Category Archives: Capitalism

As described by Hayek

Steven Molyneux on Robin Williams Suicide

Of the 1.5 million worldwide violent deaths annually, more than half, about 800 000 people, are suicides, mostly amongst the elderly. Anti depression medication, especially SSRIs has been linked to increased risk of suicide and also, Parkinson’s disease, which Robin Williams is said to have been in the early stages of.

Steven Molyneux makes the connection in this clip:

Summing Up Politics

What this chart demonstrates is the basic truth that evil resides not on the left or the right, but in the extremes of left and right. Ultimately they become the same things, hence we see the alliance between extreme Marxism and Islamo-fascism (because the line is actually a circle , which like the earth itself has a dark side and a sunny side)). However, in the middle things can get so mixed up that there remains very little difference between the sides, which annoys the people on the extreme end of the spectrum endlessly.

It’s possible to add anrchism and libertarianism at the front, providing the ultimate in freedom, but maybe that is not what most people want.

The equilibrium between the left and the right is shifting constantly, that is the nature of politics. For example, Angela Merckel, chancellor of Germany has achieved this equilibrium and is the most popular German chancellor ever (with both sides) However, her success is now being criticized (by some) for stifling debate, which is the mainstay of a true democracy. One could also argue that the woman is a genius who is flexible enough to accept necessary changes while steering a straight course. She is holding the reins not to tight and not too loose.

From an esoteric viewpoint, polarity is what creates the world. Without polarity, positive and negative, yin and yang, night and day, good and evil , the world would simply cease to exist.

In centre the fight becomes a game of wits, at extremes it becomes a battle of life and death.

Where do you stand?

Fascinating

Banco Espirito Santo nationalised, debts jetisoned

BancoEspiritoSanto_app

 

Portugal’s largest bank has been bought by the government after toxic debts were discovered. Rather than stupidly bailing out the speculators and banking executives, the bank has been divided into two parts, the good part with all the assets, and the bad part with all the toxic debts for all the shareholders and speculators. This is effectively the same as finding the vandals on your wooden ship, making them a raft out of the wood they damaged, and them setting the vandals adrift on it, wishing them good luck knowing that it won’t help them.

Portugal has just invented the bailout we expected to happen in the USA following the GFC.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/04/banco-espirito-santo-bailout-eu-cash-portugal

 

Fun Fact: Australia was once referred to as ‘Espirito Santo’.

Karl Marx Quotes plus some F A Hayek.

“Owners of capital will stimulate working class to buy more and more expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take in more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable.  The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks which will have to be nationalized and State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism.”  

     Karl Marx, 1867

Well he wasn’t all wrong.

A road you say?

So what does this road look like?

Karl Marx never had a job in his life, so what would he know about the working class or work itself?

Karl 2011

[ADMIN edit 14/08/2013]

It looks like Karl Marx worked as a journalist for quite a few years before turning to being a sponsored author. Though Most Marxist are unaware he ever had a job,  or anything else about their ‘god’.

Philoso raptor ponders capitalism and fiat currency

philosoraptor real capital

It’s capitalism is you are not exchanging capital. Capital must have actual value. Fiat currency has negative value and therefore is not capital.

Socialism, Aeroplanes and Economics

A cargo cult gathering and their constructed idol.

A cargo cult gathering and their constructed idol.

What are these primitive villagers up to you may ask?

Actually they are anarcho-primitivists, but that’s not the point.

A cargo cult aeroplane.

A cargo cult aeroplane.

This is a cargo cult. These people actually believe that somehow the construction of this model aeroplane will cause cargo ( wondrous goods) to appear. This belief system started when US and allied forces arrived in South East Asia and Melanesia to form army bases and airstrips to fight the Japanese imperial army and navy. In setting up bases they did hand out a few trinkets along the way to keep the locals happy. The locals were quite amazed at the wondrous, magical and apparently godlike powers of the cargo and its owners. Eventually the planes and ships stopped coming and with that, the cargo stopped coming also. Seeing the obvious linkage between the vehicles ( aeroplanes, jeeps, and airstrips) and the cargo they formed the belief that if they could make their own airstrips,  aeroplanes and jeeps  from local materials the cargo would return.

So year after year they would create such effigies in hope the cargo would return. It sounds quite silly if you know the fallacy of their thinking. But you must admire their skill and determination. Among cargo cult fetishes that are built are, Aeroplanes, Airstrips, Airport control towers and even Jeeps and machine guns.

Unfortunately none of these effigies are functional, because the builders lack the actual knowledge behind how they actually work. If they did know for example how heavier than air, powered, controlled flight worked, their considerable efforts might have different results.

They have allowed unqualified belief determine they actions, rather than logic and simple experiments.

A modern replica of one of the first aeroplanes, Richard Pearce's invention

A modern replica of one of the first aeroplanes, Richard Pearce’s invention

Richard Pearce's aeroplane, showing struts made from bamboo.

Richard Pearce’s aeroplane, showing struts made from bamboo.

The first true aeroplanes were developed about 110 years ago, only 40 years before cargo cults developed. There are many competing claims as to who actually did it first. But According to some it was not the wright brothers, they give credit to an obscure New Zealander, Richard Pearce and his flying machine, which looks strangely similar to a modern micro-lite. Adding to the kudos of first powered, heavier than air, controlled flight , Pearce created many innovations, aerolons, variable pitch propeller, triangular under carriage with 3 wheels, a joystick for control and an air cooled reciprocating engine.

Amusingly the wing struts of his aeroplane were made from bamboo, just like some cargo cult planes today. Unlike the cargo cult aeroplanes his one actually flew, and with a degree of control also.

Strangely Pearce didn’t use the one really important innovation, aerodynamic lift, his aeroplane simply dragged itself into the air with lots of horsepower and the wings stopped it falling back to the earth.  Pearce used approximately twice the horse power as the Wright brothers used in their flyer. Pearce kept few records and didn’t promote his invention, lived in an isolated corner of the world, so others who worked at the same time and a little later, got the credit. The Wright brothers do deserve credit for a very structured  and documented approach to they way they developed the aeroplane, even determining the viscosity of air to put in their calculations and using aerodynamic lift.

All of this was a progression from hot air balloons, parachutes, gliders and uncontrolled flight to the final goal the modern aeroplane. People learned the phenomenon of flight and the properties of air to accomplish their goal of flight. The men who jumped off cliff flapping their arms were not successful.

Had the cargo cult members been successful in getting plane flying, they might fly to the US in their bamboo aeroplane and land hoping for cargo to magically load itself on their aeroplane. Once again they would be thwarted because there must be surplus or extremely low cost cargo and fuel for this to happen.

This of course brings us to Economics, another poorly understood cargo cult for many people, particularly Socialists and Neo conservatives.

As different as they both seem socialists and neo conservatives either don’t know or don’t want to talk (or think) about where money comes from.

Marx; How can the state provide everything to everyone when the state cannot cannot produce value? Marx argued that only human labour is of value, and therefore the state ( not having its own body) simply cannot create value, and must rob from Peter to pay Paul. Good if you are Paul, bad if you are Peter. Eventually everyone becomes Peter in socialism, apart from a few Pauls’ at the top.

Economics: Read about Zero sum game and tragedy of the commons.

Neo-Cons; How can the market provide, if all the means of exchange are privately controlled debt notes, counterfeited into existence, whose supply and value are arbitrarily manipulated by a self interested third party? In theory Neo-Cons should be screaming for 100% backed, hard money, but seem to think, too big to fail, bail out the incompetent fraud peddling banksters is the way to go.

Economics: Read about properties of money (particularly about how fiat is not real money)

The worst thing about economics is that it seems so abstract, and involves some maths, and that is a really big hurdle to most people.

 The majority of economics can be explained with axioms, short stories, and situations to consider.

A list some basic economic axioms here, trickier ones with a *. Honestly it’s not that hard.

Zero Sum game.

Prisoners dilemma.

Adverse selection.

Tragedy of the commons.

Battle of the sexes game.

Game of chicken.

External costs.

properties of money.

Infinite regret*

chain store paradox.

Principal – agent problem.

Irrationality of price wars*

Moral hazard.

Pareto optimum.

Gresham’s law.

Barriers to growth.

Sensitivity to initial conditions*

Credit paradox.

Nash Equilibrium.

Supply and demand*

play12

If you don’t understand Economics, you might as well build a rough copy of a space ship out of plastic bottles in your back lawn and hope ET will save you.

For captain obvious:

If you don’t understand how something works, there is no point idolizing some aspect of it, thinking it will be a substitute for knowledge.

For all the George Orwell fans, you will remember than in the book 1984 the state claimed to have invented the aeroplane, but Winston Smith remembered from this childhood that this was not true.

From Shock and Awe to Wall Street

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by KEVIN ZEESE and MARAGAET FLOWERS

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the “Shock and Awe” US invasion of Iraq. The ravages of that invasion continue at home and in Iraq, the US is still at war in Afghanistan (troops and contractors remain in Iraq) and unofficially waging war on countries like Pakistan and Yemen, is aggravating aggression with North Korea as part of an Asian pivot encircling China, is putting more military into Africa and Obama is in Israel where he sings a duet for war with Netanyahu against Syria and Iran. Meanwhile, poverty, unemployment and homelessness continue to grow in the US with threats of austerity for everything except the national security state.

When we occupied Freedom Plaza in October, 2011, we made the connection between US Empire and the corporate control of our political process, between unlimited military spending and cuts to necessary domestic programs. We understood the misreporting in the corporate media about the Iraq War. Kathy Kelly from Voices for Creative Nonviolence was in Baghdad during Shock and Awe. On this tenth anniversary, she reminds us of the horrible price of war and warns of never ending war as the US seems to edge toward more war in the region. The need to understand those connections grows more important each day as we see the costs of war affecting people on every level.

And this report details the tremendous costs in loss of life, the US legacy of cancer in Iraq from poisons we brought there, the number of refugees, orphans, widows and people now living in poverty. Violence continues in Iraq including a series of attacks on the tenth anniversary that left 98 people dead and 240 wounded.

Iraq War veteran Tomas Young is bringing increased attention to the human costs at home as he prepares to die from his wounds. Over 130,000 Iraq vets have been diagnosed with PTSD. Over 250,000 are suffering from traumatic brain injuries. The ongoing costs of caring for veterans is expected to bring the total cost of the Iraq invasion alone to $6 trillion. And, vets fight homelessness, sometimes with the aid of Occupy activists who protest to save the homes of vets.  Veterans are also experiencing unemployment and medical debt.

These are some of the costs of war, not to mention that the US Military is the greatest polluter on the planet.

As we join the national week of actions in solidarity with the Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee and the coast-to-coast actions in support of the Tar Sands Blockade, let us remember that all of these issues are connected. As our allies at Veterans For Peace have been saying lately it is time to Stop the War on Mother Earth. VFP has been joining with groups like Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival and the Tar Sands Blockade to protect the planet.

The breadth of opposition to the extraction economy that undermines the ecology of the planet is shown by the people involved in the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and the “Sacred Journey for Future Generations,” a march across Canada by hundreds in support of the Idle No More Movement. The fracking movement has also shown the kind of culture of resistance needed to stop hyrdo-fracking as we saw in Watkins Glen, NY this week.

Let us remember that there is strength in solidarity and all these issues are connected by policies that put corporate greed before human needs and protection of the Earth.

Solidarity has produced some real successes recently. In the UK, 21 climate activists were being sued by the energy giant EDF for shutting down an energy plant for 8 days. But when 64,000 customers signed a petition in support for the “No Dash for Gas” activists; EDF dropped its civil suit. Criminal charges remain, so solidarity with the activists continues to be important. And in Cyprus, the EU tried to impose a tax on the population in exchange for assistance with their debt. Massive protests resulted in the Cypriot Parliament saying no to the tax.

The plague of Wall Street banking affects people across the globe. Wall Street was a key focus of Occupy. This week, activists in Philadelphia explained their protest against Wells Fargo which led to their arrest and acquittal, indeed being thanked by the judge for their actions.  This was one of five recent court victories for Occupy. Now, people are standing up in New York with a class action lawsuit against the abusive stop and frisk searches which had been protested by occupiers and others.

Single payer groups are joining with Strike Debt to fight medical debt and our debt-based society. Chicago Teachers invited Occupy Wall Street to teach them protest skills. And, the Imokalee workers are walking across Florida to protest low wages. In Maryland, Fund Our Communities is holding a day long “Prosperity Not Austerity” Bus Tour that links issues such as health care, education and food security with the cost of war. The Strike Debt Resistor’s Manual provides a guide for communities to learn more about ways that debt affects them and what they can do about it. Perhaps you see opportunities for making connections around issues where you are?

It is through these connections that we can grow stronger and become more effective. And it is through these connections that we can have real conversations about the root causes of our shared situations, about the real needs that we have and how we can meet them together and build a unified movement that can say “No” to war at home and abroad. Let us not be afraid to talk about US imperialism and the effects of capitalism and a debt-based world. Let us look for the truth and not be lied into another war in Syria, Iran or North Korea. And let us all join together in the urgent need for climate justice.

We can succeed too. As we make connections and build solidarity, we are preparing for the day when we will shift power to the people. An important issue that needs your attention, particularly next week, is the hunger strike in Guantanamo. Don’t let these prisoners die in vain. Witness Against Torture is calling for a week of national solidarity actions starting March 24th. Join them.

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and on Economic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and were organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

This article is based on a weekly newsletter from It’s Our Economy. You can sign-up here to receive this free newsletter.

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