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George Victor
eco & eco

posting to come

George Victor

Your link to progressive economists and the comment by Leigh Thomson (where I discovered your eco & eco reference) seems to be the starting point then?? Is this the "grassroots and water" level of economic discourse you referred to as comfortable, L?

LeighT

sure, it's one way to access the issue, and i'd be interested to hear what other approaches might add to the picture.

the link to one item is the 2nd comment at

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2009/02/14/the-devil-is-in-the-budget-implementation-act/#comment-17056

basically i guess the questions are around how, or when, is the?point/ are the points?of a coalescing change in ecology and economy arrived at?

George Victor

Okay. Looking at the comment by Leigh Thomson, and criticism of changes to the Navigable Water Act (a Conservative/Liberal action), I see it ends with endorsement of the ever-watchful NDP (a party I support).

Now, taking the question of water rights and enlarging the damage to the national level, as done by Thomson, and mixiing in my previous reference to Charles Taylor (and I guess you have come to find the Charles in question)...what, in this question of water resources in the Canadian future, is going to trigger the public response?

Am I on track?

Anyway, I'll just finish up (but let me post this first. Always afraid of it disappearing...

Okay, now editiing.

It seems to me that Albertans are just now discovering the enormity of their projected attack on ecosystems in their part of the world, and are just beginning to suspect that it's a problem for all on Earth.

Firstly, the rivers fed by glaciers in the Rockies are starting to go dry in summer.? Mustn't make the glaciers disappear.

Secondly, with the discovery that the Athabaska has periods of lower levels anyway (and worsening) , their practise of "dilution is the solution" for toxic waste is coming to an end.

And finally, fudging the figures on exportable water is clearly no longer possible.

Does this sound like a little bit of what Taylor was on about, and does it present some very specific political? avenue of action in anticipation of Taylor's "world event"?? Shouldn't progressive folks begin to build a sustainable economic platform starting with water ?(Maude Barlow knows what she's up to ).

Ontario is fast approaching the same needs as population reaches a sustainable peak?

LeighT

i have to read the item by Taylor that you referred to.? haven't done that yet, just got a sense of the perspective.?

LeighT

come to think of it, maybe you could put up some links to some of Taylor's articles that you want people to consider.? it would save time.? i'm in and out a lot.? just a thought.

[edited]

George Victor

That piece by Taylor, written so very many years ago, may not be extant. It is not important as reference material to read, but it tells one that the question of accomplishing a turnaround on consumption and economic growth was never considered an easy sell.

I tried reading a huge new tome by him a couple of years back. Impossibly dense theology. (Yes, he's a dyed in the wool Christian moral philosopher but always a progressive...moved with Trudeau in his NDP days in Montreal. Remained a New Democrat...dunno? about now.)

Reduced to its simplest terms, all he said was that because of the complexity of the problem of zero economic growth (the leading economic solution put forward by a very few "institutional" types in the early 70s), we might just have to wait until the problems created by consumption grew?to a point that?all could agree on the need for action. All would have to "pull together", finally, and he called the idea, the "spirit of Dunkirk." And there was no mention of carbon emissiions.

Anyway, I've been waiting half a lifetime for the condition to emerge - and I'd say this is it.? All around us we hear about "green industry" investments and other, undefined "greenwash" gestures. But can we not now start with some principles of existing trading relations, for instance, that are obviously pathological for our purposes?

And at the same time spell out those solutions that are doable, can be manufactured now, here, and sharply reduce the carbon footprint of industry and citizen (replacing consumer with citizen, for starters). And wield public capital with purpose ...it is almost too bad that Canadian banks are held up as an example of propriety for the world, since we should be nationalizing them, as is happening in some emergency?situations ?elsewhere.

I'm afraid that is not quite the spirit of the progressive economists you have? pointed to.?? Are you an economist? Why that particular linkage? Its concern for ecology and economy is singular, out there today?

LeighT

it seems that there are many levels of issues here, George.

1)- financialization (non-productive in 'goods', non-productive for society)

- now busted financialization

2)-corporate rule (in the past 30 years increasingly geared to financialization)

- now busted corporate rulers

3)- workers making and providing needed (not excessive) socially-and environmentally-beneficial goods and services.

- now busted workers because of 1) and 2)

4)- public services (increasingly cutback and privatized over past couple decades)

- now being completely gutted under cover of beneficial language together with spin that we must rescue?1) and 2)

5)- water, food, basic rights. (increasingly inaccessible to many people and other species)

-polluted water and food, slashed rights, because of 1) and 2).

6) - Earth and ecosystems

- suffocating Earth moving to desertification, species die-off, because of 1) and 2).

?

Therefore,

given that the demise of 3) to 6) are due to 1) and 2),

and?the fact that 1) and 2) are now in self-inflicted bust,

we can?focus simply on enlivening 3) through 6).

how's that sound?

George Victor

By gosh, that is one neat summation. Must sleep on it.

Many levels of issues indeed, but I?suspected ?that you could bring coherence to the problem.

Looking forward to attempts at solutions from political economy.??

?

?

George Victor

"Therefore, given that the demise of 3) to 6) are due to 1) and 2), and the fact that 1) and 2) are now in self-inflicted bust, we can focus simply on enlivening 3) through 6). how's that sound?

Looking at #1 for a bit, first :

?

Eric

Janszen's piece in Feb./o8? Harper's magazine gave me?the idea that we were heading for trouble.?And in describing the bubble of real estate, he said that we are however, stuck with bubbles. They've "replaced the business cycle."?

So, starting with Janszen's assumption - and he said environmental needs would form the basis of the next bubble - can we fashion a public "replacement" source for the market. The market, now, is only seeking out and buying up utilities anyway as the only sure source of returns for the investor down the road. They're good as ...as gold...almost...

Or perhaps you don't buy his assumption (and much has happened since he wrote that article, although at least one Globe and Mail reporter has taken up some of his ideas).

?A snippet rom Janszen ("fire" is finance, insurance and real estate...the financial sector that brought us to grief):

"FIRE is a credit-financed, asset-price-inflation machine organized around one tenet: that the value of one’s assets, which used to fluctuate in response to the business cycle and the financial markets, now goes in only one direction, up, with no more than occasional short-term reversals. With FIRE leading the way, the United States, free of the international gold standard’s limitations, now had great flexibility to finance its deficits with its own currency. This was “exorbitant privilege” on steroids. Massive external debts built up as trade partners to the United States, especially the oil-producing nations and Japan, balanced their trade surpluses with the purchase of U.S. financial assets.33. The motivation was in part political: the Saudis, Japanese, and Taiwanese hold a great portion of U.S. debt; not coincidentally, these nations receive military protection from the United States. The process of financing our deficit with private and public foreign funds became self-reinforcing, for if any of the largest holders of our debt reduced their holdings, the trade value of the dollar would fall—and with that, the value of their remaining holdings would be decreased. Worse, if not enough U.S. financial assets were purchased, the United States would be less able to finance its imports. It’s the old rule about bank debt, applied to international deficit finance: if you owe the banks $3 billion, the bank owns you. But if you owe the banks $10 trillion, you own the banks.

The FIRE sector’s power grew unchecked as the old manufacturing economy declined. The root of the 1920s bubble, it was believed, had been the conflicts of interest among banks and securities firms, but in the 1990s, under the leadership of Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve, banking and securities markets were deregulated. In 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which regulated banks and markets, was repealed, while a servile federal interest-rate policy helped move things along. As FIRE rose in power, so did a new generation of politicians, bankers, economists, and journalists willing to invent creative justifications for the system, as well as for the projects— ranging from the housing bubble to the Iraq war— that it financed. The high-water mark of such truckling might be the publication of the Cato Institute report “America’s Record Trade Deficit: A Symbol of Strength.” Freedom had become slavery; persistent deficits had become economic power."

LeighT

'can we fashion a public "replacement" source for the market.'

this seems to be your core question, George, in the context of debtors and creditors racing from one?sector to the next like chickens with their heads cut off.

of course fashioning a public 'replacement' source for the market could be done, anything can be done, theoretically, or attempted.

a question for me is whether one would want, entirely, a public 'replacement' source for the market.

for more input on this question, and considering that we are in fact currently discussing this question on territory originally belonging to peoples other than ourselves, perhaps it is important to get the input of others at rabble and elsewhere who are Indigenous to this country.? I am not entirely sure how to usefully look at these questions, yet, and need to hear more voices.

also, today i have commitments off-line, but will return.

George Victor

Yep. I'll ponder the new input in the meantime.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

What about the concept of surplus? In human society, surplus is power - economic, social, and political. I don't know, but I'd be willing to bet, that humans moved from tribal societies to? structured ownership societies with class and social layers following the discoveries of agriculture and surplus.

And surplus, wealth, is all about overabundance and it drives over consumption. A society that meets most human needs, physical and social, while being in balance with the planet's life system, must deal with the issue of surplus because the counterpart to surplus is deficit - ecological, economical, social, and political.?

LeighT

while i have a minute to pop in here, before i forget, i think that 1) and 2) should be allowed to die a natural death, and not be replaced in any shape or form. as Stiglitz says, bank?bailouts are?a negative sum game at present, and we got to this point because of 1) and 2) so there really is no sense for people to cling to the walking dead.?

?

George Victor

Well, just while I'm thinking of it, this exercise is intended, I'm hoping, to show a practical, workable response to our eco&eco conundrum.

I'm asking because a political response is going to need? lots of folks onside, and right now, #1 is a huge factor for them. When you have a chance to read it, Janszen's piece (in its entirety) suggests we have to get at FIRE - before it reforms in the fashion Janszen imagines - while talking about new ways to use that capital.

Anyway, will bear down on? this and see where you are coming from...i.e. the "walking dead"

And as to your question Leigh: "a question for me is whether one would want, entirely, a public 'replacement' source for the market." I must answer, no, not at this time, but largely because of its saleability, not due to fundamental, theoretical objection to public control....and yes, I know the recent history of this....so, for now, a "mixed economy" of the immediate postwar period looks really good....again.

?

?

And FM, I think your question is a product of anthropology which, in economic terms, always came out as a question of distribution - which is always improperly evaded by mainstream economics. Anyway, it is an important one, and such an overarching perspective must be constantly in mind in an undertaking like this.? Although I'm now anxious to?make sure ?we are all on the same track.

LeighT

George,

-thanks for being clear on your goals for the exercise

-your 4th par. needs clarification regarding public 'replacement' of market vs. public control, maybe in differing proportions for different markets.?

-?'walking dead'?refers to?the financialization?& corporate rule which the world currently allows, ie) the outrageous casino - exemplars below- that flourishes at the expense of everything and everyone else, the noose we put around our own necks.

-i'll read over Janszen article

just as an example of FIRE raging out of control,

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMCtoFqxjAcs&refer=home

"...Traders are starting to use the speculative contracts blamed for fueling Wall Street’s meltdown last year to measure currency strength as countries increase debt sales after pledging at least $2.4 trillion to kick-start their economies. Interest rates are becoming less useful for predicting foreign exchange as central banks slash borrowing costs to zero, narrowing differences between government debt yields...

Originally conceived to protect against corporate defaults, credit-default swaps are now being used to predict the direction of everything from the Canadian to New Zealand dollars. The swaps pay buyers the face value of a bond in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent if borrowers fail to adhere to debt agreements. Prices of the contracts, increasingly used to speculate on government bonds, rise as the perception of an issuer’s ability to pay decreases. ..

[A Bad Joke of] Regulatory Reform

Credit-default swaps dealers are under pressure from governments and central banks to increase transparency in the unregulated $28 trillion market and to create a body that will arbitrate disputes. The firms agreed to process the derivatives transactions through a clearinghouse following the failure of Lehman, one of the largest dealers...

The market for sovereign contracts had 132,200 outstanding contracts with an underlying value of $1.69 trillion as of Feb. 13, representing about 5.9 percent of the total market for credit default swaps, according to the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp.’s Web site. Swaps on financial institutions are the largest segment, with a notional value of $3.2 trillion...

“Default swaps will become increasingly important, given the issuance tsunami awaiting us,” Hart said in an interview. “The credit-default market is a better indicator of fiscal concerns with respect to each country.” ..."

LeighT

imagine this is the Janszen article

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/02/0081908

LeighT

well yes, that about sums up the eco-eco problem !!

very good article.

i'll have to re-read it at next opportunity.

so yes, FIRE will destroy the as-yet- uncreated green economy too.

and yes, good to have people on same page on this, lots of people.

LeighT

so then Janszen says in an interview in March 08 basically that the Harper's interview was controversially stimulate interest in his new @#%! book.? that really he thinks it's a 'good bubble' and that there needs to be structural change to the global process of debt financing, but it's not clear that his goal is to retain the health of a yet-unbuilt green economy, as it is to rebuild the huge crashed ship.??( the yet-to-be published?book, cover seen elsewhere, has a picture of a huge American cruise-ship type vessel, getting rebuilt after the crash of '08.)?

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/news/2008/03/cleantech_bubble

so basically he's interested mostly in keeping power out of the hands of the general public, tinkered and (maybe) greened-up a bit. TRUST THEM!

George Victor

Right!

They were just bad navigators and captains of capital.

but the business cycle bubble must go on.....and the rejigged market ...

And can we talk about interceding for all the environmental reasons that he sees only as another leg up for growth?(and somehow come to grips with the growth challenge itself on this finite Earth.

George Victor

And I'm sure that Janszen has, reflecting on more recent turn of events, had to do radical rewrites.

LeighT

"And can we talk about interceding for all the environmental reasons that he sees only as another leg up for growth?"

yes, of course.? it's primarily about people participating in their own governance.? what used to be called democracy, bastardized term now.? have to find a better term.? other terms have similar problems...you know what i mean.? and not just participating in their own governance, we don't want?people back in the endless energy-expending and limited-effectiveness?'submit your comments' rituals on piecemeal bases whilst the ship gets rebuilt and 'captains' still?in charge.

maybe with the volumes of people on the planet now, this can be done in diverse sectors piecemeal, not entirely sure though.?

maybe practically speaking its the only way it can be done.? people have to act where they find energy, very diverse for different people in very different spaces.? which is good, as long as people can understand what's going on with the raging FIRE, that remedies to put out the FIRE will be at our expense and the earth's as well.? so connecting the diverse efforts with the $ issue, clearly.

?

?

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LeighT

and yes, i know you want me to think about how to do that with Albertan types.? that will take more reflection.

LeighT

actually, to bring some thoughts back around, that's why i mentioned getting more input from people on rabble, particularly Indigenous people to the country, as i had looked at the map of the prairies and mountain intersection in this continent, and thought- 'surely the people who live there already have better ideas of things they'd like to be doing with their time, energy, land, water and air.'? so there really is a need to get more information from people who live there.? i will still reflect on what i know of people who live there now, what goals/visions/alternatives can be perceived as useful.

LeighT

in terms of process, and to save time, it might be useful if you or others have time to link other threads at rabble that may have already looked at some of these geographic issues.? please consider copy and pasting links to other useful threads into this thread.?

LeighT

I'm coming up with a blank slate here, George, for now.? maybe reframe the question.

for the record, all my grandparents came from Ukraine as did the parents of the other grandparent.? the latter settled in southern Saskatchewan and some of their descendents went to the Edmonton area.? i think the concerns of that branch of the family now centre around education, farming, and the latter?have been hit hard by the closure of grain elevators, wheat board issues, the kinds of things the NFU and others have written?a lot about already.?

their kids are into computers, stuff like that.? have to catch up on that end a bit.? mostly people just struggling to make ends meet,?like everywhere else.

?

if anything else strikes, i'll post it, but other stuff to attend in immediate.

?

LeighT

by the way, just happened to marry a Thomson, and used the name, for various reasons (one being it's easier for people to spell !).? things have changed but i still use the name for now, maybe that clarifies a bit that i don't know a thing about 'spirit of Dunkirk'...

LeighT

sorry, that's 'all my grandparents except one came from Ukraine,' and?the parents of the 4th grandparent also came from Ukraine.

ok, must get to other things now.

George Victor

Just getting back at the questions.

Enjoy the stream of consciousness postings...I find it necessary for my past-prime memory banks and will adopt similar approach.

Dunkirk was the French point of evacuation for allied forces chased out of Europe in spring of 1940.? The one third of a million troops were taken off by British ships and a thousand small craft that came out of the little harbours of southern England and crossed the channel.

?The "spirit of Dunkirk" resonates as a?moment ?when people came selflessly to the rescue. And philosophers of conscience like Taylor use altruistic moments like that to remind us of what has proven possible.

I'm still reading your suggestions and will reply to what I see as an excellent approach (again),? going at the question with sectoral input. I will not refer to previous east/west postings about the need to clean up our acts - they tended?to become so.....well, so? east/west.

?

And I found, myself, that? "second time around" worked out just fine.Wink

George Victor

And now see your piece in Prog. Ec. Forum.? I'll take geology, leave H2O questions to you.

Just loved Mel Warkins telling about Galbraith's story on Lyndon Johnson which went roughly:?Giving a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg; feels hot to you but not to anyone else....

But, first, while I recognize lots of folks out of old U of T days, and some of the signatories to that missive sent to the Hill, stout Canadian nationalists all...I've lost touch with them politically.

Anyone there (in the Prog. Econ. Forum) ready to nationalize the banks...even temporarily, like Paul Krugman? (and, I know, there I go dabblin' in #1 territory again).

?

?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I don't want to keep going on about this, but what is the purpose of the rejigged market?

George Victor

Best I can make out, FM, is that the "rejigged market" would keep alive the? market that Janszen has been very critical of, but which he needs to stay in business.

Which leaves the question, of course - why should the market continue to exist and simply (with the aid of public money) go on bubbling and being re-jigged. And I guess the answer is, there's little chance of a revolution, bloodless or otherwise, to bring about its demise.

However. The idea has already been hnted at...perhaps utilizing some public corporations for investment vehicles in public pensions (the utilities are hot, hot items in an otherwise foundering market) might be a vehicle for re-couping some of the billions.

And, I'm sorry, but I didn't see where you first went on about it. I thought we were still breaking speculative ground, trying to test the limits of imagination and participants'? acceptance of public ownership.

George Victor

And before I forget...just picked up this morning from another posting, that Niall Ferguson says his concept of "Chimerica" ( the interdependence of Chinese savings in U.S. treasury bills and America's capacity to buy) is sound.

Niall Ferguson: It looks like it....The line is very clear from China. They've consistently made their position clear. They want the status quo. They do not want this thing to break down. They were kind of appalled when Geithner said the ‘m' word. And they took full advantage of Hillary Clinton's visit to smooth ruffled feathers and restate their commitment. It's a very good bilateral relation. That bilateral will is important here. The Chinese believe in Chimerica maybe even more than Americans do."

(the "m" word being monetary manipulation...concern for China maintaining its currency at a lower level as an exporting advantage).

Begins to look like Canada had better not rely on Carney's soothing words about our future relative to those ones with the badly managed banks. And that's to our advantage, here. But, then, how do we involve the state here to advantage...while accomplishing innovation)??????

LeighT

ok,just reading here now

LeighT

"Anyone there (in the Prog. Econ. Forum) ready to nationalize the banks...even temporarily, like Paul Krugman?"

it has been discussed there, option on table. Think it was Toby Sanger, recently, and Duncan Cameron. I get the sense that the many people/groups working on the '09 Alternative Federal Budget, with input from various, considered it, maybe made choices at the time to try plan A first, (for various reasons), about a month ago.?

?times change.

now, back to geology and water and blank slate imagination...

LeighT

here's the conundrum - nationalization of just about every sector would be better than ongoing privatization, but i don't trust the national gov't either.? or the provincial, for that matter.? and in this neck of the woods we've had blistering battles with municipalities as well. ready to sell the store to whoever gives a shiny penny.

so.

maybe i'll take a little break right now.? i'm in a foul mood.? an old friend just sent a horrendous series of pictures of the whale slaughter in the Faroe islands... got to clear the brain...

talk again later

?

George Victor

"we can?focus simply on enlivening 3) through 6)."

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After another day of self-destruct and far from bottoming out in 1 and 2

Yes. Let's consider what?can be fashioned, publicly, for people with disappeared jobs in an environment of ecosystems needing shoring up (3-6).

People in my old line of work, energy evaluation of houses, are very happy with Ontario's new green plan. The forced energy evaluation of houses prior to their sale has been needed. It won't turn around carbon emissions immediately, but people have to be made aware of the nature of the problem of their lifestyle. Now taken for granted like the can-opener.

As to your suggested probing of others thinking on these questions...how do we proceed?

i.e.? Asking questions like....what should the sq footage of houses be limited to??? What energy source (fuel) limits (as we head off fossil fuels.

What alternates are practical, over what time period.

Sorry to hear about the Faroes.?? You can understand why Farley Mowat?rated the Sea Shepherd venture tops, every time that happens.? I have to avoid thinking? about it, or grow sick.

George Victor

p.s.

MS has resurrected a review of Naomi Klein's shock doctrine - fittingly winning an award.

The thoughts on our economic? picture, there, are baggage I brought to babble on joiining over a year ago.

LeighT

George, you have good questions, and contributions.

At present I need to be clear that my?time on the computer is nearing an end for the season.? It is almost the end of February and, if I'm going to grow anything this year, it has to be started now.?

I will likely check back in on occasion, as I can't seem to keep thoughts from flitting through, and must put them down somewhere...but I will have very little time to read much.

it has been useful?for me to be online in the last little while, and i've appreciated everyone at babble and in other forums.

it's very important that people carry on, as i have to carry on for there to be food in the cellar for next winter.

many thanks to all,

Leigh.

?

George Victor

I just knew it - a person of the soil. (Well, actually, I suspected a legal beagle with economic background.)

My daughter has picked up some seeds (far too many) for our own start on growing stuff under lights? ?next month and into April. None of it producing plants inviting to the constabulary.

Vegetables. That's our thing. Some ancient herbs for novelty - and healing, after the fashion of Lord of the Rings (we produced a medievalist. Still to be seen which age the grandaughter will be comfortable with).

Joy in your?labours on the land, Leigh.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
And, I'm sorry, but I didn't see where you first went on about it.

Surplus, George. Surplus. Men (and women) love a surplus but nature hates one.?

One reason, IMHO, there is no revolution on the horizon is because we really aren't talking about changing the ends and, thus, the most efficient means remains the market. As an example I give you:?A Revolution in Spirit (?http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090209/barber )

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George Victor

I can't activate that link, FM, but ending in "barber" and given your line of reasoning (excellent as always), I'll bet it has to do with the exploits of that wealthy hair-cutter.

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Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Try this LINK instead.

LeighT

"Joy in your?labours on the land"

thank you!

George Victor

Ah, that Barber.? And that link.

?

Concern for golden age providers, investments, means no revolution (unless?the market offerings?should all disappear).

My kind of capitalism is the mixed economy at end of WW II, and we shed private? sector as need disctates - and it will dictate.

Immediate need is to take up ALL assets in utilities and energy so that we are not held to ransom by the market.

Sorry for the response, here, FM, but I've just spent most of the day reading The Secret Garden to a 7-year-old and I needed a couple of cold ones. Will flesh out tomorrow.

LeighT

"My kind of capitalism is the mixed economy at end of WW II, and we shed private? sector as need disctates - and it will dictate.

Immediate need is to take up ALL assets in utilities and energy so that we are not held to ransom by the market."

Now wasn't saying that a lot better for communicating with the general public?than?verbage elsewhere, particularly at terminology-laden sites where the exhausted go to relax?

i know it's hard.? but very important, as you know.?

p.s. you ought to replace the word 'capitalism' above with something else, like 'economy' here.? elsewhere, maybe something like 'greed-based' or 'economy geared to the rich until they commit suicide after the rest?dies' (i think the accumulation is well beyond?'surplus' now...)

you're doing well though !?[grin]

my time in the last half year has been well spent.

?

George Victor

Would love to drop "capitalism" from lexicon, Leigh, but I'm afraid the great unread have come to depend on the market to a degree that would make it impractical to try to sell a "capital-less" political product.

But if we could offer them only the prime pickins for slow but sure growth into old age - hell, that should sell easily! And perhaps enough of the market types will have resorted to seppuku ?by then that there won't even be much flak. ?Not that I know of a political party easy enough with the labels or astute enough to be able to sell it to the membership, let alone the great out-there.

George Victor

FM:

"But it is hard to discern any movement toward a wholesale rethinking of the dominant role of the market in our society. No one is questioning the impulse to rehabilitate the consumer market as the driver of American commerce. Or to keep commerce as the foundation of American public and private life, even at the cost of rendering other cherished American values--like pluralism, the life of the spirit and the pursuit of (nonmaterial) happiness--subordinate to it.

Economists and politicians across the spectrum continue to insist that the challenge lies in revving up inert demand. For in an economy that has become dependent on consumerism to the tune of 70 percent of GDP, shoppers who won't shop and consumers who don't consume spell disaster. Yet it is precisely in confronting the paradox of consumerism that the struggle for capitalism's soul needs to be waged."

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Yep, those two paragraphs from "A Revolution in Spirit" about sum it, FM.

And if we did not face a failure of the economy so deep that folks will be forced to come to terms with their addictions,? I would throw up my hands and just veg.? Drinking lots to help me forget my part in this scenario that leaves?its solution?to my?two descendants.

I think we may be faced with having to confront those who favour brown or black shirts and who march around a lot - and who now live in the hills, hunting, like Sarah.

LeighT

"impractical to try to sell a "capital-less" political product"

you have a friend i think in a fellow who blogged at rabble during the election, who evidenced tremendous flexibility in one of his last posts. a fellow with a french-canadian name...

?

LeighT

and George, regarding your comments at #47, there are times i have been thankful for my hunting neighbours, (which are the vast majority of my neighbours) though most of the time i rant against their penchant for wild innocents.? i also think of the texan farmers, was it last summer? who stopped a major corridor through their neck of the woods.? the one thing with country people is that it may take a lot to rile them, but there are some?ground rules, lines in the soil beyond which no one will?be allowed to pass, for very long anyway, in the scheme of things.

George Victor

Leigh:

"you have a friend i think in a fellow who blogged at rabble during the election, who evidenced tremendous flexibility in one of his last posts. a fellow with a french-canadian name..."

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Whom, please, do I emulate in showing "tremendous flexibility?"(Or is that "who")?

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