Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » No Wonder: Washington DC Has Lowest Unemployment Rate in Nation

No Wonder: Washington DC Has Lowest Unemployment Rate in Nation

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

No wonder some Washington politicians have been so loath to extend unemployment benefits. They don’t know what it’s like to be unable to find work for many months—and not just because they themselves have jobs. They work in the large metropolitan area with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.

Jobless rates in the DC area have hovered between five and a half and six percent over the past year, as compared with a national rate of 9.8 percent. It’s the only major metropolitan area with a rate under 6 percent.

People like Tea Party queen Rep. Michele “Scrooge” Bachmann can complain all they want that the extended unemployment benefits won’t be paid for. Of course they won’t—and neither will the extended tax cuts the President has just negotiated with congressional Republicans, but you won’t hear the Scrooges mentioning how the cuts, too, will only put us further in the red. No—what these politicians are doing is holding the middle class and working people hostage in their efforts to win more benefits for the rich.  As President Obama has said, “it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed.” And the hostage is indeed in harm’s way.

Powered by

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • Baronius

    Come on, Jon. You’re doing the same thing that Scott is, assuming that Republicans want to hurt the poor and help the rich. You’ve got to be aware of the idea that tax rate cuts stimulate the economy sufficiently to result in tax revenue increases. Believe it or don’t, but at least acknowledge it. When your political opponents do something that you disagree with, you should assume good faith on their part until proven otherwise. At a minimum, assume that they’re myopic. You’ll sleep better than if you assume that half the country is evil.

  • Baronius

    Maybe that’s what has been causing some of the BC lefties to wet themselves the past couple of weeks. Maybe you guys have forgotten how to persuade others. You’d been convinced that the tea partiers were racists, and that you didn’t even have to engage in the political debate because you had Congress and the White House. It can happen to either party. You’d be wise to snap out of it as soon as you can, though.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Snapping out of it is wise, that’s agreed, and it’s what Obama seems to be doing in a way. But as for the assumption that the rate cuts can stimulate the economy to more than offset the loss, how about the fact that continuing unemployment benefits so people can at least buy their basic needs also contributes to the economy? It works both ways, but you’ll never hear a politician on the Right say that because it doesn’t fit their narrative, which, though sub rosa, is that if you’re poor or unemployed it’s your fault so the heck with you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Come on, Jon. You’re doing the same thing that Scott is, assuming that Republicans want to hurt the poor and help the rich.

    I agree that assuming they WANT to is wrong. The truth is closer to they do it and they do it out of ignorance and wrong ideology.

    As my mother said the other day, to see another human being who is sick and in need and to say to them, “Do you have any money? No? Then go die.” or to take action that has the equivalent effect is inhumane. I find that to be self-evident and irrefutable.

    Republicans, as a group, claim that they believe in kindness and charity, only they don’t want government forcing them to be kind or charitable. I don’t want government making me do anything either. So, I can understand that. But, the same Republicans think that government should take MY money and create a huge military presence and support troops fighting criminal wars.

    The Republicans as a whole are evil and inhumane, by deed if not by intent.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    All human beings shouold have food, housing and medical care. Any poliytical group that thinks otherwise should never be permitted to make or represent the descisions for other people. End of story.

  • Baronius

    Jon – I see that Technorati lost another comment of mine. Great.

    Expanding unemployment benefits helps the general welfare but damages our credit. That’s a pretty serious thing during an ongoing credit crisis. Extending the tax rates helps the general welfare in the short run and, according to the theory at least, improves credit over the longer run.

    Also, it’s noteworthy that the Republicans did indeed agree to the expansion of unemployment benefits, but the Congressional Democrats apparently are refusing the tax rate extension. Does that mean we have to call the Democrats the Party of No now?

  • Baronius

    Oops. I forgot to tie the second part of that to the first part. That’s what happens when you lose well-crafted comments. My point was, if the Republicans are really driven to help the rich at the expense of the poor, they wouldn’t have agreed to the deal.

  • Clavos

    Cindy sez:

    The Republicans as a whole are evil and inhumane, by deed if not by intent.

    Without getting into a discussion of the veracity of that rather over the top accusation, I submit that Republicans are no more “evil and inhumane” than any other American politicians of any stripe.

    Further, in general, American politicians, regardless of party affiliation, are less “evil and inhumane” than most of their counterparts around the world…

  • Paul

    “All human beings shouold have food, housing and medical care. Any poliytical group that thinks otherwise should never be permitted to make or represent the descisions for other people. End of story.”

    Really Cindy? What about those people that are simply too lazy to work? Do you not believe that their are actually A LOT of those people?

    And it’s funny how most studies show that the time it takes most unemployed people to find a job is directly proportional to time when their unemployment benefits are going to run out. There are reasons, other than just being mean, why conservatives do not want to see unemployment benefits go on forever. Too many people are lazy and will play the system as long as they can.

    Don’t forget to stop by the homeless shelter on your way home from work tonight and pick up a couple of families to take home and live with you so you can pay for their food, housing and medical care. Someone has to.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    And Paul, after Cindy’s adopted those homeless people, how about you go point them to someplace they can find jobs they can support a family on. Try that for awhile, then come back and talk about how people are lazy and play the system.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Baronius, do you mean Technorati or BC comments getting lost?

    There is nothing from you caught in the spam filters of this site so I am unclear as to which problem you are having.

  • Paul

    Jon, damn near every store in every mall I go to has help wanted signs on their doors. How about that for starts.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    For extra holiday help, maybe, although I find even that hard to believe. Even if it’s true, I don’t think it’s been possible to support a family on a retail job since the Eisenhower administration.

    Check out Scott Nance’s piece for a better explanation than my little rant of why you’re wrong.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Paul,

    The system in place is not working for most people. Apparently you are not among those. If you were, my guess is you would see things differently. The people for whom the system does work have learned to defend their greed with accusations of ‘laziness’. The poorest people are regularly abused and treated inhumanely.

    Laziness, if it were a problem, would be an extraordinarily small one in a sane and reasonable society.

    When you expect slavery from people, when you control their destinies with your rules and without their say, you should be pleased if all you get back is what you call ‘laziness’. You should be happy if they don’t murder you as soon as they get the chance. As long as people have brains they will resent working themselves to death within an unjust system designed by and enforced by fuckers who want to drain the life out of them to acquire wealth. Can’t say I blame them for being ‘lazy’.

    Why do you presume I do not help homeless people?

    Clavos,

    As Forrest Gump might say: Evil is as evil does.

    Trying to frustrate anyone’s attempt to have food, shelter or medical care, by any means, is inhumane, imo, and therefore evil, regardless of motivation, political beliefs, etc.

  • Baronius

    Cindy – How do you reconcile anarchism and calling for larger government? You’ve never come close to that reconciliation. You’ll say that human nature will change when capitalism disappears (based on zero evidence), but that begs the question. You are, at this moment, calling for a larger governmental presence.

    The problem actually goes a little deeper than that. You’re calling for the overthrow of capitalism. But what happens when capitalism falters? Government expands. Governments are unlikely to allow the unspecified next thing to develop, so you’re likely to be left with a collapsed economy and total governmental control. So you’re not simply advocating larger government; you’re advocating for policies that would result in totalitarianism.

  • zingzing

    maybe it’s like a red giant star, baronius. it expands and expands until it blows itself up.

  • John Lake

    These Bush Tax cuts were passed by the congress in mid-May, 2003. They were set to expire after 2010. It seems reasonable that some or many in the congress might not have voted in favor of these cuts, had it not been for the time limit. Then, the fact is, nobody is trying to increase anybody’s taxes. There probably should be criticism of extending any of the cuts, since the plan called for an end in January, 2011. It may be right to extend some or all the cuts, but such extension is contrary to the stipulation of the law. It sets a precedent to create limited actions, and then later, remove the limits.
    But there is the matter of the national debt/debit. I’m sure there are economists out there who understand and may explain these things far better than I, but I do have some opinion.
    If I own a building, a skyscraper, and I take out loans on that skyscraper, one mortgage, two, three… extend the mortgages forever, until the loaner really demands payment, what am I to do? Will I go to war with the loaner? Will he sit back and say, “Business as usual”? Or will he take over my building, by force if necessary, and partake of the profit? If he does, then he becomes the stronger, I become the weaker.
    If this mortgage extension moves on to more buildings, and businesses, and banks, and Gawd knows what else, we should probably anticipate a “bad” outcome.
    My understanding, limited though it is, is that China and Saudi Arabia are in a position to take over quite a lot of Americana. I hope that someone can explain to me why I shouldn’t worry!

  • Baronius

    Zing – So, post-Amin Uganda is what we should be hoping for?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    15 – Baronius,

    What I see in human nature (and I think there is plenty of evidence of what I see. In fact, please tell me if you don’t see this evidence.): people are selfish, people are selfless, people are generous, greedy, violent, peaceful, loving, hateful, on and on. I see all of these as human nature.

    I consider capitalism a system of slavery with advantage going to a privileged class. I see right libertarianism, free-market capitalism a system that fosters greed. It makes the wrong assumption that people are basically greedy and markets work to balance out all the greediness. It is flawed because it is promoting what it presumes. It creates what it believes by promoting the aspects of human nature that are undesirable for a reasonable society and for human survival in the long run.

    I don’t think human nature ‘just changes’ as if by a switch or by magic with the elimination of capitalism. I simply think that w/o capitalism other choices could be effected that promote the best in human nature.

    When capitalism falters, gov’t expands? That sounds more like the battle of Democrats vs Republicans. Why is that the only choice–gov’t or capitalism? Gov’t supports capitalism in the USA. Capitalism IS that the huge corps eventually crush their smaller competitors.

    That said, there are other choices in evidence that would be more likely. After capitalism, backed by the gov’t nearly destroyed their lives, workers in Argentina occupied factories. factories part of the the worker run factory movement often operate outside the realm of both gov’t and capitalism. Those which do have bee received with love by the community which serves to protect them from the gov’t. Why? Because those businesses which operate based on anarchistic principles are shown to be fair to all, and allow for the best in human nature to grow. They offer aid and support to the larger community which in turn protects and supports them.

    Finally, I don’t believe in the expansion of gov’t, nor am I calling for it. Why would caring about and promoting the needs of all in a society require gov’t expansion when it doesn’t require gov’t at all?

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Cindy, Do you think you might be overlooking the distinction between a system of GOVERNMENT and an ECONOMIC system when you discuss anarchy and capitalism? Both our government and our economy are rotten right now, so they both look the same, whereas one is actually a rotten apple, and the other is a rotten orange.

    The apple and orange as originally conceived, and in situations that fostered the best of human nature, could exist quite nicely together. In fact, an anarchical community–such as the one you see described– where the worth and/or contributions of all members are valued–may in time see capitalism as the most efficient way of promoting fairness, creativity, and culture.

    In this caring society, one lady might have a vision for developing something new, a cure, or a musical instrument, or a video game. But it looks crazy and unworkable to a large majority of the rest of the community (who can blame them), so it’s decided that the project is not going to get any backing from the common anarchical fund (made up of taxes? free-will contributions?)

    However, the inventor has a few friends who believe in her idea, and they are willing to put up some of their extra cash (CAPITAL) to help her get started with design, buying materials, building prototypes, etc…

    …so years of hard work go by, and the inventor’s dream is finally becoming a reality. There are lots of people who’ve heard about the successful pre-market tests and can’t wait to buy it. All systems are “go” at the manufacturing plant, but she’s going to need a LOT more workers than the dedicated crew who’ve worked with her from the beginning. She’ll need more skilled people who have been or will be willing to put in extra time to 1)get training (sometimes extensive training) 2) stay at work after 5 p.m, (or be preoccupied off-hours at home) to improve the product, find new markets, maintain the equipment, deal with distribution headaches in the middle of the night…etc. The people who believed in the inventor at the beginning deserve a share of any future profits the product is going to generate, but again, not out of all proportion to what the workers are getting.

    The inventor will also need workers willing to be paid a wage that, while smaller than that of the skilled workers, still allows them to enjoy the things that make life meaningful to THEM from 5 p.m to 9 a.m., be it going to concerts or reading the complete works of Shakespeare, or buying their own copies of the newest books.

    Many people will be happy to work in the factory, to trade in more free time with a portion of their wages. There might be one who will say, you know, I’d really RATHER work on developing this great idea I have ….and the inventor who had a similar dream so long ago reaches into her pocket to help this guy get started with HIS dream….and so it goes.

  • Clavos

    The system in place is not working for most people.

    Crap, Cindy.

    While I will grant you that there are far too many people in our society for whom it’s not working, it DOES work for the majority.

    Until ten years ago, and for forty years up to that point, I worked for a wage in corporations owned by other people — I was not a capitalist, I was paid a salary and to keep my job had to do what other people told me to do.

    At no time during those forty years did I think the system wasn’t working for me — I had gainful employment, I was paid enough to have a roof over my head and clothes on my back, as well as food on the table, In short, all my needs (if not all my wants, which is a different concept) were met, and my lifestyle was that of the majority of Americans, so your assertion that the system doesn’t work for most people is, as I said, crap.

    What works for a bunch of idealistic dreamers in the jungles of Chiapas will not work for all the people in a society as complex and enormous as the USA. Government by committee has never been viable — it produces camels instead of horses.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    Do you think you might be overlooking the distinction between a system of GOVERNMENT and an ECONOMIC system when you discuss anarchy and capitalism?

    Gov’ts institute and control economic systems. Some anarchists are anarchocapitalists (sort of leftist free marketers). They think that gov’t is the problem altogether and that free markets are the ideal form of economic systems.

    I know some of them who are extraordinarily nice people. Really good and caring about humanity. People I would rather have live in my home, say, than most other people. Because they, at least the particular ones I know and like, are good-hearted. Still we disagree on the idea that free market economy can work within an anarchist society. Some believe in contracts bewteen employers and workers, and security companies to protect private property, and things of that sort. I believe that would lead to a more oppressive system than we have with a government.

    If a woman has a great idea, she will have to convince SOMEONE it is great if she needs backing. I am not sure how likely it is she could convince banker her idea was worthwhile and not be able to convince a bunch of people who wouod benefit from the idea.

    Capitalism is the force that enslaves the world. people making $1 /day are capitalism’s captives. These include children in sweat shops. Capitalism requires wage slaves. That is a problem, imo. Slavery is unacceptable. A system that requires wage slavery is unacceptable. Capitalism is immoral. It is never good. This system of apples (governors with power) created an economic system of oranges (capitalism) specifically because they could personally benefit and profit from it; and that profit has always unequivically, and historically required the expense of others. They were bad apples and their economic orange was bad. It is dying of its own flaws. And good riddance.

    In addition to teh above, the greed associated with capitalism and competetive markets distorts human values. It creates markets based on every pathology that can be thought of. Capital markets are directly responsible for creating and promoting illnesses such as anorexia.

    Capitalism has promoted the kidnapping and selling of children into slavery in Africa because the west wants chocolate at a cheap price.

    CAPITALISM IS A SYTEM OF EXPLOITATION. (no shouting intended) That is its nature.

    I am not sure if I am answering your question. I am sure you will let me know what I am missing.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The woman you spoke of had better have one hell of an idea to counteract all that. ;-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    our society

    My society is the entire world.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    So, I reiterate, it is not working for most people. The USA? Most HERE are the privileged. It works for them BECAUSE it doesn’t work for others.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Ah, you know me too well, Cindy. Deadlines, schmedlines… :O….so I’ll make this quick and then I really EELY have to log off (but I’m so glad you read and considered my thoughts, as I have yours.

    Forthcoming…in one paragraph or less. ;)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    On the other hand, I don’t see why the woman with the great idea couldn’t carry it forth even against opposition in an anarchist society–as long as she didn’t make a profit on the labor of others. People pooling their money and working together, however THEY (not bosses or owners– owners who are not workers being capitalists) see fit, without coercion is consistent with anarchism and is not capitalism.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Cindy, Notice I said a WOMAN was coming up with the idea. :) OK, in all seriousness, you are quite the researching whizz, Cindy, so in light of that, and in the interests of time, I will leave it to you to research 1) the sheer number of visions dreams that were considered utterly unworkable and nutsoid by even the closest associates of the dreamer. What it took was just one or two partners who understood the science to invest in it and make it happen. It doesn’t take a quorum of caring albeit as-yet-scientifically-enlightened folk on an anarchical council to help birth the dream.

    It only takes a few people who are allowed to have a little extra money to use as capital, and to invest it. It’s human nature, and not greedy human nature, to need a little incentive to take that risk.

    What else was there…oh yeah…you may already know about this from some of the anarchocapitalist friends. I’m not sure what I’d call myself, but I am working in my own way (and trying to get better at it) at addressing the injustice I see in the world, too. What I’m asking you to do is to read a little more Adam Smith. Not saying you have to become a capitalist to be “right,” just think you need to understand that he, too, would be shocked and saddened by what capitalism has become. It is not, at root, an evil system, unless you believe that greed is too deeply embedded in human nature to ever allow the system to succeed. And I know you don’t look at human nature that way.

    Where I think we agree, Cindy, is that ANYTHING can work if all parties concerned love one another. Love ya. Night!

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Edit twice. Post once. Ack! Caring-albeit-as-yet-scientifically-UNenlightened.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    I will grant you that a change in consciousness is likely mandatory for anything to work.

    The systems of thousands of years of domination and subjugation are tough, but they would fall in an instant with a mere change in consciousness. And there is plenty of evidence that that change is desired. It is so desired that people who pretend to have it can enslave people readily (see scientology and other cults, and new agers, and etc).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Correction: The systems of thousands of years of [indoctrination in] domination and subjugation…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    What it took was just one or two partners who understood the science to invest in it and make it happen. It doesn’t take a quorum of caring albeit as-yet-scientifically-enlightened folk on an anarchical council to help birth the dream.

    Okay. I think we should address four things here.

    1) I think I answered this partly in my post comentary comment #27. In that there is no inconsistency in anarchist thought with people doing whatever they want regardless of the opinion of the majority.

    2) I am not sure a council is consistent with anarchism in the way you are using it. A council? Like a bunch of people who make decisions for other people? That is not anarchism.

    3) I don’t think slavery can work regardless of how great the intentions of people. I have read Adam Smith through the viewpoint of Noam Chomsky and he is very supportive. That does not change anything for me.

    4) Capitalism IS EXPLOITATION. It REQUIRES slavery. REQUIRES SLAVERY. Requires it! How does whatever I think of human nature ever, ever change that?

    CAPITALISM REQUIRES EXPLOITATION.

    Iturges us to be greedy..

    It promotes inhumanity and abuse.

    Irene, we are far apart on this. I would rather write you a book of how what I say is evidenced before I would choose something I think is evil.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not every system can work with love. I don’t believe that. People do not lack love. They lack systems that support love.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If anything I am always amazed at how much love people still have despite the fucked up system they live in. People would do MUCH better with a system where everyone was equal. There is no argument about the woman with the invention. She could get capital in an anarchist system.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Capitalism is not about getting capital…it is about exploting labor.

  • zingzing

    cindy, as much as i agree with your general thought up there, anarchism doesn’t really supply many answers about how we’ll fill the void if capitalism were to be no more. capitalism is a structure. anarchism doesn’t much care for structures, as i understand it. yet, we humans need a structure to exist within.

    how do you suggest we fill that void? capitalism may fail of its own accord, but if we are to make a transition away from capitalism without descending into chaos, we’ll need some structure which we can prop society upon.

    “People pooling their money and working together, however THEY (not bosses or owners– owners who are not workers being capitalists) see fit, without coercion is consistent with anarchism and is not capitalism.”

    sounds like communism. only that’s never worked out quite as planned. it’s a beautiful thought. but it’s not reality.

    i think you know perfectly well what you’re against, but you’re only for things that are very hard to define at this point. the radical plight.

  • zingzing

    “yet, we humans need a structure to exist within.”

    i guess that’s where you would argue with me… as an anarchist… i guess any point made about anarchism has never worked because it’s never really been tried (other than in describing situations where there is no government and plenty of chaos,) wouldn’t help my cause.

    anyway, anarchism doesn’t seem to really hold any answers for me, but maybe that’s because i don’t understand it well enough. but i’ve read up on it some and i still don’t get how any society could actually function under anarchism. humans would have to be totally cool. and god knows we aren’t. especially us men. evil bastards, we.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Cindy, So, Anarchist Inventor Lady gets capital from these people who have extra money (as in, a LOT of extra money) to help her build manufacturing facilities,etc…even though, they have, for all their lives, been getting the same wages as everyone else.

    So, Anarchist Inventor Lady DOES get capital but, then, what else does she get? Capitalism requires some people to accept a lower wage in exchange for free time to do whatever they’d like to do. And it requires other people to give up their free time (and I mean, as in, LOTS OF IT) to turn a vague notion into a product, and then to shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the health of a company that employs many people whom, ideally, he (or SHE) DOES give a damn about…so that they can do their 9 to 5 thing, earn a decent wage and then go home and FORGET about work for awhile. And it requires other people to give up some of the money to INVEST in that woman’s dream, because without other people’s capital, (worth as much to some as free time is worth to “the wage slaves”) there isn’t going to be any factory for anybody to work in.

    Cindy, believe me, I understand that your primary motivation is helping the exploited people around the world, opening our eyes to the kids who slave to help make chocolate and never get to taste any…or become wizened and old before their time in sweat shops…and the wars that are waged to “preserve our liberty, freedom, interests and way of life.” Puke-o-rama. Yes, I agree, all that HAS to change.

    …but how are you going to get the people over here started on the step-by-step journey of caring about people they can’t see…if you “go around carrying pictures of Chairman Mao.” (Not that you would carry pictures of him, but you know what I mean.)

    I’m interested in knowing more about this consciousness change. How is it going to happen? Is the strategy going to involve something that is not entirely intellectual persuasion? (What am I DOING? but this IS an interesting conversation)

  • Jordan Richardson

    From what I’ve understood, it’s erroneous to say that anarchism doesn’t care much for structures. Granted, there isn’t one single definition of anarchism to work from so it can be hard to pin it down in terms of specifics.

    This idea that an anarchist society is automatically some lawless void without structure isn’t particularly accurate, although it may be among some anarchists. Again, we’re dealing with numerous strains like we are with all forms of political and social thought. Some anarchists I know are collectivists, others are individualists. Like all groupings, there are arguments over purity as well.

    I’ve long proposed a movement beyond these sorts of labels and into a fluid system build less on rigid ideologies and old documents and more on contextual policies built on a hierarchy of core natural values.

    Regarding communism, it’s easy to say that it’s never worked out as planned. The problem is that it has worked out as planned. The exemplars of communism planned very specifically for the sociopolitical mechanism to work as such and so it did. It was, for Stalin and Mao, a machine of class and state control more than an attempt at forming a classless and stateless society.

    It’s probably more accurate to suggest that we haven’t seen a strand of pure communism to date. It’s not that it’s failed; it’s that it actually hasn’t been tried to any significant degree.

  • zingzing

    “humans would have to be totally cool.”

    and that’s the failing of communism as well. even the best of us are corruptible. power is a crazy thing. thinking that society could exist without a power structure is a madman’s dream, and thinking that that power won’t be abused is just naivety. humans are perfectly imperfect.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Do hold your peace, impertinent manchild. The Queens are talking. (Just kidding. Hi Zing.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    And Jordan. Well, maybe Cindy is gone for the night, as I should be too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Huh?

  • Jordan Richardson

    even the best of us are corruptible

    Agreed. I’m always wary off these sorts of mechanisms (socialism, communism, whatever) when they come in the form of a political party. I’ve exchanged emails with the Canadian Socialist Party, for instance, and was far from impressed.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    If it is I whom you “huh?” Jordan, I wrote 41 in response to the last line of #37, before I noticed you were here. Then I said hi to you, and left.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ah, gotcha. Got one eye on the hockey game one eye here, so I probably missed the context. Merry Christmas to you, btw.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    U too, Jordan.

  • zingzing

    jordan: “Regarding communism, it’s easy to say that it’s never worked out as planned. The problem is that it has worked out as planned.”

    alright, but not as the original thought was intended. or how it should be. communism is a fine thing in theory. but it gets twisted in practice.

    “This idea that an anarchist society is automatically some lawless void without structure isn’t particularly accurate…”

    what structure do they suggest?

    “I’ve long proposed a movement beyond these sorts of labels and into a fluid system build less on rigid ideologies and old documents and more on contextual policies built on a hierarchy of core natural values.”

    what does that mean? even in its theoretical stage, that’s vague.

    “t’s probably more accurate to suggest that we haven’t seen a strand of pure communism to date. It’s not that it’s failed; it’s that it actually hasn’t been tried to any significant degree.”

    and why is that? unfortunately, the reason why is human nature. we can’t do it.

  • zingzing

    i think most of us (around here currently) can agree that capitalism sucks. it’s good for a few, but shitty for a lot, and the way it’s moving now is destroying the middle class.

    but those of you who have radical thoughts offer only vague new theories, and little in the way of actual, plausible replacements.

    is it not possible that a meeting point between capitalism and socialism is the answer? maybe i’m a moderate, but i think (maybe simplistically,) that both have their upsides, and maybe we could harness both those upsides to create a nice economy. maybe i’m europe. which is shitting itself economically right now. but maybe, like many other things, there’s a balance to be found.

    i dunno. it seems like a simple idea that the idea man must be given autonomy, while the worker must be assured of his position.

    (for the feminists out there, /woman, /her.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Of course, everything gets twisted somewhat in practice because everything must be implemented by flawed human beings. You’ll find no argument here.

    In terms of what structures anarchists suggest, you’d have to refer to the individual anarchists. I don’t think I’m incorrect in my earlier remark that anarchists are far from homogeneous. Like all movements of any stripe, there are individual strands to take into account.

    As to the vagueness of my proposition, you’re exactly right. I don’t know what “it” means because I don’t know what “it” is. I find that it’s far easier to speak specifically about what shouldn’t be rather than to speak about what should be, as I think you’ll find a lot more accord there. Most people agree, I think, with notions of how the world should not operate. Most people would oppose corruption, injustice, and so forth. That part’s easy. The hard part is defining what should counteract those disagreeable elements of our humanity, which is why implanting ideologies of any specific type becomes tricky business – especially when they’re cased in concrete philosophy.

    Because I’m not at all comfortable in suggesting what sort of force people should live under, I struggle with rigidly defining it. And that’s why I’ve always held to something more fluid in nature, something that isn’t bound by structures of the time but something that can coincide with our evolutionary nature. Where anarchist thought, at least some of it, appeals to me is that it suggests that the “something” has to come from the people and not just a person.

    We are a fluid species, I think. We change, we advance (or regress). To say that our world can be run by the polices imposed upon us by an elite class of men or by a book that existed thousands of years ago or by a structure of archaic laws is, to me, destined to continue to promote inequality and class warfare of various types.

    we can’t do it

    I’m not overly convinced of this. I think more people would aspire to a different ideology were they not so indoctrinated by the current one. Economic classes, injustice, inequality, abuse, etc. are not part of human nature. I think the modern structures alienate us from our nature and from natural law, creating havoc with ecosystems and with societal systems. I think this is by design and I think cracking that design is something most people would desire to do. Most people, I don’t think it’s too unfair to suggest, are unsatisfied by the notion that they are mere cogs in the wheel.

    The reason “we can’t do it” is that we won’t do it. With a process of slow, gradual implementation, humanity could evolve into other systems of thought without much difficulty.

    Again, I realize this is all very vague. I acknowledge this and the relative slowness of the process. It’s not my intention to solve the world’s problems overnight or to implement some sort of system that catches all of the drips.

  • zingzing

    “We are a fluid species, I think. We change, we advance (or regress). To say that our world can be run by the polices imposed upon us by an elite class of men or by a book that existed thousands of years ago or by a structure of archaic laws is, to me, destined to continue to promote inequality and class warfare of various types.”

    i can agree with that completely. unfortunately, we base our legal system upon precedence. we’d have to give up our entire history in order to move forward.

    “I think the modern structures alienate us from our nature and from natural law, creating havoc with ecosystems and with societal systems.”

    good luck. addiction to normalcy is addictive.

    “The reason “we can’t do it” is that we won’t do it.”

    yep. but that’s who were are, and probably who we will be.

    “With a process of slow, gradual implementation, humanity could evolve into other systems of thought without much difficulty.”

    and we will, as we have.

    “It’s not my intention to solve the world’s problems overnight or to implement some sort of system that catches all of the drips.”

    i wish we could.

  • zingzing

    basically, we’re stubborn problems moving forward at a snail’s pace. we will get there, but i wonder if it’ll be in time to save us from becoming escargot.

  • Jordan Richardson

    we’d have to give up our entire history in order to move forward.

    Our history as a species has led to crippling ideologies and religions, along with economic systems and political systems that threaten the very concept of equality. I don’t see discarding history as that much of a bad thing. I think, in fact, that you’d find most of our greater moments as a species have come when we’ve bucked historical trends in favour of moving beyond. We’ve adapted the concept of justice out of the necessity of human rights, for instance. What possibilities lie ahead if we take that one step further?

    addiction to normalcy is addictive.

    I think we’re forcefed the concept of normalcy to obey our owners. The “status quo” fits somewhere in here, yet a careful reading of history shows that almost all of our advances as a species has started with a rejection of the norm. Scientific advances, for example, largely begin with a rejection of belief.

    Again, call me naive if you like, but I have a little scrap of hope in people.

  • Jordan Richardson

    we’re stubborn problems moving forward at a snail’s pace. we will get there, but i wonder if it’ll be in time to save us from becoming escargot.

    That’s the biggest problem. In our quibbling, we’ve essentially set the planet on fire. It’ll live, but we won’t if we don’t put out the flames with real solutions and not just lightbulb changes inflicted on the poor and middle classes.

  • zingzing

    “I don’t see discarding history as that much of a bad thing.”

    neither do i, but i think you’d like to hedge your bets, because that shit ain’t happening. that’s the problem of legality. it’s good in its own way, but you really can’t tell an establishment that they must abandon it. because they won’t.

    “What possibilities lie ahead if we take that one step further?”

    i’d like to see.

    “…almost all of our advances as a species has started with a rejection of the norm…”

    true. i’m not against any of this. i just want to know some directions to where you suggest i go.

    “I have a little scrap of hope in people.”

    it’s not hope, it’s certainty. we’ll make it wherever we’re going, most certainly. and we always move forward, but i don’t think it’s fast enough for you. it’s not fast enough for me, and i’m not even in charge of the direction.

    unfortunately, we’ve got loads of people in this nation who want to move in the other direction. i am blowing your mind.

  • Jordan Richardson

    but you really can’t tell an establishment that they must abandon it.

    That’s why the establishment has to be the first to go. We don’t need it; it needs us.

    While elimination of the so-called establishment could prove nearly impossible, a recalibration of its use in society isn’t so difficult with a little movement. We must recognize it as a unnecessary evil.

    i just want to know some directions to where you suggest i go.

    Yeah, this is where it gets tricky.

    See, the corporate agenda has shifted so much of the onus on to the individual (consumer, heal thyself) that it’s done the royal job of shifting the blame too.

    An example is easy to find. While corporations internationally are producing in the neighbourhood of 90% (at least) of the world’s pollution and waste and so forth, individual waste is the target. We get Al Gore trotting out and telling us to change our bulbs while his contributions to the overall movement are negligible if not backwards. Shit, who do you think led the U.S. delegation to water down Kyoto in 1997 (ie. cutting 2010 reduction targets for emissions from 15% to 5%)? Mr. Green, Al Gore.

    We already know the easy stuff. We already know that we have enough food rotting away in our supermarkets here in lush North America to feed every mouth on the planet for hundreds of years. We already know that the corporations are clinging to the “green movement” as a way to trade carbon credits and reap the benefits of cap and trade. We already know that corporations invade other countries with government assistance to pollute, destroy and murder (Coca-Cola in South America, for instance). We know that there are vast amounts of corruption in every droplet of government. This is something everybody seems to know, left or right.

    The problem comes in that “everybody” appears to propose “solutions” that mostly help their own class. The rich don’t want to keep “losing out” to the “welfare” they think they have to provide to the lazy-ass poor fuckers and the poor don’t want to lose out to lining the pockets of the rich. And on and on it goes, classic humanity.

    I think we’re simultaneously powerless and powerful. On the one hand, we can only impact so much change by ourselves. By ourselves, we can only do a few things here and there that barely make a dent in what’s necessary.

    But together, we can move mountains. Shit, we can get gallons of people to change their pictures to cartoon characters on Facebook. And they’ll do this in just a few DAYS!

    Getting those people not to buy an iPad because it came from a Chinese factory where people are gutting themselves for pennies a day to build a product with proposed obsolescence is harder, but it’s not impossible.

    As you say, we’ll make it there. But we have to toss these myths out that say it’s going to be uncomfortable and painful to do it. It’s dependency of the worst kind.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Personally, I don’t agree with the notion that Capitalism sucks. Like our species, it is still fairly young, both as a concept and a system.

    Give it, and us, a few (thousand?) years more and we will both be in better shape than now.

  • Arch Conservative

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    There is nothing more annoying than one who proclaims that because some may experience misery and suffering in this world, all those who may be a little better off are directly responsible due to their callous,incompassionate, greedy attitude.

    I don’t know where Cindy’s belief that everyone who’s ever experienced misfortune is a complete and total victim of society at large notion comes from. I just know that it wrong and that she is an (self censored gratuitious insult.)

    I don’t recall whose theory it was but I do recall while in college learning of a socioeconomic theory that asserted if all the wealth in the world were redistributed so that everyone had an equal amount, within a few short years those that posessed the most wealth before would possess it again. I belivee that theory for the most part because rather than sitting around bitching and complaining 24-7 as Cindy is won’t to do, some people actually get up off their asses and do something about their own condition in this life rather than waiting for someone from the government to show up with a check.

    Anyone who’s ever had any dealingss with corporate America knows there is no shortage of ugly, callous greed in this world. I will not deny that. But the logical assertion is not as Cindy would have us believe, that we are all slavish victims of a completely inhumane society. It’s just not true.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I don’t recall whose theory it was but I do recall while in college learning of a socioeconomic theory that asserted if all the wealth in the world were redistributed so that everyone had an equal amount, within a few short years those that posessed the most wealth before would possess it again.

    Can you find out whose theory that was, Arch? Frankly, it sounds like a load of hot shit for a number of reasons and it isn’t all that hard to debunk. More than anything, though, it serves as more “grounding” to the inference that the poor are lazy and the rich are just more gifted on principle.

    I don’t know how wealthy you are personally, but do you really believe your success or lack of it is a measure of your worth as a human being?

    I believe that we do live in an inhumane system, but I think it’s harder to pin down. The fact is, Arch, that the immense generation of wealth (even you’d agree that most of the wealth generated in the world comes not from production or from invention or creativity or innovation but from BETTING on it using other money and/or printing new money) in the world is done on the backs of those who can only dream of reaching the “trickle” from the owners’ tables. I don’t see how you could look at the incredible income disparity picture out there and conclude that what’s happening is equitable or moral in any fashion. Or that things are as they are because the vast majority of human beings on this planet are simply lazy.

  • Doug Hunter

    “I don’t recall whose theory it was but I do recall while in college learning of a socioeconomic theory that asserted if all the wealth in the world were redistributed so that everyone had an equal amount, within a few short years those that posessed the most wealth before would possess it again.

    Can you find out whose theory that was, Arch? Frankly, it sounds like a load of hot shit for a number of reasons and it isn’t all that hard to debunk.”

    On a macro scale… between countries probably so. From my experience in the US on an individual basis this is fairly true between the poor and middle class. I don’t think the Bill Gates’s of the world would immediately rise to the upper crust as their seems to be a lucky right place-right time along with very positive personal attributes that create the fabulously wealthy although many of them would again be multimillionaires. For me personally if you took away everything I owned without a penny to my name I have zero doubt that I could return at least to the upper middle class within a few years. Likewise, I have seen at least a few poor people inherit property which they sold for a windfall or become the beneficiary or a lawsuit giving them a little boost and in almost all cases they blew through it at a high rate and returned to being poor.

    Indeed it’s much more complex than hardworking versus lazy, but there are distinct habits and cultural factors that weight heavily here at the lower end. The formula for being middle class is not really that complicated, don’t have a child outside of wedlock, complete high school, don’t do drugs, and show up on time at your jobs and you’ve already got a leg up on a large chunk of the poor.

  • Paul

    “The system in place is not working for most people.” Are you sure about that Cindy? Don’t you mean it’s not working for SOME people – some through no fault of their own, but many from their own doing. Name another country were you have more opportunity to succeed than in the US? There is a reason everyone from around the world is coming here to live and work, and not the other way around. If you think our unemployment problem is bad, just look around the rest of the world, where it is well over 20%.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Name another country were you have more opportunity to succeed than in the US?

    Really? This game again? You guys still play this? Propaganda must be thick.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Really? This game again? You guys still play this? Propaganda must be thick.”

    Yes, I’m sure we get a distorted view but there do seem to be alot of garage/dorm room/basement millionaires and billionaires here… people who just come from nothing but for an idea. Now, I know that happens in other places and it’s just not publicized as well, but as for creating the fabulously and obscenely wealthy we seem to still take the lead and, not to brag more, but it seems like alot of times when I read about rich entrepeneurs in the less developed countries they are more likely to achieve their wealth through corrupt political deals and taking over state assets. We have that shite here as well, but we also have alot of the first type I mentioned.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The richest person in the world is a Mexican telecom mogul famed for running the company that charges the most expensive usage rates in the entire world.

    Two of the others in the five richest people in the world are from India. Warren Buffet profits largely from the misery of others and then funnels it back into “charity.”

    Out of the top five richest people in the world currently, only Bill Gates created something tangible and could be described, at least somewhat, of having “achieved his wealth.” And even then, most of his wealth has come from anti-competitive market tactics. The real inventors behind his success are not even close to being as wealthy as he is.

  • Doug Hunter

    #64

    Fine, now lets go on down the list. The US has 400+ more billionaires to consider plus gobs of the simply rich 8 and 9 figure guys. As I said, right place right time makes the difference between simply rich and being fabulously wealthy. Lots of people contribute alot to society and don’t become fabulously wealthy, some people like Gates and Buffett simply recognize the value that others have created.

    Money is not the only measure of success, although it often can be a proxy. The US has money but we also have outdone our share of advances with the internet/computers, medical, agricultural practices, etc. I’m not saying Europe and others haven’t contributed and also excelled, but a case can be made that the US at least has been one of the leaders in innovation. We’ve got money, we have a favorable business environment and a track record of supporting innovation. If you’re looking for a place to live best on the dole the US isn’t a good choice, if you simply want to be a worker bee there are much better worker paradises, but if you want to contribute, to create, and build, if you think you have something that can thrive in a competitive market of ideas then there’s no place I’d rather be.

  • Paul

    Jordan, What do you mean “this game again”? Do you see American’s lining up to immigrate to France and Sweden for their job opportunities and way of life?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Paul,

    I mean this mind-numbing sense of American superiority at the expense of others.

    I don’t have any immigration figures in terms of France or Sweden, nor am I going to look them up because it’s not even remotely central to the point. What is more telling, though, is your wording and the countries you chose.

    I’ll tell you what I do see, Paul. I see American jobs being kicked around the planet and American corporations seeking out tax havens. I see foreclosures, a nearly 10% unemployment rate (not counting the underemployed), and a host of other ghastly figures.

    While you might still be able to convince some immigrants that America is the land of opportunity thanks to lucrative propaganda campaigns, your own people might beg to differ.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Doug, I’ve come to the conclusion that what you’re talking about is a belief. You actually believe that morality and wealth are somehow intertwined, that if you do the “right things” in life you will be rewarded financially. More dangerously and more clearly, you believe that not doing the “right things” in life leads to certain fiscal disaster.

    It’s telling that you still think America, a nation of consumers, is still a production haven filled with innovative minds. I’m pretty sure the international markets tell a very different story.

  • Jordan Richardson

    As to the whole American Dream thing, you guys have your own ethos and mythology there that I can’t even begin to pick through. I get it, it’s like a mantra.

    But this belief that other societies lack opportunities is just moronic. And that’s being nice about it.

  • Paul

    Jordan,

    It is more mind numbing that you fail to acknowledge American superiority in anything such as our form of government, economic opportunity, and personal freedoms, although they are all being slowly eroded. I don’t believe we are superior in every way, as I have actually lived in several other countries around the world. Have you?

  • Jordan Richardson

    In terms of emigration (Americans lining up to live in other countries like France or Sweden), I just did a search out of curiosity.

    First thing of interest is that there aren’t many records kept on emigration.

    I will say that Canadian census information reveals about two million Americans living here.

    As far as France, Wikipedia puts the numbers at around 102,000 or so. Sweden has the unsourced Wikipedia stating between 18,000 and 26,000.

    Without question, America is a net immigration nation. What that proves is beyond me, but there are some of the estimated numbers.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Paul, my wife is an American. I live literally minutes from the US/Canada border. I am more than aware of your country and I’ve spent a lot of time in it.

    I’m glad you think of yourself as fortunate to live in America. I don’t doubt that it is a wonderful place to live, but I do take issue with the fact that I need to “acknowledge” your country’s “superiority” like it means something.

    You can skirt the issues all you like. Would it help if I say “Go Go USA?” really loudly?

  • Mark

    Success?

    Hopi elders say that we each should hold on to one good thing to take into the fifth world.

    What do you choose?

    Couldn’t ‘success’ (economically speaking, that is) be defined as the sustainable (rather than simply efficient and profitable) exploitation of resources and the just distribution of what we produce — both arguably unattainable given capitalism’s motivational structure?

    It’s an ironical ancient conspiracy that we call the result of individual accumulation ‘the good life’ and define success in terms of the concentration of wealth.

  • Doug Hunter

    “You actually believe that morality and wealth are somehow intertwined, that if you do the ‘right things’ in life you will be rewarded financially.”

    Loosely yes, it’s not a belief it’s more of a fact of life here. It’s a shame you live in a society where that’s not necessarily true. Again, you could take away everything I own and drop me off anywhere in this country and I could be financially comfortable within a very short period, immigrants know that and that’s why they come. This is a society where you are able to control your financial future. I’m sorry yours isn’t.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Lol, Doug. Your ignorance is astounding.

    You think that my standard of life and the opportunities I have available are incredibly different from yours when I live minutes away from your country. You really are brainwashed.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Anyways, I’ve got to go. Because of my lack of opportunity for success, our Prime Minister dictates that each Canadian must generate our own power by burning kittens. My shift starts in 5.

  • Doug Hunter

    #73

    No one is stopping you from defining success however you want. If you want to go well into the 5th world or distribute your own possession and live sustainably more power to you. Proponents of freedom and capitalism have no problem existing alongside your beliefs, it seems the reverse is often not true.

  • Paul

    Jordon,

    France, Sweden, and Canada are all wonderful countries, which I’ve all been to. What’s your point? My only point is that a lot more people are trying to get into the US rather than leave it, and for good reasons.

    I am not looking for some foreigners acknowledgment of America’s superiority, as I said before, in some ways we are, and in many ways we are not, but don’t disparage me for sticking up for the things I think we got right.

  • Clavos

    The richest person in the world is a Mexican telecom mogul famed for running the company that charges the most expensive usage rates in the entire world.

    You’re speaking of Carlos Slim, and he is involved in many more endeavors besides Teléfonos de México, S.A. He made that portion of his fortune derived from telecomms not by charging “the world’s highest rates,” (do you have a citation for that?) but because he had the vision, when wireless telephony was in its infancy, to see the tremendous opportunity it was for Mexico. Prior to Slim’s wireless system, the Mexican telephone industry was fragmented — there were two telephone companies, whose services did not interconnect, so customers had to have two phones (one from each company) to be assured of full coverage. In addition, wait times for new lines were as long as 7 years, shorter waits required bribing phone company officials.

    Slim saw how wireless telephony could overcome these deficiencies and began building the country’s cellular network. Once online, as Slim foresaw, wireless became wildly popular in Mexico because it gave everyone the opportunity to have a phone, and indeed, Mexico’s (and Latin America’s) cellphone usage is far higher than most of the rest of the world (on a per capita basis), including the US and Canada. When Slim offered the service, millions of Mexicans (and now other Latin Americans as well), voted with their wallets and bought his service.

    And Slim isn’t alone. Mexican entrepreneurs now own the largest US wholesale bakery company, the largest glass container manufacturer, and a Mexican firm, Cementos de México (Cemex) is already the largest purveyor of ready-mix cement in the USA, and soon will be the largest in the world.

  • Mark

    Yes, I understand, Doug. What’s yours is yours and what’s everyone else’s is negotiable.

  • Clavos

    our Prime Minister dictates that each Canadian must generate our own power by burning kittens.

    Brilliant! At last, a justification for their existence! What about puppies? Babies born to single mothers? Old people? Alcoholics? Druggies? Felons?

    Hell, that idea has enormous potential: abundant fuel AND we get rid of all the defectives.

    You Canadians are amazing! Well done!

  • Doug Hunter

    “You think that my standard of life and the opportunities I have available are incredibly different from yours when I live minutes away from your country. You really are brainwashed.”

    No, not really, you were the one making that case. I stated truths about my country and you said yours reality is much different so I must assume you know what you’re talking about. I would assume that if you follow up on education, stay off of drugs, don’t have a child while you’re young and single, and show up for work on time and with a reasonable attitude you could succeed in Canada as well. If you do the reverse you’ll probably have a hard time accumulating assets. I really don’t know why you wanted to start an argument with me over those fairly simple observations.

  • Jordan Richardson

    What’s your point?

    You asked me. I answered.

    My only point is that a lot more people are trying to get into the US rather than leave it, and for good reasons.

    If that’s your “only point,” why are you arguing with me? I said in comment #71 that America is a net immigration country. I haven’t disputed this once in this entire thread.

    I am not looking for some foreigners acknowledgment of America’s superiority, as I said before, in some ways we are, and in many ways we are not, but don’t disparage me for sticking up for the things I think we got right.

    You could’ve fooled me when you said “It is more mind numbing that you fail to acknowledge American superiority…”

    What I took issue with was the arrogance and the faulty unemployment statistics, which you erroneously state as being “over 20%” around the rest of the world.

    Your presentation is disingenuous at best because it’s hard to tell if you’re citing 20% as a cumulative statistic or a specific one.

    Canada’s current (as of yesterday) unemployment rate, for instance, is 7.6%.

    Argentinian unemployment rates, as of the first quarter of 2010, sit at 7.0%.

    Austria’s is 4.3%, Belarus’ is 0.9%, Brazil’s is 6.1%, China’s is 4.1%, Germany’s is 6.7%, Japan’s is 5.1%, Switzerland’s is 4.0%, and so on. These rates are all current.

    There are plenty of things your country “got right.” Nobody has disputed that, least of all me. But this sense of superiority is a vital component to why Americans are generally disliked the world over.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No, not really, you were the one making that case.

    What case do you think I was making, Doug?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Babies born to single mothers?

    Interestingly, a Vancouver hospital has an anonymous drop-off spot called an “angel’s cradle” for people to abandon their children safely. Whether those little gaffers are tossed into Canada’s tar sands…I mean fuel pits…is anybody’s guess.

  • Doug Hunter

    #80

    Clearly you don’t, but then I wouldn’t claim to understand you either.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Clavos, I’ll try to get to your citation on Mexican telecommunications more specifically later.

    A couple of random and disputable sources for now are here and here.

    Slim isn’t really someone I know much about (read: anything), but I still think the example was apt.

  • Paul

    #83

    I’ll grant you the unemployment stats. I had Spain on my mind at the time, and was recently discussing their predicament with the relatives I have from there.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, Spain’s in a bad way right now. 20.8% unemployment as of September. Some data seems to suggest that it might be getting better, though.

  • Paul

    Although I am an arrogant, superior, American I would retire to Spain in a heartbeat if I had a way to support myself there. Costa Del Sol sure is inviting this time of year.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The wife and I have considered a number of options to get away from the incessant rain of Vancouver and moving to another colder Canadian city doesn’t seem all that attractive.

    Maybe we’ll have to cash in on her Filipino roots…

  • Clavos

    Jordan,

    I read both of your citations. The one from Bloomberg, titled Slim’s Big Giveaway, really made my blood boil.

    After noting that Slim and his various charitable funds have made notable and sizable (in the multi-billions range) donations in recent yers, the author makes (and quotes) snide remarks like:

    “Yet Slim may have reasons besides good-heartedness to throw open the philanthropic taps. Such a gesture could deflect pressure from new President Felipe Calderón as he launches a campaign to rein in some of the powerful companies that dominate telecommunications, cement, beer, tortillas, and other industries in Mexico in a bid to spur competition and growth.”

    And:

    “Slim skeptics argue that his charity is politically motivated.”

    Again:

    “Even this program could spark controversy since Telmex will sell the computers via monthly financing and provide Internet service partially paid by Carso. That has given rise to criticism that Slim’s charitable giving is aimed at benefiting his own companies.”

    To which my response is, “So effing what? The money donated STILL will benefit the recipients! Is it not enough that Slim is giving billions to charity? Must his motives be “pure” (as defined by progressives) as well?

    This envy of the wealthy is a cancer in modern societies, and will only exacerbate and escalate class war, which likely will ultimately result in much destruction and death. Given the history of humanity thus far, such destruction will accomplish little else than to replace the current set of rascals with a new set.

    Ideologues rarely consider this very real possibility.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I agree with your assessment of the article, without question, and happily defer to your understanding more than I would my own.

    I’m not so sure I’d narrow it down to an “envy” of the wealthy, though. I think it’s probably more precisely a distrust or a sense of anger, right or wrong, that motivates these sorts of individuals generally speaking.

  • Clavos

    OK, Jordan, I take your point. I would guess that both emotions play into it to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the individual.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    38 – Irene,

    You make anarchism sound just like capitalism but only with a name change. Maybe you are not quite seeing a different world? Okay, so I’ll try this:

    1- Why would people even need to work 9-5?

    Under a capitalist system people need to work this arbitrary amount of time so that competing capitalists can maximize their profit. (The longer your slaves work the more profit.)

    The work day (until anarchists and others fought for reduced hours) used to be 10-12 hour days.

    All in all, long days are not only not needed under a system that is not profit-based, but are undesirable. They take away human life, for the purpose of wasting the environment and its resources–for no other reason than to make a few rich.

    So, you may wish to reduce the workday there by half. I’d say that once we find we don’t actually need 400 versions of every conceivable gadget, we won’t need to work that hard.

    Summary: End the profit system a) save the environment, b) save lives and allow everyone to enjoy their life. Have a profit market and those things are impossible.

    2- Why would businesses function like they do now?

    Perhaps anarchist inventor woman might simply have to network to get her invention underway. In a kinder, gentler world based on cooperation rather than competition, I might simply talk to the group who already runs a company which owns some of the equipment I need. I may ask the community to set me up in exchange for something of community benefit. (or, or, or…we don’t know yet…but you might think more of how an extended family gets things done than how competing businesses does.

    Changing consciousness: I don’t know how (or if) it would happen. Perhaps as a result of the system melt-down. There are a lot of resources for people to connect world-wide, now. There are other people who have already been through economic crisis. We, as privileged peple need to rely on and learn from them. We can’t know what we haven’t lived. One can only hope people can question things when their reality is suddenly and greatly changed.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    WOW! This is a long long thread. That is very cool! (but zing, i will have to get some time to reply).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    61 – Paul,

    There is a reason everyone from around the world is coming here to live and work, and not the other way around.

    That is propaganda that serves to make it easier to think the USA is ‘better than’ others. The US, through imperialism has, like the other imperialist nations, raped the third world for its assets. And is continuing to do so daily.

    The US maintains its superman image through deceit and propaganda (like you are passing along and which was passed along to you).

    Example: Third world recipients of the generosity of US food supplies must hand over the best resources they have for use by the privileged and must pay astounding interest while doing so. This has the effect of insuring they will never be able to get anywhere near self-sufficiency.

    So, to answer your question, people from other places come here because this is where their stolen loot is.

    There is plenty of information you can research to learn about what I am saying. Or, you can just go on passing on propaganda because it appeals to your sense that you/your country/your class are/is superior.

    The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity

    The Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business

    Famine Crimes: Politics & the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    70 – Paul

    …you fail to acknowledge American superiority in anything such as our form of government, economic opportunity, and personal freedoms, although they are all being slowly eroded.

    *pinches self to avoid being a smart aleck*

    You say these things as if they are indisputable.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    …we are all slavish victims of a completely inhumane society. It’s just not true.

    That’s right, it’s not true. Some of us are privileged by the system. That is where you come in Arch. And U grant your imagination cannot stretch to feel what it is like for the unprivileged. Of course, you don’t have to imagine them. You have plenty of propaganda you’ve been indoctrinated with so that you can avoid empathizing and go right to blaming the victims, because they are ‘lazy’ etc. etc. etc.

    Don’t you get tired of hearing the songs other people programmed you with playing out of your mouth?

  • Baronius

    “Perhaps anarchist inventor woman might simply have to network to get her invention underway. In a kinder, gentler world based on cooperation rather than competition, I might simply talk to the group who already runs a company which owns some of the equipment I need.”

    But the innovation might not work out. The company has an obligation to use the machinery in an optimal way. They’d need some way to judge whether an innovation was successful – if not, people will be disappointed. Even in a society motivated by good will there’s got to be a mechanism for allocating resources. In a society with more than a few dozen people, there are going to be competing priorities and differing assessments of what constitutes a successful innovation.

    There’s another solution, though. She could go into the factory and take the equipment she thinks she’ll need. There are no more property rights, correct? But you’d better have 100% cooperation, because if there’s even one person who fails to become enlightened (think Sawyer on Season One of Lost), there’s going to be hoarding. It’s in each person’s interest to hedge his bets against the damage that uncooperative people could cause.

    Madison said that there would be no need for government if men were angels. He’s righter than he realized. It’s not simply that every person in your world would have to have good will; they’d have to have perfect knowledge too. The Mbogi tribe never invented transistors because they couldn’t all agree on proper valuation of scientific research. Massive specialization can’t happen without an organizing principle.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    A heck of a thread out of an innocuous sounding article.

    As to those who claim that history is bound to repeat itself, all I need to do is point to the unfolding Juan Assange saga. We have yet to comprehend the implications, and we have no idea what will evolve as a result. Yet only a while ago, no one in their wettest dream would have imagined that a single individual or network could have the governments of the world scrambling and running for cover. It is a spectacle to behold, and the show has only begun.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    And yes, you’re right, Cindy. Irene fails to appreciate the extent to which liberal dbourgemocracies and the capitalist system of production run hand in hand and are supporting of one another. And to insist on the rigid distinction between our political and economic system is a form of delusion, a direct result if not the express aim of bourgeois ideology.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Re #101: Juan Assange! Has any Juan seen his brother Julian lately?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Yes, Alan. They’re cyber twins.

  • Paul

    #97- Cindy

    What makes you think I favor American Imperialism and massive foreign aid. I’d like to see us remove all of our troops from all foreign countries and use them to protect our own borders. I think our military and foreign aid could both easily be slashed by 50%.

  • Doug Hunter

    #105

    And then you’ll be scolded for not providing aid to starving folks and not caring about conflicts that kill brown people proving once again how evil capitalists are. It’s what you are they despise, they’ll find a reason to dislike whatever policy you support.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Good old Slim, makes money on the backs of telecom workers and then gives lots to charity.

    No one can possibly know if Slim is kind-hearted, politically motivated, or likes to play the part of the grand benefactor to the miserable. In any case, I prefer to have a say in how my world works than have the world designed to my disadvantage and to favor some people who may or may not then deign to hand out their wealth to me as they see fit.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The company has an obligation to use the machinery in an optimal way.

    Says who?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    105 – Paul,

    You were touting US as the BEST system of gov’t, economy, etc. US imperialism is the modus operandi of that gov’t and economic system, etc.

    That is what it is all about. How can you say it is the best if you oppose what it does?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Cindy, I read #95, and on “9 to 5.” You’re absolutely right about that: there’s nothing about the length of a workday that’s hard-wired into capitalism.

    I still don’t understand why it is fundamentally evil to OWN something that one has dreamed up and developed. Withholding the rewards of an innovator’s risk-taking and effort–I might actually say STEALing that reward–seems patently unfair.

    On the other hand, it’s unfair and inhumane to regard the workers who help to keep the owner’s dream and vision alive as mere “resources,” to be used up and thrown out like last week’s spent toner cartridges. People can only take so much of that before they’re in a situation in which they’re stolen from too.

    There’s a spot where fairness lies, between extreme scenario A, where the inventor is being robbed, and extreme scenario B, where the workers are.

    (Roger, do not hate me because I’m “boozh-wah.” Born that way. Can’t help it.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Dumb redneck gal like me, with them hill-billy Kentucky moon-shinin’ roots. Don’t know how I ever got past the bouncers in a swank jernt like this. But I’m on m’way out.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Hey! I AIN’t boojwah, if’n I’m redneck, I just look’t it up! I done been affirmed.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Whoa. 113 comments and counting. You people are awesomely… something.

  • Baronius

    The company has an obligation to use the machinery in an optimal way.

    Says who?

    Aren’t we talking about your future world motivated by goodness? I want to do everything possible for my fellow man. I don’t want to be wasting time and effort producing faulty rivets. Someone’s tractor is going to fall apart that way, and a lot of people aren’t going to get to eat. I’m motivated by generosity, and the most generous thing I can do at the rivet factory is make good rivets using the fewest possible resources. If you can’t provide that, then we’re better off in the old capitalist days when food production was higher.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    Why couldn’t doing the best be R&D?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You are creating senarios out of thin air. Anyone can write unlimited scenarios that can come out any way they want. That is the basis for fiction.

    How about this one: The anarchist inventor tries to get help from some friends who own a factory, but since the world has become so much more attractive, aliens have landed and invited the friends for a long break to Pluto to visit their friend Baronius, because that seems to be where he comes from. The inventor has no idea how to operate the machinery and since she will now be 192 years old by the time her friends come back her invention ends up on the scrap heap of time.

  • John Lake

    I’m certain there is something to be said for sophomoric banter, irrelevancy, and blatant non-sequitur. However there are real issued involved in the shortsighted escalation of the National Deficit to indefensible proportions. As early as 2007, independent holders were remaining silent, but national lenders were beginning to express discontent with American flippancy. China resolved not to accept gold as payment for indebtedness. There was a decline in the willingness of foreign investors to continue investing in the U.S. dollar. Exposure to potential financial or political risks that might stop foreign banks from buying U.S. Treasury securities, or to start selling them heavily was addressed in a report issued by the Bank of International Settlements, which stated, “‘Foreign investors in U.S. dollar assets have seen big losses measured in dollars, and still bigger ones measured in their own currency. While unlikely, indeed highly improbable for public sector investors, a sudden ‘rush for the exits’ cannot be ruled out completely.”
    This new discontent with American loan policies was at a time when the world still viewed the U.S. as being beyond reproach; among the global elite.
    Now we have bribery schemes coming to light, supported by clandestine invasion of foreign governments, and recently revealed, the awareness of American military weaponry being used to support illegal bribery schemes such as we now see in Nigeria.
    See the U.K.Guardian.
    Nigeria spying
    Some will bristle as I remark that the American government has adapted a policy of invasion of foreign nations, for “Democratization”. Then we accuse others of fascism.
    Foreign governments are certain to take note of the American Congressional political motivation, and the developing new blindness to substantial issues. The American president himself appears (to me) about ready to give up.
    If foreign nations make a decision not to lend to the U.S.A., we shall find ourselves in an uncomfortable predicament. If we are completely unable at some future time to meet our obligations, foreign powers may feel compelled to take remedial action, consistent with our blasé outlook.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius says the equivalent of,

    “I think your hypothetical future company would not be best suited to creating new and amazing heart transplant equipment. Better stick to agricultural widgets, because if your don’t all of the crops will fail and the entire society will die from lack of food.

    And that dear readers is why anarchist societies will never work.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    I still don’t understand why it is fundamentally evil to OWN something that one has dreamed up and developed. Withholding the rewards of an innovator’s risk-taking and effort–I might actually say STEALing that reward–seems patently unfair.

    Perhaps there need not be much risk-taking. Say that you did want to build a better heart transplant machine. Why should we presume you could not convince any one of the potentially numerous communites to support you?

    Then again what if people decided they wanted to say live in scientist colonies and put out amazing stuff and the rest of the culture supported their research without much bother?

    And finally, you cannot possibly take the credit for most ‘inventions’ as if they are all your own idea. Unless you were naked in the forest and dreamt up a heart machine, your ideas come from the collectrive effort, knowledge and the real-life human testing ground. Perhaps you should not own personally what you merely added to. Perhaps all people should own that collectively.

    Besides, what forking better reward would you like than loving your life, having the freedom and ability to do work you love, and etc. and etc.

    What if we all had everything we needed, so that further reward was pointless?

    (and ROFLOL at your Hill-Billy thingy, That was hilarious!)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Cindy, your heart reference caused me to make a wish for you. :* Hang in there. Now, back to slugging it out over capitalism.

    Eh, not really. I’m done for awhile.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Stephan Kinsella – Against Intellectual Property (pdf)

    Irene, that is the argument by a Libertarian (right-wing kind, it appears) attorney. I found it recommended on an anarcho-capitalist web site. It might give you something of interest, though I can’t vouch for it. I only briefly read through some of it.

    Perhaps for a rainy day read.

    Nighty night Irene. We are going home tomorrow with a new pump (LVAD) I now have a battery-operated husband. (who can breath again) ;-)

    (And, good golly he wants a kitten!!!! He has been missing our cats. I jumped right on that wish and he will have a teeny little girl kitten mid-december.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    HEY! Cindy! GREAT. On all counts! I remember the kitten convo we had long ago, and I’m so glad he’s feeling well enough to want a pet again.
    OK goodnight.

  • Clavos

    My cat has lymphoma. I’m having her treated with chemotherapy. The drugs are the same ones humans get: vincristine, doxorubicin — and just as expensive. Vet says she has a 50-50 chance…

  • Baronius

    Cindy – You’re missing an obvious point. I was hoping that I could express it to you with a little fic. I guess it didn’t work.

    I, personally, want to do my job better than I did yesterday. Not for extra pay, but because people need goods and services. The system you’re describing has no rules for the allocation of resources, so it’s not going to be able to measure the value of innovation, and doesn’t have any means to implement innovation.

    You as much as admit that when you say that we don’t need 400 versions of every gadget. First off, who died and put you in charge? If people want some new version and are willing to work for the money to pay for it, why should you say they can’t have it? But back to the main point, these small improvements in gadgets result in airbags and automatic 911 tracing. Innovations save lives. Your proposed system seems to have disregard for innovation.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Innovations save lives.

    Yep, and provide us with a “new” iPhone every year.

    People do want some “new” version of the stuff that’s out there because that’s what we’re told we want, even when that “new” version is just Malibu Stacy’s new hat.

  • Baronius

    No doubt, Jordan.

    We’re both taking extreme examples. Not every innovation is an airbag, and not every one is a Malibu Stacy accessory. But by getting rid of the means of innovation, you’re depriving yourself of both. If we want to get rid of pointless innovations, we can do it the old-fashioned way, and not buy them. We don’t have to overturn our political and economic systems.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, I don’t know about the idea of “getting rid of pointless innovations by not purchasing them.” Production is so much higher than demand in most spots because the economy is profit-based and not usage-based, so it’s hard to really even say that we have a consumer-driven market anymore. It’s more a system of hedging bets than it is a system of creating for consumer demand. A trip to your local supermarket confirms this.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    even when that “new” version is just Malibu Stacy’s new hat

    OMG!!! I practically fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard!!!! (I still can’t help laughing over and over…the people in the hospital will think I am insane soon.)

    Baronius,

    The system you’re describing has no rules for the allocation of resources, so it’s not going to be able to measure the value of innovation, and doesn’t have any means to implement innovation.

    How do we know this? How can you tell if the system has rules? You really make a lot of presumptions.

    What disappoints me, is many people are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that something will not work, even though they do not seem to have a have a clue how that something works in its very most basic sense.

    How is this possible? How can people judge and criticize a thing when they don’t even know on a BASIC level, what it is they are criticizing.

    Jordan is not an anarchist, but he’s taken the time to understand what he’s talking about. Try reading his replies to zing. They should help.

    Anarchism, with regard to rules, is consistent with direct democracy or consensus. It essentially means that you, Baronius, have a direct say in what affects you directly. You are not represented by someone else. You have a choice in what rules there are and how they operate.

    And if you still WANT to build 320 iphone clones, go right ahead. But, since the society will not be forced into being consumer drones, I am not sure why you’d want to.

    Next:

    Capitalism requires competition, holding back innovations, and trickery. (Like making cassette tapes and marketing them as being all different qualities when they are the same tape.) My point was that each company will not have to compete to make 42 of the same thing, for no better reason than it needs a profit. We can then focus on innovations from an playful mode. Allowing those who

    As it is now, most cannot afford the innovation, but only the cheapest often crappiest version of a thing. Eventually a new innovation comes out and the whole thing shifts, leaving most, again, without the innovation. Thus, we are strung along and instead of everyone being able to use the innovation, only those with the most money can use it.

  • Baronius

    Jordan, I don’t understand what you mean. There are no sellers without buyers, and no buyers without sellers. The economy exists at the intersection.

    New Coke, Microsoft Vista, Madonna as a movie actress, Chevrolet…when multibillion-dollar industries back a bad idea, they get slapped down. As to whether Cindy’s new system would have a better means of coordinating supply and demand, I don’t know, because she doesn’t seem to have a system at all. If anything, her idea is more “if you build it, they will come” than any marketer of Diet Pepsi Lime could dream of. She’s got shiny happy people in a lab designing a product that will somehow make it into production, without any way of determining if the new product is a better use of resources.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i haven’t gotten to everything you wrote yet, but so far:

    some people might want no structure. i personally don’t know any anarchists like that.

    most would go with the first two ideas here:

    Anarchy (from Greek: ??????? anarchí?, “without ruler”) may refer to any of the following:

    “No rulership or enforced authority.”[1]
    “A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder).”[2]

  • Baronius

    Cindy – You’ll notice that I’m not lumping Jordan in with the anarchists, if you look at what we’ve been saying.

    The more you write about your ideal, the less realistic it sounds. It’s like the inverse of a conspiracy theory, where people commit to it harder the *fewer* things it can explain. As for your understanding of innovation, I don’t have anything to say. It’s so contrary to reality that neither your assessment of today nor your hopes for tomorrow are grounded in it. Just trust me that you’re not going to make things better by abandoning the mechanisms for improvement. You’re not just fighting against human nature, you’re fighting against the limitations of knowledge.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Structure is based directly on what is needed and what works as people discover these things through praxis.

    It can be changed as soon as the people involved desire that change.

    Example from Zapatistas: They choose representatives to go to conferences to represent the individual community interests among the larger communities. These representatives may only represent what the community has already decided. If something new comes up, they must return to their community for decision. If the community does not feel a representative is doing a good job, there is no waiting for terms to end. They sit her/him down and the community directly explains the problems and gives the representative a chance to defend/explain. The community can immediately remove the representative at any time.

    This sort of structure is consistent with anarchism.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    I am sorry to see you are so indoctrinated that you criticize things, based not in understanding them, but based on the way they superficially “sound” when they bump up against your biases.

    The subject of anarchism is not something new, nor something I invented. It has been written about for centuries by people far more brilliant than us. Your off-hand dismissal with zero real comprehension says something about you.

    I’m sorry for you. You haven’t any idea what you are talking about and sound to me like a cult member defending his cult beliefs.

  • doug m.

    She’s certainly fighting against the limitations of someone’s knowledge

  • Baronius

    Well, *I* am sorry that *you* are so indoctrinated.

    That was a persuasive argument, wasn’t it? I sure won you over, didn’t I?

  • Mark

    Baronius, I’m convinced that the only argument that will ‘win you over’ is the collapse of the existing system.

    But it remains bizarre to use profitability as the measure of ‘better use’ of resources. See Jordan’s timely review of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis by Chris Williams over in Books.

  • Baronius

    Why is that bizarre, Mark? It’s basic economic theory that floating prices allow the consumers’ preferences and the producers’ resources to meet. But no, the collapse of our existing system wouldn’t win me over until I saw whether the replacement system was any good. Otherwise it’s just an intellectual game. And though this may be too conservative an idea for you and Cindy (heck, it’s practically the definition of conservatism), saying that a political theory has been written about by smart people carries a lot less weight than saying people have made it work.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Have made it work for for whom? And at what price?

  • Doug Hunter

    “Have made it work for for whom?”

    Says the guy sitting in the air conditioned modern building using a computer made by a multinational corporation on a network created and developed in the evil capitalist US empire. Irony.

    This is religion Baronius and you stepped between them and their heaven, the fantasy utopia that only exists in their version of the good books and the confines of their own minds. It’d be harmless if not for the hubris that refuses to allow them to even contemplate the idea that they themselves could be wrong, that other people might not want to play along with their fantasy. You’re not a guy with a different opinion you’re an indoctrinated tool of the other standing between a momma bear and her cub.

    I wish going out and living altruistically and building the utopia they claim to want was as fun for them as talking about it and cheerleading the failures of others online. I know the excuses would come, but there’s bound to be enough of them to create their own little community and do it grassroots style. This should be a free country and I’ll fight for your right to create whatever type of goofy commune you want. Make it so great that in a few years I’m eating my words, knocking on the door, and begging to sign the social contract and get in… I’m not holding my breath though.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Hey, buster, I don’t make my judgment based on what “works” for me. That’s your claim to fame.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    …saying that a political theory has been written about by smart people carries a lot less weight than saying people have made it work.

    It wasn’t an argument I led with or would have ever made except in response to this: “The more you write about your ideal, the less realistic it sounds.”

    It is not merely my ideal, as if I has some il considered vision. It is a well considered topic that has been addressed.

    I did not intend to convince you by saying that. What I did think was that, in light of your extra-light understanding of anarchism, you might do what an intelligent life form would do, at this point. Go read something about it. It is part of our world of information as human beings. Reading anything. Read an actual GOOD criticism of it.

    It has been taken seriously and criticized. Just not considered by many, because your gov’t and it’s wealthy rulers do not want you to consider it at all. Have you never even considered the pov of the anarcho-capitalist (free-market anarchist)?

    You sound like a banana critic whose never eaten a piece of fruit!

    I am not responsible for presenting an argument to an ill-prepared critic. Go and learn about the subject if you’d like to debate it.

    What excuse do you have for your ignorance? Wouldn’t you expect that someone debating you as a right libertarian would at least try to find out that was?

    SHEEEEEEEEEEEESH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jordan Richardson

    There are no sellers without buyers, and no buyers without sellers. The economy exists at the intersection.

    I’m hard pressed to see where I’ve suggested otherwise. Cindy’s views, too, don’t seem to point to a lack of economy or a lack of a market with buyers and sellers. What she appears to suggest, and what anarchist thought appears to suggest from my understanding, is a recalibration of who owns the economy. Instead of middle agents betting and wagering on the possibility of the sale of goods, goods and services would be provided for use and not speculation. Would this not be good for everyone involved?

    What is the downside to purchasing goods and services from local sources? What is the downside to utilizing our finite resources in a more responsible way rather than to fuel engines of limitless production and assuming that people will buy what’s out there?

    In terms of personal stories, my dad is a trucker. He takes foodstuffs and other goods from Canadian warehouses to American warehouses and drives American goods and foodstuffs back into Canada. One trip, he took sugar from Canada to the United States (San Antonio, I believe). Long trip. While in San Antonio, his truck was loaded and he took the goods back to Canada. What he took back to Canada was sugar.

    Prices are high to cover the spread, to cover the gap between goods that aren’t sold and goods that are. This is standard economic practice.

    I think it’s a societal system of imposed ethics to suggest that this has anything to do with the preferences of the consumer. It begins with the very young and builds onwards; your value as a citizen of the world is to be a consumer, it’s an implied role.

    What’s most compelling, and most troubling, is that people cling to this role as though it were a religious distinction.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The telecommunications sector is an ideal example of where innovation is heading when the motive is profit and not service of the people. Bear in mind, too, that profit need not be ultimately discarded as a part of the equation. My only suggestion would be that profit not be the prime motivation for the production of goods and services.

    Cell phones and smart phones are made by the crateload. They contain an element in the circuitry known as coltan. Most people don’t know what coltan is or that it’s in their cell phones and smart phones. Coltan is currently financing the most violent war on the planet that nobody’s talking about in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between August of 1998 and April of 2004 alone, 3.8 million people died.

    There are coltan mines in Australia, too, and that mineral isn’t a conflict resource there. But because of the situation in Congo around the mines, the coltan is available dirt cheap. The product can be moved with relative ease, too, as long as deals are struck with the forces surrounding the mines. Corporations have moved in on the Congolese coltan, obtaining what is essentially the digital age’s “blood diamond” at rock-bottom prices and moving it to their manufacturing plants to get at the tantalum inside. The tantalum is shipped to other plants to be wired and seared into the circuit components. The Australia coltan, that which is produced without blood and dismemberment as its legacy, isn’t as attractive a resource because it’s not as cheap.

    Now if this tragic story, a story that’s been going on since our thirst for these digital treats began, doesn’t rely intensely on the framework of modern capitalism and “innovation,” I don’t know what does. And if the “innovation” of a new iPhone product, for example, every 9-10 months doesn’t have a direct line to to how much conflict coltan is dragged up on the backs of rape victims and child soldiers has nothing to do with the “insatiable” thirst for advances we apparently have, I don’t know what does.

    The fact is that these advanced products, with your 3G and 4G and so forth “innovations,” are even exceeding the network capacities in Canada, the U.S. and beyond. Because we haven’t caught the networks up to speed with the products we’re pumping out, the products come to the consumers as not fully ready to utilize their full potential. Hell, the province of Saskatchewan in Canada has just received 3G+ networks. Virtually in the same month, the iPhone 4 arrived and the “new network” is already obsolete.

    Tell me it’s worth it all you like, but I have a hard time believing in the quality of a system that considers this sort of waste as “essential.”

  • Mark

    Why is that bizarre, Mark? It’s basic economic theory that floating prices allow the consumers’ preferences and the producers’ resources to meet.

    Holy petitio principii, Baronius!

    Competing economic theory analyzes prices, preferences and access to resources as moments in a class war.

    Doug, there are ‘experiments’ going on internationally as we type. Hopefully, some of the ideas that come from these will make sense when capitalist acquisition/expropriation reaches its limit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    It just about had reached its limit in the West. I’m afraid we’re going have to wait until the booming economies of China and other “developing” nations have run their course. Of course, the economic decline of the West may prove to be the desired catalyst, unless there will develop a substantial consumer culture among the natives – an iffy scenario.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Jordan, could you recommend a tech journal with a philosophical to tech innovation that is only surpassed by its commitment to ETHICAL tech innovation?

    If there isn’t one….there’s a good market for you. That was a great comment in #143.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    philosophical ^commitment to ^ tech

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wish, Irene.

    Actually, my comment is a paraphrase from my article here. While most of the time I’m paid to write about the “latest and greatest,” every so often I can sneak in something much more important.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Mark, competing economic theories! I can’t resist posting this rap video again.

    If there’s one made by the same outfit, with MARX and Hayek as contenders…maybe Cindy can show this to some of her anarchocapitalist friends and they’ll be inspired to make one…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    That is hilarious!! Maybe we don’t really need a video about Marx on the economy. Perhaps this says it all.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Show them the video anyway, Cindy. I’ll bet they’d like it. Cute gift idea in your link, though here’s one ANY OF US would be proud to wear.) Didn’t I wish everyone a Merry Christmas already LAST time I said I’d better get going? LOL. Well, I better git going.

  • Baronius

    “Holy petitio principii, Baronius!”

    How about this, then: any non-Marxian microeconomics (including socialist) would agree that floating prices allow the consumers’ preferences and the producers’ resources to meet. Marxian microeconomics (or microeconomics derived from Marxian thought) probably falls into the category of philosophy better than economics, which is to say that it’s not predictive.

    The one exception I can think of is Henry George.

  • Ben

    It is shocking how we got basic economics wrong: save during the good times and spend during the bad times. Now it’s difficult to expand unemployment benefits when jobs are scarce due to budget constraints as a result of previous over-spending, ridiculous! They need to set up an emergency ‘unemployment fund’ for the future, paying in a very small percentage of GDP every year GDP growth is above a certain percentage.

  • Bobby

    Cindy and Jon Sobel, great posts.

    Majority of the followers of Sara Palin and other far right wingers are below the middle class level. Yet these people insist on supporting these republicans who’s agenda are for the to 10% of the population.

    These people should know they or someone they know will need and benefit from the presidents health care reform bill and other bills. Why have we in American become so ignorantly blinded by the light in which would guide us into the next decade!?