Thursday, January 21, 2010

e-mail update

Since the email link on this blog does not work...I had better do an
email update. Here's the info that the citizens of the world will need:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tweet Style Comment

Capitalism is a trick that you induce the society to play

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

free market view from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Everyone uses the term "free market." What we call "free market" is a matter of balance. Should the matter of the market be framed as it is classically, or rather neo-Classically? --- with one product, firm or person being balanced against another? This idea of equal individuals corresponds to what is called the neo-Classical, and in this view we think of many individuals, with the word "individuals" referring to different sorts of individuals, whether the individuals in question are individual persons, units of a product, etc. Or we think of many firms, but in any case, there again is the idea of individuals, or a number of equal, competing units, and they are supposed to find some equilibrium balance.

However I am not sure this represents the best way to look at the the world of economics and at its necessary component of balance. There are different styles of dealing with the topics signified by this word, "economics," and that is why, in using the word "economics," we may or may not mean to indicate social or cultural phenomena. In Loretta Napoleoni's way of casting the economics world, there is a term, "rogue economics" (I wonder what the Italian would be), which is on the side of "economics," whereas she calls the other side, which is to say the social or cultural part of life "politics," citing Hannah Arendt in defense of her position. But in the world of economics (here we mean both the study thereof and the human behavior thereof), language morphs. It changes with individuals, who, accordingly, have differing ways of stating things.

Things do have to come into balance with one another. This is the trick of economics --- it is to achieve balance. But I do not think that balance always has to work in the way the "classic" economists of the 20th century have chosen to believe. As we said, there are many ways to frame it. And...times change, after all.

Look at my post "therapist reform." That is about balance, but it is about balance between pecuniary or monetary interest on the one side and social interest on the other. Yet even pecuniary or monetary interest has deep social roots in the history of capitlaism. But, as we move into the present, how about balance between the new economy and the old economy, or balance between government intervention and free markets? All these are balances. They should not be "off book," ---- or, off the balance sheets!



If I borrow money I take it away from the next person. Assuming there is a limited money supply, the Nedici family may have required all of the wealthy individuals of that time and place to buy bonds. An informant told me about this, and, if true, it implies that the wealthy had to go into debt, and, that the Nedicis were taking money away from other persons.
In this sense, we can assume that to borrow another person's money is not to become obligated to that person, as one would perhaps expect, but rather to obligate the one lending, and also that if I borrow money I take it away from the next person.

It is a situation one can never get a handle on. It is always an "if" followed by a "then," or consequence. Yet, if the "if" was not there, the consequence becomes a different one. It's always ambiguous.

If we now switch back to what is the expected situation or the one that I would expect, according to intuition or native knowledge, or not knowing any better, wherein it is the lender who has power and who obligates the borrower and the borrower who now has an albatross(or whatever) around his neck, we have a whole different series of reactions and expectations.

All this is being painted, by the artist, you know. He operates by staying at a remove from all this hoodwinking and shennadling and sees the human side of it and makes a great painting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TV and the Oklahoma Motel, Part One

We hear from the "mythbusters" T.V. show that some believe that when humans get incinerated (by a -bombs) cockroaches might subsequently --- and here the T.V. says, rule the roost. "Rule"? We encounter the word "rule" sometimes. There is an implicit message here ---- humans only rule.
Politics may be the study of that. Politics is the study of the way that persons rule, but there are others things they do, too. Persons be.

Be is not rule. It is not the case then that one should say that humans rule. Not that that is all they do or that is what they always, and only, do. This so, because human can also "be," or just "be."

If we understood better and were not flummoxed by, for example, the television industry or commercial capital in general, it is possible to framed this a bit better. Perhaps humans could be understood according to the common or characteristic situations where these humans rule others. That may be. But humans do not always -- or only -- rule. A human can be. He -- or she -- can exist -- or just exist.

Thus, it is not absolutely true to say that humans "rule" the earth. They also live on it. We are hyping and propagandizing ourselves to believe that humans only "rule."

Every single company that exists in their "market" projects the concept to their customers. They tell each and every person lucky enough to be one of their customers that they (all good hominids) ought to (only) rule other people.

After all that is how the owner of that company did it. He was not content to just "be." No, he had to go out and actually rule. He is always "competing," and so, has no time to just be. Nevertheless, his very existence in the competitive society means that he must support this mentality in every one of his customers. And this makes sense, up to a point. The point where this must stop is the point where the ideology has become utterly insupportable, and we are fighting not only the rest of the humans, whom we utterly require to be just as hostile, but also, we are even fighting ourselves and losing all sense of balance in our lives.

We are creating a society where being and ruling are defined in the same stroke. Both concepts occur simultaneously in the same cognitive thrust of effort. One uses one's skill of intelligence in a way such that the result is that one thinks and rules simultaneously, with the same mental or definitional stroke.

Therapist Reform

Economics Inquiry

In this inquiry we are starting from the situation of therapy. In this situation of therapy we will consider that a therapist, and a client or patient, is getting the therapy from the therapist. Let us further imagine that within this situation the patient asks a particular question of that therapist.
And what the patient asks is: "Why do you want to help me?" I am therefore conceptualizing an inquiry that concerns motivation. My concern in particular is in whether this motivation is in deference to some aspect of economics. Maybe the motivation is in terms of society's needs, or maybe the motive exists in relation to some boss under whom (and also I think with whom) the therapist works. Maybe motive just in the purist-capitalist style of selfishly just wanting money. On the other side, maybe it is the therapist's altruism that is involved --- a true desire to help and with no other factor there. All of those are possiblities. All spring to mind, but which motivates the therapist in truth? Which obtain and which do not?

Let us also ask what is the use of the enquiry. What is the point of setting up this situation? But I am not setting it up. It's there. Do I need a reason? We have a situation; where I'm interested. No one is going to stop me if I am interested. And I am. It seems important to me to understand the answer the question of a fictional patient to a therapist. So there. Let us proceed with the operation, gentleman, and cut up the patient. If we don't the patient might die. It's a little thing called compassion.

What is the therapist motivated by? We shall first of all rule out pure altruism. It just seems far-fetched. I do not think that is what a therapist does. With that eliminated, other options are left, from which list we can also rule out the very opposite, which is that there is no aim other than that possessed by the therapist to wind up having more cash then she had going in. So both those are out. True, I would suggest that there must be something like altruism. True, but there must be (other) social roles, etc. For example, consider the institution the therapist works for (alternatively, with). All kinds of considerations can file into this space. Maybe the therapist, and some do thinks like this, thinks that it is in "society's interest" to have well-adjusted persons and not maniacs walking around loose. So they are working for society. Maybe they just want to lower the prison population, or prevent crime. Many do see it like that. I do not but some do.

Another possibility is that the therapist does not see herself as primarily a social utilitarian or policeman-janitor as in the case above, but rather has a mixture of economic and humanitarian motivations. This possibility as already been referred to here. The therapist needs to have a career, fed her kids, have a life of her own, etc., but also has perhaps a love for humanity, and wants to be of service, etc. It is a mixture, then.

What the outcome of our little inquiry is for economic analysis, then, is that economics is not anything singular, but it is, when it works, always a combination. Human motivation in a capitalist society is balanced between two or more motives. There is a desire to benefit others, or altruistic desire. That is there. But in any institutional or professional therapist's world this could scarcely act alone. There is also a more utilitarian desire to do one's job in society as an economic actor. The desire to just get money exists, just as the desire to be a good person exists. We may also speak of an individual's simple need to find his or her place, in a world of markets and trade like the mysterious world in which we exist, that is called "capitalism," or "modern life," etc. In this situation, one is forced, increasingly I might add, to accept that there exist these practices involving "how to get money." Giving this kind of help we call "therapy" to others only in expectation of the money is a bit disgusting. But also, giving one's service only out of altruism is a bit ridiculous. It has got to be a mixture, and perhaps that tells us something about economics, as well as economic theory. The idea is that economics exists as combination, not singularity. Economic theory, in this sense of the word "economics" at any rate, is not just about money but it is rather about how money flows in the stream, the stream being social life. Economics exists within the life of a society. It is not purely the individual's need for the substance understood as "money." A river is not just about water, but also about the banks of the river that hold the water as other things, things often intangible.
Not only this aspect of life in modernity, which is a highly monetized affair, but all aspects of economic life or modern life can be understood in the same way. One behaves, or should behave, in a way that is moral and decent, or helpful towards the needs of others. This is not necessarily "economic," in the more narrow sense of the term, but, as well, one has to "monetize," or find one's way in the economy that is life.
The monetary side becomes ritualized. Charging for one's services is very like a ritual. The therapist knows she has the right to ask for money; the client knows he or she is supposed to pay. There is no need to establish the monetary side of the matter by anything deeper than this ritualized expectation of a monetary arrangement as a perfectly acceptable tool; these are socially-endorsed behaviors. On the other hand, the actual work of rendering service to others is not just a ritual but would have other distinct characteristics. It would probably be more creative. It would probably not be a blind ritual but rather it would contain more human considerations that could never be monetized, as such. Money works somehow by integrating into the "flow" of the process of life that the therapist and client are already existing within. Money has to be involved because os human weaknesses, not because of human genius. The exchange of money does not work all on its own, merely because we somehow recognize the money value of a thing like therapy and assign the correct market price. It is not regulated by some kind of invisible hand. Therapy is, or ought, to be something other than a blind ritual or a mechanical transfer of funds in return for a service. Somehow, both sides of the economics of therapy, the helping and the pecuniary or monetaristic, seem to operate together. And if they cannot, that constitutes a problem. The motivation of a therapist, in providing therapy to a patient, is not explainable through money. Money is a part of the equation, along with other, more human things. Somehow these have to operate both together, at the same time. This is not always an easy trick.

This is my general take on capitalism where I mean, by "capitalism," our world according to our current social arrangements. It is not, as arch-capitalist purists, or right-wing conservative rationalizers of capitalism would try to tell us, totally about generating profit or payment such that the only thing we have to consider is the profit itself, in which view the "self-interested" individual is regarded as sacred choice agent. Instead, we may capitalism see it as a method, designed to do some kind of good, in the aim of getting monetary considerations to flow with and into all the other human activities. Money is channeled into the flow of human activities. But it does not somehow replace the human activities and it does not somehow explain the human activities, and it not, in some equally mysterious way, an excuse for the activities. Neither is it that the human activities do not exist. Nor that they are not human but rather mechanical, as if life must become like some French Enlightenment fantasy about what machines should be able to accomplish. Rather we can understand modern life, with its use of money, as a phenomenon in which the rationality of payment and self-interest has to work together with the flow of human life and life's activities.
Much of the more conservative kind of theories of economics try to say that the logic of markets, or of money (e.g. M. Friedman) replace human behavior, or replace the explanation of it, or replace other explanations of it. Or the economic theories constitute the explanation or logic of what humans do. This is all to be rejected. In each case there are "rules" they think they are discovering about the rationality of markets that become the whole of the object itself.
This is totally wrong, totally absurd. Money is not an end unto itself. I think a real explanation, or a real economics, considers that human society is imperfect in itself, first of all. Given these problems and deficiencies, money or economics is a tool, a means to an end, used to channel and organize these imperfect societies. If that is the case, it is only natural that, at times, various economic reforms have to be enacted.

Monday, January 4, 2010


-- A small, struggling city in Kansas, seen by car --

Kansas more like Wild West.
What is that?
What is the essence of Wild West?

Open space. Fewer people here.
Space between, legs spread, two men, open stance ---- gunfight!

overpopulated with white people, like Indiana. (And like "everywhere," it seems, as I drive from Indiana through the other states out west and finally into Kansas.)
Violence solves nothing. Pacifism please. No Luck, Kansas.

(Not a real town.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Indiana Kestrel, and Sign On The Road

Hi, readers. Place this back in time, OK? This post, consisting of two parts, should be read prior to the one on my experiences at New Harmony. The material comes, chronologically, just before arrival at said Utopian paradise:

Sign on the Road: ______ [ethnic group not provided] Buffet / Bus Drivers eat free.

This comprises the whole content of the material I want to discuss. But it is a great economics lesson. (to wit: The restaurant lures bus driver. If the driver "turns in" his busload of consumers for exploitation by restauranteur, then driver becomes fellow entrepreneur or something like that, and the following situation occurs. The consumers eat, the restaurant and driver profit. That's how capitalism works. It is a deal between the restaurant the bus driver that creates the driver and the restaurant as "producers" and the passengers as "consumers.")

There is something else to say. Do you notice how it is honest? There is not any ideology about it in this rare case. The truth can be read directly off the billboard. That's rare. Why be ashamed, in any case? That is a good question. In this case, at any rate, capitalism is honest, and, therefore, non-ideological. This is a rare event. This one "deal" happens on a billboard for all to see, someone showing the truth. Very rare in ideological society and capitalist ideology.

+ + + - - -

I would like some ideas, not just ideology, as I drive towards Indiana's New Harmonie. But, as I drive, I see a kestrel, a small hawk. As I am driving I am excited about getting closer to this place. Just then, a wild thing. ...oh, fresh ideas...