222. The new right based on old

August 10, 2009 § Leave a comment

Anger at the system, common on boththe left and right needs to be udnerstood or

James Zogby writes

There is a social movement stirring on the far right of American politics and it bodes ill for our future. If we do not start to address this troubling anger now, we could end up in the throes of a full-fledged nativist siege.

via Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post.

The right and the left, neinte like how the country is eveolving. They see te efforts, and sense compromise and special intersts, and puke.  Separating the right wing response fromthe elft hides the fact that both agree on many fundamentals.


188. Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation

August 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is a great description of the social side of economics. Seems to pertain to today. This from Wikipedia.

The Great Transformation is a book by Karl Polanyi, a Hungarian political economist. First published in 1944, it deals with the social and political upheavals that took place in England during the rise of the market economy. Polanyi contends that the modern market economy and the modern nation-state should be understood not as discrete elements, but as the single human invention he calls the Market Society.

Polanyi argued that the development of the modern state went hand in hand with the development of modern market economies and that these two changes were inexorably linked in history. His reasoning for this was that the powerful modern state was needed to push changes in social structure that allowed for a competitive capitalist economy, and that a capitalist economy required a strong state to mitigate its harsher effects. For Polanyi, these changes implied the destruction of the basic social order that had existed throughout all earlier history, which is why he emphasized the greatness of the transformation. His empirical case in large part relied upon analysis of the Speenhamland laws, which he saw not only as the last attempt of the squirearchy to preserve the traditional system of production and social order, but also a self-defensive measure on the part of society that mitigated the disruption of the most violent period of economic change. The book also presented his belief that market society is unsustainable because it is fatally destructive to the human and natural contexts it inhabits.

Polanyi turns the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that “laissez-faire was planned”, whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a ‘self-regulating’ market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought “unheard of material wealth” , however he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as “fictitious commodities” (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market) “subordinate[s] the substance of society itself to the laws of the market.”[1] This, he argues, results in massive social dislocation, and spontaneous moves by society to protect itself. In effect, Polanyi argues that once the free market attempts to separate itself from the fabric of society, social protectionism is society’s natural response; this he calls the ‘counter movement’. Polanyi did not see economics as a subject closed off from other fields of enquiry, indeed he saw economic and social problems as inherently linked. He ended his work with a prediction of a socialist society (not altogether unlike the modern European welfare state), noting, “after a century of blind ‘improvement’, man is restoring his ‘habitation.'”[2]

via The Great Transformation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

162. temperature summary

July 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

This too is very good.

Global warming is changing the world we know and love. But in fact, the Earth’s climate has changed many times – especially in the last two million years, when a series of ice ages has wreaked havoc worldwide. We need to understand the past to have any chance of understanding the future… so here’s a little tale of the Earth’s climate. If you prefer charts to words, scroll down

via temperature .

161. earth : a good summary

July 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

The Earth – For Physicists

John Baez

June 26, 2009

via earth .

107.on value vs. money

June 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Continuing from the article referenced in 102

The economic metaphor came to be applied to every aspect of modern life, especially the areas where it simply didn’t belong. In fields such as education, equality of opportunity, health, employees’ rights, the social contract and culture, the first conversation to happen should be about values; then you have the conversation about costs. In Britain in the last 20 to 30 years that has all been the wrong way round. There was a reverse takeover, in which City values came to dominate the whole of British life.

via LRB · John Lanchester: It’s Finished.

89. science and religion reframe

May 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

what if Obama is destined to be the one to be forced to run a garrison state? Alternatives? A broad adoption of science as a system of real meaning in dealing with the whole world, including the mysteries. Science must allow itself to be seen not as an alternative to religion, but a stage in religious thought.

That may be one of our major reframings. See the article op ed NYT this morning


  • None of those reasons topped the list. Most said that they first joined a religion because their spiritual needs were not being met. And the most-cited reason for settling on their current religion was that they simply enjoyed the services and style of worship.
  • For these newly converted, the nonreligious shtick didn’t stick. There was still a void, and communities of the faithful helped fill it.
  • While science, logic and reason are on the side of the nonreligious, the cold, hard facts are just so cold and hard. Yes, the evidence for evolution is irrefutable. Yes, there is a plethora of Biblical contradictions. Yes, there is mounting evidence from neuroscientists that suggests that God may be a product of the mind. Yes, yes, yes. But when is the choir going to sing? And when is the picnic? And is my child going to get a part in the holiday play?
  • As the nonreligious movement picks up steam, it needs do a better job of appealing to the ethereal part of our human exceptionalism — that wondrous, precious part where logic and reason hold little purchase, where love and compassion reign. It’s the part that fears loneliness, craves companionship and needs affirmation and fellowship.

67.The crisis overdetermines all of world politics

April 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

The problem is that the current situation is a continuation of the conditions  and dynamics that caused WWI  and WWII

It is not a short cycle crisis. The financial crisis is coinciding with and aggravating a general crisis of overproduction. The paralysis of credit is gradually reducing economic activity. The crisis has spread to the whole world. Its scale is comparable with that of 1929, but unlike in 1929, the crisis is total. The capitalist mode of production has been extended to the entire world economy. Capitalist globalisation has constituted a world market in commodities, imposed a movement of generalized “re-commoditisation” and created the conditions of a world labour market.

via Fourth International – The crisis overdetermines all of world politics.

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