Saturday, February 4, 2017

Basic Income Basically Begrudged?


Neil stirring the pot...

So search your feelings. Get to the root cause of why you resent the rich so much.



98 comments:

Penguin pop said...

We could have all these things today without the rich in the first place and obsessing over taxing them at the expense of other pressing issues. There are coalitions which could be formed with moderate conservatives and GOP people who are mainly in the party because they don't want their taxes jacked up under the false notion those dollars are needed to fund these programs. I have talked to conservatives before about universal healthcare for example and they'd be fine with whatever I proposed as long as their taxes weren't significantly raised to "pay" for it. I guess a lot of this has to be a psychological thing with people and this need to feel vindicated for a cause.

The solution always has to be more complicated that it appears just so they feel better about themselves. It's counterintuitive for many to understand all the implications and truths MMT brings to the table. I also think a lot of people want to feel heroic like Robin Hood for taking from the rich and giving it to the poor. I view all of that as being a separate issue wrt to the rent seeking Tom has brought before in previous comments.

Noah Way said...

Depends of course on the level of taxation. At a certain point it should be 100%. Generational wealth should be eliminated completely.

"All men are created equal"

Bob said...

I expect what is commonplace in the third world: zero safety net / law of the jungle

How do you feel about that?

Matt Franko said...

I'll stand by my statements in the other thread that it can appear that the millennials do not think this way... ie the material begrudging as primary...

John said...

Neil: "Get to the root cause of why you resent the rich so much."

The non-rich don't resent the rich per se, and Neil alludes to that. The rich resent the rest of us!

Neil's exactly right about a job guarantee and his hostility to the stupid basic income: people want jobs and society needs people working, not receiving money for doing nothing. How did these fools become so deluded that they somehow concluded that a basic income is more workable and beneficial than a job guarantee? The funniest thing about the whole proposal is that almost NOBODY wants what they're proposing, but do support a job guarantee!

As Bill Mitchell has elucidated, wealth inequality is a problem: it has economic and destabilising consequences and democratic consequences. I don't have a problem with Warren Buffett, sports stars, music stars and film stars making lots of money. In some cases they may genuinely deserve it, and in other cases they're going to blow it in no time so there's no point caring. But the people who genuinely earned it are few and far between, and some, like the UK's highly respected Philip Green, should be in prison. It's a question of enforcing the law. If the law was enforced, very many of these fraudsters and shysters would never have gotten to a height where everybody is made to believe that they got there through sheer hard work, because they'd still be languishing in prison for having defrauded their staff's pension plan, through an insurance scam or a thousand and one other near legal frauds.

Tom Hickey said...

I expect what is commonplace in the third world: zero safety net / law of the jungle

Zero safety net, but not necessarily the law of the jungle either. In traditional societies there is a tightly woven social fabric.

That begins to unravel when modern liberalism is introduced and begins to replace traditionalism.

There is a reaction on the part of traditionalists against the excesses of liberalism going on now.

Alt-right is a subset that opposition.

Tom Hickey said...

Neil's exactly right about a job guarantee and his hostility to the stupid basic income: people want jobs and society needs people working, not receiving money for doing nothing. How did these fools become so deluded that they somehow concluded that a basic income is more workable and beneficial than a job guarantee? The funniest thing about the whole proposal is that almost NOBODY wants what they're proposing, but do support a job guarantee!

As long as there is a monetary production economy and distribution rationed by price, jobs will be a key socio-economic factor and therefore also a political factor.

UBI does not substitute for a JG and adequate safety net.

Dan Lynch said...

Is there any evidence that redistribution, as in Finland, is less politically sustainable than any other system of reducing inequality ? (the only other successful capitalist system of reducing inequality that I am aware of is Japan's).

Is there any evidence that any type of political economy is 100% sustainable and stable? If work programs are 100% politically sustainable, then why did Henry Wallace fail in his attempt to make the WPA permanent? Why was the Jefe program defeated?

Was Kalecki wrong about why full employment programs are politically unsustainable?

Re:"earnings." What does it mean when we say that someone "earned" something?

Nobody "earns" 100 times as much as anyone else. Perhaps some people work twice as hard as I do, but nobody works 100 times as hard, or 1000 times as hard.

Perhaps some people are smarter than others, but no one "earns" their intelligence, which is mostly genetics and childhood experiences that children have no control over.

If "earning" means exertion, then manual laborers would "earn" more than hedge fund managers.

If "earning" means contributing to society, then stay-at-home caregivers would earn more than anyone at the CIA.

If "earning" means hours worked, then the minimum wage employee who works 2 or 3 jobs would earn more than lawyers.

Why does someone born in the U.S. "earn" more than someone born in Bangladesh? Is the person in Bangladesh less deserving, or did he merely lose the birthplace lottery?

So it's not clear what "earning" means. The reality is that I "earn" more than most Bangladeshis because I won the birthplace lottery. I may be a little smarter than average because I won the genetics lottery plus and did OK in the the childhood environment lottery and the public education lottery. Unfortunately, I lost the graduate-in-a-recession lottery. I feel that my "earnings" have also been affected by the your-chosen-career-is-vulnerable-to-outsourcing lottery, the H1B-visa-worker-competes-for-your-job lottery, the skin pigmentation lottery, the hair lottery, the right-to-work lottery, the fire-at-will lottery, the innate linguistics skills lottery, the social skills lottery, and the family connections lottery, among others.

If the goal is to reduce the Gini coefficient to a Scandinavian level of 0.25, is there any evidence that a JG would accomplish that? Did the Jefe program reduce Argentina's Gini to 0.25?

Re: resentment. Did the New Deal work programs eliminate resentment? According to Wikipedia There was a perception that WPA employees were not diligent workers ... Some employers said that the WPA instilled poor work habits and encouraged inefficiency. Some job applicants found that a WPA work history was viewed negatively by employers, who said they had formed poor work habits.... The WPA and its workers were ridiculed as being lazy. The organization's initials were said to stand for "We Poke Along" or "We Putter Along" or "We piddle around" or "Whistle, Piss and Argue."

I support both job programs and transfer programs, both for humanitarian reasons and to reduce inequality, but believe that even with such programs it will still be necessary to heavily tax the rich to achieve a Gini of 0.25. MMT does not change that.

I admit that my policy preferences are based in large part on my values. While I have opinions about economics and about politics, I have never claimed that there is only one viable economic policy or only one viable political policy, as JG enthusiasts often seem to do.

Tom Hickey said...

Why do the non-rich resent the rich for being rewarded for what they did not earn?

Economic rent.

Economic rent is a subset of the free rider problem in societies, right down to social species like bees and ants. It's even more primitive then that at the level of parasites at the cellular level.

Evolution programs the entities and their species on which it forces competition to survive and reproduce to view free riding as a disutility and to attack it so those traits do not spread.

This is the significance of fairness and reciprocity as "altruism." Actually it is apprehending one's self-interest in terms of a larger system.

Social Darwinism is erroneously incomplete.

There are different levels of knowing. Knowing is generally associated with understanding and reason, but there is also an intuitive, felt component to know, and most people know on this "subliminal" basis that they are getting taken by free riders on the system.

John said...

Tom, absolutely right about traditional societies. Overwhelming historical evidence of the force of liberal capitalist relations destroying the social fabric of these societies. Also right about a social safety net. Randy and Bill are quite explicit about the necessity of a social safety net and how a job guarantee overcomes many problems but not so many that a social safety net could be dispensed with. I think they're probably right, but won't know for sure until it's tried.

John said...

Tom: "Social Darwinism is erroneously incomplete."

I'm a "Darwinist" although I don't like the term. But the idea of social darwinism took a wrong turn a long time ago. Humans are part of the natural realm and we should be investigated as such, but the supposition that we can investigate humans as we investigate bees or chimpanzees is fundamentally misguided. Humans are far too complicated to be reduced to simple formulaic speculations that are useless when trying to make predictions about very simple creatures let alone humans or even human society, where a subject like socioeconomics is far more useful. As a brilliant mind once wrote in a classic paper: "More is different."

Matt Franko said...

'social Darwin' was a mental invention by Darwinists who somehow managed to retain a conscience....

Where was the social safety net for "Java Man!" or my favorite "zinjanthropus erectus!" when homo sapiens "evolved!" from them?

Tom Hickey said...

Social Darwinism as "survival of the fittest" is even bad Darwinism. There are three challenges to survival, in-group and out-group, and within the entity itself.

With respect to out-group, social animals cooperate to warn of out of species predators and in some groups, same-species interlopers. Some species also cooperate to confront threats — "flight or fight."

With respect to in-group, free riding is suppressed and cooperation is engaged in along with competition.

With respect to individuals, internal free riders are suppressed automatically, e.g., immune system and the cells, organs and subsystems of the organism cooperate automatically to maintain homeostasis.

Complexity increases moving up the chain, but the basic principles apply owing to ontogenesis reflecting phylogenesis, as is evident from the progression of an embryo from fertilization through gestation to birth.

As complexity increases the ability to manage behavior and the environment increases, and in social species this involves cooperative interaction along with competitive.

Cooperation is needed for effectiveness, while competition ensures efficiency (law of least action).

Bob said...

There are plenty of illiberal regimes that have destroyed traditional cultures. In some cases it is "development" that has led to the law of the jungle.

myxzptlk said...

There are numerous rational reasons to resent "the rich", including:

- Unequal opportunity from cradle to grave (vs those born into wealthy families)
- Exploitation of the Commons - which all taxpayers create and maintain - as an individual wealth multiplier while denying taxpayer-funded contributions to personal "success"
- Lack of accountability and compensation for the negative consequences of externalities that increase costs to taxpayers and society as a whole
- Unequal exploitation of tax laws and exemptions, most of which are created to favor the rich
- Unequal access to elected officials and their policy / legislation development agendas, which generally favor the interests of monopolies and rent-seekers
- Unequal access to "public" information and propaganda organs, which slant the "news" in favor of wealthy interests
- Unequal access to information about the true costs of products and services, due to mostly intentional fabrications, exaggerations, and lies
- Unequal access to expensive legal protections

I could go on. None of these has anything to do with the BGI vs. JG debate, and that's the point I'm making. That debate is a diversion from real and legitimate reasons for resenting wealthy people who refuse to confront the privileges that made them wealthy (and I exclude from this criticism those exceptional rich people who recognize their privilege and take action to balance equality of opportunity).

Yes, there are poor people looking for a "free lunch", but in my view, they are moral titans next to wealthy rent-seekers who whine about the unfairness of wealth redistribution, after years (and sometimes generations) of exploiting privilege and unfair advantage.

Noah Way said...

Don't forget resent for the sense of entitlement that money inevitably bestows.

Andrew Anderson said...

The fiat and credit system systematically loots and has looted the population and theft requires restitution and restitution is by definition earned.

So what's this moral nonsense that a BIG is unearned?


Magpie said...

Ah! I didn't see this post before, but now I know where the unusual reference to ressentiment came from. It didn't come out of the blue, after all.

So search your feelings. Get to the root cause of why you resent the rich so much.

The first thing is that one doesn't need to resent the rich at all. A partner in a business doesn't need to resent her partner if the latter is retaining her dues. She claims what's hers and he pays her: everyone is happy.

If you have an intestinal parasitic infection, it's entirely irrelevant whether you hate or resent the worms. You just take the medication. No animus involved.

What I never see asked are a set of related question:

(1) Why does the author love the rich so much? To me, this sounds -- let's say -- strange.
(2) Why should one love the rich so much?
(3) Why extraneous questions of morality are always introduced?

jrbarch said...

For me, the 'wealth' of this earth belongs to human beings and our responsibility is as custodian. Ask any 'savage' with gratitude and closeness to their earth-mother in their heart. They don't need to be academics to know this. The rest of the world they know, have forgotten. They keep this fire burning.

They say the modern’s rape and plunder their mother, who in the form of a milk-cow complained: -‘her udders were bleeding and sore - they take and they take and they take and they take - and give nothing back; and if she died, everything else would die too’! These moderns need saving from themselves.

We resent loss of our humanity: - loss of dignity, peace, and prosperity as human beings. Reciprocity is a part of that. Our needs are hope, love, gratitude, and knowledge of the self. Our wants are everything else that we stuff ourselves with, trying to fulfil our needs.

The savage will tell you we are a part of one another, and children of the earth. There is one human family. Lose the respect, and dignity is out the window; peace is broken, and prosperity in tatters - your humanity lost - jettisoned back to the jungle. Then you wander and wonder who you are ...

In the jungle big fish eat little fish; in CIVILisation big fish and little fish help each other.

Tom Hickey said...

Why extraneous questions of morality are always introduced?

Because in politics, they are the most persuasive for many if not most people.

Calgacus said...

Neil is right so far as he goes. But as I have been saying for a long time, he emphasizes the wrong things. For these "negative" feelings of "resentment" are a Good Thing. People have them for a reason. Such resentments help society and everyone in it. But people's widdle feewings are not the reason why a UBI can't work. A UBI can't work because it can't work, period.

A JG will benefit any society. It is morally obligatory according to universal human moral ideas - if one bothers to understand what is happening in modern monetary societies well enough to see the obvious. That is why every human society, with the exception of modern monetary ones have always had job guarantees, have never had unemployment. "Primitive", "traditional" societies understood their own economic structure better than modern ones.

On the other hand, a true UBI / BIG is simply impossible. Think about it! No society can ever be rich enough to afford a true UBI. It is logically impossible in a world without Hilbert Hotels. If you look at it closer, one sees that the UBI is basically slavery. So a UBI / BIG is either a lying facade over something vile, morally reprehensible, which is why billionaires (& perhaps some modern pro-slavery intellectuals) love it so.

Or a UBI is an unbelievably idiotic proposal for a slave system with everybody a master, and nobody a slave. Most UBIers have turned their brains off firmly enough to not be able to see a logical problem with that - so they're the modern equivalent of the severely mentally challenged, pampered and sheltered from reality siblings of pro-slavery intellectuals.

PS: Money is a moral concept & nothing but a moral concept, a moral relationship. So (a) morality can never be extraneous to the matter, but (b) - and if this is what is meant, I agree - One should beware of "edifying", of moralizing - as the mighty thinker of whom Marx was a pupil & disciple often said.

Bob said...

Perhaps Neil is struggling with the fact that large segments of the population will never accept a JG. Encountering that sort of attitude would make me resentful.

Andrew Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Anderson said...

Or a UBI is an unbelievably idiotic proposal for a slave system with everybody a master, and nobody a slave. Calgacus

Then let's redistribute assets such as land* and the common stock of large corporations. Then every citizen is master of his own domain.

Or do you insist on wage slavery, Calgacus? Except for the rich, of course.

Besides, you haven't made the case that a UBI or BIG is impractical while make-work is, on its face, a waste of time, energy and human morale.

Also, one should not have to work for restitution and the entire population has been cheated via government subsidized private credit creation though the rich have been net winners.

Generous infrastructure spending? Sure, but let's not pay people to waste their time chasing the demented dreams and goals of JG proponents.

*Leviticus 25 is a Biblical precedent.

Andrew Anderson said...

Besides, you haven't made the case that a UBI or BIG is impractical ... aa

Because almost all people still desire to work even if their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter have been met. So we should see to it that people CAN work via land reform, asset redistribution etc., i.e. via justice since the means of production have been largely stolen.

Auburn Parks said...

25 comments and nobody has mentioned the real problem with the rich.

Its not that they have lots of money, if they never spent any their money, than it wouldnt have any impact. So that cant be it.

The real problem is that money allows its owner to mobilize real resources. The Koch Bros and SOros have so much money that they are literally more powerful (from an influencing politicians pov) than 10s of thousands maybe even millions of people.

When the banks are multi-trillion entities then they can mobilize more resources then whole states of the union, and more then some entire nation states. IOW what chance does South dakota have in a legal dispute with Exxon when exxon can afford to mobilize 100x more legal power then the state?

SO the problem is with scale. No organizations or people should so large (as in have so much money since they are roughly the same thing) that they are more powerful then our democratic institutions. Because then controlling them and holding them accountable becomes almost impossible as we've seen since 2008.

Thats the problem with rich people, they are dangerous and unstable since they can mobilize so much power/labor/technical skill= money for their own purposes. Im not jealous of the numbers of digits in their bank account, ,or the size of their mansion or yacht. Im worried about the size of their legal teams, their private security organizations, their ownserhip of the means of propaganda, etc.

It has nothing to do with the money, it has to do with what the money can mobilize.

Andrew Anderson said...

The potential problem with the rich is HOW they obtained and maintain their wealth and power. Did they obtain it honestly? Are they preserving it honestly? Then who is to resent them*?

But our system contains within it welfare for the rich - e.g. positive yielding sovereign debt even though such debt is risk-free and government subsidies for private credit creation including government insurance of privately created liabilities ("loans create deposits"). But the rich are the most so-called worthy or what is then, in essence, the PUBLIC'S CREDIT but for private gain.

*Nevertheless, the Bible forbids even honest usury from fellow countrymen and that family farms, orchards, etc. cannot be lost for more than 50 years but must revert to the original family for no charge if not redeemed earlier - see Leviticus 25.

Tom Hickey said...

Perhaps Neil is struggling with the fact that large segments of the population will never accept a JG. Encountering that sort of attitude would make me resentful.

A large segment of the population doesn't accept taxation. That's why tax evasion is illegal and enforcement imposed. It's also why there is legal tax avoidance by the segment of the population that is political powerful enough to enact it.

The real issue is understanding how systems work and communicating that understanding widely. This is how democracy is supposed to work. Action after informed deliberation.

The basic issue is distribution of the surplus.

Modern government use the monetary system that they control to transfer private resources to public use. This is supposed to be for public purpose, meaning the government's obligation to provide security, maintain good order, and provide for the general welfare.

How much of that is needed for public purpose and it what proportion is a political issue.

Almost no one is talking about this wrt policy. It's all about affordability.

So the problems fester and breed resentment among those who do not see themselves and their cohorts as being treated fairly.

A chief aim of political economy is to communicate understanding of the issues so that voters can make informed choices in selecting candidates.

Then the candidates should make their case based on how they view the government's role in public purpose wrt to the issues of the day.

Btw, if one listened closely during the campaign, Trump made a case for fairness while Bernie went on a rant against the rich. HRC lost the plot almost entirely.

Auburn Parks said...

"Btw, if one listened closely during the campaign, Trump made a case for fairness while Bernie went on a rant against the rich."

Give it a break Tim with your Bernie bashing. I mean this is just plain nonsensical. Bernie's entire program was based on fairness. Trump bashed elite corruption just as much as Bernie. Rich people control the Govt through bribery. Stating this obvious thing is not "ranting against the rich". And is you do consider it as such, then Trump did must of the same and you should at least be intellectually rigorous enough to apply consistent principles.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom not Tim.

Tom Hickey said...

IIOW what chance does South dakota have in a legal dispute with Exxon when exxon can afford to mobilize 100x more legal power then the state?

SO the problem is with scale. No organizations or people should so large (as in have so much money since they are roughly the same thing) that they are more powerful then our democratic institutions.

SO the problem is with scale. No organizations or people should so large (as in have so much money since they are roughly the same thing) that they are more powerful then our democratic institutions.


This is key.

... has a longstanding reputation of "getting its way" through expensive litigation that either forces others to settle to their disadvantage or drives them bankrupt.

... is known for maintaining a stable of lawyers for the purpose.

It's a well-known business strategy.

Tom Hickey said...

Give it a break Tim with your Bernie bashing. I mean this is just plain nonsensical. Bernie's entire program was based on fairness. Trump bashed elite corruption just as much as Bernie. Rich people control the Govt through bribery. Stating this obvious thing is not "ranting against the rich". And is you do consider it as such, then Trump did must of the same and you should at least be intellectually rigorous enough to apply consistent principles.

I recall once when I was young, smart and arrogant, I devised a group of very smart people in an argument, which I did often then.

As I was driving home, I said proudly to my main squeeze at the time, Did you see how I laid them all out?

She said, Tom, you are a close friend of mine, so I am going to tell you a secret about how women perceive and think. We feel. That was a knife fight, and there was blood all around. OK, you won but I really didn't enjoy the show.

I learned something from that, as I have many times from women about how one is coming across on the feeling level.

My impression of Bernie, regardless of the quantity of words and meaning, is that he was ranting against the rich. It turned me off.

Trump, on the other hand, went to Michigan and told the workers there he was going to make it right again. Michael Moore announced that HRC had just lost the election. No candidate had done that previously.

HRC assumed Michigan was a blue state and "saved money" by not campaigning hard there.

This is actually a huge problem for the so-called left right now. Outrage is preaching to the choir and it doesn't attract people to one's side but likely either repels them or makes them feel that ranters are not the people one would want in power.

Bernie said a lot of the right things and I backed him in the primary and would have voted for him if he got the nomination, so I am not anti-Bernie. I just think he ran a poor campaign wrt persuasion, providing a new vision for America, and educating the public on how he was going to achieve it.

Trump won partly because he did all these things better than the opposition, but also largely because his cohort had the most intensity. They were and remain pumped.

Right now, there is no comparable vision on the Democratic side.

What I remember from the campaign is Bernie's "soak the rich," DJT's "drain the swamp," and HRC's "It's high time for a woman president."

"Drain the swamp" won hands down.

Regardless of whatever else was said, these are the deep impressions conveyed to me at the feeling level.

BTW, there is a lot of noise from the so-called left now about DJT's "billionaire cabinet." This is what a lot of voters want to see. They want people at the top that don't need to take money. "Drain the swamp" is about eliminating corruption in the form of politicians on the take.

Meanwhile the best the opposition can come up with is that DJT is not qualified for office (which is an attack on the half of the country that voted for him as being unqualified to vote and "deplorable") and that Trump is "in Putin's pocket" (when a whole lot of people are happy to see the threat of war with Russia decreasing).

Auburn Parks said...

Exactly right Tom. You see it in all sorts of asymmetrical situations. Big institutions like to whine about laws\regulations being too complex but thats exactly the way they want it because it sets some minimal threshold of necessary size to be effective.

Or think about it in terms of Monsanto and ADM against individual farmers. Those giant companies can literally enlist thousands of employees to work against you. They could buy out property bordering you, build propaganda and legal networks to ruin your life, etc. The only limits are the morality and imagination of the Company, since in all practical terms the amount of money they have is unlimited (on this scale of abstraction)

THis is why I fervently disagree w\ Neil's POV on this leave the rich alone issue. They have too much power because they have too much money, and its easy to control their power through how much money they have then to throw up individual rules to counter the wealthy's moves. Thats a losing battle since the elites are much more united then the general public in a situation like this. Better to rip out the problem root and branch then to prune the thing constantly.

NO company can be bigger than some % of GDP, no person can have more income then 100x the minimum wage or poverty income level, or something along those lines, for example.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom

comparing Trumps actions in the general to bernie's in the primary is a self-defeating activity.

bernie was running against HRC not trump. And he talked constantly about workers getting screwed everywhere he went. I have still not seen you make a coherent case for what I quoted you saying.

Tom Hickey said...

Correction: In "I devised a group of very smart people in an argument, which I did often then," devised should be devastated.

Auburn Parks said...

Of course none of that is to say that I think Bernie ran the best possible campaign. We can rule that out logically, but as far as specifics I dont know enough about the nuts and bolts of the campaign to make a reasonable determination about what specifically I think he should have done a better job of.

And Im not a Democrat anymore and I despise HRC and the Corporate Dems, so using her campaign as evidence in a discussion with me has basically zero meaning from my pOV in this case. I am not talking about Dems because thats a completely different discussion then what you and I were refereencing explictly, aka Bernie and Trump.

Tom Hickey said...

I have still not seen you make a coherent case for what I quoted you saying.

Jus' sayin' that the impression I carried away from Bernie's speeches was "ranter."

I was looking for an inspiring new vision for America after Obummer's abject failure. I also expected him to educate people that the issue was not affordability, as Stephanie must have told him.

Obummer leaned to far to the affirmative side in his emphasizing bipartisanship, as it "Not a red America or a blue America but a red, white and blue America." That got him elected, but they he immediately blew for lack of an actual vision. Bipartisanship was a strategy and tactic rather than a policy vision that could be actualized. Then he picked up the affirmative idea of "looking forward and not backward," and gave the crimes against humanity a pass and get out of jail free cards to the perps of the crisis. Then when he saw that the public did not want boots on the ground in MENA he came up with affirmative "lead from behind" strategy that involved using terrorists as proxies.

So being affirmative is not an answer in itself. It failed for Obummer.

HRC's "Love trumps hate" was so stupid as to be beyond comment.

Bernie failed to secure the nomination for several reasons, one of which was the unfair opposition of the DNC, and possibly illegal activity, too. But Bernie needed to put HRC and the Democratic machine away like Obummer skillfully did. But he did not pull that off.

We can argue why that didn't happen, but it's water under the bridge now.

For me, campaigning is about feeling (rhetoric) as much as reason (logic). In my view, DJT lost on the logic but won on the rhetoric. Bernie won on the logic but lost on the rhetoric.

In the lead up to the nomination, DJT managed to destroy the entire field arrayed against him, including the power Bush family and the neocons, and the different factions of the GOP establishment.

This may have been easier in that there was no one overarching candidate.

But Bernie had to take out HRC first and then DJT. He didn't make it past the first obstacle. This shows he was not as strong a candidate as Obummer. There are many reasons for that, and I don't want to claim that Bernie lost just on the rhetoric.

But we are on the other side of that now and going forward the opposition has got to get it act together. I don't see Bernie as the leader and I don't see any other strong leaders coming forward yet either. So far it all about delegitimizing the sitting president as the GOP attempted to do with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

So far no new vision, no inspiration, and no path forward.

Auburn Parks said...

"For me, campaigning is about feeling (rhetoric) as much as reason (logic). In my view, DJT lost on the logic but won on the rhetoric. Bernie won on the logic but lost on the rhetoric."

I disagree with this characterization because its necessarily narrow. When comparing the voting public of these separate things (Everybody in the country eligible to vote in a general vs a tiny minority of people who can vote in a Dem primary with that minortiy distinctly smaller in some states then others I.E. NY only allowed registered Dems to vote in the Primary if they had been registered 6 months before the primary).

SO you cant compare Trump in the General directly to Bernie in the primary because the voting populations were so enormously different.

"But Bernie had to take out HRC first and then DJT. He didn't make it past the first obstacle. This shows he was not as strong a candidate as Obummer."

Again, this is wrong. Obama was a better Democratic primary candidate then Bernie against HRC. We have no idea if Obama was a better general election candidate then Bernie would have been.

P.S. I view all Trump's speeches as mainly "ranting" so I dont put any weight of value on your personal opinion of Bernie. Just as I would assume you could care less that I view Trump as "ranting".

Auburn Parks said...

To expand on that last sentence above. It isnt for me to determine for you what it is you consider ranting. thats impossible, each individual's definition of ranting and the examples in the real world which are examples of ranting are necessarily going to be different.

The only logical grounds on which I can judge your intellectual rigor is regardless of what your ranting critieria is, do you apply it consistently. That is a totally fair thing to judge someone else for, judging someone else;'s personal definition of ranting is a fools errand.

Same logic applies for all things like your "fairness" "emotions" "reason". So I care less about what it is you believe than whether you consistently and rigorously apply your positions to all cases.

I dont care that you arent the biggest fan of Bernie, but if you apply criterion to him that you dont apply to Trump, then I feel obligated to jump in and point out the discrepancies. Which I of course welcome in return from you and the rest of the community.

Tom Hickey said...

What might have happened is hypothetical and impossible to determine because so many factors were involved.

I am now interest in two things.

First, the tack of the opposition, which so far I think has been misdirected.

Secondly, the alternative vision that the opposition is presenting. I don't see see one now, let alone a compelling one.

The score is tipped way in the direction of the GOP — presidency, both branches of Congress, soon SCOTUS, the majority or governorships and the majority of statehouses.

I guess it can't get much worse for the opposition.

Oh wait, the GOP has only eight senate seats to defend in '18 while the Dems have 23 to defend.

It's an open field for a GOP agenda and possibly the Trump agenda, although DJT likely won't get everything he wants.

2020?

Top 15 Democratic presidential candidates in 20200

Not only is HRC on the list but also Oprah.

Auburn Parks said...

"What might have happened is hypothetical and impossible to determine because so many factors were involved."

Definitely, which is why you saying things like "obama or Trump were better General election candiddates than Bernie" is necessarily a hypothetical guessing game with no real meaning and why I pointed it out twice in my replies to your comments.

The only hope for the country in general and the Dems specifically is to reject the conservative corporate friendly policies theyve supported for the last 3 decades + and follow go in the social democratic direction like Bernie. Everything else will only continue us on the road to serfdom and potentially destruction or civil war in the long term.


But I dont expect that to happen until things get much worse then they are. Probably another Great Recession or two. thats why I dont have as much to say recently about current politics. Its so bad as to be essentially hopeless from my pov. But Im only 34 yrs old, so there's hope that things might get better in the next 50 yrs. So maybe Ill get to see the pendulum swing the other way back to the left.

Tom Hickey said...

I dont care that you arent the biggest fan of Bernie, but if you apply criterion to him that you dont apply to Trump, then I feel obligated to jump in and point out the discrepancies. Which I of course welcome in return from you and the rest of the community.

My impression of Bernie is as you say my own. Bernie certainly has a lot of support, and so does HRC. But not enough.

Trump is an interesting case because he is a celebrity. I am highly critical of American fascination with celebrity, but it is an undeniable fact. Celebrity is very persuasive in the US. Plus it gave Tump a lot of advantage in the press, which can be viewed as a form of economic rent in that he got a huge amount of free publicity. That alone was a huge factor in his success. HRC outspent DJT but could not overcome that advantage.

But arguably, HRC was also a celebrity as a former first lady and secretary of state, although not a celebrity in the same sense as Trump as a TV personality.

My view is that HRC has a likability problem. Not only is she not charismatic, as Bill was, but her style also turns a lot of people off, or at least leaves them cold.

Trump seems to be different. Even with people that don't like him or even dislike him, there is still some fascination.

The Dems tried to counter this with the term "dark," which Scott Adams viewed as a brilliant persuasive move.

However, the problem is that a whole lot of people are fascinated by dark.

This is going to bring out an interesting side of America over the next few years, and a good many people are concerned about that.

Btw, there is a dark side to alt right and Traditionalism.

Tom Hickey said...

Definitely, which is why you saying things like "obama or Trump were better General election candiddates than Bernie" is necessarily a hypothetical guessing game with no real meaning and why I pointed it out twice in my replies to your comments.

Yes, take it as my subjective opinion. But I look at these things in assessing conditions. It's important to be objective, but it's throughing out useful information to disregard one's subjective feelings and intuitions.

Tom Hickey said...

Looking hypothetically at the general with Bernie against Trump if Bernie had won the nomination, the outcome is questionable for me.

Bernie would likely have suffered from a similar lack of intensity that HRC did. Just as Bernie supporters did not turn out in sufficient numbers for HRC, HRC supporter would quite likely have reciprocated if Bernie was the candidate.

After eight years of Obama, GOP voters were intensely motivated and the GOP tends to pull together in elections more than the Dems after a bruising primary.

In my analysis, intensity is more important that quantity. Quantity counts in the end but the political challenge is getting voters out to vote. This is where intensity counts, especially in elections that are close in the polling of likely voters.

Then there is targeting. Neither Bernie nor Trump had experience political machines backing them up, so it is hard to say who had the better deep bench in that regard. However, it seems that Cambridge Analytica did make a difference for Trump, and he had enough activists to carry through on the ground.

Auburn Parks said...

"Bernie would likely have suffered from a similar lack of intensity that HRC did. Just as Bernie supporters did not turn out in sufficient numbers for HRC, HRC supporter would quite likely have reciprocated if Bernie was the candidate."

This is the key point. People keep forgetting that HRC received 10 million less votes than Obama in 2008. Trump received the same number as Romney in 2012.

So its not that Bernie people voted for Trump, or Obama people that voted for Trump, its that 10 million people who voted Dem Prez in 2008 were so turned off by the Dem candidate\party that thhey didnt vote for Dem candidate in 2016.

This is the key issue.

And IMO the reason that many people voted for Obama in 08 was that he ran the most progressive campaign in modern American history. He repeatedly talked about changing the way DC does business wrt corrruption, bribery etc.

So even though Obama was lying in 2008, the people didnt know that and came out en masse to support the progressive candidate. I believe this same thing would have happened if Bernie was the candidate. And this is the chain of logic I use to come to that conclusion.

Feel free to explain to me where Im wrong\mistaken, but if you dont, this is the basis for why I dont believe Trump would have beaten Bernie.

Auburn Parks said...

WRT why trump beat HRC, 10 million people couldnt be persuaded that Trump potentially winnning the president was enough of a reason for them to support such a monster as Clinton.

And Trump was the change agent wheras HRC was the status quo agent, and this also led to her loss.

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think that HRC supporters would have turned out for Bernie and some would have tried to undermine him. HRC supporters are not necessarily progressives, and the betrayal of progressives by Obama would also likely affect some of the intensity for Bernie.

The so-called left has a problem with the circular firing squad that the right doesn't.

Add this to the problem of the same party keeping the presidency after an eight years run, especially in poor conditions, half the country not being better off than they were eight years ago, and the bias is toward Trump.

Tom Hickey said...

WRT why trump beat HRC, 10 million people couldnt be persuaded that Trump potentially winnning the president was enough of a reason for them to support such a monster as Clinton.

I thought that HRC had too much baggage, and that the Democratic establishment was crazy to support her candidacy. Bernie was much stronger in that regard. He really brought no baggage along.

And Trump was the change agent wheras HRC was the status quo agent, and this also led to her loss.

Bernie did distinguish himself from Obama while HRC ran on more of the same.

Surprising she did as well as she did in the popular vote.

The Dems need to put together a new progressive vision, dump the Third Way nonsense, stop trying to triangulate, and run actual progressives. No sign off that happening yet but it is still early.

However, it is concerning that there are not strong young progressive leaders in the horizon.

The only person that stands out now is Tulsi Gabbard but she is not progressive on all issues. In fact she has quite a bit in common with Steve Bannon although somewhat tangentially.

Bob said...

A large segment of the population doesn't accept taxation. That's why tax evasion is illegal and enforcement imposed. It's also why there is legal tax avoidance by the segment of the population that is political powerful enough to enact it.

Just replace the tax with a lottery. In a similar vein, just call a BIG a Citizen's Dividend.
There are ways to fool people's perceptions, and those are preferable to coercion.

Tom Hickey said...

Just replace the tax with a lottery. In a similar vein, just call a BIG a Citizen's Dividend.
There are ways to fool people's perceptions, and those are preferable to coercion.


Now you are thinking like GOP pollster Frank Luntz. The GOP has been very successful testing labels for its "products."

Progressive need to take the hint.

Bob said...

Comedian Jimmy Dore has been hammering home the message that corporate Democrats have to go. A similar movement to overhaul the Democratic Party has been started and is called the Justice Democrats. These are folks who see that there is no progressive party in America and that obsessing over Trump will not change that.

If the Democratic Party cannot be freed from its corporate donors, a third party is the next option.

Bob said...

Placing Trump in the context of who he had to run against, his election was a Cinderella story, a fairy-tale run. A stroke of genius it was not.

Bob said...

Kevin O'Leary is making a bid for the Conservative Party of Canada, as our version of Trump. If this half-wit becomes PM our country is doomed.

Andrew Anderson said...

A large segment of the population doesn't accept taxation.

Beyond a, say, $250,000 individual citizen limit and to avoid welfare proportional to wealth, all sovereign debt should yield no more than 0% with shorter maturities yielding even less than 0%. There's an ethical tax that no one should object to - unless they believe in a free lunch for the rich.

Andrew Anderson said...

In a similar vein, just call a BIG a Citizen's Dividend. Bob

A Citizens Dividend is exactly what a UBI is - a recognition that the PUBLIC'S CREDIT has been used to fuel growth and that the public should therefore be compensated.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom I think you are wrong about HRC people not voting for Bernie.

I dont think there is any group of people in the country that is more terrified of Trump than the HRC corporate Dem cohort. The idea that HRC voters would be more supportive or at least less afraid about the possiblity of Hitler Trump then the Bernie cohort is lacking in merit. Bernie had far more support from independents than HRC and indies are generally less tribal wrt to Republicans than committed party Dems.

Tom Hickey said...

I know some HRC avid supporters. They would view voting for Bernie as a betrayal of their ideals, just like a lot of Bernie voters felt wrt HRC. They view Bernie like Nader wrt to Gore. They are certain that HRC would have trounced Trump if only Bernie had not run. They absolutely hate the Bernie and the Bernie bots and will never ever forgive them.

myxzptlk said...

Tom, regarding this comment, "BTW, there is a lot of noise from the so-called left now about DJT's "billionaire cabinet." This is what a lot of voters want to see. They want people at the top that don't need to take money. "Drain the swamp" is about eliminating corruption in the form of politicians on the take."

You might be capturing the feelings of many Trump voters with that statement, but it's important to point out how naive (and dangerous) that perspective is.

How many billionaires can we identify who, having become very wealthy, decide that they have enough money, and stop trying to pile up even more? Or who, having exploited their power advantages for years, decide to abandon that behavior?

The idea that a billionaire who has built his/her fortune by repressing the wages of low-paid workers (Puzder) or defrauding mortgage holders (Mnuchin), or whose demonstrated life ambition is to destroy our system of public education (DeVos) will suddenly grow a conscience and serve the interests of less fortunate Americans - just because they are wealthy and theoretically can't be swayed by money - is laughable.

I realize that's not the precise position you took in your post. But the pejorative, "there is a lot of noise from the so-called left now about DJT's "billionaire cabinet" leads me to conclude that you sympathize with the view that appointing wealthy people to cabinet positions might "drain the swamp" - "eliminating corruption in the form of politicians on the take".

My point is that view doesn't comport with the pattern we see of wealthy people becoming ultra wealthy be graduating from modest swindles to major ones.

It's far more likely that very wealthy appointees inured to fraud, deception, and large payoffs would get away with corruption of a magnitude that the less wealthy couldn't dream of.

As the saying goes, "the rich get richer and the poor get prison."

Andrew Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Anderson said...

The flaw in your argument, myxzptlk, are billionaires who got that way playing by the rules. Why are they necessarily evil?

The irony (and poetic justice, perhaps) is that the rules (e.g. government subsides for private credit creation) were largely created by Progressives.

Tom Hickey said...

@ myxzptlk


I don't sympathize with The logic but I understand the rationale.

It is the so-called left reacting with outrage to the "billionaire cabinet." Trump's people seem to be OK with it.

The big difference between the so-called left and alt right on this is that the alt right is going after political corruption and the decline of goods jobs through trade, which the working stiffs are concerned about. rather than soaking the rich, which the working class is not so much concerned about.

The Dems are viewed as in the pocket of Wall Street and large corporations that are exporting jobs through trade. The Dem establishment got on the wrong side of this under Obama and HRC promised more of the same.

The so-called left erroneously believes that the working class, which they supposedly represent but abandoned, resents rich people. But workers don't in aggregate. They actually tend to see the rich as the "job creators." The GOP tested that one as they do all their key terms. This may seem like double-speak to Democrats but the GOP choses its terms carefully. That's been the job of pollster Frank Luntz.

The De Vos appointment was just what the religious right was looking for. The other view on the right is to abolish the Department of Education altogether and leave education to the states and local communities.

Bob said...

When you tell people that they are job creators, god's gift to humanity, etc. does it surprise anyone that they take it to heart and behave accordingly?

Tom Hickey said...

When you tell people that they are job creators, god's gift to humanity, etc. does it surprise anyone that they take it to heart and behave accordingly?

Many working stiffs don't really care how much the boss makes or how much the president of the company makes. They care about how much they make. They don't see the boss or the CEO taking $ out of their pockets. They see (imagine) wages driven down by immigrants that don't look or talk like them and good jobs disappearing as factories are exported.

The people most responsible for realizing this and getting DJT to feature it are Steve Bannon and Steve Miller.

Their plan is to sew up the white working class for the "new improved" GOP, eating the Democrats lunch, and they now have a headstart on this.

Auburn Parks said...

tom-

Saying that HRC people hate Bernie and view him like Nader because HRC lost is to completely confuse and turn on its head everything I wrote wrt HRC supporters voting for Bernie iif he was the general elction candiddate and HRC was not.

Its totally irrlevant whether HRC people hate Bernie because HRC lost. As that has nothing to do with anything I said or that we were talking aboout

Bob said...

That's old fashioned libertarianism. Blame the government, cut taxes for the rich, and piss on everyone else. I realize the working classes are stupid, but they won't put up with this nonsense for much longer. There is too much unemployment and underemployment for there not to be resentment.

The Democrats are a corporatist party - who cares if they're locked out of power? A grassroots movement would aspire to more than replace Tweedledee with Tweedledum.

Trump - Bannon - insert name are the status quo's last gasp. A hodge podge of recycled ideologies from the past to deal with crises that are a result of incentives built into the system. When that plan fails, the next step is increasing authoritarianism.

Bob said...

Under the taxes-are-needed-for-revenue paradigm, the rich have to be soaked.

myxzptlk said...

@Andrew Andersen,

I'm not arguing that all billionaires are corrupt, although "playing by the rules" doesn't make one virtuous, since "the rules" can (and are) slanted to serve the interests of the already-wealthy. In any case, I never said that all billionaires are "evil".

What I am saying is that (a) very wealthy people get away with corruption that would land normal people in prison, which makes it more likely, not less, that they will engage in corruption repeatedly; (b) the wealthier the person, the bigger the payoff it takes to motivate corrupt actions, and the greater the consequential damage becomes; and (c) because of (a) and (b), assuming that richer people are less likely to be corruptible or to exacerbate corrupt government is naive (at best).

Andrew Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Anderson said...

Sure, insane greed exists but so does Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and let's not forget rich Romans who competed at public service (noblesse oblige).

Money ain't everything or even close. What we need are wealthy class traitors - not wanna-be-wealthy sellouts like we've had.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Auburn,

Well HRC thought that she could win without the Bernie bots by picking up independents and disaffected Republicans.

Not sure if that would have worked out for Bernie any better, but we will never know.

Moreover, Bernie worked hard to get HRC elected. Would HRC have done the same if the shoe were on the other foot. We'll never know that either.

Auburn Parks said...

Fair enough Tom. Have a good night. Off to watch Tom Brady win his 5th super bowl (hopefully).

Magpie said...

Tom Hickey (February 4, 2017 at 11:57 PM) said...

Because in politics, they [extraneous questions of morality] are the most persuasive for many if not most people.

I think there's a better explanation. It boils down to the dictum "beggars can't be choosers".

Popular demands founded on morality are no different from begging: they are not based on reason or strength, but on weakness.

What one begs is not founded on an objective basis, but on ressentiment.

As the Wikipedia entry puts it: one is inferior/a failure (one is envious!) and is unjustly scapegoating the rich.

If one's demands are satisfied, however partially, it's because one's masters, in spite of one's inferiority, are generous: one becomes indebted to one's masters.

Alms don't come for free.

----------

Incidentally, there's no real difference between what you find natural and what Milo promises the white working class: in one case, the white working class becomes the new peasantry, in the other, we all (white and non-white) become the indigent coming pan in hand to the rich's table.

----------

People like Joan Robinson, for instance, had a very dim view on moralising. She used to call that "ideology".

Now, her anti-ideological intellectual children want to push us into "ideology"? Isn't that odd?

Tom Hickey said...

@ Magpie

Been reading much Nietzsche lately?

People like Joan Robinson, for instance, had a very dim view on moralising. She used to call that "ideology".

Of course, moralizing is ideology. Almost all politics is ideological.

Political economy "should be" (normative) objective, but all discourse is embedded in a worldview, that is, an ideology, there being no overarching worldview based on absolute criteria.

Even most physicists are "ideologues," subscribing to philosophical realism or materialism in interpreting their theory.

Assumptions in the social science almost always contain a normative component along with a descriptive. Actually, clever rhetoricians make normative claims appear to be descriptions.

Instrumentalists hold that "knowledge" is useful for practical reasons rather than being realistically representational or causally explanatory. Instrumentalists focus on outcomes.

My own argument based on taking a systems-based perspective is instrumentalist. Understanding systems dynamics allows for using available operational controls for achieving desired ends.

Where to set the dials wrt to societies is a political issue, and of course, people are going to argue policy based on preferences and make the most persuasive argument they can to justify maximizing their preferences. Moralizing is fair in debate. The opposition just needs to point out the argument is moral rather than based on premises that are true descriptively and then focus on outcomes, tradeoffs and winners and losers.

"Everyone knows" or should know based on evidence, that relying on issues based on reason in political debate is a fool's errand when the opposition is skillfully using persuasion, including moralizing. George Lakoff has written several books on this from the POV of the center left, for example.

Democrats (US) have tended emphasize issues, and Republicans, morals. Republicans now control almost all offices other than municipal.

Magpie said...

Tom Hickey said...

@ Magpie

Been reading much Nietzsche lately?


Is a worker who can read that surprising?

To answer your question: as it happens, yes, I've read some Nietzsche. At least those bits of interest to me.

But I didn't need him to write that: that's Marx's critique of utopian socialism. You know, don't you, that Marx (just like Nietzsche) was Prussian and that Prussians tended to have dismissive views on morality. They were right on that: one day our generous masters can tire of giving alms. That's why the age of enlightened capitalism, les Treinte Glorieusses, came to an end.

Speaking of which. Have you started reading economics? Marx?

Of course, moralizing is ideology. Almost all politics is ideological.

Political economy "should be" (normative) objective, but all discourse is embedded in a worldview, that is, an ideology, there being no overarching worldview based on absolute criteria.


I'm lost for words, stunned. I've never seen you arguing that against the pragmatic, hard-nosed, unsentimental, technocratic, openly non-ideological, post-modern among post-Keynesians. Take this short paragraph from a young pokey star:

Doyler

I like things that work. I’m a macro economist first and foremost. And I don’t like things that hide dysfunctionality under metaphysical cloaks. My politics? I'm a bleeding heart, naturally. But I consider them pretty secondary. What works is usually non-ideological, I find.
[*]

I'll repeat that: What works is usually non-ideological, I find. If you have ever disputed that, I missed it. But this can be easily solved: links.

(to be continued)

Magpie said...

Not that that author was the first to write dismissively about ideology. This is Joan Robinson ("Economic Philosophy", p. 8):

What then are the criteria of an ideological proposition, as opposed to a scientific one? First, that if an ideological proposition is treated in a logical manner, it either dissolives into a completely meaningless noise or turns out to be a circular argument. Take the proposition: All men are equal. In a logical view what does it mean? The word 'equal' applies to quantities. What -are all men the same weight? Or do they all get the same marks in intelligence tests? Or - to stretch the meaning of quantity a little - do I find them all equally agreeable? 'Equal' without saying in what respect is just a noise. In this case, the equality is just in respect of equality. Every man is equally equal.

You see, not only I can read, I can also research things interesting to me. I chose that quote not only because it reflects her views on ideology (a little later she mentions another of her bugbears: metaphysics). I chose it because it echoes with another quote we've discussed here quite recently, as a matter of fact:

7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

Yes, point 7 of the "Alt-Right 16 points".

You see, "Economic Philosophy" started out as a lecture (the Josiah Mason lecture, to be precise) Robinson delivered in 1959 for the Rationalist Press Association.

So what, you may ask.

Well, this is what:

As awkward as it may be to acknowledge, there is a connection between rationalism and neo-scientific ideas about how to limit population and minimise procreation by those who are in some way or other deemed undesirable. This is something the Pope might have had in mind when, in his much publicised and denounced speech, he suggested a link between “a Nazi tyranny” that believed that some people were “unfit to live” and “atheist extremism” that leads to a “truncated vision of man”. This glib equation between Nazis and atheists was denounced as a “libel” by the British Humanist Association. But the Pope, whatever he is, is no fool. His language could be read as a subtle but unmistakeable reference to an inconvenient historical fact – British rationalism and German National Socialism shared an enthusiasm for the “applied science” of population control called eugenics.

This enthusiasm is very close to home. The Rationalist Press Association (or RPA, founded 1899), the predecessor of the Rationalist Association, which publishes this magazine, does have a long history of publishing material sympathetic to various forms of eugenics.


Rationalism's dirty secret
By John Appleby
Thursday, 23rd December 2010
https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/2471/rationalisms-dirty-secret

I am sure that as a non-Marxist you find little to worry about with those links keeping popping up between your non-ideological ideology and other ideologies. To me, this gives me the creeps.

[*] Guess who wrote that?

Magpie said...

Actually, and for the record, this

one day our generous masters can tire of giving alms. That's why the age of enlightened capitalism, les Treinte Glorieusses, came to an end.

Is a good argument why a basic income guarantee funded by taxes cannot work. I am not in favor of basic income guarantee.

Magpie said...

Not that that writer was the first to make similar claims. This is Joan Robinson ("Economic Philosophy", p. 8):

What then are the criteria of an ideological proposition, as opposed to a scientific one? First, that if an ideological proposition is treated in a logical manner, it either dissolives into a completely meaningless noise or turns out to be a circular argument. Take the proposition: All men are equal. In a logical view what does it mean? The word 'equal' applies to quantities. What -are all men the same weight? Or do they all get the same marks in intelligence tests? Or - to stretch the meaning of quantity a little - do I find them all equally agreeable? 'Equal' without saying in what respect is just a noise. In this case, the equality is just in respect of equality. Every man is equally equal.

You see, not only I can read, I can also research things interesting to me. I chose that quote not only because it reflects her views on ideology (a little later she mentions another of her bugbears: metaphysics). I chose it because it echoes with another quote we've discussed here quite recently, as a matter of fact:

7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

Yes, point 7 of the "Alt-Right 16 points".

You see, "Economic Philosophy" started out as a lecture (the Josiah Mason lecture, to be precise) Robinson delivered in 1959 for the Rationalist Press Association.

So what, you may ask.

Well, this is what:

As awkward as it may be to acknowledge, there is a connection between rationalism and neo-scientific ideas about how to limit population and minimise procreation by those who are in some way or other deemed undesirable. This is something the Pope might have had in mind when, in his much publicised and denounced speech, he suggested a link between “a Nazi tyranny” that believed that some people were “unfit to live” and “atheist extremism” that leads to a “truncated vision of man”. This glib equation between Nazis and atheists was denounced as a “libel” by the British Humanist Association. But the Pope, whatever he is, is no fool. His language could be read as a subtle but unmistakeable reference to an inconvenient historical fact – British rationalism and German National Socialism shared an enthusiasm for the “applied science” of population control called eugenics.

This enthusiasm is very close to home. The Rationalist Press Association (or RPA, founded 1899), the predecessor of the Rationalist Association, which publishes this magazine, does have a long history of publishing material sympathetic to various forms of eugenics.


Rationalism's dirty secret
By John Appleby
Thursday, 23rd December 2010
https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/2471/rationalisms-dirty-secret

I am sure that as a non-Marxist you find little to worry about with those links keeping popping up between your non-ideological ideology and other ideologies. To me, this gives me the creeps.

[*] Guess who wrote that?

Tom Hickey said...

Speaking of which. Have you started reading economics? Marx?

Sadly, no time to do much of that to speak of. I am not even widely read in the MMT lit for this reason.

What works is usually non-ideological, I find. If you have ever disputed that, I missed it. But this can be easily solved: links.

I had assumed it evident that my position has consistently been that "reality" is a construct, that different cohorts construct "reality" differently based on different worldviews defined by different norms. It's not possible for humans to operate outside a framework and therefore beyond ideology. It is an a priori necessity.

Most people just conflate the way they construct the world with "reality" and think they being objective about it.

There are also different styles of thinking so there are methodological differences, too.

I therefore see no contradiction in "alternative facts" in that "fact" reflect how one construes experience.

I studied the history of philosophy. Different philosophies are different ways of viewing the world. In grad school one soon learns that one has to put oneself inside a particular philosopher's head, so to speak, in order to understand what the person is driving at. After a while, it is easy to shift among viewpoints and construct the world differently based on the framework that is operative. For instance, right now I am acquiring the alt right framework so I can understand where they are coming from without projecting.

Many people just read what they agree with, which means "agrees with their construction." Others enjoy getting into alternate constructions to learn how other cohorts construct a world.

Literature in general can be viewed in this way. The Durrell's Alexandria Quartet and Fowles' The Magus are quite instructive in this regard, as is Kurosawa's film, Rashomon. The Matrix meets this head on.

Types of constructs can be arranged in different categories, e.g., wrt to metaphysics in terms of realism, idealism, materialism, etc. For example. Marx and Hegel employed a similar method (dialectic), but Hegel was an idealist and Marx a materialist. I happen to prefer idealism over materialism as a framework, but I appreciate the power of Marx's analysis, too.

I certainly don't see it as Hegel or Marx as though they are contradictory opposites. On the basis of their own methodological preference, they represent successive moments in the historical dialectic. Nietzsche and Schopenhauer were also dialectical responses to Hegel at the time, although their constructions based on willing were somewhat opposing. These were not the only responses to Hegel, There was Husserl, too, — "back to things themselves" — as well as others. Hegel had a strong influence on the development of John Dewey in the US. They all developed fascinating frameworks whose reverberations across time are still visible. One could say that Hegel marked the end of modern period and what came after was post modern. This period is still dominant, but a new response in the historical dialectic is rising.

It's nonsensical to ask which framework is true. They are different ways of seeing. One can see through any or all of them if one takes the time to acquire the lenses. All have something significant to contribute.

continued

Tom Hickey said...

continuation

I generally find it more comfortable and useful to use an idealistic framework than a materialistic one, and a dialectical method rather than a categorical one, but that's just me. They suit the way I am put together better.

For an instrumentalist, the bottom line is "what works." However, that depends on what one wishes to do and that is dependent on one's orientation and what one wishes to accomplish, which is both personal and social.

Adapt the tool to the job and not the job to the tool. Adapting the job to the tool is to make a particular a framework dogmatic, which imposes a needless limitation.

But I am not a totally an instrumentalist either. I prefer certain things over others, like idealism over materialism. The reason is essentially two-fold. The first is aesthetic — feeling or sensibility. The second is intuition. One strike me as more evident. I could list the major criteria — correspondence, coherence, practicality and elegance. But reason is not really the decisive factor. It's a control.

But if I were working predominantly in physical science a materialist POV might be more useful.

My career in philosophy began one day in high school although I did not realize it at the time. The lit teacher happened to quote a principle of Scholasticism for reasons that I don't recall. But I never forgot the quote because somehow it rang true.

The quote was, "Being is one, true, good and beautiful." I didn't know what it meant based on reason but something inside shouted "Yes!" The die was cast.

Much later, I experienced directly that this is a possible experience and the one most worth having. But logic and reason cannot reach there.

Magpie said...

Interestingly, this bit never came out. Here it goes, again

Not that that writer was the first to make similar claims. This is Joan Robinson ("Economic Philosophy", p. 8):

What then are the criteria of an ideological proposition, as opposed to a scientific one? First, that if an ideological proposition is treated in a logical manner, it either dissolives into a completely meaningless noise or turns out to be a circular argument. Take the proposition: All men are equal. In a logical view what does it mean? The word 'equal' applies to quantities. What -are all men the same weight? Or do they all get the same marks in intelligence tests? Or - to stretch the meaning of quantity a little - do I find them all equally agreeable? 'Equal' without saying in what respect is just a noise. In this case, the equality is just in respect of equality. Every man is equally equal.

You see, not only I can read, I can also research things interesting to me. I chose that quote not only because it reflects her views on ideology (a little later she mentions another of her bugbears: metaphysics). I chose it because it echoes with another quote we've discussed here quite recently, as a matter of fact:

7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

Yes, point 7 of the "Alt-Right 16 points".

You see, "Economic Philosophy" started out as a lecture (the Josiah Mason lecture, to be precise) Robinson delivered in 1959 for the Rationalist Press Association.

So what, you may ask.

Well, this is what:

As awkward as it may be to acknowledge, there is a connection between rationalism and neo-scientific ideas about how to limit population and minimise procreation by those who are in some way or other deemed undesirable. This is something the Pope might have had in mind when, in his much publicised and denounced speech, he suggested a link between “a Nazi tyranny” that believed that some people were “unfit to live” and “atheist extremism” that leads to a “truncated vision of man”. This glib equation between Nazis and atheists was denounced as a “libel” by the British Humanist Association. But the Pope, whatever he is, is no fool. His language could be read as a subtle but unmistakeable reference to an inconvenient historical fact – British rationalism and German National Socialism shared an enthusiasm for the “applied science” of population control called eugenics.

This enthusiasm is very close to home. The Rationalist Press Association (or RPA, founded 1899), the predecessor of the Rationalist Association, which publishes this magazine, does have a long history of publishing material sympathetic to various forms of eugenics.


Rationalism's dirty secret
By John Appleby
Thursday, 23rd December 2010
https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/2471/rationalisms-dirty-secret

I am sure that as a non-Marxist you find little to worry about with those links keeping popping up between your non-ideological ideology and other ideologies. To me, this gives me the creeps.

[*] Guess who wrote that?

Magpie said...

Tom Hickey (February 6, 2017 at 1:25 AM) said...

I had assumed it evident that my position has consistently been that "reality" is a construct, that different cohorts construct "reality" differently based on different worldviews defined by different norms. It's not possible for humans to operate outside a framework and therefore beyond ideology. It is an a priori necessity.
...

It's nonsensical to ask which framework is true. They are different ways of seeing. One can see through any or all of them if one takes the time to acquire the lenses. All have something significant to contribute.


Yes, yes. You assume correctly. Trust me, although I'm just a semi-literate grunt, I know the general gist of the post modern thing and if you are into that (as I know you are), well, good on you.

And I do understand as well the instrumentalist (or maybe consequentialist would be better) stuff:

For an instrumentalist, the bottom line is "what works." However, that depends on what one wishes to do and that is dependent on one's orientation and what one wishes to accomplish, which is both personal and social.

At any event, thanks for the class. But that has nothing do with what I wrote.

The question is not what is post modernism, the question is that many (most?) post Keynesians are not into post modernism and I haven't seen you disputing their position. Generally, those post Keynesians point to others' ideologies as if ideology only affected other people.

Are post Keynesians immune to ideology, as those post Keynesians believe? That question admits two answers: yes or no.

If I missed something, well, where are the links?

Neil Wilson said...

"The real problem is that money allows its owner to mobilize real resources."

That's the myth, which a load of political scientists then think they can fix by removing the money.

That's the equivalent of thinking you can restore the egg from a cake simply by putting it in a fridge rather than an oven.

The wealth of the rich has bought them *connections*. People who know them. People they can influence.

You cannot remove that power by removing the money. In fact all you do is poke the hornet's nest.

I was watching Wray on Real Progressives where the host expressed his frustration at the left who keep going on about taxing the rich when we don't need to do that.

Randy said that he believes that the people pushing the taxation argument simply don't want the programmes to go into place. Essentially they just want to be associated with the buzz around the idea, not actually fix the root cause of the problem.

You get that a lot with charities, where they apply poultices to problems rather than sorting them out. Because if they sorted them out the charity, and therefore their claim to the moral high ground, would cease.

And Randy said that the way to deal with the rich is to stop them getting the income in the first place. Which fits with the psychological science behind loss aversion. You don't give people something and then take it off them. You make sure they don't get it in the first place.

How do you do that? With a Job Guarantee holding up wages and intense competition forcing investment of surplus. That shifts the capital/labour ratio and gets us the virtuous circle of high investment and high wages. And competition is good, right. Those free marketeers cannot complain about more competition and more markets without sounding like they are gouging.

So that's the pitch we need.

The rich will use their power to stop you ever getting a 'tax the rich' programme in place. So those that push that angle are value signalling amongst themselves, not serious political players. The way you get your programmes in place is to find those who are nearly rich and let them know they'll be really rich if they back your ideas.

Nick Haneur is halfway there already - for example.

jrbarch said...

“Different philosophies are different ways of viewing the world.” [Tom]

Sounds like the use of divers divining sticks – through them you ‘feel’ the water. Timeless.

Auburn Parks said...

Sorry Neil, but I disagree. The money is the thing because thats what allows them to mobilize resources. I think you are kidding yourself about relationships. Everything costs money.

Bob said...

In reality, I'm a bumblebee. Thank-you post-modernism!

Neil Wilson said...

"The money is the thing because thats what allows them to mobilize resources. "

It really isn't. The have a little black book and know people. They can get things arranged because of who they are.

The really rich and really famous end up having things given to them, often very expensive things, because of who they are. It's a form of patronage.

You can never take enough off them to impact their capacity to operate. The doors are already open to them. They have a stack of favours from lots of other very powerful people already in the bank.

It's why the Robin Hood game is doomed to fail. It's just got the causality all wrong. It's got the psychology all wrong. It's got how the game is played all wrong.



Andrew Anderson said...

It's just got the causality all wrong. Neil Wilson

Then you should not be against eliminating welfare for the rich, Neil, yet you are anyway*.

Let's see, Neil, how elite many of your so-called elites are without government welfare, eh?

*e.g. your opposition to eliminating government insurance of privately create liabilities ("loans create deposits") since the rich are the most so-called worthy of what is then, in essence, the PUBLIC'S CREDIT but for private gain.

Tom Hickey said...

The word 'equal' applies to quantities.

False if it means that "equal" applies only to quantities, which is implied by the context.

"Equal" has many uses in different contexts, some of which are factual as it positive law, where "all legal persons are equal" has defined meaning.

Joan Robinson knows this of course. She is apparently implying that equal used non-quantitively is a normative and prescriptive use. I would generally agree, although it is also possible to use equal qualitatively as well as quantitatively, but that is arguable based on analogous relationship to quantity.

However, norms that are ideological in the sense of criteria, boundary conditions and operational principles in a framework not generate facts but become factual in sense, e.g., in law.

1. Absence of privilege, for example, by birth ("blood"). This is a key principle of liberalism. US citizens are not allowed to accept foreign titles of nobility. That is not only a rule determining the framework. It is a legal prescription. In the US, the interpretation of laws is based on precedent and those become facts of law that are true in practice and outcomes.

2. Equal treatment before the law. All legal persons must treated in the same way or the legal process is vitiated. A person in the US Navy who was prosecuted for having classified information is defending himself on the grounds that he is not being treated under the same standard as HRC.

3. Equal rights. Rights guaranteed by law, e.g., in the US Constitution, must be applied in the same way under due process. In Citizens United the Roberts court decided that equal rights applies to all legal persons, natural and fictitious.

4. Political equality. One person, one vote. No person's vote counts differently than others. In the US this applies only to natural persons — so far.

These are norms established by law as part of the frame of reference of political liberalism as set forth in the law of the land of the US, US subordinate law, and subsequent precedent. As such they become facts that can be ermined by checking. It is a fact in the US that all persons are equal before the law under the US Constitution, which is elaborated in judicial precedent concerning equal treatment. The court is going to have to decide whether in fact the law was applied differently to HRC than in the case before the court.

Traditional conservatism is characterized by authoritarianism, monarchy and aristocracy, state religion and nationalism as "blood and soil."

Traditional conservatism is based on a different frame of reference in which different rules apply that result in different facts, including privilege, double standards, and the absence of rights and liberties.

The American Revolution was fought over traditional conservatism as an English colony versus classical liberalism as new nation under a constitutional republic similar to the Roman republic.

Today, most American conservatives, paleo-conservatives, neocons, etc. — are classical liberals politically and economically, but conservative socially.

Paul Ryan - "I really call myself a classical liberal more than a conservative." Madison Masonic Center October 14, 2016
https://youtu.be/dWwDvNA6qKU

Search on that and you will find a fire storm from the alt right. The hard core alt right is traditionally conservative and anti-liberal.

Tom Hickey said...

a little later she mentions another of her bugbears: metaphysics

Trust me, everyone has a metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics that is integral to the foundation to their worldview. And everyone has a worldview. It is not possible to think, function, or communicate without a frame of reference with some boundaries and criteria as anchor points. This is an a priori requirement, being a matter of logic.

For most people, this is implicit and not reflected upon, part of one's hidden assumptions that are hidden from oneself even.

"Philosophers" articulate the various positions (frameworks) and their implications.

Auburn Parks said...

Neil
Can't fund think tanks with relationships. you can't bribe government officials with relationships. you can't pay off government officials when they get out of the public sector with relationship. you pay people with money you buy things with money.

This whole money is not important thing is taking the money as a neutral Vale to absolutely ridiculous extreme

Tom Hickey said...

instrumentalist (or maybe consequentialist would be better)

That are similar but different. Consequentialism generally is used to pertain specifically to ethics, e.g., in contrast to deontology. Instrumentalism generally pertains to logic in the broad sense, e.g, contra essentialism.

Tom Hickey said...

The question is not what is post modernism, the question is that many (most?) post Keynesians are not into post modernism and I haven't seen you disputing their position. Generally, those post Keynesians point to others' ideologies as if ideology only affected other people.

Are post Keynesians immune to ideology, as those post Keynesians believe? That question admits two answers: yes or no.

If I missed something, well, where are the links?


I probably should have said "after-modernism" rather than post modernism. I used small letters rathe than caps to indicate that I was using the terms somewhat differently that Classical, Modern and Post Modern. My division is ancient, dark age (in the West), medieval, modern and after modern, and I see these periods somewhat differently from Classical, Modern, and Post Modern, which are generally related to thought, whereas mine are more related to history as a whole.

When I said that the modern period end with Hegel, I meant that the period shifted away from "metaphysical" and "essentialist" accounts toward the scientific on one hand and existentialist and structuralist approaches on the other. This is really a different type of thinking, similar to the abandonment of mythological account in preference of intellectual accounts at the time of the Axial Age. It's a big transition that the world is still catching up with.

But a seed for this was in the historical and dialectial approach of Hegel, who showed how different frames interact and replace each other over time based on his qualitative analysis.

Regarding economics, including Post Keynesianism, economics is now done primarily within the same framework, if one does not chose to be marginalized. That frame is presumed rather than assumed, that is, it is a hidden assumption. Philosophers would say that for the most part those doing economics are naïve in that they don't reflect on foundations. I have often said this here and elsewhere.

Economists generally presume naïve realism and act as if the mind is a mirror of reality. This is not consilient with the rest of science. So-called behavioral economists are often not economists but psychologists, for instance. They point out the flaws in behavioral assumptions. Physicists show how economists don't actually understand how science works and therefore are unable to construct models that are actually scientific in the view of working scientists in other fields.

Marx was a philosopher and proto-sociologist so he took a different tack and showed how different frames apply historically, he claimed based on economic infrastructure. He also understood that these different frames were operative politically and that workers had to be educated in how a frame was being imposed on them to take advantage of them.

This is all marginalized in the way that economics is taught and practiced in the US and UK, and I presume in Oz, Canada and NZ as the Anglo-world.

Tom Hickey said...

“Different philosophies are different ways of viewing the world.” [Tom]

Sounds like the use of divers divining sticks – through them you ‘feel’ the water. Timeless.


Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked what the difference is between what the enlightened person sees and the unenlightened person. He answered that the enlightened see what really is (consciousness), while the unenlightened see through a lens (mind) colored by desire and aversion.

The same pie (consciousness) can be cut in different ways, but once the pie is cut those divisions and their relationships that were imposed hold.

There are different ways of seeing the gross world. Most Western philosophy, but not all, has been about seeing the gross world through some frame that the philosopher articulates.

Tom Hickey said...

Neil is saying what Marx said long ago. It's the culture and institutional arrangements.

There are two ways to do this. Change those peacefully through the political process, or, as Lenin recommended, violently by eliminating the aristocracy and bourgeoisie classes.

Just taking the money away will not permanently resolve the issue of asymmetric social status and distribution of political power that leads to asymmetric material and financial distribution.

In other words, address the system that produces the outcomes as a system rather than piecemeal.
This is the solution proposed separately by Abba Lerner and Adolph Lowe (Adolf Löwe).

See Mat Forstater, Toward a New Instrumental Macroeconomics: Abba Lerner and Adolph Lowe on Economic Method, Theory, History and Policy.

But being a policy issue it is really a matter of politics.

Tom Hickey said...

In reality, I'm a bumblebee.

From Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu)

"Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. Between me and the butterfly there must be a difference. This is an instance of transformation." — translated by James Legge

jrbarch said...

Imagine a child, standing in a field of wheat, seeing it swaying in the breezes. Because ‘the good, the beautiful, the true’ in her is simple and open, the beauty in the child sees the beauty in the field.

Her dad standing beside her sees $signs and worries about the rain arriving at just the right time, and the dry spell arriving at just the right time, to get the best out of the crop and pay back the bank.

Then a hail storm arrives and lays waste the entire crop.

So, two consciousnesses, viewing the same field through the filter of two different minds.

One will see the power Nature may exert and the other the same plus selling the farm.

Kabir would say that only those who know the self within, would know they had something within them that could never be destroyed, that is the source of all value. People thought Kabir was a ‘poet’! :-)

Bob said...

A dad will sacrifice for his daughter, and she in turn will sacrifice for her children. It is part of the cycle of life.

There are parents who do not see their children for years because they are hard at work in factories in distant cities. There are parents who give their children little of themselves because they are busy being billionaires.

It is all rather grotesque.

jrbarch said...

It is Bob.

"Today, fall in love again with the ones you love".