July 15, 2011
Historical events are products of human achievement. Beginning with the interactions between individuals, groups of individuals and the environment. Because besides the intended results and many more results are unforeseen or unintended and in spite on the intentional choices made the social institution seem to be reacting beyond our command with more conscious choice looking like on the spot damage control. We seem to be driven by our lives that appear to be beyond our deliberate preferences and a responsiveness that is outside of consciousness. This contradiction is the motor of history. Up till now the more we try to control history the more history escapes our control.
July 21, 2011
The great liberal revolutions were the uprisings of the common people against a firmly established oligarchy. Rank based upon merit and not rank based upon birth. Yet not all common people are equal. Those with wealth in money, property, political influence or trading contacts became the new oligarchy in less than a generation after the revolution. This hierarchy was already being formed before the first shot were fired during the revolution. The militant and new elites provided the leadership for the revolution, and provided a check on the growth of democracy. When the poor farmers, craftsmen, and day laborers are recruited the revolution moves radically to the left. The revolutionary elites not only provides leadership in the overthrow of the older oligarchy, but the new elite crushes the revolution soon after victory to prevent the establishment of true democracy. Soon thereafter there is a new oligarchy established around wealth in the market economy and power in politics. Birth and not merit once again becomes important through both inheritance and the privileges of being raised in a wealthy home. This happens even when the dominant ideology and political culture continues to represent faith in a non-existent social equality and equality of opportunities. The law still protects property over people. Those who inherit there wealth start out at a point where a life time of struggle would lead only the hardest of the working candidates call success.
July 22, 2011
A vanguard party only fits the needs of a clandestine group of professional revolutionaries operating where liberal democracy does not yet exist. Vanguard party adds the additional problem of what to do once in power? That is to move intraparty democracy to society wide democracy. To shift away from vanguard party to mass party creates a dilemma lacking an easy resolution. To move from power being concentrated in the hands of the highly disciplined vanguard who risked everything to society wide participatory democracy, including reformed enemies and people who quietly on the margins during the thick of the struggle does pose a problem. The next issue is that worker councils must be in a position to take over from government and industry. Civil rights advocacy group must find a form that is taken seriously.
Every nation and every revolution creates a unique set of problems and concerns; each insurgency establishes an exceptional arrangement of tribulations and issues. One size does not fit all. Exceptionalism is the norm. The relationship between the economy and politics is unique under capitalism and this is even truer with capitalism at the center of global markets when compared to the poor nation in the outlying regions of exploitation. Under broad categories of periphery and core relations are different from country to country within each category, between categories and all across the planet. These relations are always in flux changing over time. This is the one universal you can count on. What is needed is a real historical sociology. Each case is only one of its kind, but with a research combining historical sociology with cross cultural studies borrowed fro cultural anthropology we gain more information than we would of have with these training. Finally the second generalization is the issue of imperialism remains a top concern.
Imperialism means the less developed nations do not have in place liberal democracy and are dependent on the capitalist core. In a world like this the establishment of capitalism is greatly distorted. This is a serious problem for both periphery and the core. Democracy, industrialization and class formations is stunted in the periphery and distorted in the core. Political independence is impossible for all countries and this codependent and dysfunctional relationship between nations make being economically part of an empire and global addiction the normal way of life and democracy impossible in every country on the globe.
July 27, 2011
Thoughts While Setting
1. By 2008 the economy was in such trouble it needed radical outside help from government. Investment bubbles formed around speculating on high-risk quick returns investments. These same investment bubbles were ready to burst. Large investors speculated on quick returns with no long range plans to increase productivity in the over all economy or creating more jobs. Instead of planning for investment that would put Americans back to work there was massive buying and selling of shares in the stock market. There was transfer of large quantities liquid assets with no plans to increase productivity in manufacturing, job creation, and without any loyalty to individual companies or their products. Banks were openly barrowing from other financial institutions. This fueled uncontrolled speculation. Because there was speculation on unsecured investments government intervention was a part of the long-range plan. The only ethical concern was quick returns on investments. With government waiting in the wings there was risk reduction on these investments. Investments with no secure future became the norm, as failure became impossible. Through increasing speculation in which we created an unreal world; a world in which wealth has little to do with hard work, craftsmanship, public service, or entrepreneurial visions. Organized crime became legal and gambling became not gambling because of bailouts. Remember 2008. Now we are trying to pay the bill on this criminal activity through budget cuts in the public sector, which had nothing to do with our current crisis.
2. Production of goods and services in the private sector is the employment of workers at a rate to insure a profit. The direct motive of employment and production is that profit. In the public sector the motive, its bottom line, is service. The public sector provides those goods and service essential to the community. Because the inspiration is public service rather than profits it is cheaper and more efficient to support the public sector as is. Out sourcing only complicates the issue without providing any real benefits. In the long run it costs the public more and the over all quality of the services declines. Most public servants understand this and choose to work in the public sector because they care about the public they serve. With recent history in mind where major international investors speculated irresponsibly on high return and unsafe speculation for quick returns on investment without creating jobs or any long-term benefits to society. They gambled and lost only to be saved by big government, driving the global economy into the toilet. So why are we as a nation beating up on public employees while openly supporting the criminals that ruined the economy?
3. The current economic crisis happened in the private sector, and it is the public sector that is now being blamed. The public and service sectors employees are not big government. Administrations come and go. Public sector employees are both underpaid and under appreciated. They are the unsung heroes who provide the necessary services for all of us. These courageous people go to work no matter who is in office.
4. The troubles of this economic crisis as seen by conservative economists are a mater of faith and not of science. They accept a market independent of moral responsibility as an unquestioned article of this faith. Failures in the speculation of investments in financial institutions and in market shares of corporate investors can never be questioned. The problem according to this cult does not rest with housing bubbles, ponzi schemes, junk bounds, and stock market jitters. We go from one financial scandal; economic collapse and stagnation to another requiring direct government intervention at least once a decade. Remember 2001 and then again 2008. This has been happening in Britain sense before 1800 and in the US sense before the Civil War. The Great Depression of the 1870's is an example.
5. Majority of people with retirement accounts, educational accounts and other small investors provide "share capital" to financial companies with little influence on corporate decisions. Profit is the main motivation, not social responsibility, for the corporate CEO's. The philosophies of "no economic reward without social responsibility and no profit without participation in the welfare of the community and people in the community especially the poor", is replaced by maximizing profit with no moral responsibilities to the poor of the planet. With the bail outs and the larger financial and industrial corporations being too large to fail are rewarded for taking risks and yet are constantly protected by government intervention from losses because of these risks. These constant bailouts have to be financed by taxpayers to limit wider economic fallout affecting ordinary workers who did nothing wrong but bear full responsibility for economic crisis. So capitalism is constantly protected from destroying the social capital on which it depends. Shareholders pursue personal wealth with little wisdom of the lives of people on whose backs wealth is generated, "the poor". Senior management has negligible respect for the grinding poverty of those who create their wealth. Karl Polanyi you were right.
6. Tell some federal, state, county or city employee, dog tired, over worked and underpaid providing the necessary services for our very survival about your concern about big government. Thanks the gratitude.