Name: Josh Cryer
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 44,786
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 44,786
Sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
How can we possibly think that an interconnected world such as ours with all of its glorious industrial magic, stuff so beyond each one of us but applied through the efforts of many, is anything but a truly connected and truly integrated society?
The whole alienation thing only applies to someone from a pre-industrial society watching as industry comes up around them and trying to make sense of it all. The reality is that we as a species are probably more social, more connected, less alienated than any other species on the planet.
Also, to get back to what you were saying, that (buying what we use, buying what we thinkg) is actually one of the critiques of Marx's theory of alienation and commodity fetishism. What if Marxism itself becomes a commodity fetish to the point of alienating others. Think about that one for a bit (yeah, once a philosophy becomes a caricature of its critique it sort of invalidates itself).
Posted by joshcryer | Mon Feb 24, 2014, 01:15 AM (0 replies)
Joe Biden on LaGuardia Airport: 'I must be in some third-world country'
Vice President Joe Biden is very unhappy about America's declining infrastructure. During a speech in Philadelphia today, he threw New York's LaGuardia Airport under the bus to drive that point home. But first, the vice president talked about advancements overseas. "If I blindfolded someone and took him at 2 o'clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said, 'Where do you think you are?’ He’d say, ‘This must be America. It’s a modern airport,'" Biden said. International airports have indeed seen some stunning innovations recently.
"If I took you and blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you'd think, ‘I must be in some third-world country,’" Biden said. When his statement drew laughter from the crowd, Biden quickly noted, "I'm not joking." To further illustrate just how bad things have become, he pointed to statistics from the World Economic Forum. "Just in the last decade, the United States has fallen 20 spots when it comes to the quality of infrastructure," Biden said. "It's embarrassing, and it's stupid. It's stupid."
"That puts us literally behind, they rank us behind Barbados," Biden said. "Great country. One airport." Biden's remarks came during the unveiling of Amtrak's newest rail engine. "Why did we lead the world economically for so long? We had the most modern infrastructure in the world," he said. Despite being one of the most popular airports in the world, LaGuardia is often criticized by travelers for its dated or "unique" facilities.
It's going to be good. Video at link, btw, he shows his passion.
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Feb 7, 2014, 02:10 AM (16 replies)
I will be proven correct.
Posted by joshcryer | Mon Jan 20, 2014, 08:03 AM (1 replies)
Bookmark this for future soothsaying. It is early. You can chastise me for predicting early. We got 2014 to focus on. All well and good, I am making this prediction now because I want to call it early.
Clinton cannot shore up liberals and it risks causing a rift between liberals, and centrists and third wayers (DINOS). The problem is with the independent vote. Clinton can get the independent vote fairly easily and a lot of the conservative women vote (if only voting because they identify with Clinton). However, the independent vote requires liberal activists to GOTV and rile up the base, as liberals have always done.
To satisfy the liberal vote Clinton needs a true liberal on the ticket. Castro shores up the Latino vote, again for identifying purposes, but it doesn't go far enough to cause a massive GOTV effort. In Latino communities that will be the case, but in more conservative communities the liberal GOTV effort will be paramount. And for that reason Clinton will need someone more progressive on the ticket.
Castro will accept because he suspects by 2024 he will be a shoe in for President as the Latino community will have grown to be 15-20% of the population. And his progressivism will be accepted in 2016 and 2024 the country will have shifted dramatically to the left (by then marijuana and gay marriage will be legalized across the country; and the American public will be wanting Single Payer which is what his platform will run on).
Some will say Clinton wouldn't need Castro or that Castro wouldn't jump on board a Clinton ticket because she is too centrist / right wing / third way. I think that Castro would be on the ticket because he wants to change America and being VP and then President is his best shot at that. The demographics of the United States are statistically going one way.
If climate change doesn't screw us in the intrim this is how I see the future panning out.
edit: TBF first posed this situation though I don't think she outright predicted it (she did make convincing arguments for this, however). Credit goes to TBF for convincing me on this issue though I am fully compelled to believe this will be the candidacy. It's been in the back of my mind for weeks now and I finally committed to making a prediction this early.
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Dec 13, 2013, 04:59 AM (40 replies)
Automation is causing such a worker disparity, and it's only going to get worse. Look at how, a recent example for strikers, McDonalds is already extremely automated as it is.
My problem starts from an anti-capitalist POV, except, one that recognizes capitalist 'success':
I fear a world ran by corporations that "works." And that happens if we allow ourselves to operate within the confines of the political system that is incidentally ran by the very corporations. No where does he challenge us to uproot the political system, only in 220 does he challenge us to "not be swayed like mobs" to the powers that be. That's literally what the statistics show us doing. So when someone comes out, this day and age, and says "we must reduce poverty," and we're on a trajectory to reduce it anyway in 10-15 years, it comes off as not really a true commitment to anything. It's something already happening. The "anti-stuff" message is just delaying the expectation of urgency and it serves, in my view, as only a propagandistic effect to chill people from wanting a better standard of living (and therefore challenging the status quo) because there is no virtue in that.
Francis has, of course, elsewhere, decried the effect of the "business lobby" but we'd be remiss to ignore his mentioning of the "gay lobby" and the "Masonic lobby..." naturally. Because those are lobby's we need to concern ourselves with.
Posted by joshcryer | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 08:16 AM (1 replies)
This video, like all Chomsky videos, is taking him out of context. Chomsky takes the easy path when he acknowledges his unrelenting failure to understand popular culture.
Noam Chomsky: Never heard of it. I'm pretty much out of popular culture altogether.
Jeff Jetton: Is that everyday world that most people find so fascinating ... why is it so uninteresting to you?
Noam Chomsky: I don't know, I just don't care about it. It looks to me pointless and superficial. If I had free time I'd rather read a nineteenth century novel.
Jeff Jetton: In the post-Hustler interviews, you seem to have a rabid distaste for porn, calling it degrading to women. But surely there's a deeper conversation to be had about human sexuality and erotic material. Is it just that all pornography is --
Noam Chomsky: I'm no expert on pornography. The core element of it, I think, is degradation of women, whatever else goes on. I don't think it should be outlawed, but I'm not in favor of the degradation of anybody.
Jeff Jetton: Do you know who Lady Gaga is?
Noam Chomsky: I've seen ads and stuff, but no.
This is a cop out and sadly one of Chomsky's later life failings. This attitude that a nineteenth century novel is less superficial than modern popular culture is bourgeoisie-esque, and really a problem in modern socialist thinking as a whole.
I don't disagree with Chomsky's acknowledgement of the economic relationship toward pornography. But to suggest that he intends that all pornography is bad is a failure to understand that he doesn't get pornography produced by willing individuals in a current, popular culture mindset. Kink is not Vivid, to put it simply as possible.
In the end Chomsky does suggest an understanding in that vein, as he doesn't think porn should be outlawed. Yet I am sure he would believe that child abuse should be outlawed (thus his own analogy isn't a one to one relationship with child abuse and he contradicted himself; the results of age, no doubt).
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Nov 29, 2013, 08:30 PM (1 replies)
However, I also came to the conclusion that consumer consciousness is a proven, richly valuable tool, which corporations via copy testing and polling achieve on a daily basis. With very good results (oh, and the individuals resulting from this do not sense that their options are being manipulated).
In that vein I decided that class consciousness is most easily achieved through class consumer consciousness. That is, you have consumers who, via their consumption, are taught about class and how to emancipate themselves from the class structure.
This is where I would basically disagree (while agreeing, note) with Marx (among others, as well as Chomsky and Debord). Marx (as well as Debord and Chomsky) believe that consumer culture is "alienating." I believe the precise opposite though I agree with their arguments about why consumer culture is alienating in the current capitalist mode of production. Consumer culture with individuals who are involved in the totality of the process as workers within their consumption structure would be extremely emancipating, it would be extremely socializing. There would be no alienation in any arguable way.
You go down to a local "maker factory" and make yourself a new fangled oPhone made with Open Source hardware and software and given away freely to anyone. You have no idea how the oPhone works or the machines work that make the oPhone, all you know is that everyone has one and you want one too. The first thing you do when you enter the maker factory is get greeted by someone who asks you what your level of expertise is. You say you are a complete newbie and aren't sure of how anything at the factory works. They ask you how much time you're willing to devote, and you respond all day. "Perfect!" You then spend the day talking to technicians about how to build your oPhone, the procedures used in the factory process could be completely automated or could have some sense of factory line work, either way works. This horizontal mode of production is intrinsically anti-capitalist and socialist in nature. At the end of the day you leave the "maker factory" with an oPhone and have learned a lesson in socialism and class structure, all the while you are completely part of the process and there is zero alienation whatsoever.
Why would you then go to a store like Wal-Mart, ran very much like a hierarchical socialist functioning system (their margins are less than 10% and they're one of the largest employers in the world), when you could go to the "maker factory"? You have to pay Wal-Mart, the "maker factory" would be giving stuff away for "free" (your own labor would of course be valued at the "maker factory" so that's a bit overstated). As a consumer you are going to be compelled to go to the "maker factory." Therefore consumerism is a good tool to create class consciousness whether we like it or not.
This thing about consumerism for or against reminds me of old programming debates about GOTO and how it was "considered harmful." Except GOTO was predated by CONTINUATIONS (they're essentially the same except continuations pass a value) and in fact CONTINUATIONS are an extremely powerful tool when it comes to programming. Anyway, the point of this tangent is that we got GOTO wrong, and I think Marx (and a lot of those who followed him) got consumerism wrong. And I think it hurt socialism in the long run for it.
Posted by joshcryer | Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:38 AM (1 replies)
I think it allowed the government to set the stage as to labor disputes. Yes, Yellow Dog contracts were shit, but it was one way labor was fighting back hard. If a union man saw a sign saying "Now hiring, no unions!" he'd go in there and freaking sign up and cause all sorts of headaches for the employer. With the government basically saying "we won't discuss it" (by refusing injunctions) it killed the philosophical discussions. It killed the court rulings. It made labor passive with respect to employers (indeed labor cheered it, naively, imo).
Basically the Republicans of that time saw the world through a lens of the almighty contract. And Yellow Dog contracts were a contract that capitalists used to their favor (like the vast majority of non-immediate-transaction-immediate-transfer-based contracts). The Republicans hated the headache it was causing though because it showed a kind of contract that on its face broke the non-aggression principle and it had to be neutered.
What did Norris-Laguardia it get us? Well, where's the Wal-Mart union? It didn't serve its purpose in the long run because Wal-Mart can and will fire anyone who wants to start a union, and it's not in the contract at all! And, because the government won't form injunctions (this is in the event of a mass firing and employees suing Wal-Mart to allow them to keep their jobs), it's not discussed! It's a double edged sword.
What FDR should've realized is that labor disputes should be covered by the government, and not in some sort of set way, but rather, the government should've said "We will look at every labor dispute in a case by case basis." So, when factory workers took over a large baron's shipping company, and they did so wholesale, the discussion about whose property the factory really is would take place.\
Note: Norris-Laguardia did, importantly, say that forming unions did not equate "conspiracy," but I think that part is just common sense really (since unions are merely ones expression of free speech and association). Still, that would've been part of it I think was good.
By NLRB I meant the Wagner Act, my apologies. FDR signed it into law. This created a hierarchy within unions, limiting the power of autonomous union actions. Anyone could form a union, but they needed to select a leader, which went against the original concept of free association and autonomy. This is the "set way" I was talking about. Because all labor disputes are the same, they never actually result in much direct action or strikes or appropriation of capitalist property. It's clean. Board room dealing. And the working class is ignorant of the whole thing because they don't generally experience what labor disputes were like back in the day. Taft-Hartley was an amendment to the Wagner Act and it and other legislation ultimately legitimized stealth yellow dog contracts.
Where something like this is perfectly legal:
Posted by joshcryer | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 03:46 PM (1 replies)
The people you list appear to me to have a more ideological influence than an intellectual influence (ie, they make him want to approach the problem a certain way, but he is not ignorant of other thinkers).
Ferhout incorporates primitivist thought in his critique of centralized capitalist industrialism as do I, and would I, if I felt like going into why human civilization is probably going to survive the coming onslaught and transcend to the point of being one with the galaxy and the eventual super galaxy that shall coalesce in 100 billion years. But I don't think that's part of the discussion for this forum as human action is causing an extremely dire situation for life on this planet and there's even a possibility that we extinguish it completely.
I'll live you with this (from his rebuttal to Kurzweil, relinking just in case):
As Marshall Sahlins shows, for most of history, humans lived in a gift economy based on abundance. And within that economy, for most food or goods people families or tribes were mainly self-reliant, drawing from an abundant nature they had mostly tamed. Naturally there were many tribes with different policies, so it is hard to completely generalize on this topic -- but certainly some did show these basic common traits of that lifestyle. Only in the last few thousand years did agriculture and bureaucracy (e.g. centered in Ancient Egypt, China, and Rome) come to dominate human affairs -- but even then it was a dominance from afar and a regulation of a small part of life and time. It is only in the last few hundred years that the paradigm has shifted to specialization and an economy based on scarcity. Even most farms 200 years ago (which was where 95% of the population lived then) were self-reliant for most of their items judged by mass or calories. But clearly humans have been adapted, for most of their recent evolution, to a life of abundance and gift giving.
In my arguments with primitivists in the past, I would use this exact same argument, and it left them baffled. Because I agree with them more than I disagree. It's really a frustrating thing to be sure!
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Feb 8, 2013, 03:41 PM (1 replies)