notes dec 26

December 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

    raw notes

    Berlin wall 1985

    The novel Tree of Smoke

    This is war as hallucination. It’s a story of the decomposition and degradation of the characters and, by implication, Vietnam. A relief worker named Kathy Jones, who is in love with Skip and is in many ways the moral center of the book, warns him that in Vietnam he will ask himself, “When did I die? And why is God’s punishment so cruel?” Several hundred pages later, the narrator says, “The life had worn her down,” and we see and feel Kathy coming apart. But most of all we see Skip unraveling. He begins the book as an earnest young man who believes all the CIA briefing books; by the end he is a wild outcast running guns in Southeast Asia. “I quit working for the giant-size criminals,” he says, “and started working for the medium size. Lousy hours and no fringe benefits, but the ethics are clearer.”

    By the end of the book, the major characters are all broken by their versions of Vietnam addiction. “This place is Disneyland on acid,” says Sgt. Jimmy Storm, a particularly sadistic operative who is convinced that the Colonel is on the ultimate deception mission when he is actually dead. Before Skip spins out of control, he offers this verdict: “This isn’t a war. It’s a disease. A plague.” That is one of the most powerful themes of the book: Vietnam fed a national craving. We couldn’t get out, we couldn’t stay in; the war was controlling us rather than the other way around.

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091301871.html>

    and

    Let’s hear from a man who, for all his intellectual shortcomings, never said anything he didn’t mean. Ezra Pound wrote this in 1931:

    The individual cannot think and communicate his thought, the governor and legislator cannot act effectively or frame his laws without words, and the solidity and validity of these words is in the care of the damned and despised litterati …when their very medium, the very essence of their work, the application of word to thing goes rotten, i.e. becomes slushy and inexact, or excessive or bloated, the whole machinery of social and of individual thought and order goes to pot.

    Pasted from <http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/vietnam>

    http://books.google.com/books?id=2OFZqMzW0JYC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=artigiani+cognitive+maps&source=web&ots=PFLjq2iSlF&sig=pKn2pusdnfymT3K3DvycwDCI-fg&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA34,M1

    http://tinyurl.com/84pokf

    Pasted from <http://tinyurl.com/create.php>

    and

    SAN ANTONIO — Sales are off and production is down, so workers at the Toyota Tundra truck factory here are taking classes: how to handle tools safely, how to get along better with colleagues of varying backgrounds. Some have even cleaned local parks and fed the hungry while collecting Toyota paychecks.

    Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/business/23transplants.html?scp=6&sq=toyota&st=cse>

    Vico

    Tragedy reveals itself as a fatal collision between divergent laws pp

    The three universal institutions, religion, matrimony and burial.

    Comment: if we see this as including science it suggests a balance than we do not have: science, matrimony, and death.

    And because in such a case the nature of the human mind leaves it to attribute his own nature to the effect.

    A father who communicated by means of celestial signs

    Gilgamesh

    Aristotle the distinction between foreign and matter is logical, not ontolgical

    Nietzsche and the birth of tragedy, tragic wisdom had given way to the claims the socratic philosophy, it’s love of an abstract, nostalgic wisdom that looked to contemplation, not suffering, for fulfillment turning against the vegetative and animal origins of life, Socrates idealized and formalized the essence of truths. Page 38

    David atenborough in his book the first Eden, quote

    ” to them [the romans] it seemed that nature could be ravaged and plundered as a man wished. They saw no reason why men should not take what they wanted as often as they wanted. The state gave legal title to underdeveloped land to anyone who cleared the forest. As the human population around the Mediterranean grew, some more and more of the forests that had filled with green were destroyed… When states wants to war, entire forests were devastated to provide the army’s with vehicles and the navy’s with ship. So, as the classical empires sprint from the east and west along the Mediterranean and north into Europe the forests were demolished. Page 56

    Knight’s adventure

    The Christian revolution in the last puts an end to tragedy has the highest form of wisdom, for Christianity, like plato promises of the happy ending.

    Only an alienated nature seeks adventure

    For the knights of medieval romance are the bottom wild man who h periodically return to the forests in order to rediscover within themselves the alienated source of their prowess. Page 66

    They seek him where he is not to be found paid 67

    ave become heroes of the social order, yet who must

    It is as if the chivalric champions of the social order must lose themselves

    Without in order to find themselves within, thereby

    Regenerating the forces that defend the social order.

    Outlaws

    Just as commonly turns a situation upside down in order and eventually to set a ride again, sent to the Alamo stories that unmasks the travesty of justice typically and with reconciliations that vindicate the outlaws faiths in justice. Almost all the medieval outlaws stories possess and a happy ending that reveals to what extent they in fact reaffirm the founding principles of the social order. Page 80 tragic wisdom gives way to comic heroism.

    Dante

    The dark forest is not a refuge from the laws injustice but an allegory for Christian guilt. Page 81

    The forest stands for the secular world as a whole deprived of gods light

    It is precisely because Dante is moving in a straight line that he loses himself in the “selva ovscura.” How does done to get out? The Palme does not tell us.

    ” row seating slowly through the country” Canto 28

    In Christianity as vision of redemption the entire earth and all of its nature become such a park were artificial and means it’s complete Rehumanization page 86

    According to Christian Dr. the process of redemption involves the redemption of the earth as a whole, not merely its transcendence. Page 87

    bocaccio

    Orlando furioso

    Shakespeare

    The remarkable topical inversion that we find in the work of Shakespeare: to sever tree that once traditionally belong to the forests now lurks in the hearts of men – civic man.

    The comic patterns we already outlined: disguise, reversals, and a general confusion of the laws, categ
    ories, and principles of identity that govern ordinary reality. Page 100

    , Not nearly as a genre but above all as an insight, becomes possible once again with Shakespeare page 101

    Historically speaking the end of the Christian era is a prolonged an indefinite event it represents an inherent in itself – and Shakespeare certainly did not see the end of it himself. What he did see, however, was the shadow of its dissolution lurking in the hearts of civic heroes.

    Descartes

    From par one of the discourse

    These ancient cities that were once merely straggling villages and have become in the course of time great cities are commonly quite poorly laid out, compared to the us well worker towns and an engineer lays out on a vacant plane as it suits his fancy.

    This thought led to the domination of nature. Enlightenment is a project of detachment from the past – a way of thinking that detaches the present from tradition and projects it forward into an ideal secular future ideally governed by the law of reason page 114

    Book by le roy far as to management. He never once mentions the issue of wildlife. The forest as habitat has disappeared. The forest is conceived of in terms of timber. It becomes a calculable quantity.

    The United States has both a concept of forest as resource and the forest as sanctuary.

    Comment: We knew of the forests being cut in Indonesia and we knew of the bottles the Pacific. We knew of the torture and the dying and the jails.

    Rousseau page 127

    What is still more grievous is that, since all the progress of the human race continues to move it farther away from its original state, the more new knowledge we amass, the more we deprive ourselves of the means of acquiring the most important knowledge of will, and in a sense, it is by studying man that we have made ourselves unable to know him. Page 127

    If human nature can not be empirically demonstrated, it may nevertheless the truthfully intuited

    Conrad page 133.

    The 19th century remains the most modern century to date, a vision of future alternatives which history for some reason never fulfilled.

    Western nihilism page 138

    On irony

    Marlow is a man for whom the irony is a rotten fruit that he is forced to bite into, four there is nothing else to feed on at this extremity of knowledge. Irony is the innermost truth of a civilization that knows how to live. Page 141

    Conrad’s heart of darkness -part of the forests within and without danish exposes nihilism not so much is this effort read and read them like Keith the humane of us choose of colonialism, but is the absence of redemptive the idea and the west’s conquest of the earth.

    Ssc history in lit?

    ” there were no colonists: there administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only four’s. But we modern Europeans are not like the romans in this respect. We do not have the serenity of mere conquerors for the history of Europe since roman antiquity has been predicated on faith and redemption, the devotion to the idea, the drive toward idealism, immorality of sacrifice. We are not romans because we have been christianized, spiritualized, in turn. The romans had no need to leave, only to triumph. We are in the other hand are subject to ahistorical imperative that demands belief, even if it is no longer Christian belief. One way or another we must belief, even if it means to make believe. Hence a failure of faith in our case can only take the form of a corrosive irony. Page 143

    Sartre

    I humanism he means the form of cartesian as an. He was essentially the solution rationalized who discovered that the assumptions of nationalism were ultimately ungrounded. Page 145

    Nothing disquiet so rationalized more than the forest.

    Concludes that everything that exists -including human beings – exist de trop, in excess. In access, that is, of consciousness

    Comment: this is seen as a ugly but it could be beautiful. To no one will would be a form of solipsism.

    In the final lines of his article, he has this exchange with FBI director Robert Mueller:

    I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been

    disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?

    “I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”

    Pasted from <http://harpers.org/subjects/NoComment>

    I keep MSNBC on in the background when I work (0.00 / 0)

    and I haven’t seen anything about this.  The media is indifferent or controlled on this story.

    Pasted from <http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=86FFEF6EDDE95714843E9E515DF9AFC2?diaryId=10598>

    This is not an ordinary environmental disaster; 500 million gallons of toxic coal ash spilling into the drinking water of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama is going to kill a lot of people.  Eastern Kentucky saw a similar spill in 2000 due to negligence from coal companies, and the Bush administration covered it up. 

    Pasted from <http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=86FFEF6EDDE95714843E9E515DF9AFC2?diaryId=10598>

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    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081006/ferguson_johnson/print

    http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/41

    By Lawrence Lessig | Newsweek Web Exclusive

    Dec 23, 2008

    <http://www.newsweek.com/id/176809>

    Economic growth requires innovation. Trouble is, Washington is practically designed to resist it. Built into the DNA of the most important agencies created to protect innovation, is an almost irresistible urge to protect the most powerful instead.

    The FCC is a perfect example.

    Reading Robert Harison forests

    Vico

    Tragedy reveals itself as a fatal collision between divergent laws pp

    The three universal institutions, religion, metra money and burial of the day.

    Comment: if we see this as including science it suggests a balance than we do not have: science, matrimony, and death.

    And because in such a case the nature of the human mind leaves it to attribute his own nature to the effect.

    A father who communicated by means of celestial signs

    Gilgamesf

    Aristotle the distinction between foreign and matter is logical, not ontolgical

    Nietzsche and the birth of tragedy, tragic wisdom had given way to the claims the socratic philosophy, it’s love of an abstract, nostalgic wisdom that looked to contemplation, not suffering, for fulfillment turning against the vegetative and animal origins of life, Socrates idealized and formalized the essence of truths. Page 38

    David atenborough in his book the first Eden, quote

    ” to them [the romans] it seemed that nature could be ravaged and plundered as a man wished. They saw no reason why men should not take what they wanted as often as they wanted. The state gave legal title to underdeveloped land to anyone who cle
    ared the forest. As the human population around the Mediterranean grew, some more and more of the forests that had filled with green were destroyed… When states wants to war, entire forests were devastated to provide the army’s with vehicles and the navy’s with ship. So, as the classical empires sprint from the east and west along the Mediterranean and north into Europe the forests were demolished. Page 56

    Knight’s adventure

    The Christian revolution in the last puts an end to tragedy has the highest form of wisdom, for Christianity, like plato promises of the happy ending.

    Only an alienated nature seeks adventure

    For the knights of medieval romance are the bottom wild man who h periodically return to the forests in order to rediscover within themselves the alienated source of their prowess. Page 66

    They seek him where he is not to be found paid 67

    ave become heroes of the social order, yet who must

    It is as if the chivalric champions of the social order must lose themselves

    Without in order to find themselves within, thereby

    Regenerating the forces that defend the social order.

    Outlaws

    Just as commonly turns a situation upside down in order and eventually to set a ride again, sent to the Alamo stories that unmasks the travesty of justice typically and with reconciliations that vindicate the outlaws faiths in justice. Almost all the medieval outlaws stories possess and a happy ending that reveals to what extent they in fact reaffirm the founding principles of the social order. Page 80 tragic wisdom gives way to comic heroism.

    Dante

    The dark forest is not a refuge from the laws injustice but an allegory for Christian guilt. Page 81

    The forest stands for the secular world as a whole deprived of gods light

    It is precisely because Dante is moving in a straight line that he loses himself in the “selva ovscura.” How does done to get out? The Palme does not tell us.

    ” row seating slowly through the country” Canto 28

    In Christianity as vision of redemption the entire earth and all of its nature become such a park were artificial and means it’s complete Rehumanization page 86

    According to Christian Dr. the process of redemption involves the redemption of the earth as a whole, not merely its transcendence. Page 87

    The cut youbocaccio

    Orlando furioso

    Shakespeare

    The remarkable topical inversion that we find in the work of Shakespeare: to sever tree that once traditionally belong to the forests now lurks in the hearts of men – civic man.

    The comic patterns we already outlined: disguise, reversals, and a general confusion of the laws, categories, and principles of identity that govern ordinary reality. Page 100

    , Not nearly as a genre but above all as an insight, becomes possible once again with Shakespeare page 101

    Historically speaking the end of the Christian era is a prolonged an indefinite event it represents an inherent in itself – and Shakespeare certainly did not see the end of it himself. What he did see, however, was the shadow of its dissolution lurking in the hearts of civic heroes.

    Descartes

    From par one of the discourse

    These ancient cities that were once merely straggling villages and have become in the course of time great cities are commonly quite poorly laid out, compared to the us well worker towns and an engineer lays out on a vacant plane as it suits his fancy.

    This thought led to the domination of nature. Enlightenment is a project of detachment from the past – a way of thinking that detaches the present from tradition and projects it forward into an ideal secular future ideally governed by the law of reason page 114

    Book by le roy far as to management. He never once mentions the issue of wildlife. The forest as habitat has disappeared. The forest is conceived of in terms of timber. It becomes a calculable quantity.

    The United States has both a concept of forest as resource and the forest as sanctuary.

    Comment: We knew of the forests being cut in Indonesia and we knew of the bottles the Pacific. We knew of the torture and the dying and the jails.

    Rousseau page 127

    What is still more grievous is that, since all the progress of the human race continues to move it farther away from its original state, the more new knowledge we amass, the more we deprive ourselves of the means of acquiring the most important knowledge of will, and in a sense, it is by studying man that we have made ourselves unable to know him. Page 127

    If human nature can not be empirically demonstrated, it may nevertheless the truthfully intuited

    Conrad page 133.

    The 19th century remains the most modern century to date, a vision of future alternatives which history for some reason never fulfilled.

    Western nihilism page 138

    On irony

    Marlow is a man for whom the irony is a rotten fruit that he is forced to bite into, four there is nothing else to feed on at this extremity of knowledge. Irony is the innermost truth of a civilization that knows how to live. Page 141

    Conrad’s heart of darkness -part of the forests within and without danish exposes nihilism not so much is this effort read and read them like Keith the humane of us choose of colonialism, but is the absence of redemptive the idea and the west’s conquest of the earth.

    Ssc history in lit?

    ” there were no colonists: there administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only four’s. But we modern Europeans are not like the romans in this respect. We do not have the serenity of mere conquerors for the history of Europe since roman antiquity has been predicated on faith and redemption, the devotion to the idea, the drive toward idealism, immorality of sacrifice. We are not romans because we have been christianized, spiritualized, in turn. The romans had no need to leave, only to triumph. We are in the other hand are subject to ahistorical imperative that demands belief, even if it is no longer Christian belief. One way or another we must belief, even if it means to make believe. Hence a failure of faith in our case can only take the form of a corrosive irony. Page 143

    Sartre

    I humanism he means the form of cartesian as an. He was essentially the solution rationalized who discovered that the assumptions of nationalism were ultimately ungrounded. Page 145

    Nothing disquiet so rationalized more than the forest.

    Concludes that everything that exists -including human beings – exist de trop, in excess. In access, that is, of consciousness

    Comment: this is seen as a ugly but it could be beautiful. To know all would be a form of solipsism.

    —————

    Barth ote “the liteature of exhaustion.”

    Ssc

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    Screen clipping taken: 12/23/2008, 5:32 PM

    http://i-navigator.hut2.ru/.

    Pasted from <http://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/default.aspx>

    http://www.winsplit-revolution.com/download

    artigiani

    notes about strategy spaces at stanford

    Pasted from <http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/SSC/27>

    234431_guennollionessdetail wok taine
    r.jpg

    Linked Files\mediax\doug_172161341205986602554\

    This is war as hallucination. It’s a story of the decomposition and degradation of the characters and, by implication, Vietnam. A relief worker named Kathy Jones, who is in love with Skip and is in many ways the moral center of the book, warns him that in Vietnam he will ask himself, “When did I die? And why is God’s punishment so cruel?” Several hundred pages later, the narrator says, “The life had worn her down,” and we see and feel Kathy coming apart. But most of all we see Skip unraveling. He begins the book as an earnest young man who believes all the CIA briefing books; by the end he is a wild outcast running guns in Southeast Asia. “I quit working for the giant-size criminals,” he says, “and started working for the medium size. Lousy hours and no fringe benefits, but the ethics are clearer.”

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091301871.html>

    By the end of the book, the major characters are all broken by their versions of Vietnam addiction. “This place is Disneyland on acid,” says Sgt. Jimmy Storm, a particularly sadistic operative who is convinced that the Colonel is on the ultimate deception mission when he is actually dead. Before Skip spins out of control, he offers this verdict: “This isn’t a war. It’s a disease. A plague.” That is one of the most powerful themes of the book: Vietnam fed a national craving. We couldn’t get out, we couldn’t stay in; the war was controlling us rather than the other way around.

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091301871.html>

    Let’s hear from a man who, for all his intellectual shortcomings, never said anything he didn’t mean. Ezra Pound wrote this in 1931:

    The individual cannot think and communicate his thought, the governor and legislator cannot act effectively or frame his laws without words, and the solidity and validity of these words is in the care of the damned and despised litterati …when their very medium, the very essence of their work, the application of word to thing goes rotten, i.e. becomes slushy and inexact, or excessive or bloated, the whole machinery of social and of individual thought and order goes to pot.

    Pasted from <http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/vietnam>

    http://books.google.com/books?id=2OFZqMzW0JYC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=artigiani+cognitive+maps&source=web&ots=PFLjq2iSlF&sig=pKn2pusdnfymT3K3DvycwDCI-fg&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA34,M1

    SAN ANTONIO — Sales are off and production is down, so workers at the Toyota Tundra truck factory here are taking classes: how to handle tools safely, how to get along better with colleagues of varying backgrounds. Some have even cleaned local parks and fed the hungry while collecting Toyota paychecks.

    Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/business/23transplants.html?scp=6&sq=toyota&st=cse>

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/business/23transplants.html?scp=6&sq=toyota&st=cse

    CMT-BX50BTi

    Pasted from <http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=1055&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665333301>

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    http://books.google.com/books?id=rpGfjxvnhOkC&dq=baudelaire+fleur+bilingual&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=mjBWaEBUcJ&sig=ziSYNGaPWerZVpQWeppC818ymbY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPP15,M1

    http://sonnets.spanish.sbc.edu/

    Bloomberg.com headline “Fed Readies for Balance Sheet Tool as Rate Nears Zero”, which, says Bloomberg, would make the Fed’s main interest rate equal to “the lowest level on record”! 

    And not only that, but that the Fed is preparing to launch “one of the boldest experiments in its 94-year history: using its balance sheet as the key tool for monetary policy.” 

    Somehow, I dunno how, this detaches interest rates from money creation, whatever that is, as the article inexplicably goes on, “The last time the Fed detached money creation from setting interest rates was in 1979, when former Chairman Paul Volcker oversaw a violent upward move in borrowing costs. Dubbed the ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ the effort was aimed at reining in inflation, which exceeded 13 percent that year.” 

    Pasted from <http://atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JL25Dj01.html>

    http://www.bmanuel.org/clr/clr2_et.html

    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/wess/etexts.html

    Pasted from <http://www.bmanuel.org/clr/clr2_et.html#Moby_Shakespeare>

    http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/5/0/8/15084/15084.htm

    http://www.imaginet.fr/deleuze/sommaire.html

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    http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/5/0/8/15084/15084.htm

    http://bertc.com/g5/index.htm

    Insights Both Fresh and Tested

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    By DAVID LEONHARDT

    Published: December 23, 2008

    In keeping with an unusual year, this column’s annual list of the economics books of the year is going to be a little unorthodox.

    clip_image006

    “Financial Shock” is a lucid guide on the big issues.

    Economix Blog

    clip_image007

    Books of the Year: Where to Read More

    Two online extras to the annual list of economics books.

    The typical books-of-the-year list is confined, with good reason, to books that were published during that year. But the crush of recent economic news means that several older books suddenly have a new relevance. So while 2008 books still dominate my choices, you will also find a prophetic book from 2003 and a classic from the late 1950s. The idea is to create a reading list for anyone trying to make sense of the world right now.

    The obvious place to start is the financial crisis, and the clearest guide to it that I’ve read is “Financial Shock” by Mark Zandi, a founder of the research firm Moody’sEconomy.com.

    Mr. Zandi’s name may sound familiar. He is probably the most quoted economist in the country. His ubiquity sometimes causes journalists to be afflicted by Zandi syndrome — a sudden onset of fear that we are quoting him too much. But we inevitably get over it because he is a master of digging up data and then explaining it in a language foreign to most economists: plain English.

    In “Financial Shock,” he walks through the three great causes of the crisis — the housing bubble, Wall Street’s underestimation of risk and regulators’ failure to intervene. He notes that more than 30 percent of homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages were not even aware of crucial terms of their loan, like how much their rate could rise, the Federal Reserve found.

    He compares Wall Street managers, who believed that the slicing and dicing of mortgages into securities somehow meant the mortgages couldn’t go bad, to S.U.V. owners who speed down the highway believing that they are protected from injury. And he explains exactly what Alan Greenspan and other regulators could have done differently.

    The book is very much a first draft of history. It doesn’t attempt historical sweep or dramatic narrative. But it is an impressively lucid guide to the big issues — akin to a slim encyclopedia.

    For historical sweep, you will need to do what Barack Obama and some of his aides have been doing and read up on the country’s last great financial crisis, the Great Depression.

    I recently read the early parts of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s trilogy, “The Age of Roosevelt,” written more than a half-century ago. It is a bit triumphalist, but its age offers an advantage I hadn’t anticipated: you can draw the historical analogies for yourself. The debt-fueled business excesses of the 1920s sound especially, and chillingly, familiar.

    I also asked Barry Gewen, an editor at The New York Times Book Review, if he would put together a canon of Depression books, and we have posted the list on our economics blog, nytimes.com/economix. At the top is “Freedom From Fear,” David Kennedy’s 1999 Pulitzer Prizewinner (which, at almost 1,000 pages, is still 1,000 pages shorter than the Schlesinger trilogy).

    To try to keep the current crisis from turning into a depression, the Obama administration is going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars next year, much of it on a vast infrastructure program. And it so happens that one of the better-reviewed nonfiction books of 2008 was, in large part, about infrastructure.

    The book is “Traffic” by Tom Vanderbilt. The reviews focused on Mr. Vanderbilt’s entertaining tour through the anthropology of driving. But “Traffic” also has a larger message.

    Mr. Vanderbilt begins a chapter by telling a story about the 710 freeway in Los Angeles. In 2002, a labor dispute had caused about 1,000 trucks a day to disappear from the highway. Yet overall traffic didn’t decline by nearly so much. Other drivers, knowing the trucks were gone, rushed in to fill some of the void.

    The same thing, in effect, happens when a government builds a new road. Why? Because the current traffic system resembles “a state-subsidized all-you-can-eat salad bar,” Mr. Vanderbilt writes.

    People aren’t charged for the costs that their driving imposes on others, like time spent waiting in traffic. As a result, the book explains, “the collective result of everyone’s smart behavior” — deciding to drive on that new road — “begins to seem, on a larger scale, stupid.” The good news is that modest rush-hour tolls can cause significant declines in traffic, mostly by pushing traffic to other parts of the day. And even a 5 percent or 10 percent drop in traffic can cause an enormous reduction in delays, which makes everyone better off in the end
    .

    The next book was written more than five years ago, but it’s still the closest thing to an obituary for the Big Three car companies, as they once were. It was written by Micheline Maynard, a longtime automobile journalist who now works for The Times, and it’s called “The End of Detroit.”

    “Detroit’s long reign as the dominant force in the American car industry is over,” she wrote, in the first sentence of the first chapter. She predicted that one of the Big Three could collapse within a decade. “The ultimate irony,” Ms. Maynard continues, is that Detroit “has been defeated by companies that did the job Detroit once did with unquestioned expertise: turn out vehicles that consumers wanted to buy and vehicles that captured their imaginations.” The Big Three’s ability to solve this problem, quickly, will largely determine their postbailout fate.

    The other huge story of the year, of course, was politics, and each side of the political spectrum produced a thought-provoking economic book.

    From the left, Larry M. Bartels, a Princeton political economist,explained in “Unequal Democracy” that the economy has consistently performed better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones over the last 60 years. For middle-class families, incomes have risen more than twice as fast under Democrats as under Republicans.

    Mr. Bartels makes a strong case that the pattern is more than coincidence. I’m not sure that cause and effect are as tightly linked as he suggests. But his critics have yet to come up with an argument as strong as his.

    From the right, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam pleaded with their fellow Republicans to come up with an economic strategy beyond tax cuts. In “Grand New Party,” Mr. Douthat and Mr. Salam lay out an alternate agenda, for overhauling taxes, lowering health care costs, improving schools and reducing the number of single-parent families.

    The unifying theme, they say, “is a vision of working-class independence — from bosses, from bureaucracy, from entrenched interests of all kinds.” Their agenda isn’t fully worked out, and it isn’t likely to take over the Republican platform anytime soon. But it is an admirable start.

    Finally, I will mention a book that I already recommended once this year — “The Race Between Education and Technology,” a history of American education by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz.

    That’s my 2008 list. If anything, I expect next year’s crop of books to be even stronger. By then, we are likely to have several more thoughtful books about the economic crisis and perhaps a good yarn or two aboutLehman Brothers, Bear Stearns or Bernard Madoff.

    Email: leonhardt@nytimes.com.

    Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/business/economy/24leonhardt.html?_r=1&ref=business>

    ABSTRACT

    The point of departure of this article is the continuing massive destruction of the planet earth environment. Reversal of this tragic development and the achievement of sustainability cannot be accomplished without major changes in the institutions and cultural formations of modern society. The paper stresses the need to redirect and transform economic, political, scientific and educational systems in order to protect planet earth and to accomplish sustainable development.

    In the spirit of the Brundtland report (1987), the article singles out not only the profound institutional and cultural barriers to accomplishing a more sustainable development but indicates some of the necessary radical steps and strategies necessary: the transformation of capitalism, the transformation of politics and regulation, the restructuring of science and education, a revolution in culture. The article points out several untapped forms of education, in part viewing society as a learning system, and as a system where a multitude of small actions can make a major difference.

    The article ends with a declaration of a new humanistic agenda for a global future based on creative adaptation.

    Tom burns

    In the spirit of the Brundtland Report, we are urging support and commitment to put in practice the principles of a new humanist agenda.

    3.1. We need a new ethics for global stewardship and collective problem-solving.

    12

    Because

    the accelerating human transformation of the Earth’s environment is not sustainable, the business-

    as-usual way of thinking about and dealing with current global environment change is not an acceptable option. It must be ended and replaced by deliberate strategies and institutional

    arrangements of good management to sustain the Earth’s environment. At the same time we must meet social and economic development objectives. This concerns not only an environmental ethics but ethics for key groups and populations on the planet earth: business ethics and corporate social responsibility, the ethics of good government, ethics for scientists, NGO ethics and the ethics of everyday citizens, families, and communities, etc Key pillars of contemporary capitalism such as corporate structures, management practices, and accounting systems as well as property arrangements must be radically reformed in order to accomplish a sustainable economy.

    16

    Key elements in any redesign would be reforms of financial institutions, accounting systems and the roles of corporate management and its relationships to stakeholders (see

    Figure 1).

    System re-design

    Changes in relations Changes into non-financial Financial/capital stakeholders:employees, Institutions and relations environmentalists, to corporations social and health interests

    Changes in the roles and Changes in accounting practices And orientations of top Managers and in business(further development of “triple  bottom line”

    [note he leaves out propertyand corporations, so far.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/speechanddrama/landmarks.shtml

    Any such “democratization of the firm” implies a major reform of property regimes and greater attention to obligations and constraints with respect to the uses and products of property. This may be achieved not only through imposition of legal constraints, but by the institutionalization of new accounting systems (e. g. “the triple bottom line”) which extend beyond financial results, encompassing social and environmental considerations.

    A recasted capitalism, for instance stakeholder capitalism, would already entail of course a wide spectrum of innovations. Such a capitalism would be more fully capable of driving sustainable development at higher rates through the generation of a stream of innovations in production, distribution, and products. Instead of innovations driven by purely profitability calculations, they would be driven as well by ecological and social considerations in response to new governance arrangements and new incentive structures. As argued above, this would require significant changes in the business context, that is, in the overarching orientation and thrust of the capitalist system.

    it is equally necessary to work toward systematic restraint on the human use of major ecosystems. Effective environmen
    tal governance requires then the incorporation of knowledge about limits on aggregate levels of human activities that depend on high intensities of resource exploitation or lead to high levels of pollutant emissions. In designing and assessing strategies of environmental governance, it is critical therefore to focus not just on efficiency and equity, but also on defining limits of exploitation and developing sustainable alternatives (Lemost and Agrawal, 2003:23).

    As a social trend and as a political project, the establishment of effective earth system governance represents a challenge. In addition, the role of the social sciences and humanities must be strengthened.

    Their knowledge is essential in developing understandings and strategies of how to redirect and transform society, in particular, its institutions and cultural formations most relevant for accomplishing sustainability. As argued here, shaping and developing a sustainable society will require radical transformations — that is, a form of socio-cultural revolution — best realized, however, through gradual or incremental changes and legitimized through democratic means. The social sciences and humanities have a substantial knowledge base about such processes of change and development, the vast potentialities in every society, key constraining and facilitating factors, and also the many risks of such undertakings.

    Of course, corporate power is likely to be mobilized to resist some sustainability initiatives. There are many historical examples of a part of the corporate sector mobilizing its power to pursue its interests and, thereby, to impact negatively on many ecological and social conditions. This is pointed up by Stanley I. Fischler’s study (Moving Millions: An Inside Look at Mass Transit, Harper and Row, New York, 1979) of the systematic dismantling of U.S. urban streetcar systems during the early postwar period under the leadership of General Motors in cooperation with Standard Oil, Firestone, and others who stood to benefit from automobile sales (Brown, 1981).

    Thus, …these companies nourished U.S. dependence on the automobile, which in turn has helped deepen national dependence on petroleum ( and its import), which at the same time has had economic as well as geo-political implications.

    http://opus.uu.se/include/list.jsp?lastname=Burns&firstname=Tom+R.

    A major problem with sustainability is its lack of a compelling “narrative” or image.

    34

    On this “unsustainable side”, forceful narratives such as “the good life”, “the American Dream”, the “rags to riches story,” “abundance,” “extravagance,” “conspicuous consumption,” “excess” – nourish people’s imagination, appealing to myths of self-indulgence, hedonist liberation, transgression. (Witoszek, 2006). And, at the level of institutional leadership and policymaking, we find an obsession with “more is better,” “growth mania”, (economic) “development,” etc.

    This characterization applies not only to contemporary, advanced societies but also to most developing countries.

    Toward a New Humanistic Agenda41

    Sustainability is about the human condition and, therefore, about values and more generally culture.

    42

    Too often the rhetoric of sustainability stops at the question: how can we change human behaviour? More appropriately, we should demand from the institutions that we create, that they allow us to act rightfully and effectively, that is, in alignment with our emerging values and beliefs. What has to be demanded is a world and a society, which makes it possible for us to remain human – and still comply enthusiastically with sustainability norms. Intelligently working out how to live sustainably and meaningfully in a place is a key part of what it means to be human. How do we come to a genuine partnership ethic if nature is not understood as a key other with which we are in relation?

    43

    This extended humanity – connected with Hippocrates’ age-old “earth, air andplaces” – has up until now had no voice, no leadership, no payroll, no budget, and no army.

    End quotes

    c:Unemployment, totalitarian endencies, who will own it if it is one thing?

    For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.

    That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.

    Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/opinion/24friedman.html>

    John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.

    Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/opinion/24friedman.html>

    An excerpt from

    The Moment of Complexity

    Emerging Network Culture

    by Mark C. Taylo

    he City of To-Morrow and Its Planning, Le Corbusier suggests why grids and their geometry are so important for modern art and architecture as well as modern life:

    Geometry is the means, created by ourselves, whereby we perceive the external world and express the world within us.

    Geometry is the foundation.

    It is also the material basis on which we build those symbols which represent to us perfection and the divine.

    It brings with it the noble joys of mathematics.

    Machinery is the result of geometry. The age in which we live is therefore essentially a geometrical one; all its ideas are so orientated in the direction of geometry. Modern art and thought—after a century of analysis—are now seeking beyond what is merely accidental; geometry leads them to mathematical forms, a more and more generalized attitude.

    Man walks in a straight line because he has a goal and knows where he is going; he has made up his mind to reach some particular place and he goes straight to it.

    The pack-donkey meanders along, meditates a little in his scatter-brained and distracted fashion, he zigzags in order to avoid the larger stones, or to ease the climb, or to gain a little shade; he takes the line of least resistance.

    But man governs his feelings by his reason; he keeps his feelings and his instincts in check, subordinating them to the aim he has in view. He rules the brute creation by intelligence. His intelligence formulates laws which are the product of experience. His experience is born of work; man works in order that he may not perish. In order that production may be possible, a line of conduct is essential, the laws of experience must be obeyed. Man must consider the result in advance.

    nticipating Joseph Schumpeter’s principle of “creative destruction,” Le Corbusier argues that the space of modernity is created by destroying everything that is both natural and premodern:

    WE MUST BUILD ON A CLEAR SITE. The city of today is dying because it is not constructed geometrically. To build on a clear site is to replace the “accidental” layout of the ground, the only one that exists today, by the formal layout. Otherwise nothing can save us. And the consequence of geometrical plans is Repetition and Mass-production.

    THE CRISIS OF OUR PLANET AND

    THE SHAPING OF A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

    www.soc.uu.se/plugins/pdfdownload.php?id=1519

    Pasted from <http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS291US304&pwst=1&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=THE+CRISIS+OF+OUR+PLANET+AND+THE+SHAPING+OF+A+SUSTAINABLE+SOCIETY&spell=1>

    info@sum.uio.no

    Pasted from <http://www.sum.uio.no/SUM_address.html>

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