Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Transcations (Blankfein on TV)

Blankfein. (AP) "...we do hundreds of thousands, if not millions of transactions a day, ... ... he said, adding that behind every transaction there was a buyer and a seller, creating both winners and losers." What he said was rubbish, just a load of hot air from someone who cannot defend what he does. But we'll accept what he said anyways, which is that in the trades there are winners and losers.

Yeah, those two: And, thirdly, middlemen. Umpires. Armchair quarterbacks. Brokers or bankers or compradors... Merchants, basically using money. Nothing wrong with that. Right? Maybe not.

First of all -- you can verify from earlier posts of mine -- I think they are psychopathological hypocrites. The decent folks made their money on Wall St. and retired, to run art galleries and bed and breakfasts, or grow organic soybeans.

The banking industry shot down critics at least as far back as the 19th century. They were in the U. S. farmers' or agrarian movement (which had elected some U.S. Senators), and they lost, and the dominant banker interest has continued to dominate such critics ever since. But there was tremendous opposition during much of the 19th century.

As this destruction of the level-headed, perfectly rational opposition to financiers continues, the end result matters. It is not an abstraction. It is matter. And it matters and their behavior in the end causes suffering. This suffering will happen to real people ---- if not to bankers, ha ha ---- what a cute harmless joke. Well of course it causes suffering anyway: you could say that all this behavior has caused plenty of suffering already. (Or do "middlemen" brokers have no responsibility?) Then it will cause more. It will cause more suffering.

Eventually there will be a collapse of civilization, "empire," "epoch," or kalpa or whatever you call it. Then we'll all die. Boy. What a dumb post this one turned nout to be. Pointless. Totally pointless. What do I even think I am doing?

As we struggle mightily to smooth out such periodic business cycles/crises as historians have noted do occur. The problem is this. It is that bankers are peaceful men, who do not kill.

They just keep cheating.

Capitalism is just one big killing machine, because we cannot regulate it or do any better with it.

So what is the point of this blog?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Money, and Men's Ideas About It

To do anything at all, one needs money. That money either comes from the financial sector of the economy, which is to say the casino-like atmosphere of derivatives and the like, or it comes from the what some economists actually call the "real" economy.

All through history, capitalism has been a combination of these two phenomena, which may also be called the fraudulent side and the honest side.

If the fraudulent side is kept in check by natural forces, that's all well and good. But what if it is not? If it is not, then humans have to intervene. That is when human beings have to use their wisdom to intervene and control the economy. We think "control the economy" is a dirty word(s), due to the conditioning we have received from the society in which we live. Actually, that may be wrong thinking.

There are no simple answers. We cannot say simply that "the economy" is a thing in itself or a magical force that takes care of itself, all the time. Why would that be? Yet this is the view that was upheld, and it went on for decades.
Only now is this view being questioned once again and its defenders have suddenly scattered like flies --- and that proves there was nothing to it. But you can see books lining the shelves. There were these books coming out every week, I used to monitor them, books that came out anytime in the last thirty years or more, giving this "magic of the markets" view.
Capitalism comes to rule, and after it does, first, money takes over; then, ideology takes over.
Where are those pundits and masters of economic theory now? Where is their defense of their position? Where even is an admission, "I was wrong"? Nowhere. Doesn't exist. WE hear nothing from them. (Oh yeah. I did see that Kudlow guy on T.V. a few months ago!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anonymity in Capitalistic Societies

Capitalism lets anyone with money enter the market. This is the basic case -- there are certain limits. For example, there are limits to one's getting money in the first case. One is also not free to engage in this capitalism stuff very well if one is in jail. But these limits do not detract from my basic case that in this system of capitalism, which is one that encompasses so much of human activity in the world today, there is a general pool of persons who are anonymous and equal. Generally speaking, they are free to enter the market as they please. The fact that any member not in one of the specific excluded categories, such as in jail, illegally in somebody else's country, or flat broke, can operate with equality in the system. That can be called a system of both equality and anonymity.

Can this last? Is this a problem-free system? Of course not.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Analyzing Capitalism from the Car

Written in the car:

No doubt but that there is a lot of economic activity. I just passed a fairly big building on the hiway, in Indianapolis, called "Interactive Intelligence":

Everything is happening so fast you really don't know what is going on.
Something like exchange.
It is to do with exchange.
Everything is being exchange'd

Wrong and Right in Economics

Does free market neo-Classic economic thought and theory make any sense? It should make some. 15,000 univeristy-trained economics professors teach it, so then we should expect it to. You would think that there would be at least a little bit of sense in it. And it would seem surprising if this were not the case. Notice here that I am not saying I think that there is, or is not, but I just want to say 'that much' here for now. OK?

Let's hear an official of the Fed who (while carefully distancing himself from any conflict of interest with other officials of the Federal Reserve) wrote a book on the subject of the importance of not the economists' thought or academic society's thought in general (they support their culture, of course), but rather a related subject: the theories and philosophy of the "American Businessman." This is a 1964 book that looks at the peculiar and particular thought of the businessmen. Bunting (he's the author) says on page 5 that "what the business man thinks about economic policy is important, no matter how myth-laden his views may seem."

In other words, the views are important even if "myth-laden." I could say the same for economists: their views are important vis-a-vis the society even if they are totally wrong. Those views are the backstop we bounce our culture off, like a basketball. The book in question here is about the case of businessmen, circa 1964.
It is a very interesting case: the entire social class indulges in the same view at the same time. But is it the right view? That's another matter: the viewis culturally functional even if it is wrong.

Are we doing the same when we listen to our present economics language and economics ideas? Are we merely indulging a common language? It is dangerous. What does it mean to have a society, concentrated in economics, and with a wrong view of that economic life itself? Could it be that these economists are so far off that they cannot help us solve problems. Could it be that, relying on them, we will not even begin to find the answers that we need? That we are not capable of finding solutions?

Of course it is my hope that the set of alternative views here, but whether I can single-handedly turn this around would probably be unlikely. But, who knows? I hope this blog will be of some interest or some help, somehow. So I continue to do the good work, the good thing. I endeavor to continue, in order to develop it and improve my own writing -- until I am ready for the world, and they are ready for me.

I guess, then, what I am trying to do is create a sort of communication interface.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Capitalism to the Rescue --- again and again and again

Westernity is continually getting rescued. It is by something that tweaks the social side. That's what capitalism did --- it rejuvenated the social side. It wakes up our social side but we keep going to sleep. If it is a social process, then it follows that capitalism cannot be characterized in the fashion of the right, because they say it is private rather than social. Their idea is wrong; they see only a private quest for profit. I beg to differ: capitalism tweaks the social side of man---although, at the same time, this also seems to have the character of being a short-term fix. Capitalism creates a society.

Finally: when a heroin addict gets her/his "fix" s/ he really DOES feel good.

Is a feeling of "good" the same as really good?

That is something to ponder of course, and I include this just to make a suggestion for the reader's own thinking process.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Public Sector, In a Healthy Capitalism

In order to live in capitalism, you need to have a sense of humor. Once you are living in capitalism, and enjoying yourself --- and once you are suitably relaxed --- you need to be serious: that too. You need seriousness too --- in order to improve, reform and stabilize your system. Therefore it is my position that capitalism has to be stabilized. Stabilization is not a crime.

That means that the left should not be offended --- by the suggestion that one needs to stabilize capitalism! (Instead of what? Revolution!?) The responsibility of capitalism is to give persons the chance to earn a living and to live.

(On the serious side) it is the responsibility of persons living in capitalism to change it. It is the responsibility of persons living in capitalism to reform it. It is their responsibility to make it better. But we are falling down on that job, or on our responsibility to reform, monitor and stabilize the system.

A version of capitalism that has only what we call the private sector is a bad version ---- a bad dream. You could call our current economic system a failing and declined, or, sort of sterilized, neutered, or doomed capitalism. It is no longer humorous! As it loses that particular quality as well as the essential character of diversity ---- it perverse: merely perverse. Capitalism needs to be diverse. It needs no perversity but rather the diversity of the public sector.

The public sector is different ---- than the private sector. (Which is why, I suppose, two labels exist!) The two are different, then, and what the public sector is, and how it is to operate vis-a-vis the economy as a whole, and how the relationship is to be sustained, needs to be worked out; and that's the "how" problem.

Our problem is the "how" of governance. It is the "how" of governance (regulation), not "whether." But it is a step forward to understand this, at least: the two concepts, of "capitalism" and "public sector," are not contradictions.

To sum all this up, capitalism needs a public sector. One quality of a public sector is governance. If a quality of capitalism is that it needs both a public sector and a private sector, then, since the public sector part needs to be governed, capitalism needs to be governed. Maybe the private sector part does not but....who decides what part is the private sector and what part the public sector?

It is not possible to say that that decision should be left to the private sector.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Covering A Few Basic Ideas Of Mine

In my work the definition of “capitalism,” like “economics,” is assumed, with the consequence that it is defined subsequently in the context of the ensuing discussion.

But it goes without saying that it isn't the “self-interest” of atomized human beings. This concept has nothing to do with it!

I am trying to uncover the keys to what is good about capitalism and what actually makes it function.
Our problem is that we don’t understand what capitalism did: the actual accomplishments.
It created a workable, liveable society.
From economists, we never hear anything of this quality of liveableness, as if this has nothing to do with the subject matter of economics. I know it's a "hard world" and everything, but I just do not think this is the correct way to approach the subject of capitalism. The voices for peace are so few and far between, as the mobs cry for war.
Somehow, capitalism made a more liveable society. I cannot agree with the all too commonly-held radical, left idea that it is only to be characterized as exploitation, injustice and so forth. There is something else going on.

The right-wing will tell you that capitalism is based on the individual, but it's propaganda. It’s a fairy tale. A whole book – a philosophy book – could be written on this: it would be about what is called “ideology.”


In her book, “A Body of Individuals” (Ohio State University Press, 2009), academic Sue-Im Lee discusses social feeling using the word "community." This matter of what social bonds consist of is, sometimes, indeed discussed on the left, but rarely so by proponents of capitalism or (academic) economists. Now, social bonds, being natural, may be assumed rather than explicitly delineated in "narratives" or in writing. Lee talks about writers who like talking about community, and those who don't, and feel it is actually something pernicious. However in the case of a discussion of capitalism, I think we have to do it. If we try to have such a discussion while leaving this matter of human sociality out of it, our arguments fail, and so there is no alternative to discussing and seeing and indeed understanding capitalism as social. Now I think that conservative philosophy is quite acceptable as philosophy; but it is that it totally misses the mark in so far as capitalism. This is the matter of ideology---a big subject. And the matter of ideology and economics is also real, and concrete. This is because if the Republicans in Congress stick to their views about the "private" nature of economics and capitalism they are going to be completely unable to govern.


Capitalism took over from the medieval or the Renaissance – or whatever – and extended whatever social feeling or whatever bonds of community feeling existed already. Those feelings reformed themselves. This gives us for one further extended period for Western civilization. But what comes at the end of this last leg of Western civilization is up to us. The capitalist period as we know it will end. This could be followed up be some kind of fundamental overhaul, some basic structural reform. If this is done, the civilization may go on. If it is not done, the civilization will crash.
Our period is the period of capitalism. Looking back from this “relative vantage point” or “observational opportunity,” we can see that Western “civ” is not really that culturally impressive – of course there’s a lot to get excited about if you are the excitable type. Let’s not go there!
So what we see is a horrible dead/deadly/deathening (to use Chögyam Trungpa’s term) stretch of time (“history”) with only cruelty, little spots of culture only available to a very few and, Well – death (did I mention that?), followed by a weird, dialectically transfigured/transfiguring, terminally perplexing society that is called capitalism and that is also called democracy. Um, whatever those things are.
There were social bonds or social ties (I’d call it “fellow-feeling” if I was living in one of my 50’s used bookstore-paperbacks) that existed – that’s natural, right? – what happens in capitalism is that these are suddenly converted into modern terms. And this whole period of Western history is now ending as this leg or extension comes to its natural limits. Although some modification of capitalism could save the system, the present form of capitalism is terminal. This is not bad; it’s just terminal.
So, capitalism gives us an extension leg. It jacks up the sociality (not to mention that this manifests as the movement called “socialism”), perhaps – for a few persons. If the observation of this historical period is made according to the conservative method, which is to say their take on capitalism, you won’t get anywhere; you’ll miss the whole point. You will not penetrate capitalism at all.
If you want a paradigmatic word-construction here it is. “Capitalism is social.” And it’s also very ambiguous – and I’ll end on that note.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Method of America

How do you get to have a society where people have a lot of (wealth or) money?

One answer is that you have to allow individual intiative. You have to give people opportunity. And that's what the founding fathers did --- gave equal democratic vote rights to the landholders of their society.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thinking about US/America

The U. S. became a big success. This success seems to include both wealth and power. You get the picture.

Compared to other countries of about the same size, it is richer. I propose a way to comprehend the existence of such events.

To what is the success and/or the power of this entity - a term I like to use is "US/America" - attributable? The success of the USA, as a preeminent country, with a record of respect for human rights, liberty, and individual freedom of expression is mostly attributable to something like an economic method.

If so, then what it is not attributable to is "ideals" --- nor the "ideas" --- of liberty --- of democracy, and of human rights, and so forth. It is not that those things are not important. In other words it is not that US/America does not have human rights. It does. But it is not mostly attributable to ideals.

The "ideals" are of not such great impact.

If we want to understand this matter of the nature of America, why America exists, or where its success comes from; or this matter of the American phenomenon, which Toqueville and others have all had their shot at explaining, we should use this approach of thinking about an economic method, not a society driven by "ideals". That means not to look as much at the intellectual heritage, etc. (This sounds a bit like Sartre's "existence over essence".)

And in going back to the idea of an economic method, while discounting the value of "ideals," we nevertheless should not forget culture. Culture becomes important, later in the discussion. But for now just understand that you've got to discount "ideals" and put the causal emphasis on economic method. This is all characteristic of the original view that I have worked out and that I think explains the capitalistic historical period better than other approaches.

If we read Gordon S. Wood on the way that US/America transitioned from a pre-Revolutionary status-conscious society, to its new "American" nature (a change that he thinks of, rather weirdly, as "radical"), or, in fact, if we look at the combination of class and relaxed that we see in the pictures of Norman Rockwell, then we may get the hint we need.

What made America so successful? There seems to be a method involved which has something to do with relaxing some of the social convention, or rigid class aspect, and letting the force of markets come to the fore, as everyone scrambles for jobs in the developing capitalist society.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red Stripe Lager Advert Message/beer label

....__....._Red Stripe

........For over 75 years
.Red Stripe Lager has embodied
...the spirit, rhythm and pulse
.....of Jamaica and its people.

Red Stripe is interesting beer, I bought a bottle. It turned out to be drinkable, but it is interesting in other ways, too. The label says it is "brewed and bottled" by Desnoes & Geddes Limited, Kingston, Jamaica. The importing firm is on the label as: Diago-Guiness USA, Norwalk, CT.

Also interesting is the advert claim-iology reproduced just above. There is a contrary argument – contrary to the one represented on the label – and this is that Red Stripe Lager would not, after all, embody the Jamaican ethnicity, or nation. This argument could be made, because the item of interest, the beer, is like other items. It must be a part of the economic globalization system. Thus, we might contest the claim that it embodies the ethnic heritage of Jamaica.

It cannot be both at once. The concept of incommensurability applies here as to what Red Stripe Lager is the embodiment of, for it is either an embodiment of the ethnic heritage of Jamaica or the embodiment of transnational economics, not both.

I feel that it is important to ask how capitalism developed: How did capitalism develop to create a livable, practicable world. The question that I work with and feel to be important is just that question. We need a livable capitalism ---- no less than a drinkable beer.

Private (business)

Capitalist businesses are not private. This idea we have that they are "private businesses" or controlled by private ownership does not turn out to be true. It may be that we are no longer looking at every word in the sentences. But, at any rate, really I have changed, and created a view in which I no longer think that way.
What I am saying is that it does not make sense to call typical the capitalist business, in ordinary life, private. And that is a distinct statement from another type of statement. What I mean is that I am not saying that these businesses should not be private, or that they should be more transparent, etc. those are another sort of statement.
I am noting was the case is, actually. Not what “should” be.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Dear respected Iranian leaders,

You have done wrong, Ahmadinejad, you have done wrong, Khamenei.

Supreme Blogger