” is your middle initial - as believing anything contrary to what you’re saying there.  You surely know that I’m absolute aware that capitalism is totally unresponsive to the needs of the people.  So again, I point this out to you.  It’s this kind of postings - trying to keep everyone happy while striding the fence at the same time - that create create unnecessary confusion.

Point three.  I fail to understand the following:

“Regulation means socialization for the controls under socialized capitalism must be for the society and not any private concern.”  What exactly do you mean?

As to any “full manifesto,” you do know now one here is expecting any such.  All I’m asking for is elucidation of the concept.  Thus far you haven’t done it.  And if you can’t do it, I don’t expect any result from another quarter.  So good luck with your conversation but as I said, the onus, as far as I’m concerned, is on you.

Lastly, all that talk of the horse and pony show, and dogs and monkeys, was just a comic relief.  We all need one, don’t you agree?

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By Foucauldian, August 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

A far clearer post, Shenon, in spite of its length.  I do believe you’re trying and in time you’ll do even better.  Addressing real people rather than posting communiques for general consumption is the ticket, even if the “real people” are but pixels on the screen.  Sure, it’s a different mode from academic writing - and believe you me, I’ve done as much of it as you have - but this is a give-and-take format, and that’s the beauty of it.  So let’s enjoy it and converse.  And please don’t accuse me of being condescending.  I’d never be condescending with you.

Now, you’re getting into the meat of your point in paragraph four, when you say:

“As I continue to fathom the questions we have been tossing about, and looking far and wide, it is impossible to find any academic thinker or
professional economist, or political philosopher outside of academia who has made the distinction between socialized capitalism and social democracy let alone any rational distinction of either.”

(Because never mind about the metaphors.  There are some who argue that the best of our thinking is metaphorical, that that’s how new concepts come to life.)  Well, I’d say that even those within the academia haven’t made the kind of distinction you’re looking for, because there is none to be made.  Be my guest and provide a counterexample.

So you’re right in this one respect at least, in that the so-called “social democracy” and “capitalist democracy” - the latter being an oxymoron, of course - co-exist and share the same economic and political space.  But as Robert Reich argues in his latest book, Supercapitalism, as per link - http://books.google.com/books?id=IPmWgoKQTgUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Supercapitalism&hl=en&ei=2DZkTOCxLsWBlAfR14j_Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f;=false - capitalism is inimical to the basic tenets of a liberal democracy.  Personally, I don’t believe Reich’s critique goes far enough, for he still buys into the idea of liberal democracy as an end-all-and-be-all - as the ultimate standard of what’s possible by way of human polity.  As a true Foucauldian (and I do have to stay true to my own principles, don’t I?), I’m skeptical of any institution, be it a social/liberal democracy, or monarchy, or what else have you - and this includes the juridical-legal systems, however well-meant or thought of (Foucault’s own terminology, BTW) - which claims to be “for the people.”  Which makes me, I suppose, against the institution of the State (and all the institutions which the State invents - again, the juridical-legal system counts here among the most prominent, but one can think here of a myriad of others, such as police and surveillance powers, and so on).  Does that make me a socialist or a communist?  I don’t think so.  An anarchist perhaps, although only six months ago I’d never have believed I would ever espouse such a heresy.  But this is merely an aside.  For all intents and purposes, we can take Reich’s argument at face value.  It’s good enough for the present purposes.  And the gist of Reich’s argument, defective as I think it is for not going far enough, is that democracy with capitalism “in charge” is a farce.  So that’s point number one.

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

The initial step of the process of implementing Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism has already been effected by the Bank of North Dakota.

What is needed beyond the Bank of North Dakota is many people striving with independent thought to evolve the existing model of the Bank of North Dakota into an Institutionalized Economic System of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, and this is not going to happen by way of dialogue with dogs and monkeys, because Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is far too complicated for dogs and monkeys to comprehend and understand.

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By Shenonymous, August 12, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, your post came in after I posted mine. I understand or at
least imagine the benefits of socialized capitalism, of what it consists,
and generally speaking how it could be implemented.  I believe for it
to even begin to be a reality, to get the those “many people” to strive
“with independent thought,” that some consilient and persuasive
rationale of why they should so participate is expected.  I feel the
proposition is still to deep in the ideal strata.  Ordinary people are
not as adroit at understanding politics or economics on a theoretical
basis.  They are interested pragmatically.  What works for them, in the
now, or in the near enough future that they can palatably sense the
benefit will be realized.  I believe the people are becoming numb to
political promises.  I have ‘some’ faith in what you proposed.  However,
faith lies in the realm of the metaphysical.  And until some realism
takes shape I’m afraid we engage only in speculation, as benevolent as
it seems.

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By Shenonymous, August 12, 2010 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Dogs, ponies and parrots aside, I don’t wish to get involved in
personalities.  It is only ideas I am interested in and only in their
clarification so that I may make some judgment in terms of
worthiness and if I should put any further “expenditure” in time
into it.

The allegory of the monkeys and the obelisk at the watering hole
needs more overt correspondence if it is to be applied to our
electronic “friends,” whom I always affectionately call electronic
ghosts (egs).  It is assumed the egs represent persons in a possible
real world, there being a distinction between real and electronic.  It
is the difference of, say, looking at a map, say of Lichtenstein and
walking the streets of Vaduz to get a schnitzel or two.

I think the issues are getting lost in metaphor.  Though they can be
fun, and heaven knows no one loves to have more fun that me, but
there is that moment when seriousness must pull us back to reality. 
Getting lost in the tropes and figures of speech, metaphor, is what
happens when the referents become too seductive (a vestige from our
cave story-telling days) and I admit to being seduced by it no less than
anybody else, but it shows a helplessness to express ideas in commonly
understood terms and giving rational argument for or against these
ideas.  We simply have to remember how easy it is to fall into fallacies,
and there are thereabouts 117 kinds of fallacies.  When relying on
metaphor too much, ideas tend to get pushed into a realm of mystery
and they do not find their way back to Reason easily because, I think,
we become enamored with our own cleverness.

As I continue to fathom the questions we have been tossing about, and
looking far and wide, it is impossible to find any academic thinker or
professional economist, or political philosopher outside of academia
who has made the distinction between socialized capitalism and social
democracy let alone any rational distinction of either. 

This difference was raised earlier by Anarcissie and the question, while
it was fielded, in a manner of speaking, still sticks in my mind.  The
only difference I can reason through to is that socialized capitalism
does not eclipse privatized capitalism but rather becomes its
competitor.  They exist simultaneously.  In terms of the way a
government is run, a “social democracy” hardly differs from a “capitalist
democracy.”  Each employs the democratic system of government in
which the people hold direct or indirect political power through the free
election of representatives.  Now Roger is also right that some coherent
program needs expressed.  But ThomasG is also right in that capitalism
as it stands is unresponsive to the needs of the common population and
needs systematic regulation and a redifinition of funding.  Regulation
means socialization for the controls under socialized capitalism must
be for the society and not any private concern.  I think it is too
premature to expect a full manifesto from ThomasG but he will have to
work with someone, me if that is all there is who is interested because I
do not have the allergy that a socialist or anarchist would have to it, in
a limited interventionist approach to capitalism, to find a way to a
comprehensive system for which implementation has a real possibility. 

Hypotheticals are only mental exercises and never have existence until
applied in real life.  So far we have what is only a sketch of what
appears to be a good idea, at least to me.  Even with all the references
provided by ThomasG, it is still only a sketch.  There is a frame but the
picture is still fuzzy, to use a different metaphor.

So if I am to invest more time in the idea of socialized capitalism, I
request more discussion on its difference to social democracy in terms
of both the political and the economic.

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism will be of benefit for the greater good, rather than for the greater greed, as is Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

To implement Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, it will take many people striving with independent thought to evolve and institutionalize Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism, as the prevalent economic system in the United States and the world, rather than lukewarm, hesitant, and reticent advocates asking to be given non-participatory, undeserved understanding handed down to them as dogs and monkeys from a master, without their own striving to participate in understanding the process and the evolution of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism as an alternative to Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.

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By Foucauldian, August 12, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

As far as I am concerned, Shenon, ThomasG IS your dog on a leash, or a monkey in the cage - take your pick.  So my question to you is - do you find this relationship satisfying or necessary to your existence?  Do you really have to have a pet?

Just think.  Virtually every communication you have with ThomasG is a replica of your own thought, language, form of expression, down to every syllable if I may say, if not more.  What you have in effect is not a dog, not even a monkey, but a lowly parrot.  Surely, the parrot is a smart one as far as parrots go, but it’s still only a parrot.

Is that what you really want, to hear an echo of your voice, because I certainly can’t fathom why this kind of relationship could be satisfying?

And no, I’m not being jealous here, because I’m neither your monkey or your parrot.  Nor do I have any desire to be.  I’m only wondering.

BTW, I don’t mean for you to break all communications with ThomasG.  Only hope those communications would transcend the parody which, IMHO, in effect it is.

We’ve all had our share of comedy and laughed our asses off; and we’re all grateful for this dog and pony show, the greatest show on earth in fact.  But surely, every good thing must come to an end.  I think it’s about time to move on.

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By ThomasG, August 12, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

When one is talking to dogs and monkeys at the water hole, one will never have a Tralfamadorian moment of chrono-synclastic infundibulum, where the beginning, the end, and all points in between are all revealed and all of the different kinds of truth come together and are revealed; one has a choice between evolution or condescension.

With dogs and monkeys condescension is appropriate and with those who would behave as dogs and monkeys condescension is appropriate.

If human kind does not expect or want to be treated as dogs and monkeys, then human kind must not behave as dogs and monkeys, and then whine about being treated as is appropriate for dogs and monkeys.

It is my policy to provide cause at the water hole for dogs and monkeys to strive to be more than dogs and monkeys, and for those who cannot or will not, to either rebuke or give them a condescending pat on the head based upon their bad or good behavior.

Ultimately we are all dogs and monkeys at the water hole in this respect, in one way or another; the only difference is that some of us impelled by irritation at the water hole are making an effort to be something more than dogs and monkeys, and others simply want a drink of water out of necessity, so that they can contnue as they are as a dog or a monkey.

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By Foucauldian, August 12, 2010 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

I’m certain, Anarcissie, troll is aware of the implications, or he wouldn’t post.  He’s more literary than I am.

But we all know, of course, who the dog is, or the monkey as the case may be. 

Sorry, offersince, just had to complete your thought.

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By ofersince72, August 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

A Troll could only help this situation out

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By Anarcissie, August 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

troll—Obelisks have mystical inscriptions.  There’s a wonderful line in an Elvis Costello song about a dog earnestly trying to puzzle out directions on a sign.  Well, that’s me!  But as they say, on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog.

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By ThomasG, August 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 12 at 12:25 am,

Do you suppose chrono-synclastic infundibula could possibly work with a Tralfamadorian perspective, together with humanity’s so called “free will” around the water hole?  Or, would this be affected by the appearance of a troll at the water hole?

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps, ThomasG, we need a “chrono-synclastic infundibulum” to
get socialized capitalism off the ground?  Tralfamadorians are
enlightened creatures who say it is pointless to be concerned with
the bad things that consistently happen to us. They say it is wiser
to focus the attention only on the good moments, for no moments
are capable of being changed—they just are.

If the Tralfamadorians are correct, all the moments in our lives exist
‘simultaneously. That whether or not we are aware of these other
moments in other moments is irrelevant to the fact that the moments
all function at the same ‘time’.  It is a radical deterministic view of
existence.  Que sera sera.  Now we know that in human time, which is
not like the Tralfamadorians sense of simultaneous times, we are
handicapped in our limitation to see the all the facts of our lives at one
time, we are forced, and so it goes, to allow time to reveal them
sequentially.  Seems to me that Samuel Beckett’s view shows better the
human condition that has limitations and it is courageous but still
essential to know one’s limits and to have will enough to act
accordingly.

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By ThomasG, August 11, 2010 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

“So it goes”, a troll shows up at the water hole.  What then happens to the monkeys?  And, how will this affect evolution at the water hole?  In the end who will Hal have to deal with, an evolved monkey or a troll?  In the moment a troll is at the water hole.  What can we expect in the measure of the moments of the evolutionary cycle that is yet to come?  All that can be truly said in the moment is “So it goes”, there is a troll at the water hole.

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By troll, August 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

...obelisk...

It’s true, Thomas, that when I read some of your formulaic rants I find it hard not to think, “...dickhead…”

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By ThomasG, August 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 11 at 9:33 pm,

Did Stanley Kubric ever leave?—perhaps Kubric will always be lurking around here on TD waiting to make an entrance.

The best and the brightest in a savant way; knowledge without understanding is not necessarily the best and the brightest in a causal way, knowledge with understanding, knowledge that can be applied causally, from the perspective of the Tralfamadorians would be more respected at the water hole by the obelisk, but not so much by the monkeys; “so it goes.”

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

You is what you is, kiddo.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin how to change you. 

I suppose we’ll just have to learn how to tolerate one another despite our faults.

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

Aaarrgh!  Stanley Kubric is coming back to haunt TD!  Why is it I hear
strains of Strauss?  Both of them—Richard and Johann?  Mannn I’ll
have to dig that out of my collection and watch it again tanite. Or,
maybe a couple of Monty Pythons.  The Holy Grail might be just
right.

Now ThomasG, what’s this about monkeys and dogs?  Could I suggest
the flies and honey metaphor if getting really bright people to start
thinking seriously about your economic paradigm shift is the goal?  You
have two of the brightest that navigate TD in A and R.  It is good that
they test you.  Tact where I come from, diplomacy, finesse…cultivation
through reason are what I’ve heard brings desired results.

Yeah, I knew what mulberry tree you were talking about Anarcissie. 
But I thought I would take one of my usual odd cruises into an
anachronistic amusement.  I just happened to know something
about mulberries, more than here we go around it.

“but you don’t need to prove the point every time you post.” Roger
is that what I do? Really? Every time?  Surely your middle name is
Exaggerate.  You would squash my personality?  Fascist!  (Just kidding)

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

And BTW, not to leave Anarcissie out, she too is a gem.  She has a know for the implied, for saying the most with the least.

I’m rather pleased to have run into both you.  It surely promises to be a fruitful and stimulating relationship.

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Sure you’re funny, Shennon, but you don’t need to prove the point every time you post.  We all know and appreciate your language and your poetic flair.  Reading your prose is like listening to music.  What more can I say? 

So indeed, hyperbole is your middle name by birthright.  I totally concur.

I thought there was a rhyme in there somewhere, but I’m not sure.

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

I would never do anything for Christ’s sake!  Umma donna baleev
inim.  Now if you had said for Leonard Cohen’s sake or Bob Dylan’s
sake, I might just be more compliantly terse.  Crispy I am not.  But
very funny at times I yam.  Though funny bones seem to be seriously
missing from TD.  Like Anarcissie, I refrain from saying what anyone
‘ought’ to do, and I resent those who take such liberties.  TD is a
classless society, anarchic, and one’s face is not anybody else’s.  As
I said, just boogie board on by my posts.  Buddha knows droves of
them do.  But when someone takes the time and appreciates what I
say and lets me know, well that is gratifying, but it isn’t anything I live
for.  Aw, I really loved the thing about the mulberries.

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By Anarcissie, August 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

I myself enjoyed the digression on the mulberry bush, although I was referring only to the famous folk rhyme.  In the present case, though, it seems the pursuing monkey is confronted not with a popped weasel but a mystic obelisk of advanced intellect!  Which of course he isn’t sufficiently evolved to understand!  Alas, poor monkey!  Poor obelisk!

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By ThomasG, August 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

The obelisk’s role at the waterhole is not to explain things to monkeys that do not have the ability to understand, the role of the obelisk is to stimulate the monkeys into evolutionary activity that will lead the monkeys to evolve “causal understanding” from knowledge of the beginning, the end, and all points in between.

There is no capacity within monkeys to reason and understand; therefore, there is no reason for the obelisk to do anything other than to promote evolutionary activity in the monkeys; monkeys have to evolve past being monkeys——— when monkeys evolve and achieve “causal understanding” they will no longer ask for that which they do not have the ability to understand to be made clear to them as monkeys.

I think the world of my dog, but my dog is not capable of understanding pas the level of a dog.  My dog, does not blame me for his lack of having my understanding and doesn’t say that it is my fault that my understanding cannot be imparted to him as a dog.  Therefore, I have more respect for my dog than those who blame me for their own lack of ability to understand.

This post does not apply to Shenonymous.

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

I’m sure glad, Shenon, I haven’t called you the worst of names.  This is a relief.  I also understand all too well the idea behind writing, to clarify one’s own thinking.  Believe it or not, I proceed from no other set of presumptions.  But can’t you make it sharp and crispy, for Christ’s sake?  I’m certainly not suffering from any attention deficit disorder the best I can tell, but for crying out loud, your exposition on the mulberry bush was just too much.  Most of the most serious writing, anyway, ought to be done in one’s solitude, don’t you agree?  And this is a dialogue-oriented format, isn’t it?  So can’t we keep it at that level, using the Socratic method as a paradigm?  Let’s have questions and answers here, but most importantly questions because questions imply answers, rather than full-scale expositions.  I don’t see this format as amenable to or useful for this kind of presentation .  If you want me to consider something with utmost seriousness, I certainly shall, but send me a paper.  So perhaps now you can understand why I’m not the most diligent reader of long posts, not unless a specific point is in dispute.

Anyway, I should have my critique ready come next week perhaps.  And of course, I shan’t post it here.  You and Anarcissie will get a special treatment, delivered to your mail boxes toute de suite.  This I promise.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

While I have to go for a while, I have to say, Roger, I have a corral of
high horses and have been accused of far worse than being a princess. 
I have a whole compendium of names I’ve been called by Truthdippers
who are not enamored of MY style.

Contrary to your view of Dewey, he has lived long past his time.  His
philosophy still directs much of education, which is where a population
derives its level of intellect.  And while the US is full of the uneducated,
those who are well educated have had the benefit of his ideas.

If you cannot bear to read my “full” posts, then you miss much of what
I say and what is my intent.  Perhaps that is why you take a
defensive/offensive attitude.  It is not a question of letting go of
capitalism, it is a matter of what realistically will work for this country,
that is my pragmatism.  Well read as much as you like, or none at all.  I
write for myself mainly so that I can clarify my own thoughts.  I shall
have to be content to wait for a savior of the economic system for this
country as I have little time having, and wanting, to work for a living,
and must then shut up as I cannot put up.  I’ve said enough anyway
and as definitive as I can make it.  As theorists put forth their ideas, I
will continue to assess them from whatever pool of information I have
and give my informed, however little or well-developed, opinion.

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Shenon, I wasn’t intentionally patronizing you or moralizing.  And of course it’s for Anarcissie to speak for herself.  But the expression “not being fair to” connoted essentially my disagreement - quite a common usage, I daresay.  Of course there was a twinge of “moralizing” involved because moral language is a language of exhortation and of persuasion.  It’s part of my style at times, my oratory.  Of all people, you should be aware it’s part of a literary style rather than jump on your high horse and act like a princess.

I can’t read your full posts, only glimpse at them.  But if you’re so convicted of the idea, why don’t you take the lead and present the concept in the form that it can be understood, rather than relying on the fictitious theorist who apparently cannot deliver?  I’m always open to new and innovative ideas, and I’m certain Anarcissie is too.  So put up or shut up, excuse the expression.  Because until you do, I can’t help but think it’s but an idee fixee for you, just as it is for ThomasG.  Indeed, you do seem to have a vested interest in the idea because, for some reason, you can’t see yourself letting capitalism go.  And so you hang on to this idea like for your dear life.  Excuse me for being frank, but I’m sure I’d rather was frank than condescending.  (And that’s the real meaning of what condescending is not.)

And BTW, I never implied that Dewey was a lesser mind than Marx.  I have great respect for much of the pragmatic thought, as you may have gathered from my MS (or perhaps you have not), but I do have some reservations, however, as I do about Marx.  Anyway, all of us, including the greatest thinkers, are historically-conditioned and can’t see past their times.  And that was true of Dewey as well as of Marx.  That’s why we’re are here, on this public forum of all places, to try to salvage the best of their thought.  Can you think of a better reason? 

So your point exactly was that . . .

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Has anybody else noticed that this forum is creeping to a very wide
page format too?  It must be a weirding glitch in TD’s programming?

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Well fairness is not one of my strong suits, Roger, and your
moralizing about it has the glow of patronizing.  I would think if I
were not being fair Anarcissie herself would say so.  She is not shy
to speak for herself.  I think there is more than a semblance of a
concept about socialized capitalism and much has been presented.
It doesn’t do to act like an ostrich.  To get to the level of detail
being demanded at this point borders on obsessive.  And I don’t
really wonder why particularly if the proposed system is in competition
with one’s own long held beliefs.  And I will bring in Dewey’s idea since
QED you really make my case for him and his idea about social capital. 
His is just an example of the philosophy.  It is not as narrowly defined
as you are ordering.  There is no catechism. It is in the making.  Of
course Dewey’s philosophy rivaled Marx, and he would be seen as a
lesser mind by those who are Marxian votaries.  And I would say that
Dewey’s influence has been greater than Marx even though Karl has
had celebrity status. Dewey’s ideas worked and are still working. Marx’s
has yet to be proved.  As you admitted, “it’s a great idea as far as it
goes.”  Since it (socialized capitalism) is having birthpains, there is no
wonder details are not yet codified.  So don’t you tell me what I may or
may not bring to the table!

And how many times do I have to say that “the main exponent” ought
to provide a more refined idea.  You don’t like ThomasG’s style, and
that is your taste, I happen to have lived through what can be called
dreadfully worse from him.  But I when I find something I think has
merit even from one with whom I have a not so sweet a history, I try to
overcome whatever bitterness there might have been if the other is
willing to make some strides toward a peaceful and promising step
forward.  I do believe that is called progress.  He and I crossed a bridge
from different sides and have come to entente.  This idea of
independent thought is overrated.  I’d bet everything everybody ever
offers has its genesis in other people’s ideas.  Look at you and
Foucault.  You know, standing on the shoulders of giants, thing.

Yes, I can tell where you are going with your treatise and it looks like
you are armed already with a point of view. 

Anarcissie, I do not disagree that ThomasG implied something more
specific.  And as the posts go, he is being mandated to do double time. 
He has given a bare outline and asks us to do the work, to put the
pieces he has given together in some coherent whole.  I have scolded
him for it as well as you and Roger.  I don’t mind doing some of the
work as that is the way I learn from the inside out about things of
which I have been ignorant, and I have done a great deal of research
putting it together for my own satisfaction as to of what it consists,
what it means.  There are still some important strings dangling in its
application. There needs to be a plan of implementation.  A curriculum
or something tangible.  And yes, since this is not anarchy, who is
rational enough to be the guide of a rational process?  But I have been
saying and asking these things all along.  Are you and Roger inured or
so habituated to your own ideology to pay attention to what has been
said?

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By Foucauldian, August 11, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

I don’t think you’re being fair, Shenon.  Anarcissie doesn’t want “everything,” just a semblance of a concept.  As presented thus far, it’s an empty shell, attractive perhaps for how good it sounds, but it’s just a verbal illusion.

And don’t bring in the Dewey’s idea here of “social capital.”  It’s an altogether different idea, having to do with how to mobilize communities around certain project.  The sense in which Dewey speaks of “social capital” is mostly metaphorical, parasitic upon the common use in the strictly economic sense.  Again, it has more to do with explaining that our resources, the resources of a community, go beyond what’s normally understood in the strictly economic sense - to include resources which are intangible in a matter of speaking:  energy, commitment, networking, and so on.  And it’s a great idea as far as it goes.  But it surely falls short when it comes to supplying all the necessary details for the “grand version” of the concept that is being espoused. 

It’d seem the main exponent of the idea should be doing all the legwork beyond citing sources and transcribing skeletal definitions ad nauseum, but you already know what I think:  from all evidence thus far, our theorist is incapable of independent thought.

I don’t want to get into any extended discussion prematurely, because as I’ve told you, I’m in the midst of writing a paper on the subject.  I just thought this little comment would at least give you an idea as to where I’m going with this.

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By Anarcissie, August 11, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I had the idea from ThomasG’s irascibility and talk of objectivity, logic and the full faith and credit of the United States that he had something quite specific in mind, or at least he thought he did, which we were unaccountably failing to get.  Sure, if the idea of social(ized) capitalism is vaguely defined then we can’t expect a manifesto or a plan.  It’s hard then to know what to do about it, though.  An anarchist can go off and start a commune, a liberal can vote and give money and run for office, a fascist can go shopping for a nice truncheon, but what’s a socialized capitalism fan supposed to do?

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By Shenonymous, August 11, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

With no intention to quote or cite all of Quesnay, or even any more
than I have, having provided sites where one who has any curiosity may
find everything and all, Quesnay wrote in the 18th c. and seems to me
that he had more than an embryo of an idea for healthy redistribution
of community wealth.  Whether his ideas are applicable to contemporary
anarchic proclivities has simply to be tailored and arguments made in
its behalf to those who have the capacity for making an inflection to
current practice.

Yes travelling mindlessly around a Mulberry Tree can be “fruitless.”  But
there is more to Mulberry Trees than one might think (if one thinks
about such esoteria).  As a metaphor, the Mulberry tree is unique in
that it is the only food source for the silkworm which are slaves to the
human world for the beauty of their thread.  I guess they get to live out
their lives happily fulfilling their intended evolution, realizing their
Buddha-nature.  The Mulberry also provides fruit sort of like an
elongated blackberry and has a sweet flavor and is mildly toxic if eaten
before ripening.  It’s effects include hallucinations, stomach upset, and
stimulation of the nervous system.  Some look for its hallucinogenic
promises!  Even the leaves are used for medicinal purposes.  Perhaps
like the Mulberry Tree, socialized capitalism is the only middling path
for the best fabric of a society.

Seems to me Anarcissie you want everything, at least about socialized
capitalism, handed on a knock out manifesto, well fully bloomed and
ready to roll.  Seems to me this is a project in development.  It is up for
modulation and, as a sculptor would do, shape it into some beautiful
form, or a craftsman, some pragmatically and feasible economic
architecture.

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By Anarcissie, August 11, 2010 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

“Quesnay” does not seem to be the answer to any question I have asked.  However, I’m willing to be instructed by quotation or citation.

As a now rather tedious reminder, I wanted to know, in regard to social(ized) capital, what it would consist of, where it would come from, how it would be maintained and administered, and so on—the concrete facts of the proposal, if any.  I want to know what happens on Day 1.  Also on Day 2, if possible.  I would like examples of social(ized) capitalism given in terms of concrete, material, physical examples. 

I think we have been around the mulberry bush a sufficient number of times now.

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By Shenonymous, August 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, here is more convenient information.  I guess typing both
your posts and her own taxes MarthaA’s energy.  I understand, but
most of the others, if any, do not.  For those too busy to find or buy
the Quesnay theoretical papers I’ve saved you some trouble.  And
they are available at once, no waiting.

I had downloaded through my academic library the following title of
an Oxford Economic Paper 46 (1994) 519-533, a long time ago for
some other forum:
“Quesnay’s Tableau Economique: Analytics and Policy Implications,”
Cihan Bilginsoy, Dept. of Economics, Univ. of Utah.

Bilginsoy takes on the job of explaining (untangling) Quesnay’s
Physiocratic system. The document is an interesting examination and
would be worth getting. 
Excerpts:
The Tableau describes an ideal state of the economy and serves as a
point of reference to investigate and illustrate the sources and
consequences of departure from this state… In the Maxims, Quesnay
lists a set of policy recommendations that ensures the viability of this
state.
(519)

Quesnay’s inquiry into the question of domestic terms of trade has
not attracted much attention although his discussion of the proper
price is reminiscent of the later Ricarco-Malthus and Burharin-
Preobrazshensky debates.  The objective of the Physiocratic price policy
is to prevent deviations of the market price of industrial goods from
their fundamental price, and to guarantee the maintenance of the
proper price in the agricultural sector—the price high enough to cover
unit costs and rent.  If the actual relative price of corn exceeds the
proper domestic terms of tract…then reproduction of the economy is
not viable.  Under such circumstances the surplus is not realized by the
farmers and, therefore, future rent payments cannot be met.
(531)

Apparently “if the relative price of the industrial commodity rises above
the unit costs of production due to the imposition of indirect tax,…this
results in positive money holdings in the industrial sector because the
total revenue from sales to landowners and farmers will be greater than
the value of artisans’ purchases from farmers…” and so forth.  You
have to see Table 1, step 9 for additional understanding.

Quesnay’s Tableau, in detail and an analysis may be found at
http://homepage.newschool.edu/het//essays/youth/tableau.htm
Where a version of the tableau may also be seen.

The thirty maxims Quesnay proposed can be seen at
http://tinyurl.com/3ypymy5

The first three:

I. Unity of Authority
Authority is based on an agricultural kingdom that would unite all
interests, having as the capital object, the prosperity of agriculture,
which in itself is the source of the state’s and the people’s riches.

II. Let the Nation be instructed as to General Natural Laws, which make
a Government more Perfect.
Natural law provides for the good of society as a whole.  Politicians are
to be limited by the observance of this natural law.

III. Earth, Agriculture, Sole Source of Riches.
Let the sovereign and the nation never lose sight of the fact that the
earth is the sole source of all riches, and that it is agriculture which
multiplies riches.

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By ThomasG, August 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, August 10 at 6:54 pm,

“You bring up grossly significant structural changes I don’t think ThomasG has comprehended or if he did has not a shown a plan to do what would be needed.  All with a minimum of conflict.  Without war!  There will always be those who will resist any change, conservatives.  And that includes conservative liberals as well, as opposed to progressive liberals.”—Shenonymous, August 10 at 6:54 pm

ThomasG’s answer:  I am in agreement with your post of August 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm.

With regard to the structure of Socialized Capitalism, I am in agreement with “The Economical Table” by Francois Quesnay, and would ask that those who have questions about the structure of Socialized Capitalism consult “The Economical Table” by Francois Quesnay for answers.  The following is where “The Economical Table” by Francois Quesnay can be obtained:

http://www.amazon.com/Economical-Table-Francois-Quesnay/dp/1410215547

http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?binding=&mtype=B&keyword=The+Economical+Table&hs;.x=9&hs;.y=6&hs=Submit

1.  The Economical Table
by Francois Quesnay

A physician to Louis XV, Francois Quesnay founded an 18th century French school of thinkers, the Physiocrats, who evolved the first complete system of economics. ...

  * See all from $19.70
  * New only from $32.48
  * Collectible from $65.00
  * Eligible for FREE Shipping
    The Economical Table
    from $32.48

    The Economical Table, Trade paperback (2004)
    by Francois Quesnay

    University Press of the Pacific
    ISBN: 1410215547
    ISBN-13: 9781410215543

    See all from $32.48
    New only from $32.48

http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?binding=&mtype=B&keyword=The+Economical+Table&hs;.x=9&hs;.y=6&hs=Submit

http://www.amazon.com/Economical-Table-Francois-Quesnay/dp/1410215547

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By Shenonymous, August 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

2+ cents worth without being religious…it seems historically true
that any government or corporate involvement will not simply tend
to corrupt any kind of project it funds, it will engage in corruption
thereby will be corrupt.  A complete overhaul of the government
would be required.  My skepticism is borne of observable experience.
As long as long spoons are available dinners with devils ought not to
be too dangerous. While funny money might be part of the vast heap
of the national treasury, there is real money also.  I don‘t think in
ThomasG’s conception it is a matter of the wealth being ‘given’ to
people who did worthwhile things, but under egalitarian socialized
capitalism, all of it is used for social programs that provide health,
housing, food, education, national security, national preservation of its
natural resources, and anything of such a related character. The use of
the social capital of the US treasury would not be a gift since the wealth
is provided through its generation from within the society at large, both
in terms of hard money and other kinds of social capital.  Of course,
again, ThomasG will have to verify my understanding.  Also built into
the system are regulations that must be enforced and will neutralize all
the greedy heapers.  I too am cynical based on human history. However,
I also feel torn because the system that has been used for almost a
hundred years is not responsive to the needs of the people. And has
not been for a great long time, but regardless, consciousness of the
public is now a factor that has to be thrown into the equation of how
this country shall be run.  I go for the philosophy that TIMTOWTDI!

”But what about global concerns such as food production and energy
needs?  The point is that until the greatest part of the world will be
able to fend for itself in terms of those needs, community by
community, there will be a need for a universal, top-down approach in
those critical areas; and only a governmental entity would be in the
position to handle it. “

With this I agree, yet a new paradigm has to start somewhere, as I’ve
said, with a first step all journeys begin.

”We’re going through the most intensive phase of the technological
revolutions. “
 

True again. That is a function of the advent of the electronic/
technology age and the world simply has to catch up.  It won’t happen
overnight.  There are still many truly primitive societies in the raw areas
of the world.  Mongolia, in the Amazon…  I mean Stone Age people
were found on Satawal Island about three decades ago!  But they will be
shepherded as such nations usually are, including in culture shocking
ways (Blackberries, iPhones).  But they are really a small part of the
world.  The ripple effect will take place and the way the giant nations go
so go the smaller ones, economically speaking.

Anarcissie and Roger raise very important matters and I have been
considering some others as well.  Any new shift in economic philosophy
will incredibly affect businesses like construction companies, dance
studios, flight training schools, many independent businesses.  What
about such businesses as garden nurseries or caterers, marinas, or
zoos, etc.?  Or how about the local dry cleaners?  The list is endless. 
What would become of all the capitalist businesses?  ThomasG has to
refine socialized capitalism more definitely.  His program has some very
attractive qualities.  Having the people directly participate in the quality
of their life is most seductive.

You bring up grossly significant structural changes I don’t think
ThomasG has comprehended or if he did has not a shown a plan to do
what would be needed.  All with a minimum of conflict.  Without war!
There will always be those who will resist any change, conservatives. 
And that includes conservative liberals as well, as opposed to
progressive liberals.

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By Anarcissie, August 10, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that, in regard to things like food production and distribution, governments and corporations cause far more problems than they solve.  Under “governments” I include not only existing states but the armies, mafias and violent individuals seeking government power.  Monsanto would be a good example of the corporate type.  As for NASA, it’s giving us the militarization of space.

One of the things that troubles me about the world-wide cooperative movement is the involvement and support of the U.N.  I can’t imagine such a collection of thugs, sociopaths and stuffed shirts as form the governments of the world doing anything beneficial except by accident.  Fortunately they seem to spend most of their time performing tedious rituals.

There is always a redistribution of wealth.  The is no ur-distribution.  In ideal liberalism, the redistribution takes place by agreement between the producers and involved bystanders, like the government (which taxes the producers, charges them various fees, may supply services, and may regulate them).  One solution for constructing social(ized) capitalism in this picture would be to have the government tax producers to provide the seed money and possibly ongoing subsidies to support it.  Arguments would then arise as to how much should be so diverted and what in fact constitute socially beneficial projects—the Roman Catholic Church will disagree with NOW about the provision of free contraception and abortion, for example.  The struggles will be mediated by the same kind of people we now observe in state and Federal posts of high authority, in other words, about as badly as possible.  This is not what we generally call confiscation or expropriation, however.  And perhaps this is not what fans of social(ized) capitalism have in mind—I can’t tell for sure.

I think, as I probably said before, that there is currently enough political and economic space for interested people to develop non-coercive institutions which would parallel and eventually supplant coercive institutions.  It’s basically a matter of applying one’s labor differently.  It is not a plan of confiscating private or government capital but ceasing to support them when and where possible and beginning to support other things.  Instead of banks, credit unions.  Instead of capitalist production, cooperative production.  The means are ready, tested and at hand.  But people have to want to do it.  It is the will to make the change that is so far generally missing.  People vote for a Great Leader to provide hope and change when it is in their power to provide themselves with all the hope and change they need and want.

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By Foucauldian, August 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

I wasn’t trying to do ThomasG’s leg work for him; if anything, the import of the last post was to refute the idea by pointing out that even in the intermediate type of case - a governmental subsidy - there is a redistribution of wealth and therefore, in a manner of speaking, confiscation of sorts (a point he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole).  Nor was I condoning full-scale statism with government in full control.  I’m certain you’re aware of my intent.

Still, the USPS paradigm case is of value to help us understand the program.  Which is the only reason I brought it up.

But this still leaves us with a question.  Granted that some time in the distance future, a great many communities may be able to function on a more or less autonomous basis in terms of self-sufficiency, self-reliance and all those good things.  But what about global concerns such as food production and energy needs?  The point is that until the greatest part of the world will be able to fend for itself in terms of those needs, community by community, there will be a need for a universal, top-down approach in those critical areas; and only a governmental entity would be in the position to handle it. 

One could think here of Monsanto if one wants to be perverse; but NASA, for example - any type of scientific exploration or worthwhile project for that matter - cuts a different kind of case.  And such projects can’t possible be handled locally.

After all, we’re not going back to the Middle Ages.  We’re going through the most intensive phase of the technological revolutions.  So whatever shall become of the present economic system and however it’s going to morph, those concerns are not going to go away.

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By Anarcissie, August 9, 2010 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian—my impression was that ThomasG was talking about something different from mere subsidization of socially worthy enterprises by the taxpayers.  I am not yet sure what that something different is, but I have been working on it from time to time.

I can see ThomasG (or anyone) looking at the vast heaps of treasure (in the form of both funny money and credit) given to the bankers and brokers and other rich ne’er-do-wells after they very seriously screwed up their jobs, and thinking, What if this wealth were given to people who actually did something worthwhile?  (Of course, that is unlikely to happen because the kind of people who get such swag are the kind of people who work full time, all their lives, to get it, and they are the Olympic class of the type, the very top of the greed heap.  Anyone who takes five minutes to do something worthwhile is going to lose the race.  But what if?)

The Devil is in the details….

In regard to my own schemes, I take perhaps an extreme view which is that any sort of government or corporate involvement will tend to corrupt any sort of project which it funds, however beneficial or noble.  (No doubt this is an example of my religious approach!)  This is not a matter of purity but simply a recognition of the forces which shape and animate government and the state in general.  He who pays the piper calls the tune, and the tune the state calls I do not care to dance to.  I am not saying the government can never do anything good, but that in the long run the evil tends to outweigh the good.  But as people say on the Net, YMMV.  It is certainly possible to extract the occasional good from the government.  One must not forget, though, “He that dines with the devil should take a long spoon.”

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By Foucauldian, August 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

(2)  But there is another dimension.  What’s we’re
seeing here is the subsidy idea serving as it were on
behalf of “socialized capitalism” (gosh, I hate this
term because of its sugarcoating denotation,
intending to sell us a bill of goods), and it’s
already in effect.  For those who are keen on
implementing the idea (and don’t you ever count me
among the aficionados because no matter how you look
at it, it’s still statism), that’s on way to expand
on it and multiply its applications.

(3) What I presented thus far will not satisfy the
purists.  It’s a form of compromise between the state
and private concerns, a compromise which takes into
account the obvious limitations which come with
operating a business, limitations which pertain
mostly to typical unconcern with the public good. 
What we’re seeing is the state serving in the role of
a mediator, an appeaser, trying to make good out of
what is already a bad situation, trying to salvage
what can be salvaged.  And we have to presume here,
of course, a well-intentioned and benevolent state -
a big if in anyone’s vocabulary.  So the moral of
this intermediate type of example is that whatever
public good may accrue from government intervention,
it’s a bandaid, and the virtues of “social
capitalism” so called are parasitic upon and
contingent on private enterprise running the show,
the role of government being limited to merely
ameliorating the ill effects.  But this has been the
pattern of liberal democracies with capitalism as the
operating system, the role of the government having
been reduced to damage control.  The political has
been hijacked by the economic.  And yet, even within
the limited framework of this intermediary type of
example, the very notion of subsidy entails a
redistribution of income and therefore, in a manner
of speaking, a form of confiscation (or
“expropriation,” as you call it).

So here is the main point.  if an intermediary
example of “social capital” at work involves
confiscation or expropriation, whatever the case may
be, what are we to say of the radical cases or
examples?  Surely the confiscation of privately-held
wealth and resources is the necessary step if we’re
to go “fully radical” in promoting the public good,
there being nothing to stop us.  The idea of any kind
of competition between private- and state-run
enterprise is for then story books, a convenient
fiction to those who must believe.  But history is
violent, and it doesn’t respect people’s hidden
wishes or desires.  I’m not advocating violence, but
I’m ready to admit it is a distinct possibility.

Even so,the radical type of case, however envisaged,
is statism.


PS:  Excellent analysis, BTW, Anarcissie.  Aside from
your erudition, yours is a very logical, no-nonsense
mind.  I’d hate to run across Samuel Becket’s type of
intellect, for it would surely give me a complex.

I’m exaggerating of course, because I know I can hold
my own.  Still, there’s something to be said for
Irish roots and education,

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