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This Country Needs a Few Good Communists

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Posted on May 31, 2010
AP / Elizabeth Dalziel

By Chris Hedges

The witch hunts against communists in the United States were used to silence socialists, anarchists, pacifists and all those who defied the abuses of capitalism. Those “anti-Red” actions were devastating blows to the political health of the country. The communists spoke the language of class war. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as British Petroleum, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision which allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the witch hunts for phantom communist agents, we were robbed of the ability to make sense of our struggle. We became fearful, timid and ineffectual. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling.

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism will come with the return of the language of class conflict. It does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed. We have to grasp, as Marx did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, loot the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship only money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself. The nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is the same nightmare seen in postindustrial pockets from the old mill towns in New England to the abandoned steel mills in Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, mourning their dead, live each day. 

Capitalism was once viewed in America as a system that had to be fought. But capitalism is no longer challenged. And so, even as Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars and the Gulf of Mexico is turned into a toxic swamp, we do not know what to do or say. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. The liberal class has a misguided loyalty, illustrated by environmental groups that have refused to excoriate the Obama White House over the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Liberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations. The reflexive deference to the Democrats by the liberal class is the result of cowardice and fear. It is also the result of an infantile understanding of the mechanisms of power. The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers. And, for all the failings of the communists, they got it. 

Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class warfare and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the 20th century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day and Social Security have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. Artistic expression, along with most religious worship, is largely self-absorbed narcissism. The Democratic Party and the press have become corporate servants. The loss of radicals within the labor movement, the Democratic Party, the arts, the church and the universities has obliterated one of the most important counterweights to the corporate state. And the purging of those radicals has left us unable to make sense of what is happening to us.

The fear of communism, like the fear of Islamic terrorism, has resulted in the steady suspension of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the right to organize, values the liberal class claims to support. It was the orchestration of fear that permitted the capitalist class to ram through the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948 in the name of anti-communism, the most destructive legislative blow to the working class until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was fear that created the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, offshore penal colonies where we torture and the endless wars in the Middle East. And it was fear that was used to see us fleeced by Wall Street. If we do not stop being afraid and name our enemy we will continue toward a state of neofeudalism.

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By roofi, August 11, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

It demands a lot of moral courage to not mince your words and utter with sincere clarity what everybody else would not dare. To say what almost no one else would. To say what is considered lunacy by all. Not for sake of satisfying any emotional needs but feeling helpless to call a spade a spade as the light of truth is all your eyes would see. To refuse to live with any amount of falsehood even that established by omission alone. If not that, what is the pride of humanity?

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By Foucauldian, August 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment

I’m certainly not oblivious, Doubting Thomas, of anything I post with respect to you.  You’re behaving like a jackass.  I can’t think of a better description.  So give me another blah, blah, as though I could care less.

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By ThomasG, August 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian is one of the current crop of vacuous newbys that has no sense of history between the people on this Truthdig Forum.  I consider Foucauldian’s behavior funny in a sick, manipulative sort of way that he is apparently oblivious to.

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By Foucauldian, August 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,

I had no idea you were a conservative.  You certainly don’t sound like one.  Must be a figment of Doubting Thomas’s imagination, as almost everything else (I’m being mindful here of the dissociative disorder) is.

I suggest that the best available strategy is simply to ignore these postings unless they become obnoxious. 

Let the multiple personalities speak to one another, for all I care.

And by the way, IMHO, liberalism in its present and outdated form, circa 1800 - with capitalism in full control - is an anachronistic idea.  Doubting Thomas however, in his missionary fervor, clings to it like a drowning man.  Let him drown.

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By MarthaA, August 5, 2010 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

You are full of it, ardee, what you think you learned and what you actually learn or know is NOTHING.  ardee is famous for parsing irresponsible talking points to justify intentionally irresponsible behavior, as does all of conservatism’s followers.

My politics is what all members of the populace should be— to reclaim the Democratic Party for the populace, I am for representing Liberalism through the Democratic Party, as Liberalism is the ground that Conservatism stands on.

I am not for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party BOTH representing Conservatism.  Without Liberalism there will be no progress, innovation, or creativity, all Conservatism does is conserve that which has been liberally created through liberal progress and innovation.

I have made it really plain that the Democratic Party needs cleaning up because Conservatism within the party is destroying the ground on which Conservatism stands, to make slaves of the populace, without considering that Conservatism is destroying themselves in the process, but ardee apparently doesn’t have the ability to understand that in the United States there are only two equally legitimate political parties;  one to represent Liberalism, the now Democratic Party,  and the other to represent Conservatism, the now Republican Party,—and he wants someone to think he knows something, but unless this is understood, ardee knows nothing about politics.

Politics is leadership of constituents in their best interest and non-constituents against their best interest and both with a smile; nothing more—nothing less.

If the liberal populace doesn’t unify and know what is in their best interest, conservatism will lead the ununified liberal populace against their best interest, which is what has happened in the United States and will continue unabated until the liberal populace learn that they are the liberal populace and unify in the one political party that is to represent the liberal populace. This is the long and the short of the crisis in America.

It is up to the members of the populace to realize who they are and unify and not follow people like ardee, who is blind himself.  When the blind leads the blind, both fall in the ditch. The liberal populace following conservatism is the blind leading the blind.

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By ardee, August 5, 2010 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 4 at 11:51 pm

What I did learn is that two supposed individuals who post identically phrased efforts are far too similar to be two different people. I have also learned that one who posts as two must have some rather serious problems that will not benefit from interaction with normal folks.

I have also learned that your politics is appeasement with a sprinkling of occasional calls for violence against those with whom you disagree. Your entire rant is a paean to loyalty to the Democratic Party and sarcastic denial to those who advocate other paths.

I hope the two of you in one body are very happy being alone together.

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By MarthaA, August 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Poor ardee, just can’t seem to learn that politics is leadership of constituents in their best interest and non-constituents against their best interest.

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By ardee, August 3, 2010 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 3 at 1:10 am

Never say never oh dual personality resident of disturbia….

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By MarthaA, August 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Poor ardee never knows what he is talking about.

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By Foucauldian, August 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

Well, ardee, I’m happy to hear then that I’m not the lone ranger. 

Apparently, it’s an exclusive club and I’m proud of having become a member in good standing.

I do thank you and the welcoming committee.

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By ardee, August 2, 2010 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, July 30 at 10:49 pm

Congratulations, you have finally earned the golden “blah”. I was wondering when it would be handed to you. I am the proud possessor of several in fact,and view them as a triumph of reason and sanity over the ‘two personalities but one individual’ poster.

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By ThomasG, August 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Social Capital and the Stock Market

How would Social Capital, as stock, be used and traded by the Stock Market, and who would benefit from the Revenue Stream of Social Capital?

With regard to Social Capital, Socialized Capitalism, and the Stock Market, the Stock Market will function in the same manner as it presently does; change does not come to the Stock Market, as it functionally exists; change to the Stock Market comes from who the buyers, sellers, and recipients of benefit are from the Revenue Stream of Social Capital.

Cities, counties, states, the Federal government, co-operatives together with all social entities, institutions of business, industry, and commerce would constitute the market for Social Stock in Socialized Capitalism, and a Socialized Stock Market, as sellers, buyers, and recipients of benefit from the Revenue Stream of Social Capital; a Revenue Stream that can and will fund operation expenses of government from city expenses to county expenses, state expenses and Federal government expenses.  This Revenue Stream of Social Capital would reduce the tax burden of individual citizens in their capacity as employees and consumers, and to the extent the Revenue Stream of Social Capital provides operating expenses for all levels of government, city, county, state and Federal, the tax burden upon the American Populace and the Middle Class as a whole would be diminished.

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By ThomasG, July 30, 2010 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, July 30 at 10:49 pm,

Blah.

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By Foucauldian, July 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

The quiet on this thread is for one reason and one reason only.  Apparently, no one has an interest in your agenda as you have defined it.  You are the only one who understands what you’re talking about.

Consequently, you have been reduced to having a conversation with yourself.

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By ThomasG, July 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

The quiet that has happened on this thread is what always happens when false dialectic, propaganda, and rhetoric of Special Interests is confronted with objective reality.  In this case, the Special Interests are Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism that turned quiet, and the quiet desperation of FAILED and CYCLICALLY DEAD Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism is now trying desperately to move on to other areas where they can preach their illegitimate, subjective drivel unchallenged by Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism.

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By MarthaA, July 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Just because a definition in some dictionaries says capital can only be private doesn’t make it so, Anarcissie, or anyone else. Definitions can be whatever mammon wants them to be and Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism have the mammon to make it subjectively so, but objectively capital doesn’t care whether it is social or private, therefore it would be to the best interest of the majority population for the majority population to be shareholders in the profits of social capital and socialized capitalism, instead of a few private capitalist at the top of the pyramid snuffing out the populace at the base of the pyramid.

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By ThomasG, July 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie apparently feels that she can resolve objective reality with subjective thought, feelings, and beliefs, as she has indicated in her previous post.

Anarcissie is without knowledge and causal understanding of capital and commerce that enables Capitalism, be it Private Capital or Social Capital; either that, or Anarcissie is using sophism, propaganda and rhetoric to intentionally obfuscate understanding of Capital and Capitalism in an effort to perpetuate Private Capital and Laissez nous faire Privatized Capitalism as the only form of Capitalism that can be used to apply Capital, to the exclusion of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism; this seems an odd position for one who advertises herself as an Anarchist to take——the position, that is, of supporting and defending the existing establishment of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism, rather than deconstructing the existing establishment of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism.  Anarcissie’s position in support of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism smacks more of an Anarhackie for Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism, rather than Anarcissie.

My response to Anarhackie’s disingenuous claims is yeah, yeah, sure, sure.

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By Anarcissie, July 26, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

I haven’t argued against social(ized) capital(ism) per se.  I merely pointed out that your proposal contained several ambiguous terms, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to get you to resolve the ambiguities.  End of story.

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By ThomasG, July 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie ignores the fact that explanation has already been made to her in detail and that she chooses to ignore that explanation.

Capitalism, whether it is Private Capital or Social Capital functions as explained by Francois Quesnay in “The Economical Table”, a book that is described by Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” as follows:

“There have been, since the world began, says a very diligent and respectable author, the Marquis de Mirabeau, three great inventions which have principally given stability to political societies, independent of many other inventions which have enriched and adorned them.  The first is the invention of writing, which alone gives human nature the power of transmitting, without alteration, its laws, its contracts, its annals and its discoveries.  The second is the invention of money, which binds together all the relations between civilized societies.  The third is the Economical Table, the result of the other two, which completes them both by perfecting their object; the great discovery of our age, but of which our posterity will reap the benefit.”

Capitalism, whether Private Capital or Social Capital is a function of commerce that is described in The Economical Table” as that “which multiplies sales and purchases, without multiplying things”.

What is there specifically about Social Capital as opposed to Private Capital, that those who make false claims for Private Capital that would limit Social Capital and prevent Social Capital from multiplying sales and purchases, without multiplying things, so that Social Capital fulfills the mandate of commerce and therefore of Capitalism?

Anarcissie has previously stated that her argument against Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is based upon thought, feelings, and beliefs, and subjective thought, feelings, and beliefs are just not good enough to refute objective proof as I continually provide.

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By Anarcissie, July 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism is defined in most dictionaries as the ownership and control of the means of (social) production by private parties.  This does appear to reflect the way in which most production is organized in, say, the United States.  For a private party to persist in the ownership and control of capital, and indeed for the capital to work as capital, there must be a class system, because the owners of the capital must employ and exploit a working class to perform the necessary labor, to consume the product, and provide a population over which the ruling class can enjoy its power, wealth and general superiority. 

For any sort of class system to persist, it must use force, because humans do not readily accept subordination.  Thus a struggle for power must arise, in competition between different members of the ruling class, and in struggles between the ruling classes and the lower orders.  The drive for power also may be externalized in the form of war and imperialism.  This is not just theory: it is what we observe in history.

Proposals for modifying capitalism need to explain how the class system and the competition for power will be mitigated in the proposed system, and if history bears witness against the proposal (as is the case with Welfare capitalism) then that too needs to be dealt with.  In my opinion.

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By ThomasG, July 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

“My reasoning goes something like this.  “666” is the Number of the Beast.  As you know, the ancients used letters to stand for numbers, and 666 in Roman numerals is DCLXVI, which Robert Graves says stands for “Domitius Caesar Legatos Christi Viliter Interfecit”, that is, “Domitius Caesar vilely slew the envoys of Christ.”  (The number could be translated otherwise, but I’m going with Graves’s theory for the moment.)  So “666” stands for violence—the violence inherent in the state.

Capitalism inherited this violence through the property system it acquired from feudalism.  Historically, capitalism is associated with the state and has flourished where the powers of the state were strong.  Capitalism needs those powers to preserve and maintain its class system.  Without class—without a working class whose labor power can be exploited—you don’t have historical capitalism.” —Anarcissie July 25 12:40 am

Anarcissie is making reference to Privatized Capitalism and with regard to Privatized Capitalism, I agree with Anarcissie, Privatized Capitalism does carry the “Mark of the Beast” and here is why:

According to private interests of laissez nous faire economics, it is “God’s Will” that private capital, to the exclusion of social capital, should exist as a singularity, that a private economy should exist as a singularity to the exclusion of a social economy, unregulated by social interests and that anything to the contrary is the “Mark of the Beast”, 666, the Antichrist; this is an expression of MAN’S Will to the exclusion of God’s Will that is made of, by, and for MAN in the Name of God, as God’s Will.

Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism bears the “Mark of the Beast”, 666, the Antichrist, because Privatized Capitalism has proclaimed itself as God’s Will and by proclaiming itself as God’s Will,  Privatized Capitalism has diminished God from Divine Being to a God subservient to MAN’S Will; God requires imperfect Man to enforce God’s Will and therefore, God is proclaimed to be imperfect;—— This was, has been, and is the claim of laissez nous faire private capital and Privatized Capitalism, as Privatized Capitalism was originated and implemented in Britain; and the manner by which Privatized Capitalism has been maintained since its inception——by the tenets of the “Mark of the Beast”, 666, that designates the Antichrist as one who seeks to make God inferior to himself, the Beast, for the benefit of the Beast and the benefit of Private Capital and Privatized Capitalism that is used to further the aims and purposes of the Beast.

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By Anarcissie, July 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment


‘He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is [a] man’s number. His number is 666’ (Rev. 13:16-18)

My reasoning goes something like this.  “666” is the Number of the Beast.  As you know, the ancients used letters to stand for numbers, and 666 in Roman numerals is DCLXVI, which Robert Graves says stands for “Domitius Caesar Legatos Christi Viliter Interfecit”, that is, “Domitius Caesar vilely slew the envoys of Christ.”  (The number could be translated otherwise, but I’m going with Graves’s theory for the moment.)  So “666” stands for violence—the violence inherent in the state.

Capitalism inherited this violence through the property system it acquired from feudalism.  Historically, capitalism is associated with the state and has flourished where the powers of the state were strong.  Capitalism needs those powers to preserve and maintain its class system.  Without class—without a working class whose labor power can be exploited—you don’t have historical capitalism.

(I’m not considering idealized forms of capitalism here, just historical capitalism, so any libertarians around should not start barking immediately.)

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By ThomasG, July 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

“I think I may argue that it’s impossible to socialize capitalism, it’s got the mark of the Beast upon it.” Anarcissie July 23 11:42 pm

Laissez nous faire Privatized Capitalism was originated as God’s Will and the perfect set up for the 666 Antichrist, because Private Capital provides for private benefit at public expense.

Anarcissie’s claim that Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism represents the Antichrist when Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism is more in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount.

Which do you think represents the 666 Antichrist where individuals will be marked in order to buy or sell—Socialized Capitalism that adheres more to the tenets of the Sermon on the Mount, or Privatized Capitalism that adheres to the greed of private interests contrary to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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By Foucauldian, July 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

“it’s got the mark of the Beast upon it.”

I love that.

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By Anarcissie, July 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

The term “socialized capitalism” has popped up in the Troy Jollimore thread, so you all better get down there, especially ThomasG, and give ‘em hell.

I have already made my contribution, although that was before S.C. came up.  I think I may argue that it’s impossible to socialize capitalism, it’s got the mark of the Beast upon it.  Or maybe not.

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/troy_jollimore_on_markets_and_morality_20100722/#341905

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 23 at 6:07 pm,

So long as you agree that we all stand and fall on our own merit, I have no difficulty with calling you friend. 

You have come a long way and I know the path of that way, and I acknowledge the growth and development in you that has taken place.

I have also made great efforts at growth and development and have made doing so my life’s work.

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 23 at 6:07 pm,

So long as you agree that we all stand and fall on our own merit, I have no difficulty with calling you friend. 

You have come a long way and I know the path of that way, and I acknowledge the growth and development in you that has taken place.

I have also made great efforts at growth and development and have made doing so my life’s work.

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

I would like to see a dialogue in the public domain between advocates of Social Capital and Socialized Capitalism and advocates of Anti-Social Capital and Anti-Socialized Capitalism emerge that reflects public domain “give and take” of the same nature that existed between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.  From my perspective the views of one person, whether it is myself or anyone else, is not a sufficient base to implement social capital and socialized capitalism.

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By Shenonymous, July 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Sensei ThomasG, I do sit on the fence on economics since I have not
been educated in the subject and feel extraordinarily unschooled in it. 
As I peruse the Net I am astounded at the number of articles, books,
opinions that run the entire range of crazy positive criticism to insanely
negative.  You and Foucauldian chide me for not taking a position.  Well
I seem to have fallen towards the left side which would be obvious from
my comments but you two want to overlook my growth and want me to
fall head over heels into the abyss.  That is not my style.  But okay, that
is your prerogative.  I continuously say I am limping along using only
my powers of logic and what I am able to glean from the literature and
all of your comments.  I am an educated person and can see points and
issues and I can assess them to the degree that I’ve become informed. 
It would be unjust to expect more of me.  At least Anarcissie does not
smack my hands and she offers very cogent definitions.  I have no
friends on TD.  Who would want to be a friend of centrist
Shenonymous?  I only read and assess for what I can determine to be
the truth, hysterically funny as that is!  I do have respect for some
Truthdippers.  Nevertheless, you all think you have the truth but every
one shows to have a few holes in their truths; some more than others. I
am unable to judge the merits of anyone’s opinion found on this forum. 
Then for instance Robert Reich in 2008 offered a “modest” proposal to
end Socialized Capitalism on a blogsite.  Now I usually have high regard
for Reich but on this I did not think it was Socialized Capitalism enough
based on what I’ve learned on this forum.  So I am very reticent to take
any particular side…yet!  All that notwithstanding, on various certain
forums I have taken stands but they are neither here nor there now,
every forum stands on its own, and you are absolutely correct to say
that we all stand and fall on our own merit.  I abhor the little snipey
fights that seems to prevail at times.  So immature.  Name calling and
sarcasm are both detrimental to civilized dialogue.  I also have no
appreciation for patronization.  Please do not tell me what I may or may
not do.  If I fall flat on my face it is my flattened face that I have to live
with.  It is not my practice to “dump” on anyone.  I realize it is
something some on TD actually live for.  I do, however, have a
heightened sense of humor for which I would never apologize.  Humor
is what gets me through the absurdities I see in life and have
experienced and do experience first hand.  Music too BTW gets me
through as well as other arts.  I’m sorry I haven’t given you all any
music…yet!  In all seriousness, and the state of economic affairs this
country and the world is in is very serious but one must keep
perspective that we are only here relatively speaking for a short time; a
satisfied and contented heart is what I think is the way to go out when
the lights are done shining.

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By Foucauldian, July 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Shenon,

Since Doubting Thomas gave you the green light, dump on me all you can.  I don’t mind it at all, and don’t you let your real or imagined sentiments of friendship, as Doubting Thomas had insinuated, stand in your way.  I believe I’m a big boy, and in spite of my long-life experience - not to measure up of course to our self-proclaimed ideal - I can take a hit, even a rejection.  And I wouldn’t hold it against you.

BTW, I haven’t spoken yet against “the theory” - my critique is forthcoming - only against one of the most inept “articulator” (and that term is surely gratuitous) of any such.  No theory, viable or not, would ever see the light of day if it had the likes of our Thomas as its propagator.

Which leaves me with the only available conclusion:  don’t ever try to make public what you’re not clear about in private!  (Not unless of course you’re bringing it up in the spirit of inquiry.)

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 23 at 4:19 pm,

“The idea of socialized capitalism encourages the idea that business exists for the community and not the principle that business exists for business or the profits it can make for the owners.  The 20th c. NRA (National Recovery Administration) was such a program but was criticized as too dependent on voluntary compliance.  Well I don’t think ThomasG is suggesting voluntary social capital!  People need incomes in this day and age.  But directing business efforts for the benefit of communities is the idea.  It would seem the sovereignty of states would help towards that end but business has a stranglehold on state politics as well. This really does deserve more dialogue not just among us, but must seep out into the public domain.—Shenonymous July 23 4:19 pm

In this regard you are in the right.  I would also much prefer legitimate give and take.  Good legitimate ideas from ingenuous intelligent people in all areas of the public domain would be helpful with regard to social capital and socialized capitalism.

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

If Roger and Anarcissie are your friends, I understand your reticence to treat what they have to say relative to its legitimate merit.  However, I do not consider either as a friend and I can not find it within me to suffer their foolishness as having unmerited value, and if you consider my behavior toward them as an offense toward you, I cannot do anything about that.

My perspective is that we all stand and fall on our own merit, and that it is not your position or mine to protect fools from the effects of their own foolishness.

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By ThomasG, July 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Light is not shed by Foucauldian and his entertaining blather talking emotionally about a theatrical construct, when he knows nothing about social capital and socialized capitalism and, therefore, has nothing to contribute other than entertainment, with all of the depth of the reflective surface of the mirror that Foucauldian looks into to say, don’t I look marvelous ——and then engage with himself in a like theatrical construct of how marvelous he really is, because Foucauldian has no one else to talk to, no one but Foucauldian cares about the theatrics of how marvelous Foucauldian thinks he is.

It is not efficacious for me as a legitimate advocate of social capital and socialized capitalism to dialogue with Anarcissie as a false seeker of knowledge whose only seeming interest is false framing and false representation of social capital and socialized capitalism as Time Warp Soviet Style Communism, and that the United States as a nation has no other choice than to continue cyclical social welfare for private capital and privatized capitalism as legitimate policy and practice that the United States as a nation has no other choice than to continue to use, because the United States does not have the resources to do otherwise; this is a ludicrous contention by Anarcissie and even Anarcissie knows it.

With regard to you, Shenonymous, I sympathize, because you want, it seems, to fence sit and listen to the views of everyone, and that in doing so, without regard to the quality of the views you admit by others, you allow people like Anarcissie and Foucauldian to devalue the value of your own intellectual capital.

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By Shenonymous, July 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Well worth the belly-laughing I fell into.  Your sense of humorous
drama (or should I make that dramatic humor?) was most entertain-
ing.  It really can be Beckett-like were the characters more flushed
out and one was on a leash (perhaps that one is I, who am being
led around by all three of you!)!  Not flushed down! To be sure! 
I do so much enjoy sparkling wit.

Yes, something floating lightly on my psyche is telling me that
ThomasG might just be onto a viable option.  As I review all of his
comments since June 16 and trying to see what is social capital and
socialized capitalism, he has defined both phrases several times.
“Socialized Capitalism being an Economic System where the millions
of small investors of the nation would provide the capital for a
Socialized Capitalist Economy, rather than private capital from a small
percentage of private capitalist investors.”
  And I have done copious
research online to see what is out there on the Net.  It is no longer
definition of the terms that are of interest but how a transition can
actually happen from complete commitment to privatized capital to
socialized capital.  Well, let me back up, because there are already
programs in place that do use socialized capital for social programs,
such as charter and magnet schools, that already provide a model for
social capital translated into socialized capitalism.  But you are right,
ThomasG has some coherent comprehensive program in mind and little
by little we are squeezing it out of him.  Anarcissie is best at it because
whether feigned ignorance or not, she asks the right questions that
cause ThomasG to feel discomfort and even though he complains
bitterly, he does give more and more.  I know it must not be easy to
provide an inclusive project such as he has envisioned.  Often one’s
ideas have fuzzy edges.  But the questioning helps sharpen up the
compartments that would go into such a program.  It is not the first of
such programs.  Déjà vu from 1924 to The Great Crash is astonishing. 
References from a 1930s news article, “The crash of the market also
offers Americans the opportunity to reflect on a new understanding of
the problem of greed. Americans have been too quick to condemn
racketeering, the poor boy’s easy road to quick wealth, while ignoring
ways the son of a comfortable home who seeks to make his pile and
make it quickly.”
  Morevoer, America’s obsession with its “standard
of living” had to be balanced against the needs of the rest of the world. 
Problems like these, it was reasoned, could not be solved “by standing
pat on the traditions under which the present absurd inequities have
grown up.”
  It is almost the exact same script that led to September
2008.  I frequently say that even though we keep an account of history,
we humans do not learn from mistakes, which is counter to evolution
which uses mistakes to create stronger organisms.  So I sometimes
wonder how humans ever progress given their unique consciousness
that allows them to reflect on their own place in the world?

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By Shenonymous, July 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

2.
The depth of that 1929 depression engendered an urgent petition
for a federal response, one that would establish a “permanent trust
of advanced social legislation.”  But the then president, Hoover,
ruled out such lawmaking.  Politicians were solicited by brave editors
to enact an adequate and planned national economy that would put
the reins on the excesses permitted under unbridled capitalism. 
Some would blame capitalism for its internal character such that self-
servers can take extraordinary advantage, but I would challenge that it
is more capitalism without restriction, without regulation, because,
because, because men cannot control their greed and will find anyway
they can to take advantage of any system.  Socialism was exploited as
well as any capitalistic system.  We simply have to ask why if not Russia,
then China’s and Cuba’s strong socialism is being transmuted into more
capitalistic structured economies. 

The idea of socialized capitalism encourages the idea that business
exists for the community and not the principle that business exists for
business or the profits it can make for the owners.  The 20th c. NRA
(National Recovery Administration) was such a program but was
criticized as too dependent on voluntary compliance.  Well I don’t think
ThomasG is suggesting voluntary social capital!  People need incomes
in this day and age.  But directing business efforts for the benefit of
communities is the idea.  It would seem the sovereignty of states would
help towards that end but business has a stranglehold on state politics
as well.  This really does deserve more dialogue not just among us, but
must seep out into the public domain.

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By Foucauldian, July 23, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

A variant on Waiting for Godot, Episode One.  Anyone into minimalism, take your first shot.  What follows is just a rough draft, a structure.


Doubting Thomas:  Anarcisse, you’re just like a rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23), claiming ignorance simply because it suits your purposes.

Anarcisse: Do explain, Doubting Thomas.  I’m dying to know.

Doubting Thomas:  It’s clear as mud, Anarcisse.  The young man in Jesus’s parable walked away dejected.  He refused to part with his possessions as a precondition for the life of light and understanding.

Anarcisse:  I’m dumbstruck, Doubting Thomas.  What has it got to do with me?

Doubting Thomas:  The homeless young man I referenced to earlier came knocking on my door, asking for help.  When I inquired about the reasons for his miserable condition, he claimed ignorance.  When I advised him to take responsibility for his life, acquire worldly possessions, and see me then, not before, he, too, walked away dejectedly and empty-handed.  I know what I’m talking about, Anarcisse. I have over sixty years of experience to prove my wisdom. 

Can’t you see the parallels, though?  In both instances there is a failure of understanding [“failure to communicate,” the author would have it.] And that failure can be traced to one thing and one thing only, the obstinate refusal to deviate from one’s own, selfish agenda.  That’s the only reason why you persist on misinterpreting everything I say, creating stumbling blocks when there are none.  That’s the only reason why you insist that my theory of “social capitalism” is utter nonsense while I documented it to you that it’s as clear as mud. ¬ 

(Anarcisse walks away dejected, just as the young ruler and the homeless man) 

Shenonymous:  I happen to think that Doubting Thomas’s theory is on the right truck.  I just wish he were more explicit about it, provide some examples, something we could sink our teeth into. 

Foucauldian:  Why don’t you try to mediate the dispute in that case, Shenonymous?  Since you think the theory has some merit, why don’t you enlighten us? The inquiring minds want to know.  Better yet, can’t we resolve the impasse between Anarcisse and Doubting Thomas?  Both are intelligent interlocutors, and I’d hate to see the discussion peter out. 

Shenonymous:  I’m not going to play an in-between.  Let ‘em both slug it out if they so desire.

Foucauldian:  Fair enough, Shenonymous, just a suggestion.

Doubting Thomas:  I don’t need no stinking intermediary.  Anarcisse is not worth engaging.  Anyone who disagrees is a moron.  I rest my case.

The author’s note:  There hasn’t been any posting on the thread since.  Go figure!

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By ThomasG, July 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 21 at 10:28 pm,

There is no middle, because I am no longer interested in what Anarcissie has to say.  I have concluded that Anarcissie is a case of de ja vieu all over again that is based solely upon her subjective thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about Soviet Style Time Warp Communism; and therefore, I have nothing left to say to her directly.  I may or may not comment upon her posts, but I am not interested in dialogue with her about her feelings that she represents as dialogue relative to the efficacy of social capital and socialized capitalism.

I got the impression from your posts that you were looking to Anarcissie to help evolve a definition of “socialized capitalism”——perhaps, I misinterpreted your representation.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

No, you are just being a hard head.  Nite nite.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Will look to your response tomorrow.  Have a good one.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

“It is obvious and self-evident it has an
inherent right . . .”

Not the case, Shenon.  What does it mean to say it has “inherent right”?  By what standards?  “Rights,” is a moral term, try as you will, you cannot escape that. 

So how am I to construe then the “right” you speak of if not morally?  If you’re content to leave it at the level of instinct, fine with me.  But don’t bring in the notion of “rights” here as any kind of equivalent of the biological. 

Understand, I’m not being a hard ass, just trying to clear things up.

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, July 21 at 9:46 pm:

‘Anarcissie, July 21 at 6:17 pm,

“So I think we’re talking about the usual ways of raising money,”—Anarcissie July 21 6:17 pm

Now you have got down to what your questions to me are really talking about, and that is the same as the young homeless man that I was telling you about, YOUR thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.’

Yes, exactly.  My perceptions.  From these you can determine whether you have communicated your thoughts to me successfully. 

However, if you’re not interested in my perceptions, I can easily arrange not to offer them—perhaps, in the case of your messages, even to avoid having them in the first place.  Let me know what you would prefer.  Briefly, if possible.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

What I said about survival of the species had nothing to do with
values or morals or obligation.  I said the only ‘right’ an organism
had was that of survival.  It is obvious and self-evident it has an
inherent right since it was born and has the survival instinct. If it
does not have that instinct then it dies.  How well it survives is a
function of how strong an organism it is and how clever it is to
find the means of survival.  Nothing else follows.  Please reread
my posts correctly.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Never mind, Shenon, about the last part of my post.  You made your position clear and I don’t blame you.  If they want to continue to slug it out among themselves, let them.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 21 at 10:15 pm,


“Should it not be made unlawful for private interests to have any involvement?” —Shenonymous July 21 10:15 pm

Yes, it should be made unlawful for private interests to manipulate unintended benefit from private involvement.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

While I have much respect for Anarcissie, I don’t believe I said anything
about her being academic nor recommended her as such.  She is
obviously well educated but that is irrelevant to the discussion.  What may
seem clear to me, ThomasG, may not to others.  While I am reading
comments with great interest, and am learning much about that which I
have been uneducated, I abstain from being in the middle between you
and Anarcissie.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Shenon,

I am and was speaking of the survival of the species.  It was you who brought it about in your long post.  I don’t deviate from topics but stay right on top of them until some kind of resolution obtains:  call me a hound dog if you like, but that’s my MO.

And BTW, I think you should have a word with ThomasG.  He comes awfully close to insulting Anarcisse, accusing her of ill-will, stonewalling, etcetera.  I’m certain she’s capable of fending for herself, still I don’t like what’s happening.  If he doesn’t get the kind of response from her he feels he needs or desires, the best thing to do is to drop it.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Even though his articles have provided many platforms for
discussions, the forums usually digress from the articles and
take on a life of their own.  Personally I am not interested in Chris
Hedges.  I am square.

How could a Socialized Banking System be created?  Who or what
organization could originate and empower such an entity?  If such an
entity is structured properly there will be impervious safeguards put in
place to prevent the reconstruction of socialized capitalism from falling
into an assumption by private interests.  Should it not be made unlawful
for private interests to have any involvement?

Foucauldian, July 21 at 6:56 pm – ”Then how can it be a value, let
alone an obligation?”
 
    From where are you getting this? What is the ‘it’ you re talking
about?  How can “what” be a value?  What obligation are you talking
about?

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Since you are the one who recommended Anarcissie as an academic, I hope that you are taking note of the absence of her adherence to academic tenets.

You will note that Anarcissie’s so called dialogue of academic involvement in social capital and socialized capitalism has devolved into her unsubstantiated subjective thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.  To me this sounds like de ja vieu all over again with others to whom we are both acquainted on this forum.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 21 at 6:17 pm,

“So I think we’re talking about the usual ways of raising money,”—Anarcissie July 21 6:17 pm

Now you have got down to what your questions to me are really talking about, and that is the same as the young homeless man that I was telling you about, YOUR thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 21 at 3:57 pm,

Anarcissie answer:  ““All assets of the United States”is an ambiguous phrase” —Anarcissie July 21 3:57 pm

ThomasG said:  “a Socialized Banking System will need to be originated and empowered with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and all U.S. Government assets to guarantee whatever funds are necessary” ThomasG, July 21 2:07 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  Do you not know what the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is?  The following websites show what I am talking about:

Article IV, United States Constitution:
http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv

Article IV, Section 1.

“Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

Article IV, Section 3.

“The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.”

http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv


“An unconditional commitment to pay interest and principal on debt, usually issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or another government entity.”

http://www.investorwords.com/2109/full_faith_and_credit.html

Anarcissie, if you do not want to understand social capital, it is because you choose not to, like the young homeless man that I told you about, and I cannot do anything about that.

Your argument is that there is enough social capital to bail out private capital, but nothing more and that we can afford whatever money it takes to bail out private capital, but as a nation we cannot afford to initiate social capital so that the welfare to private capital from social assets can finally end; this is not a valid argument; this is a specious argument.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 21 at 3:57 pm,

Anarcissie answer:  ““All assets of the United States” is an ambiguous phrase” —Anarcissie July 21 3:57 pm

ThomasG said:  “a Socialized Banking System will need to be originated and empowered with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and all U.S. Government assets to guarantee whatever funds are necessary” ThomasG, July 21 2:07 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  Do you not know what the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is?  The following websites show what I am talking about:

Article IV, United States Constitution:
http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv

Article IV, Section 1.

“Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

Article IV, Section 3.

“The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.”

http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv


“An unconditional commitment to pay interest and principal on debt, usually issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or another government entity.”

http://www.investorwords.com/2109/full_faith_and_credit.html

Anarcissie, if you do not want to understand social capital, it is because you choose not to, like the young homeless man that I told you about, and I cannot do anything about that.

Your argument is that there is enough social capital to bail out private capital, but nothing more and that we can afford whatever money it takes to bail out private capital, but as a nation we cannot afford to initiate social capital so that the welfare to private capital from social assets can finally end; this is not a valid argument; this is a specious argument.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 21 at 3:57 pm,

Anarcissie answer:  ““All assets of the United States” is an ambiguous phrase” —Anarcissie July 21 3:57 pm

ThomasG said:  “a Socialized Banking System will need to be originated and empowered with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and all U.S. Government assets to guarantee whatever funds are necessary” ThomasG, July 21 2:07 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  Do you not know what the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government is?  The following websites show what I am talking about:

Article IV, United States Constitution:
http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv

Article IV, Section 1.

“Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

Article IV, Section 3.

“The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.”

http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv


“An unconditional commitment to pay interest and principal on debt, usually issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or another government entity.”

http://www.investorwords.com/2109/full_faith_and_credit.html

Anarcissie, if you do not want to understand social capital, it is because you choose not to, like the young homeless man that I told you about, and I cannot do anything about that.

Your argument is that there is enough social capital to bail out private capital, but nothing more and that we can afford whatever money it takes to bail out private capital, but as a nation we cannot afford to initiate social capital so that the welfare to private capital from social assets can finally end; this is not a valid argument; this is a specious argument.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Yes, tolstoyscat, that’s the one I meant.  I don’t
think you need to buy the book, though.  One can fill
in the blanks,

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

“I would conclude that survival
of the species has nothing to do with morality.  Didn’t
I already say that?”

Then how can it be a value, let alone an obligation?

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

“The full faith and credit of the United States” is its power to tax, borrow, print money, and expropriate or conquer, plus the stuff it already owns, of course, but as we have noted that does not amount to a whole lot.  So I think we’re talking about the usual ways of raising money, inasmuch as expropriation and conquest have a lot of political difficulties attached to them.

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

ThomasG—“All assets of the United States” is an ambiguous phrase.  In fact, it’s a radically ambiguous phrase.  It could mean all the assets of everyone in or associated with the United States, the country, the land, and its people; or it might be just what the United States government owns; or it might mean something else.  I think you need to clarify that point, because after all, this is the source of the capital for your whole plan.  People have to know what it is and where it comes from if they are going to know what you’re talking about.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

My post of July 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm to Anarcissie is sufficiently clear to explain that the full faith, credit, and assets of the U.S. Government provide the money for the initial creation of social assets that in turn provide a revenue stream, social capital; defines my intentions with regard to the origin and use of social capital and indicates how the revenue stream from social capital would be used to establish socialized capitalism.

I suppose that now every hair brained children’s crusade leader out there lurking around looking for self aggrandizement will try to get in front of social capital and socialized capitalism, in an effort to lead social capital and socialized capitalism to serve private interests; we, the American people, must implement social capital and socialized capitalism in a way that will serve the greater good, rather than more of the same self serving greater greed.

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 18 at 9:24 pm,

To originate social capital and socialized capitalism, a Socialized Banking System will need to be originated and empowered with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and all U.S. Government assets to guarantee whatever funds are necessary to enable the many and diverse social revenue streams from banking, commercial, and manufacturing enterprise that are necessary for institutionalizing social capital and socialized capitalism, a banking system enabled by social capital that will in turn enable social capital and socialized capitalism to be used in commercial and manufacturing enterprise, and allow social capital to independently and successfully compete with private capital until such time as sufficient social capital reserves are acquired from the revenue stream of banking, commercial, and manufacturing enterprise to make social capital self sufficient, independent, and able to function as a self sufficient independent enterprise; this is the process that has enabled privatized capitalism and continues at present to do so, and this is the process that would enable socialized capitalism.

It is unthinkable in a democracy that we support private capital and privatized capitalism in the name of establishing and maintaining a private economy for private benefit, and that we do not, have not, and will not support social capital and socialized capitalism in the name of establishing and maintaining a social economy for the benefit of society.

This answers all of your questions about the source of the assets that enable social capital; this is a much more humane solution than the source of the assets that enabled private capital and to which you should agree, if you know as much about the origin of privatized capitalism as your July 18, 2010 9:29pm post implies.

You wanted to know what all of the assets of the United States meant and this post explains thoroughly what I meant by all of the assets of the United States.

If you have the knowledge to understand what I have said you will understand social capital and the initial stage of implementing socialized capitalism; if not, you will not understand and I cannot help you.

The full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and all U.S. Government assets is where the money comes from that enables social capital: is this clear enough for you?  Or, do you want individual explanations and definitions of——the—full— faith— and— credit— of— U.S.— Government— assets— to— guarantee— whatever— funds— are—necessary—????????

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

It wasn’t an appeal to intellection, it was a statement of where I was
coming from, rather than from emotional reaction which is inherent
in any appeal.  An appeal is some attachment for or against some idea. 
I don’t believe I am floating in any case.  If I were arguing with myself,
which is not always not a good practice, I would conclude that survival
of the species has nothing to do with morality.  Didn’t I already say that?

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By ThomasG, July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 21 at 12:47 am,

You asked me for a simple solution of one specific thing to the exclusion of all others, and I did not agree, because the assets that would be used to empower social capital would come from the “full faith and credit of the U.S. Government” and that is far more than just a simple explanation of taxes, a binary choice; you might recall that I said “all assets of the United States”.

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By tolstoyscat, July 21, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

F,

Do you mean the book troll linked to: Social capital: a theory of social structure and action By Nan Lin?

Yes, I was thinking of buying that. The page I need is missing. Page 15 finishes up an idea about transmission of ‘knowledge’ being the rewarding of students who carry forth the dominant culture and its values into the subsequent generation. It’s an important point. Page 14 is missing.

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

It would be reasonable and prudent, and maybe even exciting, to understand ourselves—if we could.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

You do know that appeal to “intellection” doesn’t hold
water.  And of course it’s a moral question, as all
questions of value invariably are.

Hint:  You must therefore argue for a connection
between “survival of the species” (as YOUR ultimate
value” and morality.

Well, how would you argue for it?

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian, July 21 at 12:19 pm ”Why should survival of the
species be the ultimate ?value?  Where is it a given?  On what
grounds?”

It is self-evident, by my intellection. Ultimate value is non-existent, but
since you asked a moral question, having put it in the form of a “should,”
and because value is human assigned, the given is idiosyncratic.  You
certainly don’t have to accept my assignment of value.  I would further
surmise that if it were up to nature, the species’ survival would not be of
any concern.  I’ve actually said as much before.

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

I think Shenonymous was just writing about the evolution of society and its utility.  We are highly social beings because, in the past, it enhanced our ancestors’ prospects of survival and reproduction.  Thus, society, socialization, can be seen as a kind of “capital” but it is a metaphor, and because of its complexity and vague boundaries it is going to be very difficult to grasp.  It is certainly not ready for numerical analysis.  (This will not prevent people from running up a lot of statistics with impressively precise numbers.)

I had the idea that in talking about social(ized) capital ThomasG was talking about something much simpler, something like public investment which would eventually provide a return, revenue or profit, to the public.  However, specifics have been lacking.

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By Foucauldian, July 21, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

“Individuals are not really important to the survival
of a species.”

Why should survival of the species be the ultimate
value?  Where is it a given?  On what grounds?

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2010 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

I was surprised this morning to hear a report on the success of
charter schools and about the involvement of whole communities to
improve education for the students was described.  It resembled very
much the idea of social capital that we have talked about.  Perhaps
all uses of government are uses of force, but so is walking out to get
the mail or even less physical, to push a button to see what emails
have come.  Governmental force is as you say some less overtly
violent than others, but put in a converse way, some are more benign
than others and therefore beneficial for the society.  Some force is
needed to satisfy the moral notion of fairness and to offset the human
penchant to take advantage of others, which is a variation on the idea of
negative force.  Since humans are among the organisms that populate
this planet, there is, at least in my mind and I would like to see proof
of it otherwise, only one natural right and that is the basic minimum to
survive. 

Advantages an organism are born with is due only to its genetic
ancestry in terms of its ability to meet the challenges of the
environment to survive.  However, any and every other advantage, i.e.,
location, ease of acquisition of nourishment, relative safe lodging, all
other related events of life, is accidental.  Therefore, when it comes to
rights, there is only one right that is natural and that is the right to
survive, which might or might not be enhanced by the quality of
physical durability.  If it is negative, the organism does not survive very
long.  However, once past the immediate survival problem, continuing
to survive then demands a degree of intelligence of how to use
accidental advantage.  Infants have a mother’s instinct to help them
along until they can manage survival on their own.  Avoiding predators
becomes a skill, some of which is innately excited, such as sensing the
shadow of avian predators will cause a prey to cower even if the
shadow is created by a cardboard shape that is isomorphic to the
predator.  However, animals, and we are animals, learn through
experience of trial and error how to avoid becoming an actual meal, or
becoming victims of nefarious other humans’ self-serving agenda, not
always so successfully though.  All learning curves are not equal.

It might look like I took a right turn into a digression. I don’t believe I
have.  Since there are no universal rights beyond the right to exist once
existence takes place, humans, if they want to survive, must find social
ways to exist.  Social rules are part of that way. The ease of existence is
at the base of the idea of happiness, which means less stress.  But the
idea of happiness is a hypothetical construct since there is no universal
idea that is persuasive about what actual happiness is.  So every action
and reaction has to do with the quality of survival after the initial
entrance into this world.  Social capital works to facilitate that survival
for more members of a society in a way that provides less stress than
other ways.  I believe that is why tribes and communities developed in
the first place.  It is something we have rediscovered intellectually and it
ought to be looked at seriously to include the ideas of fairness and
justice because, and this is wholly utilitarian I realize, because it
enhances the chances for survival not of the individual, but of the
species.  Individuals are not really important to the survival of a species. 
That there are individuals who will survive is what is crucial.  The
quality of that survival is secondary and negotiable.  Negotiation is why
social law evolved.

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By Anarcissie, July 21, 2010 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, July 20 at 9:46 pm:

‘... Thank you again, Anarcissie, for your informative comments.  I can see that Lenin’s project could be considered a form of social capitalism and your warning about a possible forcible transition. ...’

Lenin thought that what he was doing was socialism.  And in fact, centralized ownership and control of production through the government is the dominant, indeed almost the only model of socialism for academics and the media.  But one could also call it social(ized) capitalism, I suppose.  There are many less comprehensive examples of government-owned and -operated productive enterprises including many in the United States, such as municipally-owned utilities.  There are quite a few in Latin America, and of course in China the major industries are still under the direct control of the government (or so I am told).  We can observe them and see how they do. 

All uses of government are uses of force.  Some are less overtly violent than others.

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By troll, July 21, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

(F - unfortunate lineage)

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By ofersince72, July 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

The eCONomy has been collapsing since the seventies.

When was the last month and year that the U.S.
produced a trade surplus????
How has the world’s largest debtor nation lived one of the
world’s most comfortable lifestyle??/  For years !!!!!

Where does labor fit in to this new type of capital ???
Is the MIC going to continue to eat up two thirds of
the national budget?
How come every time that we do have a month that the
trade deficit might shrink a little,  we know that the U.S. just made another sweet arms deal somewhere.?
Is there going to be nationalized health care with this
new type capitalism?
And how much do you want to bet that Europe loses all
their benifits well before the U.S. gets any?

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By ofersince72, July 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

The economy didn’t all of a sudden collapse in 2008

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By Anarcissie, July 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, July 20 at 10:59 pm:

‘... If you mean to ask, where do the assets which are to be used as social capital in socialized capitalism come from?——the answer is that they come from the same place as the TARP and the money used by the Federal Reserve to support private capital in the September 18, 2008 Collapse of the U.S. Economy, that is and has been used to bail out privatized capitalism cyclically since its origin. ...’

I asked you previously if the assets which were to be used as social capital would come from taxes, borrowing, and/or printing money, which is where TARP and so forth came from, like all the rest of the government’s money, and you said no, or so I thought.  So it’s yes after all?

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By Foucauldian, July 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Unfortunate declaration?  Poorly formulated or bound to fail?

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By ThomasG, July 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 18 at 9:24 pm,

Your July 18, 2010 9:24pm post states “I have to ask again about the source of the capital, which is to be social or socialized.”  Why do you keep asking me to repeat myself?  Capital is a process that is defined by the use of an asset to produce a revenue stream.  If the conversation was about selling financial instruments, I could understand your making reference to a financial instrument as capital, and asking where the capital came from, but in this case, we are dealing with assets that are used as capital, rather than financial instruments that are sold as capital.  I have repeatedly said that capital is an asset that provides a revenue stream.  Do you mean to ask, where do the assets which are to be used as social capital in socialized capitalism come from? 

If you mean to ask, where do the assets which are to be used as social capital in socialized capitalism come from?——the answer is that they come from the same place as the TARP and the money used by the Federal Reserve to support private capital in the September 18, 2008 Collapse of the U.S. Economy, that is and has been used to bail out privatized capitalism cyclically since its origin.  Privatized capitalism has a cyclical history of failure and the September 18, 2008 Collapse of privatized capitalism is the most recent cycle of failure by privatized capitalism.

With regard to Communal Wealth, examples are the money paid out by the U.S. Government on the TARP and by the Federal Reserve to stabilize the U.S. Economy; there are other examples, but these are a significant use of Communal Resources to recapitalize private capital with social capital.

My plan involves two competing systems of capitalism, one that is based upon social capital and the other that is based upon private capital, and as I have said before, I propose that through competition between the two forms of capitalism to evolve socialized capitalism.

I am quite certain that privatized capitalism will not be able to compete with socialized capitalism, and that if private capital is not recapitalized with social capital that on privatized capitalism’s next cycle of failure, privatized capitalism will gradually diminish and cease to exist as an economic system.

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By troll, July 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…further trolling reveals the probable true genealogy of Thomas’ proposal:

Capital in general we shall call a group of Products which serve as means to the Acquisition of Goods. Under this general conception we shall put that of Social Capital as narrower conception. Social Capital we shall call a group of products, which serve as means to the socio-economical Acquisition of Goods

The positive theory of capital Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk (fully available through google books)

...which brings me semi-circularly back to the unfortunate Cockshot’s declaration of intellectual war on the Austrians.

Wouldn’t you know it.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

Of the five examples given at the beginning of the 2002 text,
“Understanding and Measuring social capital:…” I was most
interested in the Households in Russia because the four programs
listed are similar to the ones had in the United States, however
provided by its government paid for by the taxes collected from
the working sector and through other tax structures such as
inheritance tax, excise taxes, etc.  I am supposing the Russian
income security is equivalent to social security here in the US. 
The other examples except for one illustrates how social interaction,
social capital, works favorably at the local level.  The Hutu militias is
the abomination but I don’t see the cooperation found in that collective
action any different than volunteer military efforts in any country.  The
Hutu do not generate revenue, the social capital is in the form of
human energy formed in their cooperative effort but that does not feed
them, house them, nor pay for their weapons, vehicles, etc. 

I am glad ThomasG introduced this concept to Truthdippers.  I never
would have had a consciousness that it is an option for poverty
reduction in the world as well as a possible fix for economic problems
for Americans as well.  How it would work on a national level for a
country the size of the US is the big question.  Looks like there are
several books now available on the strategy, all probably worth
checking out.  Besides the Nan Lin and the Field texts, there is Social
Capital by David Halpern that I am about to check out. 

It is interesting that the trouble we have had in giving social capital a
definition is the same problem found in all of the literature! 
Nevertheless, there appears to be a serious effort in the field not only
to research it as a concept but seeing it as it is applied already in the
world and what the beneficial effects and outcomes as well as the
harmful uses to which it is being put.  Seeing the dynamics of social
capital on a “micro-level” as noted in the first chapter, can be seen in
actual horizontal networks and on a “meso” level of observation that
observes both horizontal relations as well as vertical (that is, between
individuals and within the society in which the individuals are
members).  Thanks for the link.  I think this whole notion is exciting
and ought to be critically investigated for positive and negative aspects
with due commitment. 

Thank you again, Anarcissie, for your informative comments.  I can see
that Lenin’s project could be considered a form of social capitalism and
your warning about a possible forcible transition.  Let us both hope
ThomasG elaborates.  But if he doesn’t, we can take the ball from here. 
Me not so much since I am just cutting my teeth on the notion and the
entire discipline of economics and I feel very inept in discussion.  But
you certainly have the intellectual wherewithal to examine this possible
alternative.  It is grossly obvious something has to be done and
deliberately done differently from what exists now.  Listening to
politicians on the news every day is such a farce.  But it is not really
funny, it is a travesty.  This program is at least implementable because
examples of it working in the world already provides models and to get
something like it going could energize the citizenry.  But, I just don’t
want to run headlong into an emotionally reactive course of action.

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By troll, July 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

For a more ‘boots on the ground’ look at ‘social capital’ theory see these guys with this overview.

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By ofersince72, July 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Well,  I guess we are admitting what the Russians have
known for a long time,  that the Soviet Union never was
a communist experiment but was a State run Capitalist
Economic System from the very beginning of the Revolution,
that Lenin/Stalin co-opted a movement (just like what
happens here in the U.S. of A) and turned it into a
repressive State run Capitalist Oligarchy. That they shook
themselves of the pesky Trotsky because they always were
backed by the International Investors as they used two
decades to round up, murder, and imprison all those that
saw through the Lenin/Stalin communist facade.
  Also in those first two decades,  made all sorts of
treaties, broke treaties, had treaties broke on them, and
all of the other foolish gimmickry that Capitalist nations
do,  with all of the major economic powers in Europe. The
powere elite holding on tightly to all of the Russian
Capital,  just as good Capitalists do.
  Then, after WWII , conveniently went along for the next
four decades to help render the word and the economic
system of communism forever damned, made a great partner
in the forever phony boloney, Cold War.,  which served
the masters of both spheres quite well, as the leaders
used this excuse to turn both spheres of influence into
Military Industrial Complexes that have trampled on the
citizens of the world since the end of WWII.
  Then BINGO, by the mid-eighties they didn’t need this
facade any longer because the mission was accomplished,
so the good ole boys of the so-called communist party, as
any good Capitalist would do, said “so long,” and took
and gave away most of the Russian Captal when they left,
also like the good Capitalists that they were. They also
signed and gave away most of Russian mineral rights, just
like good Capitalists.
  And that is just why Russia and the United States just
can’t wait to get that pesky Afghanistan, and those pesky
little nations around the Caspian Sea under their thumb,
so they can steal and pipeline those resource for the
International Investors they represent.  And they will
leave behind one big polluted mess just like they do
everywhere else they operate, (all over the world) while
they get fich and fat,  while others like in Central
Africa die the miserable death of Hunger and Thirst.

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By ofersince72, July 20, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Social/ized Capitolism

  Private/ized Capitolism


  new 21st century terms ,  that I also will have
to familiarize myself with.

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By Foucauldian, July 20, 2010 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

Anarcisse,

I don’t want to at this point to get into discussion of social/ized capitalism.  It’s another ball of wax.  Let me finish reading on Social Capital first and offer a brief critique.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep your comments in mind.

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By Anarcissie, July 20, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I restrict the term capitalist to refer to those who make their living by accumulating and investing capital, regardless of whether they support or attempt to suppress free enterprise or markets.  For one’s capital to be useful, there must be a class of people who want to use it because they don’t have or don’t want to use their own, that is, a working or laboring class, so capitalism requires the existence of at least these two classes.  That, too me, is the defining characteristic.  Free enterprise and markets are a different question.

In regard to “social(ized) capitalism”, there have been many proposals and experiments in the last century or so.  Lenin and company, for instance, decided to create “state capitalism” in which the central government would take the role previously played by the private capitalist.  This model is apparently still dominant but not total in China.  It has been criticized as simply producing a new sort of bourgeoisie (Milovan Djilas’s “new class”).  Others have suggested a decentralized transition to decentralized employee participation in ownership and control, for example ESOPs and workers’ cooperatives.  Of course, it makes a considerable difference whether the transition is made by forcible seizure, by taxation and government investment, or by worker investment.  Hence my interest in ThomasG’s specifics, which unfortunately were never forthcoming.

Foucauldian—I think there is a fundamental and analytically interesting difference between what I call “subsistence capitalism” and “consumer capitalism” in that the latter has to manufacture scarcity.  Scarcity is people wanting more than they have; most people want more and better stuff, but of the type with which they are already familiar.  Advertising is needed to make them want stuff they had not previously cared about.  Hence its appearance as a major force in the 1920s.  Without advertising there could not have been much of an automotive industry, and the development and use of a lot of other appliances might have taken a considerably different course than their installation in every suburban basement, which themselves would not have existed without the automobile.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

1.
To restrict capitalism and capitalists only to those who uses their
assets to suppress free enterprise and free market exchange because
of their desire to monopolize or take other advantages, corral the
capital assets (mostly money but could also include other forms of
wealth, i.e., human capital, infrastructural capital, natural capital,
physical, political,…) because it insures their power to continue to
monopolize and take advantages, then only those who belong to
the corportocracy are capitalists.  You more or less said, Anarcissie,
that some in the upper class could fall out of the definition who simply
have status but not the fungible assets.  Then Foucauldian’s question
about the worker saving to buy a house is moot.  And private
ownership and property rights are meaningless or feint devices with
respect to the capitalist economic system.  I thought that if one
willingly lives in a free market society they were considered capitalists. 
After doing a lot of searching, researching, I, one of the ignorant
citizenry, do not like the way free markets are being manipulated. 
Admittedly, I am not as secure in my beliefs as I was before beginning
to read about economics and associated subjects like capitalism,
socialism, democracy, etc.  But it is only peripherally learning.  By that I
mean I am only on the edges of what we are talking about here. 

From all this investigation, more and more I am becoming convinced
that socialized capitalism, meaning a government economic system that
uses social capital as its main resource, is the best direction to go.  Of
course being the novitiate, (because economics has obviously become a
religion), I’m just not sure how it can work or if it can.  But getting
people to work together seems to have more than huge economic
value, better cohesion of a socially scattered population, and a
resurrection of lost morals are only two that can come immediately to
mind.

Not attracted to Lin’s book, the text I found, Social Capital by John
Field seems most pretenseless and plainly descriptive.  I’ve put in an
order for it.  Six pages of the introduction may be read at its Look
Inside at Amazon which gives enough of a gander of what he is about. 
Citing who is credited with popularizing the idea of social capital, Field
gives Robert Putnam’s definition of social capital as a “feature of social
organization, such as trust, norms, and networks, that can improve the
efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions,” who himself
took it from an Italian study of political traditions. 

However, this seems insufficient to cover the adaptation for American
economics that ThomasG is proposing.  I think TG envisions an
education program to teach social connections that generates social
capital, and transforming the national government economic structure
to make major use of social capital, thus socialized capitalism.  The
revenue stream is ambiguous at this point in his theory since social
structures have to be formed for it to be generated.  He has said over
and over this project is a long term proposition, meaning it could take
one or two generations to educate the American public.  He will have to
verify my interpretation.  You asked if the government would have to
provide a revenue stream?  Probably most likely to get the project in
gear.  Where would the funds come from?  The same places they always
come from.  It will be like ice skating without any practice, a bit wobbly
at first.

I appreciate your candor Anarcissie, and that you say your explanations
are your own personal view and that you do not apply it to the public at
large.  Such an unreserved attitude is refreshing on TD.  I’ve learned a
great deal reading and thinking and coming to my own conclusions,
however, about what you say.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2010 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

2.
ThomasG’s plan is intriguing and well worth the consideration as a
possible good strategy to solve much economic-political problems
but apparently, and surprisingly, it is not really that new.  He still
does, in my mind, have to explicitly answer Anarcissie’s pertinent
questions.  If it is to be a viable reconstructive effort, it needs as
much delineation as possible.  Pissing in the wind is not my idea of
having fun.  So a good umbrella is required.  Metaphors can be so
colorful.  A most informative and definitive critical interpretation by
Oldrich Kyn, back in 1965 is given where he used the changing
economic landscape of Czechoslovakia as an example.  I recommend
everyone to read it.  It is only about 7 pages in length.
http://129.3.20.41/eps/dev/papers/0509/0509018.html

What is so stunning is that he had the insights 45 years ago. 
Integrating new configurations are often glacially slow as the subject
really is much more complex than one can imagine.  That is one reason
why I cannot get too excited with the panic that the news media infuses
in their reporting of everything!  Doing more “research” on Kyn, I love
the Einstein quote he put on his home page, “If we knew, what it was,
we were doing, it would not be called research, would it.”  So apropos. 
Checking out his other papers, I think I am in love with an economist! 
Begorrah!  I also found another visionary of the public scene, Jonathan
Wallace who runs The Ethical Spectacle website.  I really like what he
has to say about Democracy and Capitalism, putting much into a more
realistic perspective for me, at
http://www.spectacle.org/496/demo.html and how the two are most
incompatible. 

I have to get on with a few non-Net activities so I’ll get on for now and
look forward to a continuation of the discussion.  I am glad I fell into
this dialectic as I am running into so much I never knew before that
really affects my, and those I love, life.  And even more than that, all
people!  Isn’t it about time the world does start to notice everybody?  I
mean how not on earth are we going to get to Alpha Centauri?

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By Foucauldian, July 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad you’re still hanging in there, ofersince.  I
couldn’t help being “technical” because I had an ax to
grind.

Look shortly to an exciting, common sense conclusion.

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By ofersince72, July 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

They have to pass the Capitol torch around, otherwise
Labor catches up.

  That is why it is necessary for them to have a major
World War every now and then,  passing the torch, or
as in a rely, passing the Baton.

  It is so easy to instill Nationalism, starting the war
is easy, especially for Europe and those of European
decent.  This stops labor in its tracks and gives the
international investors the cover they need.

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By Foucauldian, July 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Tolstoycat,

You should check troll’s link to a work on Social Capital.  It’s a very informative piece on how some social theorists distort Marxism for sake of propaganda and dividing the working class.  Foucauldian themes come of age.  I’m half through reading this piece, so I can’t yet assess where the author is going with it, but so far it makes for required reading.

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By Anarcissie, July 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

troll, July 19 at 2:50 pm:
‘Anarcissie, I found what you skimmed useful in that it places the theory of ‘social capital’ in something of an historical context and goes to motive, as Foucauldian notes.  It’s Thomas’ choice of words and it’s his game that we’re trying to understand, no? ...’

Not I.  I just happen to have this sadistic itch to be helpful, and I was scratching it.  Now it seems Thomas has flown off to less scratchy realms, so I can’t help him any more.

I think some people might have evolved a theory of ‘social capital’ to explain why seemingly similar communities show radically different degrees of development and production.  Such a theory could be used to generate certain kinds of propaganda.  It might even describe phenomena in the real world!  But this is somewhat more ambitious than just saying things that sound good.

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By troll, July 19, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I found what you skimmed useful in that it places the theory of ‘social capital’ in something of an historical context and goes to motive, as Foucauldian notes.  It’s Thomas’ choice of words and it’s his game that we’re trying to understand, no?  (I’d have to read more to decide how ‘grounding’ Lin’s valuation of networks is.)

As for your take on motivational poetry, I (heart) graffiti:

“Workers of the world unite…”

“The expropriators will be expropriated!”

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By Anarcissie, July 19, 2010 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Impoverished analyses suit my extreme cheapness.  I’d like to see more of them.  Thus, I read only the free part of the book.

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By Foucauldian, July 19, 2010 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

What I meant to say is that the departure from the classical theory of capital, as explicated by Marx, to result in the neo-classical theory (of capital), represents of kind of trivialization.  Consequently, one has to wonder about motivation.

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By Foucauldian, July 19, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

It’s my impression, Anarcisse, that troll offered the
MS as an example of an “impoverished” type of analysis,
lacking in depth, of what NOT to do, and inferior to
the kind of insights you brought to bear.

I may be wrong, of course.

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By Anarcissie, July 19, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

troll—I skimmed through the part of the book available on Amazon.  It looks to me from that very superficial glance that people are still struggling with definitions.  Maybe some solution to the problem appears later in the book?  We don’t necessarily need to quantify, but if we want to use recognition of categories and prediction of phenomena based on that recognition to evolve strategies, we need to be able to discriminate reliably between one category and another.  It seems to me that sociological thought often tends to wander off into a poetry of general concepts which doesn’t come to earth anywhere, which is all right as inspirational poetry, I suppose, but irrelevant or worse as concrete politics (for example, “hope” and “change”).

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By Anarcissie, July 19, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I do not class myself as a capitalist (in the sense that I use the term) because very little of my income comes from the possession of capital and the related exploitation of labor.  I generally fall into the petit-bourgeois category:  I own my own tools (physical and intellectual) and contract to give services and products in exchange for money.  (I do have some money in the bank which produces interest, but the rates are so low they are well below the rate of inflation.)

Of course, capitalism and capitalist are just words and you can define them any way you like.  I happen to think it’s a mistake to conflate free enterprise, markets, and capitalism but most treatments of the concepts do (such as that page on capitalism Foucauldian posted).  Capitalists in fact often try to suppress free enterprise and free exchange because they have monopolies or other advantages.  For instance, there is a huge effort on the part of important capitalists today to impose and expand intellectual-property monopolies on public culture.  Another area in which we see capitalists operating in such a way as to promote monopolies is medical care and insurance.

This behavior can’t be explained by a concept of capitalism which necessarily includes free enterprise or markets.  So I find the definition which I give as more useful in explaining the world to myself than the broader one found in the mass media.

Most people are either in what I call the working class because they live by trading their labor power for money, or are dependent on those who do, and there is also a numerous class of people who are destitute.  Regardless of whether any of these people own any property, I would not call them capitalists.  Thus they have different material interests from those of the capitalists.  (Psychologically, they are often in conflict about the interests of capitalists, whom many of them admire and try to imitate.)

This is a politically interesting situation because economic relations affect political relations, and as a result you have a configuration in which a rather small minority makes all the important political decisions, general in pursuit of its perceived interests, and the majority are passively drawn along regardless of their interests and perceptions.  Thus, we observe peculiar phenomena like the invasion and occupation of Iraq (or of Vietnam) in which the general public had no prior interest or even ideas.

One way capitalists have tried to stabilize this potentially unstable configuration of interests and power is through the creation of the Welfare state, in which they tax the workers and use the money to provide them with services (often at a profit to themselves).  This arrangement is sometimes called “social democracy”.  It is much favored by people who call themselves “progressives”.  However, in many ways it is a rerun of classical conservatism.

Again, this is just my peculiar vocabulary and set of concepts.  I do not make universal ontological claims for any of it, and I will welcome criticism of it, since that will enable me to improve it.

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By troll, July 19, 2010 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Gee. If we worked on this long enough we could marginalize class analysis altogether…which I take to be Thomas’ program in the first place.

See Lin’s Social capital: a theory of social structure and action where he limits the metaphorical usage that Anarcisse points to and requires ‘quantification’.

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By Foucauldian, July 19, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

These I diagnostic type of questions, Shenon, simply trying to extend your/the general proposition to its logical conclusions.  (BTW, Anarcisse’s definition is pretty much on target.)

Just think what you’re saying.  If everyone’s a capitalist just because he/she is an American, then no one is.  The terms loses its meaning; it doesn’t signify anything, and I’m sure you don’t want to go there.  But that’s but a surface observation.  What’s at stake is a certain understanding.

I could of course suggest to you what I think, but it wouldn’t be effective.  You have to come to terms with this question yourself.

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By Shenonymous, July 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

I added “given it is property,” because capitalist economics is
concerned with property acquisition and ownership.  Disregard
it if you wish. You asked I answered. What is your point, Roger?
Is there a particular one you are making about the worker? 

With respect to economic function, I am not sure what is meant? 
The machinations of economics in order to live on an income that
is insufficient?  Or oversufficient?  Its usage?  What is done in the
economic arena?  How one manages one’s bank account?  What kind of
admission you are looking for?  Of course there are factors of control
that pretty much go unseen in my life because as a citizen I have tacitly
agreed to be controlled by them.  That capitulation is for convenience
and ease of negotiating life.

What do you think makes “a” capitalist, Roger?  I am not satisfied with
Anarcissie’s definition, “someone who makes all or part of her income
by directly or indirectly owning and managing capital.  This necessarily
involves the exploitation of labor, since if the laborers had their own
capital they would have little reason to work for a capitalist.  Being a
capitalist does not refer to a level of wealth accumulation, it refers to
economic function,”
it might be true but I think it is not clear.  It is
still on the level of theory and seems to be restricted to the market
sector. For what does that make everyone else who does not make all
or part of her, or his, income by owning and managing capital?  What is
the economic function that would make an ordinary individual a
capitalist?  Or are we talking apples and oranges?  The theoretical
apples vs. the oranges of real life?  How would one exist day by day as
an individual in order to be tagged as a capitalist, especially if one does
not have a gold ingot to stash behind the furnace?  How do you live,
Roger?  Anarcissie?  Do you live as capitalists?  The point at which one
steps out of a definition to become what is defined is where the line is
drawn.

Within the scope of common economics, psychologically I think I am a
capitalist because I do not live under a state that controls all aspects of
my life, not even most of them, even though you may theorize that I
am deluded and that the state controls more of my life than I think.  It
is as I said, with my permission, otherwise I would protest and without
fear of being killed for it.  There are other options.  However and
whatever, I do not make any of my income owning or managing capital. 
Perhaps there are degrees of being a capitalist???  I have never
exploited labor as I’ve never had any employees.  But to go about my
life, shopping for groceries, buying clothing, books, cds, gassing up my
car, etc., other people are involved who are laborers and perhaps are
exploited by their employers.  If you want to say that by proxy I am
exploiting them then go ahead but that is stretching the notion out of
whack.  Yet I choose to work and operate and under a capitalistic based
government. I support and approve of many social programs that my
government administers using the taxes collected from the population,
which includes individuals and corporations.  Does that take away from
my being a capitalist?  Maybe from being a certain kind of capitalist.  It
means that there are forms of economic systems and I happen to live
under one that is capitalistic with socialistic programs.  I still say the
worker who buys a house, or has the freedom to “buy” anything, falls
on the side of the line that says capitalist.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 18, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Beating a dead horse to death seems significant to some people at certain times, and for some more often than not, though as for the beating pf dead horses. one notices this often on TD, maybe I have been here on TD, way to long.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, July 18, 2010 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, July 18 at 9:24 pm,

Do not worry yourself Anarcissie.  Under my proposal of “social capital” and “socialized capitalism”, you and most average people will not notice any difference in their life for all intents and purposes, and will not even be aware that a change has been made from privatized capitalism to socialized capitalism.  You, like everyone else, would still be an employee/consumer with private property and about the only difference in your life that would be readily apparent to you would be that as a U.S. Citizen you would receive greater benefit.

Perhaps Shenonymous would be interested in explaining further to you and perhaps I will be later, but I am not at the present time.

Spend some time thinking and doing research as you have been requested to do and we will take this up again when you are more prepared.

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By Foucauldian, July 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

“given it is property . . .”

Sorry, missed that last phrase, nothing purposeful
about it.

Are you now going to extend your definition to any kind
of property - such as consumer goods, e.g.  And what
about a PC?

That’s what I meant:  where do you draw the line?

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