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Post 0

Thursday, August 11 - 5:18pmSanction this postReply
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According to Ludwig von Mises:
A medium of exchange is a good which people acquire neither for their own consumption nor for employment in their own production activities, but with the intention of exchanging it at a later date against those goods which they want to use either for consumption or for production.
 Money is a medium of exchange. It is the most marketable good which people acquire because they want to offer it in later acts of interpersonal exchange. Money is the thing which serves as the generally accepted and commonly used medium of exchange. This is its only function. All the other functions which people ascribe to money are merely particular aspects of its primary and sole function, that of a medium of exchange.
 Media of exchange are economic goods. They are scarce; there is a demand for them. There are on the market people who desire to acquire them and are ready to exchange goods and services against them. Media of exchange have value in exchange. People make sacrifices for their acquisition; they pay “prices” for them. The peculiarity of these prices lies merely in the fact that they cannot be expressed in terms of money. In reference to the vendible goods and services we speak of prices or of money prices. In reference to money we speak of its purchasing power with regard to various vendible goods.
(Human Action, Chapter XVII “Indirect Exchange”

According to Karl Marx:
But a particular commodity cannot become the universal equivalent except by a social act. The social action therefore of all other commodities, sets apart the particular commodity in which they all represent their values. Thereby the bodily form of this commodity becomes the form of the socially recognised universal equivalent. To be the universal equivalent, becomes, by this social process, the specific function of the commodity thus excluded by the rest. Thus it becomes – money.
Capital Volume One; Chapter Two: Exchange.
 Throughout this work, I assume, for the sake of simplicity, gold as the money-commodity. The first chief function of money is to supply commodities with the material for the expression of their values, or to represent their values as magnitudes of the same denomination, qualitatively equal, and quantitatively comparable. It thus serves as a universal measure of value. And only by virtue of this function does gold, the equivalent commodity par excellence, become money.
Capital Volume One Chapter Three: Money, or the Circulation of Commodities.


(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/11, 5:20pm)




Post 1

Thursday, August 11 - 5:42pmSanction this postReply
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I like this essay. I am currently mentally wrestling with the last part, however:

*******************************************
There are contexts in which constitutional republics are relatively effective in securing liberty and contexts in which non-democratic structures are better equipped to protect property rights against an aggressive majority. There’s no one single answer for every country, every culture, every population in the world.
*******************************************

This is either terribly wrong, or counter-intuitively (surprisingly) right on the money. It may take me days, weeks, or even months to come to a conclusion about it -- one way or the other.

Intriguing essay, nonetheless.

Ed



Post 2

Thursday, August 11 - 7:31pmSanction this postReply
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One cannot deduce from morality or human nature or definitions or economic theory what type of political system is best suited for a particular society.
Yes I can, its capitalism! (Given that our goal is for productive people to be most successful.)



Post 3

Thursday, August 11 - 11:31pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I agree with what you said, but I think the author was talking about variations in the form of government that best suited different cultures for the purpose of protecting Capitalism.

For example maybe a parliament would be better for some cultures than congress. I think that is what he was saying.



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Post 4

Thursday, August 11 - 11:33pmSanction this postReply
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The writer of the article, who didn't give his name, stated that, "...an Austrian economist openly stated that his analytical method was Marxist in nature. He substituted 'state' for 'bourgeoisie' and saw freedom as an institutional class struggle against the state."

And, he didn't say which Austrian economist used that method. I wish he had. When that 'economist' is an anarchist using Marxst methods, there isn't much if any liberty left.
-------------------------

The article states, "Among those who profess the anarchist strain of Austrian economic thought, structural Marxism is implicit, is not inherent, in their conception of government."

I've always maintained that there is a natural affinity between anarchists and socialists, but rather than get into that, I'll point out, as I have in the past, that you can not have a free market without a monopoly of fairly objective law that is based upon individual rights. No such laws, and no government to enforce them, means no free enterprise. That word "free" means effectively outlawing the initiation of force. Anarchists who call themselves Austrian Economists are missing the most important ingredient - those laws and minimal amount of government needed to enforce them.

The author states that quite well in other words where he says, "...politics, or law, doesn’t arise through economic transactions. Law represents coercion or the threat thereof. Law is necessary to some extent to secure property rights, which in turn are a prerequisite for a free-market economy through which individuals’ preferences can manifest peacefully. Anarcho-Austrians disregard this context."
---------------------------

I liked the paragraphs that pointed out myoptic obsession of anarchists that don't let them acknowledge that benevolent colonial state in Somalia would be far better, provide far more freedom, be much more humanitarian, be much more properous than it is under the stateless condition of anarchy.
----------------------------

The author points out, "The idea that everything, including morality and politics, is subsumed by economics conflates economics with philosophy."

That is one of the criticisms that Ayn Rand had for Mises.
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Excellent article!
----------------------------

Some quotes from Ludwig Von Mises:

"Government as such is not only not an evil, but the most necessary and beneficial institution, as without it no lasting social cooperation and no civilization would be possible."

"A shallow-minded school of social philosophers, the anarchists, chose to ignore the matter by suggesting a stateless organization of mankind. They simply passed over the fact that men are not angels. They were too dull to realize that in the short run an individual or a group of individuals can certainly further their own interests at the expense of their own and all other peoples’ long-run interests. A society that is not prepared to thwart the attacks of such asocial and short-sighted aggressors is helpless and at the mercy of its least intelligent and most brutal members. While Plato founded his utopia on the hope that a small group of perfectly wise and morally impeccable philosophers will be available for the supreme conduct of affairs, anarchists implied that all men without any exception will be endowed with perfect wisdom and moral impeccability. They failed to conceive that no system of social cooperation can remove the dilemma between a man’s or a group’s interests in the short run and those in the long run."

"Tyranny is the political corollary of socialism, as representative government is the political corollary of the market economy."

"The anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life. Even if we admit that every sane adult is endowed with the faculty of realizing the good of social cooperation and of acting accordingly, there still remains the problem of the infants, the aged, and the insane. We may agree that he who acts antisocially should be considered mentally sick and in need of care. But as long as not all are cured, and as long as there are infants and the senile, some provision must be taken lest they jeopardize society. An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order. This power is vested in the state or government."
----------------

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 8/12, 2:22pm)




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Friday, August 12 - 11:22amSanction this postReply
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Steve wrote:
The writer of the article, who didn't give his name, stated that,
"...an Austrian economist openly stated that his analytical method was Marxist in nature. He substituted 'state' for 'bourgeoisie' and saw freedom as an institutional class struggle against the state."

And, he didn't say which Austrian economist used that method. I wish he had. When that 'economist' is an anarchist using Marxst methods, there is much if any liberty left.

I, too, wish that he had cited his source.  Otherwise, I could say that I once talked to an advocate of limited constitutional govenment who claimed that NASA faked the Moon Landings.  This validates my observation that all limited governmentalists resort to bizarre conspiracy theories to explain away the inevitable devolution from limited constitutional government to mobocracy.  (Of course, that is a strawman.  I do not claim it.  I only say that lacking attribution, the original claim carries no weight.  Libertarian Realist is a polemicist.  Follow his other videos and his posts on other Objectivist sites.)

As I pointed out in my reply, Von Mises shared Marx's views on the evolution of gold as money.  Many conservtives, libertarians and Objectivists also agree with Marx, though they do not know it.  Perhaps Marx was right about something and it is possible to agree with Marx without surrendering all liberty.

Ed wrote:
There are contexts in which constitutional republics are relatively effective in securing liberty and contexts in which non-democratic structures are better equipped to protect property rights against an aggressive majority. There’s no one single answer for every country, every culture, every population in the world.
This is either terribly wrong, or counter-intuitively (surprisingly) right on the money. It may take me days, weeks, or even months to come to a conclusion about it -- one way or the other.
Allow me to assume that you believe that the constitutional republic is the only form of government that can protect rights. I point out that we have poor educations in comparative government.  For instance, do you accept as a basic premise that the Queen of England serves at the pleasure of Parliament?  That is different than other constitutional monarchies. In Double Star, Robert Heinlein has his royal hero point out that a hereditary monarch is invested in the long-term well being of his state and people.  Elected - especially now term-limited - rulers can act without principles for a few years and then let posterity deal with the problems. At least, that is one theory.


 




Post 6

Friday, August 12 - 2:34pmSanction this postReply
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I am the pseudonymous author of the essay.  I am glad it was of interest to some of you.

I unfortunately don't remember the name of the economics professor whose attempt to draw upon Marxism stuck out in my mind several years ago.  I might have a document from the seminar somewhere in my old papers, but they're too disorganized to have a realistic expectation of being able to retrieve it.  He was Australian (an Australian Austrian), I believe.

I regard free-market capitalism as an economic system, not a political system.  I disagree with Rand's formulation.  The purpose of government is not to promote capitalism, but liberty, which has a wider meaning.  I believe the best way of achieving liberty in a particular country at a particular time can be counter-intuitive.  Hong Kong was the freest, most prosperous country in Asia under British colonial rule and continues to be under Chinese stewardship.  South Africa was the most freest, most prosperous country in Africa under white minority rule but has retrogressed under majority rule and is at risk of turning Zimbabwean.

I expand on what I presented in the essay in my video Anarchy, State, and Youtubia: Obliteration




Post 7

Friday, August 12 - 2:35pmSanction this postReply
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Michael wrote, "Von Mises shared Marx's views on the evolution of gold as money. Many conservtives, libertarians and Objectivists also agree with Marx, though they do not know it. Perhaps Marx was right about something and it is possible to agree with Marx without surrendering all liberty."

Von Mises and Marx probably agreed that the Sun appears to rise in the East - but what does that matter? Von Mises believed that people have property rights - that they can keep their gold, Marx didn't - and that does matter.

Why is Michael attempting to put Von Mises and Marx together as if they were buddy-buddy and sitting down to have a Happy Meal? Is he really trying to paint a picture of Austrian Economics which advocates Captialism as being kind of the same as Marxism which advocates centralized control of the economy? That's weird!

The article is an attack on anarchy that specifically addresses the fallacies of those anarchists that call themselves supporters of Austrian Economics.



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Post 8

Friday, August 12 - 3:11pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Brad,

Here is Ayn Rand on Government:

"A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area."

"The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence."

"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules."

"This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government."

"A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws."

Taken from Ayn Rand Lexicon

I agree with all of those observations.
---------------------------------------

I would say that Capitalism is a political state where individual rights are enforced. And that the best current understanding of the economic activity in such a state is Austrian Economics. And that Austrian Economics (despite any flaws) is the best way to compare economic activity under different political systems (e.g., Capitalism vs Socialism).

Capitalism has too often been associated exclusively with economic activity such that people wouldn't think that civil rights in areas having nothing to do with economic activity don't arise in considering Capitalism. But if we are talking about individual rights as defining Capitalism, then those rights can't be separated from Capitialism. Liberty does, as you pointed out, apply to more than economic activites.

And one could note that there are different forms in which Capitalism can be implimented - which would cover things like the political differences between Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, etc. The experts in the area of political science can attempt to define where changes to a fairly pure Capitalism leaves it less pure and should be called a mixed economy state and where a mixed economy state should be called Socialist. At all times, the individual elements of a system can individually labeled. We can point to the shoe industry in the US and say it represents free enterprise, Capitalism, despite some minor regulations on import of leather. But we would have to say that medicine in the US is so heavily regulated that most of it Socialist. That we are a mixed economy that is growing near the line that separates Socialism from Capitalism.



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Post 9

Friday, August 12 - 3:27pmSanction this postReply
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"Austrian" economics includes the works of Schumpeter and Hayek, Boehm-Bawerk (of course) and Carl Menger, all back then; as well as Murray Rothbard in the generation succeeding them; and today, Roderick Long, and others at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

They tend to agree on the fundamentals, of course, but disagree on other areas. (I have reviewed several submissions to The Libertarian Papers edited by Stephan Kinsella.) It is in one of those other areas that my interests lie: numismatics - the art and science that studies the forms and uses of money.

Rothbard advocated for 100% gold reserve banking and said that any fractional-reserve bank would be guilty of fraud. Hayek replied - actually to Milton Friedman - that there are many more forms of money than Chicago Monetists can count; and so - addressing Rothbard - a bank might have any number of alternatives in currencies for offer and acceptance. Hayek's work, The De-Nationalisation of Money while nice, was flawed by poor evidence. Oddly enough, not he, nor any of the economists whom we venerate knew much numismatics.

Following Menger closely, Von Mises invented a rationalist explanation for the ontology of money which lacked any empirical basis. In other words, they knew little of the empirical evidences, and only imagined what "must be" ... and in truth actually was not.

I have a different, better answer. Thus, for a grad school paper for a sociology class back in 2009, "Technology and Society," I wrote about money as the technology of ritual gift exchange. That is where I find the origins of trade in general and money in particular.

As Marx said that centuries of social interaction made gold the best form of money, it is possible to agree with Marx without surrendering liberty (or your gold). However, even though Mises agreed with this fable, it is not fact. Right now, I am taking a break from packing. We are moving to Austin. I will have more to say about this in a more formal (peer-reviewed) venue. But my juxtaposition of Mises and Marx here had nothing at all to do with whatever anti-capitalist conspiracy Steve Wolfer imagines to be my hidden agenda.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/12, 3:43pm)




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Post 10

Friday, August 12 - 3:52pmSanction this postReply
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Michael said, "...my juxtaposition of Mises and Marx here had nothing at all to do with whatever anti-capitalist conspiracy Steve Wolfer imagines to be my hidden agenda."

The only imaginings of conspiracies and hidden agendas are yours, Michael. Don't try to put them in my head or imply that they are in what I wrote.



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Post 11

Friday, August 12 - 3:55pmSanction this postReply
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Spin it any way you want, Steve:
"Why is Michael attempting to put Von Mises and Marx together as if they were buddy-buddy and sitting down to have a Happy Meal? Is he really trying to paint a picture of Austrian Economics which advocates Captialism as being kind of the same as Marxism which advocates centralized control of the economy? That's weird!"




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Post 12

Friday, August 12 - 4:01pmSanction this postReply
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It's not spin, Michael. It was a question. I asked why was the thrust of your post was about similarities between Marx and Mises? I said that it was weird. And in the context of a post to an article which points out the flaws in anarchists also being advocates of Austrian Economics, it is weird.



Post 13

Sunday, August 14 - 10:08pmSanction this postReply
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I'm sorry but this is weak. You either believe individuals should be aggressed upon for the greater good (in which case you're a statist) or you don't (in which case you're an anarchist).

The advocate of the state thinks that his opinion that "we" "need" things justifies committing or condoning violence against innocent individuals. In the case of the socialist, it's the redistribution of wealth. In the case of the author of this piece, it's "a means of implementing" "the liberties he values". It is as plain as that. Whatever this argument is, it is not libertarian. It is not opposed to aggression. The criminal, gangster, socialist, welfare-statist, and even minarchist all share this: they are willing to condone naked aggression, for some reason. The details vary, but the result is the same — innocent lives are trampled by physical assault.

To be an anarchist only means that you believe that aggression is not justified, and that states necessarily employ aggression. And, therefore, that states, and the aggression they necessarily employ, are unjustified. It's quite simple, really. It's an ethical view, so no surprise it confuses utilitarians. Accordingly, anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (b) states (in particular, minimal states) do not necessarily employ aggression. Proposition "b" is plainly false so I guess you'll need to keep trying to justify acts of aggression.



Post 14

Sunday, August 14 - 10:31pmSanction this postReply
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"...I'll point out, as I have in the past, that you can not have a free market without a monopoly of fairly objective law that is based upon individual rights."

You can point out whatever you want but you're begging the question. Why can you not? Why is free production superior to communistic/socialistic production except for when it comes to dispute resolution?

I agree with the author that anarchy isn't necessarily libertarian but neither is minarchy and anarchy comes closer.

"No such laws, and no government to enforce them, means no free enterprise."

You seem to be confusing governance with government. You should probably check out Hasnas (pdf).



Post 15

Monday, August 15 - 5:47amSanction this postReply
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This is going to go nowhere fast ...

I reply to C L that here on RoR, most of the so-called "minarchists" have shared a lot of context with the so-called "anarcho-capitalists."  Tibor Machan likened the argument to a discussion between pizza by restaurant and pizza by delivery: some want a fixed geographic locaton; others prefer to have it delivered where they are.

Generally, here on RoR, the "minarchists" agree with the "anarchists" that you have a right to contract for a protection service (locks, gates, guards, whatever) and that you and any contracting parties have the right to specificy your adjudicators (negotiators, arbitrators).  They also all agree that you can find these services in the Yellow Pages right now. 

Everyone also agrees that coercion is wrong.  The minarchists require that their ideal government does not engage in aggression, only the defense of rights. Funding for government is voluntary. 

The key distinction is that the "minarchists" insist that within any geography, all the laws come from one source and that no other sources of law are allowed within any geography.

So, the minarchists agree with the anarchists that you can have guards and adjudicators, but when push comes to shove - as it must sooner or later - they insist that everyone has to conform to a single body of law.  We cannot argue over which laws to enforce.  That would be anarchy.

Myself, I see in the world around me a multiplicity of legal systems coexisting within, without, over, above, below, through, and thoughout different places and times.  We live in a global society.  A company in Germany can hire a person in Ohio and have the contract conform to the law of Singapore, if that is what they want.  A few years ago, we thought of  buying a Rolls-Royce from about 1960 and when I looked under the hood, I smiled to see that the windshield washers were Nihon Denzu.  Whose laws do you think applied to that purchase of parts for assembly?  The ship that carried them from Japan to Britain probably flew a flag from Panama or Liberia, regardless of where the owners lived.  The Uniform Commercial Code was invented by jurists and used by businesses regardless of their geographic locations. Even within a US state the contracting parties agreed among themselves to abide by a different set of rules than the ones offered by their state legislatures. (And a minarchist reply would be that as citizens, those contracting parties never lose their right to fall back on the public courts.)  I offered the classic case of Cleveland Browns football quarterback Jim Ryan who held a Ph.D. in mathematics. When on the gridiron, he could not invoke the rules of tenure.  We all live with a multiplicity of laws that are applied by context. 

But having said that, I have nothing more to say. 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/15, 5:51am)




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Post 16

Monday, August 15 - 12:58pmSanction this postReply
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C L wrote, "You either believe individuals should be aggressed upon for the greater good (in which case you're a statist) or you don't (in which case you're an anarchist)."

That's so wrong. There are many tyrants who aggress on individuals without any concern for the greater good. Criminals aggress on others and certainly not for any greater good. In Somalia, anyone can aggress on anyone for any reason.

Further, there is an objective determination of what does constitute "greater good" and any initiation of violence, threat to initiate violence, theft or fraud - whether done by a government, private organization, or individual will not qualify. It is the absence of such acts that will in fact be the greatest political good.
----------------

C L wrote, "...even minarchist[s] ... share this: they are willing to condone naked aggression, for some reason. The details vary, but the result is the same — innocent lives are trampled by physical assault."

That is wrong. It is a total misunderstanding of minarchy. Unless someone believes that the only moral response to any initiation of force is pacifism, they understand that there is a right to self-defense. Because there is a right to self-defense, that right can be delegated. If a government is formed which strictly limits all government actions to enforcement of objective laws that derive directly from the defense of individual rights, that is the implementation of minarchy. The only force that is employed is self-defense and only a pacifist would object to exercising the right to self-defense.
---------------

Anarchists often claim that a FREE market will do a better job of providing justice and the defense of individual rights. That's a false claim since until individual rights are defended with a set of laws common to all in an area, that market place is not FREE of the initiation of force.

Anarchy is a floating abstraction - an unworkable theory bandied about in political forums, but in reality it is only the survival of the cruelist and most capable in exercising the initiation of force. It is competition between tyrant and thugs - everyone else has to hide and not attract the attention of those who loot.

The market place either is free of initiated force as a basis for transactions or it is not. Only minarchy provides that freedom.
--------------------

I've often wondered why the anarchists aren't concerned that this system they envision has never risen up and conquered statism... at least somewhere. And then, having deposed government, that it grew stronger with the passage of time, and began to spread. But that isn't what history or reasoned imagination reveal.

If we fantasize for a moment and imagine this territory where anarchy flourishes and things are going very well, how long would it last? The fact is that national defense can't be explained away as anarchists attempt to. There have been aggressor nations throughout history and they would walk all over a territory in a state of anarchy. The anarchists like to say there would be no government to take over. Why would the tyrants care - what they want are available goods and slaves - especially when they are so poorly organized in their defense. Anarchy is foolishness that a tiny few talk about, but none practice... not willingly, not when there is a choice. Those people who move to Somalia turn out to be very few.
------------------

There is a good reason why the word anarchy refers to both disorder and a political system where chaos rules. Humans make choices as they take the actions to achieve their goals. Do we order the system so that they can take any action they want, as long as it does not involve the initiation of force - i.e., the violation of the very choice that is uniquely human? Or, do we say, anything goes - even rape, robbery, theft, fraud, or murder? Those things really won't rule themselves out - to think otherwise is fantasy.



Post 17

Wednesday, August 17 - 9:59amSanction this postReply
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C L,

I'd be interested in your reaction to this short story.

Ed




Post 18

Monday, August 22 - 6:38amSanction this postReply
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[Michael, I am not specifically responding to you here; surely, you are not the original author of the often made statement "We live in a global society." I hold you harmless for what you are repeating. I am responding to the societal bumper sticker below:]

"We live in a global society." is one way to characterize what we do; a totalitarian religious way.

If I am to understand the words 'We' and 'a' juxtoposed with 'global,' then surely, the same statements as "We live in the global society." Unless what is meant by the above is "There are many global societies, and we all live in one of them." But that just begs the question: what 'we' is being referred to in that statement? Those in the room with you right now, or all of 'us,' everywhere?




We all live in one or more societies, plural, we all participate in one or more economies, plural. Some of those societies and economies are inter-related to greater or lessor degrees, and some not at all. My older sister, the life-long alcoholic, although she lives within 25 miles of me, in no meaningful way participates in either the same societies or economies that I do, except in the most meaningless and trivial fashion: we share nominal proximity in a thin layer of the atmosphere near a particular regional surface area of the planet. She and I each choose our socius via free association, and in our case, they do not overlap in any meaningful sense.

Lather, rinse, repeat. I could repeat global anecdotes from Qatar, Chile, Bangladesh, and all over the world. But what is true of my own sister is for sure true of those that are not my siblings.

I've noticed this in spite of the indoctrination I've been exposed to nearly non-stop from the moment of my birth. My 'socialization' began the moment I was aware. I was lectured to constantly about 'S'ociety and 'the economy' until after decades and decades, of course The Matrix is real. How can any of us even doubt it?

"It" is all I've ever heard of. Of course "It" must exist. 'We' don't even have 'the' wetbits to challenge "it"s existence, cannot access 'the' machinery necessary not to see that which we take as 'a' given, as real as the planet itself and the air we breath, precisely because 'we' have been so thoroughly socialized.

'We' might not have that ability. However I do. And so do you.

The presumption, the intellectual bias that we live in 'the' society, or participate in 'the' economy, as opposed to 'a' society of many, or the economies, falsely leads us away from understanding of complex systems, not towards understanding. Observing that some societies and some economies can be inter-related and can interact with each other is not the same as asserting 'there is just one of them.' Yet that assertion is vigorously and effectively sold to us from birth as part of a religious campaign based on tribal religious sensibilities.

There is no meaningful singular global 'it' that you and I can or any one like us can control, speak for, mold, guide, improve, regulate, manage, shepherd, govern in a rational manner, with singular wants, goals, needs, desires, capabilities. The religious fervor belief that there is, or should be, is what endlessly gives us the Hitlers and Stalins and Pol Pots and Wars of the We in general. It is the hubristic act of asserting that there is one of them, and that some Penguin armed constructivist can control 'it' and steer it in 'the' direction that causes the most blind damage to the most societies and the most economies, to the extent that they are inter-related. It is an over-bound solution to a non-existing system control problem; they are systems, not 'the' system.

The fundamental religious question is not "Why are we here, and what are we supposed to be doing now as a result of that?" Posing that fundamental meta-question of religion in that OneSizeFitsAll form is exactly an invitation to endless war on earth.

The fundamental religious question is "Why am I here, and what am I supposed to be doing now as a result of that?" and there are billions of answers to that question in a free world, not just one for all of us in a totalitarian world.




















Post 19

Sunday, September 4 - 8:46pmSanction this postReply
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Regarding this from post 1:

I like this essay. I am currently mentally wrestling with the last part, however:

*******************************************
There are contexts in which constitutional republics are relatively effective in securing liberty and contexts in which non-democratic structures are better equipped to protect property rights against an aggressive majority. There’s no one single answer for every country, every culture, every population in the world.
*******************************************

This is either terribly wrong, or counter-intuitively (surprisingly) right on the money. It may take me days, weeks, or even months to come to a conclusion about it -- one way or the other.
It took me 3 weeks (of thinking straight) in order to get to the conclusion, and the conclusion is that Brad is wrong -- and that Dean was right when he responded:

One cannot deduce from morality or human nature or definitions or economic theory what type of political system is best suited for a particular society.
Yes I can, its capitalism!
There are certain societies which may not initially "like" capitalism, but it is still best for them, nonetheless (given their common humanity).

Ed




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