Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Weber accounts to this the reification of the money unit of account, and the ultimate disconnection between the deeper susbstantive world that we live in and the formal world through which we understand the experience.

For me, the danger is less one of total collapse, than the double movement and repeating the same damn things we did in the last century again.

I was having a conversation with a friend from Africa, and we were talkinga about the transformation of Africa.  And how the use of wage arbitrage has eased the redistrutive conflict inherent to democracy by allowing the wealthy an out that makes democracy acceptable to them.  So in the end democracy is essentially equality.

Wage arbitrage eases the reaction of elites to democracy, because it allows them to prevent income equality.  So what happens when elites are no longer to evade the consequences of democracy by skipping out on the country?  Faced with redistributive conflict do the wealthy decide to kill democracy? Or was Marx essentially right about the march of history, just too optimistic about the time frame?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 10:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Weber was bang on IMHO. Which is why the solution lies in a monetary system wherein Money is not an "Object" (particularly not one created as debt) but a Relationship, requiring an abstract "Value Unit" by way of a measure.

I am having an increasing amount to do with Africa, one way and another, and have been reminded recently by a very influential African - George Ayittey - quite how alien to Africa is the representative democracy the West insists on foisting upon them when they have evolved participative and consensual mechanisms which worked quite well until we barged in with our Maxim guns.

Similarly the nonsense of imposing Western systems of property rights on people who have entirely different concepts of collective "ownership" and use of commons like land in particular.

Wages - themselves a consequence of "Labour" for "Capital" - will IMHO also become obsolete. This will occur when the alternative of an "Open Corporate" (which need not even be recorded in writing, and may exist conceptually) structure wherein individuals work WITH Capital and share the production and/or revenues is understood.

From the little I know, and the even less I understand, I think Marx got a lot right, but that his assumptions were wrong.

I wish I understood exactly what you mean by "wage arbitrage", however, being a Bear of Little Brain economically.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 10:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From wikipedia:

Economists use the term "global labor arbitrage" to refer to the tendency of manufacturing jobs to flow towards whichever country has the lowest wages per unit output at present and has reached the minimum requisite level of political and economic development to support industrialization. At present, many such jobs appear to be flowing towards China, though some which require English are going to India and the Philippines.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 10:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chris - you're still not facing the basic problem, which is that there are approximately two types of people in the world:

  1. Those who are happy sharing
  2. Those who want everything for themselves

No scheme is going to work unless it deals with this basic social reality.

The current financial system would be perfectly workable if it only had Type 1 people in it.

Conversely any political or social system can be, and will be, hijacked by Type 2s unless it has explicit built-in resilience against them.

No amount of financial or legal engineering will solve our problems unless it deals with this fact explicitly.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 10:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I couldn't agree more, having worked in the Belly of the Beast myself for quite long enough.

It's not a question of me "facing" anything, actually.

I am observing what people - very greedy Type 2 people for the most part - are actually doing with the new legal tools I observe, document and am analysing in my amateurish way.

Canadian "Income Trusts" did not emerge because Chris Cook said so, but because they work for both the providers and users of Capital.

And the use of UK LLP's/ US LLC's actually allows the same outcome more simply and with less cost and complexity because they are not encrusted with the legal barnacles of trust law.

Ditto Real Estate Investment Trusts ("REIT's") - I didn't invent those either, nor Exchange Traded Funds ("ETF's")and Sukuks and other "asset-based" alternatives to "the Corporation".

ALL of these present opportunities for practical alternatives to the existing "Debt/Equity" Public/Private paradigm even now cracking up under the strains imposed by the mathematics of compound interest.

All I'm doing is "Simplifying" and developing existing trends and emergent products. In order to do so, I am using the simplest and most flexible legal entities ever invented - by definition, since there is not even a requirement for a written agreement for an LLP, and few prescriptions for an LLC.

The consensual partnership-based methodology I observe actually have the effect of turning Type 2's into Type 1's because it is MORE PROFITABLE to share (and have a smaller piece of a bigger pie) than to do otherwise.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 11:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I sometimes think that Marx will be right after all, we only haven't reached the "global industrial society" yet, in which the revolution will take place (and the Marxists were all wrong in this respect).

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 at 12:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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