Home > Uncategorized > “Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor”

“Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor”

from David Ruccio


50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, just days after joining a march of thousands of African-American protestors down Beale Street, one of the major commercial thoroughfares in Memphis, Tennessee. King and the other marchers were demonstrating their support for 1300 striking sanitation workers, many of whom held placards that proclaimed, “Union Justice Now!” and “I Am a Man.” 

The night before his assassination, King told the striking sanitation workers and those who supported them: “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end.  Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.” He believed the struggle in Memphis exposed the need for economic equality, social justice, and human dignity that he hoped the Poor People’s Campaign would highlight nationally.

The struggle hasn’t ended—nor have the conditions that provoked the Campaign in the first place.


Today, according to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St., Memphis is the fourth most segregated city in the United States—following only Detroit, Chicago, and Jackson, Mississippi. Just 2.3 percent of white Memphis residents live in neighborhoods where are least 40 percent of the population are poor, compared to 20.5 percent of the black population.


Moreover, data collected by Elena Delavega (pdf) of the Department of Social Work at the University of Memphis show the city to have an overall poverty rate of 26.9 percent—32.3 percent for blacks and 44.7 for children. In 2016, Memphis reverted to being the poorest Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population over a million people.

As recently as last year, the local Chamber of Commerce noted that Memphis offers a “work force at wage rates that are lower than most other parts of the country.”

King understood well the connection between poverty and capitalism. The year before his death, on 31 August 1967, he delivered “The Three Evils of Society” speech at the first and only National Conference on New Politics in Chicago.

When we foolishly maximize the minimum and minimize the maximum we sign the warrant for our own day of doom.It is this moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth. Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard word and sacrifice. The fact is that Capitalism was build on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor—both black and white, both here and abroad. . .The way to end poverty is to end the exploitation of the poor.

That’s the kind of analysis that made King so controversial in mainstream circles in his later years, and that has remained buried for the past 50 years under the exclusive focus on dreams and mountaintops.

Today, in Memphis and across the country, Americans would do well to remember the sanitation workers’ strike and the “radical redistribution of economic and political power,” as part of the new “era of revolution,” that King called for in launching the multiracial Poor People’s Campaign.

As Michael K. Honey puts it,

Remembering King’s unfinished fight for economic justice, broadly conceived, might help us to better understand the relevance of his legacy to us today. It might help us to realize that King’s moral discourse about the gap between the “haves and the have-nots” resulted from his role in the labor movement as well as in the civil rights movement.

In addition to remembering the eloquent man in a suit and tie at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, we should also remember King as a man sometimes dressed in blue jeans marching on the streets and sitting in jail cells, or as an impassioned man rousing workers at union conventions and on union picket lines.


  1. Prof James Beckman, Germany
    April 7, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Hi, David, the Japanese in America were rounded up & put into internment camps at the beginning of WWII. Germans in America were not so harshly treated–they seem to have just dropped out of public sight.
    In your studies of housing separation over time, you may have noticed that HIspanics & Asiatics have replaced lots of Blacks as many Blacks have risen economically.
    The logic of Capitalism is for the wealthy to take advantage of the poor, “but it is not personal”. However, racism is personal, which makes it all the more disgustng, don’t you agree?

    • Gary Seth
      April 7, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Forgive me , but , are you really a Professor ? Not history I hope . Because you write ” Japanese in America ” when it was American citizens of Japanese descent that were interned ; And you refer to Germans , again , American citizens of Germanic ethnic origins – Germany established as a state in 1871 – ” seem to have dropped out of sight ” , again not seeming cognizant of historical immigrants to this country . Oh ! Why go on …

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        Gary, forgive me, as in writing these blogs one becomes less specific. I was referring to ETHNIC roots, which seems to be the issue. Didn’t the US Supreme Court explicitly allow this imprisonment for American citizens of Japanese ancestry? I believe there was not such treatment of ethnic Germans who were US citizens. Of course, suspected spies were observed, as I know from some history around San Francisco & radio signals north of the Golden Gate.
        My BS is from Princeton, with some history added to philosophy (logic, methodology), while PhD is from Irvine/Berkeley in UC System for an interdisciplinary Research in Social Science, nearly following the well-known Organizational Economist, James March, when he went to Stanford While I have long taught in California & Europe in Business/Engineering. you have touched on something: I term myself an economic & cognitive anthropologist as much as anything else. I admit to really confusing many whom I admire when I jump from discipline to discipline.

  2. Miguel Bedolla
    April 9, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Unfortunately, and with all due respect to Mr. King, he ignores or neglects to mention that European capitalism was first built on the lives of Natives Americans. This is why men like Anton de Montesinos and Bartolome de las Casas rose in prophetic anger. It was only after great numbers of Native Americans had died working to build European capitals that Europeans began to bring African slaves to the world recently “discovered” to take their place. To be correct, Mr. King’s statement should have mentioned Native Americans along with the African slaves.

    • Robert locke
      April 9, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Do you know the term protoindustrialization ?, the intensive industrialzation of Europe 1500–1700 the handicraft workers were white.

  3. April 9, 2018 at 1:00 am

    How do you define capitalist, or more to the point, where do you draw the line between one who has and one who has not?

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Trained in econ at the graduate level at Berkeley & Stanford, I guess I am representative of the profession. Using my words: Capitalism is the attempt to increase profits by gathering the means of production–various kinds of labor, capital & materials–to produce for as many customers as one can profitably locate. We have manual, professional/technical & managerial labor these days, as the owners of firms (stockholders normally) seldom are managers except as result of incentivizing stock options. Immigrants, poor locals & slaves are cheap, but seldom have the acquired skills, although we can remember Spartacus who was a leader of professional fighters from throughout the Roman Empire.

      • April 10, 2018 at 12:56 am

        Based on your definition, we are all capitalists except the very poor.

        Just about everyone one of us has an interest bearing bank account, a pension fund of some sort (legally required in some countries), some own their own home, some own stocks, some of us earn royalties through books etc. Many of us earn some form of passive income or capital appreciation which we did not earn through selling our time.

        [If we want to split the upper from the middle class we may then say, the upper class receive all their income from passive means, whereas the middle are a mix of passive and active. We could then say the lower class are those solely on active income (with no pension fund and no interest bearing bank account), and the poor only receive welfare or nothing at all. Both the middle and upper classes then profit, the rest do not.]

        Because economics only deals with acts which have legal effect, then in a nutshell, capitalism is the ability to accumulate legal rights. The poor are not poor in money, they are poor in rights. The wealthy are wealthy in rights, not money. The have’s are those who own legal rights. The have-nots are those who have no rights.

        Whilst we have freedom in the west to choose who we become legally bound to, we still must enter legal relations to obtain our needs. The whole of the west have a monopoly over resources as no one can treat human needs other than as commodities today. The ‘have’ classes especially are exceptional at the ability to shift the balance of power their way in all legal relations they form. The poor on the other hand struggle to get others to even accept their promises and hence why they can’t form legal relations of any magnitude and obtain rights. What’s more you can’t solve the problem by giving up some rights and handing them over either through political means or on grounds of charity because those same rights will only end up in the hands of the ‘have’ classes eventually anyway. Wealth only ever trickle upwards. Can we educate the poor more on how to shift the balance their way?

        Based on my research over the last 15 years, the real exploitation comes from allowing the political economy to define what ‘contributing to society’ means which then effects how and where one can access resources necessary to live.

        The most ironic thing of all is that it takes a certain amount of access to resources in order to fulfill the law. For instance, if you lack access to food, clothing, housing etc, eventually you will be breaking some law such as indecent exposure, vagrancy, public nuisance, loitering etc, and this becomes worse if you have children because by law you must house them, feed them and put them through schooling etc. So whilst we politically force everyone to operate under the one economic system and force everyone to treat all human needs as a commodities, it never seems to have occurred to anyone whether its mathematically possible for everyone to fulfill the law under the one system.

        My research tells me it is not mathematically possible because 100% solvency is not possible, and that is because one mans wealth is another mans liability, and the more wealth there is the more liabilities there are, and the more liabilities there are the more resources must be reallocated from pure production (of human needs) to other services including bigger government sector, bigger banking and financial sector, bigger insurance sector, and so forth, and as this happens, those in most need get left behind as those resources get diverted to what the ‘have’ classes deem ‘more important’.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 10, 2018 at 10:31 am

        Dingo, you have said a lot of wise things in my opinion. As a consultant I tell my clients that all in life is SITUATIONAL: assets or liability, all values depend upon access to using them in a particular setting. As an example, for a number of months I have not been able to make the monthly debt repayment to an American firm from here in Germany without heroic efforts to reach them by internet & phone. A website on the issues regarding this firm indicates that some customers have lost total availability of their assets, causing unpaid bills & empty food cupboards.
        Putting this on a global scale, Mr Trump’s efforts to “punish” the Chinese for their alleged mistakes is a joke in a world where components embody patentable elements which are put into other components which are then assembled in China & sold around the world–think Apple. Each nation determines patentability. Thus nations have to negotiate on matters such as patent rights, as well as consider such “supply chains”. I expect that this will occur between China/US, but as for individuals who just want access to their bank accounts & spend hours on the telephone or find crashed web sites, the time is not one for which they are paid as are the government employees including their national presidents.

    • April 10, 2018 at 6:58 am

      dingo342014, good analysis. But I would not limit capitalism to the ability to accumulate legal rights. While economics only deals with acts which have legal effects, and even that’s not always the case, capitalists operate under no such restrictions. Capitalists (the haves) are wealthy not because they have lots of legal rights, but because they control the creation of legal rights and rights to act in daily life (some legal, some not). With such control money, political power, and manipulation of government can be acquired. The haves are those who possess control. They decide both who is a have and a have not, and who can have that right to decide.

      • edward ross
        April 12, 2018 at 9:42 am

        I reply to Ken Zimmerman April 10 2018 at 6;pm in my opinion the obvious answer to restrict the power of the elite capitalists is explain to the public and educate them in the importance of understanding a truly democratic egalitarian system gives them the power to reign in the animal spirits of the greedy elite capitalists. Keeping the conversation within the confines of the ivory towers of economists reminds me of seeing rats on a treadmill running flat-out getting nowhere. Ted

      • April 12, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        Ted, first rather than “explaining” democracy to the non-elites I’d prefer we show them through the actual workings of democratic decision making. This might make life a bit uncomfortable for some members of the elite who could be the subject of the examples, but I’ve always believed that more is learned by seeing and doing, rather than being lectured to. Also, it’s not just the animal spirits of greedy capitalists we want to control democratically. We also want democracy to reign in those same spirits among non-elites. After all, subverting democracy in any way or amount still must be addressed.

      • edward ross
        April 12, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        Ken Zimmerman April 12, 2018 at 1;50 pm in principle I agree with you with you but do not see it as an either or situation rather it is a combination of both. Further more the way I see it is as you state the non elites have to be reigned in before ‘they subvert democracy.

      • April 14, 2018 at 7:18 am

        Ted, this is certainly not an either-or situation. Democracy needs to be pushed forward on every front. But we need to begin with the elites. Who seem to have grown scornful of democracy and of most of their fellow citizens.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 8:18 am

        Indeed, Ken, much of capitalism avoids legal rights, with a D Trump walking away from many legal financial obligations, both item by item & with presumably six large bankruptcies. The Oligarchs of Russia literally stole public assets. Isis set up its nirvana by providing some sort of governmance over parts of Iraq & Syria, but at the same time looting public art & banks.
        These may be extremes, but “where there is a will (for gain), there is a way (anyway)”.

      • April 14, 2018 at 11:32 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, in his new book James Comey compares Trump to a Mafia boss. He’s not far off. Trump learned from such bosses, along a with a long list of fixers, conmen, loan sharks, and NY slum lords. They taught him. He didn’t have many other learning opportunities, since his father bought him degrees from Wharton, along with several other schools. The things Trump does as President are all he knows to do. Bully, con, lie, and attack, attack, attack. People don’t seem to understand that about Trump. He’s not choosing his actions. They’re built into his character.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Hi, Ken, once again complete agreement. Although long a resident of California, I attended my undergrad school near New York, & met a certain number of young men from priiviledged backgrounds exactly like him. Ironically, his mother was an immigrant from Scotland, while his father’s father was an immigrant from Germany.
        We are hearing a rumble that the American people will completely disavow him come next November, but this of course could be a ploy from some Republicans to reduce the shock, dismay & anger of so many Americans–who like all European nationalities–want to rally around their flag. But with such a flag-bearer?

  4. April 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

    There is little doubt that capitalism is built on the exploitation and suffering of not just black slaves, but also white slaves, American Indians, and dozens of other people who could be enslaved or exploited, or both. This pattern has not changed in the 21st century. Although to use George W. Bush’s term it is now more “compassionate” exploitation. If that’s even possible. Today the focus in exploiting industrial workers and the world’s poor. In his book, “Roll Jordon, Roll: The World the Slaves Made,” the dean of American historians of slavery, Eugene D. Genovese points out that every society for the last 5,000 years and before was based on slavery. The invention of bourgeois society with its supposed equality before the law also transformed labor-power into a commodity not subject to the law. In other words, it creates the appearance of human equality while the laborer faces the capitalist in a relation of seller and buyer of labor-power, ostensibly merely a disembodied commodity. This is the newest version of that class relationship of obedient paternalism from the Bible’s Isaiah 1:19-20 that is at the heart of all slavery. But human slavery is, in the words of Oscar Wild (The Soul of Man under Socialism), “wrong, insecure and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.” Already humans’ exploitation of fossil fuels and now renewable energy, has allowed the reorganization of society in ways which were before impossible. AI and robotics seems poised to remove every sort of slavery in terms of labor from human society. But it won’t remove the thousands of years old class relationship of obedient paternalism. That requires more work by humans. Work humans seem ill prepared to take up and certainly to complete.

    • Robert locke
      April 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Compassionate? The working poor have
      Not only lost private penions and benefits during Reagan bush clinton but are told new deal achievements are to go.

      • April 9, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Robert, this is George W. Bush’s claim, not mine. I consider it and Bush just a part of the bourgeoisie creating the appearance of human equality while the laborer is still treated as just a disembodied commodity. In other words, compassion resides with the law, and the law is always on the side of the bourgeoisie (capitalist).

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

        Adam Smith also wrote about compassion in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. Not much such consideration after WWII. Commons & Veblen, for example, had touched on it much earlier in the last century.

      • April 10, 2018 at 7:22 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, Adam Smith was aware of the importance of a strong and universal moral code to define acceptable and unacceptable economic arrangements and transactions. Neoclassical economists still pretend to hold this belief, but it’s just lip service. These economists generally substituted marginal prices, the efficient market hypothesis, and equilibrium for the moral code. Many economists and laypersons who label themselves conservative take exception to such moral teachings as compassion. In their view, compassion both limits human freedom and creativity, and disincentivizes hard work and sacrifice in pursuit of success. So, Adam Smith is not their guy.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 10, 2018 at 10:34 am

        Ken, I 100% agree with you.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 9, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Ken, paternalism is also a slavery in which youth are told who to marry, as marriage is a way of connecting tribes in the Jewish, Muslim & many other traditions. Male dominance is well written into that model as you know. Yet to a surprising degree the young fight this by fleeing or by building their own economic power base. Think the brash Wall Street/London bankers of the 1980’s on, and the new tech giants of the 1970’s on. Think also the superlative performers in the arts & sports. But you’ve really got to want such independence & have some skills. Yet Jobs, Bezos & the Founders of Google/FB, among others, are very much like us, but saw an opportunity & sprinted with it.

      • April 9, 2018 at 11:16 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, we need to be careful here. The scripture reads, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” This scripture covers the rebellious young, the defiant worker, the bride or groom who refuses marriage. This is not a class-based arrangement, however. That is, the rebel youth or unruly worker is not of another class, but only refusing to meet her/his obligations as a member of our class. Slaves are, however, marked as a lower, less important class, who when they rebel endanger the society, not just their own class. Slaves are, thinking paternalistically, not rebellious members of my family but rather enemies attacking all classes in my society. Keep this in mind when considering situations of revolt in a society.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        I nearly became a Presbyterian minister, Ken, so I agree with you. But to young adults with a college degree or a good job, these words have less meaning today, I expect.

      • April 10, 2018 at 7:34 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, I doubt most of the young people you speak of have any interest in analyzing these differences. That is, till these arrangements screw up their lives. Which, in my view is beginning to happen.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

        Ken, as you know raising a family & having a job are time-consuming. So indeed those who are advancing adequately by their personal standards probably won’t take the time to deal with “external” issues. Here in Germany this begins to happen when refugees are put into classes for which they don’t yet have the German. The teacher may slow the learning for the Germans to spend a LOT of time on the newcomers. At some point parents complain.
        With the use of knives by some immigrants, if such an event occurred in my town the response would be either to tell one’s family to not go to certain places at certain times OR to contact government immediately & emphatically. If one feels they have the status, they will do the second. Germans really want a sense of security, I assume due to their recent insecure past, but perhaps it would have happened here hundreds of year ago as well.

      • April 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm

        Ken on 9 Apr at 11.16: “Slaves are, however, marked as a lower, less important class …”.

        Despite it being a non sequitor, when “scripture” is quoted in such a context I think we are entitled to ask which scripture: chapter, verse, translator, sect or ideology of the publisher … The Christian scriptures assure us that, good or bad, we are all God’s children.

        I’m reading Chestertonian Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” (in ‘Understanding Media’), warning us that how we do things influences what we do. “The electric light escapes attention as a communications medium just because it has no ‘content’. … Then it is not the light but the ‘content’ (or what is really another medium [speech, print, telegraph]) that is noticed”. He quotes economists like J K Galbraith on the significance of sequence in mechanisation, then de Tocqueville on the difference between Britain with diverse medieval roots to its unwritten constitution and constitutional post-French Revolution America, homegenised by its new lawyers and literati. “For any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption of the unwary. Prediction and control consist in avoiding this state of Narcissus trance”. He concludes by

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 11, 2018 at 7:30 am

        Dave, I was raised in a family trained in Freudian & Jungian thinking, so I put that beside the Christianity in which I was also raised. Seems to me the Old Testament was matter of fact about slavery, as were the Romans, but Jung & others know of the likely effect on the individual–that one can easily lose the precious rights of citizenship or “Beinghood” in many societies. That’s why the “inalienable rights” statements within the French & American Revolutions made such an enormous change. And that has been one of the strongest attractions of those places which laugh at the racists, nationalists & religionists who claim they in some basic sense are better than others We can respond, politely: “Baloney” & perhaps “Show Me”.

      • April 10, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        quoting Jung. [Apologies for the premature transmission].

        “Every Roman was surrounded by slaves. The slave and his psychology flooded ancient Italy, and every Roman became inwardly, and of course unwittingly, a slave. Because living constantly in the atmosphere of slaves, he became infected through the unconscious with their psychology. No one can shield himself from such an influence”. (Contributions to Analytical Psychology, London, 1928).

      • April 11, 2018 at 10:18 am

        davetaylor1, the scripture is from Isaiah 1:19-20. Isaiah was a favorite book for Southern slave holders. Many Southern slave holders considered themselves good Christians. And they considered slavery a form of relationship endorsed by the Christian scriptures. Isaiah 1:19-20 is just one scripture used to justify slavery, from a Christian perspective, by slave owners.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 11, 2018 at 1:19 pm

        Hi, Ken, just as many Muslims accept Jihad–killing unbelievers, even if Muslim. That is why Napoleon kicked the church out of governance. If we lived thusly in the past we could soon return to plural marriages & the obligations of marital families to support one another with money & combat. Thus, Mr Trump’s various wives, past & present, would expect their Senior male in the lineage to tell Mr Trump what his obligations are. Would how he would Twitter that: “I Donald Trump hereby annul any rights of in-laws.”?
        Oh, what about circumcision? And bathing in certain ritualistic ways? Etc. My point: one can’t just pick & choose what they want to accept from a previous culture. Or so it seems to me.

      • April 11, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        Ken, thank you for the quotation. Old Testament, of course. My argument has been that with printing, the newly literate reading the Bible tended to start at the beginning, their ideas being fixed even if they got as far as the Christian bit. Much as McLuhan was saying, in fact, and the complaints here about Economics 101. In the early Christian period as now the problem is how to live with dignity even if one is enslaved.

      • April 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, juxtaposing cultures over time and location can have some sinister and some comical results. Trump examples are mostly of the comical form.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm

        Ken, you are so right. Central Europe is a place historically buffeted by war as well as the exchange of ideas. Every time I walk to my gym I am re-introduced to the Middle East, for one example. And many of my current engineering/biz classes are jammed with Indians & Chinese.

      • April 12, 2018 at 1:39 pm

        davetaylor1, I agree with your assessment. Plus, the Old Testament not only describes a rule-based way of life, but the rules are presented as fixed and final, and the penalties for violating the rules are both inescapable and severe. Conservatives tend to be more fearful and seek strong rules and structure to fend off this fear and the uncertainty that comes with it.

      • April 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        Ken, I saw McLuhan’s inference being that, whether they realise it or not, the 1%, the elites, the elect, the chosen people, are as much slaves of their own misconceptions as anyone else. That the rules and consequences Conservatives are frightened of are fixed rather than relative is one of them.

        Today’s tit-bits. (a) I’ve been reading Pigou (1913) defining the unemployed in terms only of workmen, excluding the salaried etc but not even mentioning rentiers living off unearned income. (b) A 90-year-old army veteran was telling me how he and his fellow engineers helped and got on well c.1945 with Malayans who were distinctly hostile to gun-toting infantry.

      • April 14, 2018 at 6:57 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, US history has a similar shape. Immigration, most of it undocumented, conflict, even as far as war, but also different races and ethnic groups mixing and sharing cultures and useful knowledge. And sometimes hatred and bigotry. US didn’t really gel as a nation till about 1840. That was broken by the Civil War. The US gelled again at the turn of the 19th century, and then after the Great Depression. World War II created the strongest US nationalism since the Revolutionary era. Reagan’s reign began the decline of this national spirit. Which Trump now attacks daily. The US as a single nation may never recover.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 8:05 am

        Ken, I totally agree with you. The most important production factor clearly is the knowledge, competence & energy of its employees, backed appropriately by data & select intellectual property. The world is awash with capital, & most material inputs given the amazing advances in material science (graphene as ex) & material extraction (fracking & deep ocean petroleum recovery as ex). Human diversity & the obvious additional drive of most immigrants is a large qualitative aspect it seems to me.

      • April 14, 2018 at 10:43 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, we’re in the middle of a technological renaissance. Technological transformation is happening at a pace never seen in human history. Everything is digitized and computerized. Many once human tasks are now performed by one kind of mechanical device or another. This is exciting and frightening. Now, our lives are digital, and those digital lives can quite possibly be stored and monitored forever. These changes are good and bad. We can text, chat, email, Facebook, tweet, and share videos instantaneously. But all this and more of our digital lives are surveillance data meant to keep close watch on what each of does, believes, and desires. Either to market commodities to us or at a more sinister level to control us. It’s all too often easy to not care, or to give it little thought, when the technology is ubiquitous. Everything is rosy until we find that we’ve suffocated ourselves in cocoons of technology that we can never control. And then technology becomes an enemy, subverting or limiting freedom of expression. Perhaps even making democratic society less possible or even completely impossible. How can we defend ourselves from this technological frenzy? Even as many of us are mesmerized by it. We need to discuss and assess these technology changes. Especially those that seem particularly dangerous such as AI. Right now, where are they taking human societies? And where do humans want them to take our societies? This may lead to fewer opportunities for abuse by both private companies and government. And more chances for technology to benefit human societies. Maybe!

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm

        Ken, again, thanks. I know something about the tech challenge, as this is one of the areas in which I do research for mostly German firms. The innocence of my Silicon Valley colleagues in offering something free without government controls had to be challenged. It has been in my eyes challenged due to the political abuse. The sales’ targeting has never bothered me, I suppose because I have never purchased anything knowlingly due to those “hidden persuaders” discussed by Vance Packard.
        Aside from personal data abuse, we talk a lot about competition, taxes & later job losses, as you are aware. Competition & taxes originate as issues from government. As for job losses, people are always discussing the loss of factory jobs, but before that we had the loss of agricultural jobs (later absorbed largely by those factory jobs). Now I expect we shall see more service jobs, especially for the infirm & elderly but also for the affluent & very young (day care, kindergarten). Obviously, a libertarian government will not move for the taxes to support this. For the affluent, cheap & loyal personal service is highly sought.
        Even if one doesn’t like economic winners, they are central to our resolution of many public issues–just tax them more, as far as I am concerned.

      • April 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, I want to end the wealth winners, the plutocrats because of the massive damage they create in society, particularly for the community aid that necessary in any society. But more than this, plutocrats endanger the continuation of all societies in which they are involved. Their vanity is the greatest threat to the survival of Homo Sapiens. While we may be unable to prevent plutocrats from being part of society, we can regulate and control them closely to minimize harm and maximize benefit from the. As with money and the Bible admonition about it, the love of technology is the root of all evil. Technology, like money is a part of culture. Technology and money are both tools, invented by people for pragmatic purposes. When humans adore their creations, humans become fascinated by then, begin a love affair with them that’s a dangerous scenario for humans. Emotions are fickle. Humans move easily from love, to hated, to revenge, and worse. People kill one another. Technology threatens its creators.

        Asad Zaman, in his post on this site entitled, “ET1%: Blindfolds Created by Economics” examines eight concepts used by economists in service to the top 1% of wealth holders to deceive the public. The concepts are: Scarcity, Pareto Efficiency, The Invisible Hand, The Production Function, GNP per Capita, Separation of Economics from Politics/Power, Private Property, and Utility Maximization. I submit the notion that economic winners are central to our resolution of many public issues is also intended to deceive the public as a service to the top 1%. Economic winners, plutocrats are unnecessary and of little use in preserving society or those living there.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 15, 2018 at 11:48 am

        Ken, I am very sympathetic to your argument. Yet I have never met globally or in history a social group which did not have winners, by inheritance, effort or luck–better, some combination, What about talented performers of all sorts? What about the R&D persons who change the world with whatever, looking at the more intellectual skills/efforts? Every group has leaders–just check out the plains of Africa.

      • April 15, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, leadership is different from winning. I’ve experienced 2- and 3-star generals who were clearly winners. Wealthy and prestigious family, best schools, etc. But no one would follow them into a bar, much less into a battle. And I’ve known leaders who were just as clearly not winners. No money, no famous family, often suffered from poverty or even drug abuse in later years. But when they went into combat, everybody followed, without a second thought. Leaders often get the worst of many parts of life – physical health, mental health, money, praise, etc. because they are leaders. In their leadership they simply—know this may sound trite—lead because it’s needed. As for economic winners, because wealth is power—political and otherwise—they’re always a potential danger to society. It’s impossible to stop such people from gaining wealth. But it is very possible to regulate and control how that wealth is used. All religions attempt such control. As do all democratic governments. But today in the USA this control has been eviscerated and reversed. Now in the USA economic winners use their wealth however they want, mostly to preserve and expand their wealth and diminish democracy. In a simple word, this is fascism.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 15, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        Ken, that is thought-provoking. I think first of my required military service a long time ago. I chose the Marine Corps. After officer commissioning I did six months of Basic School so that we “90 day” wonders wouldn’t make complete fools of ourselves. Mostly I believe we were decent leaders, so that our kids & NCO’s would follow us into battle, although I must say I asked my most experienced Non Commissioned Officers for approval when I was ordered to lead into that well-know Valley of the Shadow of Death. After the first few skirmishes I was certified by the Gunnery & First Sergeants. Unfortunately I lost some of my kids, however.

      • April 16, 2018 at 7:37 am

        Your history and mine are similar. I became a Marine at 19. An officer at 20. First combat mission on my 21st birthday. Never got higher than Captain, company commander. Then a Marine for 20 years. Retired 1985. My experience with Gunnery, Platoon, and First Sergeants is much the same as yours. I liked being a field officer. Office work drove me nuts. That dislike continues.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        Hi, Ken, good to know there is another jarhead in the room.

      • April 14, 2018 at 7:45 am

        davetaylor1, all humans are “trapped” by the cultures they live within. But, on the other hand humans would never survive as a species without culture to guide and protect them. So, while culture can be confining, sometimes strictly so, it is also liberating and the source of human history, and thus human future. Anthropologists teaching Anthro. 101 often use this question as an ice breaker. Why can’t fish see the water? Fish don’t see the water because it’s where their life unfolds, where its lived. Thus, like culture it is invisible to those whose life it is. Anthropologists and other social scientists attempt to “squint their eyes” (so to speak) so that culture becomes visible to them, even if only partially and uncertainly. This helps them understand better how and why people act and believe as they do. And this, in turn can be used to help humans survive as species.

  5. April 13, 2018 at 1:32 am

    With all due respect, I really think the title is misleading. It seems everyone’s beef is with those who are psychopathic, narcissistic, etc and who have a need to hold power over others. I don’t see how the ultra wealthy are any different to school bullies. But to simply label them as capitalists makes no sense especially considering that most of us engage in and contribute to the pursuit of profit one way or another.

    If I was to be brutally honest I would say that I have an element of narcissism (how much I do not know) in me that from self-observation always manifests into property creation, i.e. I am always creating expectations in my mind as to how others should act. I am not surprised one iota that this way of thinking manifests into the way we run our economy today. All of us exert some type of power over others to some degree. Those who are best at creating expectations in their mind without any real consciousness or sympathy as to its effects, are the ones who become the more powerful.

    Unfortunately, we can’t change or remove a school bully until after the fact and likewise, we can’t complain about the elite before they become the elite. But if you really want to put the squeeze on them, this is what you should do:

    1. Significantly reduce your consumption expenditure as best you can.
    2. Pay off all your debts and don’t take on any more.
    3. Sell all assets and take out any monetary savings as cash and store it at home.
    4. If you can, move your retirement funds into the least volatile and risky asset class.
    5. Do not work for a company or any entity which has shareholders (i.e. become self-employed or work for government).
    6. Do not shop or purchase goods or services from any entity which has shareholders.
    6. Convince enough people to do the same.

    • robert locke
      April 13, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Or live in a place that is “civilized”

      Here is one that I can mention, described in this short introduction to a book on Ethical Management. Not a fairy tale land, but one that exists right now.

      “Short introduction

      The book is a comprehensive introduction to management, intended for modern organisations. This means that the text handles high competence, rapid changes, complex interfaces, service demands, quality, security and creativity. Modern health is an example.
      The ambition is also to make management an important and independent science, like health. Theories are to be considered and discussed in context, evaluations should be as realistic as possible, organisation theories should be compared (today US and EU differ) and be part of an overall view, linked to international developments, providing authority.

      A consequence is that an ethical fundament is needed, which provides a solid basis in a changing world. Ethics is extended to social responsibility, because the organisation has to operate in society.

      This points to a stakeholder approach, because stakeholders have claims on the organisation or can help it. Important stakeholders are employees, customers, society and owners. Owners are not necessarily shareholders, there are different types of owners and an ownership policy is discussed.

      Many management theories exist, but often are based on assembly lines in the 1950s. Japanese management added quality, competence and design. Further improvements came through service management with relationships, focus on first line and methods for issues like changes, capacity planning and recovery. In service management agreements are jointly made by supplier and customer.

      Ethical management adds governance, values, principles and overall evaluations. Other management styles are also presented.

      Governance in the book follows European/Nordic principles, primarily an independent board found to be a general advantage. Personnel relations are based on principles of empowerment, competence and respect. In the Nordics, employees have representatives on the board.

      Values can be trust, openness, quality and privacy, hotly discussed today. Overall evaluations can target one or more stakeholders, creativity or social role. Increasingly, employees want more than money, they need a purpose in life.

      When Danish Novozymes is named the best place to work for researchers, it means they can hire the most competent. They work well, more importantly they can improve current methods or suggest new strategies. The Manager’s role is then altered to someone who can listen, evaluate and help. How many managers are trained in this way today?

      The book contains a glossary to provide clear definitions, a figure list mostly for teachers, an index, and many questions to help teaching and motivate further reading. The final chapter presents guidelines with connections to chapters that possibly could serve as a basis for a future standard.”

      Now you know why I moved to Europe. Don’t miss the US at all, as Greta Garbo said, “after I’m in the US for two weeks, I feel like I am throwing my life away.”

      • April 14, 2018 at 8:25 am

        Robert, Greta never understood US culture. Nor was there a reason she should want to. The US is a zero-sum game. For someone to win someone else must lose. This is partly the result of the US being a frontier society for most of its existence, and partly the result of the US growing up without parental supervision (after kicking out its parent, Great Britain). The US remains in many ways a child, with periods of happiness and good will interspersed with tantrums and violence. For Europeans who have gone through and moved beyond adolescence this way of life is incomprehensible. Russia shares a similar problem but for different reasons. China has the opposite issue. Its culture is so old that US/China relations break down to 5,000-year-old, complexities, and subtleties vs. the impulsive child. No surprise they don’t mesh well. I believe only time and experience, if the world survives long enough, can fix these issues. If they’re at all fixable. But the US is beginning to make progress. If we could just rid ourselves of these damned libertarians, who cast everything in the light of, “you can’t tell me what to do!” Or, in the words of my 11-year-old nephew, “you’re not the boss of me.”

      • robert locke
        April 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

        Ken, Stendhal, in Lucien Lewen, noted that the great issue of the 19th century was “rank vs merit” Americans don’t understand “rank,” Europeans do, and that is one great divide between them.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        Robert, for sure I don’t understand “rank”, so I can return to my religious routes & inquire:0f the titled: “What rank did Jesus accord you?” Of course, we have those “Render unto Caesar”, etc. remarks, but in the end we must be our moral selves, it seems to me. In fact, as you may be aware the more recent prosecutions of Nazii death camp personnel have taken the same approach: “But you could have run away, as some did.” Yet the rendering in the end is to whatever we are, which is why some supporters are fleeing Trump–the majority, of course, for their personnel futures. A few, perhaps, because of their inability to look their kids in the eye.

    • April 14, 2018 at 8:07 am

      dingo34201, elite is just a name used to identify those in a society who stand-out in one way or another. It could be physically, scientifically, genetically, in terms of wealth or sacrifice for the community. Elites have existed in Sapiens collective life from the beginning. The issue for us today is elites abusing their “eliteness.” This too has been an issue since the earliest Sapiens communities. Abuse by elites in these earliest communities was dealt with directly and often quite harshly. Exile, ostracization, or even death was the remedy. Communities that depended on each member for survival could not tolerate for long abusive elite hunters, mothers, or even weavers. This places too much pressure on the group structure and thus survival. The founders of the US recognized this as major problem. In Federalist Papers 10 and 11 Madison recognized that such abusive elites could not be prevented so they had to be controlled. Which is the primary reason they set up the American form of national government, with strong powers to protect individual citizens and the entire nation from factions that could rip individuals and the nation apart. Libertarians have undermined most of that structure. So now factions (the most dangerous per the founders, the wealthy and populist democrats) are quite literally ripping the nation asunder. The recommendations you make cannot fix this, nor stop it. It’s not people afflicted with elites that need to change, but rather the elites that must change, voluntarily or otherwise. Or, be removed from society.

      • April 15, 2018 at 1:36 am

        Those recommendations were tongue in cheek – they were made to point out that without ‘profits’ paid employment in the private sector would be non-existent, and in order for profits to come into existence either h/holds must dissave, govts must run deficits, and/or net investment expenditures must exceed savings…for an economy to grow (and hence for employment to grow) the sum of all those factors must also continue to grow, and it will be inevitable that as the economy grows so too does the wealth of all those who own the businesses, which includes most of the middle class who have pension plans. But there is always an optical illusion going on.

        I am from Australia (no surprise with my nickname), and Australians own around 2.7 trillion in pension portfolios which are invested in financial markets, and yet our total household debt is also 2.65 trillion! So whilst we think we are clever because we have invested so much for our future, we have also taken on just as much debt. But it gets worse. Our personal (bad) debt also averages over $20K per capita. I did some number crunching and if every Australian reduced their bad debt by half, they would reduce their own demand for money by the equivalent of 3 hours a week, which when totaled by the number of full time workers would create in excess of 21 million available working hours per week, which if divided by the unemployment rate would equal nearly 30 hours per week per person currently without a job.

        Anyone can make of that what they will but it clearly demonstrates to me that the elite are not solely to blame for poverty and unemployment – it is the fact that debt must exist in order for an economy to exist which is to blame, and as the Bank of England pointed out in 2014, if everyone paid off all their debts there would be no money in existence.

        I believe the real exploitation has come from allowing the political economy to define what ‘contributing to society’ means.

        This leads me to a question which I am hoping many will attempt to answer.

        How do you define what ‘contributing to society’ means (from the perspective of how one spends the majority of their time), and what grounds do you base it on, and is it the ‘only’ way someone can contribute to society?

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 15, 2018 at 7:34 am

        Dingo, you ask a very important question: who defines social/personal values. My answer: not economics, as even marketing only tries to attract persons with known, generally acceptable, values. Example: some years ago there were trials over cannibalism by mutual consent in Europe. Guess we won’t market cannibalism–at least not publicly. Example: again here in Europe there is political advertising over resisting immigration. It is NOT aimed at the affluent for the simple reason that the latter can benefit from lower cost labor at home & in their firms. In addition, the more affluent can far more easily afford to be Christian.

      • April 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        Prof James Beckman, Germany, it’s not a who that defines human “values.” It’s a process. It’s been given many names, but culture and society are common ones. It’s an evolutionary process (genetically) and a historical process (adaptation). Part of what humans do in building a world (culture) for living is to explain humans and humanity. As a physical species and as a valuing mindfulness. With patience and close study humans can also reflect on this process. Describing how it’s created, fails, and in reconstructed. Social scientists and historians cast themselves in the reflection role.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 15, 2018 at 4:28 pm

        Thanks, Ken. That is my viewpoint also. This means economists must test the cultural waters where they operate. No nation can preach to another, except “We in ___ generally believe it is not good to eat one another nor to physically/mentally abuse others.” Etc, with specifics as required, I imagine.
        I suspect very few people in most global cities have any real problem with money, including credit-created. That’s because they have lots of market options & so they want to buy & sell with the most flexibility. In small communities we can barter with the local farmer for his wonderful eggs by offering our home-baked strudel, for example.

      • April 16, 2018 at 7:04 am

        James, the thing to remember about money is once it did not exist, and then it did. Human society precedes money. Money is the creation of society, not the reverse. Why was money created? It was intended to aid the functioning of society. That is, to ensure every occupant of society has sufficient resources (food, shelter, clothing) and stimulus for solving problems so that society survives and thrives. Similarly, markets and all those “market laws” economists believe exist and structure our lives, are the outcome not the impetus for the societal structure. If market laws become detached from society, then society is doomed. We’re approaching this point today.

      • April 15, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        dingo342014, “Contributing to society.” What is that?

        This from 2014 might give a clue.

        “It’s not every day that you get to enjoy rich irony along with your morning look at the latest Google Doodle. But today is such a day. To celebrate Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday (he died in 1995 at 80), Google made him a thank-you Doodle that depicts healthy children and some adults playing and happily going about their lives. It’s a nice gesture! But it’s also funny.

        As Nigel Cameron, the president of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, pointed out on Twitter, there’s a weird dissonance between the spirit of Salk’s vaccine discovery—as exemplified by his famous decision not to patent it—and the fact that Google spent 10 years lobbying to get Google Doodles patented, and eventually succeeded.”

        Nor did Salk profit from the vaccine or feel personal tributes to him were necessary. Tributes embarrassed him. In his view he was simply fulfilling his duty and obligations as a good citizen. Contributing to society is just that. Making contributions to help society succeed with no expectations of praise or financial reward. And it’s always a matter of gradation. Simply put, whatever contributions to societal success Google has made, Jonas Salk made a great deal more.

      • April 16, 2018 at 1:06 am

        In today’s economic order where every political economist has painted all human beings as immoral selfish goal setting freaks who have no sense of mutuality at all, and where all resources are now monopolized under proprietorship, its as much as what people do ‘not’ do which can be a factor in contributing to society. It’s too late to return to any form of common ownership now without going the whole hog, but this does not mean individuals or groups can’t operate under custodian models which can co-exist alongside the current property based model. These custodians models simply operate under an alliance with government and do not treat any resource as a commodity. Anyone could become a custodian, it matters not whether you have skills or not – even someone who lacks the emotional, physical, or intellectual discipline to produce anything for themselves can still benefit society if the government fits this persons house with green energy where the surplus is channeled back to the government (this is just one example). These models benefit society because they lessen the burdens of government. The important factor however is that these models must be ‘funded’ (this is a poor choice of word but there is no other word I can find to explain this part of the process) by a central bank issuing the credit, which is used to purchase human needs from the private sector, and then destroying that same credit once it returns in taxes. This way there is no cost to the tax-payers/property owners. The property owners operate in one bubble, the custodians operate in another bubble, and no one from either side takes from the other, with the government being the go-between.

        I discovered this model years ago and tried to ‘disprove’ it because it seemed to be so counter-intuitive to the picture economists paint of humans and what the political economy today has branded as the only way to contribute to society, i.e. ‘one must sell their labours’. So I set about trying to disprove it, and the more I tried to disprove it the more it was proving itself and demonstrating to me that not only could it significantly reduce poverty, homelessness, and unemployment (not because it creates jobs but because it reduces those on welfare) without it costing the tax-payers a cent, it benefits the other side (the property based side) as well because all goods and services required are kept local, there is less competition for jobs and market share, and less competition for financial assets, meaning, the more who hop over to the custodian side, the less competition there is on the property side which from the property owners perspective is good for them as it increases their odds of winning (it would also reduce the size of government). In other words, the more I tried to disprove it, based on a belief that it would be property owners themselves who would fight it, the more it demonstrated that both sides, and government, would be better off.

        I was so shocked by my findings that I shared it with many people around the world who have campaigned for more human rights and equalizes, and yet with the exception of one or two, I have been met with complete silence. I guess this shows that once people become invested in their own ideas and solutions and their own ideas of what is right or wrong, there is very little anyone else can show them.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 16, 2018 at 6:20 am

        Hi, dingo, making change of anything significant is very hard to do, as you know. Often only a shock can start the process. We had that shock in 2008 economically, but now the barbarians are back at us with their handmaid/agent, Herr Trumpf, as we might call him here in Germany.

      • April 17, 2018 at 1:06 am

        As I’ve eluded to before, the way the political economy has exploited everyone is to convince us that we are all deranged self-focused narcissistic machines which must treat all means of production as commodities if we are to be seen ‘contributing to society’. The problem with this is that by treating anything as a commodity it creates holding costs (I use the word holding to capture any form of cost whether its taxes, depreciation, rents, wages, interest or whatever which exists because the resource is being treated as private property) which the means of production itself cannot satisfy (i.e. land itself cannot satisfy land taxes, labour itself cannot satisfy wages). These holding costs are ultimately and always passed on to households. As households themselves have no one left to pass on these holding costs other than other households they must then compete with one another for control over the means of production. And yes, I agree with most that it is the elite who end up with the most control but that is simply because they understand what is going on. The rest of us do not understand how the game works but keep going back in for more and more and it is due to the likes of political economists who keep telling politicians that we are machines who must treat everything as commodities, knowing full well by doing so the wealth will always trickle upwards. If I was King it would not be the elite who I place against the wall, it would be all the economists of the world.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 17, 2018 at 8:19 am

        Dingo, indeed life is more human in smaller communities where everyone interacts with one another. If you are my boss, but my brother is coach of the high school football team on which your son wants to play, then you risk your son not becoming, say, first string. In other words, when people are empowered, as through direct contact or unions, then the holding costs seem not so extreme. Certainly, however, math-centered theorists have not dealt with these realities.

      • April 17, 2018 at 11:52 am

        “Dingo, indeed life is more human in smaller communities where everyone interacts with one another. If you are my boss, but my brother is coach of the high school football team on which your son wants to play, then you risk your son not becoming, say, first string. In other words, when people are empowered, as through direct contact or unions, then the holding costs seem not so extreme. Certainly, however, math-centered theorists have not dealt with these realities.”

        I believe most people are community orientated by nature. The political economy however has turned it all around and forced us to put property before community.

      • April 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

        dingo342014, I’d say humans are community-oriented by evolution. Homo Sapiens evolution had tended to favor cooperation, peaceful relations, and group over individual selection. These have tended to provide the greater chance for human group survival. Thus, favoring their passage via genetic inheritance from one generation to the next. That said, we also need to recognize that biological evolution is an average effects process. That is, genetic structures contrary to those most favored continue and do effect human actions. We also need to recognize that cultural adaptation (that works within the epochs of biological evolution) is not always consistent with the biological processes, or with the plans humans make or the results they expect from adaptation.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 17, 2018 at 4:12 pm

        Hi, Ken, don’t we have to also consider warrior cultures such as the Aztecs, Mongols & Romans?

      • April 18, 2018 at 11:52 am

        James, I’m not an expert on either the Aztecs, the Mongols, or the Romans. So, I can only speak generally. The evolutionary tendencies in these societies are no different than others. That’s shown, I think when the warrior version of these societies shifted to administrative and religious foci once warrioring had served its purposes. An example where this did not occur is warrior knights in medieval Europe. Here, the knights continued a warrior life, even when their prestige and wealth suffered as a result. Obviously, the cultural explanations set up in these warrior societies differs from those in societies based explicitly on non-waring. Plus, in all these societies warrior life eventually caused their decline and extinction.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 18, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        Ken, again I think you have it, as warriors eventually destroy themselves when there are no external opportunities. A warrior can retire to store or farm work, but in their prime warriors can destroy a nation such as happened with Rome with its infighting. Europe destroyed the Aztecs with guns while the Mongols were absorbed into China, with some caveats about elements headed elsewhere such as Europe (earlier) & India (later).

      • April 19, 2018 at 9:53 am

        James, in early Sapiens communities’ role specialization was not common. All defended the tribe, all helped gather food, etc. Over the millenniums more specialization was created. This lead to such roles as monarch and warrior, trader, entrepreneur, and capitalist. These always had a tenuous relationship to the community as they could threaten the community as well as its threats or enemies. Consequently, the community tended to monitor and regulate such roles more closely and frequently. Today, many occupants of these roles have reversed that relationship. They now construct the community to meet their needs, rather than the historical norm of the reverse. Bold and dangerous experiment for species survival.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        good point, Ken, as professional guilds had enormous power in parts of Italy & Central Europe, for example. Here in Central Europe, Germans love family names which touch on such guilds. Mine, depending upon the spelling, is “Baker” or “Keeper of Streams”.

      • April 20, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Quite correct, James. The guilds increased in power. Eventually rivaling the monarchy and the church. And then leading the way into industrialization. The industrialists eventually subjugated the guilds, as they broke up the work of guild members into segments that could be performed by unskilled workers using machines. This doomed guilds, at least in the medieval form. They continued, however, as part of the new capitalist economy, as mechanics, engineers, carpenters, concrete workers, etc. But they lost most of their independence and all control of their wage to the new imaginary “labor market.”

      • April 16, 2018 at 10:12 am

        dingo342014, building human societies is complex, but doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. Biological evolution and cultural adaptation set the general form of such building. Evolution favors cooperation, peaceful relations, and group rather than individual selection for survival. In other words, these types of actions tend to make survival of those who practice them more likely. Thus, favoring these actions being genetically carried forward from one generation to the next. Adaptation tends to favor what has or is already working in terms of genetic evolution. But even with all these clues and frameworks, humans still must choose to take actions consistent with them. Plus, both evolution and adaptation are average effects processes. The general direction for cooperation, peace, and group selection is established, but some humans will choose to go another direction and/or evolutionary inheritance will create genetic results contrary to these basic directions. Most group change will thus never produce perfect results for survival of homo Sapiens. In the case of the model you suggest, we can’t know in advance how or if it can or will favor cooperation, peace, and group selection. Plus, people screw up things frequently and sometimes forecasts show themselves unreliable. But it’s certainly worth a try out.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 16, 2018 at 6:44 pm

        Ken,, as you also know the primary basis for cooperation was family connection through blood or marriage. The Middle East & many tribal societies elsewhere practice this. We “modern” folks have largely substituted state citizenship, although parts of the world have vestiges of “royal” families–not at all connected as in a tribe except within the extended family which finds itself atop the social heap. It is this which most interests me, as it can’t claim blood & marriage tribalism nor a democratic vote, but rather a quasi-legal agreement that in return for certain services as seen in feudal societies around the world we the followers will offer some type of fealty. This feudal model most surprises me because the gifts to society are far less clear than a monopolistic Google or Amazon, from whom one can detach connection as is more problematic with systems of royalty.

      • April 17, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        James, culture (minimalist version) was first created in what anthropologists call tribes. Tribes mixed genetic relationships with marriage. Since these go back 200,000 years for homo Sapiens, we don’t have a lot of physical evidence about their structures or functioning. We do know that gender roles were less restrictive and that penalties for disruptions of tribal unity were severe. We also know these were hunter-gatherer in terms of food, clothing, and shelter. We also know early homo Sapiens were physically nearly identical to humans today, including genetics. But the capability of imagination was added about 70,000 years ago. How this occurred we don’t know. In terms of security and welfare of human kind vs. environmental impacts vs. long-term sustainability capitalism is far inferior to the life-style of homo Sapiens during its first 200,000 years.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 17, 2018 at 4:10 pm

        Hi, Ken, completely agree with you although I have not dipped into antropology much in the past few decades–too busy doing international teaching & consulting, I guess.

      • April 18, 2018 at 9:52 am

        James, homo Sapiens for nearly 200,000 years did quite well without capitalism. Without any specific economic rules. Societal rules (morality) were sufficient to guide people in resource and trade decisions. The questions I asked repeatedly, why do we need either capitalism or economics? They hurt humans more than help. Capitalism is a good example of how that most unique Sapiens’ capability, imagination can terrorize human society.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        Yes, indeed, Ken. When we went from small-scale to mass-production, starting in the 18th c.
        there were markets to conquer as well as a need for producers to collect capital, materials, workers & know-how from wherever. Marx was in the middle of this so he could witness the phenomenon with clarity. Of course, we can also through outsourcing & incredibly immense logistics’ chains.. I spent much of the 1980’s & 1990’s in the Los Angeles’ basin watching millions of cargo containers being unloaded from Asia & then carried by train/truck to all of America.

      • April 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

        James, the UK established the world’s first globalized economy in the 17th and 18th centuries. It failed in the early 20th century. This economy was much like what happened with Sapiens after the agricultural revolution 12,000 years prior. Sapiens’ way of life changed momentously and permanently. This created many negative and many positive consequences. Global capitalism has created a similar set of results. But with a distinct difference. Its consequences have thus far fallen too much on the negative side.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        Ken,I believe my history books said “first global trading empire”, as did not most of the fabrication take place in the UK? That would be machinery, heavy building materials (metal/ machine-formed timbers) & ships/railed carriages as a first approximation. The Roman Empire was far less broad, but with simpler tech the fabrication seemed more broadly spread.

      • April 20, 2018 at 7:41 am

        James, my intent in the way I worded the statement is to convey the fact that the globalized economy was established by and for the benefit of the UK. Few of the so called “trading partners” benefited from the arrangements. The same is the case for the Roman Empire’s world economy. However, the trading empire of Persia was less rigid. The current global economy has favored the USA and the EU for decades. That is about to change, however.

      • April 16, 2018 at 1:14 am

        I guess I should add, when I say each group operates in their respective bubbles, this means only as to the legal relations they have regarding the resources in their hands/possession and does not mean literally..a custodian could be your neighbour and you wouldn’t even know it

      • April 19, 2018 at 12:16 am

        “James, homo Sapiens for nearly 200,000 years did quite well without capitalism. Without any specific economic rules. Societal rules (morality) were sufficient to guide people in resource and trade decisions. The questions I asked repeatedly, why do we need either capitalism or economics? They hurt humans more than help.”

        William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England explained that as the population grew we reached a point in time where it became necessary (to use his words) to ensure that everything which was capable of ownership had an owner. This helps explain why we must have some form of economic order, however, once a ‘thing’ is owned it creates a demand on government (i.e. as more things become owned the larger government must become).

        In my studies I always wondered about the scripture, ‘sell all your possessions and come follow me’, which is something that was apparently said in a time similar to our own where just about everything is treated as property. What always nagged me about this scripture is that in today’s world (and maybe back then too) if you do not possess sufficient access to human needs you cannot fulfill the law (and I know this from personal experience as someone who is related to someone who has lived homeless), and yet Christ said he came to fulfill all laws. I am unable to accept any interpretation of these scriptures which suggests that the only way to follow Christ is to abandon the very things we need to fulfill all laws (for example housing). Often people try and tell me that being homeless is the ultimate way to reach Christ but I say that is utter BS, especially if you have children. No true religion worth its salt would tell people to purposely break the law or force their children to live in the bush.

        So anyway, I had to find a way to reconcile in my mind the above scriptures. What I discovered is that the word ‘possession’ and the word ‘ownership’ can have varied meanings each of which can have completely different legal effects. For instance, if I own a book I can sell it if I want, this being an implied right of ownership. If however I have merely borrowed it and am now a custodian of it, I merely possess it but do not own it. However, it has been suggested that the word ‘possession’ in the time of Christ was equivalent to the word ownership today.

        This was a big revelation for me because around this time when studying the laws of property, taxation, and what burdens government I had created two lists; one list was all those activities which attract taxation, the other list was all those activities which do not attract taxation. All the activities which attract taxation have one element in common, which is completely missing from all the activities in the other list – that one element is the presumption that the activity is deemed to be in pursuit of monetary profit until proven otherwise. In other words, all profit based economic activities are taxed, all non-profit activities are not taxed or tax exempt. I researched a lot of cases involving tax exemptions and sure enough it became clear to me that the number one burden on government and the wider community is property ownership and the treating of resources as commodities. What’s more, as the economy grows and circulates faster (more transactions per period) the burden on government and thus the wider community gets bigger and bigger.

        The only activities which off-set the burden of commerce are non-profit activities operating under non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations co-exist and function perfectly alongside profit based organizations. The only thing I am yet to see (but which I have been working on for a while now) is to see if it is possible to treat the family household as a non-profit organization – which for starters would mean living in a house and using tools etc which would all be owned by the community at large. Only then would the above scriptures make sense to me.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 6:03 am

        Hi, dingo, because of my religiious proclivities & my past 16 years in Europe, the answer is a religious, educational, health or similar vocation practiced in a non-profit manner. About 80% of Germans voluntarily pay a church fee tied to income to offer support.
        My small German city near Frankfurt has one Benedictine Monastery (14 full-ltime monks + many males who regularly participate) + at least two Cloisters for women (guessing at about 36 full-time nuns + many others who are connected, such as the widow of a police-officer who is dating a good friend of mine). We have a Catholic Bishop, Seminary with about 24 priest-professors & a cathedral dating back to the 7th C in a former version. There are feeding programs for the indigent at the Main Trainstation & Mother Convent of an international Order which is also in the US. I think many places in the US have the same. I don’t know how the UK Episcopal Church handles these matters.

      • April 19, 2018 at 6:37 am

        Hi James,
        If all those programs were paid for, or funded, from money that was not market sourced, and which was destroyed once it made its way back in taxes, then the effects would be more reaching and positive. Unfortunately, all money is market sourced (even though governments have the ability to provide non-market sourced money) and when used for non-profit purposes is a zero sum effect because the creation of the money creates profits..so its like giving with one hand whilst taking with the other….but…don’t get me wrong, it is still better than no giving at all ;)

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Hi, Dingo, from the perspective of MIddle Age Europe, money WAS the problem as soon as one was not bartering or using the local lord’s script. In particular, distance trading had to involve letters of credit to protect against robbery as well as to allow “change” when buying something for, say, 10,000 units of value but having the letter allow for 5,000 more. This permitted flexibility in a safe manner. Certain items of trade also allowed for a quasi-monetary value as salt for gold in the Sahara & amber/furs from Northern Europe for perfumes & sill from more distant areas. All three standard banking functions were involved.

      • April 19, 2018 at 7:26 am

        James, what would be of interest is to know what percentage of the population were required to barter, trade etc back then and in a form which required legal protection? I suspect it was not anywhere near the levels required of today.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

        Dingo, the legal protection would be provided by the local lord, perhaps backed up in Germany with the Holy Roman Emperor & the Church at various levels. A lot of distance & time required to traverse it in those days. I don’t think we really can know.

      • April 19, 2018 at 7:44 am

        I would suspect it would be low. Studying a lot of early court cases in the early part of the common law in England, property ownership was not common for most, and one must own the means of production before one can exchange its fruits. If any form of barter took place it would have been under the radar, and would not have included the exchange of future promises, only things one has already in their possession, which would not have been much for most peasants. Only merchants and landed property owners back then really had the ability to trade and engage in the formation of legally binding futures contracts involving debts and money. In fact, in relation to the history of England since William the Conqueror, the recognition by the law of the right to negotiate a debt is relatively new.

      • April 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm

        James and dingo342014, such dichotomies and gradations in words and phrases as ownership/possession or commercial/feudal or for-profit/not-for-profit are invented by and within human communities. So, how are they invented, why are they invented, who benefits and suffers from their invention and use are questions that help social scientists and historians demonstrate how cultures are created and destroyed and their short- and long-term impacts. As scientists and historians, we cannot simply assume such facts as commercialism is superior to and develops after feudalism. We also cannot assume that property exists or that ownership of it is natural. In simple terms, Blackstone and others like his Commentaries don’t even consider the questions about economics and the law that are more involved and complex. By considering the history and anthropology of our lives we also can see how “reality is created.”

      • April 19, 2018 at 2:08 pm

        “As scientists and historians, we cannot simply assume such facts as commercialism is superior to and develops after feudalism. We also cannot assume that property exists or that ownership of it is natural. In simple terms, Blackstone and others like his Commentaries don’t even consider the questions about economics and the law that are more involved and complex”

        In one of Blackstone’s other books he criticizes the economists of the industrial revolution and commerce for painting the feudal era as barbaric, saying it was actually happiness for a lot of people. He is one of the few I’ve ever read or heard who painted feudalism in a positive light

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 4:14 pm

        Feudalism used to be viewed differently through its music, poets & playrights. I guess in the last decades many have stressed the non-democratic aspects. Living in Central Germany, between Frankfurt & where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German during the two years he hid from assassination, I am well aware of how a sturdy castle & tough lord could make for relative peace of mind.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        Ken, quite true, as cultural experience defines us all. Trump has a certain view of business based upon his father & father’s father. My views reflect a grandfather attorney on my mother’s side & a scientist, engineer, doctor & factory worker on my father’s.
        Cultural clay, one might say.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 19, 2018 at 3:42 pm

        Agreed, Dingo, the peasants had obligations to the local lord for use of his property. Be- tween essentially landless peasants not much trade, I expect. As a middle class commenced, in places like Nuernberg & the Hanseatic Baltic Seaports, then both trade & craft expanded. The former became a Free Imperial City within the Holy Roman Empire in 1219, meaning it had considerable economic heft to negotiate well politically. Similar status given Hamburg in 1189 for same reason. Ah, that famous rising middle class….

      • April 20, 2018 at 7:08 am

        dingo34201 and James. From several sources the ancient Greeks created the word barbarian. Using the term towards those who didn’t speak Greek and follow classical Greek customs. In the early modern period and sometimes later, the Byzantine Greeks used it for the Turks, in a clearly pejorative manner. In Ancient Rome, the Romans used the term towards non-Romans such as the Germanics, Celts, Gauls, Iberians, Thracians, Illyrians, Berbers, Parthians, and Sarmatians. We still use it in a similar way today, e.g., Russians, Arabs, etc. Those living under feudalism knew who the barbarians were. Just as capitalists today often see themselves as rebels and barbarians. Just one word of caution on “culture defines us all.” The statement is correct. But culture also redefines and recreates itself. Based on failure in application, attacks from the outside, or just dissatisfaction of humans practicing the culture.

        James, also feudal life was not as limited, and frankly ignorant as you suggest. Feudal life was based around manors. These were a main house for the lord surrounded by small and simple houses for all the manor workers and tracts of land for farming and hunting. The land was held by the manor for all inhabitants but officially the property of the current “lord of the manner.” Most could not read, including the lord but the farmers held extensive knowledge about the land, farming, hunting, and the crafts needed for the manor to survive (e.g., metal working, milling, wood working, weaving, astronomy, spinning). Lord and serfs were tied to the land, but had obligations to the monarch (e.g., supplying soldiers, paying taxes) and the church (building churches, supporting the church’s priests). As to trade there was much local trade related to relevant crafts, both in materials and knowledge. Often the lord and even some of the serfs visited local, regional, and even distant marketplaces for trading and exchanging stories.

        James, I assume you know the historian’s adage about the Holy Roman Empire? It was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Some of the cities in this non-empire became large trading centers, but the empire itself held no real power.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

        Ken, my information about manors in Central Europe does not necessarily accord with yours, as many manors were actuall defensible castles which controlled trade routes & therefore were assessing tariffs. The serfs were thusly out of sight so as not to become hostages to those passing through. Probably hundreds of these at one time or another. I have personally seen at least 50.

      • April 22, 2018 at 8:54 am

        James, the answer to the question depends on who the lord of the manor was and where the manor was located. Most of the barons of William the Conqueror built castles, since they were French in a country of Saxons who hated them. Most Saxon manors did not have castles. Some had fortifications (called Keeps). Similarly, when the Reformation came lords on the wrong side of the line between Catholicism and Protestantism built castles to control the local serfs, who due to religious differences hated and opposed them. And, as you suggest the lords of manors located to allow collection of ransom or tariffs often constructed castles and maintained large armies (more the 100 armored knights) to protect the manor and collect the fees (ransom).

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

        Ken, a brilliant summary of the situation. The Manor Lords had to consider their relations both with their serfs & those who might pass by. When traveling in parts of Germany, with hills on both sides of the railroad/roadway, about every 5 km one finds a tariff collection point in the form of a generally ruined fortification.

  6. Prof James Beckman, Germany
    April 14, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Robert, where did you live before moving to Europe? I was born in Minnesota but moved to the San Francisco Bay area as a child, becoming a Silicon Valley original. I came to Europe for a woman in 2002, but am unsure if I could live in most places in the US these days.
    Can you give a reference for your book? I teach Global Management in an Engineering School in Germany, with lots of both Indians & Chinese to stir the cultural pot. Best, Bim

    • robert locke
      April 14, 2018 at 9:04 am

      I’m an American of working class Southern stock (grapes of wrath type Texans who fled to California, where I was born in 1932. I was interested in history, took my BA at UCLA in 1956, then went to France for a year (yes my generation had no educational debts, although I went to Europe on the economy plan). Returned to do my PhD at UCLA, and then spent the rest of my active career, teaching history in US universities, and doing research during sabbaticals and with grants (2 Fullbrights, one Esso Foundation grant), until I retired and moved to Germany in 2002. I’m what one would call a trans-Atlantic European, ill at ease in the US but out of sinc in Europe, where I’m about the only “European” around. The Europeans are all nationalists.

      Read my article in the Real World Economics Review, issue #83, to find references in it to my work on management education and management, a lifetime of publishing, beginning in the 1970s. Before that I worked in modern French History, my PhD thesis was published at Princeton University Press I 1974, French Legitimists and the Politics of Moral Order in the Early Third Republic.

      • robert locke
        April 14, 2018 at 9:40 am

        The book I referred to is not one of mine. It is by Tore Hoie, Ethical Management, Fringilla Publishing, Gimleveien 13, 1472 Norway. email: tore.hoie@vikenfiber.no to order a copy. It costs 50 Euro. Might be just the book for your multi-cultural group.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 2:57 pm

        Thanks, again, Robert.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        Robert, thanks for your personal information as well as your management ed information.

        My take on ethics is that it comes mostly from organized religion, as I went from the Congregational Church in Minneapois to the Presbytrian Church in California. I nearly became a Presby Minister both before & after the required military service. The only people I know as ethical as I am are all from religious background except for a few who have internalized the Golden Rule.

        I expect we shall remain connected in this very useful forum. I am delighted that so many discuss economics from a multi-disciplinary background. This is science, is it not!

      • robert locke
        April 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        James Beckman, in Germany, when I set out to find a PhD topic, I turned to the crisis in France, after the Franco-German war of 1870-71, when the French people elected a constituent assembly (8 February 1871) in which monarchists predominated, among them sat in that assembly a large body of Legitimists, those who sought to restore the devine right monarchy. Why, 80 years after the French revolution would anybody (a very naïve American talking here) want to bring them back. Marx told us, they were anachronisms, representing the old landholding aristocracy. But when I looked at their economic and social backgrounds, I discovered, these devine right monarchists were no more economically or socially backwards than the people who fought them to consolidate the third French Republic. I called the book that ensued from my research (Princeton Press, 1974) French Legitimists and the Politics of Moral Order in the Early Third Republic. These Legitimists simply believed that society could not exists without a moral order, and that devine right monarchy and religious belief were essential to that order. Their particular beliefs were a product of their times, but the view that a moral order is necessary to the maintenance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a generalization to which most people would subscribe. That is what I learned studying a culture much different from my own. That is what the “directing classes” in the US in economics ignore.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 15, 2018 at 7:56 pm

        Robert, very insightful! I went through a complete Protestant education in the US like many Germans have either as Catholics & Protestants. It sure gave me peace of mind in Viet Nam, while today with the thousands of refugees in my town I feel absolutely compelled to be far more friendly than normally Germans are. I suppose the Constitutional Royalty in many European nations provide a similar function, although without the holiness. Thanks. I will try to find a copy of your book.

      • Craig
        April 15, 2018 at 10:12 pm

        Robert and James,

        Yes culture and morals are ingrained and not easily integrated even in times of change. The only thing even more unconsciously resistive to change is a paradigm whether old or new.

      • Craig
        April 15, 2018 at 10:21 pm

        Make that …Yes culture and morals are ingrained and not easily rationally integrated even in times of change. The only thing even more unconsciously resistive to rational change is a paradigm whether old or new.

  7. Prof James Beckman, Germany
    April 17, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Craig, YES & YES to your last!

    • Robert Locke
      April 17, 2018 at 9:38 am

      The problem with moral order is that it can be so immoral, to tell a person of talent that the preservation of a moral order cannot be established by brute force and then use brute force to protect the property rights of the super rich or to tell people of talent that rank has its privileges because moral order is rooted in social order.

      • April 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm

        Robert, spot on. Society is complex. Which means both biological evolution and cultural adaptation may not always move down the paths most favored in terms of species survival. May at times threaten that survival and/or create messy conditions.

    • robert locke
      April 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Craig and James,

      You need to Undo the Marxian – liberal bourgeois paradigm.

      One reason you need to have historians involved in this discourse, and not just social scientists, is the penchant for social scientists to start with theory and find, because of historians, that the theory does not fit facts. The Marxist liberal-bourgeois teleological paradigm dominated our discussions of modern political, social, and economic history and still does in many quarters: feudalism, based on a landholding aristocracy, shaped political realities, which was overthrown through the rise of a commercial and industrial civilization of recent times, which overthrew the political predominance of the landholding elite during the age of what Robert Palmer called the Age of the Middle Class Revolution in the late 18th century unleashing the process of industrial change their seizure of political power promoted in the 19th and 20th century.

      In my own research about monarchism in late 19th France, the political-social backgrounds of monarchists did not fit the scenario. So after years of being captive of the Marxist paradigm, I asked what if this paradigm were wrong. What if the French Revolution had little to do with the industrial revolution, after all industrialization really took place in the 19th century, not the 18th. In other words, it is much easier to explain monarchists in 19th century France in terms of the political fallout of the French Revolution than as part of the industrialization process of the 19th . In short, the first was not necessary for the second.

      In the 21st century, we know, that it was (is) entirely possible for states to industrialize-modernize successfully that did not go through an age of democratic revolutions, and for states that did not and retained feudalistic traditions, to accommodate the process of industrialization to them much better than those who did.

      • robert locke
        April 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

        James, Ken

        It is very hard to reject an accepted paradigm, even when the facts do not fit the paradigm. That I experienced, when I found so many people among devine rights monarchists, sitting in the French constitutent assembly of 1871, who were modern bankers and industrialists. American and British thinkers could not explain them being there, neither could Marxist, neither could I; nor could I explain the appearance of a economically backward middle class among their opponents in 187l — those who sponsored the Republic — if I used the Marxist yardstick of socio-economic development, which was the teleological paradigm everybody used. The devine right monarchists who were industrialists and bankers had to be anomalies.

        But I did not like this kind of reasoning. If you read my book French Legitimists and the Politics of Moral Order in the early French Republic, Princeton UP, 1973, you’ll find, in the book that I have a chapter on the social background of the Legitimists and another on their Economic background. I tried for years to write a chapter on their socio-economic background, but it just didn’t make sense for the reasons I just gave.

        Finally, I had my eureka moment. What if the social background of this political group (their opposition to the French Revolution and its effects) had nothing to do with their economic background, what if, to generalize, they constituted a continued reaction 80 years after the French Revolution, to the social aspect of the revolution, and that this revolution really had very little to do with large scale industrialization in the last half of the nineteenth century, then a whole lot of teleological anomalies disappear. Germany could, under a regime that defeated liberal democracy in 1848, outstrip the French economically and industrially in late nineteenth century despite the reactionaries (Bismarck & company) crushing liberal representative democracy, without this being an historical anomaly. So my chapter in my book was not about the socio-economic background of Legitimists, but about the social background (how they related to the political fallout of the French revolution) and how in a subsequent chapter on their economic background, how they related to the industrialization that was going on in their lifetime.

        The effort to bring about my own paradigm change in my thought took ten years. But when I adopted it everything became clearer.

        James, you are in China often, a nation that now rivals the boureoise-capitalists Americans, China did not have to go through a phase of democratic bourgeois development to be able to industrialize, nor did Imperial Germany, nor Japan. And France, whose revolution shook the 18th century, did not become the industrial leader in the 19th century. There is something very wrong with the explanatory paradigm the Anglo Saxon use. And I think you James, living in Germany are aware of how “feudal” traditions proved perfectly responsive to the needs of industrialization.

      • April 21, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Robert, paradigms (not a word I like) are rather restrictive in terms of understanding and reacting to “events on the ground” anywhere. That’s because no paradigm ever captures how people and communities make decisions or choose to take actions, or the actions performed. At best decisions and actions are a mixture of many factors. Some which fit in part or in whole into some predefined paradigm(s) and some which do not. We must never forget that people invent paradigms, not the reverse.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 21, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        Robert, you are absolutely correct about my experiences in Germany & China. In fact, I think one reason I remain here–aside from a German-Polish family–is this matter of cultural change. Personally, I see science & technology as able to support any form of poliltical & social structure to permit various groups to advance economically & therefore politically.
        Yesterday many of my largely Indian Master’s engineers graduated. Most are expecting to get jobs in Germany. That is one of my special interests, due to my dual career as a management consultant & prof. In a few months our first large cohort of Chinese engineers is going to graduate–over a 100. I must become busy showing them how to score a tech job here, as well as selling them on such as a first step towards a better job in China in a few years.

      • April 22, 2018 at 5:54 am

        Robert, my experience with paradigms is none is so distinct that we know for certain we are in vs. out of it. Plus, just because one uses the name of a supposed paradigm, e.g., scientist, royalist, etc. to describe one’s actions or priorities does not this is indeed the case. People do lie, and are often mistaken, deliberately or otherwise, and sometimes just don’t fully understand what they’re declaring. And, since much of our understanding of the world and ourselves is tacit, many people honestly don’t know they’re following some paradigm, even if an outside observer such as Robert concludes they are doing just that. How likely is it that Keynes’ practical men only tacitly believe themselves exempt from any intellectual influences but are also tacitly slaves of some defunct economist? A question that must be answered in any research situation. Then there’s psychology’s contribution. Compartmentalization is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves. Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self-states. And finally, there’s the uncertainties involved in all human cultures. It’s doubtful human life in any setting conforms to one paradigm or ever could. Human complexity prevents that.

        On China and industrialization, Robert your view is correct I think. Democratic bourgeois development is not essential for industrialization. And it seems clear that some feudal traditions are not at odds with either industrialization or capitalism. For example, centralized, totalitarian control of companies, people, and transactions. As well as near but not actual slavery control of workers.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm

        Robert, I agree with you, since some agriculture remained profitable–thinking wine-grapes, beer ingredients, grains for humans/cattle, dairy/cattle, etc–so that transporation was the main improvement. Various places stressed canals, often interconnecting rivers. Others went for roads, not at all hospitable for wagons. Of course, agrcultural & mineral production greatly benefited.

      • Robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 6:22 am

        James, German-polish famiiy? My wife is polish, which accounts for our living in Goerlitz, on the German-polish border. How our personal petite histoire shape our views of grande histoire!

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

        Hi, Robert, we pass through Goerlitz between our German home & my wife’s son’s homes in Zagan & Zielonagora. Her mother had German nationality but remained with her Polish husband after WWII. Their home is 38 km south of Breslau/Wroclaw.

      • robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 10:40 am

        James, next time you come through stop and see us. Langenstrasse 5, right in the old town, 30 meters from City Hall. If you don’t know Goerlitz its worth a quick see in the old town especially. My wife speaks Russian, Polish, and English, but never learned German. When we met at the Warsaw airport in 1990, she spoke no English, and we had no common language. What fun we had. Our tel no. is 01715276502. Or ring at the door, a big red house.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 11:22 am

        Robert, I’ve written your information down. I look forward to a visit. I have not taught my wife English, so we make do with my mediocre Deutsch. Irena of course learned Russian, but has Polish as her strongly first language.

  8. Prof James Beckman, Germany
    April 21, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Hi, Robert & any others: In my first medaval history course we had an exam question: Do great men (people, today) make history or not? This was very general of interpretation, allowing for occasional “great” people. For what has become Germany I nominated Charlesmagne (crowned 0800 as Holy Roman Emperor) & Martin Luther (theses posted in 1517, after MIddle Ages) because one established a system of feudel governance in the name of the Pope, while the latter challenged the ecclesiastical position of the Pope & his prelates–and thus weakened the overall authority of the Holy Roman Empire which had been beaten upon by rising commercial centers.
    My point, for one part of the overall European feudal experiment, religious authority drove ownership & control, which was the major economic force as well until the development of those pesky commercal production & trading centers overtook them. The Lord who sheltered Luther for those two years to translate the Bible into German once made much of his income from getting a share of the Church selling of indulgences. Other Lord’s underwrote trade with profits from mining ventures, quite independent of any church.

    • April 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      James, I would not pick either Charlemagne or Martin Luther as great men. But then I’ve never put much credence in the “great man or woman” view of history. Best we can say about the period after the “fall” of the Classical Roman Empire is it was complex. It wasn’t always messy but was always challenging. Choosing a date when stability was re-established is a matter of personal preference rather than historical fact. Most historians, however place this date during the tenth century, CE. The fallen empire was invaded three times during this period – by Germans in the 5th and 6th centuries, Arab and Austrasian in the 8th century, and Hungarian and Viking in the 9th and 10th centuries. These damaged both the economic and cultural well-being of local peoples and forced most parts of the empire toward local self-sufficiency. But the invaders also brought new cultural and economic options and provided new workable government structures. The newly legalized Christian Church was plagued with battles over doctrine, while the Holy Roman Empire was the most important political power. By the 11th century the Church had become the most prominent part of all areas of life, the HRE was in decline, and trading and manufacturing cities in the north and in Italy were growing. But the biggest attraction and public spectacle coming out of this 500-year period was the Crusades. Some of these struggles went on for another hundred or two-hundred years (e.g., cities vs. central government, Church vs. state, the growth of gilds). Feudalism as a form for government and economics gradually faded in importance, but never entirely vanished. By 1500 other options were supplanting feudalism.

      • Robert locke
        April 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        The medievalist I read and studied under. (Lynn white jr on my PhD committee would object making their Field a Stop on the way to the modern world. It had a dynamism that did not come from Islam Arabic or Persian. Which produced the crusades, the expansion of Europe is not an expression of burckhard‘s Renaissance but of s dynamism in the high Middle Ages. The Virgin was as sociodynamic as the dynamo.

      • April 22, 2018 at 6:14 am

        Robert, my comments were about the period following the fall of the Classical Roman Empire. I really don’t have a name for that period. Nor am I certain about when it began or ended. Both can be and have been contested. Beyond just survival I don’t believe many during this time were considering the future. If I’ve offended any medievalists by my comments, I apologize. What I wrote is a large part of my total knowledge of the period. And it’s not likely I’ll ever become a professional anything on the period. According to Henry Adams, “Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.” So yes, the virgin is as socio-dynamic as the dynamo. But they are symbols of very different ways of life.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 21, 2018 at 7:34 pm

        Ken, as you know Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, which inevitably had military leaders with a penchant for setting up strong-points on the way to the Holy Land. Some commentators felt these military sites were never intended to be temporary. Thus, both military & political identities appear.

      • April 22, 2018 at 6:20 am

        James, I agree. The Crusades were a religious war, much like that of Islamic jihadists today. And like the current war of jihadists the Crusades were a war, with combatants on both sides intent on winning.

      • robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 11:43 am

        Perhaps charisma is, like beauty, in the heart of the beholder. I have seen its effect on people a couple of times. Once in the de Gaulle incident I witnessed when in France observing the French people reaction to his appeal, “francaise, francais, aidez moi.” I wanted to follow him, too. The second is when a newly elected Pope visited the city of his predecessor in Cremona. I was there by accident with my German girlfriend, watching a sort of frisson move through the people in the street-lined crowd, at the moment the popemobile passed the point where people stood. I looked at Traudel; tears were streaming down her cheeks. I asked “Why are you crying, you are a Unitarian without sympathy for popes.” “It is so moving was her reply.” The point about charisma is that it transcends reason, people follow just like I felt the urge to follow de Gaulle during that French crisis.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        Robert, I do the same with opera. If I were completely into la Dolce Vita, I would spend a month or so each year hitting La Scala, Bayreuth, Paris, London, New York.

      • Robert Locke
        April 23, 2018 at 6:12 pm

        In Hawaii, we organised an opera club, composed of 20plus people, of various backgrounds, which met every two weeks or so, at one or two private venues, with
        good equipment. to hear and watch a variety of operas, with potluck food and drink brought to mirror the Opera’s theme. Spanish if Fidelio, French, la Traviata Russian, Eugene onegin, etc. our spirits floated on the wings of a dove.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 24, 2018 at 7:09 am

        Robert, since I love both Hawaii & opera, the experience to me seems sublime.

    • Robert locke
      April 21, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Don’t let ken bamboozle you. Hegel called them ‘world historical figures’ — jesus buddah
      Mohamiid Alexander who created the hellenist napoleon who revolutionized Europe Lincoln who made the us a nation, europe’s Problem is it lacks a world historical figure to bring it together. Charisma is the creative force in the transformation process and its appearance is unrediictable.

      • April 22, 2018 at 6:23 am

        Not the only thing Hegel was wrong about.

      • Robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 6:38 am

        you as a soldier must have experienced charisma. I did at a critical moment in french history, when de Gaulle put down a revolt in the army through his “presence.”

      • April 22, 2018 at 9:33 am

        Robert, can’t say I have. I’ve experienced loyalty, patriotism, love, hatred, fear, envy, and all that goes with being a good or bad Marine. But never charisma.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 9:53 am

        Ken, I’ve heard that Chesty Puller had it, as well as that WWII Army Tank guy.

      • April 22, 2018 at 10:27 am

        James, every Marine knows the story of Chesty Puller. But I never met him. Only famous people I’ve met are Eisenhower and Bruce Springsteen. Both seemed smart and kind. Neither seemed to show any charisma to me.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 22, 2018 at 11:16 am

        Ken, I rely on the words of others for Puller, Patten & Rommel, another tank guy. Personally, I find there are people I trust for their honesty or competence, or both. Or neither..

      • robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 11:52 am

        James, so it looks like our wives speak Polish and we English. Splendid.

      • robert locke
        April 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        The term charisma has two senses: (1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, (2) a divinely conferred power or talent. As regards sense 1, scholars in political science, psychology, and management use the term “charisma” to describe a particular type of leader having “symbolic leader influence rooted in emotional and ideological foundations”.

  9. Craig
    April 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Truly new paradigms are always attended by new or re-discovered insights, and new tools or innovations of same that increase knowledge, stability, certainty and human survival in the area of human endeavor they apply to. There is no end of history, but increased stability etc is good enough in the temporal universe especially when it is the major progressive event of cognition on a new paradigm.

    Paradigm perception is a tricky thing because consciousness itself is tricky, and a new conscious realization is both a component part of, and the operative aspect of REALIZING a new paradigm. This is why cutting edge heterodox economists can separately emphasize an aspect of the new paradigm and even suggest reforms and policies that align with it…but do not recognize the single concept that it is and the entire new pattern it also creates. In this sense they stand looking, but not perceiving. It’s the difference between being aware and being aware….of being aware….which is all the difference in the cosmos.

    A study of the signatures and requirements for a new paradigm is much more informing than endless theorizing, epicycle perturbations and racking up a zillion debating points. I highly recommend it.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 24, 2018 at 7:07 am

      Craig, I always consider the Newton-Einstein/Planck transformation, with the equations/exact measurements as one paradigm shift versus,say, the less exact shifts which each of the six great religions offer, according to my collegiate studies. Today, livijng in Germany, we are confronted by that part of the “neo-Christian thinking” (my words) of those Muslims who believe in Jihad (kill all unbelievers under certain general conditions) as a shift from the Old Testament Judaism to the New Testament Christianity to something else. I have many Muslims among my former students.

      • robert locke
        April 24, 2018 at 7:55 am

        But these are extremists, James, in a Muslim culture that is rich in diverse beliefs, and in the process of accelerated transformation under globalization. My daughter, was educated in Germany, studied Islamkunde, in Mainz, had many Muslim friends, married a Persian and then a Moroccan, is a dean of students in a Chinese Buddhist University in Southern California, is about as ecumenical as can be in her outlook, teaching my grandson Salim, the same, and they are Muslims. Its all in ferment. My late son, was a theologian, trained at Trinity College Dublin, who taught in that same Chinese Buddhist University as my daughter, the civilizing nature of religious belief == about which I, a child of the enlightenment, have serious reservations.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 24, 2018 at 1:19 pm

        A wonderful counter-example, Robert. Unfortunately the official Muslim bodies here, at a national or local level, seldom publicly criticize violence. Instead the police are forced to surveil the more extreme preachers for possible ejection on the basis of incitement to violence. One could say the same of the current American President as well, although ejection is unlikely.
        With knives suddenly becoming popular–perhaps a dozen publicly observed uses in the past six weeks, the post-WWII pushing another’s shoulders in anger has given way I expect to some Germans illegally carrying firearms. I don’t think many consider this a desirable situation.

      • April 25, 2018 at 10:04 am

        Immigration is a topic that has prompted study and struggle (sometimes violent) since the creation of the modern nation state. For example, in the US, almost since the nation’s founding Americans and their legislators have weighed the benefits of welcoming new citizens from around the world against the benefits of restricting immigration, monitoring the activities of the foreign born in the United States, and narrowing the path to citizenship. One line of debate and conflict focuses on the issue of political influence and, specifically, the fear that foreigners within the United States promoted political radicalism. Today, we can add religious radicalism to this area of concern. With the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the U.S. Congress and President John Adams sought to limit the influence of the French Revolution by deporting certain immigrants and closing immigrant-owned, opposition presses on the grounds of treason. When the Alien and Sedition Act was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and never enforce, like today deportations were made covertly and presses were closed based on a variety of local “tax and safety” concerns. In the late nineteenth century, immigration laws specifically forbade entry to any suspected anarchists; Communists would be targeted later in the twentieth century; Moslems are now the focus in US immigration debates about exclusion. Immigration also raised concerns about depressing wages for workers and taking jobs from Americans. Finally, debates over immigration included questions of cultural difference and on changing expectations of how foreign-born people should adapt to and participate in American society. The period from 1870 to 1920 saw the largest number of immigrants enter the US in the nation’s history. Studying that period reveals how each of these areas of concern was discussed, fought over, and eventually settled. We’re now in a period of high immigration again. The old solutions have been forgotten, if the current generation of policy makers ever remembered them considering their ignorance of and unconcern with history.

        These issues remain the most discussed and fought over in not just the US, but also all over Europe in the face of vast waves of immigrants displaced or threatened by war, famine, despotic regimes, or great fear for personal survival. What answers are now being offered for the issues, in the US, Germany, and elsewhere?

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 25, 2018 at 11:20 am

        Ken, California has benefited from immigration in agriculture, show business, tech & global business. Germany, concerned in part about its large number of retirees, is doing much the same by inviting refugees as well as virtually anyone who seems able to find work. Most of my Indian MS engineers want to stay–at least for a few years– and I have about 100 Chinese engineers who are beginning to ask if they should return shortly to their single-child parents or try life in a German tech firm similarly for a few years.
        The upside for global economic growth/stability are enormous, but we also know we must take care of our domestic populations, it seems to me.

  10. April 23, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Poverty and homelessness exists because:

    – human needs like housing, clothing, food and education are treated as commodities which is a bundle of legal rights
    – every individual or household must possess a bundle of legal rights in order to exchange for other legal rights
    – legal rights come into existence only when another or others accept the legal duty which corresponds to the legal right
    – legal rights therefore are not infinite or limitless, but are limited by the willingness of others to accept such a duty
    – the economic aim and necessity of everyone is to remain solvent, i.e. own more legal rights than is owed in legal duties otherwise they can’t fulfill the law
    – because every legal right must have a corresponding duty it is not mathematically possible for everyone to be solvent
    – more permanent legal rights (such as real estate, business etc) legally require more legal rights in order to maintain them, i.e. insurance costs, taxation, profits etc
    – therefore, flows of legal rights (such as income) are always attracted toward stocks (shares, bonds, real estate) of legal rights
    – legal rights travelling in the opposite direction (redistribution of wealth) are only ever temporary and will always be pulled back in the other direction
    – the closer to the wealthy end of the chain the more legal rights and corresponding legal duties are required per ring in the chain
    – the closer to the wealthy end of the chain the more bargaining power and therefore the more security exists, the opposite is true at the other end
    – toward the poorer end exists more people who lack the intellectual, emotional, or physical discipline and/or the desire to secure permanent legal rights against others
    – poverty is measured by political economists by how much income one receives, which masks the true nature of poverty which is lack of permanancy

    What can’t fix poverty:

    Redistribution of wealth, welfare, charity, and non-profits which aim to alleviate the poor with money cannot fix poverty as money is itself a product of competition, and as stated above, is never permanent and will always be attracted toward the wealthier end out of legal necessity. All the money in the world cannot fix poverty, money is the cause.

    Economists cannot fix poverty because they are too invested in trying to solve a human problem they know nothing about; they lack the essential knowledge and understanding of what humans are and what they want and need and instead paint all humans as self-centered machines in order to have them fit their utopian and romantic ideals of what an economy should look like and then get paid for the privilege of showing us all how we should act. Economists want more things and resources to be treated as commodities, not less. Economists are like the Brainy Smurf who no one likes.

    What can fix poverty:

    The solution is to segregate resources as the means to create the necessary permanancy so that it does not require others to accept the legal duty.

    In other words, the solution must not come at the expense of the tax-payers and property owners.

    The only way to do this is under tri-lateral economics.

    Tri-lateral economics

    Permanency of human needs is created by securing those resources necessary for the poor under a custodianship whereby the poor become custodians (instead of owners).

    They in effect give up the right to own property (legal rights) as the compromise for permanent access to human needs, therefore the custodian model does not create legal duties against others.

    Custodians do not work in paid jobs or operate businesses, or do anything which is commercial based, but instead operate under an alliance with government and simply do any task which lessens the burdens of government (there is no shortage of this and this list is larger than all the jobs and businesses combined).

    Custodians therefore do not compete for human needs nor does the government compete for those needs either, but pays for them on the custodians behalf out of NON-tax payers money.

    The way this is acheived is simply to have the central bank issue the money interest free and then have it destroyed when it makes its way back in taxes, or, offer businesses whom provide said needs tax-offsets.

    In one fell swoop much of the poverty and homelessness (and crime) could be eliminated by employing custodian models for each individual who so chooses to operate this way. There is no cost to the tax-payer or property owners. If tax-payers and property owners complain, it is an empty claim, or, they are admitting of the fact that their incomes and property only exist by virtue of the existence of the poor. What libertarian is going to admit this claim?

    The custodian model will prove one way or another the truthfulness of the claims that capitalists exploit the poor.

    If capitalists claim the custodian model will burden the capitalists, they are admitting their wealth is the result of exploiting the poor.
    If capitalists claim they are not exploiting the poor, then they have no grounds to deny the right for people to operate under the custodian model if they wish.

    Either way, the custodian model will reveal the truth, and reveal who the true capitalists are.

    • April 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Poverty and homelessness exist because poor people have insufficient resources to meet their basic needs for survival and security, and because they have no permanent or secure place of residence.

      It’s said the US is nation of laws, not men. That is the case. Every law is written based on known and tacit biases. I suggest dealing with poverty and homelessness is a matter of writing laws with certain biases. I’m proposing laws based on the first 10 amendments of the US Constitution. For example, the 1st amendment. Law 1: worker representation on corporation boards cannot be less than 50%, chosen by the workers. (freedom on speech) Law 2: before making any decision about company expansion or contraction, contracts, or investment or merger, the board must actively seek the advice and consent of every city, county, community, business, resources agency, etc. The board is prohibited from taking any action until each affected party provides it advice and consent. (right of people to assemble, seek a redress of grievances) Law 3: no person shall be denied access to a wage sufficient to keep all in the family secure in all the resources necessary for a sustainable life – including, but limited to, housing, food, and security from crime. (the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, etc.) Once a political party favorable to such laws takes control of Congress these laws must be enacted immediately and defended vigorously. Even that defense involves physical violence. Such laws are likely to be opposed by libertarians and others with every sort of instrument, including physical violence. These will take the fight to the purveyors of authoritarian control. We need to shift the momentum quickly. I don’t believe such laws can help repair the academic discipline of economics. That seems a lost cause. But they can begin to move daily economic life out of the multiple predatory and debilitating arrangements into which economists have helped push it.

      The men who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights never intended these to serve the interests of property over citizens. Thus, I can argue these laws are based on original intent. Thereby, shutting down Constitutional originalists such as Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Their responses should inform us quickly whether they believe in originalism, or whether it’s just so much bluster. Plus, to use these laws we don’t need to prove that anyone is exploited. Only that there is or is not full compliance with each law.

      • Robert Locke
        April 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm

        A splendid agenda proposed by the elite in the age of democratic revolutions, Would be much simpler if today’s elite followed their example, which requires an elite educated differently than that in todays’s business school, and social sciences. The mentality of elites is easier to change and the effect much more fruitful, as we note when the collapse of monarchy to our surprise was not followed by Wilsonianism but fascism. Fascism in Germany triumphed because the Weimar elites did not defend Weimar, thereby permitting fascists to foment a msss movement.

      • April 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        Robert, it’s my hope that well written and strongly defended laws focused on stopping such events as poverty and homelessness can overcome the Weimar errors. To paraphrase FDR, we obtain only the rights we can defend. This is a time when strong defense is essential.

  11. April 23, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Not being a lawyer, I don’t have such faith in the rule of law as Ken. Back on Apr 10 at 5.24 pm (this looks like being comment 144!) I mentioned de Tocqueville comparing Britain’s adaptable “unwritten constitution and constitutional post-French Revolution America, homegenised by its new lawyers and literati”. This literal interpretation of ‘law’, I tried to suggest, harked back to the pre-Christian interpretation of the Creator as a harsh judge, whereas Christ had brought the Good News that God was our Father, so the same Law could be interpreted as his giving wise advice to his Children. (Which was hardly needed if instead of enslaving ourselves to the morality of that time we lived by the ethic of loving each other).

    Being more interested in the search for answers than in critical analysis, I have tried to summarise Dingo’s constructive contribution to this long debate.

    Apr 9 1:00 am How do you define capitalist, or more to the point, where do you draw the line between one who has and one who has not?

    Apr 10 12:56 am Based on your definition, we are all capitalists except the very poor. … Because economics only deals with acts which have legal effect, then in a nutshell, capitalism is the ability to accumulate legal rights. … Based on my research over the last 15 years, the real exploitation comes from allowing the political economy to define what ‘contributing to society’ means which then effects how and where one can access resources necessary to live. The most ironic thing of all is that it takes a certain amount of access to resources in order to fulfill the law.

    Apr 13 1:32 am. Unfortunately, we can’t change or remove a school bully until after the fact and likewise, we can’t complain about the elite before they become the elite.

    Apr 15 1.36 am. Australians own around 2.7 trillion in pension portfolios which are invested in financial markets, and yet our total household debt is also 2.65 trillion! … the elite are not solely to blame for poverty and unemployment – it is the fact that debt must exist in order for an economy to exist. … How do you define what ‘contributing to society’ means?
    [Excellent response from James Beckman on Salk’s unpatented vaccine].

    Apr 16 at 1:06 am. It’s too late to return to any form of common ownership now without going the whole hog, but this does not mean individuals or groups can’t operate under custodian models which can co-exist alongside the current property based model.

    Apr 17 at 1:06 am. If I was King it would not be the elite who I place against the wall, it would be all the economists of the world.

    Apr 19 at 12:16 am. What I discovered is that the word ‘possession’ and the word ‘ownership’ can have varied meanings each of which can have completely different legal effects.

    Apr 19 7:26 am. James, what would be of interest is to know what percentage of the population were required to barter, trade etc back then and in a form which required legal protection?

    James on Apr 21 1:57. For what has become Germany I nominated [as great people] Charlesmagne (crowned 0800 as Holy Roman Emperor) & Martin Luther (theses posted in 1517, after Middle Ages) because one established a system of feudal governance in the name of the Pope, while the latter challenged the ecclesiastical position of the Pope & his prelates–and thus weakened the overall authority of the Holy Roman Empire which had been beaten upon by rising commercial centers.

    Craig on Apr 21 at 7:43 pm. A new conscious realization is both a component part of, and the operative aspect of REALIZING a new paradigm.

    Apr 23 at 2:49 am. Poverty and homelessness exists because: … the solution must not come at the expense of the tax-payers and property owners. … Permanency of human needs is created by securing those resources necessary for the poor under a custodianship whereby the poor become custodians (instead of owners). … The way this is achieved is simply to have the central bank issue the money interest free and then have it destroyed when it makes its way back in taxes …

    Dingo, James as a Protestant misrepresents feudalism as in the name of the Pope, whereas the Catholic story is that our world belongs to God, and even its Kings are custodians, as the Popes are custodians of the Good News from God. In the feudal model the king delegates custody down through barons, and landlords down even to serfs, who each had custody of their own allotments (these perhaps being strip-worked to vary use and maintain fertility); this along with shared use of and responsibility for the local commons. Personal possession was given up on death and ownership was understood as for one’s own (sufficiently private) use.

    If you look back at the credit card system I’ve been suggesting for some time, you will find it agreeing in principle with what you say here, except that the rich as well as the poor are required to see themselves as custodians because interest-free “money” is provided only in the form of credit. This indebts us only insofar as we use it but is available as needed to provide the resources we need to repay them (by doing whatever it is we are doing for the public good). No need for central banks or tax to write off communal money: personal/ corporate “credit card” debts consistent with our needs and/or those of our work would simply be written off insofar as we earned credit for jobs as they were done.

    “Contributing to society” you will find me saying applies not only to things like mothers looking after children but to all of us (including children, elderly and disabled people) doing what we can to look after ourselves. This policy would of course be recorded in ‘law’ – understood as educational advice – but enforced by being built into the constitution; the way we do things. The “new conscious realisation” needed to realise Craig’s paradigm is neither taxation nor profit refunds but simply that money is not valuable. On the contrary, it is a credit limit. With a £20 note one can buy no more than one can buy for £20 with one’s credit card.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Hi, Dave, my response to Apr 19, 7:26 am is that much trading was allowed only by church or local lord for certain people & for certain places/times. Yet much took place other times or places. No way to estimate transactions.

      A benign Lord or Bishop of course could accomplish much of what you have suggested, but often these persons were in difficult economic relations with their superiors. One reason for the difficulties was the wars which upset local production, the basis to pay tithes & other dues to those above.

      • April 23, 2018 at 8:11 pm

        Thanks, James. I agree with what you are saying, but see the ‘macro’ reason as the relative lack of transport facilities. No rail and air transport in those days, poor roads and relatively primitive sailing ships. Before the construction of canals at around 1800, inland transport here in England was largely by pack-horse and river boats assisted by horses when the wind wasn’t right. From my window I can see the Wyche Cutting through which pack-horses took salt from Droitwich (right salty?) to Welsh Cardiff.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 24, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Hi, Dave, indeed transportation & other communication have been as much of the making of the Modern World as the science/tech which altered both our thinking & the everyday products we use in our homes & places of work. If one throws in military tech, I have long balanced these with those major religions which were also produced by incredible humans acting in concert with other Forces perhaps.

    • April 23, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Dave, if your faith is not in the law, what is it you have faith in? Since Hammurabi laws have guided human societies. Like all creations of humans, laws are not perfect. They often fail or are designed to be unfair. But as I see it our choices for creating societies are laws or physical violence. Both provide means for humans to live in societies together. Laws, if designed well and enforced allow humans to live in peace, most of the time. Physical violence provides no promise of peace, or even security, except for the strong. I can’t consider such a society.

      As for your long recitation, what you mention is interesting and fun for debate and discussion. My question is this: what’s any of this have to do with how people build workable and durable societies? With the beliefs of these people and their actions, not what any of us name them or explain them?

      • April 23, 2018 at 9:14 pm

        Ken, my faith is in Truth and the Logos (logic or the Word):, these being names which were given to Christ. Put the other way round, I don’t have faith in lies and illogic delivering anything reliably good; in particular I don’t have faith in “one size fits all” interpretations of law, because though words are fixed the people and situations they apply to vary significantly. As I tried to suggest, I accept laws as guides, but as ways of getting us to look for the bad as well as opportunities in situations, not as ways of making it easy for enforcers to prevent us acting reasonably. But to put into proverbial form my talk of constitutions in real terms, as in our driving on one side of the road rather than the other, “Actions speak louder than words”.

        My “recitation” was a summary of Dingo’s arguments, which ended up more or less where I am: seeking to build a workable and durable society on “honest money” and creditable activity, which includes thinking for ourselves in real terms rather than taking the easy option of trusting clever folk who seem to know what they are talking about: who too often we are finding to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    • April 23, 2018 at 11:58 pm


      Appreciate the responses.

      “in particular I don’t have faith in “one size fits all” interpretations of law”

      you are spot on!

      There are many dimensions with the law; it is not just legislature which makes laws. Anytime any two people enter into any form of agreement with the intent it have legal effect, the two people have in effect created laws. As a principle of the law states ‘what binds two people binds the courts’. Of course, these legal agreements (making up a large part of our business life) are all guided by larger principles, such as the common law, and for example they must not be for criminal purposes.

      One of the features of the common law system (the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) in contrast to the civil law system (Europe), is that the common law system is built, or supposed to be built, around individual autonomy, which translated means – you have the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, provided your actions do not prevent any other from being able to do the same. As one judge described it when comparing to the civil law system, is that the common law system is supposed to be affirmative or active and built on individuality, whereas the civil law system is more codified and therefore designed to play a more negating role for the benefit of ‘community’.

      Unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of the common law system is that it becomes obvious, as history has shown us, that not everyone can exercise such an ‘active’ right without it spilling over and infringing others, i.e. without it creating inequality. The US is seen as the last great nation to cling on to the idea of individual autonomy and to protect free-enterprise as best they can, but it comes at a cost – inequality. Codification, by the legislature, has been the only remedy that the imagination of political economy can muster to this point as a means to address inequality, but this comes at a cost of individual autonomy, and hence why there is always so much fighting (and always will be) between both sides of the political divide.

      However, whilst the political economy has attacked the weakness of the common law system and used this as grounds for the political divide we see today, it ignores what I believe is the greatest jewel to come out of the history of the system of laws of England, and that is its higher law form which is otherwise known as the jurisdiction of ‘Equity’ and primarily Trust law. Equity is a set of principles based on Christian values as was described by great names such as Pomeroy, Story, Gibson, and other eminent equity judges of the 17 and 1800’s. Trustees have always been subject to this higher law form, because they are custodians of others property.

      Although today trust law is still vibrant and in force, because every second household has a family trust nowadays, it is saturated by commerce. Only 70 years ago it was unheard of for trustees to earn a commission for being a trustee; they were known back then as honorary trustees because they worked out of honor, not for money; and trusts were more designed to protect property rather than to ‘accumulate’ property.

      Anyway, without me going too much into detail, it was my study of the equity, trust law, etc, that gave me the idea of the Custodian model, or to be more precise, it jumped out at me. I just extended the idea of a trustee looking after another ‘persons’ property, to the idea that those who operate the custodian model would hold all their human needs in trust on behalf of the ‘community as a whole’; i.e. the house they live in, is in their possession for life, and when they die possession reverts back to the community (i.e. the government). But I extended it even further by suggesting that the custodian should not engage in economic activities but rather leave all of that (the production and distribution) to the business people and those who want to work for them (i.e. the capitalist part of society).

      The only problem I have with your credit system of requiring everyone to see themselves as custodians and use interest free-money, is the same problem I have with socialism, communism, capitalism and any other ism which is politically enforced as the ‘only’ system. I personally do not want to infringe on anothers right to exercise individual autonomy, and if that means for those individuals the accumulation of wealth and the use of interest, so be it. This is why for me, I have modeled a system (the custodian system) so it can co-exist alongside capitalism and socialism, rather than to politically force everyone to accept my ideal. Of course,in saying this, I must admit then that I cannot implement such a model (whether for me or for others such as the poor) politically then, so it appears to me more evident each day that it can only be achieved through the court system under court declarations – which has been my main focus over the last year or two.

      If anyone wants to assist me in this, please let me know

    • April 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Dave, dingo34201, James, the Bible is wrong about many things, but it’s my view it’s correct about money. The love of money is the root of all evil. So, let’s leave love out of our relations with money. Money is just a tool. One among many we can call on. Government, however, is a human invention extending back about 12,000 years. Long before the invention of money government was invented by the state (the community expressing itself) with the intent of caring for people of the community. No doubt government has often failed in that responsibility. But government and laws remain the most effective path for dealing with problems like poverty, homelessness, inequality, and discrimination. My position is simple. Let’s use government to fix the problems commenters here cite frequently. Those opposed to fixing these problems are certainly using government, quite effectively to halt efforts to fix these problems – inside and outside of government. Once legislation aimed at fixing these problems is in place, then we must defend that legislation. Something even many well-meaning people have failed at the last 40 years. Either because their emphasis was elsewhere, they did not agree with laws being the best means to fix the problems, or because they were bribed. Unfortunately, in too many cases the last is the case. The notion that rights are given is just wrong. Rights are always taken. With these laws we can not only fix problems but also take back the denials of rights that created the problems.

      If we depend on truth and logic to solve these problems, it unlikely the problems will be solved. Politics is not an exercise in truth or logic. It’s an exercise in solving problems of the community (of whatever size). Only the community can determine when the problems are solved. There is to truth or logic which can be called on to declare problems are solved, if the community says they are not. The American community is hurting from problems like economic inequality, racism, greedy and out-of-control corporations, Nazis in public office, lack of sufficient health care, poverty, homelessness, etc. Calling on the truth or logic of religion or science cannot alone fix these problems. Actions must be taken. And in a society, such as the USA, effective actions rest of laws. Certainly, the laws may derive from science and/or religions. But that’s meaningless unless the members of the community believe these laws cure community problems. It’s clear from many sources that most community members do not believe current laws cure problems. For example, less than 30% of American’s questioned support the “tax reform” law just enacted.

    • April 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Dingo, thanks for your most interesting comments on law. With a son in Australia I had gathered that land grants there are sort of on the custodian model, reverting to the government if abandoned.

      What you say about the Christian values of the 17 and 1800’s behind Equity doesn’t sound right to me, but leaves me apparently contradicting myself when I point out that before the Reformation our law was more like the seemingly more rigid civil law system of Europe. The paradox is explained by Christian principles involving mercy as well as justice, and the Catholic system, given that prima facie you did break the law, is much more concerned with why you did it: its inquisitorial judicial system being more willing to allow for extenuating circumstances. Our quarter sessions are a remnant of the King’s Judge going round not enforcing the law but sorting out disputes between neighbours. Compare that with the present English system, under which a magistrate fined me ten bob because a policeman said I had insufficient back light on my bicycle, despite (LOL) the legal definition of “insufficient” not coming into force until after the supposed offence! Sadly, our legal system has long been notorious for miscarriages of justice, and is increasingly so for political instability, obscurity and covert brutality.

      Back on economic custodianship, “without going into to much detail” is THE problem with blogs! What are we custodians of? Surely of Spaceship Earth? So how are we to get it looked after when everyone is pre-occupied with looking after themselves, even as Trustees for families? As a family man I remember myself giving the kids credit in the form of pocket-money, increasing it as they learned how to spend it wisely, but cutting it off if they refuse to help about the house. As a child myself I learned how to earn credit by doing a paper round. As a scientist I was well aware I made nothing saleable, but continued to earn my credit by finding problems and working out how I or others could resolve them. The biggest problem, I found, was an economic system that assumed that problems would be resolved by new technology, so we have ended up with no-one maintaining the wealth (Spaceship Earth) we already have, and a throw-away society ravaging and polluting it to buy credit they ought to be earning with “careful” maintenance. Are we, as you seem to suggest, to leave some “carelessly” specialising in wrecking the world and the poor picking up the rubbish and trying to repair the damage?

      If “Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor”, it is not that simple, for the “wreckers” are not those forced to do the dirty work but the “careless” Capitalists who have set it up by capturing the legal system and enforcing hire from them of “money” made from thin air: a fraudulent fiction, like the emperor’s new clothes.

      What I have in mind, then, is not one of your ‘isms’ continuing to enforce such law, but abolishing it, leaving monetary contracts to be resolved by provision of real goods and services, with disputes and conversely prize awards to be judicially resolved by adjustment of credit limits. The loss of fictitious money leaves us reliant on credit, the accounting for which differs only in having a credit limit which goes down the more you spend, instead of going up the more you borrow (or other people borrow in order to pay you), such “money” giving the impression you are wealthy rather than in debt.

      The details of how being aware of being in debt helps reduce unnecessary consumption and increase awareness of it in forms like litter, merge into governments becoming less obsessed with growth and debt and more concerned with advising us what needs doing (notably recycling and ecological regeneration) than telling us what we cannot do. With our needs met with credit and less time wasted slaving away making and trying to sell what we do not need, we have more time left for doing the necessary jobs, like growing up disciplined, co-operative, exploring, learning, arty crafting, inventing, trying out and realising commitments, not least to joining in the work of renewing the face of the earth. If an architect needs a high credit limit to build a fine house, that’s fine just so long as the house IS fine. If a businessman wants to own a corporation himself, that’s not, for its work requires cooperation.

      In trying to eliminate any cross-purposes I’ve not really picked up on you crucial point about seeking change through the courts rather than through politicians. There have been some notable successes in recent months along those lines, but there is also a problem (as with the Grenfell tower blaze) of the government hijacking court proceedings by setting up public inquiries with safely narrowed agendas. In any case, I wish you all the best with that project.

      I see Ken – very much at cross purposes – has beaten me to it. Let me ask him, “Why do people love money”? I see two reasons. It can be applied to anything – which is why it is the root of ALL evil. And because they misunderstand what it is: which is what it DOES, not what it looks like (a form of value).

      • April 25, 2018 at 12:10 am

        “Back on economic custodianship, “without going into to much detail” is THE problem with blogs! What are we custodians of?”

        Thanks for the response.

        Unfortunately, one can’t take 15 plus years of research, study, and more importantly soul searching and having to break down layers of my own belief system and then having to rebuild it piece by piece, and then squeeze all of that into a short but compelling summary of what I have discovered and why I think what I have discovered can help. Much of what I have discovered actually came from self-observation, a technique I learned in a non-academic school, which I was then able to cross-reference in the outside world and in other fields of study.

        For the most part, everyone is simply too tied up with their own battles, research, etc. to take notice, and I am completely sympathetic to that. I set up a website to try and explain it with the hope people will take me to task on it, and see if any of my 15 years of research can hold up – but alas, it matters not who sees it, I never get very much in response if anything at all (incidentally, this is what actually makes me think I am on to something).

        The only way I wil ever get anyone to take notice (if indeed that is even what I want) is to live by it. I venture on the blogosphere in the hope that I can sharpen my cue stick and then find even one person who is attracted to some of the ideas. Two (or more) minds are better than one, especially when it comes to having government take notice.

        I’m not here to change the world. I am only here because 20 years ago my parents won the lottery, only to end up bankrupt 4 years later – i then find out that 19 out of 20 lottery winners end up the same way as my parents, I then find out that 19 out of 20 businesses ultimately fail, 19 out of 20 people retire with insufficient funds, and 19 out of 20 are in debt or struggling week to week -it became obvious to me this was no co-incidence – but what I discovered since was like something, some force, showed me an idea and I feel somehow obliged to follow it. I can not explain this part.

        Incidentally, I just finished reading: The Piketty phenomenon and the future of inequality. Has anyone else read this?

        I’m curious as to how everyone thinks they are going to stop the Ayn Rands and Ludwig von Mises of this world from ‘thinking’ the way they do? In their minds, they too believe they are right. Strange problem to solve when everyone thinks they are right.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 25, 2018 at 7:19 am

        Yes, Dingo, history is perhaps the master discipline, as it foretells so much. Of course, people tend to accept what they want to believe. It takes a strong & effective communicator to go against perceived self-interest. Look at Trump & some Brexiters living as if there is no tomorrow…and for most there are many tomorrows before our individual finales.

      • April 25, 2018 at 12:43 pm

        James, Sapiens is complex. Among Sapiens there are only individuals because the community creates and allows them. So, all this talk of “perceived” self-interest is, in my view is misplaced. As the saying goes, the US is a society of individuals. Consider that statement. Our society creates individuals, like it creates individual rights, romantic love, and war as a necessity for achieving peace. No doubt society creates pro- as well as anti-Sapiens beliefs and structures. Figuring out how these are created and destroyed is the job social scientists are assigned by society.

        An interesting example is from a recent New York Times story, “In Brexit, Economic Reality Competes With Nostalgia for Bygone Days.” The residents of Grimsby, England, choose romance for a dying fishing industry (irrespective of EU membership) over a global fish processing industry that is thriving with EU membership in Grimsby. Consequently, residents voted overwhelming in favor of Brexit. In the words of the story, “The vote to leave was a vivid demonstration of the way emotions can transform politics and affect the economy. It’s a phenomenon found around the world, including in the United States, where the legacy and the romance of a declining industrial past often eclipse the interests of new and expanding businesses. Time and again, economic facts are no competition for sentiment and history.”

      • April 25, 2018 at 11:04 am

        dingo342014, I’m not concerned with stopping the Ayn Rands and Ludwig von Mises from believing as they wish to. I’ll follow the path laid out by James Madison. He proposed that one of the responsibilities of government was to regulate and control factionalism, which includes radical ideas and persons that could endanger either the tranquility or safety of the nation. Let’s implement his proposal. Let’s regulate and control the disruptive and threatening impacts of the factionalisms we call Randian and Misesian. That is, if we still have the courage Madison displayed.

      • April 25, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        “I’ll follow the path laid out by James Madison”
        “and control factionalism”
        “and persons that could endanger either the tranquility or safety of the nation”

        So why not give them a sandbox to play in so they can express their factionalism without it hurting others? Does capitalism or the free-market need to control every resource in the universe to express itself?

        Same with socialism or anything else – does each political ideal need to control every resource in the universe to express itself?

        I think the objective answer to both questions is no, so my question is, Why not partition? Why not give the capitalists their space and the socialists their space, and the xxxx’s their space?

        I’m assuming that no one other than myself believes this is possible. It may explain why my wife has said that my head exists in the clouds.

      • April 25, 2018 at 10:29 am

        Dave, as I said, money is invented as a tool. Just a tool. People, being imaginative and emotional, often add other purposes and emotions to the tool. Such as “the good life,” “political power,” or “love.”

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