Archives 2008 - humanist @ roua.org :

free market, a tragical and fake concept

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

According to wikipedia, free market means that the buyers and the sellers agree to a mutual exchange of property without external coercing or anyone of them coercing the other. Free market is a self-contradictory concept because even if we start with economic agents of equal power, small wealth inequalities become economic advantages, that is, coercion tools, which morph into larger inequalities in avalanche. This is called positive feedback in engineering and is bound to lead to a catastrophic instability or to the end of the system that created it. These catastrophes are the bubble bursts.

The economic bubbles are the proof that economic coercions do exist (exerted upon some economic agents by the ones who have the economic advantage at the time), the coercions are temporarily accepted by the coerced through credit/debt, which postpones/softens the consequences of the transaction. Those who were lucky enough to escape a bust (there is no rational way of escaping a bust, it is a random pick, unless some agents become so powerful that they could time/initiate the bust in their favor, which is a low probability event) think that the free market has worked for them and enforce their stupid belief that this is a universal feature onto the others because they happen to have the economic upper hand after the bust. And these are the genuine free market believers. The rest of the free market believers are just slaves on the property of the genuine ones, ultimately the instruments of the coercion itself that they're hiding away from the free market concept. That, assuming they're not all stupid...

Overall, the free market world picture is this: most people, the fetish of the lottery and the few (random) people who run the lottery.

The bubble bursts are proof that the supply=demand expression is also a fake: there's a very low probability that a critical mass of (demanding) people suddenly change synchronously their minds into not willing to buy houses or gas or whatever, that's why if supply=demand had any truth value in it relative to the reality we live in, bubble bursts should not happen, but they do, so the bubble bursts are only sudden significant changes in the flavor/direction of coercion. Today's money can simulate demand or supply with equal rights, so at any time one set of rich economical agents can fake a part of the demand or the supply using money. supply=demand means nothing as long as money (through their capacity to partly impersonate either term of this equation), or any other coercion tool, exist.

The free market concept is also meaningless in a world of commercial ads: it's one thing to find out once in a month who's polishing shoes in the 'hood for the time being, and it's a different thing to get hit several times a day by the news that you have to buy bottled water. The latter is not only psychological torture of scale, it is economical coercion of one (set of) agent(s) by another, it's creating and growing the demand at the ultimate expense of the buyer, through credit.

The free market concept is as meaningless as the concept of particle trajectory in quantum mechanics, it is not a concept valid in ideal conditions; the free market concept is, rather, a fake concept when applied to living beings.

This fake concept is also tragic in its applications, in the sense of a classical Greek tragedy: we know it is a fake, but we proceed nevertheless, because that's the only toolkit available. Because no negative feedback is really built in a "free market" economy, stability or continuity have no chance to ever settle in such a model. I've seen no humans naturally willing to jump for the entirety of their lives from job to job, from land to land, just to feed themselves and their children, or to keep their moral integrity. They only do that after they are coerced into an economic exchange in which they didn't believe, or they find themselves immersed in an economic system which uses them as simple, coerced, input (expression: human resources).

The coercion is sustained (intentionally or not) through the following sequence of acts: have children (to the point that we are so many, and resources so scarce, that you either have to suicide, to become a slave, to continuously avoid becoming a slave, or to get picked up by the waves as a temporary economic master; all in all we are coerced into competing against each other, that is, to behave as primitive raptors although our brains allow us to do better as a species), buy a house on credit, buy something else significant on credit; one ends up conditioning its entire life in advance: ultimately one cannot afford to live even a simple, authentic life, because the coercion is working its way with the help of the rest of the coerced/slaves. One cannot afford any morality in these conditions. That's why credit has to be strongly limited, and with zero interest.

There is no symmetry here between supply and demand. They do not exist simultaneously, first one has to have the demand, then figure out a way to supply for it. And when the supply has been provided, what about the people who no longer have to work on the supply side? If the social unemployment guarantee is not there, these people will have to invent new ways of rising/reorienting the demand again (to be able to "earn a living" supplying, that's a civil war in disguise). That's why "earn a living" is a stupid concept also, which keeps coming back because the society still doesn't protect its citizens from unemployment by definition.

I find it interesting that there are, at any time, people who insist on pushing this free market model onto others: those people are morally criminals in my view, especially those of them who claim to have professional reasons (as economists) to coerce this model onto the rest, their free market theories are genocidal for any group of people.

The only alternatives I can imagine to the free market crap, which have a built-in negative/stabilizing feedback are: a. continuous government tempering/monitoring of economic forces or b. the real market, or genuinely fair market: a market in which economic exchange is defined as valid only when the efforts of the buyer and the seller are equal; as an objective measure, the economical effort spent by somebody to produce some thing can be estimated and verified as a percentage of its wealth at the time of the exchange; its wealth should be measured with a unique, universal measure; these new "money" cannot themselves be exchanged, bought or sold, the only role of them is to set up a unique standard for evaluating wealth; they have yet to be defined universally; something like meter, kilogram, second, I would call it re (from resource), or eco. This kind of market has nothing to do with profit, but with real demand, real supply, real productivity and efficiency, ultimately with real quality of life; belief or psychological terrorism can play no role in establishing the economical effort to be exchanged (the price). Any market model which neglects this equality of efforts on both sides of the exchange relies on an ill-defined concept of exchange, which is, in fact, a giving or a taking, if not a coercion.

elections over, the party begins

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

The next step is to determine the government agenda by keeping the congress in check, if you're an USA citizen you should join the November5 movement (Nader), and/or express your ideas at change.gov, a site created by the Obama-Biden team as part of Open Government. But keep in mind (and act accordingly) that democracy is a bottom-up, continuously high-maintenance, process.

Classified in : Uncategorized Tags : society

whom to elect, again

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

I found the 3rd party presidential debate very instructive, thanks to the Free and Equal Elections group, Chris Hedges, the moderator, to the CSPAN as the technical backing, and to truthdig as the (re)publisher, as well as to democracynow, for the interviews taken to the alternative presidential candidates.

That said, the whole presidential package is clear for me now: Nader as president, Obama as vice-president; whenever Obama would get too soft, I'm sure Nader would slap his wrists.

Returning to the capitalism and free market fundamentalists, I think there's a basic fallacy at work in these people's reasoning: 'people pursuing their own interests' solves everything.

It does, in between some limits, but it works against themselves beyond or under those limits: first, a person has to define what's its own interest; at some moment, some person will think its interest is to get a heroin shot, and thereafter even more, until death. That's because that person wasn't aware of the consequences of pursuing its own interest. And one becomes aware through education. But you can't learn much after you become chemically dependent. So there's a place where a limit should be imposed. By whom? By the State (which is not a universal scare, but our common social agreement that we are civilized and agree to live with each other instead of hunting each other), if not by friends.

Pursuing one's own profits, without a limit imposed by the law, hurts even corporations: a corporation is not a biological person, it's an assembly attempting to get profits for its shareholders, but not all shareholders have the same right of decision, therefore, even the CEO's own interests are different from the corporation's interests. The CEO wants to improve his own profits first, and then the rest, if there is any room left. If it weren't so, we wouldn't have these periodical Wall Street events.

In a medium with scarce resources, one's pursuit of one's own interest is in direct competition with its neighbor, and it looks like money is always a scarce resource. So the freedom to pursue one's own interest goes against the rest of the world if it's not limited socially.

Mr. Baldwin (Constitution party) was surprised that the mainstream media doesn't do its job as a watchdog. Well, Mr. Baldwin, in a free market environment, the job of the media is to make profit, not to watchdog what you expect it to.

And more, in a free market environment healthcare is a for-profit industry, so why should this industry make you healthy if the profits come from your disease? It's bad for ya (Carlin). The doctor is there to make a profit, not to heal you. That's why healthcare should be a service ensured by the government, who will be there at all times, whether you're healthy or not.

The same goes for the education: in capitalism,the teacher is there for the money, not for teaching you critical thinking. That's why education should be a public service, the job of government, our common agreement that any newborn should become a human and not a monster. This common agreement is the reason why the education should be mandated for all young persons, not the profit, or one's own interest, although anyone's own interest is well-served too by creating critical thinkers all-around.

The same goes for research: if it's done for the profit of some particular group, like a private company, that research won't further humanity's knowledge, will only provide a way to get the money from the rest of the world, and ultimately will finance maintaining the ignorance of the rest of the world so that it would continue paying for the private group. In the long run, private research goes against itself or gets lost.

The same goes for pensions: a for-profit pension fund will do its best to attract reserves aimed for pension, but the managers will take the lion's part and then will leave the pension fund bankrupt; no guarantee that what you're putting there today will get back to you in 40 years. That's why pensions should be the State's responsibility. It's the institution least likely to go bankrupt.

How about justice? Justice-for-profit is already understood as outright corruption. So that stays among the State's responsibilities.

So healthcare (including sanitary services), education, research, justice, as well as pension administration, should be public services, provided by the State. Alternative, private, for-profit initiatives are free to exist, but the State is the social net, always there when needed. If the state doesn't function like that, it should be fixed, but the free market can never provide a reliable alternative to these services. If you need further examples, watch this presentation: Why We Should Abandon the Free Market, James K. Galbraith, 2008-10-20.

From this perspective, it is obvious that anyone who insists the State should not be involved in the people's affairs is either a person in ignorant pursuit of its own interest or a stupid (uneducated) one.

Remember that the State doesn't come out of the blue, it's made of people we choose and it's only to be controlled by us. So we have to improve our methods to tune the State and to monitor the State's affairs: this is one serious reason to have a people's media channel, which should keep an eye on the State activities, as a public service. Beyond providing those public services, the State intervention in the personal lives should be minimal indeed. Free market is therefore bound by the State (which abstracts the rules of civilization as we learn to choose them).

Of course, these public services have to be paid through taxes. That's why paying taxes is not only justified but it is also your instrument of power to monitor the State's activity. The State is our common, social, agreement, therefore we don't control more or less of it by the absolute amount of taxes we pay, but by our equal efforts (percents of our wealth), therefore opaque lobbying is a form of State corruption. Democracy is a bottom-up process.

And for the life of me I cannot understand why, when McCain says that Obama wants to redistribute wealth, people at the republican rallies boo. It's their wealth Obama wants to redistribute? Are they so rich? Or are they so poor that McCain's campaign had to pay them for the booing per day? The only alternative left is an abyss of stupidity I'm afraid to look into. And to those christian republicans, are you aware that Jesus was a communist? If you vote with capitalists, how can you live with your own beliefs?

wanted: madness proper

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

I thought I've seen the worst movie ever when I watched a certain japanese production: Casshern, a few years ago, but it's safer to assume that things can always get worse.

They do: - get the underdog - get the car - get the girl to drive it - get the secret fraternity - punch the underdog into a one of the few hyperextrasuperhumans - get the bullet with the hand-controlled curved trajectory (or dodge it) - crash a bus - destroy a train - destroy a library - kill one to save many - use yet another smart way to blow explosives - save the world from the worst kind - light some fires, show me some blood, move and shake the camera and flicker the lights all along

It is the recipe that makes the myths and whirligigs of any simpleton today: mix James Bond with flying martial arts fighters, Matrix, The empire strikes back, Fight club, the Gun with sacred inscriptions, the "BMW: the pleasure to drive" ad; you're done, you got Wanted (2008), IMDB graded 7.1, the most concise artistic history of modern stupidity. The non-foaming beer, the 6-wall TV and the soccer/football game with the atomic nanobioengineered ball will presumably be added in Wanted, Director's cut to complete the (so moving) picture.

now

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

That's very easy, from Not too late (1974), by Out of Focus. Dead sexy, that godly flute, 4:36 minutes into it. Brings to mind the flute in Madrigal Meridian from Cyclone (1978) by Tangerine Dream, 18:34 minutes into it; or 6:25 minutes into Bent cold sidewalk, same album, which, in turn, reminds me of the Cars from The pleasure principle (1979) by Gary Numan, not sure why; or 3 minutes into From the Beginning out of Trilogy (1972) by Emmerson Lake and Palmer, which sounds like grass invading highways. An era is in (wish u were) there.

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