Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 02:39 PM
Original message
Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian "Movement"
Posted in full with the permission of the anonymous author -

Disclaimer: This is not a conspiracy story, though it has all the elements of one. Anonymous shadowy figures, international "societies", complete political "ideologies" created for convenience alone, social institutions corrupted through the mere distribution of cash (science, politics, universities, governments and even the Nobel Prize), and a global strategy designed to "rule the world" - no doubt about it, this one is better than a novel. But, don't get carried away. There are no secret ceremonies or lizard people in this tale. Nor is it a story about groups named after Italian light fixtures or German beer. It is instead the story of how "everyday conspiracies" work.

Karl Marx wrote that the ruling ideas of any age are the ideas of its ruling class. Looking backward, it is hard to dispute this observation, but how does it actually work? That is what our story is about. It starts with the businessman below and his simple frustration at the success of Marxism as an idea, first among his own workers and then amongst the American establishment whose wide-spread adoption of the appropriately conciliatory "New-Dealism" was entirely in response. In an economic system in which everything is reduced to a commodity, a man of means should be able to simply buy a counter-idea, shouldn't he? So it turns out...



William S. Volker (1859-1947)

Mr. Anonymous

William Volker, alias "Mr. Anonymous," alias the "First Citizen" of Kansas City, Missouri, "was an extremely modest, enormously wealthy home-furnishings tycoon. He became the unrecognized donor of thousands of gifts, large and small."

Volker was born on April 1, 1859 into a prosperous household in Hanover, Germany. At age 12, Volker's family immigrated to Chicago. At 17 he went to work for a picture frame manufacturer. With the death of his employer in 1882, Volker bought out the company and moved the enterprise to Kansas City. From there, his "little window shade business" grew into a national giant.

In 1911, 52 year old William Volker married. Returning from his honeymoon, he announced he had put one million dollars in his wife's name and, he said, intended to give the rest of his enormous fortune away. Over the next 36 years, he donated millions of dollars, much of it anonymously. When Volker died at age 88 on November 4, 1947, many schools, parks, and public spaces were named for the furnishings tycoon.

So why pick on this guy?

The answer is that the overwhelming priority of Volker's "philanthropy" was focused, not on public spaces but on reactionary ideology. Dismayed by the rise of Socialism in America and doubly dismayed by what he saw as the evolution of government and political thinking towards accommodation and a "new liberalism", eventually personified by the widespread adoption of the economic views of John Maynard Keynes and the New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Volker set out to create a new and much more reactionary "mainstream" ideology based loosely around his own ideas of "laissez-faire" capitalism (i.e. a largely unregulated economy) and social Darwinism (the pseudo-scientific notion that in society, unhindered competition would allow the "cream to rise to the top").

In truth, Volker was no great scholar or thinker. The ideology he set out to create was built upside down, starting only with a set of foggy conclusions for which he had a predisposition. From these conclusions, it was the task of Volker's considerable fortune to find a set of justifications, then an enabling ideology or "theory" that gave it all perspective and unity and, eventually, a true philosophical platform from which to launch the whole. But if this task was analogous to building the Great Pyramid, starting from the top, Volker was undaunted. He may not have had a brain but he had money... and he had a personal connection to one of the most reactionary sections of that most reactionary of organizations - the National Association of Manufacturers. Volker's "associates", who would all participate closely, included Jasper Crane of DuPont, B. E. Hutchinson of Chrysler, Henry Weaver of General Electric, Pierre Goodrich of B.F. Goodrich, and Richard Earhart of White Star Oil (which through many mergers and aquistions would eventually become Mobil Oil). Moreover, Volker had "influence" at the leading scholarly institution in his home town: The University of Chicago, founded by none other than John D. Rockefeller and created with a certain ideological "bent".

In 1932 Volker established the William Volker Fund and, with that, started on the road to becoming perhaps the most significant anonymous asshole of our times. In every way, William S. Volker was the true "father" of Libertarianism and Modern Conservatism.

For the first dozen years, the fund largely floundered. There is some evidence that Volker may have flirted with Fascism. That ideology though, which attracted such celebrities as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, was thought to have a limited future in America. In the face of Keynesian economics, widespread social spending, and the CIO, what was really required was a return to pre-New Deal economic policy and an anti-communist/anti-union social policy.



Eureka!

The breakthrough came in 1944, when Volker's nephew, Harold Luhnow, took over, first the business and then the Fund. In the same year, Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was published. The book was a product of the "Austrian School" of economists, originating at the University of Vienna and first coming to modest prominence at the end of the 19th century in its attacks on Marxist and Socialist economics. Hayek's book was an almost mystical (and hysterical) defense of laissez-faire capitalism and the "free market". According to Hayek, market prices created a "spontaneous order, or what is referred to as 'that which is the result of human action but not of human design'. Thus, Hayek put the price mechanism on the same level as, for example, language." In turn, any attempt at regulation would inevitably lead to "totalitarianism" and in this, both Marxist and New Deal "socialism" were essentially similar. The theory was perfect . Volker and Luhnow had found their ideology. The cash began to flow.

In short order, the Volker Fund and its larger network arranged for the re-publication of Hayek's book by the University of Chicago (a recurring and important connection) despite the fact that it had been almost universally rejected by the Economics establishment. A year later, the book was published in serial form by the ultra-reactionary Readers Digest not withstanding the fact that it was supposed to be a "scholarly text", ordinarily inappropriate for the readership of the Digest, and despite the fact that it had also had been panned by literary critics. In 1950, the Fund arranged for Hayek to secure a position at the University of Chicago and when the University only granted an unpaid position, they arranged for the Earhart Foundation to pay him a salary. Hayek was only the first of a veritable flood of migr, "scholars".

Recruiting the Homeless

Hayek's teacher in Vienna had been one Ludwig von Mises who, in turn, had been the student of Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk (who had gained fame for his attack on Marxist Economics) and who, in his turn, had been the student of Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian school. Each of these had published several books that were virulent attacks on Socialism and defended "pure capitalism". It was all very good. Von Mises book was called Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis and it too had been received with yawns when it was published in English in 1936.

While von Mises really had "taught" at the University of Vienna, his was an unpaid position. The University had turned him down on four separate occasions for a paid position. Not surprisingly, in 1940 the nearly destitute von Mises had emigrated to the United States. In 1945, an unpaid "visting professorship" was obtained for him at NYU while his salary was paid by "businessmen such as Lawrence Fertig". Fertig was an associate of the Volker Fund and a friend of Henry Hazlitt, the Fund's friendliest journalist. In all, they would fund von Mises for 25 years and von Mises never would need a "real job".

In fact, this was typical of the Fund's "bait and switch" tactic for developing resumes. In the United States, von Mises was the "famed economics professor from the University of Vienna". In Europe, he would become the "famous American economist from NYU".



Local Reinforcements

The economist Milton Friedman, during his fifteen minutes of fame, took the opportunity of the publication of his opus, Capitalism and Freedom to decry the shabby treatment that the likes of Hayek and Mises had received from the Economics "establishment". On his own similar reception, he wrote in the 1982 preface of his book:

"Those of us who were deeply concerned about the danger to freedom and prosperity from the growth of government, from the triumph of welfare-state and Keynesian ideas, were a small beleaguered minority regarded as eccentrics by the great majority of our fellow intellectuals.

Even seven years later, when this book was first published, its views were so far out of the mainstream that it was not reviewed by any major national publication--not by the New York Times or the Herald Tribune (then still being published in New York) or the Chicago Tribune, or by Time or Newsweek or even the Saturday Review--though it was reviewed by the London Economist and by the major professional journals. And this for a book directed at the general public, written by a professor at a major U.S. university, and destined to sell more than 400,000 copies in the next eighteen years."

It is attractive to believe that Friedman was really this foolish and that his expertise in the "politics of fame" was similar to his expertise in Monetary Policy. In fact, his separate acknowledgements of the importance of the Volker Fund belie this possibility. In truth, the Fund and its progeny identified Friedman early on, shepherded his career at the University of Chicago, subsidized him through a paid lecture series (which eventually were combined into Capitalism and Freedom), paid his way to Mont Pelerin, arranged for the serialization of his book by Reader's Digest, and bought a signifcant number of the books that Friedman was so proud of "selling".

Friedman was only one of dozens of such local "scholars" who were suddenly "discovered" through the efforts of the Fund.

The Fund also now began to recruit friendly young "future-scholars" and subsidize their development. Not only was the cause thus advanced, but a modest intelligence network became a part of the "Libertarian Movement". One such early recruit was Murray Rothbard, later to become famous as the "father" of "Left Libertarianism", "Libertarian anarchism", and "anarco-capitalism". Later much castigated for his "sellout to the Right-wing Republicans", Rothbard had, from the first, been intimately wrapped up in Anti-Communism, McCarthyism, the "Old Right", and the right-wing ideology of the Volker Fund. It was through the Fund that he became an associate of Ayn Rand and a student of Mises.

"Rothbard began his consulting work for the Volker Fund in 1951. This relationship lasted until 1962, when the VF was dissolved. A major part of Rothbard's work for the VF consisted of reading and evaluating books, journal articles, and other materials. On the basis of written reports by Rothbard and another reader - Rose Wilder Lane - the VF's directors would decide whether to undertake massive distribution of particular works to public libraries.

The VF also asked Rothbard to submit reports on particular questions, such as how to rank sundry economists in terms of friendliness to the free market, surveys of the literature on monopoly, Soviet wage structures, etc., etc. Rothbard's memos number several hundred, covering works in economics, history, philosophy, and political science. The memos, which range in length from one page to seventy pages, provide a window into the scholarship of the period - and Rothbard's views on that scholarship. They thereby shed much light on Rothbard's emerging worldview and his systematic defense of liberty."

They also shed "much light" on how the Fund decided which "scholars" to promote, and which to attack. Rothbard later called his work with the Volker Fund, "the best job I've ever had in my life".

Multiplying Like Rabbits

In support of the imported scholars and the new ideology, the Volker Fund also pioneered a process which would become the hallmark of the "Libertarian Movement". The Fund started to spin-off organizations by the boatload, each intended, not just to serve specific purposes but to give the appearance of many "independent" efforts spawned by a "mass" appeal. The list of "begats" is too numerous to chronicle but the first set are illuminating.

Among the very first "front organizations" of the Volker Fund was the "National Book Foundation". While the Foundation's affiliation to the Volker Fund was not hidden, it was circumspect enough to suggest, even to most "Libertarians", that it was independent. The fund began modestly enough by distributing free copies Eugene Bhm-Bawerk's works to thousands of libraries and universities across the country. As the Volker efforts geared up, the Foundation began to distribute millions of books from dozens of authors, all coming from the Fund's stables. Many educational "incentives" were initiated such as "teach a course on Hayek, get 10 (or 100) textbooks for free"...

The Foundation for Economic Education was spun out in 1946, under the leadership of Leonard Read, a leading figure in the Chambers of Commerce. The grand-daddy of all libertarian "think-tanks", the FEE initiated the original Mont Pelerin Society meetings. Its own publication, The Freeman, became the founding journal of "Libertarianism". The rent was paid by Volker.

The Institute for Humane Studies was created by Floyd "Baldy" Harper, the "ace recruiter" of the Volker Fund, in 1961. The IHS identified and subsidized "bright young students" and "promising scholars" friendly to the new "Libertarian" doctrine. Not only did the IHS fund thousands of "students", but it spawned dozens of similar organizations throughout the world. After the Volker Fund was finally closed, subsidies for the IHS shifted to some of the most reactionary organizations in America: The Scaife Foundation, Koch Family Foundations, The Bradley Foundation, and the Carthage Foundation.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute was founded in 1953 to combat what they would eventually call "political correctness" and "'left-bias" in colleges and universities. The organization now consists of 50,000 college students and faculty and through its lavish subsidies, sponsors dozens of programs representing the entire spectrum of right-wing "Libertarian" causes. The first president of the ISI was a young William F. Buckley Jr.




The Earhart Foundation was created by and named for Richard Earhart of White Star Oil, one of Volker's original collaborators in the National Assosciation of Manufacturers. This foundation was used to subsidize various migrs and not only financed Hayek but also Eric Voegelin, yet another "Austrian". Through Voeglin, the Earhardt Foundation became connected with the infamous Leo Strauss and, since then, various "projects" of not just a "libertarian" but of a "neo-conservative" perspective have been beneficiaries of the Foundation. In addition, The Earhart Foundation helped to pioneer still another use of the newly-emergent Libertarian think-tanks. As the network of these think-tanks grew, they undertook not only to promote ideology but also specific points of policy, particularly in support of private corporations. The culmination of the Foundation's efforts in this direction came with the founding of the George C. Marshall Institute in 1984. The Institute was initially a foremost proponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), heavily promoted by the Defense Industry, and later became the leading non-industry critic of "Climate Change". The CEO of the Institute is currently a registered lobbysist for ExxonMobil.

Through the list of organizations, above, the Volker Fund's near-biblical "begats" encompass nearly every single prominent individual and organization of the "Libertarian" and "New Conservative" movements of today.

The Not-So-Secret Society

Quote:
In 1947, 39 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, and discuss the state, and possible fate of classical liberalism and to combat the "state ascendancy and Marxist or Keynesian planning sweeping the globe". Invitees included Henry Simons (who would later train Milton Friedman, a future president of the society, at the University of Chicago); the American former-Fabian socialist Walter Lippmann; Viennese Aristotelian Society leader Karl Popper; fellow Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises; Sir John Clapham, a senior official of the Bank of England who from 1940-6 was the president of the British Royal Society; Otto von Habsburg, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne; and Max von Thurn und Taxis, Bavaria-based head of the 400-year-old Venetian Thurn und Taxis family.



If the above rings of "Bohemian Grove" and similar fodder for conspiracies, it is because informal "retreats" at out-of-the-way resorts are one of the favorite methods by which the wealthy of many countries formulate a common international policy. What distinguishes the Mont Pelerin Society, however, is that it did not consist primarily of the wealthy. Instead, it was comprised of a majority of marginal, thread-bare "scholars", united only by their common hatred of "socialism" and Keynesianism (which were one and the same for most of them) and sprinkled with only a handful of rich patrons and journalists. In fact the Mount Pelerin Society was organized as much by the Volker Fund as by Hayek himself and the Foundation paid the way for all 10 of the American "participants".

Once in Switzerland, the "scholars" agreed on their hatred of "socialism" but on little else except to meet yearly to "facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems."

From this not-so-secret-but-thoroughly-right-wing society's more than humble beginnings, the phoenix of laissez-faire capitalism would rise, propelled skyward by unlimited funds. Over a dozen of the scholars who could not previously get a job, a review, or a book deal would go on to win the "Nobel Prize in Economics" (this "epic" story will be told separately). More importantly, the Mont Pelerin Society would itself beget 500 foundations and organizations in nearly 80 countries... again with strategic contributions from Mr. Anonymous. Once transformed into an "international movement", there was no end to what was possible. One example tells the story.

Initiated at Mont Pelerin and copying the FEE, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was created in London in 1955. Serving as a conduit for both cash and "ideas", the IEA set about the task of "rejuvenating" the dead and decaying British Tories. By 1985, the "Iron Lady", Margaret Thatcher, would positively gush on the occasion of the Institute's 30th Anniversary: "You created the atmosphere which made our victory possible... May I say how thankful we are to those who joined your great endeavor. They were the few, but they were right, and they saved Britain." With that, the IEA begat the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which in turn created a network of over 50 "think-tanks" in more than 30 countries.

And what were the scale of these efforts? John Blundell, the head of the IEA, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, and Atlas in 1990, would identify a rare failure in the Society's efforts. Shaking his head at the abortive attempt to subsidize academic "Chairs of Free Enterprise" in dozens of countries throughout the world, Blundell complained about wasting, "hundreds of millions, perhaps one billion dollars". This was just one initiative among many.

Oceans of Cash

Aaron Director was a lawyer and Ukrainian migr whose sister had married Milton Friedman prior to the Second World War. That then became the connection which led to the Volker Fund's subsidy of Director and his association with the University of Chicago. He was one of the fund's "imports", alongside Von Mises. Director's collaborator at the University was Edward Levi who would eventually go on to become the President of the University and then Attorney General of the United States. Together, Director and Levi were instrumental in the development of the Chicago School of Economics, or the conquest by the Economics department of the School of Business and the Law School.

The Law School? What does law have to do with economics? The answer was everything according to Director, who developed a theory of "Law and Economics" (called, without tongue-in-cheek, the L&E "Movement'), stressing free-enterprise principles and the primacy of property law as well as measuring legal rulings with longer-term economic criteria. "He founded the Journal of Law & Economics in 1958... that helped to unite the fields of law and economics with far-reaching influence." The journal was, of course, funded in large part by what had now become a substantial network of Volker affiliates. Despite the fact that he himself wrote virtually nothing throughout his career, "Director influenced a generation of jurists, including Robert Bork, Richard Posner, Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist."


John M. Olin

One part of what made such a thing possible was not just new territories in which to sell the tired old "economic" ideas, but also new benefactors who spread the message far and wide. In this case, perhaps the most important new "convert" was the munitions magnate, John M. Olin and his Foundation:

"...John M. Olin was disturbed by a building takeover at his alma mater, Cornell University. At the age of 80, he decided that he must pour his time and resources into preserving the free market system that had allowed him to acquire his own wealth. The Foundation is most notable for its early support and funding of the law and economics movement, a discipline that applies incentive-based thinking and cost-benefit analysis to the field of legal theory. Olin believed that law schools have a disproportionately large impact on society given their size and to this end decided to focus the majority of his funding there."

Between 1969 and 2005, when the Foundation disbanded, the John M. Olin Foundation disbursed no less than $370 Million, "primarily to conservative think tanks, media outlets, and law programs at influential universities. The Foundation is most notable for its early support and funding of the law and economics movement."

But that was not the only thing that the Olin foundation promoted. Through its contacts at the University of Chicago, the Olin Fund ran into political sciences professor Leo Strauss:

Quote:
Strauss taught that liberalism in its modern form contained within it an intrinsic tendency towards relativism, which in turn led to two types of nihilism ("Epilogue").<2> The first was a "brutal" nihilism, expressed in Nazi and Marxist regimes. These ideologies, both descendants of Enlightenment thought, tried to destroy all traditions, history, ethics, and moral standards and replace it by force with a supreme authority under which nature and mankind are subjugated and conquered.<4> The second type -- the "gentle" nihilism expressed in Western liberal democracies -- was a kind of value-free aimlessness and hedonism, which he saw as permeating the fabric of contemporary American society.<5> In the belief that 20th century relativism, scientism, historicism, and nihilism were all implicated in the deterioration of modern society and philosophy, Strauss sought to uncover the philosophical pathways that had led to this situation. The resultant study led him to revive classical political philosophy as a source by which political action could be judged.



Well, it was not exactly the same thing but it was close enough... and, with its further evolution, "neo-liberalism" would abandon the "classical liberals" in favor of medieval scholars, thus coming much closer to a "synergy". Meanwhile, for both, "classical political philosophy" was, of course, synonymous with political reaction. The unmentioned irony was that the critique of Straussianism, that it was "crudely anti-democratic, obsessed with secret meanings and in love with white lies told by powerful men to keep the rabble in line" applied neatly as a summation of the "classical liberalism" or "Libertarian" movement as a whole. In addition to its Libertarian mission, The Olin Foundation became a founder and one of the principal funding sources for the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Extending their reach, the inheritors of Mr. Anonymous' legacy, also set about creating umbrella organizations for Libertarian funding sources dedicated to funding the "counter-intelligentsia." These extended from newly created, shadowy and "anonymous" Foundations to the famous think-tanks (such as Cato, Hoover, and Hudson) to the infamous (such as the Scaife Foundation). As the network has grown, the financing of "scholars" has been supplemented by the adoption of campaigns, not just in the name of "Capitalism", "Freedom", and "Liberty" in general, but on behalf of individual capitalists in particular. Today there is virtually no public campaign, against anti-tobacco legislation, against environmental legislation, rejecting climate change theory, on behalf of HMOs and private health care, against pharmaceutical regulation and so on - outside of industry and trade associations - that does not originate within the network created or touched by Mr. Anonymous. Today the size of the cash flow is not counted in millions or hundreds of millions or in billions, but in tens of billions, and perhaps even more.

But, what about "ideas"?

In our search for cash and connections without parallel, it might be argued that we have missed the "great ideas" of Libertarianism. The simple explanation is that there are none. Beyond a pro forma agreement on the evils of Marxism, Keynesianism, and "big government" and a thoroughly mystical, near religious belief in capitalism and "free-markets", reduced to paper-thin slogans such as "Personal Freedom" and "Individual Liberty", there is no other point of consensus. Pressed beyond such platitudes, the "theoreticians" of this "movement" have always descended into the most bitter disagreements about the most substantial of issues. Such might easily be suspected of an "ideology" that embraces a political spectrum which includes right-wing Republicans, and neo conservatives and neo liberals and neo-Fascist Ayn Randians, and "classical Liberals" and Libertarian Party members, and "anarchists".

The economic historian, Jamie Peck, in setting out to write a history of the theories of the Austrian School, was dismayed to find that he could not find an "Aha moment" in that history, nor could he see substantial points of agreement between any of the authors (beyond the obvious), nor could he detect a coherent point-of-view that remained constant amongst any one of them for long. "There was nothing spontaneous about neo-liberalism; it was speculatively planned, it was opportunistically built, and it has been repeatedly reconstructed", wrote Peck.

We will deal with this subject in accompanying material, but for the moment it should be said that even the above misses the point. Beyond congenital disagreements, the embrace of Libertarian Economics as political slogan from the beginning meant that the "science" (and it is only as "economic science" that the ideology has ever had even nominal roots) was still-born, no matter how miserable its stock in trade may have turned out to be. Hayek said as much at the time of his "Nobel Prize". He complained that Serfdom. had ended his "career" as an "economist" and implied that it began his life as an "ideologist". No matter what illusions he may have harbored as to his own "destiny", the comment passes down to us as the complaints of a paid shill of the real Libertarian "science" - the science of propoganda, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volker Fund - with Hayek only counting as just another whiney paid-professional, complaining about his job-title.

There is no evidence that the much larger irony ever occurred to Hayek:

Tens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of books, hundreds of journals, dozens of universities, tens of thousands of people and thousands of professorships, and so on in a network touching virtually everyone in the "Western Democracies" - all of it centrally planned, all of it subsidized, none of it capable of existing by itself in the commercial marketplace or in the "marketplace of ideas" and all of it failing dozens of times until hooked into the river of cash produced by the the simple subsidies of the rich designed to derail the "free" evolution of ideas as they were actually proceeding... is there any such example in all of human history of a "movement" so far at odds with its own self-proclaimed "principles"? No problem, though, for William S. Volker, for whom "belief" was always optional. Mr. Anonymous got exactly what he paid for.


*****

For anyone who would attempt to understand class societies, the unmediated slogans of those same societies are the worst possible places to begin. For feudal societies, slogans such as "Chivalry", "Honor", "Fealty", "Chastity", "Virtue" and the like, underlay a social fabric that was monstrous, arbitrary, and treacherous. In most cases the slogans hid social truths which were the exact opposite of their rhetorical claims. The cruelty of the joke was not fully apparent until the end times of feudalism itself or, perhaps, even after.

In our own times, the slogans which have replaced these are those of "Freedom", "Liberty", "Democracy", "Enterprise", "Individuality", and so on. It is impossible to know the meaning of these as given and even more unlikely that one may make of them as one may wish. In the present society, they are like virgin forests that one may stumble upon while walking. No matter how pristine and unfettered such may appear, in our contemporary social system that forest is inevitably someone's private property and is thus absolutely resistant to any other appropriation.

So too, it is the same with "Freedom" and "Liberty". No matter how one may "choose" to think of them, in truth they have only one source and one meaning.

The current stakeholder for those terms is the anonymous asshole above, William Volker. He mined the ore, refined the technique, processed the product, and merchandised the result; finally sending the finished commodity out on rivers of cash, no less so than Henry Ford did with his automobiles. As with all other industrial Barons of his time, that he knew nothing of the actual ideas, processes, and practices meant nothing at all. He bought them, he paid for them, he owned them, and in the process, he spawned the liberty industry, a multi-billion dollar monopoly which today owns "the marketplace of ideas". So too, just as with Ford, the complete legacy of his "works" becomes apparent only now.


A Postscript:

As far as a postscript goes, we end as we began - with yet more fodder for conspiracy theorists. The William S. Volker Fund closed up shop in 1974, secure in the fact that it's "mission" had been taken up by others. The last millions in the Fund were passed on to the ultra-conservative Hoover Institution. What were not passed on were the files of the Volker Fund, which mysteriously disappeared. The entire paper trail documenting where the money had come from, how it was spent and who was "touched" by it, all of this disappeared with a "poof". Three decades after he died, Volker seems to have guaranteed his anonymity in perpetuity and to this day nothing but the vague outlines of this story are known. And so it goes...




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 02:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. Eyes on the Prize



Bertrand Roehner is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Theoretical and High Energy Physics at the University of Paris (Sorbonne). Dr. Roehners main interest is interdisciplinary, particularly in the application of physics to social phenomena. He has written several books and many articles challenging the accepted theories concerning various social and economic events and substituting simple physical criteria. In his 2007 book, Driving Forces in Physical, Biological and Socio-economic Phenomena: A Network Science Investigation of Social Bonds and Interactions (Cambridge University Press), Professor Roehner interrupts a discussion of Macro-interactions as they apply to marketing and cell phones in cars, to discuss the Promotion of Neo-Liberalism, particularly with regard to the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Why is this a valid subject in a text that is otherwise about networks, connection schemes, and social bonds? The simple answer is that the Nobel story is an unbelievable tale. The neo-liberal economists were nothing more than a despised sect on the edges of Economic Science, unread, undistinguished, and unknown, until a series of Nobel Prizes transformed them into the rock stars of their field, more important by far than all competing schools put together. Unfortunately, Roehner detects what others have also noticed - that the story is quite literally unbelievable. The numbers alone tell the story: 58 total laureates for the Nobel Prize in Economics, of whom two thirds are from the United States (three quarters if school of affiliation is used instead of citizenship); 8 from the Mont Pelerin society; 5 presidents of that society; 12 politically prominent neo-libs; 16 affiliated in some way with the University of Chicago not if the subject were cancer and the address, Love Canal, could such clustering be explained.

With meticulous attention to detail, Dr. Roehner dissects the story. He gives particular attention to the role of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Roehner features the Volker Fund and reproduces some of the same material that we have in our accompanying article, but Roehner traces it all back even further to the IUHEI (Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales) conferences organized by Rockefeller, starting in 1927. The key role is reserved for the Mont Pelerin Society. Roehner demonstrates a pattern whereby 5 former presidents of the Society became Nobel Prize winners shortly after ending their terms as president.

As to how this was accomplished, Roehner traces the composition of the Nobel Committee which consisted of 5 Swedish economists. Particularly important was Erik Lundberg, the President of the Swedish Bank, who was also a fanatical neo-lib and a leading member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and who simultaneously served on the Nobel Committee for over a decade and was its Chairman for half that time. It was under his term that the libertarian flood began. Lundberg was succeeded as Chairman by Assar Linbeck who had not only been part of the Society but had collaborated with Milton Friedman. Linbeck had written a hysterical book, Turning Sweden Around, which called for slashing Swedens social programs and the drastic privatization of state enterprises. Linbecks co-author for that book was Torsten Persson, yet another member of the Committee destined to become its Chairman. Roehners story details nearly endless corruption of this sort.

The resulting critique is devastating even though it is hidden deep within the bowels of a scholarly tome about other subjects. Professor Roehner might not voice it in the following terms, but the conclusion is inescapable: that a bunch of mediocre balding old white men hijacked the Nobel committee for Economics and proceeded to shamelessly give each other the Nobel Prize on ideological grounds alone (i.e., to save capitalism).


Yet, despite all this, Roehners analysis is somewhat unsatisfying. Roehner does not dwell on or perhaps is only dimly aware of the central fact which trumps all others in this story:There is no such thing as the Nobel Prize in Economics!

There never has been one. Economics was not one of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel (Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Medicine), there is no mention of economics anywhere in Alfred Nobels will nor in the enabling documents for the Prize when it was established in 1896, and not a nickel of Nobels money has ever been awarded for such a prize. So where did it come from?

In 1968, the Swedish Bank established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, put up the money for the award, and talked the King of Sweden into giving away their prize at the same time as the Nobels. The President of the Bank, the very same Erik Lundberg discussed above, promised a selection process and committee kinda, sorta, just like that of the real prizes, immediately stacked the committee, and they were off to the races.

In 1971, the first prize was awarded to a neo-liberal, F.A. Hayek, and the new prize became bathed in controversy. The prize was awarded jointly to Gunnar Myrdal, Swedens most famous economist, and to Hayek. The ungrateful Myrdal immediately turned around and announced publicly that Hayek didnt deserve the prize. Oddly, Hayek agreed. Nevertheless, none of this prevented the world press from trumpeting, Universities from gushing, and Foundations from funding, the flood of new laureates, blissfully, or perhaps intentionally, unaware of the underlying fraud.

The comedy went on unhindered until Peter Nobel, the great-grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, went public with a blistering criticism of the memorial Prize in the 1990s. The Swedish Riksbank, like a cuckoo, has placed its egg in another very decent birds nest. What the Bank did was akin to trademark infringement unacceptably robbing the real Nobel Prizes. Nobel said, Two thirds of these prizes in economics have gone to US economists, particularly of the Chicago School These have nothing to do with Alfred Nobels goal of improving the human condition and our survival indeed they are the exact opposite.

Faced with an unwanted controversy, the Swedish Bank promised significant reforms in its selection criteria and in the committee for the prize. The neo-liberal flood had already ended in any case. The final irony was played out in 2001 when the reformed economics committee awarded the prize to American Economist and Columbia Professor, Joseph Stiglitz.

Stiglitzs contribution is essentially a complete refutation of the one scientific claim made by neo-liberal or Austrian economics: that unregulated free-markets provide the highest possible economic efficiency. Nope. Not true. Perhaps even worse, Stiglitz mathematically and formally demonstrated the potential efficiency-enhancing properties of the state based on the Greenwald-Stiglitz theorems (by establishing the - constrained - Pareto inefficiency of market economies with imperfect information and incomplete markets). In other words, big government isnt the problem from even the most elementary of economic standpoint. It is capital and markets which contribute the fundamental inefficiencies.

No Libertarian retraction is expected

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. CLIMATE SKEPTIC REFUSES TO DISCLOSE FUNDING

Patrick J. Michaels, one of the global warming skeptics most often interviewed by news media, withdrew as an expert witness in a high-profile Vermont court case rather than disclose his funding sources, court documents show.

Moreover, Michaels told the court in July 2007, some funders gave him money on the condition that their identities remain secret and he is largely dependent for his livelihood on the money they give him.

...

On CNN's Capital Gang in 2002, Michaels had said: "Well, you know, most of my funding, the vast majority, comes from taxpayer-supported entities. I would make the argument that if funding colors research, I should be certainly biased more towards the taxpayers, of which I am one, than towards industry. But the fact of the matter is, numbers are objective."





In recent years, state general fund appropriations have amounted to barely more than 8 percent of the operating budget of U.Va. Michaels has also received research grants from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Michaels has argued in at least two books, The Satanic Gases and Meltdown, that federal funding has corrupted climate research.

http://www.sej.org/foia/index7.htm

FACTSHEET: Patrick J. Michaels
DETAILS

Research Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute. Visiting Scientist, Marshall Institute. State Climatologist, Virginia. Advisor, American Legislative Exchange Council.



Dr. Patrick Michaels is possibly the most prolific and widely-quoted climate change skeptic scientist. He has admitted receiving funding from various fossil fuel industry sources. His latest book, published in September 2004 by the Cato Institute, is titled: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.



Michaels is the Chief Editor for the "World Climate Review," a newsletter on global warming funded by the Western Fuels Association.


Coal is where your power begins.

Western Fuels Association, Inc.

Western Fuels is a not-for profit cooperative that supplies coal and transportation services to consumer-owned electric utilities throughout the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions. Serving a wide variety of public power entities ranging from rural electric generation and transmission cooperatives to municipal utilities, WFA offers its Members diverse and extensive expertise in coal mining, coal procurement and transportation management.

http://www.westernfuels.org/index.cfm



Dr. Michaels has acknowledged that 20% of his funding comes from fossil fuel sources: (http://www.mtn.org/~nescncl/complaints/determinations/d... ) Known funding includes $49,000 from German Coal Mining Association, $15,000 from Edison Electric Institute and $40,000 from Cyprus Minerals Company, an early supporter of People for the West, a "wise use" group. He received $63,000 for research on global climate change from Western Fuels Association, above and beyond the undisclosed amount he is paid for the World Climate Report/Review. According to Harper's magazine, Michaels has received over $115,000 over the past four years from coal and oil interests. Michaels wrote "Sound and Fury" and "The Satanic Gases" which were published by Cato Institute. Dr. Michaels signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration. In July of 2006, it was revealed that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association "contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels." (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id... ) ALEC advisor. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=11310 and http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3558

A.B. and S.M. degrees in biological sciences and plant ecology, University of Chicago Ph.D. in ecological climatology , University of Wisconsin at Madison. Former President of the American Association of State Climatologists, and Program Chair for the Committee on Applied Meterology of the American Meteorological Society.

19 August, 2002
"The Kyoto Treaty would cost a fortune, between 1 and 3 percent of GDP per year. But the amount of warming that it would save would be 0.07 degree Celsius in the next 50 years. That was the argument that killed Kyoto in front of the Bush administration, that it costs a fortune, and it does nothing."
Source: Pat Michaels Is Interviewed for CNN's "Capital Gang" (transcript) 8/19/02

http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id...

This guy is funded by the typical pro-corporate sources:

1) Industry and trade assosciations.
2) The Volker / Libertarian Network... The ideological marker is Cato but the cash marker is the Marshall Institute as in George C. Marshall as in...

From the OP:

Quote:
The Earhart Foundation was created by and named for Richard Earhart of White Star Oil, one of Volkers original collaborators in the National Assosciation of Manufacturers. This foundation was used to subsidize various migrs and not only financed Hayek but also Eric Voegelin, yet another Austrian. Through Voeglin, the Earhardt Foundation became connected with the infamous Leo Strauss and, since then, various projects of not just a libertarian but of a neo-conservative perspective have been beneficiaries of the Foundation. In addition, The Earhart Foundation helped to pioneer still another use of the newly-emergent Libertarian think-tanks. As the network of these think-tanks grew, they undertook not only to promote ideology but also specific points of policy, particularly in support of private corporations. The culmination of the Foundations efforts in this direction came with the founding of the George C. Marshall Institute in 1984. The Institute was initially a foremost proponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), heavily promoted by the Defense Industry, and later became the leading non-industry critic of Climate Change. The CEO of the Institute is currently a registered lobbysist for ExxonMobil.




Funny how this shit "interlocks", ain't it?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
116. That guy looks a lot like Donald Rumsfeld doesn't he
...amasing how meatballs attract meatballs :wtf:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Great post! Too bad so few will have the patience and comprehension to read it.
It is long and exposes some of the most cherished beliefs if the flock, two characteristics that ensure it will sink like a rock. I hope to be wrong.

Here's my :kick: with a 'R' to go along.

Thanks.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. And thank you. Perhaps it'll get
enough votes to remain before a sizeable number of eyes.

It seems to me that this is some very important history.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Nominated.
Thank you for this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. That was an EXCELLENT post, and I'ved saved it for later rereading.
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 04:18 PM by pnorman
But I don't quite see the "libertarian" connection. Most of those NAM types would embrace whatever authoritarian governments that would promise to protect their class. In the Thirties, it wasn't just Henry Ford who was a Nazi-lover.

pnorman
On edit: I didn't read it to the end, when I posted this. I now see some "libertarian" material. I'll study (and Google) this at my leisure. And it's still an EXCELLENT posting!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
25. It's easy to overlook thing so pervasive and obvious in our lives
and then there is the codespeak these sorts use, kinda like Bush's allusion to Dred Scott as a sock puppet for shilling the anti-abortion crowd.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bush+dred+scott+ab...

Take for instance one of our latest code-talkers for this astroturf movement of, by and for the rich:
It's easy to miss how committed Ron Paul is to his own ideology. He speaks in code. Only the faithful can understand. One of Paul's articles on the Irag War is carried by antiwar.com and is titled The Fatal Conceit in the Middle East . Why is this significant? Because The Fatal Conceit is the title of the last book by the Libertarian god-head, F.A. Hayek. Hayek's fatal conceit is supposed to be the arrogance associated with economic planning, central planning and social policy, all designed to serve social goals at the expense of the unfettered operation of the "free-market". For Hayek, it is the the creation of people ("the market") which is sacred and inviolate while the people themselves are expendable. Those who see this as extreme social Darwinism are actually underestimating how truly reactionary this is.

Cut to Paul... His piece is about non-interventionism which could be mistaken for old style Republican "isolationism". The Hayek reference, however, gives it all a much more sinister meaning... one that is reinforced by the very clear split in his writings: some for the masses and some others for the enlightened. Paul's "perspectives" can be "read in two ways".



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
93. hey stranger!
we missed you guys at the meetup last night. :hug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
262. Anyone have a link to the Audiobook format of this post?

:rofl:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wow. Great stuff...
This is the kind of thing that DU used to have a lot of. Thanks for bringing a little bit of it back, and welcome to DU!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Alas
I cannot take a scintilla of credit for any of this.

Even so, I am happy as a consumer of the truth to share it when I find it. Ecstatically so in this case. There is not much out there that points the economic way like being armed with the facts. I do hope all who are interested will share this far and wide.

For years I said I never learned anything in skool worth believing. I had no idea until recently Just How True that statement is.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I slogged through it. Some of the most boring reading is
important if one seeks to understand the inner workings of Capitalism. The struggle really comes down to Class Warfare. Millionaires & Billionaires, with a few exceptions, strive to maintain & expand Capitalism. It seems that they feel that Socialism would destroy the hold that the Upper Classes have on the engines of production & power & ruin Nations. I believe that most RWingers are Fascists,do not believe in democracy & have vehement disdain for Representative Republics. The Plutocracy is thriving over Amerika.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Theres class warfare, all right, [Warren] Mr. Buffett said,
but its my class, the rich class, thats making war, and were winning.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
113. Then it really does come down to what Karl Marx said the struggles
...of the working class proletariat against the ruling class bourgeoisie. Capitalism must ultimately die from its own self destructive corruption, greed and exploitation to make way for social collectivism under communism so that all may enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Gabi Hayes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. thanks so much for this thread. I particularly 'enjoyed' finding out that there
isn't any Nobel Prize for Economics.

they also should have stopped giving the Peace Prize after 1973, when it was rendered meaningless
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Gabi Hayes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I almost forgot. Robert McChesney ties together neoliberal economics and big media here:
Rich Media, Poor Democracy

central thesis being that, without economic democracy for all, there CAN be no political democracy, and that globally controlled corporate media has become/remains the driving force behind the collapse of worldwide economic democracy, existent or nascent
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
13. This is brilliant of course and it's found only here and there but not everywhere.
Which is where it should be.

It doesn't take a secret conspiracy to corrupt the public dialog and hence the public decision making
process, just a lot of money and a lot of lies.

On a minor note, I was taken that the early bastions of right wing economic theory were "voluntary" or "unpaid" faculty at Chicago and elsewhere. Wow, they weren't even worth bringing on the payroll. Now that's capitalism actually working.

This was an open concerted effort and we have other open concerted efforts to spread false dogma for the benefit of the few and at the cost of the many.

K*R for the TRUTH

:kick:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
15. Why separate "anti-communist" and "anti-union" with a slash?
In the face of Keynesian economics, widespread social spending, and the CIO, what was really required was a return to pre-New Deal economic policy and an anti-communist/anti-union social policy.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. I don't think there was an intention to separate them, but rather
the writer was noting their strong association at that time in history. Consider this:

George Meyers: 1913-1999

Special to the World

BALTIMORE - George A. Meyers, a leader of the Communist Party USA and a giant of the American labor movement died Oct. 18 after a long illness. He was 86.

Son of a western Maryland coal miner, Meyers was a founding organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). He worked closely with John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers, Phillip Murray of the United Steelworkers and other CIO leaders during the organizing drives that brought millions of workers into the labor movement during the 1930s.

Meyers had won a place in the CIO leadership by serving as a picket captain in strikes in 1935 and 1936 that forced the Celanese Corporation in Cumberland, Md. to recognize the 10,000 member Local 1874 of the Textile Workers Union.

He was elected president of that local, then among the largest industrial union locals in the nation. Later, he was elected president of the Maryland-D.C. CIO.

In those years, Meyers was in the eye of the storm of all the great struggles of the working class, organizing the unorganized, fighting racist Jim Crow in hiring, battling for enactment of Social Security.

In 1939, Meyers joined the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). When World War II erupted, he resigned his post with the CIO and volunteered for the Army Air Corps to fight fascism.

Yet Meyers most shining achievement came in the last decades of his life when he served as the Party's Labor Secretary. During those years, Meyers worked to rebuild the alliance of left and center forces in the labor movement that had been the key to the CIO's powerful breakthroughs in mass organizing. Smashing that left-center alliance was corporate America's number one priority during the years of Cold War anti-Communist repression. The left-led unions were expelled from the CIO. Meyers, Gus Hall, now national chair of the CPUSA and many other Communist Party leaders were imprisoned on trumped up charges of "conspiracy to teach and advocate the overthrow of the government by force and violence."
http://www.pww.org/past-weeks-1999/George%20A%20Meyers%...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
16. Fascinating
A big fat R for you
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
17. Great post
Thatcher and the Rethug party's embrace of Hayek's madness has created a global ecomonic mess.

Jeffrey Sachs, who took responsibility for the economic mess in post Soviet Russia wrote a great piece last year producing all the proof necessary to refute Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom'. Indeed Hayek's rubbish has been promoted across the globe via the Washington Consensus models.

Sach's article
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID...

Amplifying on Jeff Sachs and the Welfare State
http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=amplifying_on_jef...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
18. Through Popper and Hayek, of course, comes the George Soros connection
The article above would lead the uninformed reader to think that Hayek never would have succeeded in academia had it not been for the workings of these American foundations. In fact, Hayek taught at the London School of Economics, prior to coming to the US.

George Soros was a student at the London School of Economics, when both Popper and Hayek taught there. Soros's political philosophy was much influenced by both, as is the work of Soros's Open Society Institute.

Sign me liberal. Definitely, liberal.

:hippie:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. When Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize I stopped
paying attention to that Org. That was a complete farce! Far from bringing Peace in Vietnam, he extended the slaughter. The slaughter could have been ended at least 2 years before it was ended. The Peace accords years later were the same. Kissinger should be in prison as a War Criminal.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. What does the Nobel peace prize have to do with the London School of Economics?
Or to what organization do you refer? Your comment seems a complete non-sequitor.

For what it is worth, I think the Nobel peace prize has become a huge joke. The other prizes are more serious, because the accomplishments for which they are rewarded can be better measured.

:hippie:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. In Fact
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 06:47 PM by leftist_not_liberal
Hayek was appointed to the position by one Lionel Robbins, a sycophant, err...student, of Eugen Ritter von Bhm-Bawerk

The closest thing to a bourgeois critique of Marx is by Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk and it dates back to over 100 years ago. While others have criticized small slivers of Marx's work, Bhm-Bawerk's is considered to be "comprehensive". It is astonishing how many footnotes on the "total debunking of Marx" end up leading exclusively to him. In fact, Bhm-Bawerk's work is structured to look exactly like an anti-matter version of Marx, i.e. a three volume Capital and Interest. The actual theory is thin stuff indeed, focusing on the term or period of capital. An aside, somehow Bhm-Bawerk stepped on Adam Smith somewhere in his writings against Marx and one of the neo-Smithians refered to him as "that bombastic flea, Bhm-Bawerk".

Capital and Interest is available on the web and worth looking at:

http://www.econlib.org/library/BohmBawerk/bbCI.html



The following is from Karl Marx and the Close of His System, which is supposed to be Bhm-Bawerk's decisive polemic, as opposed to his "masterwork", cited above. Another interesting footnote is that virtually nothing of Bhm-Bawerk's own work is any longer considered relevent - only his "debunking" survives.

Quote:

...Marx relates, "supposes," asserts, but he gives no word
of proof. He consequently makes a bold, not to say naive jump, when he proclaims
as an ascertained result (as though he had successfully worked out a line of
argument) that it is, therefore, quite consistent with facts to regard values,
historically also, as prior to prices of production. As a matter of fact it is beyond
question that Marx has not proved by his "supposition" the historical existence of
such a condition. He has only hypothetically deduced it from his theory; and as to
the credibility of that hypothesis we must, of course, be free to form our own
judgment.

As a fact, whether we regard it from within or from without, the gravest doubts
arise as to its credibility. It is inherently improbable, and so far as there can be a
question here of proof by experience, even experience is against it.

It is inherently altogether improbable. For it requires that it should be a matter of
complete indifference to the producers at what time they receive the reward of their
activity, and that is economically and psychologically impossible. Let us make this
clear to ourselves by considering Marx's own example point by point. Marx
compares two workersI. and II. Labourer No. I. represents a branch of
production which requires technically a relatively large and valuable means of
production resulting from previous labour, raw material, tools, and auxiliary
material. Let us suppose, in order to illustrate the example by figures, that the
production of the previous material required five years' labour, whilst the working
of it up into finished products was effected in a sixth year. Let us further suppose
what is certainly not contrary to the spirit of the Marxian hypothesis, which is
meant to describe very primitive conditionsthat labourer No. I. carries on both
works, that he both creates the previous material and also works it up into finished
products. In these circumstances he will obviously recompense himself for the
previous labour of the first years out of the sale of the finished products, which
cannot take place till the end of the sixth year. Or, in other words, he will have to
wait five years for the return to the first year's work. For the return to the second
year he will have to wait four years; for the third year, three years, and so on. Or,
taking the average of the six years' work, he will have to wait nearly three years
after the work has been accomplished for the return to his labour. The second
worker, on the other hand, who represents a branch of production which needs a
relatively small means of production resulting from previous labour will perhaps
turn out the completed product, taking it through all its stages, in the course of a
month, and will therefore receive his compensation from the yield of his product
almost immediately after the accomplishment of his work.

Now Marx's hypothesis assumes that the prices of the commodities I. and II. are
determined exactly in proportion to the amounts of labour expended in their
production, so that the product of six years' work in the commodity No. I. only
fetches as much as the total produce of six years' work in commodity No. II. And
further, it follows from this that the labourer in commodity No. I. should be
satisfied to receive for every year's work, with an average of three years' delay of
payment, the same return that the labourer in commodity No. II. receives without
any delay; that therefore delay in the receipt of payment is a circumstance which
has no part to play in the Marxian hypothesis, and more especially has no influence
on competition, on the crowding or understocking of the trade in the different
branches of production, having regard to the longer or shorter periods of waiting to
which they are subjected.

I leave the reader to judge whether this is probable...

Bhm-Bawerk is one of the "founders" of "Libertarian Economics" (the so-called Austrian School).

Modern Libertarian political philosophy was born in exactly the same way as Eugene. It was "discovered" and funded by capitalism as a bought-and-paid-for ideological "criticism" of Marxism. The first important "Libertarian" institutions in America (in the early 1930's - imagine that! during the Great Depression... what a coincidence?) started out by popularizing the bombastic flea's work and distributing his books, free, to libraries and schools.

It is one hell of a story but the whole "Libertarian" racket was more crooked than a Ponzi scheme, absolutely manufactured out of whole cloth to oppose socialist ideology and nothing more. It is a designer theory that was designed to fullfill the needs of a free market. The demand was there for an oppositional theory to Marxism, but no supply. You can imagine how high the price was... although it fell right back down to its value when the Universities solved the crisis of production.

This is what you get for "challenging Marx"



You get to be Finance Minister of a dying reactionary empire (Austrio-Hungary) and you get your picture on currency.

Interestingly and by way of comparison, Marx died poor.

Sign me ILLIBERAL. Definitely Illiberal.

:puke:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #28
76. When was Robbins a student of Bohm-Bawerk's?
It's possible that the fifteen year-old Robbins studied under Bhm-Bawerk in the last year of the latter man's life. But I have never heard that that was the case. And on what basis the charge that he was a sycophant? I suspect most introductory economics courses today will mention Lionel Robbins, but not Bhm-Bawerk. Robbins was influenced by the Austrians, and shared their unfortunate view that economics is a deductive affair.

Sign me still liberal. Like George Soros. And still attached to facts.

:hippie:


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #76
82. And being a fan of old George
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 12:26 AM by leftist_not_liberal
you remain firmly attached to imperialism. That's fine I guess, but if you are claiming to an anti-war hippy, you'd have to dig for the more gentle - and devious - method of imperial coup by subverting democracy instead.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington "targets government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests. We will help Americans use litigation to shine a light on those who betray the public trust
http://citizensforethics.org
This place got some bux from him. This other one got lots more:

Democracy Alliance was formed last year with major backing from billionaires such as financier George Soros and Colorado software entrepreneur Tim Gill. The inspiration, according to founders, was a belief that Democrats became the minority party in part because liberals do not have a well-funded network of policy shops, watchdog groups and training centers for activists equivalent to what has existed for years on the right.

But the alliance's early months have been marked by occasional turmoil, according to several people who are now or have recently been affiliated with the group. Made up of billionaires and millionaires who are accustomed to calling the shots, the group at times has gotten bogged down in disputes about its funding priorities and mission, participants said.

Democracy Alliance organizers say early disagreements are first-year growing pains for an organization that has decades-long goals. Judy Wade, managing director of the alliance, said fewer than 10 percent of its initial donors have left, a figure she called lower than would be expected for a new venture.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

Rob Stein's PowerPoint presentation on how the Right built a strong infrastructure of think tanks, non-profits, non-profit groups, scholarship recipients, academics, lobbyists, right wing activists and the media led to the founding of the Democracy Alliance, and also a separate organization, the New Progressive Coalition.

The Democracy Alliance tries to keep a low profile and its wealthy donors prefer anonymity. According to published reports, organizations funded by Democracy Alliance are asked not to reveal the funding.

In 2006 a San Francisco, CA, office was established by the Democracy Alliance at the Presidio in the Tides Center, where Alliance member Drummond Pike has his offce.

Rob McKay of the McKay Foundation and Anna Burger of SEIU are the elected chair and vice chair of the board of directors of the Democracy Alliance. <2>

"Members of the Democracy Alliance include billionaires like George Soros and his son Jonathan Soros, former Rockefeller Family Fund president Anne Bartley, San Francisco Bay Area donors Susie Tompkins Buell and Mark Buell, Hollywood director Rob Reiner, Taco Bell heir Rob McKay ... as well as New York financiers like Steven Gluckstern." <3>

In October 2006, an article in The Nation magazine reported "the Alliance's 100 donors have distributed more than $50 million to center-left organizations and activists--a lot of money, yet still largely symbolic given the deep pockets of its members. Even as the donors pour millions into a new political infrastructure, however, problems have emerged that mirror many of the problems of the Democratic Party today and the progressive movement in general. The first is determining what, exactly, the group stands for and wants to accomplish. ... Rob Johnson, an early board member, says the tension in the Alliance is between 'party subsidizers' and 'climate changers'--those who want to fund organizations that work toward more effectively electing candidates versus those who aspire to change the fundamental nature of political debate with a stronger set of governing principles. ... Since its inception, the Alliance has been unabashedly elitist, while also poorly run. ... To stabilize the organization internally after almost a year of early stumbles, the partners chose as its managing director Judy Wade, a member of the elite firm McKinsey & Company, consultants to multinational corporations."
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Democracy_Al...

A bit more on CREW:

The irony is that this watchdog group -- more than any other -- might have been expected to prove a politically useful ally for the Democrats. If the mainstream goo-goo groups that trace their origins to the late-1960s and early-'70s reform era have an air of fustiness and determined nonpartisanship to them, CREW, the scrappy new kid on the block, is just as clearly a creature of the Clinton wars and the polarized Bush era. From the beginning, we wanted to be more aggressive than other good-government groups were, explains Sloan. I have a lot of respect for Public Citizen and Democracy 21 and Common Cause, but they don't do what we do. CREW aims for attention-grabbing rhetoric, and is usually the first outfit to draft ethics complaints, issue Freedom of Information Act requests, pursue lawsuits, or call for investigations when a scandal breaks. People in Washington always worry about their words, in part because they're always worrying in the back of their mind about their next job, Sloan explains. I don't do that. I'm known, in fact, for having a bit of a big mouth.

A Delaware native and University of Chicago Law School graduate, Sloan worked as a Democratic Hill aide in the 1990s. She was prosecuting sex crimes at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District when, in 2002, she was approached by Washington lawyer Norm Eisen to discuss heading up a new liberal-watchdog and legal-advocacy group.

CREW began as a one-woman shop with a shoestring budget in early 2003, but Sloan's big mouth and flair for publicity quickly made CREW's reputation and garnered it sufficient resources to expand. Last year Sloan hired a deputy director, Naomi Seligman, from Media Matters for America; this year she hired a counsel and two more staffers. The board of directors consists of Louis Mayberg, president of a mutual-fund firm, Donna Edwards of the Arca Foundation, Philadelphia-based attorney and Democratic fund-raiser Dan Berger, and pollster Mark Penn.
http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=beware_of_w...

Remember the mention of the University of Chicago in the OP?

Just sayin'

Have you been reading up on Mark Penn today on DU?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

On the Robbins thing, I did not mean that he said in the flea's classroom, I mean he was a student of his lame anti-Marzixt bought-and-paid-for ideology.

Wiki's entry for old Lionel sez:

A follower of William Stanley Jevons and Philip Wicksteed, he was influenced by the Continental European economists: Lon Walras, Vilfredo Pareto, Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk, Friedrich Hayek,...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #82
92. Walras and Pareto made significant advances in economics.
It is quite a leap of rhetoric to turn Robbins into a sycophant of Bhm-Bawerk's, merely from the fact that the latter was one of several economists who influenced Robbins. For what it is worth, economists are still influenced by Walras and Pareto.

And, for that matter, by Hayek. Despite his politics and his Austrian methodology, Hayek's writings on the importance of pricing for information aggregation and on spontaneous order are important. Capitalism essentially implements an evolutionary algorithm by which business and technical processes adapt to changing circumstance in pursuit of consumer wants. Marx had some insights, but he never quite made the core connection between what Darwin wrote about biology, and what he was seeing in the economy.

In a sense, it's not surprising that this connection has been so long in its statement. Spencer pretty much wrecked the notion of applying evolutionary insights outside of biology, for a couple of generations. Spencer, like Marx, had a difficult time separating positive issues from normative ones, resulting in a real hodge-podge of philosophy that has little if any empirical worth.

:hippie:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #92
101. Big steaming piles of ideological bullshit get bigger too.
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 11:39 AM by leftist_not_liberal
Now, I have confessed that I am not the author of the OP nor am I an economist. However, one can take a step back to the more facile level of detail I traffic in and perhaps you'll see whatever bit of justification there is, in addition to my tendency to be flippant, for saying Lionel was a sycophant.

Here, in my pedestrian estimation, is a very succinct why; He propagated the "subjectivist theory of value" which was the very unstable rock upon with the 'bombastic flea' Bawerk first tread. It's bullshit. It's the bought and paid for bullshit talked about in the first post of this sub-thread. It's bullshit on the face of it.

I'll leave it to the author to comment on the complexities of parento effects and the like. Instead, I offer you and the presumably largely non-economist readership here a short, sweet and digestible exposition on

The Subjectivist Outlook in Economics
Rudolf Hilferding

It is precisely the phenomenon of variations in the price of production which has shown us that the phenomena of capitalist society can never be understood if the commodity or capital is considered in isolation. It is rather the social relationship in which they exist, and changes in that relationship, which dominate and account for the movements of individual capitals, which are themselves no more than parts of the total social capital. But the representative of the psychological school of political economy fails to see this social context, and hence he is bound to misunderstand a theory which intends precisely to reveal the social determinism of economic phenomena, and whose starting point therefore is society and not the individual. He always subordinates the concepts and terms of this theory to his own individualistic outlook and so he finds contradictions which he ascribes to the theory, whereas they are in truth ascribable solely to his conception of the theory.

This incessant quid pro quo is to be found at all stages of Bohm-Bawerk's polemic. Even the fundamental concept of the Marxist system, the concept of value-creating labour, is understood in a purely subjective manner. For him, 'labour' is identical with 'trouble' or 'effort', and making this individual feeling of distaste the source of value naturally leads us to see in value a purely psychological fact, and to deduce the value of commodities from our evaluation of the labour they have cost. As is well known, this is the basis which Adam Smith always adopts for his theory of value, for he is always inclined to abandon the objective standpoint for a subjective one. Smith writes: 'Equal quantities of labour must at all lines and places be of equal value to the labourer. In his ordinary state of health, strength, and spirits, in the ordinary degree of his skill and dexterity, he must always lay down the same portion of his ease, his liberty, and his happiness. (Wealth of Nations, bk. i, Chapter 5). If labour regarded as 'trouble' is the basis of our personal estimate of value, then the 'value of labour' is a constituent, or a determinant' as Bohm-Bawerk puts it, of the value of commodities. But it need not be the only one, for a number of other factors which influence the subjective estimates made by individuals take their place beside labour and have an equal right to be regarded as determinants of value. If, therefore, we identify the value of commodities with the personal estimate of the value of these commodities made by this or that individual, it seems quite arbitrary to select labour as the sole or such an estimate.

Hence, from the subjectivist standpoint, on which Bohm-Bawerk bases his criticism, the labour theory of value appears untenable from the very outset. And it is because he adopts this standpoint that Bohm-Bawerk is unable to perceive that Marx's concept of labour is totally opposed to his own. in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Marx had defined his opposition to Adam Smith's subjectivist outlook: '(Smith) fails to see the objective equalization of different kinds of labour which the social process forcibly carries out, mistaking it for the subjective equality of the labours of individuals. (Kerr ed., p. 68) In fact, Marx is entirely unconcerned with the individual motivation of the estimate of value. In capitalist society it would be absurd to make 'trouble' the measure of value, for generally speaking the owners of the products have taken no trouble at all, whereas the trouble has been taken by those who have produced but do not own them. With Marx, in fact, every individual relationship is excluded from the conception of value-creating labour: laboour is regarded, not as something which arouses feelings of pleasure or its opposite, but as an objective magnitude inherent in the commodities, and determined by the degree of development of social productivity. Whereas for Bohm- Bawerk labour seems merely one of the determinants in personal estimates of value, in Marx's view labour is the basis and the connective tissue of human society, and the degree of productivity of labour, and the method of organization of labour, determine the character of social life. Since labour, viewed in its social function as the total labour of society of which each individual labour forms merely aliquot part, is made the principle of value, economic phenomenn are subordinated to objective laws that are independent of the individual will and controlled by social relationships. Beneath the husk of economic categories we discover social relationships, relationships of production, in which commodities play the part of intermediaries, the social relationships being reproduced by these intermediate processes, or undergoing a gradual transformation until finally they require a new type of mediation.

Thus the law of value becomes a law of motion for a definite type of social organization based upon the production of commodities, for in the last resort all change in social structure can be referred to changes in the relationships of production, that is to say, changes in the productivity and the organization of labour. Thus, in striking contrast with the outlook of the psychological school, we are led to regard political economy as a part of sociology, and sociology itself as a historical science. Bohm-Bawerk has never become aware of this contrast. In a controversy with Sombart as to whether the 'subjectivist method' or the 'objectivist method' is the proper method in economics he concludes by saying that each method must supplement the other; when in fact the issue does not concern two different methods, but contrasting and mutually exclusive outlooks upon social life as a whole. So too it comes about that Bohm-Bawerk, invariably carrying on the controversy from his subjectivist and psychological standpoint, discovers contradictions in the Marxist theory which seem to him to be contradictions only because of his own subjectivist interpretation of the theory.

If labour is the only means for estimating value and thus the only measure of value, it is only logical from the subjectivist standpoint that commodities should exchange solely in proportion to the equal quantities of labour embodied in them. Otherwise it is impossible to see what would induce individuals to deviate from their personal estimates of value. If, however, the facts do not conform to these premises, then the law of value loses all significance, even if labour is no more than one determinant among others. This is why Bohm- Bawerk lays so much stress upon the contention that commodities are not exchanged on the basis of equal quantities of labour. This necessarily appears to be a contradiction when value is conceived, not as an objective quantity, but as the outcome of individual motivation.

Marx's outlook is entirely different. In his view, the fact that goods contain labour is one of their intrinsic qualities; that they are exchangeable is a quite distinct characteristic solely dependent on the will of the possessor, which presupposes that they are owned and alienable. The relationship of the quantity of labour to the process of exchange does not come into consideration until goods are regularly produced as commodities, produced that is to say as goods specifically destined for exchange; thus this relationship makes its appearance only at a definite stage of historical development. The quantitative ratio in which they are exchanged thus becomes dependent upon the time taken to produce them, and this in turn is determined by the level of social productivity.
Thus the exchange relationship loses its fortuitous character and ceases to be dependent upon the caprice of the owner. The social conditions imposed upon labour become objective limitations for the individual and the social complex controls the individual's activities....
http://www.generation-online.org/p/fphilferding.htm

On edit, a tad more:

Man this guy mustsa died happy having seen the Objectively Obvious lies of his subjectivist ilk having made such gains, right unto Raygun's time.

Lord Lionel C. Robbins, 1898-1984.



Lionel Robbins was a peculiar Englishman in the economics world of the 1920s for a very simple reason: he was not a Marshallian but rather a follower of Jevons and Wicksteed. However odd, what really made him downwright unique in Britain was that he had actually read the Continental European economists - Walras, Pareto, Bhm-Bawerk, Wieser and Wicksell. As a result of his Jevonian-Lausanne-Austrian- Swedish infections, Lord Robbins was instrumental in shifting the train of Anglo-Saxon economics off its Marshallian rails and onto Continental ones.

His tools were the London School of Economics and a famous1932 essay on economic methodology. Succeeding the unfortunate Allyn Young to the chair of the L.S.E. in 1929, the thirty-year old Robbins proceeded quickly. Among his first appointments was Friedrich A. von Hayek, who bred a new generation of English-speaking "continentals" such as Hicks, Lerner, Kaldor and Scitovsky.

Robbins' early essays were very combative in spirit, stressing the subjectivist theory of value beyond what Anglo-Saxon economics had been used to.
http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/robbins.htm

There's more, but for drawing a direct line to the - sorry to beat the drum tirelessly - bout and paid for bullshit ideology that is really what this entire post is all about, the snip above seems to do the trick for my simple mind.



Lionel Robbins was a peculiar Englishman in the economics world of the 1920s for a very simple reason: he was not a Marshallian but rather a follower of Jevons and Wicksteed. However odd, what really made him downwright unique in Britain was that he had actually read the Continental European economists - Walras, Pareto, Bhm-Bawerk, Wieser and Wicksell. As a result of his Jevonian-Lausanne-Austrian- Swedish infections, Lord Robbins was instrumental in shifting the train of Anglo-Saxon economics off its Marshallian rails and onto Continental ones.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #101
103. Actually, it is Marx's theory that clearly fails in that regard.
It completely overlooks uncertainty about how products being produced now will be valued tomorrow. It is empirically false that the labor that went into a good is an "intrinsic" property of that good. Today, we are in a drought, and the 1,000 gallons of water in a cistern represents the labor of lifting it from a well. Tomorrow, the drought ends, and all the cisterns are full, with nary a minute of effort. You can do no test to identify which cistern had some labor put into its filling, and in any case, that has absolutely nothing with the value of those cisterns going forward.

The kind of cost-accounting that says, "we can make a product with value $X that has inputs worth $A, $B, and $C" is possible only under static conditions. It sometimes works in established markets and in industries with established processes, where there are few drivers of change. It sometimes doesn't work even there. It certainly is no general rule. Traditional Marxists can scream all they want that it is. There is a good reason that economists today don't believe it. Empirical reasons.

Marx understood capitalism better than many of the modern day right. For example, he realized that it was a tremendously productive system, relative to those that had come previous, and that that very productivity was part of the problems it caused. But despite his attempts to write laws of history, he didn't quite glom onto the importance of change.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #103
107. And that is the fork in the road.
"It is empirically false that the labor that went into a good is an "intrinsic" property of that good."

As I have read, many economists seem have disregarded classical economics, the Labor Theory of Value having originated with Smith of course, while there remain those who have not, many of whom are Marxists. It's a hairy field. I don't claim to know a lot about it. By thy time my study has progressed though it will be on the other side of that fork. Studying a rigged system's minutiae and citing the studies just ain't gonna do it. I am talking political philosophy here and the key history that bankrupts the entire Austrian school, their minutiae be damned.

I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this thread in such an indepth way. The folks here obviously do enjoy and deserve that or this thread would not be atop the greatest page right now. And you provide the 'balance' everyone seems to crave so much these days in the search for credibility.

That said, what little I grasp about either the subjectivist theory of value or the labor one, I see here in the history that whatever has come into being the much larger economy and academic setting still has its roots in libertarian ideology that never would have Profited in the Marketplace of Ideas but for a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar campaign by and for the self-interested idle rich.

That's ultimately damning in my very humble opinion.

Then there is the actual state of affairs before the very average person's eyes: A capitalist controls her operations from top to bottom, and seeks to always expand them without limit. She can't stop seeking to ultimately control every resource. If she doesn't the competition will beat her to it. So the race goes on, until only a handful - the elite - control all markets. Take a look at our national electoral politics; it's reduced to a fund raising horserace. Most major industries are oligopolies - the media, for example - and only barred from becoming pure monopolies by state intervention. And barely at that.

But does capitalism pander to human emotion? Nahhh....

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #107
108. Of course it panders to human emotion. What good would it be if it didn't?
And as a mechanism for empowering human emotion, capitalism both suffers all the weaknesses and strengths of the human animal. It builds both expensive high-horse power, stylized sports cars that are distractions for the rich, and artificial knees that enable the halt to walk. The same processes that brought one of those to the 20th century also brought the other.

As you pursue your political studies, keep in mind that how an idea originated and how it propagates doesn't determine its validity. Our political enemies sometimes will stumble across a truth, while our own politics may blind us to aspects of reality that we don't particularly like. On that thought, I'll leave you a quote you'll enjoy:

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
-- Abraham Lincoln, 1st annual message to Congress


:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #108
135. Capitalism did not "build" either sports cars
or artificial limbs. Human agency using labor power, nature's resources, and ingenuity did.

You call them "our" political enemies but fail to say how your views diverge from theirs, and seem to defend "our" enemies at every turn. Reverse psychology on your part?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #135
148. Isn't liberalism your political enemy?
I oppose the jingoists and the religious right and the free market fundamentalists for reasons that have nothing to do with Marx. One doesn't have to be a libertarian to understand the value of capitalism. In case you hadn't noticed, every modern nation from Sweden to Japan wants to maintain a healthy and competitive capitalist economy. That doesn't mean they don't differ on a variety of other political issues, from social programs to civil liberties.

To the Marxist, all of this is much of a muchness. The libertarian believes that capitalism must be kept "pure." The Marxist believes that capitalism must be eliminated. The liberal believes that capitalism has value, but is not the sine qua non of politics. Unlike the libertarian, the liberal supports a variety of social programs. Things like public education and social security and health care. Unlike the Marxist, the liberal supports capitalism as the economic engine that makes those possible at modern levels. If some libertarian were here arguing against public education, then you would see the difference between me, a liberal, and a libertarian. Instead there are Marxists here, arguing the same old Marxist line. So you see the difference between liberals and Marxists. Except for here, where Marxists sometimes crop up, I don't really consider it a political enemy. It mostly is dead. I'm much more worried about the right wing. But they don't come 'round these parts.

The Democratic Party is a liberal party. It is not a Marxist party. That's the Socialist Workers Party, down the hall.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #148
150. Thanks for the synopsis
You should write a comic book about it.

I think this sentence sums things up nicely:

The liberal believes that capitalism has value, but is not the sine qua non of politics.

You have to be pretty pampered to have the luxury of believing this. Saying "capitalism has value" means "I am in a position to benefit from capitalism" and "not the sine qua non of politics" means "lets not talk about that, I rather like capitalism". Your proposed "social changes" sound alot like window dressing to me. Lipstick on a pig and all that..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #150
154. What? We're not talking?
I'll confess that talking with Marxists is much like talking with libertarians. They both think that the whole world is completely screwed up, and that the only solution is something that for some mysterious reason has never been tried. Or where it has been tried... well, they're going to disown those results as not being the "true" variant of what they are proposing. In both cases, I would just as soon they go try their next experiment somewhere else, thank you very much.

I'm not going to apologize for being liberal. Especially on a site for liberals.

:hippie:


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #148
152. Um
"It mostly is dead...

The Democratic Party is a liberal party. It is not a Marxist party."

It mostly is fetal and as yet unborn.

What? You'd prefer at a time like this I vote Greens for Cynthia or whatever?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #152
157. It was fetal in 1863, before Marx created the IWA. Anything that needs a 5th birth is moribund.
And no, I don't care how Marxists vote. They likely account for fewer votes than lesbian Southern Baptists in AA.

On second thought, I take that back: I would prefer that Marxists vote for SWP or some other far left party. If all the Marxists were to get together and denounce the Democratic Party for fundamentally supporting capitalism, and all liberal social programs as mere attempts to put lipstick on a pig, that likely would provide an electoral bounce. Could you arrange to do it in July or August next year?

:hippie:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #157
190. I think the mass of Americans
who far out number liberal activists know there is a pig with lipstick on it.

That's why they aren't sucked into the political process. As many people in the nation think politics and its practitioners are elitist and full of shit as there are participants. And thats in a year when the activists et all are ~really active.

~40% turnout does not a liberal landslide make.

~64% turnout in '04 is probably a little north of the truth, given the 'urban legend.'

just sayin'

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #190
199. And how well has the Socialist Workers Party been doing?
However mediocre you think the Democrats have been, that is far, far more than those peddling Marxism.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #148
174. Yikes...
Ask a coupla questions about "Libertarianism" and all of a sudden, you are the RED FUCKING MENACE.

Where's J. Edgar when you need him?


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #174
178. No one here is pushing libertarianism. There are people here pushing Marxism.
I'm a liberal. I don't like either.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #174
182. Wiretapping in a bathroom stall?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #103
129. Oh for crying outloud
Your last post was trying to shroud the issue in academic jargon in the hopes that no one would understand. You actually claimed that Hayek has any importance to economics. You might have qualified that by saying "neoclassical economics". You might have qualified that by adding "steaming pile of pigshit".

But this..? Going strictly by this post we might come away thinking Marx saw an upside of capitalism. Sort of like saying "an upside of nuclear holocaust is there' be alot less traffic congestion". Capitalism is very efficient at delivering commodities to the market, that is true. You make the understated observation that "this causes some problems".

The rest of your post is a cobbled together, and quite slapdash, attempt at invoking the "transformation problem". It is more than clear you don't even understand the claim of the transformation problem and more than you understand Marx's theories. The Labor Theory of Value (advanced by Adam Smith and David Ricardo before Marx, remember) is NOT and has never been a theory of prices. It is very convenient for you to blur that distinction of course.

There is a good reason that economists today don't believe it. Empirical reasons.

As the OP tells you, and a moments consideration can confirm, nobody "believes" in orthdox economics, for empirical reasons. Those reasons being that the facts never bear out their convoluted mathematical formulae and twisted reasoning regarding "human nature".

I'll leave your evolution talk alone, since it once again clear behind your smokescreen of name-dropping you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Or prove me wrong and tell us how Darwinism applies to economics. Show me the research, show us some papers. Show us anything.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #129
144. Oh, for crying out loud yourself.
Capitalism is very efficient at delivering commodities to the market, that is true.


Being steeped in traditional Marxism, you repeat its mistakes. If that were all that capitalism were good at, then here in the 21st century, we would be deluged in cheap barrels and buggy whips and all the other commodities of the 19th century. Where capitalism excels in fact is something quite different: figuring out what desirable commodities can be produced next, and how to create those for a price consumers will pay. You're missing the same thing Marx missed: the key importance of change.

Or prove me wrong and tell us how Darwinism applies to economics. Show me the research, show us some papers. Show us anything.


You need to learn how to use one of the wonderful results of 21st century capitalism: Google. Here's just a couple of teasers:

http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1068009.1068027

http://www.springerlink.com/content/p7008146r051541r /

BTW, talking about "orthodox" economics is much like talking about "allopathic" medicine. Quite unlike homeopathy, "allopathic" medicine is not a single theory or framework. But it has discarded failed theories. Just as economics has, quite rightly, discarded traditional Marxism.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #144
153. Good lord
first we're talking about Darwinism, and the unspoken bugaboo of Survival of the Fittest, now we're talking about system dynamics and the effects of micro behavior on macropopulations. Which is very nice, I'm sure. But it happens to have no legitimate empirical or theoretical foundations. Unless you buy the Austrian crap about methodological individualism. I would love to see a basis for that, Google doesn't seem to help much..

That stuff is just a bunch of mathematical arcane-isms designed to lend the smell of legitimacy to a bunch of coffee-house agenda driven "theorizing". Why didn't you just link me to a syllabus for a course in Game Theory?

Secondly, now you've decided that only capitalism can produce innovation and that the only important driver of change should be what consumers want. By then using imprecise language (this constitutes "change") you brand Marx a static thinker stuck in the mud and manage to link this all back to your crazy evolutionary genetic modeling.

How is that not more backwards rationale like that exposed in the OP?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #92
131. Capitalism implements
an evolutionary algorithm by which ...

Would you care to discuss this because I don't know what you're talking about. Why does Capitalism implement this? How? Maybe you should define exactly why you mean by capitalism. Capitalism is a mode of production that commodifies all production for profit, is it not? The capitalist is motive by personal gain and profit.

Could you further explain how capitalism connects to consumerism and consumer "wants"? That seems like an important and under-discussed question.

Spencer, like Marx, had a difficult time separating positive issues from normative ones, resulting in a real hodge-podge of philosophy that has little if any empirical worth.

Elaborate on this..? As an example, is the Third World normative? You certainly don't seem to be assigning them much empirical worth.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #92
164. Nah
"It is quite a leap of rhetoric to turn Robbins into a sycophant of Bhm-Bawerk's, merely from the fact that the latter was one of several economists who influenced Robbins. For what it is worth, economists are still influenced by Walras and Pareto."

In fact Robbins appointed Hayek because of the LSE's intramural contest with Cambridge. Not only did Cambridge have all the good Marshallites but they had Keynes. The one skill the "Austrians" always claimed for themselves was a ruthless polemical style. That is what had originally given some little prominence to the flea and to Menger (in their debate with the Germans at the turn of the century). Hayek started out as a shill in this "tradition".

So how did Hayek do? Not so well judging by the fact that Robbins himself became something of a Keynesian. More, one of the biggest influences on Robbins was Frank Knight, the head of the first Chicago School of Economics. It is an open secret that Knight blocked Hayek from getting a paid faculty position at the University of Chicago. Its not a good omen when even your own guys wont give you a job.

Yes, I am aware of the retroactive praise that the Libertarian press heaps on Hayek in London. Amazing what a few billion dollars do for favorable reviews, post festum, isnt it? But, accept a small challenge from me: the original scholarly reviews of Hayeks Road to Serfdom are in large part available on the web. Find a single one that is favorable and was not written by a fellow-traveler or by Hayeks mother.

Yes, I think they were all hacks. But even if they werent, it wouldnt matter to the article. Then, Volker would have found some smart people to use to make-up an ideology. You travel very far a field, to prop up the Austrians (Im not even going to mention Spencer). Walras and Pareto? I kinda agree about Pareto but Walras is entirely another kettle of fish.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #164
273. You tease
It is an open secret that Knight blocked Hayek from getting a paid faculty position at the University of Chicago. Its not a good omen when even your own guys wont give you a job.

Care to fill us in on how you know this "open secret"? I'm surprised no one challenged you on it :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #28
91. I WON'T give much credence to ANYTHING published as anonymous.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #91
95. Rightly so
That's why you should check the facts for yourself if sufficiently interested.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #18
120. Popper's book "The Open Society and it's Enemies" was one of the most profound books I've ever read.
I used to be a Marxist until I read The Open Society and It's Enemies. Any person who hates totalitarianism, including us folks on the Libertarian Left (most DUers), should read it. It is sad that Popper's reputation among left-wing circles has been tarnished because his ideas have been abused by Neo-Liberals and other Right-Libertarians. One of Popper's most important points was dispelling the misconception, going all the way back to Plato, that equates Individualism with Egoism and Collectivism with Altruism. This misconception is totally wrong, you can have Altruistic Individualism (Anarchism being the extreme of this) and you can have Egoistic Collectivism (Fascism, Theocratic Fundamentalism, and Hyper-Nationalism in all it's disgusting forms). Popper was an Altruistic Individualist. I equate Individualism and Collectivism with the Libertarian-Authoritarian axis of the Political Compass chart and Altruism and Egoism with the Left-Right axis of that chart.

Thus:

Egoistic Individualism = Right-Libertarianism (Moderate: Neo-Liberalism, Extreme: Randian Objectivism)
Egoistic Collectivism = Right-Authoritarianism (Moderate: Paleo-Conservatism, Extreme: Fascism)
Altruistic Individualism = Left-Libertarianism (Moderate: Social Democracy, Extreme: Anarchism)
Altruistic Collectivism = Left-Authoritarianism (Moderate: 19th Century American Populism, Extreme: Stalinism
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #120
130. Good thing for you
nobody on this site knows anything about Popper
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #18
126. What are you saying here?
What is your definition of "success" in academia? Holding a faculty position? If so, you clearly didn't grasp the significance of the OP.

And, secondly, what does George Soros have to do with this again? I hope you are not offering him and his Institute as contradicting the OP?? If that is the case, could you spell out your point, precisely?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #126
158. George Soros is big bucks supporting a liberal agenda.
To a Marxist, that should be just as suspect as big bucks supporting a libertarian agenda. And there's the direct intellectual connection: Soros studied under the dreaded Hayek and Popper. At the London School of Economics. Hell, Soros named his major political institute for Popper's work.

So why isn't Soros included in the OP's original screed? Booga booga.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #158
165. The OP
was not an expose on Hayek.

I really don't see where you're going with the question unless you think someone was "covering" for Soros or something.

As for Hayek/Popper I don't think its as obvious who influnced who as you think and, besides, I don't think that it matters who squeezed out the turd they both went after polishing.

I would love to see you link to an academic treatise that explains how Soros uses "Popperian" methods to devise his investment portfolios. Not because I care, but it'd be good for a laugh ;)

Interesting that you call it a 'screed' by the way. Most of the posters on this thread (liberals) don't seem to agree.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
19. Mr. Anonymous Unveiled. And it is...
Anaxarchos of DU and elsewhere on the internet(s)

Here's his blog: http://www.populistindependent.org/blogs/anaxarchos /



This is the very same Anaxarchos I worked with on

Election 2004: The Urban Legend



Word doc download
Suitable to send to your Members of Congress




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #19
27. What a comprehensive, fabulous read.
I do have to wonder why Anonymous wants that moniker - his other name is only one character longer.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #27
41. Maybe he'll show up and tell us.

There's the minor Greek philosopher Anaxarchus, but the spelling is a latter off of Anaxarchos.

Anaxarchus was in the court of Alexander the Great and proposed that Alexander simply be referred to
and though of as a God now, rather than after his death. Doesn't sound like this guy, Mr. Anonymous.

Mr. Anaxarchos, mystery man.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #41
55. IIRC
Anax is Greek for 'king' and Archos for 'master'

I guess that's a perpetu-ode to his infinite sarcasm, a trait I most enjoy as long as I stay off the receiving end of it.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:59 AM
Response to Reply #55
87. Oh, sort of like "Master & Commander" - I get it! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #41
145. I wish it went like that...
Anaxarchus of Abdira was the guy. I changed the ending 'us' to 'os' in the old custom, in order to be able to google my stuff on the web without wading through a thousand sites about Alexander. Your reference to him is unfair. He wasn't an ordinary sycophant. He was an extraordinary one.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #145
253. So now I have to be "fair". But I do like this.
Hmmm...

"As a follower of Democritus, Anaxarchus developed the skeptical tendencies within Democritus’ thought. Although our information on him is extremely sketchy, he is a pivotal figure connecting the atomism of Democritus to the skepticism of Pyrrho, if ancient philosophical genealogies can be trusted. He allegedly abolished the criterion of truth by likening our experiences to those of dreamers and madmen. Renowned for his contentment, :)he earned the title “the happiness man” (ho eudaimonikos). :) Like Pyrrho, this contentment was based on an indifference to the value of things around him. But unlike Pyrrho, this indifference did not manifest itself in a detachment from worldly affairs. Instead, he was an advisor to Alexander the Great and actively pursued the objects of his desires, often spurning conventional values."

Epistemology

"The above points are only Anaxarchus’ epistemological conclusions, not the grounds for them. At least two different reconstructions of Anaxarchus’ reasoning can be given. In the first (in Hankinson (1995) 54-5), Anaxarchus is offering an argument from skeptical hypothesis. Such arguments from skeptical hypotheses proceed in the following way: you start by proposing some skeptical hypothesis—for instance, that you are a brain in a vat or that the world was created exactly five minutes ago. You then argue that you do not know whether or not this skeptical hypothesis holds—typically, because your situation under the skeptical hypothesis would be indistinguishable, as far as you can tell, from the situation you ordinarily think obtains. Then various skeptical inferences are drawn from this—since you do not know that the skeptical hypothesis does not hold, you are unjustified, for instance, in trusting the evidence of the senses or of your memory. On this reconstruction, Anaxarchus’ analogies operate as skeptical hypotheses. The two-dimensional surfaces of painted scenery delusively convey just the same sort of impression of a three-dimensional world as do our regular sense-impressions"

Extremely facile and, in all fairness ;), he's right.

Quite a guy you are and excellent exposition of another of the frauds shining through the veil of
deception and absurdity constructed by desparate people who are convinced there's only so much
to go around and they simply must "get there piece" of the finite pie.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
riverdeep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
22. This is fascinating reading.
Like others, I didn't know about the fraud of the Nobel in Economics. I went doing a search on it (and eventually found the corroboration) and came across this interesting exchange:

"When your boss says "do that", you clearly have a choice where a slave does not: you can quit. But you would starve, you say? Not to be too flip about it (well, maybe just a little :^), but it sounds as if your primary complaint of "injustice" is with reality -- not with your boss. He should have freedom of association just as you should, and you have no right to do business with him unless he wants to do business with you (othewise you are not being a trader, and he would be a slave).

I know of no capitalist who would argue that you have a right to be exempt from the laws of reality."

http://slashdot.org/articles/980824/0854256.shtml

It somehow perfectly summarizes, ironically, the failure of modern libertarians to live in the real world. So, migrant farm workers who don't get a bathroom break and barely know their legal rights and get sprayed with and work on pesticide-laden fields are entering into a freely consenting contract and can leave any time and furthermore, the owner SHOULD try to take advantage of the workers. It's all about maximizing profit. And let me tell you, if it ever comes down to people starving, there is a law that supersedes all others, including precious property laws, the law of survival. The field manager won't leave his trailer alive on that day.

Anyway, good article, but are there some more external sources to back up what is offered here? Especially in the first post?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wiley50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
23. Bottom Line
A bunch of rich, greedy old fuckers trying to justify their wealth and greed

by spending tons of money trying to get a pseudo-scientific justification for their greed.

Not to mention that they have made life more difficult for the rest of us in the process

through most of the last century and so far in this one.

I don't normally nominate newbie's threads but this one is exceptional

so much so, that I have saved it on my HD for my son

Thanks
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
26. K&R, but I would still maintain that....

neo-liberalism gives capitalism a very bad name. What we are really headed toward is a society where the underclasses are forced into a military socialist system and the "Libertarian" fatcats snatch up all the resources, where "capitalism" is only practiced amongst the elite. It is corporations like the Enrons, Walmarts, and the Blackwater/Halliburtons which would tear down any form of healthy capitalism. When all is said and done, what is disguised as "anti-communist" is really anti-democratic.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. What then is good about appropriation of the value of another's labor
which of course is what the practice of capitalism is?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Freedom of choice and organization...

in (what I consider to be) a healthy captalist system, workers should be able to choose their employer. When workers representing a certain skill set organize and act as one, they then have incredible negotiating power. Corruption causes this all to break down, and the only way to prevent corruption is to pass the right legislation and enforce it. Also keep in mind, the only reason Walmart has been successful is because it largely depends on products produced by an oppressive, authoritarian government where little of the above exists.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. So you're for trade unionism, great.
But what is good about appropriation of the value of another's labor?

How is a person being stolen from 'free'?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. Involuntary servitude is, of course, very bad...

but by calling it the "appopriation of the value of another's labor" you are immediately placing it into a capitalistic frame of reference. Individuals, themselves, should not be assigned a value as if they were a traded commodity, particularly when such trading is imposed by the government, but if someone wishes to place a value on their products or services then that is an entirely separate issue. The key thing, again, is freedom of choice. I might argue that by doing away with capitalism, you are preventing me from obtaining the just value for my services. Yes, I do support trade unionism.

That said, in a truly free, idyllic society we might be able to choose which system we prefer to operate within.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I am calling working for a wage
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 06:46 PM by leftist_not_liberal
being subject to appropriation.

That is placing it in an economic frame of reference. The commodification of labor is quite real and true. So while I can agree with this "Individuals, themselves, should not be assigned a value as if they were a traded commodity," I don't think you are grasping that I am merely stating a material fact, a right and precise definition of the way things are in the here and now.

If you did argue argue that by doing away with capitalism, 'I' would be preventing you obtaining the 'just' value for your labor, it would be pretty seriously weak (and most especially if you work for wages rather than for yourself where you could be in the position of appropriating from others' labors).

In doing away with capitalism, you would receive the full measure of your labor value, not some lesser portion because the rest of it was appropriated by your capitalist betters. And you of course would lose the "freedom' to rob others.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. I can see where the "appropriation" frame of reference applies...

in areas of the economy where it is difficult to find a job, and in order to survive one needs to go to work for Walmart (for example). The Walton family profits greatly, while Walmart's employees struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford health insurance. While this may reflect reality, I would argue that it does not reflect healthy capitalism.

On a global scale, we depend on an authoritarian pseudo-Communist government to produce cheap products, and we must use military force to secure our petroleum needs, while preventing other nations from obtaining the same petroleum more cheaply. This, again, may reflect reality, but it does not reflect healthy capitalism. It reflects a system where the "haves" and "have mores" continue to have more, at the expense of the rest. You may argue that this is the ultimate outcome of capitalism. I would argue that it is a failure of government which can, and should be, corrected.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. OK
"While this may reflect reality, I would argue that it does not reflect healthy capitalism."

I would think capitalism is healthy stuff if it didn't appropriate. But it quite simply Does.
Profit is the value stolen from you before your wages are handed over in return for your trading your hours for those dollars on the open labor commodity market. It is really that simple.

Do you work for wages? Then you are stolen from. Period.

You may be happy though, because you feel sufficiently well-off.

That's the mindset of most liberals I've interacted with regarding the question of appropriation.

Thus feel good efforts like living wage campaigns which are the equivalent of a band-aid being used on an amputation.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #43
46. From a purely economic point of view...

if the surplus value of the profit which is "stolen" from me is equivalent to the level of service I am receiving from my employer, particularly if I am unable to find that level of service anywhere else, then it is a fair deal. I agree that most CEOs, and other executives, often make way too much money, but in a fair society where competition is allowed, a more competitive company should ultimately win out.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. Employers do not provide service.
They create the best conditions possible for appropriation.

It's like an industrial pig farm.

You keep the (ideological) lights off most of the time. You chop off their tales right at the outset so the frustrated clamoring for space in a brutal market/pen is less likely to make you get painfully bitten in the ass.

The end result however is the crisis of overproduction the threatens ecocide and the carefully corralled and ultimately destroyed lives of the chattel while wealth concentrates ever further and is used for ever more devious schemes like fake ass Nobel Prizes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. Yeah I've seen and appreciated Animal Farm also...

but it is also full of stereotypes. Wealth is ultimately just an illusion, it only has value when we give it value. Gold will mean nothing if society begins to permanently break down, and there are businesspeople of conscience who realize this. If the pig farm (coal) is destroying the environment then society should be able to shut it down.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #51
64. I was not referring to Animal Farm at all. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #49
137. You should have just asked him
what evidence he has for this "fair" society of his and/or how capitalism fits into that model
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #137
168. Good question, and I have to admit that I have little evidence...

but I would fall back on my original statement that the Bush administration and its cronies are making a very bad example of capitalism. Consider, however, Southwest Airlines where (I believe) the employees are also shareholders, and theoretically they have some control over corporate management and profit sharing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #43
111. that is just too simplistic
"Do you work for wages? Then you are stolen from, period."

Because I create "profit" for somebody else? What if I work for a non-profit organization then? What if, as is actually the case now, and in many of my past jobs, I work for the government? And it is also true, that many of the government departments I worked for are quasi capitalistic. Working at Hill AFB, for example, and the government charges customers for the use of their people and for the use of the Utah Test and Training Range. The universities charge their students tuition and fees. The city charges people for water and for trash removal, etc., etc.

To a degree, there is some "profit" in government. The basketball coach, the professor and the graduate student all work for the university. The basketball coach makes $400,000 a year, the professor makes $70,000 and the graduate student makes $6,000 plus free tuition. Are all being stolen from? Or does the extra money made from graduate student labor subsidize professor and administration salaries? Should a $400,000 coach really worry if he is being stolen from? Is he even being stolen from compared to the players who are playing for tuition?

I think that in this system many of the higher paid people are 'stealers' not 'stealees'. In fact, as an American consumer I benefit from this theft by getting computers and bicycles and headphones that are made in China as thirty cents an hour labor costs. Even in the middle of the bottom income quintile, I probably 'steal' in this sense from the third world far more than I am 'stolen from' by the capitalists.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #111
136. Your labor produces a certain amount of value
you receive a scant portion of that value.

It is very straightforward, natural aversion to the overly simplified or not.

A team scores a touchdown and four points are put on the scoreboard.."We wuz robbed!!"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #136
173. it's not that straightforward
First of all, what is value? How is that measured? How much is a "scant" portion? 2%? 20%? 70%? 98%? How much does the average worker get?

Second, what is my contribution? The team scores a touchdown, how are the points divided? The value that my labor produces depends on a group effort. Let me spend an hour babysitting a machine and I will produce a certain amount of value. At least the production line will. How much credit should each part of that process get? What if I work harder than my co-workers or have more skills? Then maybe I am getting 70% of the value of my labor and they are getting 105% of the value of their labor.

Third, like I said, I am the beneficiary of this, because if the Chinese worker got paid the value of his/her labor, then my shoes, computer, bicycle, etc., etc., etc., would be much more expensive.

Finally, is there supposed to be a Marxist 'answer' to the problem of wage slavery other than 'permanent revolution'? The formula 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs' seems like it is guaranteed to be a worse deal for those who study and work hard, as even more of their contribution will be going to meet the needs of others.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #173
180. My take
"'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs' seems like it is guaranteed to be a worse deal for those who study and work hard, as even more of their contribution will be going to meet the needs of others."

This shows a still very selfish stage of human nature. I only wish more of my contribution was to the upkeep of others.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:52 AM
Response to Reply #180
193. yet you were the one arguing that the worker is being ripped off
Now you are saying it is selfish to be upset about being ripped off. :wtf:

You always have the option, in this system, to donate all of your disposable income to secondharvest, or the United Way.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #193
198. There is no contradiction there.
I know that's hard for some people to understand.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #180
212. One problem with this, which I can sympathize with libertarians about....

the State is left to determine what my needs are. In a Big Brother type of environment where we don't have to worry about meeting our own basic needs and the government will do it all for us, one would tend to lose a certain level of indivuality. As an individual I might be capable of great accomplishments under just the right conditions, why should I leave it up to the State to determine what those conditions are or what conditional needs are required? I might even argue that a certain level of greed might enter into the formula. I know, unconstrained greed can lead to fascism - but that's why there must a balance maintained with the State.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #212
214. Individuality is what?
For one it is a construct only someone who lives day in and day out at or near the top of the foodchain has the luxury of contemplating.

For another, your argument against the state is a point well taken, but what if - for a dramatic, first-time change - the state actually worked in the service of the masses instead of the controlling few? Wouldn't that make a big difference?

And for yet another, why should the purely selfish determination of your 'needs' and favored 'conditions' trump a reasoned decision about Our needs and favored conditions?

The interesting thing is that your position above would probably not get you very far if you were examining your differences with a republican on economics.

The trouble with apologizing for greed is then coming to the place where one must identify and bow to the constrainer. Who is that, if not Us?

And taking just a tiny logical leap is it not then reasonable to agree that Us trumps I?

Where does that end?

"Freedom to be me" is bourgeois, and in a competitive world, damaging to humanity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #214
219. Then we enter into discussions about the dangers of mob mentality...

the state can work in the service of the masses, but it still may neglect individual needs for the sake of the many.

In an ideal society people would place others' needs ahead of their own, but there are also cases where an individual may have a vision of the future of society, or some aspect of society, which only he alone can bring about. Fascistic, neocon visions of the future are bad where only isolated groups are allowed to prosper, but if that vision advances society as a whole then the individual has a purpose that is worth pursuing. In a socialist/beareucratic government the individual might have a chance for advancing his cause, but resources are limited and, certainly, meeting the short-term needs of the many comes first. In a capitalist system he might be able to invest his own capital or the capital of others to pursue his vision.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #173
181. The premise is simple
Of course the details are more involved than that. But either you accept the premise or you don't..you can't invoke the details and claim they invalidate the premise.

Equally simple, value is anything that has worth to humans. What else could it be?

You seem to think that it is most imperative that we stand up for the best and brightest to ensure they receive a fair shake. Interesting.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #181
195. What has worth to humans?
Cigarettes?

They certainly sell by the quimtillions.

The details are what I am using to evaluate the validity of the premise. What? I should accept it on faith?

Considering that I might be one of the 'best and brightest' (or at least one of the harder workers) for me to look after their interests is only my self interest. To do different would be 'false consciousness' wouldn't it?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #173
186. 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs'
This is the essence of the difference in world views. Some of us feel it is truly "better to give than to receive." Others feel giving to others is being ripped off.

I've been lucky. I've paid into health services via insurance and fire and police services via property taxes and taken nearly nothing back. Your view is that I am getting stiffed. My view is that I am fortunate to be able to contribute something that helps other in greater need.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 01:02 AM
Response to Reply #186
196. 'to give' is one thing
to be coerced into 'giving' is entirely another, but I thought I was arguing against this notion that the worker is automatically, by definition, being ripped off.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
creeksneakers2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #43
127. Couldn't the
profiteer also be providing labor or some other value? Small businessmen work long hours. I wouldn't want to be one.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #127
147. Splitting hairs here
if the small business owner is primarily dependent upon their own labor, what distinguishes them from the wage worker? Not much..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #147
171. There is a big distinction, and I think I touch on this in a post below....

The small business owner can often sell his "work product" to multiple entities, multiplying the value by the number of clients. The wage worker does not have this luxury, so he must depend on multiple entities comprising a union to negotiate a fair value on his behalf.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TimBean Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-13-07 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #43
275. Please clarify Wages=Theft
Can you explain further how paying someone money is stealing from that person?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. Also, in a truly free society...

we expect certain services from our employers. In the more liberal business schools they teach about "internal" customers, where every employee has a customer-like relationship with other employees that they interact with. If we are not receiving the proper level of service within our employ, we should have the freedom to find another job, or to go to work for ourselves. Even as a self-employed businessman, I don't necessarilly have to take advantage of other employees, I can choose to sub-contract work to other self-employed individuals who may, in fact, be more successful than myself.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. OK again.
"I can choose to sub-contract work to other self-employed individuals who may, in fact, be more successful than myself."

And in doing so, you appropriate part of their labor for yourself while adding no value to the value they brought at all.

This does not mean you are not providing some other labor value personally to the customer you sent the subcontractors to, but it is -steal- appropriation if you mark up the subs' stated price.

We can of course get all bogged down in what 'good' you do with the appropriated money or the convolutions of that money which of course are confusingly intricate relative to the money machinations of the hypothetical WalMart worker you mentioned before. But if it's ugly for the WalMart worker, it's ugly for you.

The core facts of the matter don't change because you live higher on the food chain or because you are a kind-hearted man with the best of intentions.

As my grandaddy, no red, used to say, "It is ALL about the money."

And as this thread has demonstrated, that is a large a looming truth in our lives and our manufactured opinions as anything else ever has been.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #47
54. As a fellow software developer I'm surprised you would say that...

I'm often in a position where I have to buy a "module" of proprietary technology from someone else which would be way too costly for me to produce myself. I pay what I feel is a fair price for it, and the company I'm paying profits greatly. The product that I add the module to may contribute great value on its own, however, and I sell it at a profit. This is the magic of how capitalism is supposed to work! The provider who supplies the module is incapable of creating my product, as a whole, and often they wouldn't be interested in it anyway - so I can profit by selling it. It doesn't mean that I'm taking advantage of the provider - the guy who is selling these modules to thousands of other developers!

I would agree that society is way to focused on capitalism within its culture, politics and everywhere else outside of the workplace. The pimp/ho culture becomes boring fast, and I can see why people turn to drugs.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #54
56. Meh
if you both just open sourced the code and the support society would get a better product quicker.

Now just extrapolate that out to its logical conclusion and you are ready to go buy Capital.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. Society would certainly benefit if products were open sourced...

but unless I'm financially independent, I also have material needs. Also, how am I motivated to produce really good products? Teamwork may do well for manufacturing cars, but something needs to be said for individual accomplishments.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. Sure you have needs. And they would not be met
in our vicious system unless you were 'productive.'

As for needing to get paid to be motivated, that just means you would rather be doing something else were there not this need to whore ourselves for money. And if you were doing what you wanted to do, what gives you passion, you would be wildly more productive.

I'd love to just do physical labor, 'menial' work, while pursuing my intellectual interests with a free and unlimited education. Instead I stare at a screen all day.

But it's not coding. I am not that skilled. I'm part of the leach group that exists in capitalism, trying to profit from your production by chasing the horribly ethically misplaced 'motivation' called commission.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #59
61. What I am saying is that capitalism could provide the freedom...
for both of us. Instead of misspending $100s billions in the Middle East we could be providing plenty of physical labor jobs in the domestic US improving our infrastructure or developing alternative sources of energy, or even preventing future 9-11s. This is how Clinton's surplus should have been used.

Its not that I feel I need to get paid to be motivated - if I participated in the pimp/ho frame of mind I suppose I might feel this way. Its that I want to build a base for the freedom to work on the projects that I want to work on. I know you might say it would be ideal if everyone started out with this base, but this would lead to undisciplined non-productivity really fast. Basically, communism would only work if people are really, really disciplined.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. Capitalism was built first on slavery
and now on war.

You cannot have the peace that liberals all cry out for without addressing the root cause of war. And the root cause of war is capitalism.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #63
68. I would argue that the root cause is preservation of wealth and greed...

there may be a place for both of these within capitalism, but it does not need to lead to war.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #68
70. I don't mean to come off as mean or condescending, but
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 09:25 PM by leftist_not_liberal
that is just naive.

You'll never go wrong being a student of history when you have these big issues like war and economics to grapple with. Indeed nothing is really quite as important as being a student of history.

Consider this succinct and largely accurate bit of history (but take the source with a lotta salt, it is not anything I am familiar with and looks like it probably is wildly conspiratorial. But as we have seen in the OP on this thread wildly conspiratorial can sometimes be, well, just history)-
http://www.threeworldwars.com/world-war-1/ww1.htm

Surely you see that the biggest profits in the world are made by those at the top of the war machine.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #70
73. Again this is greed, and I agree that the greatest profits can be made...

from war. Addressing both your post and the post by kenzee13:

capitalism is only an economic system which, when properly regulated, works efficiently. What we are really talking about is fascism, where a relatively small group of capitalists basically take over the government in order to benefit their own corporate interests and often engage in wars to further takeover the resources of other nations. This would not work without the benefit of government cooperation, and it usually leads to the decline of competition and the rise of monopolies. This type of system cannot sustain itself, hence it is unhealthy - it only works for the short-term benefit of those profiteering. If they can enjoy the profiteering over the course of their lifetime, then they are not concerned with the long-term economic effects on the rest of society. Even in the case of Walmart, Walmart only works because of the effect of corporatism taking root in China. China gets to pick and choose which American corporations participate in the Chinese market (labor or consumer), so basically healthy competition is ruled out there as well. China is growing by leaps and bounds, so this is may be helping them from a short-term perspective, but again I don't think the benefits are sustainable without radical change.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #73
74. This is untrue:
"capitalism is only an economic system which, when properly regulated, works efficiently."

From upthread on the post entitled "Eyes on the Prize":

"In 1971, the first prize was awarded to a neo-liberal, F.A. Hayek, and the new prize became bathed in controversy. The prize was awarded jointly to Gunnar Myrdal, Swedens most famous economist, and to Hayek. The ungrateful Myrdal immediately turned around and announced publicly that Hayek didnt deserve the prize. Oddly, Hayek agreed. Nevertheless, none of this prevented the world press from trumpeting, Universities from gushing, and Foundations from funding, the flood of new laureates, blissfully, or perhaps intentionally, unaware of the underlying fraud.

The comedy went on unhindered until Peter Nobel, the great-grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, went public with a blistering criticism of the memorial Prize in the 1990s. The Swedish Riksbank, like a cuckoo, has placed its egg in another very decent birds nest. What the Bank did was akin to trademark infringement unacceptably robbing the real Nobel Prizes. Nobel said, Two thirds of these prizes in economics have gone to US economists, particularly of the Chicago School These have nothing to do with Alfred Nobels goal of improving the human condition and our survival indeed they are the exact opposite.

Faced with an unwanted controversy, the Swedish Bank promised significant reforms in its selection criteria and in the committee for the prize. The neo-liberal flood had already ended in any case. The final irony was played out in 2001 when the reformed economics committee awarded the prize to American Economist and Columbia Professor, Joseph Stiglitz.

Stiglitzs contribution is essentially a complete refutation of the one scientific claim made by neo-liberal or Austrian economics: that unregulated free-markets provide the highest possible economic efficiency. Nope. Not true. Perhaps even worse, Stiglitz mathematically and formally demonstrated the potential efficiency-enhancing properties of the state based on the Greenwald-Stiglitz theorems (by establishing the - constrained - Pareto inefficiency of market economies with imperfect information and incomplete markets). In other words, big government isnt the problem from even the most elementary of economic standpoint. It is capital and markets which contribute the fundamental inefficiencies."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #74
84. I think you misunderstood what I said...

and although I was unfamiliar with Stiglitz' work, I think I am in agreement with it: "there almost always exists schemes of government intervention which can induce Pareto superior outcomes, thus making everyone better off". I would accept that there is a balance between markets and government intervention that optimizes market efficiency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Stiglitz

Please note my original post, I'm not trying to defend neo-liberal economics.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. It has. It does. And it always will. Wal-Mart is not an aberation
of "healthy" capitalism, it is the very exemplar for capitalism: pay the lowest wage and the lowest cost for goods for which an artificial and ever-increasing market for consumption is promoted regardless of the effects on workers, consumers, human rights, and the survival of the planet. All to make a very few people very rich. That's capitalism at its' finest.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #71
86. I suppose it depends on your point of view....

of "capitalism at its finest." For me, this would mean healthy competition between competing companies for both the external as well as the internal customers. Walmart is unique in its predatory practices. Grocery chains that have existed for decades suddenly find that they cannot compete when Walmart moves into the neighborhood. It offers the cheapest grocery prices together with a shopping experience that provides everything you need in one location. They do this by making less profit off of their grocery business than they do from selling other cheap products made by oppressive regimes. This is an artificial advantage further complicated by distribution deals and tax advantages that are the result of crony capitalism. Walmart has no competition.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 04:12 AM
Response to Reply #86
88. "Walmart has no competition."
IMO, that's a scoche overstated, but only a scoche.

However, the reality is that Walmart is the inevitable outcome of Capitalism. From Standard Oil to today, that is just the way the shit works.

Again, it is merely my opinion, but it seems an irony so supreme as to be Orwellian that Dr Gene Sharp's Soros funded Albert Einstein Institute is so-named, given its role in aiding the reach of capitalist globalization.

Why so?

"I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labornot by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of productionthat is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goodsmay legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call workers all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of productionalthough this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is free, what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists' requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights." - Why Socialism?
by Albert Einstein

This essay was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949)
http://www.monthlyreview.org/598einst.htm



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #88
117. I would argue that capital becomes concentrated in the hands of the few....

largely through corruption and corrupt practices. This happens repeatedly throughout history and, as you pointed out above, also happens as a result of planning and deploying major wars. This should be more than painfully obvious in our current engagement in Iraq, and particularly within both Bush I and II administrations. This happens because the non-wealthy masses are so easily outsmarted and mislead, and unfortunately it also provides motivation for keeping the masses uninformed and stupefied. The ludicrous pyramid scheme of Enron, the short-term advantages of sub-prime mortgages, taking high-tech companies public on false and misleading information, tremendous no-bid contracts for repairing infrastructure that is damaged from war or acts of nature: these are all examples of methods whereby capital is funneled back into the hands of the few.

I will continue to argue that this is not "capitalism at its finest" but rather much more like "socialism for the wealthy." With the proper laws in place and incorruptible people in charge to uphold those laws, I believe the situation can be reversed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #68
149. There is "war" everywhere
all the time unless you are limiting that to hot military conflict and ignoring any other deaths or immiseration caused by the preservation of wealth and greed. You have a rather sanitized view of things there. I doubt the people on the receiving end feel the same.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #149
175. This is true....

I'm just arguing that capitalism does not necessarily require war. Have not wars been fought by communists and socialists?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #35
132. You have this so backwards its unbelievable
but by calling it the "appopriation of the value of another's labor" you are immediately placing it into a capitalistic frame of reference.

The capitalist frame of reference exists independent of whether we acknowledge it or be so or not. Point out the relations of labor and capital under capitalism is not falling into the trap of capitalism. Capitalism commodifies everything, neither you, I or anybody else has a choice in that. You are objecting to a spade being called a spade here.

People are commodified under capitalism as mere sources of labor.

Your freedom of choice arguments will go over a lot better with Ron Paul. God forbid your freedom to exploit others we taken away..a travesty to be sure.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #132
183. I disagree...
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 11:55 PM by AntiFascist
I distinguish between myself and my work product. If I choose to place my intellectual property in the public domain (as I am doing here on DU) then I could argue that my work product is being utilized in a socialist manner <sorry, I don't mean to imply that Skinner, et al are socialists>. If I were to post on a private website where I receive a payment for the posting, then I could argue that material is being utilized in a capitalistic manner, where the website owner profits by the value of the posting minus the fee he paid me. Freedom of choice. If I choose to sell the material to multiple websites, my total fees earned might be far greater than the amount any single website owner is profitting from the material. I may be acting as a "mere source of labor" but in this case I have total freedom as how to exploit that labor, depending on how much work I want to do in marketing.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #183
191. You can distinguish between yourself and your work product
but capitalism sees you as nothing but a source of labor (note that labor and work product are not exactly the same thing).

Anyway, you are basically arguing that you are a capitalist and your labor is your "capital". The difference is you don't have a choice -- since you have ONLY your labor with which to provide your sustenance -- and you also are beholden to the capitalists as to what you receive for your labor. In terms of negotiating you have no 'hand'.

I don't disagree with your example, but it has nothing to do with how things are broken down. I do think your example is a touch idealistic -- it is not typically the case that *everyone* can come out ahead on a deal.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #191
192. ok, rather than beat the capitalist ideal to death....

let me say that the ideal compromise is a socialist/capitalist system, in the spirit of Stiglitz (see post 84). Capitalism does involve a certain amount of chance and risk-taking, and if I happen to be on the losing end of the system then I would still like the system to be able to take care of my basic needs. This is an ideal that is currently not being met, considering the number of impoverished and homeless people. Also, if I have not accumulated a considerable amount of wealth by the time I retire, I would still like to benefit from social programs like medicare and social security. In my ideal world, there should also be programs for people who are horrified by the thought of working for money.

BUT, in the meantime, I would still appreciate the ability to market and sell my work (as in the previous post) and there are plenty of skilled labor workers who want to continue doing what they do, and be able to organize into unions so that they can negotiate fair wages. The ability of global corporations to outsource to oppressive countries presents a problem, but I believe that we have to work harder on legislation and foreign policy to make the system fair.

Yes, when you focus on the beancounters and the mechanics of capitalism, then it can be very dehumanizing: capitalism only cares about you as a source of labor. The solution is not to allow government or company management to be guided only by capitalistic goals.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #192
194. Check Out Naomi Klein's new book. It'll appeal to you
A -lengthy- review here:

http://www.booktv.org/ShowImage.aspx?BookId=7541

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reviewing Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" - by Stephen Lendman

Naomi Klein is an award-winning Canadian journalist, author, documentary filmmaker and activist. She writes a regular column for The Nation magazine and London Guardian that's syndicated internationally by the New York Times Syndicate that gives people worldwide access to her work but not its own readers at home.

In 2004, she and her husband and co-producer Avi Lewis released their first feature documentary - "The Take." It covered the explosion of activism in the wake of Argentina's 2001 economic crisis. People responded with neighborhood assemblies, barter clubs, mass movements of the unemployed and workers taking over bankrupt companies and reopening them under their own management.

Klein is also the author of three books. Her first was "No Logo - Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies" (2000) that analyzes the destructive forces of globalization. Next came "Fences and Windows - Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate" (2002) covering the global revolt against corporate power.

Her newest book just out is "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" that explodes the myth of "free market" democracy. It shows how neoliberal Washington Consensus fundamentalism dominates the world with America its lead exponent exploiting security threats, terror attacks, economic meltdowns, competing ideologies, tectonic political or economic shifts, and natural disasters to impose its will everywhere. Wars are waged, social services cut, and freedom sacrificed when people are too distracted, cowed or bludgeoned to object. Klein describes a worldwide process of social and economic engineering she calls "disaster capitalism" with torture along for the ride to reinforce the message - no "New World Order" alternatives are tolerated.
http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2007/09/reviewing-naomi-k...

BookTV video interview with the author here

In "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" Naomi Klein argues that in the wake of natural and manmade devastation economic reform is introduced to benefit investors and free market advocates while taking advantage of moments of collective disorientation. Ms. Klein focuses her criticism on Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, which she posits assisted in creating a model for the "shock doctrine" and presents examples for her argument by profiling the current situations in Iraq and New Orleans.
http://www.booktv.org/program.aspx?ProgramId=8652&Secti...

BookTV RoX, btw - a good way to get an hour of the latest from a lot of books and authors on a wide range of subjects.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #194
197. Thanks for the links and info!

I'm very interested in the devious plans of the "neo-class".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #29
96. The initial employees where I now work were offered a risk-cash trade-off...
The initial employees were able to choose what they wanted to be paid, as a fraction of their market salary, for the first year of the company's existence, with the remainder to be compensated in stock options. If some chose 0%, as some did, their entire compensation would be stock options. Those who chose 100% salary would receive a market wage, but no stock options. Each individual chose her or his own risk profile.

Now, which group is "expropriating" from the other? Those who gave up salary for stock? Or those who took cash up front?

Since the future has not yet unfolded, I cannot yet tell you for certain which group will profit the most from the venture. I think this business will do well, and expect those who bet on the stock will do far better. But that is said against the background that a) most new businesses fail, and b) it is impossible to know all the facts about the market and events that might soon transpire that would affect our business's success or failure. It's quite possible that those who worked that first year without compensation will see a complete loss of that year's work.

The problem with the traditional Marxist analysis that you are peddling, besides the assumption of a particular moral frame of reference, is that Marx had a simplistic view of the role of capital. To him, capital was the means of production, and what mattered most about who owned it was simply who received its rewards.

But it matters a great deal to the direction of the economy how capital is deployed. The unique thing about capitalism are the mechanisms it creates to lure capital away from pure rent seeking and into the creation of new and risky ventures, seeding the evolution of business and technology processes that drive modern economies. Economic advance requires a lot of new businesses. Which means a lot of capital put at risk.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #96
128. I think you are getting ahead of yoursef..
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 08:32 PM by Tech 9
The problem with the traditional Marxist analysis that you are peddling, besides the assumption of a particular moral frame of reference, is that Marx had a simplistic view of the role of capital. To him, capital was the means of production, and what mattered most about who owned it was simply who received its rewards.

Could you elaborate on what he is "peddling"? Or at least clue the rest of us in on what traditional Marxist analysis is? Oh, thats a complicated subject you say? But you also call Marx's views simplistic..views crafted over a lifetime and in particular intense study over the final 20 years of his life. Don't let any of that stop you though, you're on a roll..

Particular moral frame of reference? Again, you are quick with the hyperbole but not so quick to tell us why we should think you aren't just throwing around empty phrases..? Your liberalism is much more rooted in "moral frames of reference"..

Marx had a simplistic view of Capital. Really. Have you *read* Marx's views on Capital? Do you disagree that capital constitutes the means of production? Are you using "means of production" in a technical way or is that simply a sneer?

But it matters a great deal to the direction of the economy how capital is deployed. The unique thing about capitalism are the mechanisms it creates to lure capital away from pure rent seeking and into the creation of new and risky ventures, seeding the evolution of business and technology processes that drive modern economies. Economic advance requires a lot of new businesses. Which means a lot of capital put at risk.

You should try making one coherent point at a time. It appears you think Marx never discussed how capital was deployed. Since this is one of the central themes of Das Kapital, I think that is a suspect claim. Further, you are stuffing the whole kitchen sink into one paragraph here. Your love for capitalism seems to rest on how great it is at evolving business and technology and generally producing economic advance. But you are someone confounding that with talk of "venture" capital and the assumption of risk..which is merely an internal component of capitalism. Why is risk not simply another means of redistributing (redeploying) capital? It almost sounds like you are superimposing a "particular moral frame of reference" of your own here. Venture capitalists deserve the rewards they get because they took the chances after all..

If that is what you're saying it would be helpful if you simply came out and said so. That way everyone would understand that you are a capitalist apologist and an ideologue who will stop at nothing to shout down and socialist-tinged rhetoric.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #128
155. Well
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 11:02 PM by leftist_not_liberal
"If that is what you're saying it would be helpful if you simply came out and said so. That way everyone would understand that you are a capitalist apologist and an ideologue who will stop at nothing to shout down and socialist-tinged rhetoric."

That's perhaps unnecessarily stern; this is after all the Democrats' house.

It is interesting to me though that one artifact of our ossified two-party system is the exclusion of leftist voices from polite conversation and government generally.

Governments many Democrats admire and cite as examples of why many Democratic policy positions are good much more often have active, participating communist and socialist parties.

It is really not a lack of precision to say that the USA is unique in its reflexive hatred, and general ignorance of, all things leftists.

Certainly it was not my intention to beat up on Democrats by posting what a good measure of folks here seem to agree is valuable history.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #128
172. You haven't answer the question: which of us is expropriating from the others?
The reason I posed my question is precisely that it brings in a vital issue of economics that Marxists generally do not handle well: risk. Where I work, different people doing essentially the same kind of work and enjoying comparable levels of renumeration -- modulo how they each individually value cash vs. stake -- have chosen different levels of risk. As a consequence of that, some will do significantly better than others. Which group does better depends, of course, on how the venture goes.

If the venture succeeds, the standard Marxist answer is that those who took the larger risk somehow expropriated the labor of those who chose otherwise. If the venture fails, as most do... well, I don't know that Marx much addressed that.

I'm less concerned about who "deserves" what reward in some ideal moral framework than I am in encouraging risky ventures. Technological and economic progress depends on lots of business ventures being tried, most failing, and the few that succeed thereby proving the technological and business processes that were tried in that market, and thereby providing the basis for the next generation of ventures. I know how capitalism encourages such ventures. Most Marxists don't realize the extent to which their own notions of what is allowed and what is verboten would dampen this.

The one normative value I have proposed relevant to this economic discussion is my desire for economic and technical progress. I don't have a strong measure of who deserves what. Unlike the libertarian, I have no moral principle against taxing those who succeed in such ventures, or what they would pass the wealth thereby acquired onto their progeny, etc.

So again, where I work: which group of employees is expropriating from the other? Those who chose to risk a lot on the venture? Or those who chose to risk little? It seems this should be an easy question to answer, given the emphasis Marx placed on his notion of expropriation.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #172
177. Your definition of expropriating
revolves around who earns more money? So your boss is expropriating from you? You are trying to force-fit some crappy microanalysis. The capitalist class - called the bourgeosie by Marxists expropriates from the proletariat, the laborers.

Now, is it possible to muddle that divide with all sorts of clever delineations like you're making? Sure, but your example isn't even self-consistent. One employee isn't taking from another -- each will receive their haul independet of the others right?

Do you know anything about how R&D works in the real world? It sure doesn't sound like it..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #177
185. This is a real life example. If it doesn't fit your theory...
Admittedly, the numbers next are a bit of a guess, because I don't know everyone's choice. But it's a real life example. For the first year, one employee chooses to take $0 salary and ISO on 100,000 shares of stock. Another chooses $40K salary and 50,000 shares. A third chooses $80K salary and 0 options. In another three years, those options may be worth $100/share. If that turns out to be the case, the first two employees pretty clearly will then be part of the capitalist class, and I'm sure no few Marxists will explain how they profited from the labor of others. After all, they were only two of those involved. Or the venture may fail, and the options will be worth $0/share.

I don't know why you say this example isn't consistent. And this is R&D. In the real world. I have done dozens of R&D projects. Fewer as startups -- this is my third such. Tell me, what experience do you have in R&D and startups to be saying I don't know how such things work?

It is a myriad of such ventures that drive economic progress. Saying that Marxian analysis can't cope with this is essentially an admission that it can't cope with economics.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #185
189. Before you asked which worker was expropriating from the others
which is clearly not a Marxist definition of anything. Now you have shifted it to basically a question of "is the stock market an example of expropriation". You are apparently not clear on the Marxist argument you are so quick to decry -- Marxism talks about classes. Working class, ownership class.

As for R&D you have this mythologized presentation that is as though capitalism means betting on the 41-point 'dog all the time and the ones that pick Stanford or Appalachian State are the "winners" who drive the economy through their foresight and daring. You have yet to explain why capitalism so uniquely lends itself to innovation or how mankind managed to adapt and flourish as a species for so long without it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #189
200. Actually, I discount foresight. I think it's impossible to know what the economy needs next.
There is a larger component of luck in entrepreneurial success than many want to admit. That doesn't matter to its beneficial effect on the economy. By focusing on the individual, you keep missing the aggregate effect I'm pointing out. Every few years, millions of new ventures are started, combining in different ways the business and technological processes from the last generation of business, with a few new elements. Most of those prove to be less effective at delivering consumer or upstream value than either existing businesses or their new brethren. And fail. The few that survive have discovered something important for advancing the economy. "Discovered" not necessarily in the sense of some individual going "aha," but in the sense that other genetic algorithms are also a discovery process.

There is no existing method to predict which of those will succeed, because the information required for that is too dispersed, and rarely articulated prior to the ventures being started. You're stuck on wanting to praise or blame those who fought their way to the top. Lamarckian. I'm pointing out that the rapid evolution of business and technology is less about individual actors than it is about the aggregate process.

Hockey sticks don't just happen. There are reasons for them.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #200
210. Well you're certainly true to your
theory of the economy as an organism, I'll give you that. I think a step back is in order though. What the economy "needs"? There's a loaded statement.

Also, it is rather dubious to claim that every new business that comes down the pike is akin to competing genes a la evolution.

But anyway, kudos, you sure do stick to your guns. Even when its totally irrelevant to the discussion and/or sounds so bizarre you'd think no one would actually try to advance it. But you do. Kudos.

PS The closest I've come to Lamarck is I made out with a Lamarckian once
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #210
216. Paraphrasing for short titles isn't easy.
Obviously, an economy doesn't need anything. That was my shorthand for something like "what provides the most added value next, given the current state of the economy now." But that wouldn't fit on the subject line.

I am most definitely not suggesting a view of the economy as organism. The biological analogy is that the economy is much like an ecology.

This is quite relevant to the discussion. First, that hockey stick needs explaining, and Marxism doesn't explain it. Second, most of us want that hockey stick to continue. Which is the one normative view I have injected, explicitly, into this discussion.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #216
221. Lamarckism
is only applicable for organisms, right? At least one of the articles you linked to previously involved applying ideas of inherited traits to economics. And the definition gets blurred anyway, since you could go so far as to call the biosphere an "organism"

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #172
179. Only so long
"I'm less concerned about who "deserves" what reward in some ideal moral framework than I am in encouraging risky ventures. Technological and economic progress depends on lots of business ventures being tried, most failing, and the few that succeed thereby proving the technological and business processes that were tried in that market, and thereby providing the basis for the next generation of ventures"

...as there is a competitive paradigm. Same for "business risk."

It's a good thing whoever figgered out fire wasn't waiting on a business opportunity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #179
187. Progress was slow for millenia. Then, in 500 years....
We went from the dark ages to cell phones and computers.

Do you have an explanation for that? Do you think it an economic fact that needs explanation?

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #187
188. The progress of humankind
especially in science has hit the bend in the hockey stick. Laying that subserviently at the feet of the bloodsucking idle rich certainly disrespects the tremendous achievements of mankind that predate the perfection of man robbing his fellow man.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #188
201. Hockey sticks don't just happen.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #201
206. Ever been around a kid learning language?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #206
207. Exactly. And linguists and developmental neurologists endeavor to explain that.
It is very strange -- and completely contrary to any kind of science -- to see such a stunning change, and think it needs no explanation.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #207
218. Ummmm
what is the liberal explanation for language again? How is it incumbent on a political theory to explain why a weeble wobbles but doesn't fall down again?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #218
222. It is incumbent on an economic theory to explain the most salient economic phenomenon.
Marxism isn't just a political viewpoint. It pretends also to be an economic theory. And not just a small economic theory, but the economic theory. The most salient economic phenomenon is the sea change in the economy concurrent with modern times. It was the question that Adam Smith started pondering: what was making some modern nations rich? An economic theory that cannot explain that historical fact is much like a biology theory that cannot account for the diversity of life, and the nature of that diversity. The Marxists here who need that rather huge piece of world pointed out to them are very much like the creationists who also respond, "explain what?"

If you're interested in explanations for language, read on linguistics. If you're interested in economics, read some economics texts. Real ones, not Marxists ones. But perhaps you're not that much interested in either, if you're content with the notion that both language and economic advance just "happen."

:hippie:


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #222
223. Marxism can't explain why some nations are prosperous
and others aren't? You have so many different threads going here its impossible to keep them all straight. One second we're talking about explaining language, the next we're trying to dissect The Wealth Of Nations. And somehow this maelstrom of disconnected criticisms foils Marxism as a salient economic theory.

I'm half convinced you want an explanation of mass production and industrialization. Regardless you are essentially asserting this: Marxism can't explain capitalist logic so capitalism is correct. If that sounds like a nonsequitur..well, it is. Hockey sticks and the market for them have to be understood within the mode of production that produces them and also defines the commodity relations inside of the economy. That is clearly capitalism.

What you are really saying is "Aw, gee whiz, hockey sticks are great! Who would want to blow up a system that makes so much good..like hockey sticks for instance".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #223
230. Capitalism isn't a theory, so it makes little sense to speak of it being "correct."
Capitalism is a kind of economic system, and so it makes sense to discuss its characteristics. Marxism claims to be an economic theory, more, the economic theory. The fact that it fails to understand some fundamental aspects of capitalism is a very serious flaw for Marxism.

And yes, being a liberal, I value economic and technological progress, and want those to continue. I think it is a good thing that we have today all sorts of affordable goods and services -- cell phones, home glucose monitors, laptops, iPods, laparoscopic surgery, digital cameras, GPS systems, etc. -- that didn't exist a mere thirty years ago. I do not set the rapidity of economic advance as the sole political issue. I recognize that much of what gets produced goes to fairly frivolous use, and that there are other political issues of importance. On the other hand, that wealth makes it far easier to address some political issues that in past times weren't. Even if someone in the 17th century had dreamt of providing all workers with a minimal retirement program like social security, it simply wouldn't have been practical at the levels of wealth then produced. Today, it is done in every modern nation. So yes, I want that hockey stick of the last 500 years to keep going, and therefore oppose the destruction of the economic system that causes it. That doesn't make capitalism "correct." Just useful. To the libertarian, capitalism is a god to worship. To the Marxist, it is a demon to destroy. To the liberal, it is part of human technology, like a written alphabet, that has certain features and utility.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #230
236. No One,
not one soul, has ever defined and described capitalism in a manner superior to Karl Marx. I challenge you or anyone on this board to demonstrate otherwise.

And no, to a Marxist,capitalism is a stage of social relations that comes after mercatilism and before socialism...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #230
238. You think its good that a small upper crust
of people in the world have all sorts of affordable goods and services. Great, lets get the word out to all those crazies and dissidents who want to deny us our toys just because they're forced to do without. They're probably all terrorists anyway. They should be thanking us for our largesse, the unappreciative ingrates, don't they see how much capitalism is benefiting us which in turn lets us give them humanitarian aid??

The best you could do was make a technical correction to my caricature? Capitalism is correct could be read as a "capitalist ideology is correct". A position you're outright embracing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #238
240. I hope you and the other Marxists here keep in mind that when you vote for Democrats....
You will, by and large, be voting for those who favor capitalism. Personally, I think you ought to vote for those whose views are more similar to yours, and loudly denounce we feckless liberals. As I said in a previous post, I think that will get we liberals an electoral boost.

:hippie:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
30. K & R'ed And here's a paragraph that struck me:
And what were the scale of these efforts? John Blundell, the head of the IEA, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, and Atlas in 1990, would identify a rare failure in the Society's efforts. Shaking his head at the abortive attempt to subsidize academic "Chairs of Free Enterprise" in dozens of countries throughout the world, Blundell complained about wasting, "hundreds of millions, perhaps one billion dollars". This was just one initiative among many.

My comment: we have entire section of the news that constantly regurgitates the "objective" findings of the Heritage Foundation. Have to hand it to those who paved the way for all this - we may hate them - but they have been effective at controlling the debate.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. "they have been effective at controlling the debate."
Mostly by shilling "liberty' and "freedom" which of course exist only for those who are best off and who represent a tiny fraction of the mass of men. Here in Rome, where everyone is a $60,000 millionaire caught up in trinkets made by slaves the world over, liberty and freedom are an especially easy sale. Indeed the biggest question I have for people who drink the capitalist koolaid is 'Why do you identify more with your oppressors than the hungry, homeless addict on the street?' You can goddamn well bet the billionaires think of the two of you in the same way, and that is as Chattel. Well except that for most of the homeless there is no labor to appropriate. In that case, I'll grant you that, like Howard Roark famously said to Ellsworth Toohey, they don't think of that portion of the homeless at all. Nothing to steal, after all.

To reiterate the OP:

For anyone who would attempt to understand class societies, the unmediated slogans of those same societies are the worst possible places to begin. For feudal societies, slogans such as "Chivalry", "Honor", "Fealty", "Chastity", "Virtue" and the like, underlay a social fabric that was monstrous, arbitrary, and treacherous. In most cases the slogans hid social truths which were the exact opposite of their rhetorical claims. The cruelty of the joke was not fully apparent until the end times of feudalism itself or, perhaps, even after.

In our own times, the slogans which have replaced these are those of "Freedom", "Liberty", "Democracy", "Enterprise", "Individuality", and so on. It is impossible to know the meaning of these as given and even more unlikely that one may make of them as one may wish. In the present society, they are like virgin forests that one may stumble upon while walking. No matter how pristine and unfettered such may appear, in our contemporary social system that forest is inevitably someone's private property and is thus absolutely resistant to any other appropriation.

So too, it is the same with "Freedom" and "Liberty". No matter how one may "choose" to think of them, in truth they have only one source and one meaning.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #34
110. Lol -- In seeing you designate Chivalry as a Feudal Society's
Family Values Equivalent,it occurs to me that today, those who cite the RW mantra of Family values don't always live their life with much "Chastity" involved.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
33. If we know that a scholar could not get ...
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 06:39 PM by Boojatta
a job, a review, or a book deal then it would seem that people are giving the scholar a negative evaluation. Are you assuming that we can we rely on this evaluation?

Does a similar approach work in economics? If some people are having trouble finding a buyer for their real estate, invention, or other item, then can we conclude that what they are selling is not worth buying?

Over a dozen of the scholars who could not previously get a job, a review, or a book deal would go on to win the "Nobel Prize in Economics" (this "epic" story will be told separately).

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #33
45. It implies that the 'famous' Austrians were a bunch of hacks.
This implication is contradicted by the number of Nobel Prizes they received, until the story of the "Nobel Prize in Economics" is told as it was upthread. Now our suspicions are confirmed: that it was all 'marketing' in the first place.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #45
53. Does the same rule apply to Marx?
If he got subsidies from Engels, then should we simply ignore what he wrote rather than study it for insights or defects?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #53
57. Did he write to benefit Engels?
Did Engels give him millions upon millions?

The comparison is completely facetious.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #57
60. I wasn't trying to make a comparison.
Maybe I should have asked about the general idea rather than a particular example.

Instead of evaluating a scholar's work, are we supposed to rely upon evaluations of a scholar's work made by those who hire people for jobs, write reviews, and offer book deals?

Is that the general idea or have I misunderstood?


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #60
62. You seem to me to be overlooking
what it means to be disregarded by one's academic peers in an academic setting. It means the work has no merit.

As much hay has been made trying to bash Marxism, no economist worth their salt will deny that his influence is as great as any of the classical economists and that no exposition of capital comes close, even in the 100+ years since Marx's labors on behalf of human progress. And that of course is why Bawerk was so roundly dismissed until the ruling class created the poisonous Austrian School out of money, lies, and the weakest of academic criticism.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #62
65. What if some work is disregarded by a scholar's academic
peers for a long time and is later not disregarded? Does that mean that some work both has no merit and also has merit?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #65
67. I don't know. The only example we have in this thread
is one of 'acceptance' after a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar campaign of devious lies. So it's hard to say. I ain't no economist :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #65
139. What kind of semanatics game are you playing?
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 09:23 PM by Tech 9
The OP is not an example of work being disregarded and then righteously coming into the mainstream after a long and drawn out process of begrudging acceptance. Its a story of manipulation, collusion and shadowy figures operating behind-the-scenes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-10-07 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #139
272. Wow! You think that the Original Post is just a semantic game!
If you are not saying that, then perhaps you are responding to my post rather than responding to the Original Post, just as I was responding not to the Original Post, but to this:

You seem to me to be overlooking what it means to be disregarded by one's academic peers in an academic setting. It means the work has no merit.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-11-07 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #272
274. My mistake
I thought you were replying to the OP
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #53
133. You're not being serious here
Every scholar is subsidized by someone or some organization. They are not all preselected for funding by holding only certain views nor are they traditionally expected to produce work that draws a narrow range of conclusions decided upon in advance.

What connection do you see between the OP and Engels being a consummate Manchester capitalist? I see exactly none.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #45
123. Hayek maybe, but Popper was no hack.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #123
134. Whether thats true or not is beside the point
What is your motive for insisting that this be noted? Academic circles can take care of that type of thing I would think. For our purposes its enough to know that Popper was decidely not on our side.

(And, no, I wouldn't exactly call Popper a hack, but then hack is the least of things you could throw at him)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #134
160. What is "our side"?
I'm A left-winger and I like Popper's political philosophy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #160
162. I like breakfast cereals
Does that make Kraft and Nabisco on our side too?

By Popper's definition, all of social science fails to be "science". Some theory there.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
36. This is an excellent post
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 07:21 PM by nam78_two
Nominated with pleasure. Thanks for all this information. I was aware of some of it, but not all. As some one deeply committed to the environmental and animal welfare movement, I have found no greater philosophical foe to either of these than the libertarian :-/.

While we tend to focus on the religious insanity of the current group of thugs ruling us, it is my firm conviction that that is merely a bait for the 10-20% of the religious right that is needed to win elections. The true philosophy that governs these Cheneys and Bushes is that disgusting, hard-core, self-centred libertarianism you described here.

"The virtue of selfishness" :puke:.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. Exactly Right, IMO
"While we tend to focus on the religious insanity of the current group of thugs ruling us, it is my firm conviction that that is merely a bait for the 10-20% of the religious right that is needed to win elections."

The faustian bargain struck between the bad guys and those who far too readily suspend their disbelief...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. A hearty welcome to DU btw
I am hoping for a lot more along these lines :toast:. Excellent early posts set up expectations ;).

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Ah, as I said upthread
I am only a mere thief, a plagiarist. Thankfully though folks of my ilk are not too hung up on intellectual property rights :)



Of course the corporations have done and excellent job of killing the meaning of open source and appropriating it for themselves now too...

That's OK though. It's all temporary and the discord from the left in America increasingly shows...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
riverdeep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #40
48. Your image
has a strange coincidence to my earlier post (#22). I didn't mention that the guy I quoted was arguing that the open-source movement should be embracing capitalism more than socialism or communism. Weird.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Code Toads are some of the most heavily propagandized of all
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 08:00 PM by leftist_not_liberal
workers.

Gotta control the dangerous masses on the internets. What better way than to control those who control the web?

I work in software and have known computer-types for a number of years now. Virtually all of them are of the sort that they express disdain for the so-called 29%ers and espouse this pro-capitalist 'freedom and liberty' bullshit all the time.

Real freedom is being freed from appropriation and the tiered society it creates. Imagine if you never had to worry about the basics, i.e. food, shelter, healthcare, or eduction. What would you do that you never could?

Maybe you can't really answer that or don't think it would be much different for you.
If so, it's because you cannot identify with the struggles of the mass of humanity.

Such a state of affairs is profoundly fortunate for those who find themselves unable to easily, quickly answer the question. But it's even more profoundly unfortunate for ocean of humanity who can.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sandyd921 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
52. Fascinating essay! Thanks!
Really fills in the blanks about how the wealthy made up from whole cloth and then foisted these disastrous "theories" upon the world.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
66. Intensely Illuminating
Not to be confused with Italian lighting fixtures, though I do appreciate you putting that bogeyman to bed. So, is regulation the solution? And is it possible to wrest control of the economy and all it's subsidiaries from this control, given the network has been allowed to grow unimpeded? Will an unfortunate collapse of the dollar, global economy do that? Will another new deal have to be put in place?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #66
69. Marxism posits revolution, not reform.
Edited on Sat Oct-06-07 09:47 PM by leftist_not_liberal
In an era of capitalist globalization, the means of production needed for a just future society are laid down and the nature of oppression is, like everything else, rendered more uniform.

Eventually the reaction of the masses to that oppression will also be uniform. Then its game over for the rich fuckers.

That's what Marx seems to have said to this observer.

Are we close? Seems to me that almost all Marxists have made the mistake of thinking so, if those were mistakes (I am not developed enough as one to field that yet); I do think a point made by the author of the OP is salient to that question though. He comments that in every major city of the world people now dress alike. That was not the case just a few decades ago. Like scientific knowledge, the spread of capitalism is exponential. The faster it goes the closer we get.

As for my personal opinions and concerns, I worry the old man did not give consideration to the ecocidal consequences of globalization. How could he though? It would be like expecting fax machines to be mentioned in ten commandments.

So to answer your questions, NO I do not thing regulation or reform are really possible. I mean shit, look at the Hillary scandal today. I work for progress and of course I vote democratic; actually I was a state delegate in '04. But the fantasy that reform will ever work is exactly that, a fantasy. Even the New Deal, bled for by socialists/communists like me, has been systematically dismantled by both parties. People now are far less inclined to Fight and Bleed for the necessary change. That is why the events of Seattle and Miami and recently in Europe now too are seen even by most liberals as ineffective fringe efforts. Compared with the class movements - and class consciousness - of people in the early part of the last century, the people of the same ideological bent are indeed a fringe today.

I think Marxism is however alive and well. It mostly speaks Spanish, which of course is why the Nazi-infested CIA has been on a killing spree for decades in the Global South.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #69
75. I Get What You're Saying But Don't See Revolution ala 1789
as a real option. If people haven't taken to the streets now I sincerely doubt it will happen unless things get so bad, or environmental dire.

You brought up a point upthread which has always had me wondering what the heck they're thinking. If they lose their consumers, where does that leave them?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #75
79. lose consumers, go broke
The major problem I have found with the corporate/neo-liberal/libertarian types is the lack of thinking through the complete outcomes of their philosophies. Just like the current regime, they start out with a preconceived notion of the results of their actions. Reality, otherwise known as the Big Picture, has a nasty habit of smacking down those who think they have all the answers (it is called hubris).

Thus the very long-term outcome of the Austrian school's economic theory is total failure. When consumers have no money, they can no longer consume. The elite may be able to continue for a time on their saved wealth, but they will lack income. As their resources become depleted, the probability of the proles rising up and overthrowing them becomes larger. The collapse of the Roman empire did not occur in a year, but in centuries, sliding slowly into the "Dark Ages".

They should heed the ancient warning: Be careful what you ask for, you may receive it. Their economic model is by its nature unstable. They may succeed in the short run, but in the long run, they will lose. All their gated communities will not save them from the wrath of the dispossessed.

Neither total free-market capitalism nor actual communism are workable in the long term. A blend of the best of both systems is far more stable.

Ah, well, enough of my ramblings.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #79
81. EXACTLY
That lack of foresight has been a glaring failure of this admin, though at the end of the day, I think they could care less. But it will tell on them, and us, in the end. And as you say, they could live on their savings, in fact many of them could live through several lifetimes, but the psychological effect would be devastating.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #79
83. Nah
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 12:48 AM by leftist_not_liberal
The people who bought the fake economics into existence know it is fake.

So remember that.

The clusterfuck in Iraq, for example, is very much by design.

When you make the bullets, war is a good business. At what, something upward of $450 billion now (?), the cost of this war represents one of the most effective wealth transfer schemes from working people ever, most especially with so much of the thing having been gloriously privatized. And just look at it going on, and on, and on.

That way the mortgage banking scam may not be able to catch up as another terrific wealth transfer scheme masterminded by a libertarian named Alan Greenspan.

Alan Greenspan grew up in New York, got his B.A. and M.A. in economics from New York University and later was awarded a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia without completing a dissertation the degree usually requires. In a highly unusual move, Columbia made an exception in his case.



Early on, he became enamored with free market ideologue Ayn Rand, wrote for her newsletters and authored three essays for her book "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal." It expressed her views on capitalism's "moral aspects" and her attempt (with Greenspan's help) to rescue it from its "alleged champions who are responsible for the fact that capitalism is being destroyed without a hearing (or) trial, without any public knowledge of its principles, its nature, its history, or its moral meaning."



That was in 1966 when Rand, a staunch libertarian as is Greenspan, believed fundamentalist capitalism was being battered by a flood of altruism in the wake of New Deal and Great Society programs she (and Greenspan) abhorred. She defended big business, made excuses for its wars, and denounced the student rebellion at the time and the evils of altruism. Greenspan concurred, maintained a 20 year association with Rand (who died in 1982), and never looked back.

From 1948 until his 1987 Federal Reserve appointment, he served as Richard Nixon's domestic policy coordinator in his 1968 nomination campaign and later as Gerald Ford's Council of Economic Advisers Chairman. He also headed the economic consulting firm, Townsend-Greenspan & Company, from 1955 - 1987. Its forecasting record was so poor it was about to be liquidated when he left to join the Fed. A former competitor, Pierre Renfret, noted: "When Greenspan closed down his economic consulting business to (become Fed Chairman) he did so because he had no clients left and the business was going under (and we found) out he had none (of his employees left)." That made him Reagan's perfect Fed Chairman choice, and Renfret added it was Greenspan's failure in private business that got him into government service in the first place.



He wouldn't disappoint as Wall Street's man from the start. He bailed it out in 1987 after the disastrous October black Monday. It was the same way he did in it later in 1998 following Long Term Capital Management's collapse and again after the dot-com bubble burst. It was by his favorite monetary medicine guaranteed to work when taken as directed - floods of easy money followed by still more until the patient is healed, unmindful that the cure may be worse than the disease. No matter, it's a new Chairman's problem with Greenspan claiming no culpability for his 18 and a half year tenure of misdeeds, subservience to capital, and contempt for the public interest.

(i.e. socialism for the ruling class)



Greenspan's Role in the Greatest Modern Era Wealth Transfer from the Public to the Rich

Greenspan was a one-man wrecking crew years before he became Fed Chairman, and his earlier role likely sealed the job for him as a man the power elite could trust. He earned his stripes and then some for his role in charge of the National Commission on Social Security Reform (called the Greenspan Commission). He was appointed by Ronald Reagan to chair it in 1981 to study and recommend actions to deal with "the short-term financing crisis that Social Security faced....(with claims the) Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund would run out of money....as early as August, 1983."

There was just one problem. It was a hoax, but who'd know as the dominant media stayed silent. They let the Commission do its work that would end up transferring trillions of public dollars to the rich. It represents one of the greatest ever heists in plain sight, still ongoing and greater than ever, with no one crying foul to stop it. The Commission issued its report in January, 1983, and Congress used it as the basis for the 1983 Social Security Amendments to "resolve short-term financing problem(s) and (make) many other significant changes in Social Security law" with the public none the wiser it was a scam harming them...

The public was told the Commission recommendations of 1983 were supposed to make Social Security fiscally sound for the next 75 years. They weren't told there was no problem to fix and the changes enacted were to transfer massive wealth from the public to the rich. It was one part of an overall Reagan administration scheme that included huge individual and corporate tax cuts that took place from 1981 to 1986. The rich benefitted most with top rates dropping from 70% in 1981 to 50% over three years and then to 28% in 1986 while the bottom rate actually rose from 11 to 15%.

It was the first time US income tax rates were ever reduced at the top and raised at the bottom simultaneously. But it was far worse than that. In only a few years, Reagan got enacted the largest ever US income tax cut (mostly for the rich) while instituting the greatest ever increase entirely against working Americans earning $30,000 or less.

Alan Greenspan engineered it for him by supporting income tax cuts and doubling the payroll tax to defray the revenue shortfall. He also recommended raiding the Social Security Trust Fund to offset the deficit, and who'd know the difference. His scheme helped make the US tax code hugely regressive as well as for the first time transform a pay-as-you-go retirement and disability benefits program into one where wage earner contributions subsidize the rich as well as support current beneficiaries.
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6946



In an article published in 1963 as part of Ayn Rand's book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Greenspan declared that protection of the consumer against "dishonest and unscrupulous business was the cardinal ingredient of welfare statism."

"Regulation which is based on force and fear undermines the moral base of business dealings," he wrote. "Protection of the consumer by regulation ... is illusory."

Some may well argue that these diatribes against regulation were part of a passing phase in Greenspan's career. Perhaps, but this philosophy was alive and well when Greenspan, as a consultant-lobbyist, badgered federal regulators. In one case, Greenspan intervened directly with the principal regulator of Charles Keating's Lincoln Savings in an attempt to gain special exemptions from regulations for the institution. Risky investments ultimately brought Lincoln Savings down, sent Keating to jail, and cost the taxpayers $2.5 billion. Greenspan became chair of the Federal Reserve.

...And if anyone complains about the loss of such consumer and fair-lending information, Greenspan could send them this excerpt from his writings with Ayn Rand: "Government regulation is not an alternative means of protecting the consumer. It does not build quality into goods, or accuracy into information. Its sole contribution is to substitute force and fear for incentive as the 'protector' of the consumer. The euphemisms of government press releases to the contrary notwithstanding, the basis of regulation is armed force. At the bottom of the endless pile of paper work which characterizes all regulation lies a gun."
http://www.commondreams.org/views/041800-106.htm
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #79
141. Unstable, but what about untenable?
That is not as obvious. The capitalist class are not blinded by their own shoddy philosophical claims. They recognize the inherent problems with capitalism as an economic model and are always introducing " course corrections" and the like. If it was as simple as you're theorizing, the Great Depression should have been the end of capitalism in the United States.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #69
124. Popper killed Marxism.
Which is why it seems like you Marxists are intent on smearing him.


"Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell."
--Karl Popper
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #124
146. I doubt leftist_not_liberal
even knows much about Popper. If anything Popper's important work was in philosophy of science, not political philosophy. His ideas about "historicism" are complete bunk and don't constitute even the beginnings of a refutation of Marxism.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #146
161. If you think his refutation of Historicist BS is bunk there is not much use arguing with you, then.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #161
163. Look
if you want to say that history is not determinate and/or in inexorable, fine I agree with you. I think that history moves in certain ways that can be examined scientifically though. If you are denying that, aren't you also denying history as a subject worth studying at all?

And, secondly, Popper's shallow imitator does no justice to historical materialism, and it certainly doesn't pigeonhole Marxism.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
72. Big "thank you" kick.. . . . . n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
77. k&r
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-06-07 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
78. As an aside, IIRC, R. J. Rushdoony and his son-in-law, Gary North, both worked for the Volker Fund
in the mid '60s.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dailykoff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
80. The money boys worshiping their money god.
Pretty disgusting.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
85. This is something everyone should read carefully. Thank you. (K&R) - and some more reading:
The basic outline is clear enough for most who pay attention to such things. Just Capitalism 101. But the detail of how things work at the forensic level -- who did what when and how -- is very enlightening. Your posts in the course of the discussion add much more important detail.

I assume you and Anonymous are familiar with PFAW's documentation on the other major component of the Class War game, bankrolling the fundies and crazies. But if not, and for the benefit of those other DUers who have not seen this resource, take a look at http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=3147 . It is more a compendium of data than a history, but very instructive.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 05:32 AM
Response to Original message
89. recommend -- essential DU history.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NoFederales Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
90. Fascinating reading and great sleuthing. If anyone has ever lived for
awhile in an "old-money" area, it is not difficult to identify the "prominent" ideas, the "prominent" agendas of "that" community, and the "prominent" antagonisms that will thwart contrary, alternative, and dissenting ideas.

And the key kernel for me is the absolute belief by these characters in their ideas, which indeed, have no philosophical underpinnings. Whimsical, arbitrary, capricious: whatever these characters espouse, they intend to become authoritarian platforms and they do "own" and "control" the networks that fashion everyday life.

Question: The rhetoric of revolution notwithstanding, how do our "founding fathers" shoehorn into this scenario?

NoFederales
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hansberrym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
94. Great stuff ! Can you tell me who was behind Marx ? Who was behind

Hitler? Who was behind Lenin?


The conspiratorial view of history is often mocked, but the more one reads, the more one is convinced that secret societies and hidden agendas influencing social change is the norm.



In the theme of "what is past is prologue" it makes sense to ask;

Who is behind the various "trade agreements" such as NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA? (doesn't seem to be a grass roots effort of working men and women)

Who is behind the North American Union?




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
byronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
97. Brilliant. Succinct. Why I come Here. Thank You.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
freefall Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
98. K&R. Thank you. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
99. I had no idea... Thanks for such an informative post!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rucognizant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #99
105. A good read later!
I just skimmed, as I have a huge list of things to accomplish today.
As I skimmed...................My family history, came into sharp focus!
I believe My Grandfather was a Libertarian and follower of these men! ( As well a tryannical authoritarian personality type.) I rmember hearing all these men's names as clearly as if they had been our neighbors....His mail order wallpaper business was 3rd best selling in the USA after Sears & Mongomery Ward. ( self made man from poor background) My parents were very progressive Democrats....... they chaffed under the yoke of the family business ( voting for Adalai Stevenson pursuing creative hobbies.) and finally broke out and as mid-life crisis sold out their share of the business and bought a dude ranch in the Adirondacks. Imagine having to have holiday dinners, AND working for a very conservative Libertarian! There were some pretty heated PBS had that series on economics several years back. Command of the Heights. It was very interesting.
Kick! :kick:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
100. National Association of Manufacturers, Chamber of Commerce
Those were the names that caught my eye because I've been looking into them a bit lately. The historical facts are intriguing enough (such as Samuel Bush's role as first president of NAM), but more to the point is that those two groups (along with the Business Roundtable, a relative newcomer) are still at the center of most pro-business lobbying campaigns.

For example, all three, though particularly the Chamber of Commerce, have been pivotal in the push for CAFTA -- both through heavy lobbying in this country and through CoC's overseas affiliates, like AMCHAM in Costa Rica, where voting on CAFTA is taking place today.

See, for example, the Business Roundtable press release about an earlier CAFTA vote headed "Business Community to Outline 'Full Court Press' at May 25 Event" at
http://trade.businessroundtable.org/news/major_push.htm... .

Or this Washington Post story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

It's hard to imagine two issues of less interest to most voters than free trade with Central America and a cut in the tax on dividends paid to the owners of stock.

Yet the latest in lobbyists' wiles -- a grand elaboration on Internet advertising -- managed to rope hundreds of thousands of average Americans into the congressional debate on both matters and was instrumental in passing the measures into law.

The until-now unheralded trick-of-trade was bankrolled by the Business Roundtable -- an organization of chief executives from 160 large companies -- and was executed by Alexandria-based Democracy Data & Communications LLC and its OnPoint Advocacy affiliate. It worked so well that the Roundtable is experimenting with it as a way to revive President Bush's foundering effort to make private accounts part of Social Security.

"It's the future of lobbying," said John J. Castellani, president of the Roundtable.

These are the two wings that work together. The intellectual apparatus detailed in the OP provides the arguments for free markets and laissez-faire capitalism. The business interests then provide the funding and lobbying to translate those arguments into real-world initiatives, like CAFTA. or social security privatization.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #100
102. Should be live streaming coverage available here from the Other Side
For women's perspectives on CAFTA,

tune in to FIRE -- Feminist International Radio Endeavour (Radio Internacional Feminista), at: www.radiofeminista.net .

FIRE has been doing extensive coverage in Spanish and English, including audio interviews and programs, news articles/features and photos of the ongoing struggle.

FIRE is produced by women from Latin America and the Caribbean, and presents women's perspectives on all issues.


Margaret Thompson, Producer
FIRE -- Feminist International Radio Endeavour
www.radiofeminista.net

and
Associate Professor, Mass Communications & Journalism
Director, MA in International & Intercultural Communication
University of Denver

Dear Friends:

You know about the interest of the next sunday, october 7th. In this time several social organizations, includes Voces Nuestras and FECON and others, they gathered to broadcast through the internet: LA SEAL DEL CORAZON (The Heart Signal). This is a news effort that will carry you reports from different places of Costa Rica with journalist that will cover the development of the referendum from five to 22 hours (Costa Rica time) of the sunday. Will be participating too: analyst an a big technical and comunicational equipment that is prepared to carry the details of this historical success for Costa Rica and the entire world.


LA SEAL DEL CORAZON, you can hear to this since Now in the next websites:

www.radiodignidad.org
www.radioestacion.org
www.radiociudadana.org
www.concostarica.com


Find it to in the this mirrors:
www.radiomundoreal.fm

The referendum in its day will be rebroadcasted too by the Latin American Association of radio education, ALER in www.aler.org from 10:30 hour of Cos Rica.

To connect directly to the internet radios, do it in:

Radio Estacin (http://www.radioestacion.org/envivo.m3u )
Radio Ciudadana ( http://69.72.168.66:8012/listen.pls )
Radio Dignidad (http://201.198.22.166:8010/listen.pls )
Radio Mundo Real ( http://ct1.fast-serv.com:8094/listen.pls )

- the above complements of the United States Social Forum Mailing list
http://www.ussf2007.org
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #100
122. So Far, NO Has A Chance
The remarkable coalition of public employees, farmers, small business owners, intellectuals, and assorted citizens has already changed Costa Rican politics regardless of the outcome of the referendum vote. The capacity for mobilization and unity, and public awareness of competing economic models and their impact on society have increased significantly.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

.....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
104. Great chronicle of the PR arm
of our corporate capitalist masters.

May the internal contradictions of that awful system bring on its final collapse...soon...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
106. Thank you, this is fascinating.
I have not read it well enough to really comment yet except to say that I will never again feel really good when I step into Volker Park. :scared:

Very interesting read, again thank you.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
T.Ruth2power Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
109. National Association of Manufacturers

National Association of Manufacturers

Besides funding pro-fascists groups like the Silver Shirts, corporate America sponsored several other groups that maintained a speck of respectability. One such organization that figured prominently in spreading the propaganda was the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The first president of NAM was Samuel Bush, father of Prescott and grandfather of George H. W. Bush . Such organizations as NAM would serve as bridge groups between the rich corporate owners and the public.

NAM along with the National Industrial Information Committee picked up the banner of du Pont's free enterprise dogma. It was Fulton Lewis Jr. a former employee of NAM, who became the mouthpiece for NAM. Using his radio program on the Mutual Network, Lewis spread the NAM propaganda to roughly three million people daily. Lewis denied the truth put forth by the La Follette and the Truman committees and instead aired NAM's propaganda under the guise of "Your Defense Reporter." At their 1942 convention, NAM went on record of supporting du Pont's Free Enterprise fully. The convention adopted a plank of full support for free enterprise, even if it hindered the war effort. In contrast, the 1942 CIO convention went on record for winning the war first, ahead of any union issues. In other words labor was willing to make the sacrifices needed to win the war, while big business wasn't, and put profits ahead of the war effort.

NAM was only one group of many that was used to propagandize America. Another was the Chamber of Commerce. Both the Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion served as bridge groups breaching the gap between the workers and the American elite during the 1920s . NAM served a similar role in the 1930s and into the 1950s. The top officials of the John Birch Society in the 1950s were all former officials of NAM. The Birch Society also acted as a bridge group.

Source: The Nazi Hydra in America: The 1930s: Nazis Parading on Main Street, Part 4: The Press Sells Out to the Nazis
http://www.spiritone.com/~gdy52150/1930sp4.html

In congressional hearings held on March 2, 1938 evidence was entered showing that NAM was controlled and financed by 207 firms. Leading the list of firms were General Motors, du Pont, Chrysler, National Steel and the Pennsylvania Railroad. The leading contributors to NAM were also the leading contributors to a number of pro-Nazi groups such as the American Liberty League, the Crusaders, the Sentinels of the Republic, and the National Economy League.
.
The power behind NAM was the Special Conference Committee. Twelve corporations made up the Special Conference Committee, a secretive business organization dedicated to destroying unions and promoting the agenda of NAM. They met in the offices of Standard Oil, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The twelve firms are listed as follows: ATT, Bethlehem Steel, E.I Du Pont de Nemours, General Electric, General Motors, Goodyear Tire, International Harvester, Irving Trust, Standard Oil of N.J, US Rubber, United Steal, Westinghouse. With one possible exception all of the corporations listed supplied the Nazis with arms.

In 1943, Colombian University Professor Robert Brady described the Special Conference Committee as follows:

"The most important line of policies within NAM, in short, seems to be traceable directly or indirectly to this inside clique within the inner councils of the organization...Nowhere else is shown so clearly the dominating positions in the NAM of concerns such as those which are members of the Special Conference Committee. Public relations techniques were born, nurtured and brought to flower within these ranks"69.

The Civil Liberties report produced by a Senate committee led by La Follette and Thomas described the Special Conference Committee as a secret coalition in direct furtherance of the specific forms of company union by Colorado Fuel and Iron, the Rockefeller corporation involved in the Ludlow massacre.

The thirteen most powerful families in the United States and members of NAM as listed by Seldes are as follows: Ford, du Pont, Rockefeller, Mellon, McCormick, Hartford, Harkness, Duke, Pew, Pitcairn, Clark, Reynolds and Kress. Of these, five were involved in the plot of against Roosevelt: du Pont, Mellon, Pew, Pitcairn and Clark. With the possible exception of three of these families all had close connections with fascism and the arming of Hitler.

The reader should understand that NAM was more than just a mouthpiece for the fascist elite. It was also a bridge group between classes.

Just as in Germany the real power behind the Nazi movement were the rich financial backers but the masses of brown shirts came from the lower classes. The same was true of the fascist movement in the United States. The following example of how NAM bridged this gap between classes with the Black Legion and even more importantly between the nativist groups and fascism.

more at:
http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/53/nam.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
T.Ruth2power Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
112. Just wanted to say
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 02:41 PM by T.Ruth2power
this is a great post. After reading about two-thirds I find the interlocking arrangements to be breathtaking.

Would it be too far fetched to say the US hasn't had a government for quite some time? At least in how we conventionally consider government.

Wanted to add this before departing:

Just Another Voice
The collapse of ICE barely dented industry's propaganda campaign, which had already created a bevy of other front groups to pump out the same message. The group currently leading the charge is the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). Since its founding in 1989 until the summer of 1997, GCC operated out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers. Its members include Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute, Shell Oil, Texaco, Chevron, Chrysler, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Exxon, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and more than 40 other corporations and trade associations.

GCC is represented by the E. Bruce Harrison Company, a subsidiary of PR giant Ruder Finn. Within the public relations industry, Harrison is an almost legendary figure, who is ironically considered "the founder of green PR" because of his work for the pesticide industry in the 1960s, when he helped lead the attack on author Rachel Carson and her environmental classic, Silent Spring. GCC also employs the Washington, DC-based EOP Group Inc., another well-connected lobby firm whose other clients include the American Petroleum Institute, the Business Roundtable, the Chlorine Chemistry Council, Edison Electric Institute, National Mining Association and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Since 1994 GCC has spent more than $1 million each year to downplay the threat of climate change. Its efforts are coordinated with separate campaigns by many of its members, such as the National Coal Association, which spent more than $700,000 on the global climate issue in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, the American Petroleum Institute paid Burson-Marsteller $1.8 million for a successful computer-driven "grassroots" letter and phone-in campaign to stop a proposed tax on fossil fuels.

"For perspective, this is only slightly less than the combined yearly expenditures on global warming of the five major environmental groups that focus on climate issues--about $2.1 million, according to officials of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the World Wildlife Fund," observes journalist Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat Is On, the best book written to date on the issue.

The Australian Connection
The GCC recognized early on that Australia would play a key role in its campaign against global warming reform. Rapid economic growth in the Australasian region has seen Australia emerge as an important regional staging post for the PR industry. Most major US firms--Edelman's, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, Shandwick and others--have established a presence there to work on local issues and the regional implementation of international issues.

more here:
http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/1997Q4/warming.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
114. Hillary Clinton was absolutely correct about the "vast right wing conspiracy"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #114
138. You should read some of the threads about Mark Penn
She had inside information..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
115. Kicked & bookmarked.
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 03:43 PM by Kurovski
I'm sorry that I'm too late to recommend.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
118. I knew the Libertarians were a bunch of phony assed prostitutes!
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 03:54 PM by Joanne98
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
stimbox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
119. K&R
:bounce:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
121. I think you took a wrong turn, this isn't Marxist Undergroud.
I have no love towards Hayek and Friedman. I have even less love towards conspiracy-based "Vulgar Marxism"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #121
140. Its a matter of historical fact
whether the people in the OP felt the need to create a fake ideology to combat socialism and Marxism.

You might as well reply to every story that mentions the Nazis and WWII by saying "This isn't the Fourth Reich Underground".

Other than launching your own one-sentence polemic against "Vulgar Marxism" whatever that is, what is your point. Are you calling the OP a conspiracy theory? If so, on par with fake moon landing stories and Cheney flying the planes by remote control on 9/11?

Surely you can have more than two sentences in you..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #121
151. It may not be...

...reading comprehension underground either judging by your post. I wrote the piece quoted in the OP and did not know that Mr. Left was going to post it here, but it is all fine by me. You may be conflating our views.

As far as "conspiracy" goes, a conspiracy is by definition something "secret". As I took pains to point out, the Volker story is not a secret. Google on any of the proper nouns and you will get to the material I presented rather quickly. The tale is not "well-known" but that is another story. If you wish to contradict any element of the story, I will be happy to retract it.

Finally, who you callin' "vulgar"?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #151
159. "Vulgar Marxism" is the popular form of Marxism based on notion of a "capitalist conspiracy" and...
similar rhetoric based on thinking that exploitation of the lower classes is the result of a conscious conspiracy by the eilites, which actually goes against Marx's socioeconomic determinism. Marx thought that capitalists were just as much blind cogs in the socioeconomic machine as the workers.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #159
167. You've been reading too much Popper
Edited on Sun Oct-07-07 11:23 PM by Tech 9
EDIT: just to clarify, everything in your post is made up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #159
169. So your view is that the owner class is totally unaware of their self-interest
and unwilling or incapable of acting of acting consciously to advance their power and profit?

Well, all I can say is, well, that's the lamest bit of apologistics I've seen for quite a while. Oh, and since your ignorance encompass Marx's writings, his "economic determinism" as you label it never included the argument that the people at the top or the bottom were unaware or incapable of acting in their own self-interest. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Of course, you may cite yourself as evidence to the contrary, but rest assured, nearly all of those at the top are fully aware of what they are doing (the Hilton heirs may be exceptions) and only a few in the middle (very few at the bottom) think defending the status quo is justified either in terms of self-interest by any type of morality. You want to suck up and think you will gain by that act, well, OK, but don't count on getting rewarded for your servitude.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #169
176. Rinse and Repeat.
"only a few in the middle (very few at the bottom) think defending the status quo is justified either in terms of self-interest by any type of morality."

Yes.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #159
184. Wow...
Do you mean that in order to be a "refined Marxist" (or a "refined" anything else), you have to believe that people never have any consciousness of their own interests, never combine politically, never articulate an ideology and act upon it? That is some serious "determinism". I read your comments about Popper above (I'm not sure what Popper-ites might be called - "Popsicles" came to mind). This is his view of "vulgar" and "refined"?

Damn, and I thought it was because I used swear words...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #184
215. They're called Blowpoppers
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #121
204. Vulgar Marxism is correct
The OP is a shoddy merger of Marxism and conspiracist thought.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #204
217. You're a shoddy merger of
ah, forget it lol

I thought the term Vulgar Marxist was reserved for those who cast man as "homo econominus". Now it appears to just be a catchall for anyone to the left of Bill Clinton. I'll be sure and update my lexicon.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #217
243. What are you talking about?
Who says it's a "catch-all term for anyone to the left of Bill Clinton"?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dailykoff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
125. These guys have had Social Security in their sights since Roosevelt
signed it into law. One of these days they're going find a way to suck all those trillions into their private hidey holes if we don't holler and kick every time some asshole DINO starts screwing around with it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #125
142. One of these days
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dailykoff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #142
166. Ha.
Yes Greenspan is a major New Deal breaker. But I was thinking of his "bipartisan" enablers, like this one:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
creeksneakers2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
143. Fascinating history
I read a book about the origins of the conservative movement but the book didn't give as much detail of the earliest history your post does. Its amazing how all connects. Great thread!

It appears that some at the beginning weren't operating out of greed. Ideology and the betterment of man were sincere motives. Volker gave away all his money. He didn't make any off Libertarianism. The movement corrupted itself quickly. It became an attractive tool for private interests who took over the machinery the movement created.

Now its hard to tell exactly how much of conservatism is ideological and how much of it is just profit driven. I think many underestimate the ideological component. Still, I wish the history could carry forward to a complete model of who is pulling what strings now and why.

The vast right wing conspiracy is complex. I'd love to see the sources revealed when a lie is passed off. Its impossible to know now where anything is coming from. Still,I monitor right wing media and its obvious that coordination and control dictate the message. There must be a smaller group at top that decides what to do next.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 10:30 PM
Response to Original message
156. kicking - very interesting.
Thank you.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
philly_bob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-07-07 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
170. Loved this thread! Especially history of right-wing think-tanks.
The Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, etc., need to be discredited once and for all as shills for the rich. Would love to see a "genealogical chart" of Hayek and Chicago School influenced think tanks.

One thing I ended up a little vague on after a quick reading of the thread was, what's it mean when you tack "neo" onto an ideology? "What is relation between liberals and neoliberals, conservatives and neoconservatives." Those words are used so often that we think we know what they mean, but I think leftist_not_liberal offers a different view and I haven't digested it. Liberals and neoliberals are WAY different, conservatives and neoconservatives not so much. Neoliberals and neoconservatives end up in the same wealthy clubrooms and war-rooms nowadays.

Anyway, l_not_l, here's my contribution to your work on right-wing think tanks:

Some suggest that Rockefeller started the University of Chicago (in 1890) with the direct intention of fighting back against the state and federal antitrust authorities fighting him in the 1880s.

Rather successfully so, wouldn't you say, combining high-brow great-bookishness with the antiregulatory free-market Chicago School ideology?

Rockefeller and his "University" may be at top of the geneaological chart I hope someone makes someday...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #170
245. You may be right...
Edited on Mon Oct-08-07 10:40 PM by anaxarchos
Hello Philly Bob

As you no doubt know, neo means new, as in a modern re-interpretation of an older idea. For the last couple of decades it has been a joke that neo has come to mean not. Thus, neo-conservatives are clearly not old-fashioned conservatives (who have now been dubbed paleo-conservatives) on almost any important issue. Instead, they are the advocates of a new imperialism (neo-imperialism?).

Neo-liberal is more complicated. It has sometimes been used to describe the Democratic Party equivalents of PNAC and the neo-cons, and sometimes to describe Libertarians. The Libertarian angle is confusing though, because the target keeps moving.

The original description that these characters gave to themselves was classical liberals. The problem is that liberalism, whatever one may think of it, has been a largely unbroken tradition for well over a century. The Libertarian reference is to a very reactionary form of British liberalism that traces back to the earlier part of the 19th century and pre-dates John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. The high point for those classics was that they advocated letting Ireland starve during the potato famine rather than to provide relief, and negatively impact grain markets. Certainly they were reactionary enough but were they Libertarian?

The problem which arises is two fold. On the one hand, no two classical liberals agree on much other than in a pro forma loyalty to free markets and a hysterical opposition to big government and socialism. On the other hand, classical liberalism is a set of modern conclusions looking for a historical rationale. As such, the fit with 19th century pre-liberal liberalism is not a good one. What is needed is a political philosophy hostile to government interference in the economy, but which, at the same time, promotes the primacy of private property above all other rights, and the cult of the atomic individual. In a century dominated by the Rights of Man, it is hard to find a custom fit to such a selective agenda. The result is a rightward drift in the search for Libertarian traditions which, given the time period involved, also means a continuous drift backward in history.

Libertarian writers of various persuasions alternately claim and then reject various philosophical roots. From 19th century British reactionaries with a nominal loyalty to Locke and Hume, we drift backward to Burke who criticized the French Revolution and the new Democratic ideals (this is a favorite of Christian Libertarians who claim that the American Revolution was a conservative counter-revolution against the rise of the Democratic doctrines). But Burke doesnt fit well either, so we drift back to Hobbes (Leviathan). Hobbes at least has the advantage of promoting property right above most other rights, but the drift does not stop with him. The last time I looked, Libertarianism claimed its roots in some obscure medieval perspectives based in Salamanca and everyone since was accused of being insufficiently pure. I suppose by now that the Libertarians have traced their real roots to Marcus Aurelius.

In my opinion, there are no traditions to classical liberalism. They were entirely and opportunistically made up as part of a political strategy. As proof of this, I would note that Libertarian writings on Libertarian traditions always post-date (sometimes by decades) the Libertarian proposals which are supposed to be based on such traditions. Ignoring everything else, an unknown tradition aint a "tradition", is it? It is end-to-end rubbish.

Forgive the length of my answer but the short of it is that, in this case, the joke is correct: neo-liberal means not-a-liberal.

On your Rockefeller connection, you may well be right. Clearly the Volker Fund is the cash sparkplug for this stuff in the early 1940s but it is foggy to me before that point. Roehner, in the Nobel Prize sidebar, agrees with you. The University of Chicago is also clearly important well before my narrative begins. The truth is that I have yet to find usable material on this.

Perhaps we will both dig more

Cheers,
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
202. Factually incorrect and unsourced.
In particular this paragraph has serious issues:
The Fund also now began to recruit friendly young "future-scholars" and subsidize their development. Not only was the cause thus advanced, but a modest intelligence network became a part of the "Libertarian Movement". One such early recruit was Murray Rothbard, later to become famous as the "father" of "Left Libertarianism", "Libertarian anarchism", and "anarco-capitalism". Later much castigated for his "sellout to the Right-wing Republicans", Rothbard had, from the first, been intimately wrapped up in Anti-Communism, McCarthyism, the "Old Right", and the right-wing ideology of the Volker Fund. It was through the Fund that he became an associate of Ayn Rand and a student of Mises.


Rothbard was not a left-libertarian and certainly was not its father. Left-libertarianism is a term that has been used by several different movements, some only nominally on the left. Rothbard briefly self-identified as one in the 1960s but only after advocating alliances between the left and libertarianism on select issues, such as the Vietnam War. He did not "sellout to the Right-wing Republics" {Note: Where are these quotes coming from!?} as the Republican Party came around to his way of thinking. A decade later Ronald Reagan would famously declare that "conservatism is libertarianism". Rothbard did in fact coin the term "anarcho-capitalism" which does indeed fit his beliefs quite nicely however to consider him the "father" of a philosophy whose roots lie in classical liberalism is, I think, stretching.

If the author would be a bit more rigorous in their history and clearly cite sources this would be a pretty good paper. As it is it is a conspiracy theory implying a secret cabal controlling the formation of political opinion. By hyperfocusing on the Volker fund the author is missing the forest for the trees; the rise of the religious right and the influence of social darwinist thought especially escaping the author's attention.

Nicely written though. Too bad the author chooses to remain anonymous as he/she has a nice way with words.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
riverdeep Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #202
203. That's the part that worries me with the reflexive cheering on this thread.
Earlier, I stated this was a highly intriguing post but needs more documentation to get it past that stage. Look, you wouldn't trust a freeper who gets his arguments from an anonymous, unsourced posting. You'd laugh at him up and down. I don't understand why the same diligence isn't true in this case.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #203
209. Did you happen to check Wikipedia
or Google? You can chain sources together almost piece by piece from there for this article. We seem to raise or lower the "standards" bar based on whether we agree with a piece or not. Try this, demonstrate something that is factually incorrect in the OP. And quibbling over the author's use of word play doesn't count. Everyone lampoons Rothbard, even Rothbard.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
T.Ruth2power Donating Member (371 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #202
208. Rapprochement with the Left
Rapprochement with the Left
The first attempt at rapprochement between the postwar American libertarian movement and the Left came in the 1960s, when Austrian-School economist Murray Rothbard came to question libertarianism's traditional alliance with the Right in light of the Vietnam War. During this period, Rothbard came to advocate strategic alliances with the New Left over issues such as the military draft and black power.


Karl HessWorking with radicals like Ronald Radosh, Rothbard argued that the consensus view of American economic history, wherein government has stepped in as a countervailing interest to corporate predation, is fundamentally flawed. Rather, he argued, government intervention in the economy has largely benefited established players at the expense of marginalized groups, to the detriment of both liberty and equality. Moreover, the "Robber Baron Period", adulated by the right and despised by the left as a laissez-faire haven, was not laissez-faire at all but in fact a time of massive state privilege accorded to capital. Rothbard criticized the "frenzied nihilism" of left-libertarians but also criticized right-wing libertarians who were content to rely only on education to bring down the state; he believed that libertarians should adopt any non-immoral tactic available to them in order bring about liberty.<16>

Rothbard's initial leftward impulse was maintained by Karl Hess, picked up by activists like Samuel Edward Konkin III (founder of the Movement of the Libertarian Left) and Roderick Long. These left-libertarians agree with Rothbard that presently-existing capitalism does not even vaguely resemble a free market, and that presently-existing corporations are the beneficiaries and chief most supporters of statism. By this line of reasoning, libertarianism should make common cause with the anti-corporate left. Rapprochement with the left has led many left-libertarians to reject some traditional libertarian stances, such as hostility to labor unions and support for intellectual property, or even to limit valid real-property rights to use-and-occupancy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism

The Movement of the Libertarian Left is, or was, a radical libertarian movement founded by the late Samuel E. Konkin III, exploring his favored approach of agorism, but traditionally welcoming and attracting collaboration from non-agorists as well. Inasmuch as the apparent executor of Konkins estate, who has since abandoned left-libertarianism as we understand it, now claims legal ownership over the term Movement of the Libertarian Left, a need has been felt for new institutions, unaffiliated with the MLL, to carry forward what we see as the MLLs authentic legacy. In brief, we consider ourselves the legitimate heirs of the MLL, but refrain (under protest) from using the label because of the threat of legal thuggery.

http://all-left.net /

While it's true that Rothbard wasn't "the founder" of the Libertarian Left he was certainly influential and pretty much influenced quite a bit of that movement. And as nutty as Rothbard was he still looks sensible compared to the whacko many actually consider the "founder" of the LL, Samuel E. Konkin III.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #202
211. "roots lie in classical liberalism"
Ain't this code-speak for libertarian acolytes who have discarded the Labor Theory of Value and with it "classical econmoics"?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #211
227. Only in Marxist conspiracy theories n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
leftist_not_liberal Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #227
233. Care to make a SUBSTANTIVE comment
Using the term 'conspiracy theory' is just a shitty, condescending way to attempt to shut down reasoned conversation. Besides, this thread is about conspiracy facts.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #227
235. Other than the fact that its convenient
to brand the OP a conspiracy theory, do you have any link between conspiracy theories and Marxism. You're big on citing sources, so I know you do..

..right?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #202
241. Funny you should mention it...
The author appreciates the posters critique. Perhaps the poster will allow the author the leeway to answer his criticisms in reverse.

It is odd that the poster should focus on the religious-right because the very next installment (or sidebar) to the series is precisely on that topic. As the poster may be aware, there was an abortive attempt to merge the Christian right with emergent libertarianism during WW2. Since the religious right focused on counter-acting Social Gospel, in the same way that classical liberalism sought to undermine the New Deal, it is not that much of a stretch to have considered a synthesis or perhaps a division of labor between the physical and metaphysical territories. It appears that this synthesis was undermined by postwar Libertarian secularism and various Randians (the author is not the least bit interested in debating whether Rand was a genuine Libertarian or not). In any case, the effort seems to have been revived in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It may disturb the poster to know that the architect of that revival was none other than the ubiquitous Volker Fund. The most important step in this direction was the hiring by the Fund of Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of Christian Reconstructionism and Dominionism (unless the poster would like to once again challenge paternity), who also now became the father of Christian Libertarianism. In 1965, Rushdoony relied on the Volker network of funding sources to create the Chalcedon Foundation. According to Mark Rushdoony (Rousas Johns son who now heads Chalcedon), When Newsweek dedicated an issue to the Religious Right after the Reagan landslide in 1980, they included a chart of Whos Who in the Religious Right. Under think tanks only one was listed Chalcedon My father started Chalcedon in 1965. He had been a researcher and writer for the William Volker Fund in 1962 and had worked on writing grants for its spin-off, the Center for American Studies.

http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID...

Once again, no conspiracy is implied. Gary North, the Christian Libertarian Economist, also known as Scary Gary for both his advocacy of Capital Punishment for adulterers and homosexuals, and his yearly predictions for the end of the world, openly and routinely brags about his father-in-laws (it is a family thing, isnt it?) connection to the Volker Fund and his Libertarian synthesis on lewrockwell.com. North himself worked for both the Volker Fund and the FEE (as well as for Congressman Ron Paul). In summary, the author blames the posters chosen ideology for the rise of the religious right as well, at least in part.

Finally, the author notes the posters criticism that the article is factually incorrect and unsourced. The author is surprised, however, that the poster would choose to select that particular paragraph and that particular subject with which to take issue. While the poster implies factual fault, the posters only point is one of subjective interpretation rather than an objective or factual correction. Was Rothbard really the father of Left-Libertarianism? Well, Rothbard was the first to propose a post-WW2 Libertarian turn toward the left, predating Van Parijs, Hess, Konkin, Long, and anyone else the author knows about. That makes him the father according to the author. That the term is used somewhat generically is a given.

As to the specific sectarian dicing of who specifically calls themselves left-libertarians today, and so on, the author readily admits to complete disinterest. In his turn, though, the author wonders if the posters slip isnt showing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
205. When conspiracism meets dialectics
The dialectic can be a useful analytical tool but unfortunately conspiracist thinkers tend to really mangle the whole thing.

Despite the OP's protestations of not being a "conspiracy theory", it is a conspiracy theory. Philosophical development is a fluid process of debate, and new philosophies are not pulled out of thin air by intellectual lites.

Libertarianism is not a conspiracy-produced ideology from the 1930s, its roots lie much further back. Right-libertarianism owes its roots to Edmund Burke, classical liberalism, and 19th Century radical liberalism. Left-libertarianism's roots lie in 1820-1830s Europe with Chartism and other utopian socialist movements. The OP completely ignores the historical development of these philosophies.

The OP is seemingly written from a Marxist perspective, but Marxist analysis is not thoroughly applied. The complexity of class struggle, theory of labour, and power-knowledge are thrown off the boat in favour of a binary 'conspirator/the rest' process that supposedly directs history. This type of false dichotomy is what drives conspiracy theory thought and leads its followers to erroneous and simplistic conclusions.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #205
213. I like your worldview
Very centered. You reject conspiracy theories and so, ergo, it follows that nothing is ever done in a conspiratorial fashion. You think the dialectic could be alright in the abstract, but you don't really agree with it, so it follows that there is always some flaw with anyone trying to apply it. You know that political philosophies must have a historical development through fluid process of debate -- certainly not plucked from thin air -- so even when some things demonstrably are made up on the spot, you're ready to prove they aren't.

But, there is a slight problem in connecting the dots here. Did Burke influence Hayek, Popper, and others? Is that really in question or would you just like it to be since its such a ready-made "flaw" you can jump on. The truth is that your laissez faire crap was magically resuscitated by Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, etc and this article is the story of how.

But lets go back and talk about it in the 19th century if thats what you want:

The nineteenth century is commonly described, alike by paternalistic liberals and social democrats, and by the kinds of vulgar "libertarians" who engage mainly in pro-corporate apologetics, as an age of "laissez-faire." But to use such a term in reference to that period is an utter travesty. We have already seen, in our previous chapter on primitive accumulation, how the capitalism of the nineteenth century reflected the violent reconstruction of society by a statist revolution from above. In addition, it was of the allegedly "laissez-faire" nineteenth century that Benjamin Tucker wrote, when he identified the four great forms of legal privilege on which capitalism, as a statist system of exploitation, depended. We will examine those four privileges, central to the structure of "laissez-faire" capitalism, in this chapter. In addition, we will examine a fifth form of state intervention largely ignored by Tucker, even though it was central to the development of capitalism throughout the nineteenth century: transportation subsidies.

Both state socialists and corporate welfare queens, for nearly identical reasons, have a common interest in maintaining the myth of the laissez-faire nineteenth century. The advocates of the regulatory-welfare state must pretend that the injustices of the capitalist economy result from the unbridled market, rather than from state intervention in the market; otherwise, they could not justify their own power as a remedy. The apologists of big business, on the other hand, must pretend that the regulatory-welfare state was something forced on them by anti-business ideologues, rather than something they themselves played a central role in creating; otherwise their worst fears might be realized, and the interventionist state might actually be pruned back. "Laissez-faire" is, therefore, what Albert Jay Nock called it: an "impostor term."1

The horrors of England's industrial life in the last century furnish a standing brief for addicts of positive intervention. Child-labour and woman-labour in the mills and mines; Coketown and Mr. Bounderby; starvation wages; killing hours; vile and hazardous conditions of labour; coffin ships officered by ruffians--all these are glibly charged off by reformers and publicists to a regime of rugged individualism, unrestrained competition, and laissez-faire. This is an absurdity on its face, for no such regime ever existed in England. They were due to the State's primary intervention whereby the population of England was expropriated from the land; due to the State's removal of land from competition with industry for labour.... Adam Smith's economics are not the economics of individualism; they are the economics of landowners and mill-owners.2
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #213
226. Plagiarism is generally frowned upon
Edited on Mon Oct-08-07 06:16 PM by salvorhardin
The nineteenth century is commonly described, alike by paternalistic liberals and social democrats, and by the kinds of vulgar "libertarians" who engage mainly in pro-corporate apologetics, as an age of "laissez-faire." But to use such a term in reference to that period is an utter travesty. We have already seen, in our previous chapter on primitive accumulation, how the capitalism of the nineteenth century reflected the violent reconstruction of society by a statist revolution from above. In addition, it was of the allegedly "laissez-faire" nineteenth century that Benjamin Tucker wrote, when he identified the four great forms of legal privilege on which capitalism, as a statist system of exploitation, depended. We will examine those four privileges, central to the structure of "laissez-faire" capitalism, in this chapter. In addition, we will examine a fifth form of state intervention largely ignored by Tucker, even though it was central to the development of capitalism throughout the nineteenth century: transportation subsidies.
continued at link...
http://www.mutualist.org/id72.html


The last three paragraphs of your post were plagiarized verbatim from the site linked above. They are from Kevin A. Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. That would be fine if you noted these weren't your own words and provided a link to your source.

Please don't plagiarize.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #226
228. I put that in quotes
but it didn't show up in the post for some reason, hardly plagiarism
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #228
231. It's plagiarism when you do not cite your source
Quotes or not it's plagiarism unless cited. This is a problem with the OP as well. Please play nice and cite your sources in the future.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #231
232. So its plagiarism if you say it is
good to know
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #232
237. check "view page source"

The <quote></unquote> tags are there in all their glory. (Of course, any idiot attempting to pass work off as his/her own that wasn't would likely have had the sense to remove the footnote numbers from the copied and pasted text ...)

I use <blockquote></blockquote> myself, so I'm not sure what you may have done wrong. It appears to be "wrong" in a mechanical sense rather than in an ethical sense, in any event.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #237
239. I have the book as a pdf on my computer
if I'd know this was going to be a doctoral examination I would've scrounged up a link. Which, incidentally, would've been quite a bit more than hardin has done to back up any of his posts on this thread.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #226
249. As an aside
are you familiar with Carson or his work here, or did that just come to you by way of Google?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #213
244. You're seeing things in my post which are not there
Very centered. You reject conspiracy theories and so, ergo, it follows that nothing is ever done in a conspiratorial fashion. You think the dialectic could be alright in the abstract, but you don't really agree with it, so it follows that there is always some flaw with anyone trying to apply it. You know that political philosophies must have a historical development through fluid process of debate -- certainly not plucked from thin air -- so even when some things demonstrably are made up on the spot, you're ready to prove they aren't.

But, there is a slight problem in connecting the dots here. Did Burke influence Hayek, Popper, and others? Is that really in question or would you just like it to be since its such a ready-made "flaw" you can jump on. The truth is that your laissez faire crap was magically resuscitated by Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, etc and this article is the story of how.


1. I never said that nothing is ever done in a conspiratorial fashion.
2. You don't really know my opinions on dialectics
3. The OP failed to show that libertarianism was "made up on the spot." The OP ignored a tremendous amount of history whilst putting together his thesis.
4. WTF, are you calling "my "laissez faire crap"
5. To say that something was "magically resuscitated" illustrates how simplistic your argument is.


Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #244
246. If you read the lengthy quote
you'll see that "magically resuscitated" was facetious.

You tried to gainsay much of the OP by claiming Hayek, Friedman, Mises, Popper et al were not really the "fathers" of Libertarianism. You are right that the OP does not contradict that fact. But, then since the OP is about Libertarianism's "Revival Movement" and the crummy of cast of characters we've been tossing about, its hard to say what the significance of your statement is.


Excuse me for inferring your completely transparent personal biases that color every statement that you make. You could be a Young Hegelian for all I know or care. In an ironic twist, I don't believe "anarcho-socialist" is spoken for..that would make you the Father of the movement.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 06:13 AM
Response to Reply #246
257. The OP is not asserting a "libertarian revival movement"
but the start of a new philosophy without any roots in history. He confirmed this view in a reply to my post.

Anarcho-Socialism is not spoken for. The tradition derives from the utopian socialist Chartist movement and the Paris Commune.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #257
260. Look Chartism is right up your alley
Edited on Tue Oct-09-07 01:24 PM by Tech 9
no question about that. But

a. people do read your posts you know. So you invoking the "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a real kneeslapper

b. the Paris Commune was hardly a "hybrid" of Marxist and Bakuninist thought, and that seems to be what you're implying here. It sounds like the doddering desire for a "happy middle ground".

c. basically you took two movements very few poeple have heard of, stuck em in a blender in your own mind, and created your own kooky movemement as a result? Talk about an Army of One..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #260
267. Most of your post is incomperehensible and little to do with what I said
In regards to my supposed "Army of One", here is the movement that I supposedly created for the purpose of the thread. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-socialism
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #267
268. I stand corrected
Your political movement is a hodgepodge of other crappy half-assed political "movements" that are nebulously defined but vaguely allude to anarchism and socialism.

Political philosophies commonly described as libertarian socialist include: many varieties of anarchism (including anarchist communism, anarchist collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism<6> and some forms of individualist anarchism<7>), mutualism, social ecology,<8> and council communism<9> (or even communism itself, as it's described by Karl Marx or Lenin in a further stage of development of socialism). The terms anarchist communism and libertarian communism should not be considered synonyms for libertarian socialism. Some scholars use libertarian socialism synonymously with anarchism.<10> Because it is a variety of socialism, it is considered not to be a variety of libertarianism by most right-wing libertarians.

My mistake. You could always move in on Anarcho-idiocracy..or is that taken too?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
anaxarchos Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #205
247. Well, that was "interesting"...
Have you been asleep for the last 10 or 20 years, Mr. AS? Such everyday conspiracies (if that is the word you insist on using) are the norm in current politics. The manufacture out of whole cloth of Anti Climate Change science, Creation Science, the Tort Reform movement and a dozen others immediately come to mind. In comparison to these, the Volker Fund effort differs only in duration and scale.

Where did you find my theory, let alone my dialectic, Mr. AS? Other than a very general quote from Marx in the disclaimer and a passing reference to class societies in the conclusion, the blog was a simple presentation of the facts... more deadpan than is my norm. I am not aware of any dialectic not Aristotelian, not Hegelian, and not Marxist in the analysis. If you disagree with the factual basis of the article, you might say so.

I do not dismiss the development of a new philosophy or ignore the historical roots of Libertarianism, Mr. AS. I categorically reject that any such roots exist. My opinion is that Libertarianism is entirely made-up and transitory. This is not my opinion of all political philosophy only of Libertarianism. You will note that I call it rubbish elsewhere on this thread.

I also categorically reject that Left-Libertarianism has separate and independent roots from Libertarianism as a whole, Mr. AS. That would be a rather convenient coincidence, wouldnt it? If Libertarianism is rubbish, then Left-Libertarianism is nonsense erected on rubbish.

I dont object to your taking umbrage at my attack on what appear to be your cherished ideals, Mr. AS. The simple telling of the Volker story does constitute such an attack and that is precisely as I intended. I do, however, object to you calling me vulgar, and then lecturing me on how to attack your cherished ideals.

That is just silliness sitting on top of nonsense erected on rubbish.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #247
248. Watch him come back with Heraclitus
I am not aware of any dialectic not Aristotelian, not Hegelian, and not Marxist in the analysis.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:14 AM
Response to Reply #248
252. I doubt he will come back with that reference.
You are right that the OP was just simple history, not dialectics, but I am sure A-S is extremely uncomfortable with the ideas of Heraclitus. The idea of change being a fact/necessity of life seems to be something many find worrisome. Heraclitus can teach us a lot (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus ). Highly recommended.

2500 years later, and most still think of reality as a fixed state. And thus support the powers that be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #252
254. Partially AS
is just figuring that all Marxist "dogma" is omnipresent and it all falls under the unitary umbrella of "Marxist Dogma". Its about history, so it must be historical materialism and everyone knows thats just economic determinism which is built on a dialectical foundation. BAM! Right down the middle clear case of dialectics..

Anyway, he probably wouldn't really cite Heraclitus, I was just searching for ways he could be contrary, although I guess he doesn't really need the help.

You should start a thread on Heraclitus.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #254
255. Well, a thread on Heraclitus would sink like a stone. Too bad, but true.
Maya rules.

Even tossing in a little Buddha and Korzybski ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski ) wouldn't be likely to help. But at least a few facts of life seem to make some impact, even with the static-worlders. Welcome to DU, and thanks for your insights.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #255
259. I'm not sure if static-worlders is what I'd call it
More like mechanistic, determinate, dualistic, positivist. Actually, for want of a better term "stoppable" too. But we're drifting out of the solar system here..
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 06:09 AM
Response to Reply #247
256. You ignore history because it does not fit into your theory
You ignore right-libertarianism's roots in classical liberalism and the Natural Rights movement. You also ignore left-libertarianism's roots in the European utopian socialist movements of the 1830s-40s. You have failed to explain why this is justified.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
220. People vote with their feet
The success of "Capitalism" is no mystery--people vote with their feet. The reason that free markets have reached the position they have today is not the result of some vast pseudo-conspiracy. It is the result of people moving to systems that work, and voting into power people that back systems that work. Marxists can never get past the indisputable fact that people, when given a choice, almost always choose to live in a non-Marxist state.

I place "Capitalism" in quotes because in reality Capitalism failed too. That is another reality that Marxists never understand. Capitalism didn't win, Marxism didn't win--they both lost. No place in the world where people want to live is 100% Marxist or 100% Capitalist. Rather, a consensus has been reached that the best system is hybrid, neither Capitalist nor Marxist. A quick survey of developed countries reveals that the world is slowly reaching a consensus about what the "best" system looks like and it is a hybrid system where the ratio of the private economy to the public economy is somewhere between 75%/25% and 65%/35%. In the US (one of the most "Capitalist" systems) about 20% of economic activity takes place in the public sphere. In Sweden (one of the most "Socialist" systems) about 40% of economic activity takes place in the public sphere. Moreover, the US and Sweden are moving toward each other. I suspect in a few decades we will see a convergence of sorts where the world has settled on just what aspects of an economy should be in the public sphere and what aspects should be privatized. Perhaps then all this ridiculous talk about who "won" the ideological debate will end, but I doubt it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #220
224. Could you write me into the cartoon world you're living in?
pretty please?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #224
225. I'll leave the cartoons...
...to the Marxists and Capitalists that need to make so many simplifying assumptions about reality that they cannot live anywhere but cartoons.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #224
229. Don't you remember? It's called ...

... The End of History.

;)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #229
234. Haha
Thats captures it perfectly

Good one :)

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/wo...

No, I don't know what its doing on MIA either
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:41 AM
Response to Reply #220
251. I agree with your post...

I'm tired of Marxists and socialists constantly claiming that the end result of capitalism is fascism. I'm also very tired of the right-wing getting its panties in a bind whenever "socialism" is used to describe the very social programs that seem to work well, often calling it communism. We live in a hybrid world whether the extremists admit to it or not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #220
258. Marxism never recovered from the rise of the welfare state and Keyensian Interventionism.
Marxist ideology ever since has been ad hoc attempts to protect itself from this falsification of Marx's historical prophesies.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #258
261. I'm pretty sure you could do an
expose along the lines of the OP on the welfare state and John Maynard Keynes (not to be confused with Maynard James Keenan). And Keynes wasn't all bad since he does provide a solid critique of the "experimental mathematics" of rational choice theory. Its funny you should bring up Keynes in this thread, given given what he had to say on econometrics and "remorseless logicians" a la Hayek.

Here is a review of a classical book, The Great Transformation by Karl Polyani. Its juat an Amazon review so you don't have to put all the stock in the world into it, but the author is a Top 50 Reviewer for whatever thats worth:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/08070...

Although this book was published in 1944, the same year as Hayek's THE ROAD TO SERFDOM, it remains as relevant as ever. Some say that it is dated and it is true that many of the historical references are not the ones that would spring to mind today, but the critique of the myth of the self-regulating free market remains as relevant and to-the-point as ever. One of the main targets of his book was the Vienna school of economics, the central figures of which were Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek. What Polanyi does is help one to see how hopelessly nave and ahistorical many of their central assumptions are. Though one might question some of the details of Polanyi's thesis, especially regarding the gold standard the causes of the two world wars, he makes two incredibly powerful arguments about the myth of the self-regulating market to which proponents of that theory have offered no convincing reply. More of this is a second.

Polanyi's method is multi-disciplinary. He wants to show by a multitude of ways that the central historical contentions of those advocates of the self-regulating market are simply fasle. These people have argued, for instance, that by nature humans engage in market trade and that these markets by nature are self-regulating. If this were, as they insist, true, then wherever one would look in human history one would find markets that were by their nature self-regulating. Remember, Adam Smith's Austrian heirs were making arguments not just about what ought to be, but what naturally is in a state of nature. They are making claims about what is the case if government and others will just get out of the way of the workings of nature. So to this end Polanyi looks at the results of anthropological and historical studies to see what the evidence shows. Overwhelmingly, he finds no evidence that things have been in the course of human history as the self-regulators have claimed. In fact, Polanyi finds little or no evidence of the worldwide prevalence of markets at all. He finds little historical evidence for the kinds of claims about the state of nature that self-regulating free marketers posit. Instead, he finds a world of evidence that free markets were human artifacts, created and maintained entirely by government intervention. The chapters that detail Polanyi's argument can be a bit heavy going, but they are crucial to his overall argument.

Polanyi makes two central claims about the myth of the self-regulating free market. The first is that in its essential nature it is utopian and nonhistorical. It is utopian in that it describes not the world as it ever has been or ever could be, but a fantasy that exists only in the minds of its adherents. It is a powerful myth because whenever one points to the failures and shortcomings of attempts to promote free market principles, its adherents reply by insisting that the market hasn't yet been made pure enough. If only we decrease government involvement, further reduce regulation, remove restrictions on the kinds of compacts companies can form with one another, further gut the power of trade unions, and so forth, we will see the birth of a glorious new economic world in which all will be right in the world and God will be on his throne. But as Polanyi argues, not only has such a creature as a self-regulating free market economy never existed, it never could. In fact, what has passed for self-regulating markets has in fact been the result of drastic and pervasive government intervention. Additional interventions take place to protect society as a whole from the damage that a self-regulating economy inflicts on the citizenry as a whole.

The second major point that Polanyi makes is that of embeddedness: any economic system is embedded in society as a whole, with a host of moral, political, and religious values that are not primarily economic in nature. The self-regulating free marketers would somehow wish for an economic system that is distinct from and separated from those values; that is, an economic system that is not embedded. But such a thing, Polanyi argues, is impossible. This is another reason why belief in a self-regulating free market is a sheer fantasy: it is predicated on a host of impossible situations being possible. As the effects of a self-regulating free market occur, society intervenes to counteract the harmful effects of that economy. For instance, workers compensation is neither required nor desirable by pure free market principles. The same is true for unemployment insurance or anti-trust legislation. Or pollution standards. There is no question that keeping a plant from polluting is an interference with the market, but this is an example of noneconomic values trumping economic ones.

The basic dilemma of free market capitalism has always been this: is an economic system that generates a great deal of wealth for a society as a whole but concentrates most of that wealth in the hands of a few people, leaving most with less than they would have in a different economic system, a good economic system? Most of us would say no. Even free marketers would have to concede this, which is why they have had to concoct articles of faith (though not of fact) such as the trickle down theory. "Trickle down" has been debunked repeatedly over the years, both in theory and reality, but perhaps never so eloquently as by Will Rogers. Some people, he said, thought gold water like water: put it at the top and it will trickle down to everyone below. But, he went on, gold wasn't like water at all; put it at the top and it just stays there. Polanyi's book gives meat to the question of whether one would prefer a society where a very large amount of profit were concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people (essentially the situation in the United States today) or a somewhat smaller overall amount distributed more equitably among al the people. Yes, the few who profited under the former would have less, but the vast majority would have more.

I want to question one reviewer below who says that Polanyi doesn't understand the essential nature of the free market. I find that an amazing statement. The reason that the myth of the self-regulating free market has spread so easily and widely is that it is so incredibly easy to understand. What one can question is whether this easy-to-understand, perhaps simplistic, theory is right. We have no examples of self-regulating economies from history even though in the utopian fantasy one of the tenets is that it is the "natural" course of things. Of course Polanyi understands the theory he is criticizing. He just finds it nave and silly. My only hope is that more people in the United States come to realize this. Ever since the election of Reagan in 1980, though in fact the tendency began under Jimmy Carter (most Americans don't seem to remember how conservative he was on economic matters, far more conservative than either Ford or Nixon), America has toyed with ideas promulgated by the free marketers. The result? Vast accumulation of wealth, especially in the financial markets despite the progressive decay in the industrial base, concentrated almost exclusively in the top 2% of the population. In fact, real wages for the vast majority of Americans has fallen since 1980, the percentage of the population to live below the poverty line has increased, and America has become the industrial nation with the greatest economic inequality.

My own fantasy is that more people would read Polanyi and fewer Hayek. I can understand why they don't. Hayek is easy to read and understand and feeds the fantasy that one can pursue economic advantage with no thought of the damage it might do; the invisible hand will take care of everything. Polanyi is difficult and complex and subtle and pricks a hole in the fantasy. Polanyi reminds us that economics has to be tempered by our values as a whole, that we cannot be reduced to economic animals. My fantasy--or is it a hope?--is that we as a society will come to care more for the welfare of the majority more than the welfare of the few. I would love to see a world in which our highest values did not have a price put upon them.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
AntiFascist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #261
264. Thanks for posting this review....

one of the few replies to this OP that is easy to decrypt. It seems to me that self-regulating markets would only work well in a world where everyone has perfect access to information. The goal of the neo-class is to derail and prevent such access, which is one way wealth gets concentrated into the hands of the few.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #261
269. What does this review have to do with anything? I've never accepted Free Market Fundamentalism.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #269
270. You brought up the "welfare state"
and Keynes as the death knell of Marxism and socialism an

Much of The Great Transformation revolves around showing how the entire free market apparatus DEPENDS on state intervention in the first place. That sort of contradicts the all-importance of Keynes I'd say.

Highlights in the review include:

In fact, what has passed for self-regulating markets has in fact been the result of drastic and pervasive government intervention. Additional interventions take place to protect society as a whole from the damage that a self-regulating economy inflicts on the citizenry as a whole.

Of course, the review also doubled as added commentary on the OP.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
philly_bob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-08-07 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
242. Personally, I'd prefer if this thread stuck to Volker Fund & descendants.
This Marxism v. Capitalism stuff is uninteresting. As is whether someone is a Left Libertarian.

As is the argument about whether or not the OP is a conspiracy theory or not.

My reading of the thread so far is no one has disputed the facts of OP's account of Volker and his Fund.
Am I right?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #242
250. Agreed. The OP is very instructive.
The name calling that followed, by the defenders of whatever true faith who got their panties all twisted, was a diversion and a disservice. White noise is all they added. But for those who want a little understanding of the who, what, when, where, how of "How Things Work," this was one of the most instructive threads on DU for quite some time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
263. Wittgenstein on Popper
The Philosophical Poker

The two met at Cambridge in 1946. The encounter is the stuff of legend. Wittgenstein distinguished Professor at Cambridge, became enraged at what he saw as dissembling by Popper. Depending on the version you accept, Wittgenstein picked up a hot poker form a fire place and waved it in front of Popper to make his point; or threw it at Popper; or threw it down in disgust and left. In any event, that was the comment by the preeminent philosopher of the 20th century on Popper, the visiting "Reader in Logic" up for a visit form the London School of Economics. According to one anonymous or apocryphal observer, while Wittgenstein made his point clearly, he missed the opportunity use one of his best lines referring to metaphysical philosophy: "It's all shit!"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tech 9 Donating Member (179 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #263
265. That is awesome auto n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #265
266. Thanks Tech9, Welcome to DU!!!!
:hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-09-07 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #263
271. LOL, that reminds me of an incident involving Wttgenstein and Bertrand Russel.
I've heard that one time Wittgenstein was threatening to kill himself by jumping out of a window and Russel had to talk him out of it. His emotional stability didn't seem to be that good.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Jul 23rd 2014, 02:17 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC