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.

      • April 26, 2018 at 6:32 am

        James, seems to me the issue we’re facing is keenly political, unrelated to the many widely recognized benefits of immigration compared to the smaller number of negative effects of immigration on the receiving nations. That politics is focused on using immigration and immigrants to further the political future of some, mostly right-wing politicians, and parties. In simple terms, fascism is using a familiar and easily exploited concern of citizens in receiving nations to attack democratic government and expand fascist influence and control. Fascists tend to move quickly and ruthlessly. So, these actions by fascists need to be opposed quickly, forcefully, and publicly.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 26, 2018 at 9:19 am

        Totally agree, Ken, as usual.

      • Robert Locke
        April 26, 2018 at 8:57 am

        Ken, there is nothing fascistic about people living in a community not wanting to be swamped by an influx of outsiders who do not share community values and place a burden on community ressources, and even hinder the ability of people, especially young women, to move about the streets and sit in parks on daily outings. I and my wife see how the influx of outsiders effect community life in Goerllitz everyday. It is a political problem whose solution requires hard work. But it doesn’t help to call those who oppose a migrant invasion, fascists.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

        Robert, it may be that the locals are acting for those who like Hungary’s Orban use immigrantion for their own political ends. I believe that was the thrust of the remark.
        I agree that being swamped by new arrivals is not wanted, & reflects the failure of government in parts of Germany & Sweden, for example. I admit that when my wife & I had a refugee over to do some maintenance, and he began eating scrambled eggs with his fingers I was taken aback. Of course, Middle Easterners often eat with their fingers–but in our home? And what about my hosts in North China offering only hot water upon arrival for dinner? Etc.
        For Grimsby the failure lies in business & government not pointing out the economic benefits brought by the new arrivals and in turn not reducing the immigrants’ hard behavioral edges whatever they might be. Most everyone seems to sit on their hands, don’t they.

      • April 27, 2018 at 5:21 am

        Robert, simplest definition of fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce. It is anti-democratic, using persecution and murder to control populations and restrict rights and freedoms. Asking questions about immigration policies or even opposing some forms of immigration is not fascist. But fascists have used and continue to use opposition to immigration to achieve all the items listed above. This is my point.

  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.”

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 25, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        Ken, I read the same article & sent it to friends on FB–mostly in the States. That’s why we have the press, educators & elected officials, it seems to me–to guide the discussion as much as possible. When you ask people why they didn’t leave the small, home town to seek a more exciting & perhaps rewarding envirnment, they often just schrug their shoulders–inplying perhaps they didn’t think about it much.

      • April 26, 2018 at 6:20 am

        James, thanks for your feedback. Being an historian, and an anthropologist, and a clinical psychologist, I just had to investigate more closely. Based on feedback from social workers and psychiatrists, turns out those voting for Brexit are aware that this vote condemns the future growth of Grimsby. They see this as a good thing. They want Grimsby to remain a small village, even if the fishing fleet is dying or dead.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 26, 2018 at 9:17 am

        Ken, they don’t care about their kids? Of course, all the nostalgia might work for the elderly, but who then will care for their graves or even care to look at them? It’s this sort of cognitive dissonance which is a logitimate role of writers I think, “Ah, there once was a quaint fishing villiage which is no more….”

      • April 27, 2018 at 5:31 am

        James, their kids will do what kids have done since the invention of the modern world. They look for greener pastures elsewhere. If there are any left.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 27, 2018 at 8:21 am

        Yes, indeed, Ken, and the parents don’t want to think about it, I expect. As a Pole in Germany (but a German mother), my wife cares for these elderly ladies who have been left alone by their kids, as the latter find their place in today’s world. A lot of real-life on
        display in my European family.

      • 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 26, 2018 at 6:17 am

        dingo342014, your plan sounds okay. Just so long as the “sandboxes” can be kept away from one another so that the more aggressive ones won’t attack the less aggressive. For this we’ll need strong laws about guards and high walls. And the punishments for infractions will need to be strong and strictly enforced. That seems unlikely in the US today. Might work in Europe. It’s already working in China.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 26, 2018 at 9:11 am

        Ken, I find it interesting after 16 years in Germany that a common perception here is that the STATE takes all freedom away & that it is only the individual commentator, worker or business owner who can make a blow for we, the people (das Volk).

      • April 27, 2018 at 5:28 am

        James, one of the major criticisms conservatives raise against libertarianism is it fails to distinguish between state and government. State is the community (Volk in your example). Government is set up by the state to do those things the community has decided are needed to be done to care for the community. Your example makes the distinction well. When one member of the community takes the role of the community, speaks for the community, this is the greatest fear of all conservatives.

      • 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.”

  12. April 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Concerning “In Brexit, Economic Reality Competes With Nostalgia for Bygone Days.” Well, I don’t know or care much about one fishing village, which conceivably could be better off remaining rather than exiting, but in general, this sort of piece completely reverses the issues.

    The EU is a piece of crap sold entirely on romance, sentiment, emotions & nostalgia and meaningless slogans and buzzwords with no logical argument. Brexit is the cool-headed logical and rational alternative – facing up to “Economic Reality” “economic facts” – the basic fact that people are better off, are better judges of their own welfare than some pseudo-intellectual lunatic in a nicely tailored suit promulgating insane rules and enforcing the utterly needless suffering of austerity from afar.

    It is a lot easier to get rid of the local lunatics than distant ones who enforce irrationality under the guise of fake rationality. With the rise of Corbyn and a real Labour party over the fake New Labour and the deterioration of the Tories, Britain seems to be doing just that. The way that Britain respected the Brexit vote, while the Greek government disdained with utter contempt their referendum (in favor of a suicidally stupid course) demonstrates the real, political health of British society compared to many others.

    Since Britain has its own currency, the issues are less clear than exiting the Eurozone suicide pact (for every country in the EZ, the right thing is exit, the quicker the better) – but the EU does have destructive, restrictive, irrational rules probably more important than the trivial benefits of free trade and membership. In other words, the old folk who voted for Brexit were rationally looking out for their own future AND the future of their stupid children, babes in the Euro woods, who voted to Remain.

    • robert locke
      April 26, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      Calgacus. What’s all this drivel about “romance, sentiment, emotions & nostalgia and meaningless slogans and buzzwords with no logical argument.”

      Why don’t you learn some history. The Treaty of Rome 1956 blended a variety of relatively separate issues into a single package that each country was willing to sign up to. The Netherlands, for example, demanded that economic liberalisation, already underway in the wake of efforts to recover from the Second World War, be entrenched. Dutch producers were dependent on exports, particularly to the resurgent West German market, and feared a return to the protectionism on the 1930s. France, on the other hand, was mainly interested in the integration of transport and atomic energy. Other national interests determined support for these initiatives from among the founding member states. For the former Axis powers of the Second World War (West Germany and Italy), such treaties confirmed their status as respectable members of the international community. For France and the Benelux countries, integration in specific economic areas allowed them to benefit from and, to a certain extent, control the economic resurgence of Germany. By addressing these diverse national interests, with each country feeling that the benefits outweighed the costs, the Treaty of Rome succeeded in winning the support of the six national governments for an ambitious European project. Britain chose not to sign up to the Treaty of Rome, feeling that it went against its national interests. Read the late historian Alan Milward on the subject and enlighten yourself. As an historian I find it impossible to know where to begin with you.

      • April 27, 2018 at 12:36 am

        I was perhaps intemperate. Perhaps I should have said “the EU has turned out to be a piece of crap” instead. :-).

        I am not disagreeing with any history you present above. I am just saying that all of these Good Things you cite are trivial in comparison to the current, massive destructive effects of the crackpot economics now embedded into the EU and more, into the heart of the problem, the Eurozone.

        It is quite clear that every country in Europe would be better off if the EU and above all, the EZ were dissolved right now so that they could individually return to postwar “Keynesian” full employment policies. The rational national policies were the main cause of the postwar boom. International agreements and trade, common market policies were just icing on the cake. But today’s EU treaties & above all, the Euro are serious to insurmountable obstacles to rational economic behavior.

        My point is that if one wants to oppose things that way, the Brexit oldsters are responding to “economic facts” in a smarter, more rational, more educated, more farseeing way than the Remain youngsters who are swayed by meaningless pro-EU sentiment and emotion, contrary to standard propaganda. And that is what events since the Brexit votes have shown – the overwhelming verdict of standard, mainstream, crackpot economics was that it should have had catastrophic consequences already – which are nowhere to be seen.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 27, 2018 at 8:15 am

        But again those national borders with the four issues of people, product, money & services. That’s what both Trump & May are coming up against now, with expertise-based production of goods/services & a supply chain of imported knowledge & components for those final goods/services.

      • Craig
        April 27, 2018 at 2:02 am

        One can hardly criticize Brexiters and others for wanting to exit the mish mash of onerous, unworkable regulation and neo-classical fallacy known as the EU. The problem like everywhere else is that economics has become a long list of “epicycle” perturbations of that fallacy that does not look directly at the temporal universe operations of commerce and so cannot craft policies based on the economic insights available there that will resolve the economy’s underlying cost inflationary problem that has become inherent. Everyone agrees that there is a scarcity of individual income and that austerity is idiocy….they just don’t know how to transform it into a free flowing system of abundance for all agents. Once they look…and see…the scales fall from their eyes.

    • April 27, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Calgacus, Robert, and Craig. The EU and EZ are experiencing common problems in the efforts to create a new nation. The national and local policies don’t mesh. In economics, some parts of the new nation are forced to suffer, so that other parts can prosper. That’s why no nation today can exist without federalism. Federalism, economically speaking redistributes the national wealth so poorer regions are brought up by the success of richer regions. But at the same time politically all regions are given the maximum possible freedom to be successful, within the bounds of policies that favor the nation. Also, local governments create laws to address local issues, again within the context of not interfering with national political, economic, and foreign policy goals. It’s a difficult balancing act. Made even more difficult, as in the USA by cultural differences among the regions in language, religion, geography, and history. Considering the time involved, it’s my judgement the EU/EZ is doing a better job than the USA, and more quickly. One major stressor for both the USA and EU/EZ is economic policy. Neoliberal economics rise to dominance is disrupting not just the goals of federalism, but also the necessities for funding an effective and powerful central government. The USA is dealing better than the EU/EZ with this problem, mostly because of the semi-autonomy of states and state governments. The EU/EZ is still attempting to make federalism work, in the face of interference from states (countries) unwilling to give up independence and a so far dysfunctional federal bureaucracy. In addition, the EU/EZ has not yet created a national mythology to explain itself. A mythology to which EU/EZ citizens can attach their fears and hopes for the future, and which creates an EU/EZ identity into which these citizens can pour themselves.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 27, 2018 at 8:27 am

        Ken, if one looks at the nations of Latin America, Africa & Asia, it is clear that not many nations have found their way in caring for the basic needs of their people in education, health care, security or infrastructure. This assumes that the individual can rise to productive lives in such a setting, with some sort of democracy (or popularly accepted governance) and regardless of the degree of control/ownership maintained by government.
        We have a real social laboratory around us, it seems to me.

      • April 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        James, you are correct. The issue here is that Europe since the end of World War 2 has shown itself generally exemplary in not just caring for its citizens but expanding their life opportunities. While the US deliberately limited care for its citizens, Europe deliberately did just the opposite. Now to see Europe and the EU/EZ not just failing but in some instances (e.g., Greece) failing them deliberately is disconcerting not just for European citizens but for peoples around the world. The shining light of Europe seems to be fading. That is alarming.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        Ken, I am well aware of that the disparities between the support given citizens by the US & EU are enormous. With the 3% deficit rule, this means governments can’s reward their retirees & public workers quite as much generally, in order to maintain quality education/ training & health care across the general population, as I look at the figures. I am personally affected by the bad record Poland has on air quality, with 30 of the 50 worst air quality urban sites are in that country. I have adult-onset asthma.
        The private sector is supposed to be dynamic enough to generate the GNP, which then can be taxed to provide for public needs. At least that could be Capitalism’s role, it seems to me.

      • April 28, 2018 at 11:09 am

        A popular argument today regarding the future of capitalism is explained in Postcapitalism by Paul Mason. According to Mason, we need more than just a bunch of utopian dreams and small-scale horizontal projects. We need a project based on reason, evidence, and testable designs, that cuts with the grain of history and is sustainable by the planet. And we need to get on with it quickly. Mason asks, is it utopian to believe we’re on the verge of an evolution beyond capitalism? We live in a world in which gay men and women can marry, and in which contraception has, within the space of 50 years, made the average working-class woman freer than the craziest libertine of the Bloomsbury era. Why do we, then, find it so hard to imagine economic freedom? The problem, says Mason is the elites, cut off in their dark-limo world of the democracy of riot squads, corrupt politicians, magnate-controlled media, and the surveillance state. Mason believes this world appears to as phony and fragile as East Germany did 30 years ago. But many simply can’t believe we can escape this world. Escaping it looks as forlorn to many as the millennial sects of the 19th century. In movies, novels, the news media, etc. the future is depicted as apocalypse, pandemics, and zombie plagues. People are angry as they realize they’ve been lied to about capitalism. The first response is to retreat into national capitalism or national socialism. Both tend toward fascism and autocracy, eventually world-wide wars, poverty, famine, and disease. Mason suggests instead we build the future on a picture of the ideal life, made out of abundant information, non-hierarchical work, and the dissociation of work from wages. This requires two stages of change. First, in the culture dominated by neoliberalism and libertarianism. Second, in the government created based on these cultural norms. Some of these changes will be wrenching, but all are within our reach today.

      • robert locke
        April 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm

        Colleagues, the reason I was so exasperated as an historian with Calgacus, is the Europeans throughout the European project have aways look at it from the narrow nationalistic point of view, even at the beginning, they did not change or ever deviate from the nationalist viewpoint. I, however, after studying the history of Europe (not any one nation but several) absorbed the “mystique” of Europe as a way of life and a “civilization” the enemy of which I quickly perceived when living here (born and raised in California and educated there, but since 1956 have lived at least half my life in various European countries, France 5 years, UK 2 years, West Germany 20 years, the former East Germany, 15 years). I spent two years 1982-84, living in Brussels as holder of the Esso Chair in the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management.

        I learned then, that it should have been named The European Institute for the projection of American Managerialism into Europe. The institute was funded by the Americans, its first director was an American, and when I was there it was directed by Belgians who had studied management in US business schools. At the institute, although Horst Albach sat on its board as did Pierre Tabatoni, President of the Sorbonne, who had studied management in the business school, Northwestern, Germans and Frenchmen were not involved in the work of the institute. The people who attended its seminars were Scandinavians, Dutch, Belgians, Americans, Belgians, and an occasional Italian. Some “European” institute. I also discovered the if there was a mystique in the European Institute for advanced Studies in Management, it was the “mystique” of American management, not the “Mystique” of anything European.

        The problem is not Calgacus, some soft-headed pan-European take over of the EU, but the absence of any European “mystique” underpinning it. American have a mystique, of freedom, of the government of the people and by the people, which they fail to live up to everyday (ALTHOUGH AFTER wWII THEY CAME CLOSE TO DOING IT)

        The problem with the European Union is its takeover by the American and British forms of investor capitalism. Those are the themes of all my recent articles and books. American finance capitalism invaded Europe in Brussels, those former employees of Goldman Sacks occupying the finance ministries in European countries and top posts in Brussels, that saddled countries with unnecessary debt and then insisted on the implement of austerity measures to assure repayment. The American system of finance capitalism is the problem, and it will be hard for countries in Europe, without a “mystique” of the preciousness of their common civilization, to resist it. Divide and conqueror.

      • April 28, 2018 at 10:02 am

        Robert, your view, and mine are the same. Even before the ink was dry on the US Constitution a band of founding “brothers,” unsung founders who created American nationalism, and thereby the culture that made the USA a nation. It was they who created the “founding fathers,” the myths of the “War for Independence,” of the founding father, “Washington” who could not tell a lie, the American long hero, and so forth. Men like Mason Locke Weems: author, clergyman, book peddler. Not a great man, perhaps, but a maker of great men; not counted among the popular sages, but certainly among those who made them popular. “Parson” Weems traversed the country selling schoolbooks, almanacs, biographies and other popular literature in towns and villages from New York to Georgia. Weems and others repeatedly used all these media forms to tell the real story of America. Robert, like you I see no such work in Europe today.

      • April 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm

        Basically, without knowing the detail Robert provides here I have understood the problem in much the same way from familiarily with the Christian motivation of the original “small is beautiful” mystique of the European Economic Community and foreseeing the dangers of Anglo-Americanisation. Spelled out by De Gaulle and by Frederick Schumann in his 1952 book “The Commonwealth of Man”, these were realised by transformation of the EEC into the EU, with UK Prime Ministers signing up for Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties without asking us. In the rest of Europe the proposed new Constitution, which excluded any reference to Christianity despite widespread protests – I was in was Luxemburg at the time – was subject to and rejected in a referendum, but implemented without further consultation in the Treaty of Lisbon.

        What the EU now has is much what Ken says, with its governments pursuing Federation American style and folk objecting to their no longer doing what the EEC was doing and American Ken says Federation is supposed to do. (“Federalism, economically speaking redistributes the national wealth so poorer regions are brought up by the success of richer regions”). But isn’t this failure a consequence of its centralising government? Ken again: “The EU and EZ are experiencing common problems in the efforts to create a new nation. The national and local policies don’t mesh. In economics, some parts of the new nation are forced to suffer, so that other parts can prosper”.

        In the early years of post-colonial America “the bigger the better” concept of enforced Federal union did battle with the “small is beautiful” concept of voluntary Confederation. Unfortunately for subsequent understanding of the difference, the Federal concept won because the Confederal agreement was to retain the evil of slavery. In the EU the stuation was the opposite of this. The voluntary Confederal agreement was to protect the rights of citizens, and it is this the American form of Federalism is abolishing.

        Ken and I simply disgreeing on this will get us nowhere, but I do feel he’s helped this discussion by making his position so clear. I hope my drawing attention to the differences between Federation and Confederation will stimulate more reflection.

      • April 28, 2018 at 2:15 am

        I have noticed that there is a real distinction between those who see economics as a zero sum game and those who do not. In recent times there was a court case in my home state where the supreme court judge was speaking of the common laws concern for individual autonomy and wherein he expressed that in a competitive world where one persons economic gain means anothers economic loss, that there is no law which forces a person to be concerned that their actions will cause another economic loss. He wasn’t alone in this and had referenced other cases and judges who expressed the same ‘zero sum’ feature of our economic system. A few months later when speaking to a barrister regarding this case he was quick to tell me that he felt the judge (and implicitly all the others referenced) didn’t know what he was talking about and that wealth (economic gain) was possible for all if we just tweak things right.

        I am interested in others view points regarding this. It seems apparent to me that a lot of peoples arguments and solutions will heavily depend on which side of the fence they sit.

        I will also admit that in 15 years I have seen no evidence which supports my friend the barrister’s view point and so I am definitely in the ‘zero sum’ camp, which is why I am unable to support a ‘one size fits all’ economic order.

        I think it also important from another perspective and that is whether or not the claims made by economists and others for the last 200+ years that it is inherent human nature to want to truck and barter are actually true; it seems a strange thing to place a whole economy under the system of exchange if it is not the natural desire or capacity of ‘all’ humans to do this. I personally have always found the concept of specialization and exchange an imposition and I have also noticed that the more poorer of my friends are in the same boat.

        Could these two aspects be important issues regarding poverty? That first, it is a zero sum game, and second, that those who are less likely to want to specialize and exchange find it harder to ‘get by’ in a society which centers around specialization and exchange?

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 28, 2018 at 8:13 am

        Theory in economics says that we trade in order that buyer & seller are both better off after the pruchase of an ice cream cone, say. When we have contests, then there are winners & losers, as in political campaigns & sports–but each side can presumably return to the arena another day.

      • April 29, 2018 at 5:26 am

        dingo342014, for nearly 200,000 years there was no poverty, homelessness, and certainly no zero-sum transactions among Homo Sapiens. This was mostly because there was no private property and no profit. Sapiens lived comfortably in villages. This life-style could not give the growing population food security, however. Thus, humans invented agriculture about 12,000 years-ago. Followed by formal government, philosophy, trade, and economics. These inventions had unintended outcomes. By accident they lead to hierarchy, private property, and greediness. For over 10,000 years Sapiens has been attempting to deal with the consequences of these accidents. Sapiens’ life before agriculture was based on the tendencies created by evolution. With the invention of agriculture human imagination in the form of culture began to provide other guides for living. Often the two have conflicted, particularly when the sources for culture are aberrant versions of evolution. Seems Sapiens has two options for resolving these conflicts. One, ensure cultural adaptation and evolution are aligned. Two, allow a winner-take-all competition between cultural factors and evolution till one destroys the other, or destroys Home Sapiens. By chance the second has been operating for 10,000 years.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 28, 2018 at 8:04 am

        Dave, I join in your very useful discussion to remind one & all that there are three almost equal-in-size economic juggernauts the world now: the EU, China & the North American Nafta folks–the latter which Mr Trump may try to destroy. Because I was raised in Silicon Valley, have lived in Europe for 16 years & teach in China several months a year, I see there really is no practical way to jump off this global express without being left in the dust & even threatened.
        Raised in the microchip business, that one item alone is changing the world as say the steam engine or the electric-powered apparatus have. I don’t fear artificial intelligence, except that in weapons of war or unchecked public transfer of untruths, it can bring life on earth to its knees, in my opinion.
        Candidly, I think we have to remain connected to the world, to prevent the disastrous & to work in directions which we find socially BENEFICIAL TO ALL. Yes, those unhappy voters in the UK & US have wreaked chaos, & a few disgruntled young persons have with their own lives killed thousands globally with bombs, vehicle & guns.

      • April 29, 2018 at 4:39 am

        Dave, after the revolution was won the American colonies organized themselves via the Articles of Confederation. I believe political organizational forms should be assessed in terms of their results. I’ll use the American Articles of Confederation as an example for this purpose.

        The Articles existed from 1777 to 1789. There were few positive results under the Articles. American economic activity began to recover, and the new nation was relieved of the burdens and worries of a war. But the loose confederation of 13 states and was plagued with a wide array of foreign and domestic problems. The states engaged in small scale trade wars against each other, and they had difficulty suppressing insurrections such as Shays Rebellion in Massachusetts. The treasury was empty and there was no way to pay the war debts. There was no national executive authority. The only permanent national governmental institution under the Articles was Congress. And it proved ineffectual. The Continental Congress was empowered to print paper money; it printed so much that its value plunged until the expression “not worth a continental” was used commonly to identify any worthless item. Congress could not levy taxes but only make requisitions upon the states, which did not respond generously. Less than a million and a half dollars came into the treasury between 1781 and 1784, although the states had been asked for two million in 1783 alone. In 1785, Alexander Hamilton issued a curt statement that the Treasury had received absolutely no taxes from New York for the year. States handled their debts with varying levels of success. The South for the most part refused to pay its debts, which was damaging to local banks, but Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia managed well due to their production of cash crops such as cotton and tobacco. South Carolina could have paid its debts but for a series of crop failures. Maryland suffered from financial chaos and political infighting. New York and Pennsylvania fared well, although the latter also suffered from political squabbles. New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Connecticut struggled. Massachusetts was in a state of virtual civil war (e.g., Shays Rebellion) and suffered from high taxes and the decline of its economy. Rhode Island alone among the New England states prospered and mostly because of its infamous harboring of pirates and smugglers.

        John Adams found it impossible to secure a treaty for unrestricted commerce during his 1785 visit to London as the first representative of the United States. Demands were made for favors and there was no assurance that individual states would agree to a treaty. Adams spoke in favor of the states conferring the power of passing navigation laws on Congress, or else the states would need to enact retaliatory acts against the UK. Congress had already requested and failed to get power over navigation laws. Meanwhile, each state acted individually against the UK, with little success. When other New England states closed their ports to British shipping, Connecticut hastened to profit by opening its ports. So, the states prey on one another. By 1787 Congress could not protect manufacturing and shipping. State legislatures were unable or unwilling to resist attacks upon private contracts and public credit. Land speculators were incensed that neither state nor national government could defend state borders, nor protect the frontier population.

        The desire for a convention to replace the Articles of Confederation grew rapidly. Alexander Hamilton grasped while serving as Washington’s top aide that a strong central government was necessary to avoid foreign interventions and alleviate the frustrations due to an ineffectual Congress. Hamilton led a group of like-minded nationalists, won Washington’s endorsement, and convened the Annapolis Convention in 1786 to petition Congress to call a constitutional convention to meet in Philadelphia to remedy the US’ governing crisis. The Constitution we know today went into effect in 1789. It created a strong national government, a federal Republic, with each state retaining the rights and obligations not explicitly assigned to the national government by the Constitution. Along with national taxation arrangements and revenue sharing.

        It’s unlikely the US could have survived as a confederation. It’s my view the EU/EZ cannot survive as a confederation.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:02 am

        Ken, Macron & Merkel seem to be aware of this. They have just announced they will jointly propose first steps towards closer union in June, as you may know.

      • April 29, 2018 at 7:23 am

        James, their announcement is a good move. I’ll be interested to review their actual proposals. Several of my clients are interested in following these developments.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:37 am

        Ken, both for scientific analysis & for client use, I am quite excited about this as well.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 27, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Hi, Calgacus, I look at the EU as a trading union, including those well-known four items: people, product, money, services. I only know that after 40+ years of working globally each & every global relation will have to be reworked. The WTO deals with products, but that is only one of the four. From California, I have lived 16 years in Denmark & Germany.

  13. Craig
    April 27, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    There is plenty of agreement with the problems in this discussion. The question is how are we going to resolve the issues that everyone agrees upon, namely the continual build up of debt, systemic austerity and scarcity of individual income? Theoretical exactitude is fine, but what do we do?

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 27, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Robert, Craig & others, as one who attended an Eastern “quality” school as Wall Street was building its financail skills, I believe our macro-instabilities come laragely from overborrowing, often in the form of leveraged buy-outs of firms which could have survived nicely without destruction in most cases. At the same time unions were being gutted by re-location to “right-to-work” states & other issues. Outsourcing to foreign climes didn’t help the vast American MIddle Class either.
      The pay-off was that rather than law or medical school, over the decades the most sought job at my school was on Wall Street. My schoolmate, Jeff Bezos, represents this turn well, as he majored in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, spending time later at Banker’s Trust & DE Shaw (hedge fund) before founding Amazon.
      The overview is that traditional industrial firms were struggling with foreign competitors, while many firms had to increasingly purchase at least components internationally. This would have happened without a great push from Wall Street, but new firms of all kinds had the loving care offered by Wall Street.

      • robert locke
        April 27, 2018 at 9:07 pm

        What do you mean by “Wall Street building its financial skills?” Petra Duenhaupt notes in “The Impact of Financialization on Income Distribution in the USA and Germany”
        Over the recent decades, the USA has witnessed major changes in corporate governance partly due to an overall increase in financialization. The most pronounced development is the escalation of management salaries caused by the rise of stock options. On theoretical grounds, this trend was fostered by advances in the economic discipline of agency theory. In practice, changes in tax laws contributed to promoting the change. Empirical evidence shows that income concentration has increased at the top”The stashed cash, borrowed on the future, was doled out to the 1% at the top. The lament of the poor: Financialization ain’t done no nation no good.

        Germany tempered the worst excesses of the director-primacy financialization for 2 reasons. Co-determination gave employees the power to oppose take-overs that US investor capitalism did not and to distribute the rewards of enterprise more fairly within the firm. 2. The local banks escaped financialization. Most small and medium sized German are financed through them. Make it 3 reasons, 3. Owners and managers in Germany consider employees a firm asset, not a cost.

        Close US business schools.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 28, 2018 at 6:59 am

        Robert, you ask a cosmic question. Looking at the following schematic, http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/firm/top-3-theories-of-firm-with-diagram/19519, I find that no one says that the firm is responsible for more than profits, however defined. Behind this is the question of how the capital invested in generating these profits is deployed; this opens the door to leveraged buyouts & those quick-learning financiers in London & New York. (They are from an identical culture for the most part, that is, to maximize their own personal profits.)
        Folks in banking & most businesses over a meal would most likely say that it is up to GOVERNMENT to tax & regulate the firm if the voting public wants a different outcome. Then your dining companions rush off to call their lobbyists to warn them that you need to be tracked to dilute your impact on the press, civil service & elected officials. It’s just like academic orthodoxy: the status quo seldom wants to be seriously challenged, I at least have found.

      • April 29, 2018 at 5:38 am

        James, challenging the status quo means taking away or attempting to take away what makes the status quo possible. In the case of the current capitalist status quo that means taking away banks, debt, markets (formal versions), profit, firms, etc. Money and trade can continue, but with radically altered structures and purposes. Big changes. Difficult, or considering our current situation perhaps impossible to attain.

      • April 28, 2018 at 12:55 pm

        Robert the differences you mention that “saved” Germany and German economics are historical and cultural differences from the USA. Duplicating them in the USA is impossible currently. If we believe such changes might help with problems in the USA, we need to ask ourselves how to do we make such changes in the USA and make them durable. One thing is certain, the American public will have to not just accept but support these changes. The other certainty is that those in the USA who stand to be hurt by such changes will oppose them fiercely. And they’ve got the proven tools to do just that. Witness the campaign of doubt and uncertainty used by cigarette companies to oppose tobacco regulation and the same used by many manufacturing companies to oppose air and water regulations. Rebutted and push aside, these tools are making a come back right now at the EPA. The likely results are grim. If we don’t stop it now. Remember, psychopaths usually destroy big things like countries just for the fun of watching them burn.

      • Robert Locke
        April 28, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        Ken, James I know that Americans are not prone change their business culture. I stress the Germsn cultural differences not to get Americans to follow them. I gave up on Americans a long time ago. I stress the differences in order encourage people outside the USA and the UK not to emulate the American system in the push for globalisation. I think the us system, is dysfunctional but politically powerful, There are alternatives that must be identified and prosletyed to the world outside the US. The dysfunctionality of the US sponsored investor capitalisms generally is not recognised in the world into which the US business school model moved postWWII. Most people think that model and mbas took over the world. They do not know that neither Germany nor Japan had MBAs and prospered without them.

      • April 29, 2018 at 5:57 am

        Robert, the American version of business rests on certain foundations that can be undermined. In fact, foundations that until the end of World War 2 didn’t even exist. These include libertarianism, neoliberalism, financialization, leveraging, and market fundamentalism (efficient market hypothesis, marginalist). These are neither necessary for a strong society nor somehow supernaturally ordained. We can all do quite well without them. We can learn how to destroy them by observing how they were created in the first place. This involved comprehensive propaganda, alliances with existing special interests (including economists), detailed socialization in the orthodoxy, and fierce, sometimes violent and brutal attacks on all opponents. When do we start?

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:14 am

        Ken, the Chinese seem to be following much of the model you gave, with the largest US tech firms duplicated by nearly identical firms there. One of the things I do is to bring US tech to German firms so that the EU can compete economically with China. This the Chinese seem to accept & to revel in. Notice the Belt & Road of President Xi envisions an economic China which reaches into the EU. The real secret of Silicon Valley is how they organize their firms into a constant stream of patents & new products. All nationalities are invited & skills/ attitudes beyond those held by natural scientists/engineers are sought.

      • April 29, 2018 at 7:34 am

        James, agree. I’ve tried to make this point as often and in as many forums as possible. The Chinese Communist Party brilliantly turned the foundations of American business inside out. Using them to progressively destroy those businesses and the governments that support them. I allow most of these businesses will follow one of two paths in the next thirty years. One, complete collapse. Two, absorption into the Party-line and subordination to China. Except for financial firms. These the Chinese intend to destroy completely.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Craig, various EU members offer their individual solutions. I know the German & find it as good as any I know: 1) Free education/job training with miscellaneous fees such as for public transportation, 2) An increased but presently incomplete stress upon “Lifelong Learning”. 3) Largely free health care, 4) Inexpensive public transportation & generally cheap housing. 4) Part-time or short-.term jobs while seeking full-time & permanent, with public payments for deficient income. 5) Rapidly expanding production due to international markets.
      Actually it is the economic expansion which makes this possible without more than 3% deficits, which in turn is a tough goal for many EU members. In other words the economy has to be expanding with public sector payments under control before the future can look cheery for all age groups.

      • Craig
        April 28, 2018 at 2:23 am


        As I have said here before I do not dispute that presently many social democratic nations are better places to live then more conservative right of center nations are, even the US which of course had a supreme position economically for so long. However, this is not going to last for a variety of reasons most prominent being that the disruptive force of AI will eventually so erode aggregate demand that they will become austere as well. Germany, due to a debt jubilee after the war and its long established industrious culture has a large trade surplus and so dominates the EU/EZ. The EU/EZ is a monetary union without a legitimate political union and will never work as a result.

        The truth is that socialist re-distributive taxation, in fact taxation at all except to punish economic vice and encourage economic virtues remains squarely within the current monetary paradigm.

        Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting will free the individual and commercial agents, end private finance and ethically guide public finance with its universal dividend and retail discount/rebate policies and make rational ecological action
        possible. It’s the integratively rational future for economics and the money system.

    • April 28, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Craig. “The question is how are we going to resolve the issues that everyone agrees upon, namely the continual build up of debt, systemic austerity and scarcity of individual income?”

      Change the laws that allow such actions to be carried out. Then, enforce these laws strictly.

      • Craig
        April 28, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        “Change the laws that allow such actions to be carried out. Then, enforce these laws strictly.”

        Yes, so how do you change the current law/current situation?

        You recognize the most important, problematic and operative factor in the current situation, money, and then you intelligently and insight-fully resolve its scarcity so that the individual, commercial agents and the system become a lean, mean freeing machine that serves them rather than slavishly makes them serve it.

        Look directly at commerce and its tools and operations until you see, then focus on the solutions there and never stop until they are implemented.

      • April 29, 2018 at 6:09 am

        Craig, you are correct, you change the uses of money. That involves changing or destroying the current foundations of money, e.g., banking, debt, economic liberalism. Possible. But we’d better be ready for a hell of a fight.

  14. Prof James Beckman, Germany
    April 28, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Craig, we see eye to eye for the future. Personally, I think much of Europe is an economic sweet spot now–the best we can politically achieve at this moment. I pay all living expenses, as my wife of Polish nationality & inadequate education under the Russians, can mostly only find work as a care-giver for the elderly here in Germany. But Germany is cheap, comfortable & filled with Gemütlichheit (“cosiness” in tranlation, but “nostalgia” for me). That is what the EU makes possible for the less educated. With education/training then one can do far better economically. But even people I know who are long-term unemployed must appear for job interviews, additional training & minijobs in order to continue their decent living. With regard to engineers & MD’s, for example, well-trained Germans go to places like Norway, Luxemberg & Switzerland for far better paying jobs.
    I think a common EU budget is not possible at the moment. But the financial transfers to all nations (German farmers receive “environmental” payments to sustain their farming), together with those open borders for work, money, many services & goods are making for a better life for the majority, I believe. Going beyond is what most voters really don’t want to do. For example, Italy is politically unable to make its government both less corrupt & more efficient. Their lifestyle & climate makes at least visits highly desired by Germans & others, however.
    Your proposal will not be accepted until current stakeholders (residents but especially voters) are mostly convinced it will benefit them personally. There are alway politicians supported by some media who will appear to convince voters to move toward your thinking or not. Thus we economists must become proficient in public media, it appears to me.

  15. April 28, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Before I reply to individual comments above, tonight or tomorrow, might I remind people here of some of the wisest words ever said?:

    “For if once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begin upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop.”
    Thomas de Quincey- On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts

    I am oddly enough suggesting that Europe would be far better off without the EU and yet more, the EZ. Why? Because the current EU treaties, and particularly the EZ regularly enforce, demand and commit murder- a fact that escapes much commentary. Because crackpot, innumerate, ultraneoliberal economics is embedded into the treaties and institutions. Sanity and logic is legally forbidden. It is not a matter of who happens to be running things at the moment- a takeover by American/British investor capitalism – which is vaguely right, but misidentifies where the worst infection is. The EU/EZ exalts finance, “investor capitalism” far more than the US or UK, because exaltation of finance capitalism is embedded in the EU “(con)federal” institutions, not in the US or UK’s. Thank God for any lack of European “mystique”. That was my point – the current European institutions are a con game, with nothing but this destructive mystique to appeal to those who wrongly think their understanding superior to the Brexit oldsters.

    Criticism of my position above follows the inverted, de Quincey scale: What! He deplores mere murder (mass unemployment and austerity enforced by the EU & EU law), while ignoring the horrendous incivility & procrastination involved in reworking trade agreements! But minor goals like trade agreements are NOT more important than sane domestic economic policy, than forcing a generation into unemployment, than manufacturing homelessness, than defrauding pensioners etc, etc. Leave the EZ and it will be very obvious how rich the EZ countries are – and how much the ultraneoliberal EZ has impoverished its members for no reason at all. EZ delenda est!

    • Craig
      April 28, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Indeed finance and its enforced paradigm of Debt Only are the underlying root of the EU/EZ’s and every technologically advanced economy’s problems.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 28, 2018 at 7:10 pm

        Unfortunately, perhaps, Craig I don’t know of any large global firm which worry’s much about debt, since so much of it disappears into investors in the form of stock. Bank debt, for example, is for consumers & non-incorporated firms, which in the US can generally walk away from with a formal bankruptcy. Two years later they’re on their way legally in most cases.

      • April 29, 2018 at 6:25 am

        James, in the US most members of the so-called bottom 80% have debt they can barely find the money for. Those in the bottom 50% cannot carry their debt, while at the same time are unable to pay for bankruptcy. For them life is always a catch-22. And it going to get worse.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:21 am

        Where do you want to have a friend declare bankruptcy, Ken. I can set it up for them from public or private sources. One might have to move to another jurisdiction to do so, and then expect people to work to start their lives anew–unless they have a protected retirement.
        My point, which I learned from attorneys including my brother-in-law, is that where there is the “rule of law” there is a way to do a bankruptcy in such a manner as to go on with a vigorous new way of life.

      • April 29, 2018 at 7:44 am

        James, lawyer friends tell me the same. Problem is many of the “less advantaged” with whom I work can’t come near paying for even the $149 cheapie bankruptcy. Plus, even if they find the money for the bankruptcy, within a few months they need another bankruptcy, another fix.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:57 am

        Ken, at least in California there are churches or other non-profits who front the $149 & then often try to get these folks into a productive mode, including sometimes jobs. With mental & other medical problems, I admit this is challenging. Yet my ethical belief is that we need to make everyone self-supporting if possible, between their work efforts & the reduction of all the physical, mental & behavioral drags upon them. This is really Social Work.

      • April 29, 2018 at 8:05 am

        James don’t get me going on the scam called social work. Anyway, no human is self-supporting, or ever can be. Humans evolved to work with and depend on one another. One of the reasons people become delusional, invent other people to talk and work with, is the missing working with and depending on other humans in their lives. The US has become a lonely society. Noted by many sociologists and historians.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 9:05 am

        Ken, the same here in Germany where my wife as a companion/caregiver for the elderly hears nothing but complaints about the son or daughter who doesn’t visit them in the old family home. One of the reasons for all the refugees is that Germans have small families, so there is less likelihood of spreading out the care of the aging parents as well as the more obvious lack of workers.

      • April 29, 2018 at 10:35 am

        James, in 1996 Hillary Rodham Clinton published “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.” The book begins with this from Herman Melville. “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads [some more visible than others], and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” The point of the book is to remind humans of this, particularly as it applies to the rearing of our children. Pretty tame stuff, right? Wrong! Despite its seemingly self-apparent message, Republicans criticized it widely, even after it had won several awards. Republican Senator Bob Dole commented, “… with all due respect, I am here to tell you, it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a family to raise a child.” There were dozens of similar comments. I have to say, with all due respect, these comments show just how out of touch Republicans are with both human evolution and human history, and how ideological their entire take on human life has become. To find out just how ignorant these statements are the Republicans making them need only walk around any part of the USA. Everywhere children are taught and reared by everyone from police officers on the street to school teachers to playmates to television and movies. The family (nuclear or extended) could not, and never could in human history rear any child alone. Republicans seem to know little science and even less history. Otherwise they would not utter such ridiculous statements. But we’ve seen such as this occur repeatedly in human history as imaginative humans create all kinds of farfetched worlds that do not fit human evolution, and many times not human history either. We’re experiencing a high-water mark over the last 50 years for such fantastic creations.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 12:00 pm

        Ken, it is particularly peculiar because many of these Republicans vacation in other lands, & their kids must regularly have contact with “other” people–economically & culturally. This may be one reason why a lot of college kids don’t want more of this Rightest “Scheisse”, as we call it over here. SociaLseparation is a total disaster, as we do indeed learn from everyone–even negative examples such as drug or alcohol abuse.
        It is difficult to build social connectivity when many assume the natural condition is “well-off like us” & then readily succumb to the falsehood that all it takes is a bit of effort.

      • April 30, 2018 at 6:22 am

        James, you’ve heard or read stories about actions/comments that don’t seem right, even as they’re performed. The actor voices regret but claims no choice in the matter. Tacit knowledge is a cultural reservoir that is tapped everyday by each of us. Generally, without even recognizing the event. In general, when forced to review our actions and decisions, we often don’t see the sense in them. So it is with many of these “Rightest ‘Scheisse.” They’ve been socialized to certain ways of life and understanding, which they implement each day with virtually no conscious consideration. In this case, up the family, down the village. I’m often amazed by how malleable people often are. But in this case rightest organizations have spent millions of dollars to get this result. Imagine sitting in a classroom with 9 others, all of whom remind you constantly that all that’s needed to rear a respectful and honest child is a good family. How brave do you have to be to resist? Very.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 30, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Ken, I recall in earlier years hearing about “Sunday school Christians”, often associated with Evangelicals, who were racists, sexists & employee abusers all week long. Sometimes this dichotomy is conscous. Othertimes not as when one associates almost exclusively with foks like them. You have probably found the same.

      • April 30, 2018 at 11:57 am

        James, I have indeed. I grew up in Texas during the 1950s. Till the age of 12 I was a Southern Baptist (socialized beginning at 3) and about as racist as it’s possible to be. That changed when I entered middle school to attend classes with Hispanics and Jews. My best friends were Andrew Carrizales and John Sams. I learned a different shared cultural fiction – tolerance and equality. I still hold to it today. Many of the Baptists I knew till I left TX for Marine service were racists, some violent racists. And too many of the men were also rapists. Something I saw more than once. Below the quite surface of life in South TX all these things bubbled. When I returned to TX in 1986 South TX had changed a lot. But the old ways still prevailed in North and particularly East TX. Haven’t been back to TX since except to bury by brother and father.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 30, 2018 at 12:13 pm

        Thanks, Ken, for that bit of personal history. I mostly grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area after WWII, when everyone was catching up with their lives. In high school in Menlo Park, there were some “suspect” folks from East Palo Alto, which really surprised me. In college in the East I ran into the Jewish quota issue, which really saddened me as many of these guys were among the most thoughtful. Incidentally, Donald Trump was putting around in those East Coast days, in a real estate business heavily impacted by racial & ethnic stereotypes. Showman that he is, how much of this thinking stuck to him?

      • April 30, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        James, as a regulator I’ve unfortunately had to “deal with” Trump on three occasions. Aside from his sociopathy, he’s an amoral racist (as was his father) and slumlord. When we dealt when him last in the late 1990s, my staff and I could locate no one who trusted or even liked Trump. But otherwise nothing has changed. Trump was and is an incessant liar. His sociopathy forces him to claim virtues he does not have and reject his all too visible vices. Just to be clear, however, Trump is not that much different from most CEOs I’ve dealt with over the last 40 years.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm

        Wow, Ken, I have only consulted for managers–mostly in Germany. You have had an eye-opening experience! Thank you.

      • May 1, 2018 at 6:54 am

        James, I enjoyed it all. CEO’s and other sociopaths still scare me. They control way too much of what happens in the world. We sometimes seem to enjoy allowing them to abuse us. Trump rallies are almost sadomasochistic.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 1, 2018 at 6:58 am

        Ken, I am reminded of Nazi rallies in Nuremberg or Roman Emperors’ gory battles in the Colliseum–both intended to satisfay deep blood lusts of many in order for the Leader to move his agenda along. We used to speak of “red meat”, did we not?

      • May 1, 2018 at 11:03 am

        James, Sapiens has generally settled disputes with little or no killing before the invention of tribalism about 10,000 years-ago. Since that time settling disputes has become more violent and involve more deliberation killings. And the progression continues. Trump’s tribe has been present in the USA for over 150 years. Trump like George Wallace before him uses them strategically to implement his plans and his prejudices.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 1, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Ken, I put in some years studying anthro at Berkeley & Irvine, so I am incredulous that we can give a 10,000 year figure for killing. Is there really such data such as from ritual killing sites?

      • May 2, 2018 at 5:41 am

        James, information on early Homo Sapiens is incomplete and uncertain. My conclusion is based on the date that does exist, which seems to indicate deaths from violence (murder, war) were higher than modern societies beginning around 5,000 BCE. According to Max Roser, “These data show that in prehistoric times (archeological evidence) and in non-state societies (ethnographic evidence) the levels of violence was much higher than in modern state societies and in the world today.” I also consider the motives for murder listed by most criminologists today. These are “love, lust, money, or loathing.” As the Sapiens population increased each of these increased in importance.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 2, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Thanks for the clarification, Ken. I did my obligatory archeology at Berkeley, where we “social anthropologists” had fascinating discussions about such matters with the archeologists.. I would observe that modern mankind has lots of security/legal institutions which could make life safer in most or at least many places. Again, conjecture.

      • Craig
        April 28, 2018 at 8:11 pm

        Yes, well those large global firms still would need to compete with the small to medium sized corporations who would be able to under sell them with a 50% discount/rebate at the point of retail sale which would make that and other new paradigm policies “an offer even those with global reach could not refuse”. And any line of credit they may need would be better coming from a publicly administered banking system that could offer them such at 0% interest.

      • robert locke
        April 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm

        Personal experience are important. My mother and father were Texans, from the sharecropper crowd, who moved to California. There were 12 children in my mothers family, most of whom remained in Texas. Those who went to California, working class, underwent a transformation in their social outlooks. My father might have called blacks “niggers” but he taught me to respect their rights to get good jobs and advance themselves. I grew up in a family of New Deal democrats, who believed in trade unionism, and an open-free society. When I lived in Tehachapi, a small town, which had a large Mexican community, we intermingled in high school freely. The injustice I witnessed was not racial but in the treatment of the working men, the migrant workers who came in to harvest the crops, at that time were downtrodden whites.

        So I was shocked when at age 12, in 1943, I visited my family with my mother and sister in Houston, and Galveston, to find Jim Crow in full operation. Texas who moved to California, based on my family experiences, turned out to be very different people from those who stayed behind. And we see that today. All my Texas cousins are Republicans of the most reactionary type.

      • April 30, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        Robert, the power of socialization.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        Our lives really track one another, Robert. My twist was that I went to work for Jerry Brown, in his first term, and ran a part of his California Conservation Corps. There I meet the leader of the Farm Worker’s Unions, Caesar Chavez–a prince of a man. Thus, I observed the battle for ag unionization, which many like your family members also benefited from if they were in or near the fields.

      • Robert locke
        April 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm

        Power of socializzation indeed . A person of Asian decent Home Secretary. But a consequence of empire not EU. A West Germany so diifferent, conseqencr again of empire, the Russian and American. Little socialization in borderlands in Eastern Europe, much more in borderlannds of Western Europe.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 30, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        Hi, Robert, I know of many Poles who go over the border daily for their work. It is more complex between Germany-France. The border has shifted many times, leaving many “stuck” in a new nation if they wished to keep their homes & probably their jobs.

      • May 1, 2018 at 7:23 am

        Robert, there’s a large literature on children and adults in situations of chronic stress or trauma. This literature would be helpful I think in better understanding some of the experiences you describe. Is your concern with Sajid Javid that he’s a UK citizen of Asian descent or that he’s a former managing director of Deutsche Bank?

    • Robert Locke
      April 28, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      Calgacus, Compare the history of Europe under unbridled nationalism in the first half of the 20th century and the peace and prosperity of Europe in the second half and you’ll understand why your advocacy of nationalism is nonsense. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Those who forget how Europe gained the reputation for being “The Dark Continent (The mass killing field of the world), would not advocate your position. Europeans as nationalist are mass killers. When I studied European history 1952-1965 that was the history we learned. What makes you think that Europe as a bunch of nations won’t revert to old habits. Europe does not have a history of freedom and justice that the nasty
      EU EZ is perverting. Its all we can do to keep the Europeans from committing mass murder.

      • Craig
        April 28, 2018 at 8:20 pm


        You make excellent and historically accurate points, but there is nothing like the stable prosperity that a new monetary and economic paradigm would effect to make the demagogues and xenophobes crawl back under the rocks they came from and that would also break through upon the ensconced positions of the financial elites.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 6:52 am

        Craig, I think by body count that nationalism has far exceeded religion over time as a cause for murdering you neighbor. That of course is due to technology. I have been to Verdun, France many times where in nine months in 1916 over three-quarters of a million French & German soldiers died or were seriously injured, largely by then modern artillery with their fine steel & more powerful explosives. When in the distant past we had stone or bone-tipped spears, the body count of course was maniscule by contrast.

      • Robert Locke
        April 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm

        Craig, I agree with you entirely, The creation of anew economic and monetary paradigm is what we seek but we need to understand from whence came our problems. Investor capitalism denies co-determination firm governance, and a concept of efficiency that makes firms serve community interests. The new paradigm must stymie rich migrants in the form of huge hedge funds, takeover firms — all the instruments of global financial capitalism — from tearing up the fabric of community life as much as a massive influx of poor migrants does. If we really had a federal Europe with an elected parliament to which government would be responsible, we could overthrow the financial oligarchy running national government and the Brussels financial bureaucracy. What we have now is no European gov’t at all. Just a bunch of bureaucrats trained by. Goldman Sachs.

      • April 29, 2018 at 6:36 am

        Robert, all good points. But we need a plan for such a dangerous fight. As I’ve said already my plan is this: We can learn how to destroy and rebuild the current economic and monetary model by observing how it was created in the first place. This involved comprehensive propaganda, alliances with existing special interests (including economists), detailed socialization in the orthodoxy, and fierce, sometimes violent and brutal attacks on all opponents.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 6:58 am

        I may be simplistic, but it seems to me Robert that Capitalism comes from individual rights, while Socialism comes from group rights. As the Catalonian “independence” indicated, the world is largely organized these days into political units, many of which claim a constitutional basis of some source. A rose by any other name is still a rose, is it not?

      • April 29, 2018 at 7:19 am

        James, evolutionary biologists and anthropologists research identifies multilevel group selection, not individual selection as the form for Homo Sapiens evolution. Robert’s comments are consistent with these research results. James, there is no research results to support a claim for the primacy of individual selection. Thus, there is no research support for “individual rights” outside of group (community) selection. Cultural creations such as capitalism are inconsistent with Sapiens evolution. I always go with evolution. Economists should, as well.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:35 am

        Ken, I return to the original thrust of this fascinating discussion–scientific method, that is, what evidence which can be applied today, since we are speaking of change from this point in time, April, 2018. The prima facie case is that in every family there are dominant roles, usually the father with wife & children still in the house. In every work organization there are dominant persons for various tasks. Every experienced management consultant knows this. To push through the recent US tax giveaway to the rich, every lobbyist used every financial incentive & career threat they could find. This is why the Democrats can win in 2018 & perhaps even impeach Mr Trump–regardless of whether he could be put out of office. In this he would only be following Mr Clinton’s experience.
        Since I work in the face-to-face world these days, Ken, any citations for my ongoing education would be greatly appreciated. In sum, I am saying that in a particular situation in time & place there are individuals who make the difference by their personal behavior.

      • April 29, 2018 at 7:56 am

        James, you are quite correct. Current humans have created all kinds of BS ways of life that conflict with Sapiens evolutionary tendencies. Makes for not just harmful actions and largely useless ones.

        Read more: “Evolution for Everyone” by David Sloan Wilson; “Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect” by Matthew D. Liebermann; “The Social Conquest of Earth” by Edward O. Wilson

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 8:02 am

        Many thanks, Ken!

      • Calgacus
        May 2, 2018 at 2:43 am

        Robert Locke: I am of course familiar with European history. I would appreciate it if you read my comments in light of that. I am saying that the current EU/EZ has specific and highly destructive fascism embedded in it, in the treaties and institutions. The EU/EZ is not keeping Europeans from killing each other, it is inciting tensions.

        I mean would you be for any European Union at all? Say one that insisted each nation provide thousands of victims to be ritually sacrificed at pyramids in Brussels and Frankfurt and also maintained a Euro Ministry of Inflaming Ethnic Hatred and a Ministry of Dividing & Conquering?

        I assume not. Then my point is that a look at the really-existing EU shows it is rather closer to the ritual-sacrifice EU than the one that exists only in dreams, dreams that seem to have hypnotized too many even here, including you. See the links I just posted below replying to Ken, for more detailed criticism.

        The “EU” of the first 40 or so years after the war was basically the nice EU of the dreams. That of the last about 30 years, since Maastricht, is a completely different critter.

      • Robert Locke
        May 2, 2018 at 4:52 pm

        Calgacus, I’ve lived in Germany the past 18 years, calmly, and peacefully without being abused in any way. I’ve bought proprerty here, raised loans at very low interests rates, at the local savings bank, Sparkasse, travelled freely within the EZ without the irksome need to change currencies at borders, been a happy man. I am well aware of the destruction that investor capitalism has brought to Europe, but that is Anglo American in origin. The German Volksbank and Sparkasse have resisted this Anglo-American financializtion to my personal benefit. What I see of anti-EU politics is what really frightens me, Le Pen in France, the Peace and Justice Party in Poland (where to buy a piece of property now the local priest must sign off on the purchase before the sale can proceed). I don’t know what tree you live in, but climb down from it and joint the free world in which I live.

      • Calgacus
        May 3, 2018 at 2:28 am

        I am well aware of the destruction that investor capitalism has brought to Europe, but that is Anglo American in origin. The German Volksbank and Sparkasse have resisted this Anglo-American financialization to my personal benefit.

        You can only say that and most of the other things because you don’t understand the economics. I don’t disagree with much anything positive you say, with anything about Germany internally, but you consistently write as if economics is all managerial microeconomics, as if macroeconomics, the theory of money and finance don’t even exist.

        I agree with your favored micro/managerial theories. But the macro/money theories that jibe well with your micro ones are Keynesian/heterodox/institutional (partly rooted in classical German thought). The theories that you don’t even see, that are embodied in the EU, that make the EU into a ritual-sacrifice union are roughly the macro counterparts of the ones you oppose on the micro level.

        One can only blame Anglo-America at most for pushing theories that they would never apply to themselves. And not really at all for the Euro, the EZ & the EU. Studies say that most (Anglo-)American economists who commented on the Euro criticized it. Events proved most criticisms right, many cautioned that it was unworkable and would be enormously destructive. Wynne Godley (Cambridge) was one the best. Josef Steindl was probably the earliest critic, seeing how things were starting to develop already in the 70s.

        I would say that the historical blame probably lies mostly in Machiavellian French crackpot economists and politicians, mainly dead now, who have made today’s Germany the witless fall guy smacking around the rest of Europe.

        Germany, the rest of Europe and you personally would surely be greatly benefited if Germany left the Euro, probably the single unilateral action with the greatest immediate benefit. The new mark would instantly appreciate against the Euro, the banana ordoliberalism of the last few years has fixed banks balance sheets, the average German would get an instant raise, and in place of mercantilist trade gimmickry, the German government would be forced to deficit-spend to make their country a much better place to live. And the rest of Europe would no longer have an enormous demand leakage.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      April 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      Calgacus, you are making important political statements which of course many who side with you would not understand well. Being in Germany, I know that large engineering, construction & manufacturing firms are globalists to the hilt. Their production costs are lowered by outsourcing & revenue greatly increased. They don’t need big banks very much as they are asset heavy in the Germanic way. They do need Letters of Credit which any Sparkasse (government-owned savings banks) can provide through banking partners like Deutsche Bank.

      • Robert locke
        May 3, 2018 at 9:14 am

        Calgacus, I don‘t know economic. I only know what people who know economics
        Say about it as science and I have been following.that debate for 50 years. As an historian. You seem to want to want to disregard what historians find in the sources. I find this disdain everywhere in social scientiists. But poincare about sociology. Most on method least on results.

      • May 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

        Robert, 100% agreement once again. I’ve always tried to tell my colleagues in social science their work should always begin and end with the situations and actors doing whatever it is they’re interested in studying. And in that work, the understandings, ways of life, and assessments of the actors involved should never be covered over but rather revealed. Allowed to shine through all the theory and methodology.

      • Calgacus
        May 5, 2018 at 6:29 am

        You seem to want to want to disregard what historians find in the sources.

        I plead not guilty. I’ve been agreeing with you on history. Who and what history and what source have I disdained? Are there any historians who claim the EU project is somehow Anglo-American? I don’t think so. One point is that the history of the Franco-German origins show the roots of the financial fascism embodied in the treaties and institutions.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 5, 2018 at 6:50 am

        Hi, Calgacus, our threads are so entwined that it is often unclear to what comments each of us is respoonding at any given moment. With regard to historians, living here the past 16 years has tied me more to history, such as the famous handshake between French & German leaders at Verdun that presumably was the beginning of the EU.
        Indeed the EU is mostly a Continental project, it seems to me, largely for the sake of avoiding more war. The introduction of the Euro came later, with many people including me realizing it would benefit large exporters who otherwise would lose income due to their strengthening exchange rates. I see this swing between the dollar & euro personally, as the dollar has swung from $1.05 to the Euro to about $1.40, as I recall.

      • Robert locke
        May 9, 2018 at 6:22 am

        Trumps withdrawal from iran deal reveals the weakness of you politics’. Each little country begged trump to respect the accord. He sent them packing. No Federation no voice to defend eiurop. Putin has a the cards for a power play in the region to offset us policy. Little europran Nations do not.

      • May 9, 2018 at 10:21 am

        Robert, nice points. I wish people would stop being surprised by such actions by Trump. He’s been doing this for decades. The game is to win, always win. Trump takes a hard stance, then says he may relent if given the right incentives (usually money/praise), Trump takes the money/praise but still carries on with his original threats, until more incentives are provided, etc. Trump loves money, but I honestly believe he loves people kneeling before him even more. Typical narcissist sociopath. I don’t think most Americans realize just what a vile creature the President is. I hope they don’t have to learn through experience.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

        From Trump’s view, Tuesday was successful in protecting the Republican majority in the Senate. If the gentleman is impeached by the House of Representatives, as Clinton was,
        it is the Senate who decides. Just in case….
        As for Iran, Trump is supporting Saudi Arabia & Israel. I doubt he considers he has any other friends these days, meaning these folks have/will make money for Trump Enterprises.

      • May 10, 2018 at 6:40 am

        James, Trump is not difficult to understand if you take time to study his history. He’s a follow the leader sort of guy. But he only follows those he trusts. In his life Trump has trusted only a handful of people. His father, Fred Trump, one of the organizers of the John Birch Society and an extreme racist. Roy Cohn, attorney for Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into Communist activity in the United States during the Second Red scare. Cohn represented Trump during the 1970s when his real estate company was accused of violating The Fair Housing Act. Cohn did not defend Trump’s company. He rather sued the government asserting that the charges were irresponsible and baseless. Trump settled without admitting guilt but as with today, explained the settlement this way, he was satisfied that the agreement did not “compel the Trump organization to accept persons on welfare as tenants unless as qualified as any other tenant.” A lie. Cohn also introduced Rupert Murdoch to Ronald Reagan in the 1970s, leading to an alliance that would change the country, for the good for rich people and for the worse for everyone else. Cohn was disbarred in 1986 for unethical and unprofessional conduct, including misappropriation of clients’ funds, lying on a bar application, and pressuring a client to amend his will. The members of the John Birch Society who met regularly in the Trump home. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the society as a ‘Patriot’ group, a group that “advocate[s] or adhere[s] to extreme antigovernment doctrines.” Along with some distinctive mental aberrations this is the character of Donald Trump. Everything he’s done as President fits here.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 7:01 am

        Ken, the information about the John Birch Society-Trump’s father & Cohn-Rupert Murdoch are new to me, although I might have forgotten I suppose. Of course, Murdoch was involved in the Brexit vote as well. Thanks.

      • May 10, 2018 at 7:21 am

        James, this is from March 2017.

        President Donald Trump was reportedly shouting to wake the dead when Attorney General Jeff Sessions chose to recuse himself from the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with the Kremlin—and invoked the dead to hammer his point home.

        “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Trump asked numerous senior White House officials in March, according to the New York Times, as he criticized Sessions as insufficiently devoted in comparison to Trump’s former personal lawyer and confidant.

        The question began trending on Twitter almost immediately after the article’s publication, resurfaced decades of stories about the turbulent relationship between the infamous shark and the tycoon-who-would-be-president. It was a relationship that, in many ways, shaped Trump’s political career—and a relationship that Sessions would be well advised to avoid reenacting.

        Cohn, an immoral man at the most basic level, also introduced Trump to a series of Mafia dons and the cream of the elite of NYC. But what Cohn gave Trump was more fundamental. Trump was never a success, but Cohn made Trump feel like a success. At least sometimes.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 8:31 am

        Ken, that I now recall. Thanks, again.

    • April 29, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Calgacus, wouldn’t it be more useful to just unembed the crackpot, innumerate, ultraneoliberal economics that’s in the treaties and institutions forming the basis of the EU/EZ?

      • Robert Locke
        April 29, 2018 at 7:39 am

        You can begin by eliminating the Trojan horse of US business school educated “Europeans” from national and the EU Brussel’s bureaucracy. Germans manage this by not having elite business schools. France has elite schools, but they are national. The UK, Belgians, Dutch, and Scandinivians bought into the American management system through participating in the elite system of US education. Japan had a firm-centered management education system. What is going on in China, James,. The European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (Brussels) is still US business school centered.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 7:51 am

        Robert, China is a giant education market. It does have Wharton-Harvard type business schools, both as foreign outposts & by the academics hired by Chinese supervisors. Then there are folks like me who come to teach specific courses in biz & tech for our European or American institutions. As you know, the Chinese are masters at acquiring foreign culture & then integrating it into Chinese culture–as President Xi enunciates Communism with a Chinese flavor.

      • Robert Locke
        April 29, 2018 at 11:10 am

        When I wrote the chapter “US managerialism and business schools fail to. find a moral compass,” in the book with J-C Spender, Confronting Manageriaism (2011), I note that the Chinese, despite their condemnation of Confucius under Mao, looked to Confucius concepts of moral order rather than to American individualism.And the government has founded many Confucius. Institutes in partnership with people in foreign lands. There is a Confucius Institute in Germany, James. Have you had contacts with it?.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        April 29, 2018 at 12:06 pm

        There are at least 14 Confucius Institutes in Germany currently, Robert, including here in Heidelberg. Obviously, Capitalism is amoral, or how else could you dump employees like old fruit?

      • Calgacus
        April 30, 2018 at 3:59 am

        Ken Zimmerman: Calgacus, wouldn’t it be more useful to just unembed the crackpot, innumerate, ultraneoliberal economics that’s in the treaties and institutions forming the basis of the EU/EZ?

        Yeah, sure it would be jolly good to have a United States of Europe which is anything like any other country anywhere else. Destroying the current destructive institutions would be a good first step towards that. Probably the only practical one.

        After all, why would a bunch of rich nations, which would instantly become significantly richer once the EU/EZ were destroyed, start fighting each other, as so many, perhaps like Robert Locke, imagine? Close to zero chance. The EU/EZ is the current cause, not the cure of nearly all European international tensions. And since austerian Eurocrats have been in charge, Europe has shrunk as an economic unit compared to the USA.

        Each nation leaving the EU & EZ is a step forwards, like each state leaving the Confederate States of America. This question is like asking wouldn’t it be more useful to just wave a magic wand? Europe was united under Napoleon & Hitler. Wouldn’t it be more useful to just take their empires and get rid of all the bad things? With a magic wand, of course?;-)

        All the motion in past decades has been in the opposite direction. A reasonable common market trade union was turned into a nightmare, by manifestly dishonest means of imposing absurd treaties against the (rational) will of the electorates whenever they had a say. If there’s a magic wand, the bad guys have it.

        You had a great quote in another thread: “If we ain’t fightin’ to keep slavery, then what the hell are we fightin’ for?”

        If the Eurocrats, the malign (and powerful enough to wreak enormous damage) government in Brussels & Frankfurt ain’t fighting for the EU/EZ to keep predatory, destructive, fascistic finance capitalism in charge of Europe, what the hell are they fightin’ for?

        And they’re winning so far.

        (Hope this isn’t a redundant post, having problems)

      • May 1, 2018 at 8:04 am

        Calgacus, capitalism and autocracy are always connected. Capitalism is an autocratic way of life. Not surprising, therefore that the governments created in capitalist societies are usually autocratic, and sometimes fascist when suppression of worker activity or regulatory policies aimed at corporations is necessary. Look at the current EPA. Policies and appointees who lie, use political or even physical force, and limit information only to corporate supporters are back. Scott Pruitt has been a fascist for years. Now he has the largest stage of life to put his fascism into practice. And typically, fascists don’t retreat until they’re forced to do so. Is this the case in the EU/EZ?

      • Calgacus
        May 2, 2018 at 2:30 am

        Basically, there are two governments in Europe- the relatively nice local ones and the fascist central EU/EZ. To its everlasting credit, of both the wisdom of the electorate and the health of its political structures – the British people made the right choice. Dump the fascists. And it looks like the government is doing what it should – obeying the people. Britain is proving it is not a capitalist autocracy, but a democracy, that something else is possible – and easy.
        Here are a couple relevant articles Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit

        Thomas Fazi and William Mitchell – The EU cannot be democratised – here’s why

        And typically, fascists don’t retreat until they’re forced to do so. Is this the case in the EU/EZ?

        I don’t understand the question. The fascists in Europe, the EU/EZ, have been gaining power since Maastricht and wielding it brutally since the GFC. There is only one practical way out – exit. But the financial fascists – today’s economic royalists – know well how to use their most potent weapon – control over the mind of the oppressed by using fuzzy touchy-feely mystique, fine phrases and sentiments – hypocrisy to hypnotize their victims.

      • May 2, 2018 at 6:55 am

        Calgacus, from their actions many of the bankers involved in the EU/EZ are indeed performing as fascists, even if they don’t display all the political features of fascism. But at the same time many of those who supported Brexit in the UK are also fascists, with all the political and economic features of fascism in place. Others in the UK supported Brexit for reasons of nationalism. Not unusual for the UK. As well as for sentimental reasons, as in the case of Grimsby, UK. This is mixed bag of the reasons for opposing the EU/EZ in the UK.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 2, 2018 at 7:09 am

        Hi, Calgacus, indeed the open borders for people, goods, many services & money works better for some persons & some nations (on balance). The 4% annual cap on deficits also helps some nations more than others. The same about a common currency. So nations must decide, like the Brits. However, since the world is organized into states, all relations between nations will be negotiated. It will be a start with the World Trade Association providing general guidance on most goods, but not on the other three elements. I have been in this business 40+ years, and the going will be “gooey” for some time. No idea how long it will take a Brit to clear immigration on the Continent nor how expensive to exchange its “foreign currency” nor to get a job, buy property or otherwise to do more than a 14 day visit to Spanin, say.

      • Calgacus
        May 3, 2018 at 1:29 am

        Prof James Beckman: I am not concerned about open borders for people, goods, services and money. Make them 100% free. No capital or border controls of any kind. They just aren’t important. That is not what the EU/EZ is about. That’s the touchy feely stuff to cloak the fascism. (And particularly concerning open borders for people, that make it more workable, doling out the poison in doses.)

        The problem is the particular, weird, common currency design that systematically embodies academically popular but entirely crackpot economic theories. It makes the deficit cap necessary (otherwise there would be a race to the bottom) But it makes it impossible and dangerous for states to stabilize their economies through deficits, which have always been needed in human history. (Nations can only run balanced budgets or surpluses very rarely, or through accounting gimmicks that disguise massive spending (on gold, on foreign currencies).

        And the EZ already would have collapsed if not for extralegal games to protect the banks – see those articles or many others. I’m calling it banana ordoliberalism – the fascistic rules of course don’t apply to the fascists who caused the problems.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 3, 2018 at 8:17 am

        Calgacus, you indeed have made a central point. By remaining with their own currencies, the Greeks would had an easier time digging out of their inability to repay foreign debts if denominated in their own currency, or if not then by going above the 3% threshold to borrow to repay the foreign-currency denominated loans. It is assumed the Greeks would work hard on exports & tourism, as there would be no temporary but stringent bailouts monitored by EU & friends. Conversely, the great exporters like Germany would find their DM’s growing in value, thus soon weakening as higher prices would bring fewer units sold under nomally- observied responses.
        In the context of much discussion in this fascinating thread, money indeed makes a difference in trade, including cost of borrowing & those fateful exchange rates linking various currencies.

      • Calgacus
        May 5, 2018 at 6:08 am

        James Beckman: I’m glad I got my point / hobbyhorse across to someone at least! Money makes a difference – it is beyond belief how educated and sane economists can deny this fact obvious to everyone else. Keynes noted how economists denial of plain and obvious truth made their reputations suffer in the eyes of the public (rightly). But we are so much richer now, that they can and do get away with the same old nonsense ever more.

        The true Greek tragedy of 2015 is that Greece had won. All they had to do was accept Schauble’s negotiated Grexit plan. Their debt was not at all unpayable. Grexit would have led to a robust economy. But Alex Tsipras is an economic illiterate, listened to malicious or stupid advisors, fired his decent ones, and betrayed the referendum because he gave in to utterly unmerited despair. He never played chess, never knew Bobby’s great advice – you don’t win games by resigning. The great Bobby said that because he knew he didn’t always know who was winning, him or his opponent. But you don’t win games by resigning.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 5, 2018 at 6:21 am

        Hi, Calgacus, thanks for follow-up messages. I enjoyed you remark about not resigning the game (of life, of science, certainly of economics that sometimes non-empirical intellectual discipline).

      • May 5, 2018 at 9:28 am

        Calgacus, about the August 2015 “deal” Alex Tsipras said this, “I have my conscience clear that it is the best we could achieve under the current balance of power in Europe, under conditions of economic and financial asphyxiation imposed upon us.” After the deal, Tsipras was reelected. The fate of Greece in the EU is uncertain now. A lot will depend on how the various separation from the EU movements turn out. In my view the struggles in the EU about money and debt allow us to view and study the tracks left by the cultural work to create and use money. Such tracking is much than just academic curiosity, however, as the welfare and future survival of Greece and other nations in Europe (including the UK) hang in the balance.

      • Robert Locke
        May 5, 2018 at 9:34 am

        Financialization, income distribution, and social justice: recent German and American experience

        In an article about financialization in the RWER (Robert R. Locke1 [Germany/, 2014, issue-no-68/Iwrote

        “Although many economists and business writers have discussed increased financialization since the1970s, they have paid scant attention to the impact this change may have had on the distribution of incomes in Western economies. This paper compares and contrasts in this respect American financialization with German over the past half-century. According to Petra Dünhaupt, finanzialization in the two countries differed: “In the US, the important shift towards financialization occurred in the early 1980s, …in Germany the process of financialization started much later – in the beginning of the 1990s – and followed a much more gradual transition.” (Dünhaupt, 2012, 1) The analysis is pursued historically, on the grounds that an understanding of the financialization of the German economy requires an investigation of intergenerational institutional legacies.
        The financialization referred to here can be described as the transition from management capitalism to finance capitalism. More specifically, it is the change from viewing a business as a vehicle for earning “returns on investment . . . based on the value created by productive enterprise” to viewing a business “as assets to be bought and sold for maximizing profits through financial strategies.” (Ball & Appelbaum, 2) Large-scale industrial organizations in which the internal “visible hand” of management orchestrated productive activities formerly coordinated through the external “invisible hand” of market transactions first emerged in the United States in the 19th century. By the 1920s, many of these organizations, as famously described by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. in his path-breaking book The Visible Hand ,1977, (Locke & Spender, 2011) had evolved into complex multi-divisional enterprises that arguably represent the pinnacle of management capitalism’s development. Indeed, large managed enterprises have flourished in the global economy from the early 20th century to today. But changes in financial markets, financial institutions, and management compensation after the 1960s increasingly shifted the attention of managers from producing and selling products and non-financial services to seeking returns from financial activities. These changes from management capitalism to finance capitalism had profound consequences for the distribution of incomes. However, the fairness of that distribution varied greatly from nation to nation, depending on their institutional and governance forms and how democratically members of each society could alter those forms”” .

        These are the concerns that preoccupy me and I don’t see whatn noclassical macro economics has to do with it. From everythieng I learn in this blog macro economics is not a science, I learned as James said that Europe is different from the US and the UK, Books like Michel Albert”s Capitalism against Capitalism, which explained the difference betweenRhineland and Americans casino capitalism, and Hoie’s book on Nordic Ethical Management.

        Europe is primarily a political project not an economic one. The fact that Europeans trained in unethical us-uk capitalism is a pure case of ango-american Trojan horse imperialism. I’ve watch it taking place at the London School of Economics, The European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, and in various management departments while visiting for several decades. Groningen, Queens University Belfast, Goettingen, and some other places.

      • May 6, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        Robert, great comments. And your article is great also. I want to fill in a few gaps on financialization in the USA. First, as so many have pointed out, it all began with Ronald Reagan. Not that financial investing and speculation began with Reagan. From its earliest days as a nation investing, speculating, and plenty of fraud were part of American life. But Reagan aided those who wanted to speculate and particularly those who wanted to financially speculate while taking little or no risk to themselves. First, the primary effect of the tax changes over the course of Reagan’s term in office was a change in the composition of federal receipts, towards more payroll taxes and new investment taxes, and away from higher earners and capital gains on existing investments. Second, during Reagan’s presidency, the national debt almost tripled and the U.S. went from being the world’s largest creditor nation to the world’s largest debtor in under eight years. This was largely the result of the four pillars of Reagan’s economic policy: reduce the growth of government spending, reduce the federal income tax and capital gains tax, reduce government regulation, and tighten the money supply to reduce inflation. Finally, according to tax historian Joseph Thorndike, the tax bills of 1982 and 1984 “constituted the biggest tax increase ever enacted during peacetime.” Reagan’s tax assignment policies made financial investment about the only way for newcomers to pursue big wealth. That view was reinforced by the lower tax rate on financial returns. Going from a creditor to debtor nation favored banks and lending, as well as every type of financial scheme smart Wall Street shops could invent. At the same time Reagan’s focus on reduced government regulation allowed many of these schemes to go unexamined and uncontrolled for decades. Complex and tending toward all or nothing failures, these schemes constituted a ticking time bomb. A bomb that has exploded in major economic crises on three occasions since the end of Reagan’s Presidency. In simple terms, Reagan, Friedman, Laffer, etc. created a time bomb to wreck the US economy. But of course, these men made certain people like themselves would never suffer because of their bomb. To ensure all these not so carefully laid plans went forward and the bomb went off, the Republican Congress passed and President Bill Clinton (a Democrat) signed the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. This Act repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies that prohibited any one institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company. With this, commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies were allowed to consolidate. Furthermore, the Act denied the SEC or any other financial regulatory agency the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies. With this the coup was complete. The USA is the largest and most dangerous financialized economy in the world.

      • Robert Locke
        May 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        Excellent elaborations on the process of financilization in the Reagan years. Every time I tune into Bloomberg Europe, CNBC, where Kudlow reigned, BBC World Service, CNN, and France 24, I see the effects of this financilization, endless talk about the buying and selling of assets, financial mergers, interviews almost exclusively with CEOs, takeover executives, etc. China’s Belt and Road, scares them to death, unless they can get it into their orbit. But when I tune into CGNT, Deutsche Welle, and some other financialization ceases to dominate

      • May 6, 2018 at 8:33 pm

        Robert, the differences you observe are the result of differences in socialization going back at least 50 years, added to the longer history of capitalism in the USA and Europe. In a debate on the connotation of capitalism on this blog, I argued that at its root capitalism is using money to make more money. This sense of capitalism is essential to American history. As a result, American capitalists are always searching for ways to improve “earnings.” Financialization offers such an opportunity. In fact, in my view financialization is the biggest change in American capitalism since the application of water and steam power in manufacturing. Financialization seems to have vast potential to expand the wealth of investors. Potential without equal historically and with even greater future expectations. This is all interesting, very interesting to anyone whose focus is exclusively making shareholders richer. This focus is paramount in USA capitalism. But much less important in most European capitalism and far east capitalism.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm

        Ken, I have watched this process of financialization by the TV interviews & analyses which are incessant in the US at least. They offer entertainment in the same sense that Mr Trump offers entertainment. Who owns the Wall Street Journal & who owns Fox News? Answer: same folks. His chief economic advisor is now such an entertainer from the TV financial news world.

      • May 8, 2018 at 10:00 am

        James, the term mystification has been deployed in various ways to explain how deception, disguise, and dissimulation play a role in driving human actions. Unfortunately, mystification of science is little studied. And mystification of economics even less so. This is relevant because financialization is the most common mystification in economics. This is quite visible in the ways financialization is most often defined: the increase in size and importance of a country’s financial sector relative to its overall economy; the development of financial capitalism during the period from 1980 until 2010, in which debt-to-equity ratios increased and financial services accounted for an increasing share of national income relative to other sectors; a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes; refers to the increasing importance of finance, financial markets, and financial institutions to the workings of the economy. These betray the complexity of financialization. First, financialization turns capitalism upside down. No longer is the making and selling of goods and services the purpose of capitalism. Capitalism is rather access to money, in a variety of forms for a variety of schemes to make even more money. Second, financialization invites and nurtures fraud and hucksterism. All goods and services in capitalism are made-up, creative fictions to fill markets. All useful in varying gradations. But the made-up financial products don’t have agreed upon definitions or values. These being set-up “on the run” in the fast-moving financial markets to maximize returns to one or more selected groups participating in these markets. Definitions and values that are often vague, multilayered, and complex. Often to sway market movements and/or make it more difficult for those outside the markets, particularly regulators to track and monitor actions of market participants. Capitalism in general is a comfortable location for sociopaths. Financialized capitalism is even more comfortable for sociopaths. Consider this for a second, in terms of the massive impacts capitalism and financialized capitalism have on American society. So, I strongly argue that financialization changed the fundamental structure of capitalism and provided not only a textbook medium for fraud and other crime but encouraged such actions.

      • Calgacus
        May 6, 2018 at 9:35 pm

        Ken Zimmerman:Alex Tsipras said this, “I have my conscience clear that it is the best we could achieve under the current balance of power in Europe, under conditions of economic and financial asphyxiation imposed upon us.”

        As I said, Alex Tsipras is an economic illiterate. I wouldn’t trust him to run a candy store for 5 minutes, let alone a country. The Greek electorate were fools to return the fool to office. To that extent, they deserve what they get, not having the hard-won wisdom of the maligned Brexit oldsters.

        His & his advisors & the EU economics do. not. make. sense. The critics’ economics does make sense. Supposedly, if Greece had left the EZ, there would have been a catastrophe, nobody knows what it would be or how it would happen or why it would be different from the standard historical result of such an exit – robust prosperity. Pure unadulterated fearful fantasy. Think Roosevelt was wrong when he said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? Look at the results of unreasoning, mindless fear: Greece.

      • May 7, 2018 at 5:42 am

        Calgacus, Helmut Kohl served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998. As Chancellor Kohl was strongly committed to European integration and French–German cooperation in particular; he was also a steadfast ally of the United States and supported Reagan’s more aggressive policies to weaken the Soviet Union. He oversaw the end of the Cold War and the German reunification, for which he is generally known as Chancellor of Unity. Together with French President François Mitterrand, Kohl was the architect of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. Kohl was also a central figure in the eastern enlargement of the European Union, and his government led the effort to push for international recognition of Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina when the states declared independence. He played an instrumental role in solving the Bosnian War. Domestically, Kohl’s policies focused on economic reforms and later also on the process of integrating the former East Germany into the reunited Germany. Current Chancellor Angela Merkel started her political career as Kohl’s protégée. Another of his protégées was Wolfgang Schäuble, German Minister of Finance during the Greek crisis. Following his mentor, Schäuble is a proponent of European integration and budget discipline. As a strong advocate of austerity, during the eurozone crisis Schäuble in 2014 pushed through a national budget of 299 billion euros that allowed Germany not to take on any new debt for the first time since 1969. In the first half of 2016, he recorded an 18.5 billion euros budget surplus. He has been described as the “personification of fiscal discipline” and “Europe’s foremost ayatollah of austerity,’ even rejecting repeated calls from government supporters for vote-winning tax cuts. During his tenure, he stood by his position that structural reforms such as overhauling labor markets in Europe are the way out of a low-growth spiral. Not, new taxes or government spending. Schäuble’s approach to government spending is like that of US conservatives (the real ones). The difference is what’s funded by Germany vs. USA budgets. The big differences are defense and social security. US defense budget about $600 billion (half the budget); Germany defense budget about $45 billion (about 17% of the budget). USA social security and Medicare (0% of discretionary budget-$1.25 trillion from dedicated taxes); Germany about $105 billion for universal pensions plus sharing of welfare costs between employers and employees.

        How could Tsipras stand up to this long and strong history of German austerity?

      • Calgacus
        May 7, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        Ken: What you write may be true, but has no relevance to Greece. Clearly – Greece is not even mentioned!

        How could Tsipras stand up to this long and strong history of German austerity? What was there to stand up to? All Tsipras had to do was accept Schauble’s offer of a negotiated Grexit. Greece had won. The not-illiterate opponent was saying “I resi…”, but Tsipras beat him to it with “I resign.” A true achievement, one that will live on in the Annals of Human Stupidity.

        Schauble & Varoufakis are not economic illiterates. Schauble even told Varoufakis that if he were in Varoufakis’s shoes, he would refuse the offers he was making. But Tsipras fired Varoufakis and listened to crooks and flakes. All of Greece’s and Europe’s economic problems come from the Euro. Leave it, and everybody would notice – hey, we are a rich country. Don’t have to live like a refugee…!

        Tsipras never learnt Lesson 1 in international economics. (2 & 3 available on request :-)) The best exposition is in one page, one sentence really from FDR in 1933. Forgotten now, but in 1937 he said, with ample reason, that he was prouder of it than anything else he ever did.

        FDR’s USAExit: Wireless to the London Conference

        In one sentence: “The sound internal economic system of a Nation is a greater factor in its well-being than the price of its currency in changing terms of the currencies of other Nations.”

        The Euro is nothing but a “fetish of so-called international bankers” based on “basic economic errors”. But Tsipras sacrificed the soundness of Greece’s internal economic system as a vain offering to an absurd fetish.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 8, 2018 at 6:29 am

        Calgacus, virtually anyone with money in Greece wanted to remain with the Euro to protect their personal assets. If your doctor, lawyer, medium-sized firm owners, police chief, etc all want to remain, it might take a Castro to pull the plug on the Euro, I expect.

      • May 8, 2018 at 10:32 am

        Calgacus, I appreciate your apprehension. But I ask you to consider this. Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana was dictator of Mexico and the commander of the armies of Mexico during the Texas Revolution of 1836. He ordered the massacre of more than 600 Texas fighters at Goliad and gave the order for no quarter at the Alamo siege. When asked why he had taken these extreme steps, his answer was, “If we are not successful, our grandchildren and their grandchildren will beg for crumbs from the Americans!” History has proven Santa Ana correct. I can’t help but think Tsipras had thoughts like those of Santa Ana. Greek children and grandchildren would beg crumbs from the EU (specifically Germany) if he turned down the deal. Despite opposition to the deal from the Greek people and Tsipras’ own political party.

      • Calgacus
        May 10, 2018 at 3:41 am

        James Beckman: Calgacus, virtually anyone with money in Greece wanted to remain with the Euro to protect their personal assets.

        There was the referendum, which said “No” overwhelmingly, even after it was sold as “remaining in Europe or not”, which it technically was not. Polls at the time showed majorities wanting to leave the Eurozone.

        Your point is reasonable, people have a right to protect their personal assets, but a non-illiterate leader would have explained that Greece would return to prosperity by abandoning the cause of its plight, the Euro system, not by grabbing their personal assets.

        Instead, what Tsipras did was continue to spout “Marxist” bullshit about redistribution while sticking it to the poor and selling off his country worse than any prior “right” regime. By now, one can safely say that 99+% of Greeks would have been better off after a Grexit. Do the rich or middle class really want to live in a 3rd world country with deathtrap hospitals?

        A great part, maybe the greatest part of the job of a chief executive is the bully pulpit – here, teach people their economic ABC’s. E.g. that sound internal economic systems are better for personal assets than unsound ones. Can’t do that if you don’t know them yourself, but only know how to spout slogans without understanding them.

        Ken, I am not “apprehensive”, I am saying Tsipras was “apprehensive” of not “begging for crumbs” – his specialty – to the extent of being a coward, a moronic coward. it is hard to imagine a less appropriate comparison than to Santa Ana, so inappropriate I am not sure you understand what I am saying.

        Had Santa Ana done what Tsipras did, he would have supplied the Texans with weapons and food and have them poison and massacre his own Mexican army and then begged the Texans for help, “for crumbs”. When Santa Ana said that this was to prevent our children etc from begging for crumbs, he would have been put in an insane asylum.

        Tsipras had 2 deals in front of him: (1) The 3rd Memorandum:
        Servitude, misery, and (grand)children begging for crumbs.
        (2) Schauble’s negotiated Grexit offer: Freedom, parting as friends, prosperity and independence.

        Tsipras, against the rational advice he was given by Varoufakis & Lafazanis & others, chose (1). Santa Ana would have chosen (2). FDR and Britain, many nations in the past, chose/ would choose (2).

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 6:52 am

        I agree with your thinking, Calgacus. But what one see in the drug-dealing world & elsewhere is a lot of “special arrangements” between private groups & agents of government. You see this in Mexico with drug cartels killing each other primarily, after the government agents have been paid off mostly & “neutralized” otherwise. Greeks have individually made a lot of money off warehousing refugees as well as illegally moving some along the way to other EU nations. We do have the term “satificing” in economics, don’t we?

      • May 10, 2018 at 7:06 am

        Calgacus, you’ve got the facts straight. But Tsipras is still Prime Minister and I see little Marxism in his and Parliament’s actions since 2015. If Tsipras is a Marxist, it’s a secret as deep as the Marianas Trench. I’m trying to understand what happened before and after 2015.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

        Ken, from my business experience I would look at the way the man lives, and where his relatives have employment. It’s the test I use when I work with foreign governments. On Putin: in which of his private residences do you wish to meet?

      • May 10, 2018 at 7:25 am

        Putin is obviously not a Marxist. But then neither were most of the leaders of the USSR after World War II.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 8:33 am

        Indeed, Tsarism, with a lot of supporters who have to be fed in return for loyalty…

    • robert locke
      May 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Ken, since you have a degree in sociology I wish you would be more sociological in your critique, I mean go into socialization and how it has affected our intellectual life. Take institutions, i.e. business schools.

      Here is a comment by John Byrne, in Forbes just two days ago (Apr 29)

      “Another Cheap Shot At Business Schools

      Get ready for yet another cheap shot at business schools. This coming month will see the publication of “Shut Down the Business School: What’s Wrong with Management Education” eloquently authored by a little-known professor from a business school that fails to make either the Financial Times or the Economist rankings.
      An excerpt from the book, just published by the Guardian, sports the even more provocative headline: “Why We Should Bulldoze The Business School.” Written by Martin Parker, a management professor at the University of Bristol, the piece takes one cheap shot after another at business education. Parker writes that the “knowledge” a business school sells is “vulgar” and “stupid,” that business ethics and corporate social responsibility are mere “window dressing,” a “fig leaf to cover the conscience of B-school deans,” and that the business school will most likely be the “most ostentatious building” on a university campus.
      Parker claims that business schools are essentially “places that teach people how to get money out of the pockets of ordinary people and keep it for themselves. In some senses, that’s a description of capitalism, but there is also a sense here that business schools actually teach that ‘greed is good.’”

      This scathing critique is hardly new. Earlier this year, a history professor penned a critique for the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Business Schools Have No Business In The University.” Last year saw, the Harvard Business School was raked over the coals in The Golden Passport, a book that was as much an attack on HBS as it was a condemnation of the business school industry, its students and graduates.
      Why all the hostility? Success breeds envy. Spectacular success invites contempt. The market has spoken, and business schools have won. The MBA is the most popular graduate degree in the U.S. Business is the most popular major, with many colleges having to place limits on enrollment because the demand to study business at the undergraduate level is that high.”

      The business school Parker, Duff McDonald and others attack, are not tried and true institutions; they did not exist before the 1960s brought a radical reform in them, that turned them into the worthless institutions that are being condemned. The MBA might be the most popular degree in the US, but both Germany and Japan, when they arose from the rubble of defeat to emerge as dynamic economies had no business schools in the American sense, no MBAs. So MBAs are not necessary to business prosperity. Both of these countries, moreover, offer contrasting models to the American in management education. Since the US business school, is a post 1960s product, their appearance is an example of quick institutional transformation not inherited educational value systems. Somebody fell asleep at switch in the late 20th century and we got rapid institutional change favorable to finance capitalism, but detrimental to society.

      • May 2, 2018 at 6:13 am

        Robert, the acceptance, in fact celebration of business schools is basic enculturation. That means providing actions to imitate, repeat the lessons, and reward proper responses. Enculturation or socialization works this way because it’s effective. It makes humans part of a culture. The Forbes article lists the actions to imitate. The actions that make business schools good and relevant. Then it repeats these, emphasizing how important and authentic they are for each member of today’s society. Then rewards that accrue to each person who attends business schools are listed. The result: each of us wants wealth and a meaningful career and life. Business schools are not just an acceptable path to achieve those goals, it’s an exemplary one. A final action to embed business schools in our lives adds attacks on those who attack or criticize such schools. These persons must have malicious motives to mount such attacks. Often the socialization process does not include this final step, as it is unnecessary. Interview an interrogator for good information on how to disrupt and reverse socialization.

      • Robert locke
        May 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

        Ken, my problem in this context wth acculturation is the time factor. Doen’t it take some time. The transformation of us bs took 10 years. That’s not acculturation but top down ideologicalization. Implemented in the cools war.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 3, 2018 at 9:42 am

        Robert, one of the characteristics of business schools is that they are intended to give managers a minimum level of competence. But the same can be said about attorneys & medical doctors can’t it? Once one was an apprentice manager, doctor, lawyer, etc, learning on the job. Is that some people’s desire? Are we being pushed to improve on them or eliminate them? It is not clear to me.

      • May 3, 2018 at 11:42 am

        Robert, it’s difficult to put a time scale on acculturation or counter-acculturation. Really depends on the actors involved and the complexity of the culture. For example, the normal American child is acculturated in 5-6 years. After that it’s a matter of refinement. This process has become more complex since the end of World War II, because of many challenges to the dominant culture as well as many subcultures springing up. Socialization to an “ideology” is no different than any other socialization. One of the facts, leaders of ideological movements such as Hitler often understand well.

      • Robert Locke
        May 3, 2018 at 4:12 pm

        Ken, I just think that unpredictable historical events explain much better than concepts of acculturation what has gone on in business education, although I think cultures explain resistant to what has happened in history. The best way to explain why American views came to dominate after WWII is the victory through a chain of events that were hardly predictable, that’s history, just like what is happening today, the collapse of the American management mystique, was not predictable. The head of the management association emailed me when my book came out in 1996 that “there hasn’t been a collapse of the American management mystique,” but there has and I “discovered” it as an historian by studying recent history of cultures outside the American orbit that that had their own adjustments to make after 1945. The problem I have with social science is its inability to explain what is going on under their noises. I spent 2 years at The European Institute for advanced studies in management in Brussels. I learned a lot from the social scientists there, but they learned nothing from me. They did not even know why I was there. Not once did they ask me how an historian would approach a question. The owl of Minerva takes flight at dusk.

      • May 4, 2018 at 12:21 pm

        Robert, I understand your frustration with social scientists. But consider for a moment the goals social scientists pursue. Beginning in the early 20th century a cultural movement called “Americanization” began to change the entire world. For example, it was no accident that Japanese military structure and tactics during World War II looked and felt American. American soldiers and sailors had a large part in establishing the structure of the Japanese army and navy in the 19th century. Even the imperialism of the Japanese government found its roots in the conquest of America’s native population in the 18th and 19th centuries. Americanization also influenced both political and military actions and designs in Germany before and after World War I. Many of the architects of Americanization were social scientists. In the minds of social scientists, the study of American society and politics is combined with the promotion of American society and politics around the world. After all, as with the white man rescuing Africans through slavery and Christian conversion, social scientists helping the world imitate American laws, social arrangements, and government was in the view of most Americans, a kindness from America. Social scientists agreed. After World War II, when much of the world was wrecked social scientists merely accelerated this work. Historians studied Americanization, but mostly they were not actively involved in promoting it. From the perspective of Americans since World War II, Americanization is what saved Europe and the Far East. Yes, the attempt to Americanize Europe after World War II was not just predictable but obvious. As were the actions of American social scientists rushing to “help” Russia after the fall of the USSR. They saw another lesson to be taught on Americanization. Why would social scientists not want this? American ways of life were the living solutions for all the problems of the world, including those in Europe. More directly, social scientists generally set out to change the world. Generally, historians do not. What is sort of predicable vs. not at all predictable is situationally dependent. The spread of Americanization aided by social scientists is in my view sort of predictable.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 4, 2018 at 2:14 pm

        Hi, Ken, of course people represent what they know, structure & value. Currently in Europe we have the Left (public “need/want”-centered) & Right (public “need to work”-centered). The European Right offers low cost education & health care, for example–but work is the burden of their argument as in US. The European Left is entitlement-enthralled, while the US Left is inclined to push a work requirement, even if reluctantly, it seems to me.
        There are other economic models around as well: the “gangster” of various national mafias; the ordoliberal of Germany, Japan & South Korea, etc; the “Communism according to Chinese Values”; etc.

      • May 5, 2018 at 7:53 am

        James, remember what cultural adaptation is about – usefulness. Cultural adaptations continue so long as they are useful. This makes cultural adaptation somewhat less precise than evolution. Evolution deals only with survival of the species. Cultural adaptation deals with creation of collective arrangements that protect species survival, outside the result of biological changes.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Agreed, Ken, but the behavioral adaptors still remain at heart what they were raised. I see this continually in our 14 unit apartment unit with Russians, Poles, Germans, “others” (not yet identified) & me. These are the “basics” to which you alluded, I guess.

      • May 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm

        James, agreed. Socialization in childhood and even later in life has a large and continuing impact on our ways of interacting. But such socializations are either successful or fail in terms of aiding species survival. That’s their ultimate test. If they fail those who hold them fail. Failure means the chances of these particular socializations continuing are reduced because there’s greater likelihood those socialized in such ways will not have success in life.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        Also, agreed, Ken. In this regard I have just read that Mr Trump began to spend hundreds of millions of “his own money”, starting in 2006. Did he survive due to his great operating income, more unacknowledged loans from Deutsche Bank or perhaps from Putin’s buddies. While this is “just” money, whatever we define it to be, the answer might determine how long he remains in office. In other words, we are not speaking of abstractions now….

      • May 6, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        James, problem with “his own money scenario” is Trump at that juncture in his history had little money to spend. And his businesses were both in hock up their eyes and not generating revenue streams large enough to fund Trump’s documented spending. So, what’s the source of the spending spree? Several former officials at Deutsche Bank indicated more than a decade ago that the deposits coming into it for Trump’s use seemed to have Russian sources. This combined with the NY DA’s suspicions that Trump was laundering Russian “mob money,” as he had laundered Mafia money in the 1980s (in New Jersey) lead to investigations. Investigations Trump has thus far managed to side track and side step. This would be an awkward time for these investigations to start up again. So far NY/NJ DAs aren’t going there.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 10, 2018 at 8:41 am

        Robert, I just encountered the Biz School comment. But we can say the same of virtually all professional schools insofar as they support one line of professional behavior against another, can’t we? Also, business schools offer alternative
        visions for their grads, I have personally found.

      • Robert Locke
        May 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        James, about bus schools and professional ethics. In 2011 the rwer , issue 58, published my article “Reform of finance education in US business schools: An historian’s view, 95-112, in which I compare education of French grande ecoles, as ingenieur-economists, who carried out the renovation of la grande industrie in Post WWII France, and the US business schools.

        In the article I point out

        “The ineffectiveness of conventional principle-based instruction is a good reason not to take ethics courses seriously [in us bs] because principle-based instruction is the approach that is invariably followed. Besides, there is no reason to think that ethics courses in themselves are actually needed. Ethics has never been included in French engineering education inasmuch as nobody perceived the necessity. This suggests that formal courses in ethics for students are not essential to ethical education in professional schools. They are not because morality if personal and universal is nonetheless always situated in a particular social and institutional order, knowledge about which is the key to understanding the status of ethics in professional education. Once again, this time in the sphere of morality, the specificity of comparative institutional experience is instructive.

        An agency based concept of professional responsibility that omits consideration of complex social-cultural factors influencing business decisions” – eliminates the institutionalization of ethics in business school education. French engineer-economists, it could be argued, to use words in the title of Khurana’s book, “higher aims.” that were professional and patriotic: “Science and knowledge for the nation,” is the credo of the Ecole polytechnique and they took it seriously. In a deeper sense perhaps, an engineer-economist also differed from a bs financial analyst because the former deals with artifacts and the latter with money. Ninety percent of French engineering students, responding to a recent survey, stressed the importance of the impact of technology on society and of sustainable development. (Pourrat and Dufour , 285)

        That US business school deans and faculty believe business knowledge serves the private interest of their clients, without considering the public good, automatically marginalizes ethics. Business maximizes return on investment, and business finance courses teach how to do it. Students learn this in the finance class, after attending a lectures on ethics, unless the lecture is an elective in their school, The resulting cynicism does not stem from the amorality of science but from making a public institution servile to a particular interest, that of the managerial caste (Locke and Spender, XI), which serves no interest other than personal enrichment and aggrandizement. No public institution worthy of the name would let the general interest be captured by a special interest driven by greed, which is what happened to US business schools, aided and abetted by an environment lacking a sense of the individual as a moral being (“Perpetuation of an amoral sense of self through a failure to realize bio-neurological normative impulses). When professional schools lost any pretense of serving a public purpose, which is what Khurana claims happened to US business schools at the end of the 20th century, they succumbed to the limiting purpose of producing MBAs as “hired hands” working to fill the coffers of a business community driven by the ideology of neo-liberalism.”

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 11, 2018 at 11:41 am

        Interesting, Robert, as I have taught in several US business schools in which no one spoke of “scr-wing” the customer. The pressure begins once one is hired, if it arises at all, once a grad is hired. Comments about bringing values into the classroom seems connected most normally to a vision of “facts” or “reality”, which sometimes assumes that some groups are less wedded to real work or analysis, for example.
        As to the usefulness of the MBA, I have never heard a business person of any standing complain, except perhaps for lack of enough case studies before graduation. The complainers seem to be disgruntled profs who have never demonstrated that they have run a company, for example. Endpoint here; day-to-day business tends between being boring & crises driven, with managers asking for any guidance on how to make life easier for them, at least in my experience.

  16. April 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Love the question. Davetaylor1, ” “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).”
    As Einstein said, “Make it simple”.
    As Soddy said,
    “… (M)oney has become the life-blood of
    the community, and for each individual a veritable
    license to live at all. ” Frederick Soddy.(The Role of Money. 1936)
    … unless and until the barriers that oppose the free and full distribution of wealth from the producer to the ultimate user and consumer are broken down and the flow of wealth again fulfils the purpose for which men have striven to create it. Since, in all monetary civilizations, it is money that alone can effect the exchange of wealth and the continuous flow of goods and services throughout the nation, money has become the life-blood of the community, and for each individual a veritable license to live at all.”
    Davetaylor1, “They misunderstand”….
    Quote Soddy, ” So elaborately has the real nature of
    this ridiculous proceeding been surrounded with
    confusion by some of the cleverest and most
    skilful advocates the world has ever known, that
    it still is something of a mystery to ordinary
    people, who hold their heads and confess they
    are ” unable to understand finance “. It is not
    intended that they should. But if, instead of
    trying to puzzle it out along the lines of ” what
    you get for money “, these people will reverse
    the procedure, as in this book, and do so on the
    of ” what you give up for it “, the trick is clear
    enough. “

  17. April 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Robert on April 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm. ” … Investor capitalism denies co-determination firm governance, and a concept of efficiency that makes firms serve community interests.”

    But surely this applies at the level of nations as well as firms?

    I largely agree with the importance of what you go on to say: “[Craig’s] new paradigm must stymie rich migrants in the form of huge hedge funds, takeover firms — all the instruments of global financial capitalism — from tearing up the fabric of community life as much as a massive influx of poor migrants does. If we really had a federal Europe with an elected parliament to which government would be responsible, we could overthrow the financial oligarchy running national government and the Brussels financial bureaucracy. What we have now is no European gov’t at all. Just a bunch of bureaucrats trained by Goldman Sachs”.

    The one thing I disagree with (in light of UK – English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish – experience) is the idea that financial control can be exercised by a centralised parliamentary government. That was what the original EEC replaced with “co-determination in [international] governance, and a concept of [cooperative rather than competitive] efficiency that makes firms serve community interests”. See my discussion [above, April 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm] of the difference between the terms ‘federal’ and ‘confederal.

    • Craig
      April 30, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Monopoly power in legitimate private commercial agents is just about as problematic as monopoly paradigms wielded by illegitimate private financial agents.

      This is why private money creation must be consigned to the dust bin of history by a publicly administered national banking system with the universal dividend and retail discount/rebate policies that monetarily empower the individual instead of enslave them, and why a government program I have suggested here before (the Dept. of Competition, Innovation and Ecological Sanity) is also vitally important to foment and where necessary enforce an economic ethic of subsidiarity.

      There is no such thing as total freedom for consciously sensitive humans in the temporal universe, only freedom within known and ethical barriers. The sooner we embrace the beatific chains of ethics….the sooner we will all be more free.

      • Craig
        April 30, 2018 at 9:14 pm

        Michael Hudson has a fascinating discussion on his website here: http://michael-hudson.com/2018/04/bronze-age-redux/

        wherein he effectively analyzes the history of debt jubilees and the recent history of the financial and globalist corporate problem. A debt jubilee aligns perfectly with the new paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting and yet it alone is an insufficiently penetrative and flowing integration of the new paradigm which the policies of the dividend and discount/rebate policies would be able to seamlessly accomplish, and a publicly administered banking system and attending and aligning governmental departments would help solidify.

        A new monetary and economic paradigm is an opportunity for all agents to better prosper because that is the nature of a paradigm change. This must be impressed upon the wealthy and corporate elites as much as the individual. The only and yet essential difference is the locus of monetary power must be/will be transferred from the elites into “the many hands of the individual”.

      • Craig
        April 30, 2018 at 9:50 pm

        The new paradigm terminally ends the dominating nature of the current paradigm of Debt Only and enables the re-retailization of the economy which is what Marx and every other political economist thought would occur with industrial capitalism, but which was usurped by private finance. A publicly administered banking and financial system would enable a seamless shoe horning of finance back into the end of the legitimate retail/industrial economic process where with the discount/rebate policy it could be used to further benefit all legitimate economic agents instead of being a huge parasite that benefits only finance and its largest globalist corporate allies.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 5:13 am

        The above shows how Keen’s disequilibrium/Minsky’s financial instability theory and Hudson’s financial parasitism both integrate with each other and align with my paradigm changing innovations and extensions of Douglas’s Social Credit. The only two things that they need to realize in order to see this is that the pricing, money and accounting systems are all digital in nature (debits and credits of equal amounts sum to zero) and the significance of the fact that the point of retail sale is:

        1) the terminal ending point of the legitimate economic/productive process
        2) the terminal summing point of all costs and so all prices for every item and service both at classical retail sale and also at the point of every “retail product” of every business model to the next business model throughout the entirety of the economic process
        3) ultimate retail sale is also the terminal expression point for any and all cost and/or price inflation and
        4) thus the discount/rebate policy, which utilizes the digital natures of the systems above….is all by itself a paradigm changing one and the universally applied accounting system and its conventions enables those paradigm changing effects to be seamlessly integrated into the economy.

        I told Keen these things several years ago when he made the critical and correct observation that economists could get their PhD’s in economics without so much as taking a basic accounting course. It’s too bad he didn’t take my advice and look directly at the operations of day to day commerce and thus realize the significances above. There’s nothing wrong with looking for significances in abstractions of course, but if you don’t look directly at economics in the temporal universe you usually end up missing important facts.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 1, 2018 at 6:54 am

        Craig, if we compare business to sports’ leagues, it is obvious that rules are not applied to the same degree in global business these days. It is both more challenging & more rewarding to operate across many poltical jurisdictions, is it not? Sharing the campus of my former university is a small tech firm (flow controls) with operations–R&D, production and/or sales–in well over 100 countries.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 5:35 am

        Finally, looking at the temporal universe effects of policy is the acid test for whether one is more concerned with/too caught up in problems, or is focused on solutions, as theory is largely verbiage while policies a priori have their effects where we all exist.

      • May 1, 2018 at 10:35 am

        Craig, examining such effects we first must decide which “universe” we want to examine, and which effects interest us.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 7:22 am

        The rules and conventions (specifically the cost accounting convention that all costs must go into price) of accounting are universal and if not universally applied….then one is practicing fraudulent accounting.

        Neither turning a blind eye to following the agreed upon rules, nor lack of awareness of the digital nature of the systems I mentioned or the facts and economic significances of the point of retail sale detracts from or changes anything. Temporal commercial realities….rule.

      • May 1, 2018 at 11:06 am

        Craig, do you believe the Chinese Communist Party is applying cost accounting? I’d look to Confucius and Lenin rather than cost accounting.

      • May 1, 2018 at 7:41 am

        Craig, private money creation ought to be abolished. What’s its history? But monetary policies that empower rather than enslave the individual aren’t going to fix this problem. Assuming monetary policies are even necessary, they should empower communities not individuals. And communities should democratically establish money policies. Ethics is important, but it is also community-based. So, we’re back to decision making by communities.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Also, abusing the rules and fraudulently construing financial actions by private banks is just another excellent reason to end finance as a private business model. The truth is not terminatedly handling the problematic nature of private banking’s money creating abilities is a total and naive cop out.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 8:07 am

        Another point. If one believes that systems are made for man, not man for systems what matters most is what is real for the individual consumer and the enterprises that are ethical because they play by the rules.

        Sorry about these serial posts, but serial cognition also occurs

      • May 1, 2018 at 11:18 am

        Craig, it’s both. All humans and institutions are what Bruno Latour calls, “actor networks.” Actor networks are the result of a history of interactions. Actor networks grow longer but their basis does not change. Which means, first that micro and macro are simply instances of actor networks. It also means that the human both influences actor networks via interaction and is influenced by them via the same process. Consequently, systems are made for humans and humans are made by systems. Which part is emphasized depends on the motives of the observer.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 8:41 am


        Direct to the individual Monetary Gifting via universal dividend and discount/rebate policies ARE the policies that will resolve modern economy’s most basic problems of inherent scarcity of individual demand, chronic inflation and forever domination by elites. Depending on an economy’s level of productivity you may have varying levels of monetary gifting, but the fact is the individual and his/her freedom in a monetary economy is the essential and only true starting and ending point of the purpose of any economics worth its butter. And lest we forget, the individual actually is the community.

      • May 1, 2018 at 11:23 am

        Craig, humans do not act as individuals, but as members of one or more communities. Every advertising person knows this. If you want to change human actions, then you need to focus on the communities within which human lives exist. The only way it’s possible for humans to exist.

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm


        I’m not disputing any of your psychological, sociological or political insights. What I am saying is in order to resolve the deepest and most chronic problems of our economy and make it serve man it requires specifically targeted policies that actually do so. That and the following facts:

        1) we live in a monetary economy

        2) money and accounting are excellent tools for the integrated distribution of wealth….especially if we utilize their digital natures and economic insights regarding the point of retail sale to, again, craft policies that actually DO serve rather than enslave man

      • May 2, 2018 at 6:25 am

        Craig, it is correct that most of the world in a monetary economy and that money and accounting are tools for the distribution of wealth. Two things to keep in mind, however. First, there are dozens of kinds of money. Knowing which kind(s) we’re dealing with in each setting is important in terms of effective and coherent choices, for the person on the street and the “professional” economist. Second, accounting is based on rules. Change the rules and accounting is changed. Look at, for example, the Enron robbery.

      • Craig
        May 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        “Craig, it is correct that most of the world in a monetary economy and that money and accounting are tools for the distribution of wealth. Two things to keep in mind, however. First, there are dozens of kinds of money. Knowing which kind(s) we’re dealing with in each setting is important in terms of effective and coherent choices, for the person on the street and the “professional” economist. Second, accounting is based on rules. Change the rules and accounting is changed. Look at, for example, the Enron robbery.”

        As I said fraud is fraud. And as I also said, “the sooner we all embrace the beatific chains of morals and ethics, the sooner we will all be more free.”

    • Robert Locke
      May 1, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Dave, on difference between federal and confederal. The issue, for historians is situational not doctrinal. In some cases federal is superior to confederal, Ken uses the example of American history immediately after 1783. But I prefer to to use the distinctions Montesquieu Uses in The Spirit of the laws, Republic flourish if the citizens are virtuous, Monarchies, if the aristocracies are imbued with the logique de l’honneur. despotism, if its peoples are afraid of the despot.

      • May 2, 2018 at 6:41 am

        Robert, there is some sense to your borrowing from Montesquieu. But I wonder how these principles are enforced in practice. Surely, you can’t believe all parties will be honest and noble.

      • Robert Locke
        May 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm

        Of course not Ken, Montesquieu’s point is that a Republic composed of citizens without virtue will be a hell hole of greed and dishonesty, a Monarchy will turn into a despotism run by greedy oligarchs, if their greed is not held in check by a aristocracy imbued with the sense of honneur, so it does not sell out to rewards offered by despots, and the corruption of greedy oligarchs, or despots thrive only through successful politics of intimidation and fear. So when evaluating, republics, monarchies and depoticisms (just when evaluating federations and confederations0 historical specificities have to be taken into consideration. Montesquieu felt that the best form of government was monarchy, where you had a better chance for a heredity monarchy to be imbued with honour than in a Republic for the citizens to be virtuous. Tocqueville agreed. Americans feel, perhaps because he had favourable things to say about the US in Democracy in America, that he favoured republics but he favoured monarchy. In his personal political life Tocqueville sat among the monarchists in the 2nd Republic, 1848-51, and was thrown into jail by Louis Napoleon, when the not so vititious citizens voted him into the Republic’s Presidency, which he immediately overthrough in the coup d’etat of 2 December 1851.

      • May 3, 2018 at 11:12 am

        Robert, agree that when evaluating, republics, monarchies, and despotisms, historical specificities must be considered. But the word evaluation tells us that such reviews must also compare these socio-political constructions with analogous constructions in other places and times. Evaluation is both more difficult and more rewarding that just examining

      • May 4, 2018 at 10:40 am

        Robert, as Montesquieu was born in 1689 it seems likely that the hell-hole he was referring to was England, which in 1693 had its usurper king William of Orange pensioned off in exchange for leaving government to the greedy oligarchs.

        As an ignorant Brit I found this very interesting:


        Especially this para, which spells out what I was trying to
        say to Ken about people too often taking laws literally:

        “Nonetheless, Montesquieu believes that this apparent chaos is much more comprehensible than one might think. On his view, the key to understanding different laws and social systems is to recognize that they should be adapted to a variety of different factors, and cannot be properly understood unless one considers them in this light. Specifically, laws should be adapted “to the people for whom they are framed…, to the nature and principle of each government, … to the climate of each country, to the quality of its soil, to its situation and extent, to the principal occupation of the natives, whether husbandmen, huntsmen or shepherds: they should have relation to the degree of liberty which the constitution will bear; to the religion of the inhabitants, to their inclinations, riches, numbers, commerce, manners, and customs. In fine, they have relations to each other, as also to their origin, to the intent of the legislator, and to the order of things on which they are established; in all of which different lights they ought to be considered” (SL 1.3). When we consider legal and social systems in relation to these various factors, Montesquieu believes, we will find that many laws and institutions that had seemed puzzling or even perverse are in fact quite comprehensible.”

      • May 5, 2018 at 7:38 am

        Dave, Montesquieu is talking social history, anthropology, and sociology 300 years before these areas of study were invented. I see no reason to dispute his conclusion, except that they are a bit too simplistic. For example, laws created by the dominant culture are sometimes reinterpreted and re-formed by subcultures. Women in the west have for at least 300 years attempted to reinterpret and change enforcement of laws concerning the place of women within western societies. Laws created and enforced by all male legislatures, administrative officers, and armies. In the “Three Penny Opera” we’re shown not just an economic subculture but many specific actions this subculture takes to survive in the face of constant attacks by the dominant culture. The Opera has been performed hundreds of times, without it seems any concern for the effects of the deviant subculture on the main culture of the nations in which it was performed. Similar statements can be made about actions of fascist subcultures in the US, UK, and other western nations. Many western authors disagree. Chris Hedges argues in “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” that “Dominionism, born of a theology known as Christian re-constructionism seeks to politicize faith. It has, like all fascist movements, a belief in magic along with leadership adoration and a strident call for moral and physical supremacy of a master-race, in this case American Christians. Such fascist movements cannot and should not be accepted as political movements in a democratic society. Their members should not be allowed into political office or any other form of national leadership. They should be ostracized and exiled, per Hedges. Unfortunately, America has allowed fascists into leadership of American society. Now, the question is can the nation survive after such errors?

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 5, 2018 at 11:16 am

        Hi, Ken, every social group uses what it takes to gain advantage. Living here in Germany a few km from Bavaria, the old conflicts within/between Bavaria & adjoining states appear often. It did between the Protestants & Catholics as we well know from the Thirty Years War. One of Hungary’s current efforts is to give citizenship to Romanians, Serbs, etc who might have a certain amount of Hungarian blood. There is push-back from these nations for fear their citizens so treated will then want bits of land to be returned to Hungary, lost following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI.

  18. May 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Going for comment 279! Good to see folk find at least this topic important. Leaves a big problem of keeping track, though. I’ve referenced responses to a thread I started in response to Robert’s comment on April 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm:

    Me April 27, 2018 at 10:07 pm, April 30, 2018 at 11:34 am
    Calgagus April 28, 2018 at 4:18 pm
    Lucky April 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm
    Robert on April 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm.
    Ken April 29, 2018 at 6:36 am, May 1, 2018 at 7:41 am
    James April 29, 2018 at 7:35 am
    Craig April 30, 2018 at 7:55 pm, May 1, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Thanks, Calgagus, for supporting my objection to EU/EZ treaties institutionalising and thereby empowering central banks, agreed by national governments who overcame opposition by not having referenda. Lucky, too, for picking up the human issue of why anyone should love money, reminding us the great Soddy had been there before us (his “Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt” incidentally citing my Ruskin, criticising the argments of Craig’s C H Douglas and antipating much that was important in Keynes’ “General Theory”. Robert and I agree on the facts, but I still don’t know whether he accepts the difference I see between federation and confederation. Ken and I see reality very differently, but his argument for studying the enemy and giving them a taste of their own medicine was very well put; likewise on the abolition of private creation of money, though I think credit (honest money) should empower communities AND individuals, on the understanding that the communities are cooperatives. James keeps chipping in, but in the comment referenced he looks at family reality and sees the same issue as I do, though he accepts as dominance what I would suggestively call leadership.

    Craig I’m afraid has also got carried away. Where first referenced he sees ‘subsidiarity’ as an ethic whereas I see it as an organising principle (i.e.bottom up’ rather than ‘top down’), the ethic being ‘solidarity’. Also commercial monopoly generates financial power: the big supermarket chains not only set farm prices as monopsonists but are now providing banking and insurance services, supplying money as “cash back”. In the comment following that he gives the only clue I’ve been able to find about what he is talking about:

    “[Hudson’s] debt jubilee aligns perfectly with the new paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting [which] a publicly administered banking system and attending and aligning governmental departments would help solidify.”

    So what is money? If it is debt, who would want to be given it, let alone given it back? It makes sense, though, if it is credit. Giving credit allows purchasing, for which the vendor can then credit himself. The double entry accounts are not those of the bank which supplies the accounting service, but those of the purchaser and vendor. Expending credit debits the “crredit card” account of the purchaser, and writes off that much indebtedness in the “credit card” account of the vendor.

    The second comment of Craig’s I’ve referenced starts: “The above shows how Keen’s disequilibrium/Minsky’s financial instability theory and Hudson’s financial parasitism both integrate with each other and align with my paradigm changing innovations and extensions of Douglas’s Social Credit.”

    So Direct and Recipocal Monetary Gifting is somehow a variant and extension of Social Credit which aligns with financial parasitism, disequilibrium and financial instability? I should hope it eliminates rather than aligns with them, which is what I see possible with a credit card system.

    The monetary gifting is only half the story, though. Doesn’t the disequilibrium arise by consuming what one has bought so that (until it is replaced) there is less of it than there was? Overall there is no problem so long as we help Nature to replace what we consume, but society includes parasites who consume not only Nature’s produce but its ability and that of working people to reproduce it, and of scientists and other leaders to organise and direct the reproduction.

    What to do? Follow Ken and kill the parasites? or change the monetary paradigm to make their food unpalatable, so they have to either change or die.

    • Craig
      May 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm


      Douglas was a contemporary of Keynes and had begun a world wide movement between the wars. Hidden amongst the verbiage of Keynes were several disguised theoretical plagiarizations of Douglas but the rejection of his specific remedies for the economy. If Douglas’s policies had been adopted the history of the 20th century would undoubtedly have been a lot less bloody because the monopoly paradigm of Debt Only would have been more balanced by Monetary Gifting and domestic economies would have been more stable within themselves and so there wouldn’t have been nearly the pressure to stabilize them via empire building/maintenance. It’s also true that Douglas’s ideas would have probably met the same morphing destiny that Keynesianism experienced because his policies lacked a full natural philosophical exegesis of its primary and underlying concept of grace, and likewise that concept’s full alignment with subsequent understandings regarding physics and quantum reality. My extensions and innovations of those policies accomplish the paradigm changes necessary to truly progress the discipline of economics.

      Subsidiarity can be both an ethic and an organizing principle.

      What I said was that the valid CRITIQUES of Keen and Hudson as well as my policy extensions and innovations all align with each other and, integrated, are the resolution of agreed upon thrusts of heterodox thinking.

      The primary missed insight is that modern technologically advanced economies are inherently cost inflationary requiring a new monetary paradigm that can increase individual incomes without incurring additional costs, namely Monetary Gifting.

    • Calgacus
      May 1, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      Davetaylor: Thanks. A comment on a minor confusion above.

      So what is money? If it is debt, who would want to be given it, let alone given it back? It makes sense, though, if it is credit.

      Money is credit and money is debt. Because debt is credit and credit is debt. “Credit” and “debt” are two words for the same “thing”, the same relationship, viewed from different directions. That is the classical, historical and uncontroversial understanding of those English words. My third sentence is basically a quote from Alfred Mitchell-Innes a hundred years ago.

      I’ve not read any confusion about this absolutely fundamental point in older works. Only quite recent ones, mainly on the web. It is one of those “needless to say” things that end up not getting said enough – so people end up getting progressively more confused ideas about it. It is like thinking that there is something mysterious about my right being your left if two people are facing each other. That there must be an absolute right or absolute left, and one of those words is the only correct word to describe the situation. No, everybody understands that right and left can be relative to the speaker. Credit and debt being relative the same way is something embedded in all financial and economic and and legal and moral systems, and consciously understood, again, until quite recently.

      It’s a free universe and we moderns are free to concoct new definitions. But they will make a tremendous amount of work and social systems unintelligible if read or understood anachronistically, And in fact nobody has concocted intelligible new definitions. Some just insist that there is some distinction between credit and debt as traditionally understood but never actually make the distinction or give any examples!

      • Craig
        May 1, 2018 at 10:40 pm


        Nice succinct explanation of the synonyms of credit and debt. Now all we really need to do is recognize that one of the signatures of paradigm changes is that in significant ways the new is always conceptually in opposition to the old/current one, and is a single concept that fits seamlessly within most/all of the current structures of the present area of human endeavor that the new paradigm applies to and yet creates/transforms a whole new pattern by resolving its present chronic problems, evolving the entire area and increasing the abundance and survivability of same….always via an integration of a dualism, the inversion of a ratio/duality and/or replacement of the primacy of the old and new paradigm.

        Like: Debt Only vs Monetary Gifting

        Money Gifting fits seamlessly within the present natures of the money, pricing and accounting systems

        Monetary Gifting resolves the paradox of thrift, resolves/transforms the chronic problems of scarcity of demand for both the individual and enterprise into an abundance of demand available to all, inverts/transforms the economic tendency toward chronic erosive inflation into painless and beneficial price deflation and saturates/largely replaces the old paradigm of Debt Only throughout the entire economy with the new paradigm making it then the prime one.

      • May 1, 2018 at 11:00 pm

        Calgacus, thanks for the lead; I too value Innes, but scientific understanding of logic and language has moved on since then. The popular confusion can be attributed to Americans dumbing down Algol68 in their mass-marketed ‘C’, which leaves out the point of Algol68’s Fregeian logic, i.e. distinguishing the logical sense from the hierarchical reference level of its objects.

        Craig, having tried to understand you, I would like you to try and understand me, starting from the fact that I was/am an information scientist. Alfred Mitchell Innes said:

        ““Credit” and “debt” are two words for the same “thing”, the same relationship, viewed from different directions.”

        So the question is, is a relationship a thing? Or a view of a thing? The words ‘credit’ and ‘debt’ are things, but the type of things they are is symbols, and what they do is convey meanings. Likewise the words ‘money’ and ‘direction’, but so also are symbols like coins and other forms of currency, which convey not other ‘things’ but meanings, i.e. ways of viewing. Different spatial directions of viewing do not change meanings, but different directions in time do, hence it makes sense to say ‘credit’ is a view of ‘money’ BEFORE one spends it and ‘debt’ AFTER one has spent it.

      • Calgacus
        May 2, 2018 at 1:30 am

        No, my point is that regarding money, credit and debt, understanding has clearly moved backwards in the last few decades, just as it move forwards in the decades after Mitchell-Innes. By “thing” in quotes I meant that a relationship is a something, the word is a noun, but of course it is not a physical thing. “Credit/debt” is a relationship – And I am saying that what a relationship is entirely clear for the current purposes and I am leaving it undefined.

        When someone says parent-child relationship does anybody not understand? Or worry about it being a thing or a view of a thing? Or not understand that where there is a child, there must be a parent and vice versa as a matter of logic? Or think that because the parent and the child have a different view of their relationship, that there are two relationships, not one? But people have been making similar, weird, incoherent mistakes more and more when talking about money and credit, especially people too exposed to modern economic “education”.

        Different spatial directions of viewing do not change meanings ? Of course they do – “right” and “left” as above.

        hence it makes sense to say ‘credit’ is a view of ‘money’ BEFORE one spends it and ‘debt’ AFTER one has spent it.

        It could make sense to say anything you like if you made it part of a larger theory and sold the world on it. If you want to change the common meanings of “right” and “left”, or “credit” and “debt” be my guest. But why? That just isn’t how people use the words “credit” and “debt”. In real life, wherever there is a credit, there is a debt, and vice versa because they are two opposed views of the same thing, a credit-debt relationship.

        That is also a bad definition of credit and debt because it mangles the logical dependence of concepts, by defining the simpler, more basic “credit/debt” in terms of the derived concept, “money”. I am trying to use the words in the most standard and traditional and logical way, common to ordinary speech and to accounting. But if you don’t say such “goes without saying” things, people start talking about money, credit and debt in a bizarre way, because they never got the basics consciously straight.

        There is a perfectly good theory, which I mentioned above, which describes how people think and act and talk, have always thought, acted and talk. That is thinking of credit and debt the way I outlined above. The real confusion that Mitchell Innes cleared up was the nature of money, which can only be properly defined in terms of credit=debt=credit/debt relationship – the correct logical/conceptual order I referred to above.

      • Prof James Beckman, Germany
        May 2, 2018 at 6:57 am

        Hi, Calgacus, as you know economists are imbued with the suppy & demand sides of any market with its observed transactions. I use my credit card & you as my Visa issuer have just receiived a credit balancing my debit.

      • Calgacus
        May 3, 2018 at 1:09 am

        Yes. I was too sharp above. Dave is making interesting distinctions with before and after, but I was mainly concerned with the core, universal meanings, which is where quite educated and intelligent people make errors about, because people don’t discuss the most basic matters enough – something seen in many, many fields these days, though I think it is getting better – the 21st century looks like it will be a more philosophical one than the 20th.

    • May 2, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Dave, why do you believe credit is “honest money?” Wouldn’t that depend on how the credit is provided and by whom? I work with credit unions. There provision of loans and investment is, in my view, as near to honest as it’s possible to get in our financialized economy. CUs still collect interest but their equations for calculating that interest helps debtors and CU depositors at the same time.

  19. Craig
    May 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    This has been an excellent and erudite thread. However, perhaps the best way to sum it up is to remind ourselves that the ultimate signature and historic reality of a paradigm change is that everything about and within the area in which it occurs…adapts to the paradigm change and not the other way around.

    • Craig
      May 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      What America, Europe, the world and economics needs is paradigm change via the integrative processes that are Wisdom itself, not the dis-integrative blathering of demagogues who claim the clothing of change and progress while unconsciously blundering along with orthodoxy or worse disguised self interest.

      • Robert locke
        May 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm


      • May 4, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        Craig, trying to understand your references I’ve been reading about Social Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_credit.

        Douglas to a large extent seems to be saying the same as me. This is not surprising given my Distributist roots, where the connection with Douglas via Orage is very well described at: http://distributist.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/history-of-distributism.html.

        Here’s a particularly relevant parallel from after note 28 in the Wikipedia article:

        “”The fallacy in the [quantity] theory [of money] lies in the incorrect assumption that money ‘circulates’, whereas it is issued against production, and withdrawn as purchasing power as the goods are bought for consumption.”[30]”.

        Exactly. But I came on this from the understanding of electrical circulation in battery circuits. Quantities of electrons circulate, but not the same ones each time round. The battery releases as many electrons as are needed, but to balance electrically an ion migrates to the opposite side of the battery, so that when the electron arrives it is cancelled out. Where 90 years on we differ is in our greater appreciation of the need for ecological balance. In my analogy, if the battery is not recharged it ceases to function.

  20. May 3, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Calgacus, James, Ken Craig, sorry for my delay in responding to your comments: I’ve been unwell.

    Calgacus, I had appreciated that Innes made an important distinction using popular language; my point was that information science has helped deconfuse underlying confusions in popular language. When studying library science I once picked up a fascinating book which read in one direction was about Semantics, but upside down on the facing pages was about Logic. What this brought out was that what people usually think words mean is picked up from the way other people use them. Since this varies, it is difficult to apply logic to their usage, so science needs to define its terms operationally, so that they remain stable. My mentors told me that was precisely what Algol68 required and enabled scientists to do, applying Frege’s multi-level “sense and reference” logic with Russell’s theory of types defining the context of the operational definitions (programs) to the type of objects to which they apply. The need for the multi-level logic came out from Chomsky’s explanation of how children learn to understand the logic of whatever language they are exposed to, implying there must be a logic of logics. Let’s look at some of your comments in light of that.

    “When someone says parent-child relationship does anybody not understand?”

    Yes: basically anyone who does not understand English, spoken and/or written! And the before and after of temporal logic come into this too: before a child has learned our language and sufficient vocabulary it doesn’t understand; afterwards (if its brain is normal) it only probably will.

    The relevance of Chomsky’s conclusions here are perhaps easier to see in the case of a computer. A compiler program has to translate the programming language humans are using (be that mathematical as in Fortran, verbal as in Cobol or adaptable to any form of language as in Algol68) into the logic language of the computer the program it is to be run on, so that the computer logic can translate the symbol representations into directed action. All the computer logic can do is distinguish instructions from data and move data from one type of address to another, basically from input or physical memory to processor and output device. It doesn’t follow that any given computer is capable of providing any output, e.g. it cannot print if it doesn’t have a printer, any more than a deaf-blind child can read printed English.

    I’ll skip ‘right’ and ‘left’: aren’t they merely implied instructions on which way to look?

    “That … bad definition of credit and debt … mangles the logical dependence of concepts, by defining the simpler, more basic ‘credit/debt’ in terms of the derived concept, ‘money’ ”.

    On the contrary, the simpler (because directly empirical) concept is money: it is taken to be what it looks like. Innes classified the type of thing it is as a relationship; I’ve deconstructed the relationship using temporal logic. Anyway, thanks for the later reaction.

    Ken, you ask a fair question too: “Dave, why do you believe credit is ‘honest money’?”

    Basically because I see the relationships here the other way round: money IS what money does, which is to convey an assurance of credit-worthiness.

    When money was a commodity like gold, at least a degree of creditworthiness was built into the money, but ever since the introduction (c.1793) of reserve banking creating money on paper “out of nothing”, the claim (institutionalised as a legal convention) that such money has the same value as gold has been true only of its convenience in trading (itself institutionalised by legalising dispossession of cottagers). When bankers credit a customer’s account with a “loan”, in case of need they blackmail and in case of gullibility they defraud customers into believing that the banks have a right to securities of the same real value as the nominal value of the credit they are prepared to make available. Debiting my current acount leaves the impression that there was something of value in it to take out. Dishonesty is built into this practice in the same way as credit-worthiness is built into exchange of real goods.

    Just as ‘money’ is a short-hand for the credit-debit relationship, my term “honest money” is short-hand for the slightly more complicated relationship in a credit card account. In this there is the additional factor of a credit limit, which in fact is all that banks really give when they credit your current account with a loan. (Other things being equal, you can spend only as much as they lent you). Now, however, it is one’s credit limit which is reduced by purchases, and one can see that one’s indebtedness (to various members of society, not just the banks) is going up. An honest representation of the reality is thus built into the process.

    If I interpret Craig’s “monetary gifting” as giving credit, then normal family practice is to give kids a bit of credit in the form of pocket money, increasing this as they learn how to spend it wisely and in due course eencouraging them to show themselves to be credit-worthy by doing jobs around the house and eventually earning their pocket money and indepenndence in the wider community. The credit card credit limit can be legally set up to operate in the same way, i.e. one starts off low, ups the limit if one lives within it and in due course to a maximum generous enough to cover unexpected circumstances in everyday living. Larger limits or persistent high levels of debt could be subject to contractual conditions on rates of repayment, and perhaps to interest interpreted as fines paid in community service.

    • Prof James Beckman, Germany
      May 3, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      Glad you’re well, Dave. Thanks for the Chomsky–it’s been awhile since I studied him in cognitive anthro. In my teaching of money & banking, students really aren’t interested in coin & paper money, but rather the electronic sort which represents wages as well as debt or monetized assets such as cash earned from selling old furniture. At least in America the dangers of credit were always seen as slight, while in Germany a different value system seemed at work.

      • May 4, 2018 at 9:42 am

        Thanks for the acknowledgement, James. As my basic macro theory of economics is all about age-related specialisation I am not surprised students at child-rearing age have a practical rather than intellectual interest in money, which is why I see it as so important that honesty is built into monetary practices.

        The above was written in bits and pieces, so unsurprisingly contains a couple of serious typos. The bank of England was of course founded in 1693, not 1793. In my 2nd para reference to “Russell’s theory of types defining the context of the operational definitions (programs) to the type of objects to which they apply” I had meant to say ‘confining’ the context rather than ‘defining’ it. Hope that’s a bit clearer.

    • May 4, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Dave, I prefer to consider the history and cultural forms money is given. This means there are many kinds of money. For example, there’s charity money, family money, criminal money, and the one mentioned here several times, dirty money. These are culturally distinctive forms of money. You’ve added another form of money, honest money. I believe you consider it a means to confer credit-worthiness. And the parade continues.

      • May 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm

        Ken, all the types of money you mention are application types, referring to groups of people who use it. “Honest money” is a logical or generic type, referring to an operation definition of what it does (whatever its form), and applicable to to everyone.
        I believe Newton considered light travels in straight lines rather than bent ones. People called that a paradigm shift.

      • May 5, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Dave, I recognize you believe there is a logical or generic entity called money. On this you and I disagree. Money is a cultural invention. It is a coat of many colors. These can be identified by the effects on situations and actors of each form given to money. That’s the end of what money is.

      • May 5, 2018 at 11:42 am

        No, Ken, what money does is the end of what money is. What money LOOKS LIKE is a coat of many colours. If we see it black it may make us think of funerals and our own demise; if we see it white it may make us think of weddings, joyful now and hopeful for a future we may be able to help keep joyful.

      • May 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm

        Dave money used to create and conduct wars is war money. Money used to create and conduct crime is criminal money. Money used to create and conduct households is household money. How money exists as a cultural artifact is its reality. Based on your latest comments I believe we’re not that far apart on money.

    • Calgacus
      May 5, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Dave, on the point of money: To be direct, you’re just wrong on some basics. Mitchell-Innes or David Graeber or the MMTers are right. Money was never gold, money can’t be gold. Historians, anthropologists, sociologists, numismatists, linguists, historians and philosophers of accounting and archaeologists are basically unanimous supporting credit/state type theories. In particular all such social scientists say the primeval concept is credit/debt. Money is later and only in some human societies. So defining credit in terms of money is anachronism, like imagining the Egyptians built the pyramids because they knew they would be tourist attractions in coming millennia.

      The only sect that favors the barter/metallism/commodity theory is some economists, unfortunately the dominant strain. The bad economists theory is not at all simpler or “directly empirical”. (It is usually traced back only to Nicole Oresme (1320-1382)) . But the MMT creditary theories explore and explain the history of money going back to Egypt and Sumer and beyond. It is a fascinating topic but kind of too far afield.

      I am not at all saying information science has nothing to say on the topic, but the work I am talking about is rock solid and accepted everywhere but economics. Temporal logic might be, probably is useful in drawing finer distinctions, I think you are saying something real there, but they have a snowball’s chance in hell of changing the basics, the rougher, more abstract distinctions, which is where all the confusion comes in. It is like imagining they are going to find an element between hydrogen or helium, or a new integer between 2 and 3, but worse, more like thinking they will discover a wavelength of light that turns out to be a giraffe.

      In another life I once wrote a compiler. And a favorite fun fact is that temporal logic as used in computer science today can be traced back to Arthur Prior, whose research followed suggestions of his teacher John N. Findlay, who in turn was inspired by his reading of Hegel. So there, anti-philosophers (can’t remember who is here, if anyone :-) )

  21. May 5, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Calgacus, what a coincidence: an Arthur Prior was head of RRE’s College of Electronics when I started my apprenticeship! The head of the computer language department I worked with was Philip Woodward: recently professionally honoured, only very recently deceased.

    Anyway, I’m not discussing history, what I’m talking about is “old paradigm” thinking in which people using language “transparently”, without understanding the meaning of meaning. They assume that “what it says on the label” (or appearances: what it physically looks like) is what it is. I’m trying to argue that Shannon’s “information science” introduced a new paradigm, in which language (in that broader sense of including appearances) is distinguished from its effects (so we are not just talking about a ‘car’ as a thing in a showroom, we are discussing it as something capable of moving itself which people including ourselves can drive).

    I’m arguing that people learn to use language transparently, but can be taught to interpret it in different ways, as in imagining the earth rotating and going round the sun rather than what they see, “what it says on the label”: a little sun going round a very large earth. In practice some ways of interpreting enable and work better (or throughout wider contexts) than others.

    The problem with economics (especially, it seems, since the introduction of printing so that people could more easily taught it, and Macchiavelii’s advice to princes – would-be kings – to teach the people what they wish to hear) is that people can and indeed have been deliberately misled, if not necessarily deliberately by economists whose reasoning has been corrupted by initial lies or misconceptions. I’m thinking Townsend, and Malthus’ misconception – not allowing for developments in food and human reproduction methods – that there is only one cake, so laissez-faire: let [animal] nature control the population by starvation and war. I’m thinking industrialists – turning a blind eye to limits of physical resources – accustoming people to throw-away fashions and built-in obsolescence. Above all, I’m thinking of fraudulent money, where the law has deliberately taught people to think “pawnshop” when mortgaging their businesses or houses for (figuratively speaking) a newly printed label on an empty box. Okay, we can play pass the parcel, but the fraudster has long disappeared BEFORE someone is “it”.

    Apologies if you’ve heard a lot of that from me before. There are limits to my experience. The point anyway is that the need to reorganise our economy has become critical, and that crucially we have become able to choose between an old paradigm based on appearances (that has been open to fraud) and a new one in which what we see enables us to do what we ought to be doing. Basically, my argument is that (for better or worse) actions speak louder than words. If we do the right thing we will see we get the right results. The present wrong outcomes speak of wrong ways of doing things.

    • May 22, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Belated PS. re Arthur Prior. What a great guy, evidently a pioneer in all that so interested me about developments in logic. This is an most interesting biographical discussion with his wife:

      ‘Life and Work of Arthur N. Prior. An Interview with Mary Prior’

      Not however the principal of my College of electronics! I eventually found:

      “R W J Pryer from the Loughborough Colleges was appointed as the first Principal in September 1948”.

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