Monday, December 20, 2021

Bill Mitchell — To reclaim the state, we have to start with ourselves

The problem is capitalism.

Because the logic of that system evolves into what we have.

Harry Braverman understood that even though he didn’t live to see the worst of what it has become.

As the first step, education.

Then, reclaim the state.

Then evolve the production and distribution system away from one that needs to colonise every aspect of our lives with ‘markets’.…
Not MMT but it is important that an MMT economist is saying it. What is the point of full employment when the tendency of capitalist expansion — commoditizing everything — is creating bullshit jobs? Marx called this alienation. I am happy to see Bill addressing this head on.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
To reclaim the state, we have to start with ourselves
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia


Ahmed Fares said...

Bill Mitchell uses the term "de-skilling" a lot in his articles on this subject. A quick search on the term and sure enough, it ties in with Braverman's writings. Here is a quote:

de-skilling A term which summarizes the central ideas of Harry Braverman's Labour and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (1974). His thesis was that capitalist forms of production reduce the cost of labour by breaking down complex work processes into smaller, simpler, and unskilled tasks. This continuous fragmentation process replaces the skilled craft worker by unskilled labour requiring little training, so that jobs in the secondary sector of the labour-market are substituted for jobs in the primary sector. In consequence, wages and employment conditions are pushed down to the lower levels typical of the secondary sector; unemployment and insecure employment become widespread; and people in the de-skilled jobs become alienated from their work.

In one of Bill Mitchell's articles, Neil Wilson weighed in with a comment that explained that it had to do with businesses protecting themselves from workers being poached by other firms, which is a common problem. This is the position that I hold also. Non-compete clauses, vesting pension plans, etc., are all ways of making sure that employees don't walk out the door with the investment of human capital the business has made in them.

Ahmed Fares said...


A few months back, Arnold Kling wrote an article which I saved discussing two types of human capital based on the work of Gary Becker. Here is a quote from that article (bold mine):

Becker distinguished between two forms of human capital. Specific human capital can only be used within a particular firm. General human capital can be used anywhere. As one of my professors once joked, “Specific human capital is knowing where to find the bathroom. General human capital is being able to read the sign on the door.”

Specific human capital means “knowing how we do things here,” with the emphasis on here. It is organizational culture, including rules, procedures, terminology, management systems, and behavioral norms.

General human capital means skills that you could use in many different settings. Fundraising experience, fluency in a foreign language, coding in Python, working with spreadsheets, or marketing using social media are all skills that you could put on a resume to apply to many organizations.

Specific human capital binds the individual to the organization. Once you have accumulated knowledge that is useful in one firm, the firm is invested in you and you are invested in the firm. Both the firm and the individual have an incentive to invest more in the individual’s human capital and to deepen their relationship.

General human capital loosens the ties between the individual and the organization. If a job requires mostly general human capital, it is easy for you to find another firm that will pay you for your skills. By the same token, it is easy for the firm to replace you with someone else who has the same skill set.

source: An Economic Theory of Woke Takeovers

A bit more from the above linked article:

Software eats specific human capital

The most important trend in society in recent decades is for increased use of computer technology. In Marc Andreessen’s words, “Software eats everything.” Moreover, the trend favors generic software rather than firm-specific systems.

Suppose that you manage patient records for a medical practice. If the office uses a paper filing system or a computer system developed just for that office, your knowledge of how to manage patient records is specific to that medical practice. You accumulate specific human capital. Instead, if the office uses one of the popular standard systems, such as Epic, your knowledge of that system can be useful in many different practices. You accumulate general human capital.

The result of this is that people are not as attached to organizations as they used to be.

Peter Pan said...

Full employment? Nope.

lastgreek said...

"As the first step, education."

Indeed. Take math, for example: lousy teachers, lousy textbooks. So what happens? Kids have to go on youtube to make sense of the math class lecture. Problem with that, unfortunately, is that most math youtubes suck the bag. Most of them exist for the "hits" to generate subscribers ($$$), and they do that with oversimplified explanations thus giving kids a false sense of understanding. So unless the kid's parents know the subject matter well and have also the time to help their kids, the kid is screwed. I am not joking. Go on youtube and look at the "direct vs inverse varation" videos. I did and found nearly all sucked. One jerk had over a million subscribers! What jerk -- more of a jerkoff really. In that particular video on direct variation (and this was an actual filmed classroom setting!) he wanted to show his math "brilliance" by going over the various types of functions. So, linear, quadratic... hyperbolic functions. When he gets to hyperbolic, one of the kids shouts, "yeah, superbolic." The guy starts laughing: "No, there is no such thing; just hyperbolic." Wtf! Hyper and super mean exactly the same thing: super comes from the Greek word hyper; it's just a pronunciation spelling, that's all. So a super warrior in Greek would be "hypermachos." Really there is even a Greek Orthodox hymn (the Akathist) dedicated to the Virgin Mary (to celebrate the Roman victory over the Persians in the early 7th century), still chanted today in Greek churches, and quite moving I might add, titled "Te Ypermacho Stratego" (in the dative case, "to whom"), literally "to the super warrior/fighter general." lol, the kid was right!

Anyways, my apologies for the above rant (don't get me started on the chemistry youtubes. Btw, the physics youtubes are much, much better. Because much harder to bullshit around that you know your stuff. As I've said before, if you want an excellent math or chemistry text, get it from a physics teacher.)

lastgreek said...

This guy here, "mathispower4u", he nails it:

This freakin' simple statement was all that was needed to get a full understanding of direct variation (and not the "if x goes up, y goes up; if x goes down, y goes down." Yeah, but what if the constant of variation is freakin' negative???):

"In general if two quantities vary directly [say, x and y], if one goes up, the other goes up or DOWN [not just up, damn it!!!] proportionally."

lastgreek said...

Bet you guys think I'm a nutcase :) But getting the kids off to a good start in education early is so freakin important.

And the above example I used, "direct variation," is nothing to sneeze at. Take Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. That is an excellent example of direct variation (actually: joint and inverse variation). OK, I know, that Einstein superseded Newton -- yeah, I know. But Newton's law of describing the force of attraction between two masses (like between you and your wife, or whomever you are sleeping with, what do I care) was accurate enough to put an American (from Ohio of all places) on the moon! Newton. 350 years ago. Amazing!

Peter Pan said...

Math class = child abuse

Ahmed Fares said...

Isaac Newton and Pi.

The Discovery That Transformed Pi

Ahmed Fares said...


Nine years after Isaac Newton had published his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Johann Bernoulli, a friend of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, challenged the mathematicians of the world to solve two problems. The two problems required an extensive knowledge of calculus at the time. Some mathematicians and scholars have suspected that the contest was a test by Bernoulli and Leibniz to see how much Newton truly knew and to resolve the ongoing dispute about who had invented calculus.

Bernoulli gave the mathematicians six months to solve the problems. Bernoulli received no response for six months until he had received a letter from Leibniz. Leibniz had asked for the contest to be extended by a whole year to Christmas Day, 1698.

Meanwhile in England, Isaac Newton, the Warden of the Royal Mint, finally received Bernoulli’s challenge in January, 1697. According to his nephew, Newton immediately started working on the two questions and solved both in 12 hours. Newton then had Charles Montagu, the then President of the Royal Society, publish his solutions anonymously, possibly because he had suspected that it was all a ploy by Leibniz’s defenders.

When Bernoulli announced the winners of his contest, he named Leibniz, the Marquis Guillaume de l’Hopital, and the one anonymous winner. Bernoulli recognized the anonymous winner in public with the phrase, “anquam ex ungue leonem,” Latin for “we know the lion by his claw.”

Ahmed Fares said...

re: Newton's religious beliefs

The Royal Society of London planned an event to celebrate the tercentenary of Isaac Newton's birth in 1942. However World War II made it essentially impossible and the celebrations did not take place until July 1946. Lectures were given by E N da Costa Andrade, H W Turnbull, Niels Bohr and Jacques Hadamard. John Maynard Keynes had also been invited to lecture but unfortunately he died in April 1946, three months before the celebrations took place. Keynes was fascinated by Newton's manuscripts and had been the first person to see some of the manuscript material by Newton which had been kept secret until his papers were sold in 1936. Keynes' lecture, Newton, the man was delivered at the celebrations by his brother Geoffrey Keynes. Here is the text of the lecture:-

Very early in life Newton abandoned orthodox belief in the Trinity. At this time the Socinians were an important Arian sect amongst intellectual circles. It may be that Newton fell under Socinian influences, but I think not. He was rather a Judaic monotheist of the school of Maimonides. He arrived at this conclusion, not on so-to-speak rational or sceptical grounds, but entirely on the interpretation of ancient authority. He was persuaded that the revealed documents give no support to the Trinitarian doctrines which were due to late falsifications. The revealed God was one God.

But this was a dreadful secret which Newton was at desperate pains to conceal all his life. It was the reason why he refused Holy Orders, and therefore had to obtain a special dispensation to hold his Fellowship and Lucasian Chair and could not be Master of Trinity. Even the Toleration Act of 1689 excepted anti-Trinitarians. Some rumours there were, but not at the dangerous dates when he was a young Fellow of Trinity. In the main the secret died with him. But it was revealed in many writings in his, big box. After his death Bishop Horsley was asked to inspect the box with a view to publication. He saw the contents with horror and slammed the lid. A hundred years later Sir David Brewster looked into the box. He covered up the traces with carefully selected extracts and some straight fibbing. His latest biographer, Mr More, has been more candid. Newton's extensive anti-Trinitarian pamphlets are, in my judgement, the most interesting of his unpublished papers. Apart from his more serious affirmation of belief, I have a completed pamphlet showing up what Newton thought of the extreme dishonesty and falsification of records for which St Athanasius was responsible, in particular for his putting about the false calumny that Arius died in a privy. The victory of the Trinitarians in England in the latter half of the seventeenth century was not only as complete, but also as extraordinary, as St Athanasius's original triumph. There is good reason for thinking that Locke was a Unitarian. I have seen it argued that Milton was. It is a blot on Newton's record that he did not murmur a word when Whiston, his successor in the Lucasian Chair, was thrown out of his professorship and out of the University for publicly avowing opinions which Newton himself had secretly held for upwards of fifty years past.

source: John Maynard Keynes: Newton, the Man

Matt Franko said...

Trinity doctrine is included in the Athanasian Creed…

That creed is a dialogic synthesis of the two opposing thesis of Trinity and non-Trinity..

That creed: “Three is one and one is three”

3 > 1 the two quantities represent an inequality.. from a purely scientific perspective…

But the science degree did not exist until 1860 and that creed was written in about 500AD so there was no alternative method in the academe..

Matt Franko said...

Matt Franko said...

Matt Franko said...

“The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. ”

Not understandable…. and not written by anyone with a Science Degree it didn’t exist…

Matt Franko said...

They got into a dialogic exchange at the Council of Nicaea one thesis presented was there is one God and the other antithesis was there were 3 Gods so they formed a dialogic synthesis of the 2 opposing theses into a new thesis and this is documented in the Creed…

Roman Catholic Church is based on Platonist (dialogic) methodology…

Matt Franko said...

Matt Franko said...

The dialogic academe: thesis vs antithesis then synthesis

rinse and repeat…

The Science academe: start with hypothesis then test then adjustment to a correction then test then adjustment to a correction then test… and on and on until the original purpose is achieved.. Science leads with purpose then the creative process consists of adjustment and correction..

Art degree starts with two opposing theses and the creative process thrn consists of a synthesis of those two opposing theses…

Two ways to go about things..

Ahmed Fares said...

re: Later life of Isaac Newton

During the period 1692–1693 Newton is known to have suffered a breakdown of nervous functioning, or a supposed depression lasting for 18 months, as reported by Huygens. He suffered insomnia and poor digestion, in his letters to friends showing signs of irrationality.

During exhumation the hair from Newton's dead body was found to contain high levels of mercury, remains of desiccated hair were later found to contain four times the lead, arsenic and antimony and fifteen times mercury than in normal range samples. Two hairs contained mercury and separately lead at levels indicating chronic poisoning. Symptoms of mercury poisoning exhibited by Newton were apparently tremor, severe insomnia, delusions of persecution or paranoid ideas, problems with memory, mental confusion, and withdrawal or decline from personal friendships, significant in the period of time, the deterioration of his relations with his protégé Nicolas Fatio de Duillier.

Newton documented the first performed alchemy experiment during 1678, having first obtained furnaces and chemicals in 1669. Experiments with metal included analysis of taste of which there are 108 documented, including mercury:

strong, sourish, ungrateful,

documented also by the scientist were similar experiments with arsenic, gold and lead.

He was trying to create the Philosopher's Stone. Here's one of his recipes (don't try this at home):

Isaac Newton's recipe for magical 'Philosopher's Stone' rediscovered: 17th-century alchemy manuscript reveals ingredients it was thought could make people IMMORTAL

Peter Pan said...

Catholic religious instruction 101 = child abuse

Ahmed Fares said...

Matt Franko,

You might think I'm coming from a place but the place I am coming from is even further than that, which is why I did not respond to your comments until I had posted the part about Newton and alchemy. Allow me to explain:

The Qur'an says that mainstream Christianity has covered up the truth and that it is gnostic Christianity, at least certain elements of it, that which the Church calls a heresy, which is the true Christianity. There are elements of gnostic Christianity in the canonical gospels also, but even these the Church has covered up.

Recall the gnostic Christianity subdivided people into three types: the hylics, the psychics, and the pneumatics. The hylics were the people who were wrapped up in materialism, the psychics were the people torn between spirit and matter, and the pneumatics were the people of the spirit, i.e., "the people of the breath".

The same tripartite division of men exists in the Qur'an and the Qur'an goes into great detail describing the relationships between these three groups.

Isaac Newton's error as regards alchemy was not understanding that in the same way there exists a physical alchemy, there also exists a spiritual alchemy. And it was not that spiritual people, seeing physical alchemy, decided to use that as a vehicle for spiritual alchemy, but that physical alchemy was created by God as a vehicle, a ladder so to speak, into the deeper spiritual mysteries. I alluded to that in a previous post some time back by a Jewish author. To wit:

In Judaism we are told that whatever we see in this world reflects its source in the spiritual world. For example, the Torah says G-d created man in His image. So, by visiting the features within man, we have a small inkling of what is happening in the source of man, G-d.

The Rebbe explained. Mere mortals who live on a physical plain must work backward, and when we see something in this material world, we try to understand its spiritual counterpart, its underlying deep down, and source energy. Holy people who live on a spiritual realm, seeing what exists there, know for sure there must be this manifestation in its corresponding physical expression.

A Torah Jew is sensitive that there is always perfect compatibility and symbiosis between the spiritual and the physical. The physical is a direct result and mirror image of the spiritual (the source of the physical).
—Shlomo Ezagui (The Times of Israel)

Hope that makes it clear.

Ahmed Fares said...

A source for the quotes in my comment above as the article is interesting throughout:

Quantum Physics & Judaism. The Lulav, the Torah – electrons and protons.

lastgreek said...

The apple that fell (or, rather, "accelerated") on his head surely deserves some mention too. I think apples totally redeemed themselves after that Adam and Eve fiasco.

Peter Pan said...

Chemistry 562 = child abuse

Matt Franko said...

Ahmed yes the man was created in the image of God .. but the whole of God… iirc the Genesis account says “let us make man in our image” who is “us”? iow It’s plural… who is he talking to?

So apparently God had already divided himself when he created man out of the soil of the ground for His purposes … so he is depicted talking to others (powers? Authorities?) already created when he says “let us make man in our image”. so he is demonstrating something to those other powers thru his creation of man.. iow man contains what is both remaining in god AND what he has put out of himself…we got the whole thing..

Paul taught that Jesus represented “the one in whom the complement of the Diety delighted to dwell bodily”

The complement is the part that remains… this is taught in mathematics set theory…. so not all that is of God was represented by Jesus, just the parts that remain…

In chromosome context man got the (x,y) so that is us, then he divided the man to create the woman, she has the (y) so then the (x,y) male recombines with the female (y) to create either an (x,y) or a (y)…

Jesus mother “never knowest a man” so she was a regular (y) that was recombined not with an (x,y) like us but a subset of x and a regular y.. so Jesus was (xsubset, y)…

So Jesus was a human representation of that which is remaining in God at this time…. He was trying to reveal information about what his current state is thru human manifestation in the person of Jesus…

So it appears to me he is trying to reconcile all, he’s trying to reconcile the universe this is probably his greater purpose.. . and he’s using man and we of mankind all created out of the man (Adam) as some form of demonstration of what can work and what doesn’t work… towards some sort of a universal reconciliation…

iow before the flood he tried the harshness of a subsistence economy, but that didn’t work… so he killed everyone and started over but then after the flood he put in a surplus economy (which we are in now).. then under surplus he tried to favor one family with the house of Israel but that didn’t work so he trashed that… now he is trying grace which is simple unmerited favor and he is seeing how that’s going to go… we’re in the process of that right now…

He may know how it’s going to end up but Im not so sure as most other Christians of this, I think it looks like he has the timing of it at least … he might actually have to go thru these demonstrations to see how they will work out like anyone of us (created in his image)… or it at least appears that he has to demonstrate the process to the universe…. I guess he’ll probably eventually go with what works..,

This is a bit rambling and there is a lot more details to it… you have to read the scriptures and be educated…

Matt Franko said...

“So, by visiting the features within man, we have a small inkling of what is happening in the source of man, G-d.“

Yeah sure but we can see that all that is of god includes a lot of shitty stuff…

So god puts evil out of himself (Isaiah “I create evil sayeth the Lord”) so he created evil when he put it out of himself and retained the good, he created the false and retained truth… he created injustice and retained righteousness, etc…

Easy for him to do but We can’t do that… Paul: “Not one!”… we have to demonstrate what it is like to have to deal with everything that is of god… and so far it is not working I would say… or it has not yet worked…

So what is remaining in God? What is the current complement (the remainder) of God?

Paul taught that Jesus was “the image (simulation) of the invisible god”… and “the one in whom the complement (part that remains) of the Diety delights to dwell bodily”…

This is a main point of Paul’s teaching…

lastgreek said...

Mehmet Efe Caman Rainbow @MehmetEfe_Caman
1) I believe in following fundamental human rights & freedoms of all human beings regardless of their race and ethnic origin, skin color, religion or beliefs, social status and gender:
Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.
Freedom of conscience and religion.

My sentiments exactly. So let's leave it at that.

Btw, the equation PE=mgh -- Potential energy is a direct variance example, and always when you graph the direct variance equations, the straight line goes thru the origin (0,0) of the graph, unlike a linear equation (unless the intercept "b" is o). Also, if you have access to your roof or other high places, it can be easily demonstrated, though caution is advised :)

Matt Franko said...

“ when you graph the direct variance equations, the straight line goes thru the origin (0,0) of the graph”

Why would you want to memorize that?

Matt Franko said...

iow in one of your Math classes, would you think it would be a good idea to ask that in a multiple choice question?

“In a direct variance equation, the straight line segment intercepts:

A) the slope

B) the coordinate (0,0)

C) the origin

D) Donald Trump’s comb-over

E) B and C

Would you ask a question like that?

lastgreek said...

"Why would you want to memorize that?"

You don't memorize that. It's something that is easily deduced if you're willing to spare a few minutes seriously thinking about it.

In the first class of physics, you're given a friendly piece of advice by the physics professor: deduce, don't(!) memorize. Only way to succeed in the sciences.

lastgreek said...

Well, let's see... if it were an advanced algebra (precalculus) class, I'd probably ask something like "If you dreamt of circles last night, in general, what were you really dreaming of? Explain your reasoning."

No multiple choices.

Tom Hickey said...

You don't memorize that. It's something that is easily deduced if you're willing to spare a few minutes seriously thinking about it.

"When asked what was the speed of sound Albert Einstein said: '[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books.'”

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."

— Albert Einstein.

Peter Pan said...

ELI the ICE man translates to "voltage leads current in an inductive circuit, while current leads voltage in a capacitive one."

Or is it the reverse?

lastgreek said...

It's no exaggeration that calculus is -- pun alert! -- infinitely easier than algebra. Kids do lousy in calculus, a beautiful subject indeed, because they don't know their algebra.

A friendly, helpful heads up: Did you "lose" an exponent? No worries. Use the logarithm function to retrieve it ;)

lastgreek said...

And one more thin and that will be the end of it -- promise.

There are no curveballs in algebra. Just fastballs. With patience, it's easy to get around the fastball and knock it out of the park.

now i'll crawl back under my desk :)

Ahmed Fares said...

Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.

The first letter of each word spells out the resistor color code in electronics. The middle six spells out the colors of the rainbow, i.e., ROYGBV, red orange yellow green blue violet (My chemistry teacher used to say "ROY GaBuV"). The resistor color code adds Black and Brown for 0 and 1 respectively, and Grey and White for 8 and 9 respectively to get to nine digits.

(I'm an Electronics Engineering Technologist.)

Here's a source: List of electronic color code mnemonics

Also, "LEO the lion says GER". (Loss of Electrons is Oxidation and Gain of Electrons is Reduction).

Also, did you know that "Most Ants Taste Like Eggs". That gives you the Muslim African Countries across Northern Africa. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt.

Mnemonics are very useful as a memory aid.

lastgreek said...

"ROYGBV, red orange yellow green blue violet"

Where's indigo? There's no freakin' indigo!

Red, orange, yellowwwwww, then green followed by blueeeeeee. Indigo and violet -- that's the rainbow song for youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

You believe that? They left out indigo!

Ahmed Fares said...

re: indigo

[Isaac] Newton decided to divide the rainbow into seven colors because he believed seven was a cosmically significant, even “magic” number. The musical scale has seven notes, and Newton decided to define seven distinct colors as well.

Modern Color Wheel Controversy: What Is Indigo Doing In There?

Today, many color specialists advocate for removing indigo from the colors of the rainbow. They want to define it as: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. Today, the color “indigo” refers to a blue-purple color that many people can’t actually distinguish from blue or purple. Experts say that Newton only put indigo in the rainbow because he wanted seven colors, and indigo was an extremely valuable commodity at the time.

But many believe that what Newton called “blue” was closer to the modern “aqua,” a mix between blue and green, and that his “indigo” was what we’d call “blue” today. This makes sense if you consider the actual color of indigo dye cakes. They are really not very purple at all. In which case, it’s not his decision to define seven colors that’s the problem—it’s the naming conventions that are the issue.

In today’s world where most blue dye is synthetic, calling blue “indigo” doesn’t make a lot of sense. It's especially difficult to teach to children, who may be wondering, "What is indigo?" It might make more sense to change the rainbow to a more modern version, still with seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple!

Ha! We're back to Newton again. And what does he know, the guy was eating mercury.

Just kidding, Newton was amazing, apart from the eating mercury thing, which is why I've spent a lot of time studying his life.

I just learned this though:

Elemental mercury is toxic primarily through inhalation of mercury vapors. It is only slowly absorbed through the skin, although it may cause skin and eye irritation. Elemental mercury droplets may be absorbed through eye contact. Ingestion is not an important route of acute exposure as almost no elemental mercury is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract.

Peter Pan said...

Mnemonics and hand rules are elements for learning electronics. The rest is math :(

lastgreek said...

The cat in the hat rainbow song