Thursday, December 31, 2009


Marx was a teenager -- or still in short pants -- when Robert Owen had already had an economic theory that is hardly discussed today. Between 1824 and 1827 he and his sons and daughter helped to develop a community in the United States.

I decide to take a little detour on my way West. I am going by car, for personal reasons. I left yesterday from Southern Indiana. Why was I interested in New Harmony? I think both because it is connected with Robert Owen, who is one of the economics thinkers most congenial to me, and because of my concern for the issue of community, over and above individualism.

And of course Robert Owen too had these concerns. So he is a guy I like. And in his view it is not only the machinery, or profit, that is important to a business, but the people too. He thought his employees worth caring for too. That's different. Real different.

Usually, employers feel some need to subsume employee interests to interests such as those of profit. As if they're two different things. Or maybe people are just mean. Owen, however, did not have any such "need." Instead, he cared. That turns out to be illegal. I'm joking, but, anyway, he was vitally interested in the community, and also in "community." He cared about people and community as it applied to his profitable enterprise in Scotland, and for his whole life until old age. I don't find his theories half bad. These are preserved in his writings. Why, I wonder, has history forgot about him?

But the Indiana settlement New Harmony --- or New Harmonie --- is a little different. It is not a textile factory, or a factory that is operated on humane principles, but a settlement. It is retroactively referred to as a "utopian" "community." For those are the words in use at New Harmonie in hand-out literature and in the museum. That, in fact, fell apart. It was also a hothouse of scholars. As a community, it failed after not much more than two years. I am not completely sure what the whole idea was. There may have been some utopian ideas there. Also a lot of creativity and ferment. What they've done is preserve the place. After all it’s quite nice.

There is a good museum (in the words of Bob Dylan, "where infinity goes up on trial"); many have come together to preserve this place --- it has sponsors such as a nearby university and others. I had a good time --- hashing out some of the details of community and individualism. One of these is valorized, or glorified by our leaders today, the other utterly repressed or devalued. But the truth is, both are there in equal measure in humanity and always will be.

So, let's have a rousing cheer for good old utopian communism! Owen's kind of thinking did in fact make a lot of headway in the US, what we call America. His place in Indiana attracted great scholars, prominent individuals, in the 1820's, although you'd never know it had ever happened... ...unless you visit New Harmony.

Well, I hope you liked my brilliant piece
-and my thanks to the ladies there, who interacted with me, when I arrived, as the last visitor of the day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ponder Piece

Economics is about communication. This is the story of the one quarter difference.

At the washing machine in our society there is a washer and a dryer. Dryers are usually a quarter and washers $1.50 or $2.00 in my experience of the culture but in this case, at the
Days Inn in Illinois where I've been know to stay (Naperville), it wanted like five quarters in each
machine. Something like that: Anyway, I started with the washer.
I put in my five quarters. But the machine wouldn't start. My favorite desk clerk is called "Steve," although as an Indian only three years off the boat, I hardly think his parents named him "Steve" in anticipation of his future migration. Anyways, my best friend at the motel says we need an extra quarter.

Now there is an economics lesson there somewhere. I don't know where it is exactly, but

it's in there somewhere.

At first, I thought: "That quarter is something I would never have time to negotiate about. If a market

economic system depends on negotiation of price that motel just got a free

Why? ... well there was no way I was going to haul all the clothes out of it for lack of a quarter, and, likewise/also I am not going to ruin my relationship with the clerk -- my Indian friend Steve (a new American, and an excellent one --- unlike some of our other immigrants who head straight for the financial sector to bundle derivatives that they sell to your grandmother) -- over an argument about a quarter. Do you kno whot I mean?"

OK, so those are a few thoughts I had, as I....scrambled my way back up to post-industrial society's "place of washing." It's on the second piso just above my intimate friend's head, as he absorbs credit card payments into our beautiful financial architecture, by credit card. To the money sucking machine I go with trembling, eager hands with my coin, and I put the additional quarter in; I was satisfied when things began to actually function (rare in my life). In other words, the washer did work at that point. Which was, for me, a satisfying experience OK.

Then I thought, along basically the same theoretical lines, that I would perhaps put in another six quarters, to dry. This is a

bit much (1 X 6: --- that's for those of you who are easily impressed by mathematics) and in that case, how long would it take before society demanded a better price and some real changes are made at the laundry machine level of our culture? Eventually, of course, supply has to meet demand. It just won't happen right away.

These were my thoughts, but then I had a thought that seemed better than any of the others. The essence of the whole process, I realized is communication. Economics is about communication.

What does that mean?, you ask. Well, ...that the free market (capitalistic) system works as long as there is communication. And in the work of Hayek (whom I despise as a Right-winger of course) he does mention this kind of thing. It is about the communications of members of society. The system only works if communication works. Think on that one for a moment.
All of these meetings in the marketplace, whether there really are adjustments of prices based on consumer decisions at all, or not always, or whether it happens right away or not, all this depends on communication and communication is more important than anything else. It is therefore communication that the free market

system depends on, and, perhaps, this is more important than something that is after all a mere fact --- a simple facticity you might say (Homi K. Bhabha might say that), that, hey, since money is quantitative, the prices can vary. That's just dross. At a deeper level, it is about communication.

Jack's Essay


I believe it is valid to call myself an economist. It is true that I am not a part of a group. What I mean is that there exists no group of scholars, nor any university program, that I am affiliated with. When I look at what I do, "economist" seems correct ---- a correct and workable method of describing it. More generically, I could say intellectual, and I could say philosopher. There seem to be a broad set of issues generic to the set of us, which is to say to the economists, whomever they be ---- it includes myself. I am like they are: an "economist" Yet although all are "economists" of same subject world (if not Dubai World) and hence interested in same topic or area I am not actually aware that this collective "we" know just what that area is. Hence the question as follows. What do we actually mean when we say it --- the word "economics"?

Now everyone in the field should just admit this and get over with it. The resultant situation means we have a word for the area studied but, Um ---- we're missing something. These may be no description. There may be no fleshing-out beyond mere moniker. I.e: name. Sign. There is a name for what the area of study is, but nothing else. There is nothing other than a term that serves as a signal or "sign." (That's semiotics but I'm not sure what it is, which makes two things --- two things that "we" are not sure of. Although, of course you may pretend if you like. No one can stop you.)

I don't know what "economics" really means and neither, I am pretty sure, do these other guys called "the economists." The thing that I submit as weird is that they do not seem to want to admit this fact that they lack a description of what it is that their field encompasses exactly. The many --the simple-minded --claim to (Have a scarce resource, buddy. And don't forget to pay me.)
This is the point where the whole thing becomes the study of ideology. Now we have to study ideology, it seems, and not just economics (whatever that was).

But I can try to find the description of what this field named economics is; I can try as well, and here it is. "My Turn."
The study of how humans use available resources. Ah. That was easy; it seemed really easy. How humans make use of what is available to them. Furthermore, and of this I am yet more certain, by which I mean more certain than I am certain that the economists who claim to know the description of their field dont, ---furtherMORE ---- these human beings are divided up into various social groupings. Oooooo..."socialism." Well, damn right it is. Capitalism is social, OK? I am sure of it. These humans that are making use of available resources are divided up into social groupings --albeit that a whole herd of economists, which is to say human absurdities calling themselves economists, deny that any such thing could possibly be relevant to their America, since the (American) universe contains, as all red-blooded real American morons know only "self-interested individuals" --Um, ... OK ... where was I? What I was saying when I was sane and feeling like a fair rational being, which I was, a moment back, was that, in all fairness, economics is probably about how human beings divide up some particular set of resource, which we can tweak further as the available potentialities for the production of, or for the use of, existing resources----now this in turn is to say short of hitting another person over the head or something, and stealing it, which would not be a very "economic" way of acting. Now would it? Also it's anti-social, get it? Economics is totally a social matter. But they never say it. So, that's where there is this twist, and ideology comes into it. (There are leftists who have said this, in the past. I even have a book by some mainstreamers, from the fifties, who preface their argument about ideology or business creed with the comment that what is called the "interest" theory is silly and should be dismissed out of hand, all of which, I thought when I saw this book, prefaces their own ideological look at the matter. The book then goes on to frame just such an argument. It was, indeed, not in the authors "interest" to say anything else. They were ideological. All of this is parenthetical, of course. You know?)

When I had a book proposal to offer to an editor, it was an academic press I chose, that I wanted to consort with. I thought of a university press. When I finally chose one, I did not choose one that puts out very many books specifically in my field of (you know) economics. I do not know if Indiana University Press puts out any economics books at all. I was picking an academic press. And the matter of whether this targeted institution of mine puts out economics books meant nothing. So, I guess that that shows how isolated I am or something. If other economists mean so little. Or that I'm not a good collaborator. In fact, it means a number of things. They mean little to me in terms of relationships, actually. These people should be my collaborators and colleagues. The truth is, there is no working relationship at all.

I do read some of them. Mostly the dead ones. How sad and lonely I must be! This is , OK?. There is some Latin word here, I think. Ennui? I haven't the vaguest idea of what the word is. It's a nice word for "alone." Alone in a sad, romantic painting painted by a lonely aristocrat of any European century whatsoever. Before the advent of capitalism's reign of hope. It's sad. I just don't know what it is----no education, you see.

So, OK: no school, no organization, no partners. Sad? So what. What does it matter? That I do not agree with anybody? That is not so unusual, my friends. Do Paul Krugman and Milton Friedman agree with one another? I think not! So maybe I'm right. To call myself "economist," I mean. Maybe that's what I am. (Also a comedian, but there actually is a Canadian comedian who started out as an economist. I bought his dissertation as a discounted book. I liked it.) There is no consensus between them either, although there may be some acquiescence to academic institutions, to get paid, to have jobs. (Which means something: they are all taking money from the same structure they are supposed to be studying.) There does not deserve to be any consensus between them. (Somehow that makes sense, but I have to analyze and edit, you know? Maybe I mean that we deserve to admit it to ourselves, or I deserve a break for calling myself an econo... oh I don't know!)

It is the same in similar fields, like psychology or political science and so forth. There are distinct schools there that do not agree with one another. You cannot artificially stitch that together. This is common in Western social science.

Am I worse than they? This great "They" (in addition to being the paid dignitaries of a collapsing civilization) could not even predict the recession. (I did. I was four years too early but I did. I was out of stocks entirely three years ago. I did not predict it would bounce back, though, and I do not think the banks should have been bailed out and I do not think it is necessarily good that "the economy"
whatever that is is bouncing back so fast. I think it is ominous. When civilization itself collapses we will be really, really shocked and awed. Then we'll look back and say, "but of course!" anyone could have predicted that!) Having not predicted the recession, they could not predict anything else either like for example how fast we would emerge from it. They take paychecks from the economy but is that related to the fact that they don't understand it? Don't want to bite the hand that feeds us, do we?

So I am no different----I mean I'm just another economist trying to make a go of it. I am no different, from the rest of the economists. There is no basis there to agree to. Am I the only one in isolation? Better ask John Lennon about that... but there is no consensus agreement in the field for me to be in isolation in comparison to. I am the same as the rest of them. I, too, am an economist.

* * *

The question is whether any of us know anything. I may not have my ducks all in a row. I may not have everything formally arranged. I may not have an audience for my papers, although I do have a few papers with definite ideas. I do have a set of ideas. These are, as time passes, emerging more and more coherently as a whole, constituting a genuine body of thought. My findings indicate that capitalism is an ever-changing arrangement that can either be self-generating, or, on the other hand, it can be consciously directed and intentionally modified. The modern world, so strongly based on capitalistic economic arrangements, is not at all something to be described as individual, or self-interested, although persons always describe it that way, but rather the world, with it's for-profit transactions, is a social world, and capitalism's economic arrangements are social arrangements, affecting all memebers of society. The requirements of capitalism are not merely requirements of individuals, for individual profit, and, if capitalism's purely social requirements are not met, the system will collapse completely. But, if capitalism is social -- or cooperative -- why is it described as "individual," especially in the United States? This is ideological. This is the function of ideology in society. What must change, then, is not only existing economic arrangements. Also, the wrong understanding must be corrected. Capitalism must be administered in an honest, democratic and transparent way.

Those are some of my conclusions. How I came to them is, of course, a story that is somewhat more involved.

What "genuine" means is that it could have some relevance. My ideas could create a better, more equitable economic arrangement, and contribute to security, in the real world. Correct economic theory should be relevant to the real world and not merely operate to rationalize and support whatever arrangements already exist.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More Theory and Discovery

I have made a basic discovery in economics. Based on this breakthrough my position is that capitalism should progress. Capitalism can have stages. It is possible to move from one stage to the other. It is possible that capitalism must move to a new stage. It is possible that there is a new stage that needs to be achieved.
The kernel idea related to this new stage for capitalism comprises the basic discovery. Put into its most essential terms, and bordered by the limits in the present author's own knowledge, my discovery consists in understanding that there can be a form of capitalism that does not involve money payment but rather involves the provisioning of certain useful commodity goods to designated recipients. The suggestion is that physical goods be transferred to recipients who are otherwise not obtaining the basic physical wealth they need, in terms of food, usable water, etc. Such direct transfers of goods, from the developed world to the needy persons, do not involve the normal concept of money paid in exchange for goods.
Such an arrangement is perfectly rational. Of course, the commodities taken out (extracted is another word here) would have to be taken out in common, from the entire "industrialised" side itself, otherwise the donor gains unfair advantage over another party who is not giving.
Likewise, we cannot create inequality amongst recipients, but each person (region is another word here) that is a qualified recipient has to be given formal right to his or her individual share of this kind of transferred wealth product or commodity.
We now see that we are creating two categories, two designations that are like trading partners between which the wealth flows.

To recap, then: we transfer physical goods, in a way that does not primarily involve money, from one designated donor group to another designated recipient group.

We find that the result looks surprisingly like capitalism, rather than any violation of capitalism. This would comprise a new stage of capitalism.

The theoretical framework is completely sound, rational and defensible.

Based on this discovery I am a proponent of the view that capitalism should progress.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New York, Over And Out

Well, my trip to N.Y. is over. At the end of this trip I found myself bleeding money faster than the TARP program.

I also saw a whole lot of goodwill bleeding from the N.Y. people.

I guess --- when you have both of those you're OK.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Economic Aspect of Life

The society functions on -or in some kind of relation to -an economic basis.

* * *

The persons that are the most influential are competitors who have varying amounts of property and money. Traditionally, within this system there are various ways of being a successful person. The plethora of types is overwhelming ---- a distraction. Clearly, society needs to perform a blocking action, in order to keep certain persons down. Thus, capitalist society appears to be based on the principle of the equality of money-carrying persons (i.e., anyone with money can buy any product), but there is also the reality that there is a method of keeping some persons out of that, or out of the money. That has to exist.

I have already mention what I call "social connection" elsewhere. It is like there is this whole social dimension to capitalism, which is not understood but which is actually very important. This, I would like to suggest, has an accidental aspect. This random or accidental quality, when I think about it, seems to come through very much as a colored balloon or a "Free Gift." Very capitalistic! It comes through accidentally. In the future, in the changes that I think will have to be made, if we are to save capitalism (which is a form of society, not a form of individualism), it is this aspect that I think would have to change. There is, then, an essential aspect, related to normative social life, that comes through like a gift. This social gift -- I guess that's the word for it -- should continue to be there, but not accidentally. I would think that it is the accidental aspect that would have to change. The social side, of course, is essential to capitalism: this is the necessary social side of capitalism. But in the future this has to be enforced. It has to be put there. This is what it means to have "reform" or "regulated" capitalism. I have written elsewhere clearly stating my side of the regulation vs. deregulation debate with no confusing context needed. What I said was that there needs to be conscious intervention.

This is of course just the "intervention in the market" conservatives are philosophically opposed to. My view, then, is that the social or gift aspect, or whatever it is, needs to be enforced. And I also have ideas as to how to do that, which I am explaining starting on last August tenth (and also just recently on December 20th, hint-hint).

Let's reason it out (as follows):

My view is that capitalism produces equality, although limited to some core set of market actors rather than being an equality that is extended to everyone, and thus we have global wealth inequality, deprivation, malnourishment, etc. But given that capitlaism produced equality, no critic (on the left for example, but it really doesn't seem to matter) would say that capitalism produced equality intentionally. Therefore it must be that capitalism produced equality accidentally. That, then, is precisely what must change. If capitalism produces equality accidentally -- in the past, in fact -- why oh why would that continue? Why would it continue? It just happened. It was not done with any intent or purpose. It was accidental to start with. There is no reason to suppose that the system now in force -- capitalism -- will continue to do in the future what it did by accident.

So therefore there does need to be intervention. I would ask the reader to now jump to the characteristic idea of mine, which is to say that world-wide distribution plan that I have begun to discuss on the August 10th post -- and you can fill in the kind of intervention for yourself, because it is obvious.

If you put it all together you get both of two parts, it seems to me. You see the idea about the need for some intentional policy or some intervention, in the economy. You get also the important information on just what the actual kind of intervention would be. So, now we've got both parts.

It should be a process of dividing into two trade parties the two extremes of capital accumulation and deprivation. These become the parties and there is a transfer from one to the other.
Want more details? OK.

There is no direct paying for things. It is therefore a kind of capitalism without money.

Goods are delivered to recipients on the basis of qualification or entitlements. If a person is in the bottom one or two fifths, for example (of globalization), that person is automatically qualified to receive. S /he may -- or may not -- get something but that person is qualified formally.

The theoretical system based on this idea seems to make sense. Whether it will be done I do not know. That's true. I do not know if the program as I envision it will happen but the idea makes so much sense that there must be benefit. Must be benefit, that is to say, somehow and of some kind, in having a discussion of this.


Neo-Classical microeconomics reduces things to numbers. Reducing things to numbers is like total equality in the abstract sense. Such a move positively invites its own violation. If you have a totally flat line, you want some humps to make it a graph. If an artist starts with a totally blank canvas he usually adds a bit of dimension by painting something.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

On the Changes of Capitalism, and its Problems and Discontents

For anyone who is independently-minded, and who bothers to look, the economy apparently goes through changes. At one time, historians, intellectuals and economists thought it was an "industrial" economy.

Is it smoke-belching factories that characterize capitalism? Is it the production of large numbers of identical goods? I guess not because then it changed. It changed to the "service economy" and then it changed again.

Some people want to get away from it all. But you can't get away. Capitalism seems to be synonymous with life. It changes but doesn't change. Should it change? Should it stay the same? These are the question philosophers have always grappled with. Is capitalism just some kind of naturally occurring "thing" that should just stay the same forever? Probably not; and most persons do not actually believe it. Still, there is always a permanent fire sale for free market fundamentalism going on.

Capitalism may be everywhere, --- But there is a problem with the economy and the problem I'd like to mention --- is that it is too passive -- for all you need do is follow the herd to get your share. Everyone want you to buy gold? You should probably buy it. Everyone likes to put money in the stock market? You should.

It is kind of bone-headed. Banks play their part, no doubt. They generate the illusion that the bank is lending money, instead of mentioning that what they do is create it. That is done, should the gentle reader ask, when they make loans. Money is literally created. (Because even after they loan money they still have it because of the nature of banks as the prime depositories for a civilization. It is all there to figure out, apparently, and quite amazing!) The implications are deep and far-reaching. It is not a minor matter. Still, I would like to return to my point about making the money passively. This is to say that they don't actually do anything. Now I knew this a long time ago! This is so obvious, and it is embarrassing to think of someone challenging me on the point: what do I say to someone like that? What if the questioner is a member of the media or something? (Yes! I fear Fox News.) Children can figure this out, it is so simple: it's direct, it's simple and it's intuitive, but we are basically being swamped with simultaneous information. We are enmeshed; we are embedded; and we are confused. Anyone can figure this stuff of for his or her self. They make their money passively. Children know this; adults forget.

Eventually, as this blog gets popular -- as I assume it ought to -- it may enter the stream of public discussion. Certain things are not reaching the public, whether intentionally or not -- that's hard to discern. I can't change the way the basic structures of human civilization or society work. I do not think so. If I am to enter the mainstream and all that, that's OK, but I have to phrase everything carefully. Which, by the way, I am already working on, you know.

This is how it works. We have to do things in a helpful way. I have in fact, and believe it or not, no interest in destroying anything. The precursor of this blogging activity (of my intellectual activity in general) is that I have had, or sort of been graced with a few original ideas in the vein of capitalist culture studies. And these original ideas open up a rich area of theoretical exploration. OK.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Social Capitalism

The basic theory is that there had to be some humanity in it. That isn't going to come just from attaching prices to things.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Am an Ugly, Dirty Man, who insists on imposing himself

The society is just not working. That's my observation upon observing ordinary persons. There is frustration everywhere. Do you claim not to see it?

You want to talk about economics? I see people with a good heart: I feel I see a lot of good hearted soul-type things, on my first days in N. Y. City. You notice that shit. OK?

But the frustration is increasing, and it's the truth,....and this is general --- some people just laugh when I say stuff like this --- spread out like a William S. Burroughs-type virus, it's everywhere. It's not just one or two persons. (And the neo-Classical idea about prices is absurd.)

The society is just not working and the only persons that should "b" afraid to admit that are ones that "r" weird (not me!!) or creepy --- or totally oriented towards the self. What do these words mean? --- "free" ; "free competition" ; "free enterprise"? It cannot mean a person that is totally free, totally ... isolated. I

Take a phrase. "Free to trade." Does that mean "free to hurt"? "Free to not care"?

We just got done being "ruled" -- presided on by a presedential quality whose one good quality -- or try this: one interior quality -- is/was his absolute belief in himself ("Dead Certain" is a title to note). These guys? Who they?

I have this to say. Their salient (try: interior) quality is precisely their absolute belief in themselves. How can we crack the code? How can we understand what drives these people?

* * * * *

I don't know what it all means but that's where I am in my work. What is economics? The only economy left is between the street folks -- the peeps on the beggar level collecting cans on the street -- and the "credit" people. That fits the word "Economics" because the street persons are in a balance with something other than themselves (the normal or "Money" people).

In capitalism you make money in an economy. You act in balance. It is a balanced situation, of distinct qualities, not just quantity, such as price quanitity or number of cents of dollars.

It is necessarily social. But, we can't admit that. This is what I have found and the material I work with as a private scholar.

It is necessarily social. The award, best "capitalist", does not go to he who is oblivious to others.

Everything Converges on a Hotel in New York

That blog post about the Dutchie-Wutchies -- bottom 1/2 of "Is It Poetry" post from December 1st -- coincidentally [interjection: maybe I meant "synchronistically"] arrives prior to my physical arrival in bi-polar disordered N.Y.C. (see two posts back).

It seems like I've got New York on my mind but not really. After all, it is a major U.S. cultural center. ...And, I'd visited a few times as a kid, later on as an artist.

Now I paint everything in terms of "capitalism."

Guess I'm still an artist.
* * *
Capitalism is a complex concatenation of various influences.
Everything converges on New York.
My third hotel suckes like all the others --- but the Grshwin H-tel duz provide me "American Quotations" (Wing Books, N. J., 1992 -- orig. 1988). It's a book, Okay? Includes this:

" Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants [sic] from study of themselves; at odds with the majority. In short unusual [try: different]. It is noteworthy that.....[etc.] "
-Bierce, 1906

BIg Apple, 2

Yesterday, or thereabouts ([interjection: my research department informs me it was 2:15 PM on Tuesday]maybe the day before), we were introduced to N.Y. as a place where 1) everyone is so civilized and advanced and sophisticated and elegant and so forth and 2) where you do not have to study economics because, well---you can see it.

Today, the grim reality sets in

One side of New Yawk is utter chaos. The other is the "social" side, as I call it, of capitalism.

Capitalism organized the mass of Western human beings. This is why I always cast capitalism in terms of nowhere else but ---- the West.

There seem to be two sides to New York --- and, by extension this Western-dominated world where we have the noble opportunity to live.

Look back to the opening days of the United States. First there were troubles concerning the overbearing authoritarianism of the Mother country, of England. These were addressed by the Continental Congress, the colonists' own body. Ultimately, the decision came down: rebel. Then for the first few years there was chaos.

What happens next?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Q: What does capitalism actually do?

A: The first thing that it does, is: that it grows. It creates a larger and larger wealth base. Which circulates; it is traded. Soros finds two sectors. He thinks there is a real economy consisting of real products, and then there is the financial sector. What does the financial sector of a two-part Soros economy do?

A: Easy. It distributes. It finds ways to distribute the growing material wealth base out to the population of a growing nation. As for the material side, it too distributes. Both of the Sorosian sides distribute. The financial sector is different, though. The "f" sector distributes, but, unlike the material sector, it does not produce anything, only distributes.

To review one point, briefly, the wealth base ("it creates a large and larger wealth base...") has to be traded; this is clear because one always produces for customers. If you cannot sell it, you would not produce it. So production and distribution occur hand-in-hand in the physical economy, but the financial sector is different. Which of these two sectors sounds more healthy?

The capitalist world has these two parts: the material part and the financial parts The material part of the two-part Soros economic model both produces and distributes. The financial part only distributes. The financial part must be parasitic on the material part. This is my own view, of course, not Mr. Soros's.

That's today lesson, folks. Next week, we examine "Lords of Finance," which is a book, and ask as to who these guys are. All that I know now is: A book has been written that came out recently on the "Lords of Finance" --- in the depression-era of the 1930's. ... There were apparently three of four of them, one for each major so-called "industrialized country."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Apple

Boarding the Train

Here,in N.Y, you don't have to study the economy: you can see the economy. You/I can tell just by looking at these people that they have real jobs. Their air or vibe.

Graceful, competent, articulate...

It's a real step up from what I saw on the Amtrak from Chicago (Got on in Indiana, actually).

Today I'm going to go see my sister ---- who is a "real" psychiatrist. No ... OK , Accurately? - Therapist. - And she seems sooo oh ... competent at it lately. OMG! I'd better shut up! So excited to be in New Yawk.

But think of the economy that's not so "real." Chicago even. OMG! Now I'm looking at an eleven year old boy with more class than most adults from Chicago.

Now let's go from Chicago to, for example, Beloit, Wisconsin. There are peoples there too.... Now to the "third-World."

Well, white people love statistics. So, we know there are five billion on the planet earth. In New York, not even one billion. New York, like Chicago, seems so incredibly big And, well---it is. The entire population of earth, 200 years ago, about I think 100 million. 1,000 years ago -- two million and 10,000 years ago... Who the heck knows? There's a lotta things we don't know.

But today, our society is none other than capitalism. My thought on society is that it's indisputable that humans exist in societies, and (capitalism) is is a vast organizing system (society) for human beings. Salient?

I think it is. And our "society" may have at one time been called the fiefdom, later the country, or state (nation-state) and, now, the whole global capitalist world. But there are still wealth disparities. My idea (for ex., in item posted Aug 10th) is that of a balancing between these, creating a more balanced condition.

We should create a trade arrangement, and this is just like any other trade situation, a trade arrangement where by means of a second method, placed over on top of the first (this is "choice"!) --- we trade goods over to the deprived --- but simply not asking for money in return. So, it's like a non-market trade method.

The moral of the story, t hen, is that: "you don't need to get paid to have capitalist trade."

++The End++

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Underlying Honesty

"Freedom" to Americans apparently means "freedom to cheat." But there had to be some kind of underlying honesty --- otherwise, capitalism could not have succeeded.

So the idea here is that capitalism creates something that I call "social connection."

In practice, it does just the opposite of what hypocrites and liars think they are doing. What they believe it is and what it is are not the same thing. What they actually create is not selfishness but sociality. And I suppose that if this element of sociality is not preserved, everything would just naturally just crash. How to preserve the precious sociality? Which, by the way, we were not admitting (existed).
There is a way. This appears to be the basic trade idea I had. Now go you have to go to the August 10th post. OK?

Is It Poetry or Is It Economics? Only your Hairdresser Knows...

A TV review - abc t.v. 7, Chicago - - A Sun evening drama: tobogganing, fashion photog--

Is it reality or is it unreality. We dont know. Are these people competent or incompetent? Again --- dont kno. Incompetence seems to be the last endearing characteristic.
"Where is the reality" seems a very good question. I am too smart for my own good. Now as I comprehend the plot: A rich kid hires a pretend family. But the plot goes awry. Complications ensue.
since 1937

reality is very hard to find

America as a land/culture based on ploys (George Santayana, People&P, p. 80, /// ...her view of the S____ family and of B [U. S. city] in general, as she unfolded it to us merrily at home, though friendly and kindly, was frankly comic; ..." and p. 87, "There is curious cruelty mixed sometimes with American shrewdness and humor. The sharp mind finds things queer, crooked, perverse; it puns around them; and it doesn't see why they shouldn't be expected and commanded to be quite other than they are; but all this without much hope of mending them, and a sardonic grin. " The author of the book goes on with these recollections, and in a way that shows up Americans as: perverse, hypocritical, detached, superficial and lacking Santayana says on p. 88 with regard to an old New England preacher, "wisdom." Agreed.

Very strange how Americans view perverseness and unreality as a bargaining chip. Maybe that is how life –the system --has been working all along. You can do your best at lying and deceiving your way through life----and, at some point, you go as high as such as that will take you and there you stop anyway (because after all you were lying. You were not ethical.) But, it is not the perversity that creates the limit: it is the stop point itself, in the market. After all, what else is life? Just a big competition. What does this create? Essence of Olay? Perfume? Once again I am reminded of Neitzche's essay, "The Great Blond Beast." Here, many years earlier, he nailed this quality -- this was years before Hitler spelled out its actuality. Neitzche, in this essay, discusses, in a very profound way, I thought, the Europeans. He discusses Europeans, or maybe Germanic persons, as these monsters returned home from some "campaign" where they had raped women, plundered, etc., and the brilliant Neitzche points out how they, upon returning, think highly of what they have done. It striks me as excellent, this Neitzche piece. I do not know if I received the point with total precision of understanding, or I am applying my own version of it. But, from my point of view, it is one hell of an astounding good essay, on subjects usually untouched. It is called "The Great Blond Beast."

The Americans, it seems, have got the same problem. And where can we expect this to lead us? You are not perfect of great, just because you is Americansky. And now for something --- Well, different:

The Dutchy-Wutchy People

When "they" --the Dutch people in this case --originally colonized U. S. country on site at "New Netherland," as Holland's elites named it --- they did it for money. But you have to remember that the Dutch were, culturally, familiarized to markets and money. The fact is that they were the main European group involved in the trading activity of that particular time in the development of capitalism. According to F. Braudel, the great historian of material culture, trade and finance --these being Braudel's three spheres of culture as it relates to economics, later, this sort of Capital cities of capitalism would move on. Later it is London, and not Amsterdam or Bruge as it had been earlier, and, still later: New York.
As for the current center or capitol city, whether it has become Dubai is a matter that remains yet unsettled.

At any rate, the Dutch were the main trading people of that time. Yes, capitalism is about making money bets ---- but it is about making money bets against reality, and it is not done against money itself. That's a no-no, fellas and you should knock it off.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Self and Others ---- in the real sense

Conservative economists talk about self-interest. To point out the obvious: It seems clear that the mainstream economists or economist(s) aligned with the mainstream view or conservative view are frequently to be discovered talking this way: "self-interest is rational" ... is an example of this blather.

What is the manner really in which one's self-interest works? In the real world, self-interest is an understanding or an appreciation. It is a use of one's mind, and not devoid of any understanding of others. That is the only thing that it could be --- since there has to be a mind or an awareness at the other end. We are in fact talking about someone else's self interest.
(Get it? That's a little subtle. When I am talking in the abstract about "self-interest" I cannot be talking about my own, I must in fact be talking about some self-interest in terms of somebody else, and thus, even though I am talking about "self-interest," I am also already talking about somebody else. That is all I was trying to say there. Now back to the action...)

What is the way in which appreciation of one's self functions? The fact is that a business person should probably be minimally intelligent and not more like an animal. To have self-interest or be self-interested there must be this sense or appreciation of self. For the intelligent human I would suggest that self-interest necessarily happens in relation to others.

For the purpose of clarity, let's repeat that ... self-interest happens in relation to others. (That's just as good a sentence as "self-interest is rational," but it depends, I suppose, on what kind of sentences you prefer.) To interact in a market there has to be a consciousness of others and also an ability to interact. Even to steal! Even that usually requires some sense of those others one is stealing from.
One enters the market situation. And when one does so, the understanding of self that one takes into the situation of a market relation is, as said, also an understanding of others. If entering into market relaltions means having a good understanding of the other players in the market then it follows that this is not merely an understanding of oneself. And when we understand this there is not much left of the concept of "self-interest" in the places where the idea is posited and valorized. Where I find this, in particular, is the beginnings of economics textbooks, where either "self-interest" or "rational self-interest" is mentioned. This is how it worked in the textbooks I used when I was in college, to my recollection. The reference is to a few graduate-level courses in economics that I took, in the eighties.

Thus, the idea that conservatively-oriented (or we also tend to say: mainstream) economists have that concerns what they call self-interest of the individual is an abstraction. (If we now ask for a definition of abstraction: something that exists --- but no connection to reality.)

To put it more plainly, it's nonsense.

This stuff about "self-interest" commonly found in the economics and psychology textbooks I used in the seventies and eighties is an abstraction that the person writing the book basically orders undergraduates (or any other comers) to accept. That is not scholarly, still less is it scientific. It is, of course, pedantry. (Which is, perhaps, just what the professor's "job" is, according to sneaky, weird or subversive interpretations of pedagogy --- by both the extreme left and right.) A final assessment of the stuff about self-interest in the beginnings of textbooks of economics (also psychology books), from my point of view, is as follows: it is the assertion of something the textbook's author claims to believes.

I doubt he really believes it. I don't think it works that way.

OK there is some kind of circular logic linked with the word "self-interest" swimming around in professor's head. OK So What. That's purely subjective.

No doubt, either: that authorial voice proclaiming self-interest in the opening pages of his textbook (and, intuitively, I know --or think I do --that it is always a he who will say this stuff) does have some type of "self-interest" operating. He has it as he writes about it. So, of course, -- in that sense -- some type of self-interest is there. That is not exactly the point, which is to say of economics, or of the man's book. It does show that the author is operating out of self-interest alright, so, yes, self-interest is important --- and, Um, he is -- I guess -- writing about self-interest. That may demonstrate that self-interest is important. Right.

But that's another topic entirely. What is it does not tell us about is economics. What the textbook men are asserting is wrong: self-interest, in this pure sense, besides being basically unhealthy is definitely not all that is going on in capitalistic economic situations or in society. Yes, it is important. The concept, which is virtually inoperative, except in the imaginations of these authors of textbooks, does not tell us anything about market economics. Even if some kind of "pure self-interest" is there, what is being written about it certainly amounts to nothing, or less.
All of that is water under the bridge. To discuss it further gives it undue importance. What we are left with is the question of why these bald assertions about self-interest actually exist, and what kind of a world it is that we are living in. That is another question, and one that I do find it worthwhile to ponder on. There is no scholarly merit to the "self-interest" ritual that these guys go through -- I am talking about what are usually white protestant males teaching in the U. S. I am not aware that other countries have achieved this level of perversity. Something really weird is going on in the U. S. of A. This is of great interest, sociologically. But not scholarly interest -- since the statements are purely nonsensical. What we do need to discuss, then, is: why do these persons -- and their texts -- even exist?
How did this school muscle itself into the forefront of college economics in the U. S? What does it mean? These are important questions for American self-reflection. Nowhere else has there been such a complete, absolute takeover of absolute rubbish in academe. Some explanation must be found, and that one does seem like something to investigate.
My investigation is ongoing. But the first step is to get over one's absolute amazement that these idea even exist in these textbooks. Then one has to decide how to talk about it without sounding like it is oneself, and not the text's author, who is mad. This is one of the pitfalls of my task. All this take some time: I have been looking at these college economics materials for some 25 years, off and on, since I took the graduate level "micro-economics" class at the age of about 30. Yeah; I noticed the problem from the start all right. But this kind of thing takes years to fully appreciate. We talk about Stalinism or Fascism as generating propaganda --- this is the same thing and it is going on in capitalistic democracies. (And, let me clarify please, that I do not hate capitalist democracy).

Similar atrocities go on in the field of psychology, too --- I think it is similar. It also is based on the "self-interest" notion. I think economics is the worse --- although some of these psychotherapists can do you a lot of harm, too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here's something on the idea of "Consumer Choice"

Max Lerner, a prominent writer wrote this bit of culture studies --- a part of the culture of the fifties. He is writing on "America as a Civilization." Capitalism comprises one section in the book.

"At the other end of the capitalist process there are millions of decisions made by the consumer: production and investment policies [are at one end, while the consumer, at the other end, makes decisions about what to do with] "their money and for what."

It is quite understandable that Mr. Lerner (he is an not economist, by the way, but a social philosopher and a cultural critic; and a journalist) would believe this. His book, "America as a Civ...", is excellent, but the more recent history of capitalism belies this appoach of his from the 1950's. Now we can see that human beings tend to act as a herd; they are easily manipulated and do not make demands. They do not practice spontaneous demanding; "consumer demand" is ideology, rather than reality. They don't make these "demands" that theorists attribute to them. They don't make these "decisions" that impact economics, as this liberal commentator is discussing in 1957, not for anything beyond minimal human needs. This is obvious. I observe life in urban areas today where "consumer choices" are extremely, extremely limited. But what is choice?

That's a good question. The real choice is whether to have a society at all. Will there be a society? A: Yes. Sorry, conservatives: it's quite necessary. We must have one. We do so through capitalism. This is a part of the story of our civilization.

So, yes: capitalism is choice. What kind of capitalism do we want? --- one where your choice is about whether to buy food at the gas station or else maybe pay $29.99 for a small chunk of cheese in a gourmet shop? (Yes, I saw this, at a gourmet shop across the street from the WI state capitol. Who buys that stuff?)

What about the choice between having choices and not having choices? Where does that fit in? "Choice." Funny word, that. Lerner speaks, too, of the "capitalist process." He then says it has "two ends," and I think that on one of these are the elites, having their own freedom, which does in fact mean freedom to choose (Milton Friedman likes this too, along with his wife, Rose Friedman) ---- and on the other are the people of that country (where we have, according to 1957ish Max Lerner, America as a civilization).

And today, regionalism itself is vanishing (you can see this too, all around you). We have globalization (if you care). Are the people of this earth -- this globe -- to receive some of the fruits of the capitalist society; or are they not? The alternative, (under a globalized system is, I would think,) genocide. This is the real "choice" in capitalism. It is not a choice based on millions of "consumer decisions." That is as a person like Lerner honestly believed, though, at one time.

sharing of e-mail

I'd better share my email again, since the website's button is not working correctly:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Economic System and It's Constituent Members

From a competing website:

The global financial crisis ... could lead to a rise in infant mortality, according to a new report from the UN. The UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report found that reduced financial growth in 2009 will cost the 390 million people already living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa an estimated $18bn ($13bn), the equivalent of $46 ($33) per person.

(JS) What does it mean? The text reproduced above, originating with an international organization, indicates that when the global economic system becomes less wealthy, among the losers are the poorest members who have little to start with. They lose as well. I feel quite confident that if this is so, the corollary should be this: when the world economic system gains rather than loses, those same individuals, who are part of the world system as this is the intrinsic nature of capitalism --- it is the nature of capitalism to distribute its wealth to its membership, or the whole --- need to have a share in the wealth.
But this is not happening, since these persons – members of the system – are dying, and because this is the case, it is necessary to initiate a program to supply basic life and normal human biological health. Some meaningful (physically helpful) amount should be supplied – i.e. transferred – to the group: the entire group of the world’s least wealthy members of the global or globalized world system.

This could be the first step in a reform of capitalism.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Too Scream

Ideas are expressed in words. Humans have the capacity for language. They also seem to have the capacity to take their words too seriously. This constitutes a basic mistake and it is a way of going overboard ---- and is not a good way of engaging in the intellectuals' task.

There is intellectual activity going on, no doubt, in the academic setting, or elsewhere. But much of the intellectual activity that this intellectual sees seems to proceed on the mistaken premise under discussion that I am calling that of mistaking ideas with things. And that is a mistake. Here I am trying to describe how the scholar examines his own and others' words as if they were things when they are just words. The words bear some relation to things, but words are not things, and thereby the scholar deprives them (K. Barad would say this as well) of their materiality. I am trying to indicate how the poor scholar makes the mistake of believing words to be something more. When we treat words this way we commit a fundamental error. We make language too important.

And, so, this is what I think. THis is what I think when I read the literature and I encounter work by an institutional economist, by which I mean an economist who is writing from the standpoint of himself as a member of a particular economic school, the institutional school, and he is comparing his own school, the institutional school of economic thought, with the neo-classical school, the Austrian school, the Marxist school... It tells that the institutional school comes out best. "My words won!" Wowee zowee! So what?!

This is a stand-alone article in an economics journal, by which I mean that the fact (that his words won) is supposed to mean something in itself, unconnected to anything else.

The problem I see is that reality never comes into it --- why? --- because the words block the reality. This seems to be because the author mistakes his words for reality --- for being more than words.

Let us take an example: feeding a hungry person. Let us take this not as idea but thing. We have the power to do so. It seems easy enough. There is no reason to think a person should be interested in a word (or a school of economic thought) per se. Feeding a hungry person can be taken as a tangible reality. We do not have to philosophize about the concept. The words "feeding a hungry person" firstly strike us tangibly, meaning we go straight to the essence of the matter. Secondarily, we could analyze the grammar or philosophize on the words, but that is not what we do firstly. This is good and proper. As a thing, it does not matter what we call it. It does not matter what we think about it. Nor is there an issue as to whether we think about it or we do not. Something real happens when we eat. If I succeed in feeding someone, this is more than the comparison of ideas, e.g. the institutional idea to the neo-Classical idea. A person got fed. And that's different from comparing one word --"neo-Classical" --to another, which I suspect is all that that text amounts to; the scholar that I encounter above seemed to believe that words that label economic schools really mean something. There is no indication in the text itself (the article under discussion) that the name of a school of economic thought means anything more than the theoretical content of the school (the point being that the two need to be distinguished. I could also reverse the phrasing, if you wish, in that sentence with "name" and "content" reversed linguistically. It makes no difference to me, but that might help you the reader.) This is why such an article is poor.
Feeding a person seems more real when it goes beyond mere thinking about doing so. To eat is more than a post-modern act of "interrogating" food. I like the post-modernists, but it is a thing that has to be handled with a certain amount of care. (Something a writer named "Pollan" recently did is something like this. His interrogation of food is the hot new book: "In Defense of Food") Even without any ideas at all about food ----if we eat it, it provides the same benefit. (Which is what Pollan's book is actually about so, OK, he's not all bad.)
What we find the academics doing, and here I am especially concerned with their misconstrual ((the spell-checker wants me to say "misconstruction," but based on the content of this essay, would I want to take the word offered by the spell-checker?)) of "social science," which happens in the area of economics (I wonder if social science a thing or a label?) is digging deeply or puttering about too deeply into the mere consideration of concepts. I am just saying that it seems particularly pernicious in economics.
There are particular ways it occurs in economics, by which I both mean the conceptual practice of economic and the tangible, material reality of human social and economics systems themselves: it is difficult to separate these two. So, in conclusion, my view is that the economists (and other social science practitioners) are being too easily satisfied by the way they are continuously considerating concepts. This is not something real but this is what weak academics will do. No doubt. When the ideas take over, and we make too much of words the result is weak and fake.

What are these people who write these economics book trying to do?, I wonder to myself. I have a right to wonder. I am too an economist in the guise of a private scholar. I work in the area of economics. Would you have guessed? But it's true --- and I too scream.
"Economics" means how much of one thing and how much of another. They seem to think of the abstract question: if resources are scarce, who gets them? Let me guess. Maybe it is the cleverest scholar?

OK. I'm sorry. I apologize.

really; England is a very cruel world with people continually poking at one, from what I hear. Somehow I think so, and I can quite imagine Mr. Gregory Hodgson, as I recall his apellation, going into "institutional economics" as the only rational thing to do in his country. And in the stupid English soccer matches, racist boors scream too.

(ref. Hodgson, Journal of International Political Economy. I believe that was it. He's the editor of something else, some other journal, but this article was not in the journal he actually edits. Clever!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rotten Behaviors by Grown Men

We are now deep into a financial crisis. Why do they do all these rotten things? More to the point, what’s the cure?

Well, the cure is simpler than you think. But because you are greedy and selfish you probably aren’t going to like it.

Give everybody money. Now the reasoning I am using in this instance is that all these rather ill-mannered individuals who are doing the rotten banking/mortgage scam operations –truly despicable –conceive themselves as beings that are in a situation wherein each persons must get money on his own; it is not given away for free; there is competition.

So if you want to stop all these rotten behaviors, give money away for free.

Thank you for listening, this has been the Jack Silverman channel.

My International Trade Idea Revisited

The idea is that, if we use some of this wealth for others instead of our own “self” or ourselves, only keeping it in our class – which is to say our transnational elite – the result is capitalist. The result that occurs from such a sharing of the wealth is a trading situation. It’s a trading/capitalist situation. It’s a new type of trading situation, but it is one. I hope this clarifies some of the material in the August 10th post.

A world scale transfer of some fifteen to thirty per cent of the wealthy country sector wealth (in the form of real items, not financial abstractions) is a trading situation and a capitalist situation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Asking About What's Going On


President Obama speaks of “stabilization of the economic system.” Those are his exact words from an internet broadcast I tuned into; Thur, August 20th. This is not really the right point for him to emphasize when talking about economics (since what appears to be stable at this juncture in history may be anything but, and since of course all the paranoid bankers and Fed chairmen are always assuring us that the economy is stable when they fear just the opposite) and my fear is that the president's understanding of economics is way off. Speaking of President Obama characterologically, he sometimes seems tp buy into a standard story --- or defaults to the mainstream logic. Looks like a character trait. But defaulting to the standard story for economics may not work so well. If the only method that occurs to you is to is to take what passes for the standard view -- the state of the art in the academic field -- you still are not there. The default, standard-issue view still does not give you enough to work with. In any case, capitalism is a difficult thing to understand -- OK, not unlike healthcare -- and highly ideological.

And the "ideology" is connected directly to the matters of economics. That is where it gets dicey. Here's my rather sophisticated view. Economics is, on the one hand, about the basic competition for resources, but, on the other (especially as things develop and we get more and more productivity), it is about the layers of ideology that get built up on that basic physical struggle for resources. It is a merging of ideology and materiality.

Now, most economists are more interested in their fantasies, which apparently appear to them as a rich saga. In other words, they're more into the non-physical or ideological side.

After all, they are not actually working for a living, are they? Do they work in the economy? No!! They claim to be hard at work on it. They are not working --- in the sense of doing work in the economy itself. Are they? So: ideology is easier! You can't be a lazy bricklayer and get the job done but you can be a lazy economist and "do great work." At any rate, I say that economic views are ideological. Since this is the case, what the views of economics do not reflect is an unbiased investigation into economics. Or: into economics in all of its depth or as to all of the matters related to the proper subject of economics. They basically miss a lot of material.

Let's get a bit more into this: If you did not accept standard views, would you get accepted in the typical corporation, or into our American culture of business? It's a good question, OK? And even if persons are independently wealthy they, too, sign on. Even then because they still need social acceptance. Obama goes with a standard set of advisors, remaining apparently unaware that anything else even exists.

And, in a sense, it doesn't. Another truth exists, but it isn't represented. Hey: is that Post-modern of me? This is possible.

Due to the structure of society one cannot get around the (wrong but) standard set of views. Let's be clear, then. Here's how it works -- not at Harvard Law Review but in the world of economic thinking in our society -- The coursework in economics departments bars anyone who has contrasting ideas from being able to pass because the wrong views are embedded to such a high degree. You have to actually do economics, and it's just too much. Persons today are no longer willing to torture themselves. I mean, not to this degree. It does not make sense. How much silly math do you really want to do? --- for nothing. Unless of course, you revert to orthodox Marxism. That is the other option. Not quite the only, but I think I am on target to say there is basically not much else out there. Other options are not very common, and also tend to be highly specific and if you do not like what you are seeing you will have to make your own school or economics ---- unless: you study it on your own, as I do. And why do I do it? Because I LIKE to, and also because, due to having myself seen through to a totally original point of view there really is something there to work with. (Now I am posting the original material. It is found in the material in the August 10 post and in the followup about six days later and will henceforth I hope be included in the posting practice I develop on this website).

So as good as he seems to be on health care, maybe the president is not so good when it comes to economics, and it is because what he is saying is, "hey, the economy seems to be recovering." That is very, very limited. You have to think outside the box. The problem is that President Obama wants the economy to look better on the outside. Which is, I suppose, something else again.

But this is much more important than that, and it deserves a better, deeper sort of attention. You have to understand the psychology of these bankers and these entrenched forces. The matter is deeply psychological. He rushes to fix up the obvious weak points --- like that Dutch boy standing by the dam, right?, and he has advisors. These are they who tell him just how to fix up the outside appearance or the weak spots in the dam.

What the president does not understand is the dishonesty of his own advisors. Economics is a big game. Attn. Mr. Obama: not everybody is what you are: an activist renegade whose career depends on being willing to break down barriers and thereby explore his own path to the voters and the White House. They got where they did differetnly. Am I right? Those advisors, like Geithner and Summers, did not come up Obama style.

They got there through working with very small entrenched groups selected out of the social elites. So that's different, isn't it? It's a weird thing, and it's psychological. The bankers? Who are even they? We have to make a basic decision. The decision that needs to be made is the decision to no longer trust the banking leadership. That's pretty simple, isn't it? There is a dirty little clique on top of the baking game. (Although this is my opinion, strangely, some of the more down-to-earth or lower-level regular career bankers, like the staff members of the World Bank, seem better: there are some books written by these guys. There are some great things to read from certain officers of the regional Federal Reserve banks. So where is the problem? Where is Paul Volker? Is he being held captive, in a cage somewhere?) We can easily see, for example, that Greenspan as it turns out, was poor. I am not giving the details, but there is a literature on this, and it is not so difficult to get the idea. I will note here thought that he seems not to have been able to see things that were right in front of his nose. Maybe that is the skill they need on that level. For example, he though the sort of half-secret shadow banking derivative industry was good, in Alan's mind. Good, because they "distribute risk." That kind of observation makes a dubious point, but moreover it shows that there are some other things that are not even remotely occuring to Greenspan. He simply thought, "derivatives, oh goody!" These people are freaks. It's real ominous.

This thinking that we are looking at here: it's economics; the reality of economics is a big deal, and it is social and it has to do with the fabric of society. What is at risk is the fabric of the society, and there is a right and a wrong way to do capitalism that has to do only with how we behave and never is something determined automatically or by "the market" without our intervention. Such thinking is simply senseless. Now we know that we do not relate to one another in a traditional, agrarian way anymore. So, Ideas count: and economics has the ability to tell us what to THINK. The monopoly on our thought by only a certain specific brand of economics has got to stop, at some point is has to: let's just hope it is not too late. OK?

There are structural weaknesses in the economic aspect of society. These are weak points for that society. This means for the society itself and it is not a matter of cleaning these up only in a superficial way. You have to dig down. you have to wonder enough. You have to ask questions. And I know enough to know that you have to investigate enough to embarass and flush out these liars in order to protect society and the world and all of us. The hypocrite bankers are too far gone. They cannot change themselves. That is not human nature and it is impossible. We are doing them a favor. They have to be helped. That is called governmental authority.

In economics, you have to ask about what is really going on deeper. Economics is about how the denizens or citizens of a country go about getting their access to goods and services. This is very important and it is about our human culture, as it exists for us at present. A giant, hypocritical banking machine does not serve the culture. And it is a unique and vital institution, not a sidelight.

Ask what's going on, Obama; ask yourself a few questions

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trading Situation of a New Sort

(continuation of Monday Aug 10; International Trade Idea)

What we see in any developed capitalist society is a condition - i.e. an "economy" --that has a lot of production going on. Even if some factories lie dormant, or fields remain unplanted, there is a lot of capacity for producing. So, this is an inherent capacity. Some of that capacity or productive ability could be diverted, as an extraction. This extraction is now to be applied to those in countries usually far away from the developed area, but yet linked by globalization. The people of those regions would use the grant-goods by simply consuming the goods.

This is an economic transfer. Giving this stuff away, across that divide between wealthiest and poorest regions or groups appears to be a capitalistic trade situation. It is a trade situation of a radically different kind, however. It would be a large scale transfer that impacts the entire system, or, essentially, a new method of trading. Any trade occurs between traders or trading parties, or parties to the trade. This appears to be what trade is all about. Is this really trade? I do not think it matters: we can call it the transfer event or trade event. They are the developed regions, which have a lot to give, and the less developed or less wealthy regions, with the most need. These are the two parties to this kind of pseudo-trade.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The book I'm Reading, by Ahamed

Here is a quote from that book by Ahamed. It's on the "Lords of Finance"

"Governments then believed matters of finance were best left to bankers..."

It refers to the years leading up to the Great Depression. This sounds like the attitude today also: that of Geithner, today, who is head of Treasury and also, we find, a great friend of the bankers. Or it could be Paulson, who was something akin to a banker, was he not? All of this is dangerous stuff and will probably get me killed in about three days.

Actually, bankers were very important. The Jewish bankers, in particular, did a lot of things for the world, taking leadership when it was needed. But let's get over it. The question of whether they should still be held up as our leaders is another thing. It would be a great advance if the democratic governments of the world could take control of economics away from these bankers. The time for such a move has come.

Mine and Their's, pt. 2

So this is about social distribution of goods:

We know that there are goods. There have to be, we require them. We require them to live. Right? Animals eat food, and hey: so do humans. Animals also build houses as do the hominids. If there were no goods, there would be no discussion. So: they aren't scarce. It's as simple as that. So there!

The point is that scarcity is not a salient theoretical principle for use in economics theory. So, the reader of this blog can see how I find myself completely outside of the goings-on university side.

In fact, I recently read something very interesting from J.M. Keynes on how capital should not be understood as a scarce good. That is an example of my thought converging with some well-known economists' thought. So, as I mentioned in the last post, that happens too.

And I'll keep doing what I was doing today, which is looking into this book thingie called "Lords of Finance" which is actually a "Chapter One" book, courtesy NYT. Also not scarce --- assuming you have an internet connection and the (scarce) fossil fuels keep feeding the server farms. The common link is that this book, as well, finds great appreciation as well as interest in J. M. Keynes, who, predictably, is dispised by some of the mainstream-type economists.

When you study this stuff, you have got to simply continuously shake your head...or I do mine, at any rate.

My Economics and Theirs

Starting with the previous post, about my original international trade idea, this blog will now shift to talking more about my own economic theorerical system, rather than the general chatter, comments, etc. you saw before.

Here is something I ran into by searching self-interest, economics. It is linked to "economist" magazine -- not a publication I will usually be very interested in.

Absolute advantage
"This is the simplest yardstick of economic performance. If one person, firm or country can produce more of something with the same amount of effort and resources, they have an absolute advantage over other producers. Being the best at something does not mean that doing that thing is the best way to use your scarce economic resources."

This serves as a way to contrast "their" economics and mine. I am seldom interested in the standard approach that has been developed in regard to economics. I do agree with the general import of the term (i.e.: economics), so I do not have any problem with the name of the subject category itself. There are some other striking agreements with the standard discussion, but I do not think, for example, that economics is about scarce resources. Linking economics with scarcity seems to be, on the other hand, the standard school's (or mainstream academic's) opening move or opening gambit of some sort. In the quote above, once they have explained what "absolute advantage" is, then they ask about what this producer will do: what the producer's next move (its behavior) will be. This is all preliminary to just piddling about forever which is of course precisely what they want to do.

For myself, I would interrupt right at this first point about "absolute advantage," which point seems clear enough, and point out that whether or not one has some kind of advantage in the absolute, the questions of economics concern how one relates socially to other beings (particularly humans) and therefore, the question is that of how that product that you could produce will be distributed.

This, of course, throws out the whole emphasis on "self-interest" as well as any number of other things.

For example, lets say I have absolutely bigger muscles than others in my society, the question is more that of what I will do with that. It does not necessarily mean I should beat everybody up. That really has so little to do with it. Now we shall assume that the society is capable of some basic economic distribution. Assuming that such is the case there are two choices that are of more merit to consider than going up to the first person I see and punching him (which has also been done, and also reminds me of the way I have been treated by certain law enforcement officers in Prescott, AZ, New Jersey, and Chicago, IL): I can use those muscles to compete, or to cooperate. Many behaviors are likely to be a very complex mix of those two.

So then: going into the matter by first positing absolute advantage (or scarce resources) and then making a big deal of whether one will use it or not use it -- waxing philosophical about absolute advantage vs. competitive (ooops! --- isn't that "comparative"?) advantage as if they are two equal considerations -- misses the opportunity to instead focus on how the social distribution of the resources one possesses will transpire. This is the problem of economics --- which was eventually solved by capitalism.

So, there was your short little economics lesson from my point of view. I am highly pleased, after about eight years of doing this, to be able to extemporaneously write in the subject area of economics and see several points of my own economics theory pop right in there as if it happens all by itself! (Took eight years, really.)

I have -- no doubt -- an "absolute advantage" when it comes to jackSilverman-type economics theory...

Monday, August 10, 2009

International Trade Idea

As to my original idea in international trade, the idea is that if we use some of this wealth for others instead of ourself what this creates is a trading situation. It involves the diversion of a certain amount of wealth. The wealth that we divert out of the original trade system is an extraction taken out by the society itself, according to broad public policy, and not taken out as a matter of an individual firm’s (or even an individual industry’s) choice.
This suggests an interpretation of capitalism as one system, which is (ought to be) broken into two, with the extracted portion moved from one of the two delineated but pre-existing parts (the rich side) to the other (the poor side). Sharing and trading become co-emergently defined terms.
The idea that capitalist trades take place out of isolated self-interest is now discarded.
A bundle or basket of goods is extracted from the whole system. One way to speak of these taken-out goods is to say “free.” The take out or extraction is created to be set aside as wealth that is valued as a sort of “trade item,” yet, co-emergently, also as a sort of free give-away.
The gain is that of a more stable world order. A world where wealth continuously accumulates in the hands of just a few at some point ceases to make sense. Senselessness is not a defensible trait, obviously.

The money – or value, or wealth – that the wealthy West possesses exists in the form of a vast pool that simply circulates from one denizen of the “rich world” to another, based on what we may call various subterfuges that one calls “business.” Few of these are materially essential to our survival. Also, it generates waste. These practices contribute to pollution, global warming, etc. Then let us find new ways to distribute capitalistic output (not that an argument is being strongly made here that the present idea would impact the waste issue). To earmark some of the output resulting from all this historical “accumulation” or, differently put, from this humanly-generated productive activity to the benefit of the “poor” of the global system not only seems just and moral (since these are the same folks this system has created) but it creates a more well-balanced system overall. The benefits from increased rationality seem obvious, as has been noted.

The individual is anonymously well-treated as a “customer” in the “rich west” block – a transnational group tantamount to an ethnicity or master race, while others live on “two dollars a day.”
In its total anonymity the entire “rich west” block is like one social unit, like a particular ethnicity or nation.
Firms such as banks and so forth automatically defer to any “customer.” There is a quality that may be thought of as a kind of equality. This trade idea – if “trade” is indeed the word – offers the idea of a sort of connection, or relationship between the two halves (or, we could say, haves and have-nots). The fundamental referential concept or sort of relationship that this would be would be capitalist.

What we are saying then is that there is a different sort of trading situation that we can conceive of where the build-up or excess is transferred, in order to get a better system of social relationships going. It is still capitalism. Moving items of commerce from rich sector to poor sector is simply another kind of capitalism: no more, no less. This is the basic epiphany, and from there a lot of new ideas may begin to emerge. The idea of a new type of trad/give away leads to a conclusion that indicates that actually capitalism is public rather than private; and that globalization can be rendered most rational, sane, just, etc. when it is divided into two parts; and, that the additional step of marking off or formally designating that which exists anyway --- the divide between global rich and poor, more prosaically called the haves and have-nots --- is not a bad thing but a good one. We find that capitalism survives and changes --- but it survives only by modifying itself. And not, therefore, by sticking to the same old method.


Friday, July 31, 2009


Here's the link to a comment I made on the "anti-Becker-Posner blog" not knowing I was comenting on something from 2005!

hope that works. Here

is the blog's address itself:

My comment comes there on June 15

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The idea of "economics"


The basic idea coming out of Washington says there is this thing called "the economy," you see. But what Bernanke and so forth are talking about is not the economy. What those persons deal with is a set of ideas -- these have been developed in academia over the years -- they are false ones -- they have been developed over a certain number of years by various persons including the set of persons called "economists."

Welcome to "Economics." But where is the real "Economics"?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

What We Need To Do Is...

What we need to do is ...(trumpet flourish; pause)...

...Turn the economy over to the people.
Now don't get too excited, OK? This is just normal, grammatical English. It's no big deal, so don't start saying I'm a radical. Who is supposed to control or run an economy? The "market," I suppose. Right? In capitalism, the market is more or less equal in extent to the people. Yes it is: because when and if the market expands it is only because more persons got included. More persons obtained money to use in the market. That is the secret of economics. Then the business so-called "community" tries to steal it back. But no capitalistic economy grows without widening what Braudel called "the home market." That is what really happens -- what happened, historically, in the first event, when capitalism was able to actually grow up and come and come to exist.

Once we see our way through the swamp of conceptual thought we can get back to the basic idea that what you need to do to save the system is turn the economy over to the people. I do not think there is anything that radical about it. That's how capitalism works.


Here's my buddy Martin Wolfe, Financial Times, on F.T. com.

“economic growth during 2009-10 is now projected to be about half a percentage point higher than forecast by the IMF in April, reaching 2.5 per cent in 2010”.

Such a turning point in forecasts is an indicator of pending recovery.

Hope ta hell I did that linkie thingie properly inskie-winskie. (I doubt it)

Let's just continue, before I hurt myself. Wolfe's column, I thought, sounded like he was saying "the worst is over" and so forth. At lease it sounded that way to me at the time I read it. But then he says,

"Yet we must put this news, welcome though it is, in context. The worst of the financial crisis may be behind us..." Whoopie-Poopie. Know what I mean? So Martin is feeling perhaps unbound joy? Well, I don't know much about "straight" reporting (he's a columnist for international newspaper Financial Times, from England), but here's my reaction:

There is something pathetic here. The egoist aquires the idea that he truly knows something. But what does he know, really? After all, the experts and pundits had no very clear idea of the situation and nor did the university folks, when this the last crisis was on the way. They didn't predict it, did they? No. They stood behind Bush when he said "the economy is fundamentally sound." Why should they know better now? Why should they be any wiser today?
Gee, I don't know, but I do know that Mr. Wolfe subscribes to naive notions about money supply. He still thinks that there is a definite amount. His own contacts should know that this is not correct. Trying to keep his conaoe inside the same river, he seems to veer all over the place in his opinions. I have been following him, and emailing with him. I have been getting a bit of insight, I reckon, in how these persons think. And this is educative, I reckon.

Wolfe is the "economist" type columnist for the FT. What he could never believe is that this whole academic economics empire he is stuck on/stuck to is suspect in itself. The basic truths about economics may not lay with the economists. (Oh! Scandal of scandals! Did I really say that?) I used to believe that no one would believe me if I said this. Now I am seeing that some other persons too say it like this. I can see how slowly the real picture could be framed and we could start to get the idea. We had better, and Martin would agree with me there, I feel.

In the end he seems to believe that he himself must be one of the experts too. But who is kidding who?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Obama and the Presidential Economics Policy

Dear President Obama:

Try to understand this guy Summers: he is a phony. I'm talking about Larry Summers. He is not open-minded; he has mastered the language of economics only after pre-emptively deciding to side with the establishment every time. Which he will always do. We give economists too much credence. What you've got to realize is that economic study or economics itself is contestable. Once you establish that economics itself is up for contention, you can unmask Mr. Summers. You fell for him, because you have a weak spot for compromising and backing established systems. You shouldn’t do that in economics, though, where new thinking is necessary. You do not understand, Mr. Obama. You do not know about this. What works for law doesn’t work with economists. I feel so frustrated. Who will unmask this guy? If you had the time, Mr. President, you could spend a few hours at to get a different feeling for economics.

It is apparently a very tricky thing. There are standard ways of discussing things. There is conventional language that has been developed. Summers appears to me a master of language. The grammar and language glistens like a jewel. Summers is like a diamond, but what we do not know, and what we need to know, is that the glittering diamond is in a false setting. The context is all misconstrued. If only the setting were changed he'd stop glittering. He is embedded in a certain kind of trickery with language. But this is fundamentally misconstrued. He does not even have the right motivations. He is a master of the language.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kiss Me

Well obviously it's time for another blog post. What is needed is an economics blog post from the magnificent fountain pen of Jack Jacob Silverman as nobody seems to know what is going on, or what to do about it, etc. Of course, all these answers to these problems are completely obvious, and I have noted them on here and there within this very blog (a.k.a.: the blog that no one reads).
Here then is another magnificent blog post to help you solve your problems. All of you. From a newspaper – "Some economists are pressing [the U. S. Executive, also rather poorly called] the White House to enact a second round of stimulus spending or find some other way to avert a prolonged job and wage slump. [As I read over this I am absolutely amazed at the poor sentence construction these people are involved with. Some economists --- pressing --- the White/Black House. As Obama says, "let's get real"] But the White House is in a tough spot. [So is the journalism profession, apparently] Officials [not some officials?] want to give the $787 billion stimulus [not to mention the various other programs that more than double this figure] package passed in February time to work----only 10% of the spending is out the door so far---- ...The unemployment rate is 9.5%...and many now expect it to stay high for a long time..."
Actually, we have never heard one constructive line of advice, not a word. The only idea any of 'em seem to ever have had is to use some kind of power they have to magically enter numbers into computers and create 800 billion and then another 800 billion, etc. --- as if the numbers even mean anything anymore. Obviously the industrial infrastructure can make most of the stuff we need to stay alive and perfectly healthy and comfortable. Our manufacturing infrastructure can make everything we need. That's easy. We just need to keep the "economy" working. What is an "economy"? What keeps us alive? Is it the infrastructure or agricultural know-how that keeps us alive? Not really, so what follows? Well, "the economy" seems to be a thing the bankers own. Well, hey --- maybe the bankers (Geithner's friends) do not deserve to own the economy. But that is not a thought we are allowed to have.
So, practically speaking and before I make a fat, oversuffed banker in a $600 suit angry or something, what do I suggest? I suggest we simply throw the big Geithner style bankers out of their jobs and Geithner and Summers with them (and get them therapists) and let some kind of “little” banks take up the slack. I mean banking: there's nothing to it. The money is fake. Another point: it is all the exact same money. How many freaking banks do you need to bundle mortgages and re-spindle securities and prioritize deprivations and derive securitizations and piddle about? The entire economy could probably operate on bets taken on checkers games at Washington Square Park. But they don't want you to know that.
But, seriously: psychiatrist professionals ought to be called in and all the American flake CEO's who are completely crazy ought to be put in accredited mental hospitals and someone else take over and America will be fine; we're a great country. I mean bank chiefs and corporate CEO's and the whole lot of them. They're entrenched. Let their banks fail, too. Then they leave their jobs, go under psychiatric care, and somebody else takes over and the whole game goes on another four years. That's how you do it. Capitalism is based on change, and will not be successful otherwise. The Pillsbury Dough Boy has to be changed once in awhile. He doesn't want to be. He complains. But he has to go. Why is it a Boy? Why isn't it a girl? We need change. The guys we've got as bankers: they're a culture; they're a cult. They have their own thing. And it's rancid. It isn't right. It's corrupt; it's a zero; it's rancid. The punk rock bands have been predicting this for a long time. Get rid of the bankers. Put them in subsidized housing. Confiscate their money. Give it to little old ladies. Spin the bottle; let the game go a new round. Stop being corrupt. Kiss me for God's sake!

p.s. OK. I just got it. I am talking about my bit above about the journalists now. The poor sentence construction there is considered allowable because they are considered to be dealing with truth. It does not matter that the sentence style is poor because we are serving truth here. Yeah. That must be it. Then let’s take that away. Away with the assumption that what persons say is true. Now it is fiction. Now, then, the poor sentence construction is no longer supportable. It is no longer supported because the "facts" it is connected to are no longer facts. No. Sorry. It is still supportable. The poor sentence construction however shows that these people are serious. It isn't their fault they are being boondoggled by business and government – and their own newspaper ownership, who I believe underpay them. They are sincere: hence poor sentence construction. OK. Now go back to your checkers game. Pay no attention to what the derivatives salesmen are doing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Producer and Consumer (as classes)

Capitalism: a unique cooperative relationship between producer and consumer.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm Not Sure Where the Economics is in this one but it's in There Somewhere

Questions of basic moral decency matter. The survival of the many, many human lives -- rich and poor -- depends upon whether or not their rights are respected. Now we say “rights.” What we call "rights" should also be something “self-evident,” which is the way the famous U. S. Declaration puts it. If the rights are self-evident it doesn’t matter whether you call them “rights” or not. The fact is that they must be: they have got to be associated with a self-evident, intuitive immediacy. If they are not, the language itself confuses. My position is that the term "rights" is problematic (if it is a "right" then it does not seem to me that anyone could possibly lose it ---- ever), but for that matter our definition of "human being" is, perhaps, an unclear concept as well. So, we are talking in obviousnesses. For this reason, when talking about these matters everything has to be right there in its immediacy and self-evident.

Now wise, educated individuals know about this. You know. Not everyone can "see" human rights, but for those who can it is intuitive and obvious. You do not need to possess a concept, necessarily. There is an intuitive quality here. We can make a non-conceptual discernment of what these rights are, and, if I am to defend my human rights I do have to know what they are. I would even say that an oppressor has to know as well.

We need to have an order of things where we respect others; it’s very important. The world political order itself is a very fragile structure. Within this order of things, only a few wealthier capitalist nations have an actual history that has, many would agree, managed to integrate basic human decency into a modern type of political order. Primitive tribes we shall count as another story. Most of the world seems to have been colonized at some point, by a really small number of these modern states: Italy, France, Belgium, England, what not. We do not know why some states – the same ones that brutalized the inhabitants of their (own) colonies – have this history and others do not but at any rate they do; it is there. There exists the tradition of this kind of respect for basic rights, and it seems to me quite clear that this has been part of an extremely powerful thrust of Western civilization in history, which means in the world. Where Western nations like Russia or Germany tried to renounce the method, they fell.

And with no continued presence of these kinds of values, both of these societies, which is to say those that maintain political human rights and those that, as yet, do not - are threatened. The Western system really has to be defended and I would do it – but in a real sense, not the phony way Bush did.

Values, then, are intuitively understood. You are wise, and educated, and you have this capacity, as a person. It is no great feat. It is common - ordinary. We who are within the boundaries of the Western powers ought to have the education to respect human rights. We can - and do - understand a set of principles that say that other human beings should be able to congregate in public; they should possess their ethnicity - their own practices, habits and culture. They should be able to have their own political parties and all other social groupings - groupings of all sorts. What we say sometimes points to a concept of the freedom of speech. We should understand that human beings should be treated kindly, and respected, and given a place to live. They need to work, and if they have no work or nothing to do they should be able to find something. And I don't see you arguing. Are you? If you are not arguing it is because my having twisted your arm is not necessary - for you to know that these are the good, true, real, decent values for you to have.

Without these basic rights you are not going to get much of a world to live in.

Now we see human rights violated in Iran - and possibly in Honduras, depending on what the nature of what may be going on there is – I don't know - and, recently, a fundamental violation occurred. There was this anti-democratic action that Bush took that we just saw -- the man’s terrible lack of sense in invading a middle-Eastern country (Iraq), based on the pretext of American democratic superiority. With these two latest countries in the news, I mean Iran and Honduras now -- it might be that a whole new round of horrors is getting started. Where is Bush now? Does he still feel like he knows anything? He got his eight years but what was his gift? What did the Bushes bequeath? (I’m also adding Poppy in here a little.)

Of those few Western countries that do have a history of respecting human rights, the U. S. in particular seems to be confused and without an idea what to do. This idiotic intervention that occurred recently – of G. W. Bush – the idiotic intervention in the affairs of Iraq – has only made things worse. All we have is the record of what actually happened -- an idiotic, mismanaged, illegal intervention. The authors are the half dozen fools that leave the nation -- as opposed to the few, the individuals -- with no clue as to where to go, what to do or what we really stand for as a nation. Of course democracy is always a good excuse for things, but, if democracy is just an idea, it is no better than any other idea.

Human rights is an idea too. But human life is not an idea. Human life is no abstraction, and it takes a lot more than abstraction to protect it.

Should we have countries and individuals trampling all over the rights of others it does not look like life is going to get much protection. That does not occur by merely a show of words. And it also does not occur merely by a show of force.