2190. Capital to manage the crisis..

However much we dislike unions, maybe because they seem to force collective identification rather than the individualism professionals are encouraged to identify with, and because they seem to press for higher wages rather than for innovation.

In the struggle for a share of society’s output unions,  after www2,  played a crucial role in maintaining some approximation to good distribution. Af er WW2, the US economy, with increased productive capacity from the war effort,  faced pent up savings and consumer demand.  The corporations made a deal with the unions: high per hour wage – say 27 dollars per hour, in exchange for no strikes. 

This arrangement lasted until the 60’s when profit margins were shrinking and the US started a long slow decline we are still in. Politics moved against the unions and to support the pulling of wealth out of the bottom say 80% of the population.  No block replaced Unions to keep the pressure on to keep distribution relatively fair 

With the  shrinkage  of the unions there was no other social organization constraining  increasing  wealth by the few who controlled the political process,  as can be seen in the rise of the clinton  democrats , with their   belief in the legitimacy of joining the rich with high profile consumption and the financialization of the economy. This Is a return to a world where the rich can take what they want – with the help  their professionals, the  lawyers and economists using the money of the rich to control the political process.

Post WW2 was an unusual time that put corporations and consumers  in a partnership that dominated the lifestyle desires of  society.  (See the BBC  films of Adam Curtis searchable on youtube). This was a return to the usual situation of the increasing power of the rich over society and this is a fundamental property of capitalism.This is because those with money have more leverage when summed across those with wealth, than is the power of those summed across 80% of society. Capitalism and democracy are parallel systems for making the key decisions for society . The many vs the few, and the capital side wins out, forcing periodic revolt. My own view is that we are living in the shadow of an incomplete French Revolution and, coordinated by the internet, it would be continuing to create new forms now.

But climate change and viruses in the context of a population dependent on coal and oil  is creating the possibility of a renewed shift of power to the rich as society grows desperate for some group to  take control and manage the crisis. 

 

2189. Gardenworld

From the intro to the book in draft

The multiple interacting crises have woken up most people to the need for serious change.  Lets pick up the task not yet finished of making a better society, guided by our highest ideals of fairness, democracy and personal responsibility. Circumstances are difficult and the  failure of leaders  to respond has made the need for change clearer. The book goes beyond criticism of the current complex situation  to  what I am calling Gardenworld, a meaningful goal that could  guide our efforts at short term actions toward longer term possibilities. The key idea of Gardenworld is to put food and habitat in the same pace, done with an aesthetic and humanistic awareness. “Politics” is in the title because politics will be necessary to get us to Gardenworld, or any other potentially positive goal. Reaction to industrialization, the romantic movement and Arts and Crafts, was swamped by the attractiveness of Industrialization. But that period is past. Something like a romantic-humanist-more aesthetic future is now possible. Gardenworld is not a plan but an intent to be worked out at all levels guided by the image of Gardenworld as a goal.  Criticism without a goal leads  to conflicting and half hearted efforts.

2188. Death of the world

Provocation 264 aug 3

It is hard to come up with metaphors for our situation. Great writers like Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare all wrote in difficult times and the difficulties entered their literature. But in each case it was assumed that after the crisis the world would still be there. Not true for us. In interviews I have been doing people are feeling the death of the world, When a person dies those who knew that person grieve because of the pain of lost futures with that person, and the brain keeps wanting that person to be there and acting as if they are, and this causes confusion. We walk into the room where that person often was and we expect them to be there. and they are not.

The same is true now of the future, of society. It is dying – by which I mean our expectations: that restaurant closed for ever, gomne, my trip to finland, my trip to malaysia, my even visiting my children in other states, not only put off, but maybe never again to be undertaken.
This causes great grief and confusion and we feel all that is solid melts into air. This is a very difficult time and mostly our screams are silent. Like the Munch painting, All scream, no sound.

As for economics, it seems to not deal with this. I imagine a river, the economy, flowing, and there are towns, factories, malls on both banks, and commerce, flow of goods and dollars (and empty contracts!) flowing up and down and across to the other bank (pu ??). And economics has a series of differential equations to describe the ebb and flow of these exchanges. But what if the river slowed down, exchanges slow down and some stop? What do people do? What does economics do? What can leaders do?

Well, wake up! There is lots to do. Caring for people first. Do an inventory. Asses who is most threatened. Start distributions. Kind of obvious. Will we do it?

2187. Our perception of the US.

How did we get a Democratic party that was aligned with the bankers and lead to Donald Trump?  What do we do about slavery, race, native americas, the dominance of consumerism over citizenship? Let’s face it, the country we grew up believing in has fragmented,  “An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.” Yeats, who also wrote the so often quoted “The center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the land.”  The founding fathers wanted checks and balances so that not much could happen, especially threats to private property. And they succeeded, so we can’t change through any normal process.

 

2186. Ulrich Beck

I like this, first paragraphs of his book, Metamorphosis

The world is unhinged. As many people see it, this is true in both senses of the word: the world is out of joint and it has gone mad. We are wandering aimlessly and confused, arguing for this and against that. But a statement on which most people can agree, beyond all antagonisms and across all continents, is: ‘I don’t understand the world any more’. The aim of this book is to try to understand and explain why we no longer understand the world. To this end, I introduce the distinction between change and metamorphosis or, more precisely, between change in society and metamorphosis of the world.

People I know (and hopefully that includes myself) are disoriented. As markers in time and space disappear or are no long accessible,  I am reminded of Marx in a different context. “all that is solid melts into air.” Never again to Europe,  no more travel to Asia, no flights to see my grandchildren, that restaurant a few miles away closed – permanently? Traffic thin, sky blue, thoughts racing..

On Metamorphosis I g highly recommend Ovid’s. translated by Ted Hughes. Huge impact on Shakespeare. and ready impact us.

 

2185. symptoms july 28

AN AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS SURVEILLANCE PLANE IS LURKING NEAR PORTLAND DURING FEDERAL CRACKDOWN
Sam Biddle
July 23 202

I wonder how the the Air-Force command feels about this?  This is an important chess piece in the election.

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Saw an article that hinted that Biden would not stop fracking.  The emerging question is of course will Biden be similar to Clinton in his relationship to the economy, the banks, the energy industry?

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we get from Calculated Risk

 

 

details will be important. The ongoing store closigns mean people now losing jobs.  These  forbearances included.

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Look in Goole News  at countries unfamiliar to you /. Almost always the nws is about starvation, food breakdown, migrations and corruption. I don’t think we into our sense of he problem the North economy causes for others and hence is an important reflection on how and what we are doing.  We need to integrate these and increase our tendency to help thy neigjhbor.

Calculated Risk also has

Where to Look for Initial Economic Damage if Disaster Relief is Inadequate
The GOP is scheduled to release their proposed Disaster Relief plan this afternoon. Based on early reports, their proposed package will be grossly insufficient. However, there will be further negotiations with the House, and the eventual package might be somewhat adequate.

If the package is inadequate, I’d expect the initial negative impact to be on retail sales and housing. In addition, I’d expect to see significant state and local layoffs over the next few months.

Retail sales for August will not be released until September 16th, but there are several high frequency releases on housing that I’ll be tracking.

How we understand thinking is important to understand how economics got separated from much of society, how ambition, status and lust work together, and many other questions involving hope, despair and the ability to imagine a future we can act on.. The tenndecy of much thinking to avoid the dark side means that the energy wrapped up, embodied, in the dark side is unavailable for light side thinking. My view is that here is much of value in the dark side and it takes imagination to help bring it forth

One writer who deals with the dark i Hickman He is quoting today

“The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before?”
― R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Hickman is dark enough to be enlightening. His link

Dr. Rinaldi’s Horror Cabinet

Thought s will follow about Rene Girard.

 

 

 

 

 

2184. Growth and debt: the iron law of society

Growth and population are essentail to each other. To pay interest on debt requires that society be locked into growth at all costs.  This is an iron law of economy -ignored by economics. Since growth tends to population increase and pollution increase, we must realize that debt growth and population reinforce each other to the point of cancerous destruction f the whole of society.

Is this no where we are  – an argument for growth is rooted in need to Pay debt and the salaries of financial managers and this means ballooning out society. From the point of view of science, this is an extremely interesting issue since it violates the meaning of economics – the proper management of our home, the earth.

2182. Treat wages like profits

Why does economics accept the fact that profit is on one side of the ledger but wages on the other?  The purpose of an economy is the well being of the people – all of them. So why not manage the business to raise both profit and wages, and have serious discussions about the division – a discussion that is sidestepped by treating wages as a cost which means  managers should mange them to be as cheap as possible?

When John Young was president of Hewlett Packard  in the 1980’s, he wrote an oped I can’t find but in it he wrote that the job of managers was to raise the salaries of workers. I knew him at that time, and he got furious criticism for it.

Adam Smith’s nook was The Wealth of Nations and he was aware of the difficult but necessary task of raising the well being – and wages – of all.

Economics means estate management. The  estate now is the earth, and it should be managed as a coherent enterprise for all, not a sub section of society called  economy, a strategy that, instead of raising the bottom, works to marginalize them and their political impact. Ghettoizing, low school budgets, bad health, lower choice of food in local markets, pollution noise and air, ..

a mess.

Can we call economics back to the task of improving society, not just  for  the wealthy? 

Rethinking the accounting system  to move wages from the cost side to the benefit side of the ledge would  make a major  statement about the possible health of future society and be a serious morale booster..

An outcome of COVId is to see that low wage workers are essential workers and treated like deplorables, not like fellow interesting human beings. I have known working class families (shouldn’t  everyone  be in the working class, making some kind of contribution?) who were better parents and more deeply moral than any of .01 percent I’ve met.

We just must do more thinking about how to shift economics to the science of the whole, not just the plumbing of the flow of dollars for the rich.

2181. Symptoms july 23

From calculated risk.More people are not paying rent (US)

 

note i someone files a new claim this week they will not be counted as new the nexxt week. Summing across the whole curve is crucial. Each person unemployed (and self employed are not counted) cease to be a consumer as much as they were, further impacting  the whole.

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this is interesting

From MAHB https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/combined-political-action-economic-innovation-and-technological-advancement-for-greenhouse-gas-emission-reduction-and-sustainability/

very good summary of science and politics.

US greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 2007 at 7416.45 million metric tons (Mt) of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) and then dropped sharply by about 8.9% in two years in the early stages of a recession to 6753.91 Mt CO2e in 2009. Emissions then trended downward by about 3.1% relative to 2009 in 10 years to 6543.12 Mt CO2e in 2019 (1, 2). This was down by another 2.8% compared to 2007.

The overall decrease of 11.7% from 2007 to the end of 2019 was realized despite several years with high GDP after c. 2011 because electricity generation by coal drifted down by about 50% from 2007, while generation from natural gas and renewables increased (2, 3).

US greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 may decrease 11% from their 2019 level mainly due to the recession, reaching 5823.38 Mt CO2e in 2020 (4). This is down by another 9.7% of the 2007 level, bringing the decrease since 2007 to about 21.4%.

To aim for at least an estimated 50% probability that global warming will not exceed 1.5°C , or return to 1.5°C by 2100 after a low overshoot, global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions should be decreased to 25 – 30 billion tons CO2e/yr in 2030 and then towards near net-zero by around 2050 (5). The target for 2030 is between 27% to 39% lower than the global emissions in 2007 (6).

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