Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Creating the new "conventional wisdom"

by techno Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:55:15 AM EST

Oil--how can anyone accurately value something irreplaceable?

The conventional wisdom of sustainable economics.

The other day, I wrote a comment on the subject of public protests and other vehicles for social change that was, to put it mildly, warmly received. I suggested that Eurotrib filled an important function because it existed to challenge the convention "wisdom" on an important intellectual level and cited Jerome's crusade to call Neoliberalism by it's more accurate name--Anglo Disease.  I suggested that if we had 20 ideas just as good, we would change the world.

WE are the people we have been waiting for! - Promoted by Migeru


The reason I like the idea of Anglo Disease so much is that it is intellectually perfect on so many levels.

  1. It really IS an Anglo problem.  I regularly read The Guardian online and enjoy its somewhat lefty views on the world.  But when it comes to economics, they are crazy as anyone at the Economist or Financial Times.  On occasion, they may critique financial capitalism but it never occurs to them to suggest that properly organized, capitalism is quite capable of performing miracles.  In fact, they are almost religiously adverse to allowing a discussion of what could actually save their backward hides. Whether one supports or rejects capitalism, the Brits all share the same assumptions about how capitalism must be organized.

  2. It really is a disease.  If a society is doing something harmful to themselves mostly because they cannot change their minds, we are discussing a real pathology.  Besides, it was probably some smug English twit who came up with the concept of Dutch Disease--so turnabout is fair play.

  3. I wouldn't care except Anglo Disease spreads almost immediately to USA.  Phil Gramm, the Texas Senator whose deregulation fever was caught while getting a Ph D in economics, was the primary enabler of Enron.  He was not especially corrupt.  His sickness is much worse.  As a carrier of Anglo Disease, he is still pushing his far-right economic agenda even though he was forced out of office because of his Enron connections.

  4. After the original Finnish version of Elegant Technology was published, I got to meet some of the folks who were actually in the business of producing green technologies.  I LIKE folks who can do what they say they can do.  On my way home, I checked out some design for disassembly efforts in Germany.  Again, these were serious people who asked to be judged by the products they could make.  In USA, these people were like good pre-insane Midwestern Republicans.  When I got home, I once tried to explain to a guy how very conservative Germans, Dutch, and Scandinavian industrialists were creating solutions to problems American Republicans would not even admit existed.  He asks me why I thought this was true.  Feeling playful I said, "I honestly believe that it is caused by a brain disorder brought on by speaking only English."  He was VERY offended.  Even when I assured him I only spoke English, he was NOT amused.  So nearly every time I read "Anglo Disease," I giggle over my lapse of "manners" that day.  Thanks Jerome.

To gain admittance to the same lofty perch occupied by Anglo Disease, any part of the new conventional wisdom must sum up an economic idea in less than three sentences and be easily defended.  I don't have 20 ideas, but I nominate the following:

The harmless magical money "made" by banks is neither harmless or magical.

We were all much better off when finance represented 6% of GDP than when it became 22%.

There is no cheap and easy way to end the age of petroleum.

$100 Trillion is the minimum amount necessary to be taken seriously if we are to build a new economy.

Any society that can waste investment money on something as useless as derivatives can certainly afford to invest in necessary solar-era upgrades.

If governments do not control the financial institutions, the financial institutions will control the governments.

Usury may no longer be a sin, but it is still monumentally stupid economics.

Anyone who believes that the only job of corporate management is to increase the returns to the shareholders is insufficiently nuanced and obviously unqualified to discuss the modern company.

Any bank that has been bailed out with public funds automatically becomes a public bank with a mandate to invest in infrastructure upgrades.

Trade unions are only slightly less necessary than oxygen.

If all the productivity improvements since 1973 had be translated into time off, the workweek would be less than 20 hours. We are working ourselves into a frazzle to create a world that produces absurd junk.

All the variations of capitalism and collectivism cannot only co-exist, all them must be present for the creation of a successful society.

Regulated capitalism ALWAYS outperforms the deregulated variety.  The reason is simple.  Rules, fairly written and enforced, protect the honest entrepreneur.

There really IS a difference between up and down.

And for citizens of USA--There is NOTHING more socially perverted than for-profit medicine. Anyone who claims that extracting profits from the pain of others is a good idea is an ethical illiterate and an economic fool.

Display:
Just as an aside, I have found a much better reception  for radical ideas (and "mutuality") here in Scotland than in England.

So the Disease is Anglo certainly,but perhaps not a "Brit" phenomenon. The Scots have alot in common with the Scandinavian heritage, and a lot of empathy with the "Nordic" approach.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 07:20:49 AM EST
I am just beginning to understand HOW MUCH Scotland is unlike the rest of Britain--especially the" City."  But How to describe the mentality of the City without insulting the more enlightened parts of the British Isles is something I have yet mastered.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whilst I'm not going to demand JaP change the name, I have always been vaguely affronted that neo-liberalism has been labelled Anglo-disease when it is very much an American invention.

One can look at the madness of Friedman and the Chicago school, the sheer illogic of the "Laffey" curve, the Goldwater campaign, Nixon, Cheney. All were significant in refining and creating neo-liberalism long before poor old swivel-eyed Keith Joseph brought the contagian to England as "Monetarism".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:12:36 AM EST
"Anglo Disease" doesn't refer to neo-liberalism. It refers to the very English attitude that since the City generates fantastic profit it's a good idea to encourage it to cannibalize the entire UK economy, with the resulting loss of economic resilience when the City goes through bad times. This is by analogy with the "Dutch disease" which referred to the Oil and Gas industry in the Netherlands sucking the life away from the other industrial sectors, leaving the economy unprepared for when inevitably the Oil and Gas sector stopped growing as fast or started declining.

Then, "Manchester Capitalism" wasn't invented in America.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:43:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't Manchester Capitalism the basis of the shareholder society, which can be regulated or not, but isn't an inherent evil of itself.

Everything you describe as fetures of Anglo-disease are exactly my understanding of financial neo-liberalism. It was certainly all done to Wall St long before it happened here. I'm not attempting to exonerate the City from the consequences of their greed, but simply saying "not invented here".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever heard of the South Sea Bubble?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good grief, what on earth has that to do with the City as it existed before Thatcher ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I refer you to your own comment where you make my very argument

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is Wall Street not "Anglo" within the US. Maybe "the Angloamerican disease" would be a better name?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:49:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there was a little thing called the Declaration of Independence that settled how "anglo-" Americans are.

There's every kind of American imaginable, except an Anglo-American. It's the one impossible construct.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anglo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States, and particularly in the Southwest, Anglo, short for Anglo-American, is used to refer to non-Hispanic White Americans or non-Hispanic European Americans, most of whom speak the English language but are not necessarily of English descent. The term has been regularly used by mainstream media such as the Los Angeles Times. In the 2000 Census, 24.5 million Americans (8.7%) reported English ancestry.[4] The figure is self-reported and is likely far higher in reality since partial English ancestry is common among Americans who, accordingly, tend to emphasize the more distinctive aspects of their heritage to census takers[citation needed].

Anglo can simply refer to English-speaking population or media. The term is also used as a technically incorrect synonym for "White". Non-hispanic Whites constitute 66% of the total population. Also, Anglo is usually found in contrast with Jewish, even though most non-Anglo people do not see this contrast.[citation needed]

Most non-Hispanics in the United States who speak English but are not of English ancestry generally do not identify themselves as "Anglo" and some of them find the term offensive. For instance, some Cajuns in south Louisiana use the term to refer to area whites who do not have Francophone backgrounds. Irish Americans, the second largest ethnic goup in the United States following German-Americans, also often take umbrage at being called "Anglo."[5] Additionally, other white ethnic groups who do not identify as having English ancestry such as Italian Americans, Greek Americans, Jewish Americans, Russian Americans, Polish Americans, and Middle Eastern Americans tend not to identify themselves as Anglo. Americans of English descent may also be offended at being labeled "Anglo" (as opposed to Anglo-American or Anglo-Saxon).

What does the A in WASP stand for? Where is New England?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 02:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have always believed WASP to be a reference to being US aristocratic without acknowledging the forbidden class aspect. Anyway, it's anglo-saxon, ie northern european, not anglo as in english.

I think of it as a badge of American elitism, of a shared N E American culture, not of an identity that relies on a "home" country. I don't think there's any american who refers to themselves as an anglo- who does it to remind everybody they don't take the DoI seriously.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 02:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... as Anglophiles, and when they do, it is far more about The City than about Jane Austen. "Anglo" as a self-identifier is in areas with extremely large Latino communities, not in 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 Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 02:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anglo Disease has been around since the founding of the Bank of England in 1694.  USA fought a revolution to escape that economic trap.  The Americans no more invented what we now call neoliberalism than the Beatles invented rock and roll.

If you ever have a chance to read Alfred Marshall, the great Victorian economist, you will discover that what we call neoliberalism is nothing more than computerized Marshall.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... but the aspiration along with the idea that there could be more than marginalism was weeded out of the marginalist mainstream in the formalist revolution of the 1950's.

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 Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 07:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Creating the new "conventional wisdom"
 Besides, it was probably some smug English twit who came up with the concept of Dutch Disease--so turnabout is fair play.
Of course, it appears to have been coined (or revived) by The Economist.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:53:12 AM EST


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 Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 02:53:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Creating the new "conventional wisdom"
I wouldn't care except Anglo Disease spreads almost immediately to USA.
You make it sound like Wall Street didn't catch Anglo Disease all by itself. New York and London cross-pollinate and ideologically the UK has been following the lead of the US for decades, not the other way around.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:55:28 AM EST
Where I came from, there was this thought that USA was an invention of guys like Ben Franklin who started a Revolution to free this country from the grips of the folks who believed that wisdom came from the Bank of England.  And ever since that Revolution, folks from England were trying to reverse the outcome.  With the coming of the Federal Reserve and getting roped into fighting for England in World Wars I and II, the Revolution was undone and now we are just a colony of the City.

This might not be how it happened, but I have met MANY people in my life who believe it to be true.  One of the last times I heard this was when someone told me that Bill Clinton might call himself a Democrat, but when push came to shove, he would revert to his Anglo training as a Rhodes Scholar.  I last saw this guy about three weeks after NAFTA passed and all he could say was, "I told you so."

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 04:32:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
techno:
This might not be how it happened, but I have met MANY people in my life who believe it to be true.
Right, and establishing whether or not that is true with some reasonable confidence would be interesting.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 05:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The folks who believe it true present as their evidence the extensive writings of Ben Franklin and his criticisms of the Bank of England.  Also the instructions in the USA Constitution concerning monetary policy.  I am also old enough to remember when men here in the Midwest weren't considered serious men of affairs until they could defend some complex monetary theory.  So it is not like this topic hasn't been covered. I just was trying to avoid opening THAT can of worms.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 02:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone done a study on the cultural differences between the WASP and German/Scandinavian sub-cultures in the US?  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:28:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have never seen such a study.

But here in Minnesota, the differences between the Scandinavian / German cultures and the WASP culture has left its manifestations all over the place.  In the town where I live, the WASP culture has a college on the east side of town while the Norwegians have their own college and community on the west side.  Both colleges are very expensive and have elite reputations but that is where the similarities end for they are VERY different schools.

The WASPS came from New England, got here early, and created their own upper class ownership presence.  The Nordics and Germans came later and had to claw their way to prosperity through inventiveness and hard work.  The Farmer-Labor Party (who governed during the Depression years) represented in many ways, the immigrant uprising against the WASPS.

The most famous non-Anglo political economist was of course, Thorstein Veblen--the son of Norwegian immigrants in Minnesota.

Of course, the differences have been papered over of late.  The University of Minnesota, the place where Alvin Hansen first introduced Keynesianism to USA in the 1920s, is now thoroughly infected with Anglo Disease.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 02:50:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like this
If all the productivity improvements since 1973 had be translated into time off, the workweek would be less than 20 hours. We are working ourselves into a frazzle to create a world that produces absurd junk.
I like that
Regulated capitalism ALWAYS outperforms the deregulated variety.  The reason is simple.  Rules, fairly written and enforced, protect the honest entrepreneur.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:58:29 AM EST
I don't want to be the party pooper here but I'm not sure "ET" has 20 BIG IDEAS like the Anglo-disease which challenge mainstream orthodoxy in any major way.

Sure, we're ahead of the curve on peak oil, we're into climate change, and sustainable development - but this is all stuff that has been written about for decades, even if it is only gradually becoming mainstream accepted wisdom.

Politically most seem to be socialist/green, with an anarchistic/alternative/environmentalist fringe and an aversion to war as primary tool for foreign policy.  Again nothing very new or far out of the mainstream in Europe at least.

What is perhaps different is the degree of mixing of US/EU viewpoints, a very pro-EU stance when perhaps many in Europe are somewhat disillusioned/apathetic about the EU, and a very active interest in politics/economics/sociology and technology world-wide.

Sometimes these interests coalesce around some project like StopBlair, sometimes they result in a sustained critique of neo-liberal economics.  I doubt Keynes would be turning in his grave with much of the stuff written here, or any of the founders of the EU for that matter.

The critique of American exceptionalism/imperialism has been standard fare for any leftwing forum since the 1960's and the focus on human rights is what the UN is supposed to be all about.

So perhaps we shouldn't be too arrogant about the unique originality, creativity, and insights offered by most of us most of the time here on ET.  Occasionally we come up with a real gem, and what is striking is the sort of "middle space" ET occupies between popular journalism and very po faced academia which can get lost up its own jargonistic orifaces.

A mixture of accessibility and participation, the occasional transformative insights and a lot of picking holes in other people's copy when perhaps you should be writing your own.  Overall, not a bad place to be, but a wide ranging challenge to popular orthodoxy in 20 major areas?  I don't think so - unless people can list them out for me - so far I haven't seen it, and 20 different variations on the critique of of Anglo-American capitalism doesn't cut it for me.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:07:25 PM EST
I agree with you. The incredible distance between the economies of mainland Europe and Britain and the U.S. doesn't look so big to me...
by asdf on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guys who REALLY don't think there is a difference between between Anglo and other forms of industrialism must answer a simple question--why is the industrial output of the Anglo areas so objectively inferior.  I mean, do you REALLY think that British cars are better than German cars?  Do you REALLY think American cars are better than Japanese cars.  Do you REALLY think American housing is more comfortable and energy-efficient than Swedish housing?  Why aren't American wind turbines better than Danish ones?

The "economic" thinking subsumed under the heading Anglo Disease WILL kill us because Anglo areas WILL go ahead and build some more damn coal-fired power plants, etc. etc.  They will talk about their environmental concerns until the rest of us are sick to death, but they will offer no solutions that are not hopelessly primitive and unworkable.

You may think the differences are trivial but I think they are literally a matter of life and death.  And coming from the world of sophisticated production, I am damn pissed off at the fools who make it impossible to make the good stuff.  The difference you cannot even see are differences I believe justify guillotines and revolutions.

I have no idea how our perceptions became so radically different, but I would suggest you might want to read the development economists.  Human development is easily the most interesting story I can imagine.  But if you don't know answer to the question, "Why can the Japanese build a Lexus and I cannot?" this is a place to start.  The other route is to build something medium-difficult like perhaps an airplane.  By the time you get done with such a project, you will have gained enormous respect for the problems of production.  I mean, there you would sit looking at this beautiful airplane you built with your own two hands and realize you could not BEGIN to make the tires--much less the satellite navigation system.

It is at THAT moment you would understand that sophisticated production requires an incredible social system that is being destroyed by pirates posing as hedge-fund directors.  And the Brits who destroyed their own industrial potential now export the ideas that make it impossible to build environmentally sane technologies.  Those backward fools actually think it is useful to educate their upper classes to believe that technology is dirty and evil--and hence ripe for exploitation to the point of destruction.  And if there are environmental problems, so they tell us, they will be solved if we think like hippies.  How hard can green technology be? they reason.  After all, technology is something we educated folks don't have time to think about.  We are educated--we can barely drive and we are proud of the fact.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:08:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this comment is intended in part as a response to mine I'm afraid it attacks a straw man.  I don't dispute that "the Anglo Disease" charts some very real differences between Anglo and other capitalism and have experienced the idiocies you describe at first hand.  The point of my comment was to ask - where are the OTHER 19 BIG IDEAS which distinguish ET from the mainstream - and I mean this positively, as I would love to find them.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 05:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
C'mon man!  You didn't think ANY of my ideas have the potential to be the next "anglo disease."  ;-)

And if my suggestions are no good--where are YOURS.  We cannot wait around for someone to write the next big book with all the big ideas.  WE are the people we have been waiting for.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 02:26:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think "Community, Politics & Progress" is a bland motto for the site.
WE are the people we have been waiting for
is a real find.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 02:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry if I appeared dismissive of your suggestions - that wasn't my intention - although most seemed related to the anglo disease in some way.  I was more trying to provoke others to chip in - but only Chris really did.  I think to qualify as a major theme - an idea has to fulfill a number of conditions:

  1. It must run counter to current conventional thinking in at least some major parts of the world
  2. It must have the potential to create significant change in the world
  3.  ET members must have the capability to do considerable analysis/exposition/propagandising on its behalf

I particularly like your theme on the immorality of for profit health care systems - it seems qualitatively different from the purely finance related ones - and is currently  a hot topic in Ireland.  Some themes might just be a case of acting as a devils advocate and taking a more radical position on something that is already happening - e.g. EU to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Here's my top of the head list based on what I have read here and elsewhere..

  1. Anglo Disease
  2. StopBlair - and the death of Atlanticism
  3. Peak Oil
  4. Peak Credit (Chris Cook)
  5. Peak Land - biofuels are not the answer
  6. Peak population - the current growth in the human footprint on planet earth is unsustainable
  7. Peak wind - what is the maximum contribution that can be expected from wind power to consumption trends?
  8. Transformative political action - converting conflict into positive energy for change
  9. Peak health - which healthcare models maximise the common good
  10. Peak money - when billionaires starve
  11. Cannibal capitalism - when "financial services" parasitise and destroy their host economies
  12. The EU as actor in a Unipolar world order - a counterpoint to the USA?
  13. Restorative Justice: when punishment is counter productive
  14. Transformation not transport - reducing the carbon footprint of complexity
  15. Science and society: when discovery threatens self
  16. Equality and freedom: human rights in an unequal world
  17. Empowerment and civil action: the role of virtual communities
  18. Disability and empowerment: Personal development in a virtualising world
  19. Art as action - the reality of changing perceptions
  20.  Democracy must defeat corporatism and inequality to survive

Obviously, this too, is a very preliminary, top of the head list, and each topic would require a diary to even begin to explain why it might qualify as a defining theme for ET.  However I have tried to broaden it beyond largely economic themes to reflect a range of ET members' concerns.  Some are topics, rather than specific stances on an issue - but nevertheless reflect our priorities and capabilities in making a positive contribution.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 09:39:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicely done Frank.

This thread is like one incredible jazz riff after another. techno laid a great rhyme to start the piece, and it never looked back.

Well done to all.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:47:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
techno didn't say we already have 20 ideas like "Anglo Disease":
I suggested that if we had 20 ideas just as good, we would change the world.
(my emphasis)

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 05:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but its a fair challenge to the ET community to try and enumerate just what those ideas might be - techno went on to nominate 15 other possible ideas which I appreciate were a "top of the head" list and I think it would be a useful exercise for us all to try to agree on a few other big ideas or themes which distinguish ET from the mainstream and which, if adopted by the mainstream would have a significant impact on global discourse and practice.  

Techno argued that ET should be about challenging the popular consensus and giving policymakers the tools to make alternate decisions - and that going to demos shouting save mother earth etc. shouldn't be the height of our ambitions, or even the core of what we are about.  An alternative think tank, if you will, although I hate that term.

I started trying to articulate one such core idea when I wrote my blog on the The Negotiation Process but it didn't seem to resonate here, so I am developing that theme for another forum.  I'm sure others have core themes/ideas which they would like to articulate and which might be taken up by the ET community as a joint project. I would find it useful if we did have a "project list" of working topics which might come to define/encapsulate a lot of what ET is about for an external audience.

I appreciate that is partly what you have been trying to do with your occasional series and it is also something we could build into the design of ET 2.0 by allowing tagging and categorisation of blogs - a bit like Booman has a regional sub-menu - we could have a thematic one.

PS speaking of ET 2.0 - any chance of including commonly used code sequences like "<...a href="http://www.eurotrib.com">The European Tribune</a...>" along with the allowed HTML at the bottom of the "post comment page"?  I always end up having to do a copy and paste job from the new user guide section.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 06:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commonly used sequences of HTML can be made into macros. If you have specific requests for macros just make them.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
If you have specific requests for macros just make them.

by macros do you mean the right click options provided by tribex?  The list of code sequences given in the new new user guide would be a good start - although there are a couple of errors (unclosed tags) in some of the sample code there.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I mean things like ((*torygraph)) (without the asterisk) giving you [Torygraph Alert] . The ((*youtube film_id)) and other video embedding macros, etc.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Torygraph Alert] ?

Didn't know these macros existed - is there a list?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ummm...well.

I don't think there are many bigger ideas than

(a) "Bank Debt is Obsolete"; and

(b) "here's how the replacements work".

Which is what I observe, and what I'm doing.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair comment - I'll put that on the "list"!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
except that we don't quite all subscribe to that idea...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:32:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, whether people do or not is up to them.

Those who do, join in, those who don't, keep on doing what they are doing, which is their privilege.

I've already had two investment banks contact me - one at the weekend who read it in ET - in respect of the "Peak Credit" article (one at "global head of strategy" level), both of them big names, and both with a cartload of sub prime US shit to deal with.

The logic of the Internet is that intermediation is unnecessary: why are credit intermediaries aka banks any different?

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure ET allows dissention on the Anglo disease theme as well.  We don't all have to agree on everything, the important thing is that ET provides a space where new ideas can be developed.  Not being a banker I'm not sure I fully comprehend the implications of Chris' model, but it seems a pretty big, radical, and counter intuitive concept as far as the received wisdom is concerned and should surely thus qualify as one of say 20 themes? If there are bigger and better ideas in the works then lets have them...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Jerome's diagnosis of the Anglo Disease is spot on.

Where we differ is in relation to the causes and the cures.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 07:35:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Jerome's recognition of the Anglo Disease is relevant. But I don't it's exclusively a capitalist problem - more about a peculiarly pig-headed self-serving ignorance which the Anglo countries have made their own, and which has been operating for much longer than the current disaster-in-making.

Class is possibly the strongest determinant. People are either on top, desperately trying to get on top, or being screwed by those on top. Capitalism turns this into a rather psychotic artform, but it's not possible for a culture to function intelligently as long as there are these kinds of horizontal fault-lines running through the population.

Change is only going to come by distracting people from their silly class-based games and creating a sense of personal participation which is actively exciting. People desperately want to feel a part of something which is more fulfilling than office politics and a useless and irrelevant right to vote.

The Right does well because it makes politics personal - not abstract, or issue based, but directly participatory. The sense of participation is a lie, but in politics people seem to want that feeling more than almost anything.

Which is why it's not enough to critique the Anglo Disease - there has to be an alternative which is easy to understand, easy to get involved with, and which has both personal and political influence.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 07:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see also http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2008/4/12/123134/240/65?mode=alone;showrate=1#65

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 07:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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