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The subject is the G20 statement that fiscal stimulus is out, and austerity is in. As reported by the FT:
Finance ministers from the world's leading economies ripped up their support for fiscal stimulus on Saturday, recognising that financial market concerns over sovereign debt had forced a much greater focus on deficit reduction.
In itself this is a rather important, if totally unsurprising, shift.
So, the whole point of the G20 these past 18 months has been to shore up the financial sector by transferring the insolvency problem from the private to the public accounts and now that will be used to destroy whatever social safety net there is.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:29:46 AM EST
eggsactomondo!

European Tribune - A Funny Thing Happened At The G20

What I see happening here in the US is that austerity is being mobilized to protect existing privilege.

austerity for the proles...good times in the compound.

famine in the fields, let the peasants starve, deliveries of foie gras to the castle will proceed as per.

austerity is their last resort, accept the screw, and relative freedom will be yours.

history indicates they will go too far and the compound become a bunker, history also indicates that the same forces buffering them from public rage now, will betray them eventually, for fear of that rage for them and their families, who will not all fit in to the bunker.

simple math!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:52:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
history indicates they will go too far and the compound become a bunker, history also indicates that the same forces buffering them from public rage now, will betray them eventually, for fear of that rage for them and their families, who will not all fit in to the bunker.

History also indicates a thousand-year-long dark age is possible.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thousand years of rule for the ECB?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:00:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is that optimistic?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. Perhaps we should get started on that encyclopedia?

The democratization of knowledge does give me hope that we have the ability to build the coherent alternative vision that is necessary to beat back these elite-friendly economic policies.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See my diary
But suppose it got bad. Suppose it got one notch worse than you can contemplate.

I can actually live with the prospect of a massive die-off, even a massive die-off with ecological collapse. The world didn't end with the European black death of the 14th Century.

What I think I have a serious problem with is a collapse of civilisation to the point where knowledge is lost. Even worse, where science and technology themselves are blamed for the disaster.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember that diary, it smoked me out of my lurking. My response comment suggested that sites like this are, in part, an effort to preserve certain kinds of knowledge, in this case the intellectual building blocks and analytical tools of social democracy, from such a collapse.

Maybe what this diary of mine is getting at is that the ET Think Tank idea is still a very good one.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:28:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, we probably have the basis for a pretty credible critique of the origin, failures and consequences of the present system and of why it remains the dominant view of the economy in diaries and comment threads on ET. Perhaps we should start a link library organized by topics:

  1. How we got where we are.

  2. Why what we are trying to do cannot work.

  3. Why we keep trying doomed policies.

  4. What would work.

  5. Why we won't do what would work.

  6. What you can do to help.

If I had such a list available, other than my own meager efforts, I would be happy to start writing summaries that I could post and we could take apart. We have finite available energy, so a full-on encyclopedia must be a future goal. What we need is a compelling critique of the existing situation and a clear alternative that, at a minimum, most college educated adults could understand, were they to accept that they have been systematically mis-educated and/or misinformed about the nature of the economy and the relation between the economy and our political systems.

The time is now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope to have it up late tonight, just in time for your breakfast reading.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's 4:20 PM, I have shade and it is time to get back to the doomstead's garden.  :-0

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:23:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, and it may soon be over :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was possible... and it could certainly be possible now... but not with a high technology-high service economy.

So, I can see a change in the economic structure, or more probable, the reality will strike the predatory group and force the masters of the universe to face other masters of the universe.

I also think that the real problem is not taking rights from workers, but keeping financial and asset power in front of wages. they would not mind if everybody grows and wages also grow.

if they go after future income, privatization of pension plans , etc.. the system becomes easy to break.

The problem here is that all the masters of the universe want the same thing now, keep a small growth defleted economy, but if reality hits again (Keynesian reality) they may realize that not all of them want the same thing.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was possible... and it could certainly be possible now... but not with a high technology-high service economy.

Right now I think I need to be convinced that they cannot create a high-tech feudal system. Why is a cyberpunk dystopia impossible?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:45:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Straight from Jane Jacobs:

Cities have resource areas from which they draw the raw goods and foodstuffs required for urban living.  Destruction or interdiction of those supplies must adversely affect the ability of the urban area to survive.  Some resources are more vital than others.  For California water is one.  Cut the water and SoCal can't exist for more than a week.  

If the people whose land the California Aqueduct passes have to chose between watering their crops and themselves or letting the water flow on to LA I suspect enough will decide to grab what they can and let LA go hang.  

Even cyberpunks have to drink and, occasionally, take a shower.  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:54:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, they do what is being proposed in the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot, and take water from those with senior rights (farmers in the Sacramento Valley and the east side of the San Joaquin Valley) and give to those with junior rights (farmers in the barren west side of the San Joaquin Valley, and SoCal developers).

The same thing can easily happen within the metropolis. Provide stable deliveries to certain segments of the population - Beverly Hills, Malibu, the Westside, Rancho Santa Margarita - and leave the other, poorer, less white places with less reliable deliveries.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Upper Crust may think they can sequester themselves in their little hide-aways but they really can't.  They aren't dealing with the current reality but Rodeo Drive Reality; a fantasy where bank accounts, business deals, and consumer consumption is some sort of a validating affirmation of their Importance.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree they won't be able to effectively sequester themselves forever. But I certainly expect them to try.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So where does the water come from to keep the numerous Pebble Beach, Pasatiempo, and surrounding areas' golf courses green and gorgeous? Not that golf courses aren't lovely and all that, but I bet they use plenty of water.
by sgr2 on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:09:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
California will eventually have to on a war of conquest of the entire Colorado River basin.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have the entire western watershed of the Sierra Nevadas and could make much better use of existing water. Solar powered desalinization is also an increasingly feasible option. Were they to return to Georgist economics many things would become possible.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They got the whole Pacific Ocean at their feet.  They have photovoltaic and wind power potential.  

What they lack is imagination and a willingness to stop digging themselves ever deeper into a mess.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:26:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For desalinization photovoltaic appears a poor way in comparison to just using the thermal energy from the sun.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 05:42:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A solar-thermal or combined solar electirc and solar thermal process might be most efficient. Some interesting work is being done on this on the Arabian Peninsula.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 01:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They use the same water system as the rest of the LA basin.  Golf courses may look 'purty' but then use a ton chemicals: herbicides, pesticides, & etc. as well as a many acre feet of water per acre to maintain that look.

"Ton" is not a metaphor nor an exaggeration.

US Golf courses are water wasting toxic stews built and maintained for the oblivious.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed.
by sgr2 on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:31:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pebble Beach: overpumping the Carmel River and Seaside aquifer. The entire Monterey Peninsula has been under Stage 1 water rationing since 1999, which so far basically means new development permits are almost impossible to get. The State Water Control Board has ordered reductions in that overpumping by 2014, and so locals are scrambling to build a desalination plant in either Marina or Moss Landing.

Pasatiempo/Santa Cruz: Same thing, overpumping the local watershed and aquifers. They too have probably overshot their carrying capacity and will need to turn to desal.

Just wait until global warming hits with full force and reduces the size of the Sierra snowpack. CA will get more rainfall, but can't store it all. The snowpack is the most important reservoir in the state and the rest of CA is soon going to lose it.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 12:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All you really need is a population that needs access to certain infrastructure - cell phone networks, broadband services, etc - but that cannot pay for these things with their own income, so they have to take on debt. The debt can be rolled over, but never completely purged. As long as you can service the debt, you can get the access to infrastructure you need, but you'll always be in a subservient position.

AT&T's new data pricing scheme strikes me as a form of this - or at least a 21st century version of sharecropping.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

Punishment, rewards, and expropriation

Masters also rewarded slaves who performed will with patches of land ranging up to a few acres for each afamily. Slaves grew marketable crops on these lands, the proceeds of which accrued to them. On the Texas plantation of Julian S. Devereux, slaves operating such land produced as much as two bales of cotton per patch Devereux marketed their crop along with his own. In a good year some of the slaves earned in excess of $100 per annum for their families. Devereux set up accounts to which he credited the proceeds of the sales. Slaves drew on these accounts when they wanted cash or when they wanted Devereux to purchase closthing, pots, pans, tobacco, or similar goods for them.

Occasionally planters even devised elaborate schemes for profit sharing with their slaves. William Jemison, an Alabama planter, entered into the following agreement with his bondsmen.

"[Y]ou shall have two thirds of the corn and cotton made on the plantation and as much of the wheat as will reward you for the sowing it. I also furnish you with provisions for this year. When your crop is gathered, on third is to be set aside for me. You are then to pay your overseer his part and pay me what I furnish, clothe yourselves, pay your own taxes and doctor's fee with all expenses of the farm. You are to be no expense to me, but render to me one third of the produce and what I have loaned you. You have the use of the stock and plantation tools. You are to return them as good as they are and the plantation to be kept in good repair, and what clear money you make shall be divided equally amongst you in a fair proportion agreeable to the services rendered by each hand. There will be an account of all lost time kept, and those that earn most shall have most."

[Engerman and Fogel, Time on the Cross, p 148 - 153]

And you will learn to like it, this master plan of modern monetary policy, or you will discover an alternative means to make your livelihood and master it.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Masters also rewarded slaves who performed well with free development tools. Developers produced marketable apps with their tools, some of the proceeds of which accrued to them.

On the Apple plantation of Steve Jobs, developers operating such land produced as many as three or four apps per year, and Jobs marketed their products along with his own. In a good year some of the slaves earned in excess of $1000 per annum for their families. Jobs set up accounts to which he credited the proceeds of the sales. Developers drew on these accounts when they wanted cash or when they wanted to purchase clothing, pots, pans, tobacco, or new hardware.

Occasionally masters even devised elaborate schemes for profit sharing with their slaves. Steve Jobs entered into the following agreement with his bondsmen:

"[Y]ou shall have 70% of the App Store revenue and 60% of iAd sales. I also furnish you with software updates and beta versions for this year. [...] Those that earn most shall have most."

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol. FOCs!!!!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Brad DeLong quoting John Holbo on why libertarianism is the road to slavery.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:16:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I particularly appreciate the fact that the libertarian notion of property seems to be based on the idprinciple of living in a forest and collecting pointy sticks.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:29:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brad's post is a mess.

He invokes LOCKE but doesn't relate archetypal property legitimized by GOD, ROME, or RES PUBLICA to any argument either to refute Holbo's disquisition of a paper written by Samuel Freeman, "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is not a Liberal View", Philosophy and Public Affairs, 30, 2 (Spring 2002), 105-151. (Holbo's citation.) or Bryan Caplan's thesis of "libertarian nostalgia" in "How Free Were American Women in the Gilded Age?"; whence arises Holbo's attempt to distinguish thresholds of tolerance for liberty among authors of libertarian political philosophy for whom the expression of property rights represents a fundamental, ontological conflict between individual and group --corporate or industrial-- enterprise. (Let us note momentarily how the political issue of property from sex that inspired this cross-talk sure as hell didn't survive the voyage to ET and move on.)

Then, Brad dismembers Holbo's article to disguise the coherence of Holbo's thesis ( what are thick and thin libertarian ideologies?) so that Freeman's statements are indistiguishable from Holbo's in the pull-quotes he's provided.

But wait: There is more of the sophic humor one might expect from a professor of macroeconomic revelation who's also, apparently, averse to Oliver Williams and Veblen. Brad whets his accusation of Holbo's disingenous thesis by alluding to his own citation to LOCKE and hagiography of (paranthetically, theocratic) ROMAN antiquity: "That's how serfdom got started. The Roman Empire collapses...."  

The jiggin' must stop, people.

Today, right now, the state's interest in you is a claim of ownership of your person. So.

How would you differentiate authoritarianism and socialism?

How would you differentiate so-called liberals' exhortations for "adult" government from so-called authoritarians' deprecations of "nanny state"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:02:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economic significance of the property rights in man

In recent years economists have extended the use of the concept of capital beyond its usual application to machines, building, and othe inanimate objects. They have applied the concept of capital to the wealth in herent in the capacity of human beings to perform labor, calling such wealth "human captial." This extension of the concept seemed odd at first because it was applied not to explain behavior in nineteenth-century slave societies but in twentieth-century free societies. Nobody doubts that human beings were a form of capital in slave society. Slaves who wer traded commanded prices as specific and well-defined as thos on land, buildings, or machines. Since prices of slaves varied by age, health, skill level, and geographic location, it is clear that the vocational training of slaves or their relocation from on region to another were just as much forms of investment as the erection of a building or extension of a fence.

What made the application of the concept of human capital to free societies seem odd is that free people are not traded in well-defined markets and hence do not command market prices. However, the absence of explicit market prices on human being usually prevenets their capital values from being mad explicit. Legal reconition of the fact that free people continue to have capital values takes place whenever courts grant cash awards to the widows of men killed in industrial accidents. The amount of such an award usually turns on a debate regarding the capital value of the deceased at the time of his death.

Viewed in this light, the crucial difference between slave and free society rests no on the existence of pproperty rights in man, in human capital, but on who may hold title to such property rights. Under freedom, each person holds title, more or less, to his own human capital. He is prevented by law from selling the title to this capital except for quite limited periods of time and then only under a very restricted set of conditions. Moreover, one generally cannot sell the title to the human capital of others, or if such sales are permitted (as in the cases of the contracts of movie and athletic stars, or as in the case of the parents or guardians of minors), the title is transferred only for relatively short intervals of time and under strictly defined limitations. In slave societies, however, a large number of individuals were permanently deprived of the title to their own human capital. Those who held the titles ( the maters) were virtuall unrestricted by law in the abilitity to sell them. And ownership of a female slave brought with it title, in perpetuity, to all her descendants.

How did the special way in which the antebellum South treated the matter of property rights in man affect the economic behavior of that society? What special economic advantage, if any, did the system of property rights which prevailed under slaver give the slaveowners? How did this system of property rights affect the real income of the masters, of slaves of free Southerners, and of free Northerners? While these are not new questions, certain of the findings of the cliometricians suggest new answers.

  1. Economies of scale in sourthern agriculture were achieved exlusively with slave labor.
  2. While the urban demand for slave labor was quite elastic, the agricultural demand was very inelastic. ...

[Engerman and Fogel, p232 -238]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economics of sharecropping are one step above those of slave holding; neither are advantageous.  Which is why both were phased-out.

Them Who Hath figured-out there was more profit in lending money to ag producers than having anything "real" to do with crop production.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Phased out? No.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sharecropping only came to an end in the middle of the 20th century. From about 1915 onward African Americans in the South were able to find work in the industrial North that paid better and provided more freedoms than in the South. That began to produce a labor shortage in the South, which along with innovations and federal agricultural policy in the 1930s, fueled mechanization that made the remaining sharecroppers redundant.

The key was the availability of industrial work at decent wages. If we lose what's left of that, any newer feudalistic system could be difficult to escape.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In light of the diminution of manufacturing and promotion of proprietary, automated industrial technologies, for example, Monsanto's business model, which the corporation executes worldwide,  is it accurate to state that sharecropping came to an end in the middle of the 20th century?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be an Old Fashioned Old New Leftie ...

The answer is intentional or co-operative communities.  I don't know about pricing in SoCal anymore.  In NM's Big City - Albuquerque - four and eight-plexus can be had for around $50,000/apartment at, about, 1,000 sq. ft. per versus $175 sq ft cost for new construction or $175,000 for a comparable single detached dwelling.

Combining basic utility services would save - NM pricing - $50 per unit or $150 to $300 month for water, sewage, and garbage collection and about the same for electric: total (rough) $300 to $600 month.  

"Savings," meaning money not duplicatedly disbursed, for the community would range from $2,000 to $10,000 a month and could easily go much higher.

The main problem is financing: banks hate co-operatives and come up with all sorts of bullshit reasons not to lend.  Credit Unions used to be more amenable, tho' that may have changed.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:44:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to DeLong you need teh invention infraestructure.. and you can not have afull invention infraestructure in a high-technology system.

teh problem with cyber-punk sci-fi is the rpoblem of who sustains the whole research-apply-mantainence system. You need a good chunk of the population ofr that. That's makes feudalism impossible.

Antoher proof is that the second industrial revolution destroyed the feudalism structure.. and I think the reason is exactly the same. The invention of invention destroys feudalism. DeLong has a full course in his webpage. I think he has there all teh links regarding the transition and how it would have been with a new research structure.

This is not to confuse with high unequality..which you can have (what percentage of the population you ned to sustain th system.. Brazil an ohter countries give a hint..a round 50%..you can certainly have the rest living on begging) but I would say that then the system is highly unstable.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're in uncharted waters.

The last time the industrial world went belly flopping it was pulled out by a combination of the destruction of plant by bombing and other destruction during WW 2 and an immediate rise in non-working population, the Baby Boom.  

Now we've got excess industrial capacity out of our ears and a workforce slowly losing, or having in the first place, any ability to purchase the goods produced.  

And we can't continue to endlessly throw cheap energy at the problem.

I can see the potential for industrial feudalism to arise.  I don't see it persisting as there's too many contradictions between the non-innovative mind set one has to inculcate in any highly stratified society and the "inventing invention" nature of a technological industrial economy.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You and I live in a country whose national motto is let others do the inventing... I am not very hopeful.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My cynical opinion is that is a continuing result from the internal war Spain had in the 1930s.  Fascism is ultimately the ideology of the status quo and the mind set it engenders is actively hostile to innovation.

Couple with the cultural and intellectual deficiencies of Roman Catholicism and one has the recipe for stagnation.
 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:21:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears to be an anti-European quip by Unamuno in a debate with Ortega y Gasset in 1906 (Spanish wikipedia).

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we accept that I only see it as ruling out a high-tech feudal society with a high rate of innovation. A pretty much static society with current high-tech reserved for the new nobility and their direct servants would still appear possible. All you need is a small technical caste to serve the machines.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't be stable if the technical caste found itself some politcal ambition.

I have a doomery view, and assume we'll see another major war, which will be a game changer for people's attitudes. I'm not even sure the neo-aristos are the problem - it's more about how they have mindshare than the fact that they exist.

And in Toobz world, mindshare is going to be an increasingly fragile thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't be stable if the technical caste found itself some political ambition.

The modern corporate structure and the narrow specialisation of technical specialists has been quite successful in suppressing political ambition (and not teaching the relevant political skills to those who may have any such ambition).

Yes, the technicians can make the system stop working. But why should they? Their feudal overlords provide them with a steady income, access to their favourite toys and enough excuses to ignore the huddled masses.

The crucial point would be to isolate the technical specialists from direct exposure to poverty - as long as they, their families and their immediate surroundings are kept pretty, it is a simple matter to instill the kind of smug superiority and/or convenient excuses for inaction that permit people to ignore widespread human misery.

Oh, it would not work perfectly - there would be dissenters. But the genius of modern managed democracy, from the perspective of the feudal elite, is that dissenters are alright, because the oppression is not sufficiently self-evident that individual dissent can cause a cascading reaction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:06:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt slavery is also a powerful force. Once your tehnicians have mortgages they have to pay for the next 25 years they will be very reluctant to put their stable salary in jeopardy.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:28:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've been very successful at suppressing politcal instincts.

But it's a feature of feudal systems that repression spreads, and status differentials continue to increase.

It goes against every leadership caste instinct to give mere technical underlings a decent slice of the pie, for the same reason that it goes against their instincts to pay workers a decent wage so that can continue to participate in the economic game.

MBA culture is inherently authoritarian. It buries the motivation under economic rather than racist or political rhetoric. But whatever the language, a key motivation is that it hurts to share.

So I wouldn't expect leaderships caste members to be capable of the self control or strategic thinking required to keep a technician caste fat and happy - not for long, anyway.

This is already happening in the US, where science, engineering and IT jobs have virtually no security.

Now - imagine the possibility of adventurous technical types building trap doors or dead man switches into critical systems.

The means to do a lot of damage are already there. So far, it's only the false rhetoric of inclusion that's preventing actual rebellion. And in the US at least, that rhetoric is unlikely to still be convincing by the end of the decade.

 

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an interesting idea. But looking at the amount of pressure that has historically been required to induce spontaneous (let alone organised) acts of sabotage, I'd say that we're quite a way from that yet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rather than acts of sabotage I was pinning my hopes on the ability to build some sort of "free" shadow network piggybacking on the official infrastructure and bypassing the "closed" "official" network almost entirely.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting idea. Any more.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:54:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's implicit in cyberpunk lore...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something like Freenet?
Freenet is a decentralized, censorship-resistant distributed data store originally designed by Ian Clarke.[4] According to Clarke, Freenet aims to provide freedom of speech through a peer-to-peer network with strong protection of anonymity; as part of supporting its users' freedom, Freenet is free and open source software.[5] Freenet works by pooling the contributed bandwidth and storage space of member computers to allow users to anonymously publish or retrieve various kinds of information. Freenet has been under continuous development since 2000.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree here.

And again, there is a big difference between large inequalities and a feudal system.

In a feudal system you can not have 20 % with very good resources and 30% more with proper working conditions. In a feudal system, the cast is 5% of the population and all the services and goods are performed by the masses.

So afeudal system is jsut not possible.

The reason why I think the inequality system is unstable is precisely because the cast is not smart enough to keep the unequal system under control and because aggregate demand fluctuates strongly leading to large changes in the power structure of the elite. I only ahve to look at the inequalities in the US at the beginning of the century or Brazil in the 80-90... they al finished.

On the other hand , the semi-feudal system in an economy based on agriculutre is going smoothly in Central America.. an the rich there atre just not that rich.. and they always emigrate. So tehya re not really the global elite... imagine a feudal lord in El Salvador without a place like Houston or europe to go for the medical treatment, the computer updates...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 06:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
we'll see another major war,

the one on gaia isn't enough?

where do you think, TBG, and is it a WW? obviously our little skirmishes in afpak and iraq don't count...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is a cyberpunk dystopia impossible?

why do you think there's all the paranoia about chipping?

the tech is there, all they need is enough shock, for the new doctrine.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:09:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they're bible-thumpers who believe in the mark of the beast, etc.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:31:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is a cyberpunk dystopia impossible?

why do you think there's all the paranoia about chipping?

the tech is there, all they need is enough shock, for the new doctrine.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paranoia, you said it yourself.

Mostly by bible-thumping end-timers or survivalist militia types.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It certainly appears that way. "Stimulus" was only valuable as long as it was needed to help shore up the financial sector. With that apparently accomplished (or so they think) it's now time to use the crisis as they'd originally intended, to smash the remnants of the safety net in order to extract new rents and payments from the rest of us on services that used to be provided through tax dollars.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, when we have a double-dip recession and another market crash and more companies (including financials) start failing, what are they going to do?

Oh, and, by the way, companies (in particular, financials) never stopped failing...

US banks have been failing at an exponential rate
So, operation "back to business as usual" was a success, yes?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:08:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I agree there is likely to be another crash/downturn/double dip. Nothing was resolved, except the bailouts provided a semblance of stability to the TBTF banks.

When the next downturn occurs, they'll have to find some other way to socialize the losses and privatize the profits. Not sure what that will be, but it could present an Argentina-style moment that creates the opportunity to articulate a left vision of the future to the greater public.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The left vision needs to be articulated and in the back of people's minds before the crisis. The problem with the crisis of the last 3 years is that there was no alternative narrative to take the place of market fundamentalism when the latter showed itself to be untenable. WHen that happens, the cognitive dissonance cannot be resolved by adopting an alternative worldview so the inconvenient reality gets shoehorned into the old narrative.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the way to socialize the losses is to raid pension funds or gut social programmes.

After capturing the wages, they are now also trying to capture the deferred wages and/or the non-monetary income of people.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a point that even a Tea Bagger could understand. The financial elite want our retirement money to pay off their gambling debts. Were the average Texas libertarian to grasp that they would likely respond with something like:

"Impale the bastards on sharpened poles around the White House! And put their banks out of business. We are better off without them."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The intellectual and political architecture of this kind of attack has already been laid, and is well advanced, here in California. Hardly a day goes by without a newspaper article, op-ed, or letter to the editor in a local paper complaining about "unfair" public pensions that bleed everyone else dry.

And of course, the federal "cat food commission" that is determined to destroy Social Security and Medicare is due to deliver its recommendations in December.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blueprint for America's Working Women and Families

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... destruction of the value of assets held by the individually wealthy, since when you are aiming at power rather than aiming at wealth, that is more of a zero sum game.

Which suggests why Geithner might be less keen on Europe adopting full bore, Depression creating neo-Hooverism. He may be more representing the interests of Wall Street as such than the interests of all the corporations trading on Wall Street.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:27:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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