• synthesis
    702
    You perhaps think that any large system leads to corruption, opaqueness, tyranny, etc. A brief perusal of history, or group dynamics, will show that one can get the benefits of corrupt, opaque, arbitrary and capricious rule just as well in small groups as in large.

    We are quite far apart in this.
    Bitter Crank

    For me, the ideal group size is one. :)

    And I do believe you will find that the degree of insanity (demonstrated by group activity) is directly proportional to the size of the group. [Nietzsche's First Law of Group Dynamics]

    Just look at what all the larger countries and corporations do as their size and power accumulate.

    And keep in mind that main priority of every group is self-perpetuation.

    Whereas I will agree that early hominoid groups were beneficial in keeping Sabre tooth tigers and the like at bay, it was all down hill from there.

    I doubt we are very far apart at all...
  • synthesis
    702
    My compliments on the detailed post!

    Globalization didn't start in 1980, it might be called an era of de-regulation.

    Also here it's important to see also the reasons of American dominance before, because the US isn't an island when it comes to the global situation:

    1950: All other major industrialized countries in ruins after WW2, China has communism, India and the Far-Eastern "Tigers" very poor, some still colonies. Hence US dominance in every field.

    1980: China just starting to change it's economic system, West Europe and Japan back on track and can compete well with the US.

    2021: China has enjoyed historical growth, India has too shed it's socialist system, many Far-Eastern Tigers like South Korea and Taiwan are wealthy countries.
    ssu

    I should have stated, "this foray into serious globalization," which will end just like other attempts...in a trillion tears.

    The lasting legacy of globalization has been monetary inflation which has gutted the American middle class. This is a product of monetary policy and (by far) the winners are those who profited by the corporate bonanza in cheap manufacturing in Asia, the ramp-up in stock prices, ,and the political class (and it's employees who in 1950 made 50% of what the average private-sector worker made, and now makes double what the average makes in this country!).
    — synthesis

    Indeed, I think this more because of monetary policy than because of globalization. Going off the gold standard and having a fiat system was the crucial thing. Other countries, like mine, would quite quickly face a current account crisis and a run on their foreign reserves, but not the US. When the Saudis were OK with just getting dollars for their oil, why not? (And then are things like that Americans simply want to pay the most for a mediocre health care system, I guess.)

    The US has enjoyed the situation where it can print the global currency everybody uses, hence debt doesn't matter and the current account can be negative for over 40 years. And why not? Since the World is OK with an US Dollar system, then US politicians can print as much as they want. We all seem to believe now in modern monetary theory.
    ssu

    It was the creation of full FIAT reserve currency, of course, which allowed this to happen on the scale it did (so what should that tell you?). Globalization is a fraud, plain and simple, as it is exploitation at some of its worst, and MMT is simply a polite term for counterfeiting, nothing more.

    The U.S. health care system is another example of massive fraud, believe me, as I have been part of it for many decades.

    Despite access to your yellow tropical fruit, this past 50 years has been a disaster the average American worker and a bonanza for the average corporate exec and all federal employees. It's the exact opposite of what you want in a healthy economy and another example of how socialism destroys everything it touches.
    — synthesis

    Well, some export oriented countries like Germany have done quite well and don't have such wealth inequality. Even if I'm not a leftist, I think one important issue is that Americans aren't in labor unions, hence the employers can do nearly whatever they want. I think this also more of a domestic issue than just globalization.
    ssu

    Japan and Germany are both homogeneous societies and lack the social, educational, and cultural differences found in the U.S. The labor unions that still do exist (such as unions for federal employees) are about as corrupt as it gets, and, as well, have pretty much bankrupted many cities and municipalities. Here is California, it seems as if most of the public employees make over 100KUSD, and a fair percentage quite a bit more than that. It's crazy. Let them eat bananas! :)

    Isn't this the entire point of every social institution that ever was, that is, getting something for nothing (somebody else footing the bill).
    — synthesis

    The problem is when the shareholder and his peers make so much money they can buy off their obligation to pay taxes or provide good transportation. But that is not society's fault. That might be the fault of politicians and people that allow that to happen, and maybe society sits back a lets themselves get screwed, but that is not society's point. The point, and the individual reliance on and participation in the social contract, was to protect the individual; not make him pay for some jerk's adventure.
    ssu

    You have to approach any government situation ASSUMING that bad things are going to happen (because they almost always do). And remember, the Social Contract was written by the powerful group's attorneys!

    In other words, there is no doubt that people often get together and agree to look the other way while the Earth, or some other poor sap or people bear the brunt of their adventures. But that is not the point of society.....ssu

    What is the point of society?

    The answer is ALWAYS more freedom and transparency. Those advocating the opposite are attempting to protect their dirty system.
    — synthesis

    I disagree. Transparency does not translate into an ability to do anything about an asshole who is exercising freedom to shit in the river. Unless, of your course, you are granting me the freedom to shoot him through his brain housing group. Lots of misuse of freedom are out in the open. We try to regulate those misuses, but the offender then whines about regulation. At least that regulation works in favor of the integrity of his skull.
    ssu

    At least with transparency, you have a chance. Without it, you're totally f*******.

    I'll take my chances and ALWAYS err on the side of too much freedom.
  • ssu
    3.9k
    I should have stated, "this foray into serious globalization," which will end just like other attempts...in a trillion tears.synthesis
    Well, a historical collapse of globalization is when antiquity and the Roman globalization collapses into the Dark Ages. A trillion tears for that one.

    It was the creation of full FIAT reserve currency, of course, which allowed this to happen on the scale it did (so what should that tell you?). Globalization is a fraud, plain and simple, as it is exploitation at some of its worst, and MMT is simply a polite term for counterfeiting, nothing more.synthesis
    This is what I've felt for a long time. However, until at least now, even if we have a huge asset bubble everywhere, the whole system has been very persistent. The doomsayers have had their same line for decades now. Hence I'm really puzzled about MMT and have wanted to have a serious debate about it, yet it seems to be too difficult. Even the believers of MMT do state that too much debt will cause a inflationary crisis, yet they argue that for the US this doesn't matter. At least now. How much is too much?

    world-debt-2019.png

    The U.S. health care system is another example of massive fraud, believe me, as I have been part of it for many decades.synthesis
    It actually an interesting question why has it become so failed. I think that the simple reason is that every part of the system has to make a profit, the corporations themselves have made the policies to favor themselves and in the end people without any long term health care have to be then in ER. Why Americans accept this is beyond me.

    (Yes, it's extremely expensive...)
    US_spends_much_more_on_health_than_what_might_be_expected_1_blog_main_horizontal.jpg

    (Has been so since the 1980's...)
    350px-Health_care_cost_rise.svg.png

    (And takes a huge share of the costs...)
    current-health-expenditures-as-percentage-share-of-gdp-oecd-2017.png

    (...with mediocre or dismal results, when measured by life expectancy or by any other health indicator.)
    Life-expectancy-at-birth-for-OECD-Organization-for-Economic-Co-operation-and.png

    So you are right, it is a huge scam. And why people opt for it? Think that anything else would be even worse?

    Japan and Germany are both homogeneous societies and lack the social, educational, and cultural differences found in the U.S. The labor unions that still do exist (such as unions for federal employees) are about as corrupt as it gets, and, as well, have pretty much bankrupted many cities and municipalities.synthesis
    Japan is a homogeneous society while Germany is quite multicultural now days. I think the real problem is that in the US the class divide (which you can find in every country) has gone through racial lines and this has created a toxic environment. And of course that many Americans deny the existence of class and think of a class system as a caste system (which it isn't). Also that the labor unions have been corrupt and been infiltrated by organized crime at some stage has had very negative consequences.

    That cities or municipalities have been bankrupted by labor unions is one way to put it. Another way to look at it is that cities, municipalities (and companies too) have opted for the easiest solution of promising beneficial retirement plans (that will be paid later) instead of salary increases as a way to push the problems forward.

    You have to approach any government situation ASSUMING that bad things are going to happen (because they almost always do).synthesis
    Sorry, this what you refer to and answer later isn't my quote (or the other's), but I think replies of and/or others.

    Perhaps correct the references so that people can follow the correct interesting debate, Synth? :wink:
  • synthesis
    702
    This is what I've felt for a long time. However, until at least now, even if we have a huge asset bubble everywhere, the whole system has been very persistent. The doomsayers have had their same line for decades now. Hence I'm really puzzled about MMT and have wanted to have a serious debate about it, yet it seems to be too difficult. Even the believers of MMT do state that too much debt will cause a inflationary crisis, yet they argue that for the US this doesn't matter. At least now. How much is too much?ssu

    Keep in mind that there are tremendous dis-inflationary forces happening coincidentally which are balancing out the ledger sheet somewhat. Mining cheap labor and technology's exponential growth have kept productivity high and inflation low. And (of course), most of the dollar printing is in the form of bank reserves having yet to see circulation.

    I am still in the deflation camp and believe the forces of technology and cheaper labor (Africa, India, East Asia, to some extent) will hold inflation in check unless the politicians go ape shit and do a Zimbabwe or something like that, but you are correct, who would have thought this could still be going on 50 years after they abandoned the final link to sound money?

    The U.S. health care system is another example of massive fraud, believe me, as I have been part of it for many decades.
    — synthesis

    It actually an interesting question why has it become so failed. I think that the simple reason is that every part of the system has to make a profit, the corporations themselves have made the policies to favor themselves and in the end people without any long term health care have to be then in ER. Why Americans accept this is beyond me.
    ssu

    Americans have wanted a national health care system since 1950. Unfortunately, the corporations didn't. It always comes down to one thing, corruption, and there is plenty of blame to go around. It's a complete failure...the health care professions, the health care corporations, the government, and the citizens themselves for not taking care of themselves.

    Man makes his own hell in this world.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I am inclined to think that it is hard to predict what is going to happen in Britain, as indeed other parts of the world. We still have a welfare system and the NHS, and I think that it would be if these were to collapse that Britain would collapse truly because people are reliant on them. I think that maintaining the NHS has been central to the whole process of restrictions, as a central focus being the NHS being not being overwhelmed. However, what has happened is that so much money has been spent through furloughs and many people being on benefits.

    So, I think that a lot will depend on whether people are able to work again. If mass unemployment continues I fear that the welfare state would collapse altogether, bringing devastation and misery for multitudes. So, survival of the economy is central, because at the moment it is extremely difficult to find work. I suppose that we have been lucky to have a whole welfare state but if this were to collapse, I really don't know how countless people would survive at all.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    You say that, 'Man makes his own hell in the world'. I do agree that many of the atrocities in history seem to reflect that. The question which I see is how can we act differently collectively, to try to climb out of the hells we create, and to stop creating them?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    It is probably not healthy to worry very much about economic collapse or the arrival of a totalitarian regime taking over your country.

    Whatever John Maynard Keynes was thinking of, what he said, "In the long run we are all dead" it is certainly true. That's just life, like it or not.

    We (the very large collective) should not be indifferent to current developments, of course. Long-term, medium-range, and short-term proactive planning have importance that is often honored in the breach, but we should do what we (collectively) can do.

    Granted, to be young, aware, and worried makes life difficult. Being old, aware, and much, much closer to the end of one's life is much easier (something one doesn't feel until one gets here). When I was a young man I worried a lot. What will the next 50 or 60 years be like? How bad will it get? So many things could and seemed to be going wrong. Now I know, and while a lot of what happened sucked, it was endurable. Of course, I didn't live in Rwanda, Cambodia, China, etc. You don't either. You won't have to endure Mao's Cultural Revolution, for instance.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    Yes, I will try not to worry too much about totalitarianism, but I do fairly frequently, because that is my disposition. But what strikes me when I have made remarks to people in conversations recently about totalitarianism, is that many people don't seem to be perturbed by it. I think that we may be moving towards a culture of indifference.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    If you are a genetically-determined worry-wort, there is not much you can do about it. I won't tell you to focus on positive topics because such advice never did me much good when I was busy anguishing.

    As for moving toward a culture of indifference, nah! It's a perennial condition. People, including educated, aware, sensible people, must, in the end, focus on tending their own gardens, as Voltaire says in the conclusion of Candide.

    I always like it when philosophical messages are packaged up in Broadway Musicals: Here's the finale of Candide, the musical, by Leonard Bernstein performed at the 1915 Proms:\

    CANDIDE, CUNEGONDE, MAXIMILLIAN, PAQUETTE, OLD LADY, DR. PANGLOSS
    Let dreamers dream
    What worlds they please
    Those Edens can't be found.
    The sweetest flowers,
    The fairest trees
    Are grown in solid ground.

    ENSEMBLE (a cappella)
    We're neither pure, nor wise, nor good
    We'll do the best we know.
    We'll build our house and chop our wood
    And make our garden grow.
    And make our garden grow!

    (The cow dies)
    VOLTAIRE
    Ah, me! The pox!

  • Manuel
    315

    There's too much to say about that, that it's hard not to sound like a crazy person. Trying to be brief, I think we should keep in mind that there are different types of totalitarianism. There is the common one of totalitarian government, as can be seen in North Korea. But there are also totalitarian strains in movements, from far right movements to some aspects of the left, not that I think that both are equal in terms of actual menace in today's world.

    We should also recognize that there is corporate totalitarianism, in that, corporations have this tendency too, of imposing there will, of subjecting all aspects of life to market society, that which can and cannot be purchased. This type of aspect in society is surely gaining ground, as welfare measures shrink in the name of "competition" and "having a vibrant economy". Of course, governments are the actors who are most visible, so if they take measures, prompted by concentrated economic powers, that are contrary to the public interests, it's the government that gets the blame, not concentrated wealth. So if a country reduces health benefits, clearly it's the governments fault which by implication leads to further privatization, and it becomes a self fulfilling cycle.

    This aspect of society need to be made as visible as possible. Governments have plenty of faults and have committed horrible atrocities. They just so happen to also be the vehicle in which democratic will can be exercised for the good of the many. So yes, plenty of totalitarian threats from all areas, and economic crisis can't be too far away. Not the brightest of times, by any means.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    But what strikes me when I have made remarks to people in conversations recently about totalitarianism, is that many people don't seem to be perturbed by it.Jack Cummins

    They may not have a very vivid idea of what it is you are talking about. Reading a few books about totalitarian states (Hitler's, Stalin's, Mao's, etc.) puts flesh on an otherwise abstract idea. Watching films and reading about how the holocaust unfolded, or how Stalin wiped out a few million Ukrainians makes totalitarianism something one can not be indifferent to. Back in the early 1970s when I was working at St. Thomas College, one day we asked a batch of students what the holocaust was. Most did not know. It isn't that the students were too stupid to know about it--most of them were bright middle class people--they just didn't read much history.

    I didn't either. I've been shocked and appalled by a lot of the things I've learned as an adult.

    I'm not excusing their indifference or ignorance. As the saying goes, "if you are not worried you are not paying attention." A lot of people aren't very up on global warming either, even though it is already affecting them. Their bandwidth just isn't very wide.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I think really that I would rather worry rather than become indifferent. It's also about balancing the personal worries and the wider collective ones. It is sometimes easier to see our own little world under the microscope and probably the turbulence of our time is a wake up for most of us. Rather than just hearing of historical atrocities and ones in far away countries, so many throughout the world have been shaken up by life being so dramatically. I realise that the leaders must be struggling and are probably just trying to think of all options.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    Your detailed discussion of the many potential facets of totalitarianism is useful because it is a complex area and not just one idea. While it is possible to see potential threats, let's just hope that the threats are only that. Let's just hope that the good of many is protected and that systems which emerge do not bring too much suffering.
  • Manuel
    315


    Given the immanent catastrophe of climate change, I think many of these aspects of totalitarianism are going to become quite real.

    Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. As Gramsci said.
  • James Riley
    316
    It's also about balancing the personal worries and the wider collective ones.Jack Cummins

    I understand history, somewhat. And I understand, somewhat, human nature. But I'm no expert. So what I do on such occasions is defer to the experts. I think there is a substantial "never again" crowd out there; primarily Jews. I kind of look around and see how worried, or not worried they appear to be. I'm prepared to go all Lt. Aldo Raine on some fascist ass, but I don't want to jump the gun, either. We want to stay out in front of evil so we can head it off long before the trains start pulling up. We really don't want to get to that point. But we don't want our own government treating us like vigilantes and coming down on us either. The line is not one I'm schooled in discerning. Hopefully there will be a "heads up" from someone. Otherwise, we are left to trusting government, or our own devices.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I hadn't come across that quote from Gramsci and I wrote a thread on pessimism vs optimism. So thanks for the great insight offered by Gramsci:
    'Pessimism of the intellect. Optimism of the will.'
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    Yes, I sometimes wonder what could happen and it is hard to see through the political cracks in the pavement. It is sometimes just hard to know what is going on beneath the surface of news headlines, because as the sociologists have stressed, news is manufactured. We may not know what is going on behind the scenes exactly. It seems that there is a lot of confusion, but there may be aspects which are not revealed too.
  • synthesis
    702
    "Collectively" doesn't work for me. Almost all good things that happen is because of individual compassion, and almost all bad things that happen are because of collective efforts.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I am also wary of the collective, especially the destructive capacity of the herd. The only reason why I chose the word collective is because we are talking about global and national issues. Perhaps we need some truly inspiring individuals to arise in the midst. I am probably talking about prophets or visionaries, who are able to go deeper and beyond the surface of political agendas.
  • James Riley
    316


    When my niece started getting concerned I told to watch this: Access to food, medicine and electricity. If those all go and it's not explicable due to some regional BS, then things are not good. Until then, don't get all spun up about the shit going down. In addition to watching those indicators, I'll be a bit worried if I see rich folks taking off for New Zealand or some similar place. While Israel may not seem safe or isolated, you know they will muscle up and nobody will F with them so that's another place to watch people bailing too. Personally, I hope I have to balls to help instead of hide. But for right now, I look to the future with optimism. I'm liking what I see with a lot of the kids these days.

    George Clooney in "Tomorrow Land". Yes.
  • Jack Cummins
    2k

    I do agree that access to food, medicine and electricity are essential. I would add housing because we are talking about Maslow's basics on the hierarchy of needs. Once those go, for so many people, we are talking about a very dire situation.
  • The Opposite
    835
    turn that frown around, and turn that worry into animosity towards the CCP and putin.
  • Jack CumminsAccepted Answer
    2k

    I am not sure that such animosity is particularly helpful. However, I do believe that people do need to speak out against social evils rather than just accept them as the norm.
12345Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment