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Three New Reads – February

Philip Roddis
Reshaping global food production in the image of corporate imperialism, a brief and bloody history of capitalism in its lead nation and the pillorying of the world’s most famous whistle-blower – welcome to my reads of the month.

*

Toxic Agriculture and the Gates Foundation (2900 words)

This piece from Colin Todhunter draws together two themes I’ve from time to time alluded to in my own writings, without ever addressing head on. One is the weaponising of charity, as seen in the stances of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Médecins Sans Frontières and most infamously the White Helmets in the West’s dirty war on Syria.[1]

But here the context is not the taking out of a disobedient Arab leader to open up, among a raft of other motives, his country’s economy to Wall Street. Nor is it that blend of virtue-signalling[2] largesse with major league tax evasion as practised by the Bonos of this world. Rather, and this is the second theme, the context is that particular tentacle of imperialism some call agri-capital, others the stuff of sci-fi nightmare.

I’m often saying that most people, even those who don’t much like capitalism, fail to grasp the full extent of the existential threat posed by its non negotiable need to subordinate every other factor to the imperatives of profit. If this was purely a matter of human greed it would be bad enough but the reality is far worse. The subordination I speak of stems not from the wickedness of the human heart but the remorseless logic of capital accumulation itself. Bear this in mind as you read Colin Todhunter on the unfolding of that logic in an arena seldom reported but of the utmost criticality.

Here’s the executive summary:

In 2016, the Gates Foundation was accused of dangerously and unaccountably distorting the direction of international development. The charges were laid out in a report by Global Justice Now: Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good? According to the report, the foundation’s strategy is based on deepening the role of multinational companies in the Global South …

The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed.

… this concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of ‘corporate America’:

The foundation is relentlessly promoting big business-based initiatives such as industrial agriculture, private health care and education. But these are all potentially exacerbating the problems of poverty and lack of access to basic resources that the foundation is supposed to be alleviating.

You can read the full piece here.

*

History of Capitalism in the United States: Exposing the Myth of America (3190 words)

Did I mention the fact I don’t like capitalism? I’m guessing you’re not thrilled with it either, else you wouldn’t still be with me.

You’ll like it even less by the time you’ve digested the excoriating prose – that rollercoasting love affair with the word only those master chronologers of the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet (think Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe) seem able to pull off without sounding overblown – in this piece from Dandelion Salad.

It starts as it means to go on …

Nightmare and insanity are akin: mysterious and involuntary states that skew and distort objective reality. One wakens from nightmare; from insanity there is no awakening …

For two hundred years Americans have been indoctrinated with a mythology created, imposed and sustained by a manipulating cabal: the financial elite that built its absolute control on the muscle and blood, good will, ignorance and credulity, of its citizenry.

America began with the invasion of a populated continent and the genocide of its native people. Once solidly established, it grafted enslavement of another race onto that base.

With those two pillars of state firmly in place it declared itself an independent nation in a document that nobly proclaimed the equality of all mankind. In that act of monumental hypocrisy America’s myth had its beginning …

… and proceeds by way of the Cold War …

With WWII, the world was reconfigured. American Capitalism emerged supreme from the horror that had virtually wrecked its capitalist partners. The Soviet Union, though, having absorbed by far the greatest devastation from Nazi Germany, had astonishingly risen above its ruin to become the leading challenger to America as a world power.

This challenge was not competitive, it was systemic: Soviet Communism was a direct threat to American hegemony in that it categorically refuted the philosophical basis of Predatory Capitalism. Grounded in Marx and Lenin, it attacked Capitalism’s inherent evils, monstrous inequities and flagrant injustices that, exacerbated by speculation, exploitation and fraud, would destroy it. And it promoted world revolution to that end.

This face-off of giants in the Cold War necessitated further refinement of the American myth. Now, instead of simply intervening in situations where despotism or tyranny required America to forcefully implant our just and ethical democracy, America had to become the shield and bulwark of the sacred capitalist system in which “free enterprise” was magically and increasingly identified with democracy and equally to be defended …

… to our current predicament of a world:

… that has suffered unrelieved exploitation by the violence of our imperialist mania. It is the many wrecked and pillaged economies financially looted by our imposed predatory capitalist austerity regimes.

It is the teeming hundreds of millions of starved, deprived and dying children sacrificed to Wall Street commodities gaming. It is the multitudes of humble, innocent, ignorant people, barely surviving in absolutist and dictatorial regimes propped up in their barbaric cruelty by our military while our banks siphon off the profits left after arming their brutal police and armies and bribing their ruling Kings, Sheikhs or Generals.

It is the millions of dead and maimed in the raped populations of simple tribal people whom our indiscriminately murderous juggernaut has left in its bloody wake in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is the appalling legacy of hate and repulsion, disdain and fear, that America has earned with its appalling hegemonist villainy in every corner of the world.

Read the full piece here

*

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office (2226 words)

This is another piece that starts as it means to go on:

Lady Emma Arbuthnot was appointed Chief Magistrate in Westminster on the advice of a Conservative government minister with whom she had attended a secretive meeting organised by one of these Foreign Office partner organisations two years before.

Liz Truss, then Justice Secretary, “advised” the Queen to appoint Lady Arbuthnot in October 2016. Two years before, Truss — who is now Trade Secretary — and Lady Arbuthnot both attended an off-the-record two-day meeting in Bilbao, Spain.

The expenses were covered by an organisation called Tertulias, chaired by Lady Arbuthnot’s husband — Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former Conservative defence minister with extensive links to the British military and intelligence community exposed by WikiLeaks.

After four days of kangaroo court proceedings at Belmarsh, Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser has put on hold Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. Little is known of this camera-shy member of the judiciary but a good deal is known about her boss, Lady Arbuthnot.

For those who still have a shred of faith in Britain’s much vaunted separation of powers – with executive and judicial arms of the state allegedly (and in cases not critical to our ruling class, actually) independent of one another – Lady Arbuthnot’s CV makes interesting reading.

And for those who don’t? Chances are you still don’t know the half of it.

Read the full piece here.

NOTES:

[1] A good startpoint for investigating the role of these charities in the Syrian conflict is this Tim Hayward post of 2017. While its primary focus is Amnesty International it also touches on the roles of Médecins Sans Frontières and White Helmets. For its part Human Rights Watch wittingly or otherwise gave de facto legitimation for the 2018 US Tomahawk missile strikes on Damascus and Homs following its reports of Assad’s use of chemical weapons at Douma.

Evidence for the alleged war crimes has since been proved worse than non existent, though with a few exceptions (Robert Fisk in the Independent, Peter Hitchens in the Mail) you’d never know this from corporate media. They have have maintained yet another collective and deafening silence on yet another unravelling of the mendaciously empire-serving narratives through which our loathing of insufficiently compliant third world leaders is manufactured.

[2] This if off-piste but, speaking of the virtue-signalling privileged, if you haven’t yet seen Ricky Gervais landing punch after merciless punch on its Hollywood Section at the Golden Globes this year, here’s a ten minute slice of the highlights. Don’t miss the fifteen second dismissal of Apple, with CEO Tim Cook all duck suit and dickie bow on the verge of tears. You’ll find it at 06:32.

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BigB
BigB
Mar 3, 2020 2:46 PM

Below is a good discussion on the common perceptions of capitalism. As a positive critique: it easier to say what capitalism is not, than what it is. Writing now, in this particular historical moment in the 21st century …this is capitalism. The fact it is not immediately recognisable as such, is the unconscious cognitive power of capitalism to conceal itself. And all the time that our social theories either a) omit the economic determinism of social factors completely, or: b) externalise and institutionalise ‘capitalism’ as something we are not …then we have a cultural monotheistic monism of Capitalist Realism. TINA.

Capitalism is the epochal endocolonisation of just about everything …including consciousness and language. And consciousness is language. Which is about as far into a radical critique as anyone has ever got before they get shut down, by peers, not a perceived cognitive elite.

Capitalism is predicated on objectivity, not subjectivity. Capitalism has colonised objective and empirical ‘scientific realism’. Which is a worldview without humanity – in all its glorious Technicolor frailties (like love and empathy) – in it. Hence, the subjectivist turn toward humanism in the 19th century.

Subjectivity is the inverse of objectivity. It is the same conversation: told in a slightly different way (the semantic structure of the telling is what a ‘paradigm’ is, BTW). Being the same conversation: they produce the similar results.

Objectivism = meaning absolutism.

Subjectivism = meaning relativism.

Both are anti-humanist meaning nihilisms. Both are capitalisms. The horrible sociological symptomatology of the ‘liquid modernity’ objectivist/subjectivist hybridisation is the global citizenry of neoliberalism. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

Beneath the seeming ‘two humanities’ – the scientific, logico-rational (positivist) objectivist and the social scientific, constructivist (anti-positivist) subjectivist – is an unconscious cognitive structure that produces both dialogues. In fact, they are tautological and contradictory binarisms …both produced by the same Collective Cognitive Unconscious.

Herein lies the rub. The unconscious structure of language – the hidden beliefs that express the beliefs (the ‘Episteme’ that produces the ‘Paradigms’) – has hardly changed in the last two millennia.

Episteme = capitalism …in its epochal iteration.

So long as the Episteme remains unchanged …TINA.

So long as there are two concrete metaphysical categories to divide humanity – subject/object; self/other; realism/relativism; concrete or constructed knowledge bases – you will always have a divided humanity. Split by the logico-rational categorical structure of language.

The twist in the tale is that the common perception – the natural Folk Realism (Naive Metaphysical Realism) – is that these categories are ‘real’ and ‘objective’ …because knowledge and identity are ‘real’ and ‘objective’. Any ‘postmodern’ critique of the metaphysical Episteme is an attack on Naive Realism, Folk Realism …or Capitalist Realism as it has become.

Capitalist Realism is objectivity, rationality, literal realism, individuation, scientism, psychologism, and above all – the radically free and fully conscious independent self-view (extremised as the liquid re-inventing hyper-self) …all of which are predicated as objectively ‘real’ (or hyper-real from the solipsist/narcissist subjectivist POV).

Such an epochal consciousness has not that much to do with money and power. Money and power do not distort reality: the unconscious structure of language does …for everyone. Money and power only measure the quantities of the separation of the commodified, constructivist Real and the really Real (biological and bio-physical material reality – ecological Critical Reality).

The institution of all cultural institutionalism is the autonomous individuated self …which is the constructivism of the social constructivism of reality = Capitalist Realism. An identity loop we are all in. In an interminable dialogic battle between social constructivism and scientific realism (which with detailed and nuanced analysis, are more or less the same thing).

But not in the common perception. “The sociology of knowledge is constructed by language. Because culture is economically determined and socially constructed – we can change it” …”That’s relative. Language, scientific knowledge and identity are objectively ‘real'” …”Culture is not economically determined and socially constructed. That’s subjective”. And so it goes on.

The appeal to objectivity is the greatest ideological weapon Capitalist Realism has. It is from an ideological naturalised objectivity from where all charges of ‘lack of objectivity’; ‘subjectiveness’; ‘idealism’; ‘relativism’; ‘solipsism’; etc; are issued against any potential alternative. So far, it is functionally perfect …TINA.

There is no need to even identify the problems of the unconscious structure of language. It has already been done by cognitive linguists (Lakoff, Gibbs, Gejeerts, Johnson, inter alia). There is a further twist in the tale: language is structured as a framework of conceptual metaphors. Pure objectivity is impossible. All knowledge is socially constructed. Including scientific and mathematical knowledge (only the uninformed ever claim they are not accurate nonetheless). This is not only disputed by the ‘Capitalist’ cognitive elite …but from the person in the street. The indisputable scientific reality of the self as objectively real is a political view – socially constructed – and held by all but a few. TINA.

The End. Unless a few more change their view.

pasha
pasha
Mar 2, 2020 1:58 PM

On another column on the same topic I wrote of my suspicions that Baraitser was MI5. Clearly this was incorrect. Equally clearly she’s SIS, i.e. the unholy amalgam of MI6 and CIA.

paul
paul
Mar 2, 2020 1:50 PM

I believe in the innate goodness of our charitable billionaires, our wise, just, selfless and altruistic foreign policy, the virtue and industry of our wise bankers and capitalist class, our Rule of Law and independent judiciary, Rodger the Rabbit, Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny.

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Mar 2, 2020 11:16 AM

The US military industrial complex is way out there when it comes to the yawning chasm between what it does (especially the egregious crimes it commits), and how those deeds are subsequently portrayed in the media or entertainment industry.

This form of communication is so deeply embedded that when journalists or whistleblowers expose horrific wrong-doings public rage is aimed at them, rather than heavily armed military forces murdering their way across the globe – in fact we have reached a stage were any doubts about carefully nutured illusions are perceived as a far greater threat to the public’s collective mind rather than the rape, torture, mutilation, or murder of civilian populations (i.e. the hallmarks of US foreign policy).

It really is like a mass form of psychosis where reality plays only a peripheral part in the public’s relationship with key historical or economic events, such as the war in Syria, or lies used to rationalise austerity (i.e. the tory wealth transfer policy).

The Corbyn smear campaign is a textbook example of how this sinister apperatus works, or how few people are able to discern who pulls the strings or why they might be doing so (hence their unlimited capacity for shooting themselves in the foot every time an election comes round).

I think it was Caitlin Johnstone who said a major challenge in adult life is unlearning all the shite foised on us by corrupt media, films driven by propaganda or by selective forms of education (especially history, and economics) – how right she is.

paul
paul
Mar 2, 2020 1:53 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

Ah, but they only rape, torture, mutilate and murder for the best of motives.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 8:56 AM

Jeez – it’s not ‘capitalism’ that is a yoke upon humanity and the environment.

It is Power. Which is represented by MONEY. Which is created freely out of thin air by BANKERS.

Capitalists actually create wealth and profit to get their money – just like any subsistence farmer.

Bankers just own money and create it and use it for ultimate power, even over all the capitalists of the world, for half a millenia at least now.

The capitalist lie along with it’s ‘leftist-rightist’ bed-mate is promulgated as cover to protect the real power. It is time to ripdown that curtain.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Mar 2, 2020 11:20 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Dunwrong.
Power is pure.
As in sunlight, wind, waves, gravity and of course, Love.
Power is not directed at anything or anyone.
It simply is.
Force, authority, domination and coercion on the other hand are the weapons of the exploiters.
Exploiters are devoid of Love.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 4:33 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

In the world we live in the absolute truth is that MONEY = Power (which includes all the other definitions you invoke).

If you want the proof of that today just look at Bloomberg attempting buying the Democratic nomination for himself! Because none of the other candidates he has backed look like winning it against Bernie.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Mar 2, 2020 9:37 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Money has no Power Dun.
Money buys influence.
I invoke nothing.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 11:13 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

You invoked
“Force, authority, domination and coercion on the other hand are the weapons of the exploiters.”

Exploitation = Power. No?

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Mar 3, 2020 3:51 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

The exploiters control the narrative by manipulating words.
We have all been brainwashed since birth, as have those who taught us and those who taught them etc.
Curiosity and skepticism diminish that accumulated ignorance.
Power is immeasurable and incorruptible.
The exploiters have NO power, only force.

BigB
BigB
Mar 3, 2020 11:25 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Echoes of Foucault, even if you never read Foucault. Human reason rhymes, sometimes.

Anyway, we control the narrative …but we do not recognise the power we have – creatively or destructively – at our hands. This is capitalism. Sentences like this constitute the cultural phenomena we call capitalism. We are all – consciously or unconsciously – capitalist.

It is only our theory that power is accumulated and administered as a top-down hierarchy that prevents us from creatively inventing a post-capitalist culture. The real exercise of power is constative and normative – which is diffuse, and ‘everywhere’. Power is imbued in every word …like this one. Language is ideology.

Everyday conversations – even about nothing in particular – are ‘universe maintaining’ …which affirm and re-affirm the social order in subtle, but effective, ways. Like the linking of power and money by Dun, for instance. That’s externalised and recognisable. The autonomic and unconscious normative power of conversation is far more persuasive. We do not even recognise it going on.

Suffice to say, normalising power is our greatest creative weapon …if we recognise and harness its power. And avoid the pitfalls of a gender obsessed, subjectivist, and subpolitical solipsism that Foucault ended up empowering. His original writings on power were far more, well, diffuse and subtle.

It’s about uncovering the unconscious power of the ‘Episteme’ …the internal and unconscious structures of belief. The one whose power controls the exploiters and the exploited …whereby even the deceivers are deceived. Into the constructed cognitive belief that this word is not in itself a ‘capitalism’.

Capitalism is an exterior economic system (outside ‘me’), run by capitalists (who are not like ‘me’), who have capital (money – in a class above ‘me’), and exercise gross power (on lowly old ‘me’). In a system that is totally separate to ‘me’ that I have no real part in …it was made by ‘them’ for the benefit of ‘them’. That belief system IS the unconscious power of capitalism.

Power is not necessarily bought and sold. You can buy influence, but mostly we give our creative constructive cultural power away …for free.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Mar 2, 2020 11:47 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

OMG!! Have you been drinking?
“it’s not capitalism that is a yoke on humanity and the environment”… Seriously, are you winding us up here D?

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 4:45 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

No mate I am serious and have have made a thorough exposition of it on this site with various priests of marxist doctrine who always ignore the MONEY by trying to talk about Capital instead!

I can give you links to such conversations if you want to see the arguments.
—–
As a start to distinguish between capital and money, just think for a moment about a little cottage gardener who grows their own veg and fruits but when the harvest comes they have more than they can consume.
They take it to a local market to sell or put up a sign if there are enough passerby’s. To get money. To buy other things or seeds or tools etc.

That is capitalism. And they are capitalists.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 5:36 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

That’s not capitalism. Capitalism is when goods are produced purely to generate a profit i.e. the matter of profit is the entire motive for the production. This has nothing to do with the romanticised “little producer” who just happens to have a bit extra and who then apparently has no trouble finding buyers for it.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 7:40 PM
Reply to  George Mc

It is proto capitalism- from little acorns George.

It is a thought exercise and much economics is taught in terms of simplification.

Just take the next step – the cottage gardeners onions are considered to be the tastiest for example and everyone who tried some want more at the next harvest – the cottage gardener will plant more onions! He may even get his neighbour to let him have her land to plant more … it’s classic demand/supply theory … as he suceeds and makes more profits he may rent or buy more land and seed and tools and fertiliser and need extra labour that he would pay … capitalism.

Nothing wrong with that is there?

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 9:01 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

You seem fond of “thought exercises” just as you are fond of fairy tales. And I see we get the little Hayekian Thatcherite pep talk. And how handy that this planter of onions “may even get his neighbour to let him have her land to plant more”. But what relation to the real world does this little edifying discourse have? The little producer just gets bigger and bigger? Doesn’t his entire life hang on that deity “the economy”? Isn’t he dependant on people willing and able to pay for his produce? Which means that he is ultimately dependant on that vast network of employers and employees all ultimately struggling to maximise profits for the big knobs. And even the big knobs themselves are forced into competing with each other to maximise their returns by whatever means necessary.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 11:21 PM
Reply to  George Mc

George,

How would you classify an Artist?
That includes painters, potters…actors etc.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 12:56 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“How would you classify an Artist?”

As ‘difficult’.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 3, 2020 8:29 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Interesting question – though ultimately artists have to make a living i.e. make money like everyone else. We live in a capitalist world which ultimately cares only about profit and so the only question for the system is: “How much will these dudes make for us?” Whatever it may have meant in the past, actors, musicians etc. have to shift product and that is why so much depends on getting them known – hence the hype machine.

But another aspect of capitalism is that it must always have change. It’s the most dynamic system there has ever been. And there’s a curious development going on whereby folk are buying less and less actual physical items e.g. discs, books and relying more on more on net downloads. And even before that the musicians (I love music and naturally tend to think of musicians) were no longer getting the support they previously enjoyed e.g. whereas back in the 60s Bob Dylan’s first album bombed, his company stood behind him whereas by the late 80s/early 90s Tracy Chapman’s record company seemed to lose all interest in her. By that time the focus seemed to be increasingly on churning out assembly line hits by ephemeral groups. Here’s a quickish guide to the decline of music under the relentless logic of profit maximisation:

Jen
Jen
Mar 3, 2020 10:40 AM
Reply to  George Mc

The relationship between music and the artists signed to them has changed a great deal to the extent that the music industry has done a 360-degree trek from one type of relationship to the other and back. Before the late 1960s and 1970s, the relationship was more purely commercial and exploitative with musicians and singers seen as money-making units and no more. (Incidentally this was a period when girl groups – as in, groups of girls doing nothing more than singing songs written and performed by men- flourished.) Starting in the mid-60s, as a result of the explosion of rock and pop bands in Britain and the US writing and performing their own work, and these bands wanting more control over their music and careers, music labels specialising in rock began to take more interest in nurturing and cultivating these artists, to the extent that they were prepared to lose money in the early years of these artists’ development in the assumption that eventually their investment in these bands would pay off big-time. This situation more or less prevailed through the 70s and 80s to the early 90s.

It is sobering to think that in the first few years of their existence, the rock band Queen were not making much money for Trident, and actually losing money, due in part to the band eating up the label’s budget for recording albums and singles, until “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit the big time, but by then the band had signed to another record label.

After media companies started buying up record labels as tax shelters in the 1990s, the pendulum began to swing back towards treating artists as money-making machines and the situation we have today, in which incidentally solo female singers, girl groups and boy bands flourish.

A parallel situation used to exist in the publishing industry , in which publishers would actually employ editors to nurture budding novelists and sometimes teach them how to write, spell properly, use grammar and plot the structures of their novels. Now novelists are expected to figure out how to write, spell and plan their work on their own.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 3, 2020 4:57 PM
Reply to  Jen

Thomas Frank has written a very sobering article in “Commodify Your Dissent” in which he takes us through what happens when a rock band “hits the big time” i.e. the whole process through which music biz execs make deals with each other on who they will approach and the tactics they use. The point is that the talent is not something that the music industry has to pay for initially as opposed to e.g. classically trained musicians who require long years of formal practice. The young ones are already there plugging away and Frank takes us through the process whereby they are – well to put it bluntly – conned into working their arses off for what turns out eventually to be less than they would have made stacking shelves in the local supermarket.

And on a happier note – I love the early Queen albums when they defiantly proclaimed that they never used synths – a strategy they were to abandon. I like the fantasy stuff like Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke. (Can’t even recall how it goes now but you have to admire the balls of a title like that!)

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Mar 3, 2020 11:44 PM
Reply to  Jen

Why was almost everything composed by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert a work of genius, yet ‘serious’ music today is almost universally crap?

Jen
Jen
Mar 3, 2020 12:06 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

In real life the cottage gardener may decide that what s/he produces is enough for his/her needs, the family’s needs and the community’s needs, and is not likely to plant and produce more than that, to the point where the work cuts into the rest of the time the cottage gardener is awake.

There have been studies done in the past on taxi drivers and their willingness to work more hours per day to earn more money. What the studies found was that taxi drivers were willing to work X number of hours to the point where they believed they had earned enough money for themselves and their families for the day, and were not interested or willing to work more hours during the day for more money. They were inclined to allow other taxi drivers to work those hours.

Classical economics presumes that human beings are supposedly rational beings motivated by making more money for more material wealth. But human beings are motivated by feelings, emotions and values that go beyond just acquiring more material wealth.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Mar 3, 2020 11:46 PM
Reply to  Jen

An axiom of capitalism is that greed is limitless. One of its neoplastic operating parameters.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 12:54 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“Nothing wrong with that is there?”

Only self-serving obfuscation.

Binra
Binra
Mar 2, 2020 8:17 PM
Reply to  George Mc

False profits are a form of addictive or compulsive reaction to circumstance.
But yes – basically GETTING usurps any sense of relational balance of giving and receiving. I see LACK driven GETTING hollows out the living and lays to waste.

When we WANT something that is not true of us, we become an illusion of ourselves.
The drive for power and security – or insulation – from mortality, struggle and suffering, fuels development of thought and technological defences that embody their genesis. Their is a price to pay for the abnegation of relational responsibility (sovereign will) to externalised technocratic systems that become internally structured to conditioned golems.

Binra
Binra
Mar 2, 2020 8:06 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

I – perhaps like you – am aware that word magic maintains the causes of evils under the identity or flag of War on evil.

‘War on evil’ can and does substitute for – and usurp aligning in the Good – which is a resonant balance within wholeness.
Once baited or tricked into ‘war on whatever’ as state division, we are framed or ruled by our own emotional investments.

I tend to use possession and control – as an underlying mindset that is inherently associated with fear of lack, scarcity and competition or war.

When we flag blame to the sock puppets – we divert attention away from trouble at home, While personalities can be cast in the role of power and blame, so also can ideological constructs and the identities that they generate.

Coercive deceit by design or resulting from self-illusion, operates the masking form of ANY system. And so to blame the system itself, is to oppose its function under blanket judgements of hate justified – that feeds self and other destructive outcomes or evils.

It can also be said that resort to the socially accepted bogeyman is safe and lazy.

The alternatives to capitalism – (as if there is one thing that the label refers to) – are what? Totalitarian state control? Anarchic voluntarism?

Like it or not we have – under industrial capitalism, developed infrastructural corporate dependencies that operate on a huge scale, and our proclivity to give power to ‘systems management’ is our succumbing to a corporate management system that is indeed financially leveraged as a result of leveraging politicians, media and laws to be effectively above the law.But not outside the law of cause and effect – and so destructive results have to be fed to the people as mainstream deceits by which to delay a true account by getting others to make or be sacrificed.

To persist with reducing critical thinking to ‘capitalism’ is like a lot of mainstream thinking – stuck in the past.

Rockefeller et al grew beyond the power of the state to hold to account. That is the ‘globalist’ agenda – monopolism of possession and control – but operating through innumerable fronts, and with controlling influence through a broad spectrum of social, political, scientific, educational and media interests.

Engdahl shows the Military Industrial Complex as diversifying to achieve broad spectrum control through gaining control of food supply – as well as consolidating energy control. Rockefeller et al gained control of the medical model before this.
So what we have is a mask of competition running to deceive the cornered market and the captured mark. I haven’t finished the inexorable grind of unfolding capture and control in ‘Seeds of Destruction’ but there’s only the historical framework. I haven’t seen any analysis – or consideration of remedy or correction.
Recognising deceits of others is not the truth that sets us free – but can set us in search of truth by freeing from self-illusion.
Truth is the necessary casualty for war to be given priority in our heart and mind.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Mar 2, 2020 9:26 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Thanks for the reply D. I was exasperated because why is this planet being raped and pillaged in the first place? For all these corporations to make a profit. $$$.
And we all know the huge devastation that has caused Dun.
Why are billions around the world being exploited? You’re heard of the terms surplus value? Where does that come from? How is that derived?
On a tangent Dungroanin, I’m just having an angry week given the outrageous injustice perpetrated on Julian Assange and that most people (in Australia at least) couldn’t give a flying fig; they’ve all just turned their backs on him – but even JA is linked to your comment.
What was the principal reason the United States was in Iraq?
And you know about corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater? Why do they exist? For altruistic purposes?

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 11:29 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Gezzah these that you describe I call the warmongering global robber barons who at the very top of their food chain are bankers who own and want to own everything!

Semantics are wrapons and classifying them with an activity is as misleading as the nonsensical ‘War on Terror’ – replace terror with capitalism – do you see what I mean.

I have written a lot about JA last week – i’m just as angry as you.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Mar 2, 2020 11:43 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

That’s who I meant D:
the warmongering robber barons. I do agree with you about the ‘war on terror’ as well. Its been a tough week… Also agreed.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 1:00 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

“And you know about corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater? Why do they exist? For altruistic purposes?”

OMG, how naïve. There are bad apples in every honest trade, Gezzah.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 12:53 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“I can give you links to such conversations if you want to see the arguments.”

Even if I hadn’t heard it from your good self I would have bet you could.

“That is capitalism. And they are capitalists.”

As a favoured analyst von a rose red city half as old as time is wont to say, “Booshit”.

Tim Drayton
Tim Drayton
Mar 3, 2020 1:57 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Selling the fruits of your own labour, as in your little cottage gardner example, is not capitalism. Capitalism is a form of class society, which developed out of slavery via feudalism, and is a way of organizing society such that one class exploits the labour of another.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 3, 2020 6:47 PM
Reply to  Tim Drayton

That’ll be every farmer who ever employs a farm worker too then?

That’ll also be Damian Hurst who employs people to create his artworks that he sells for huge profits.

Andrew Lloyd Webber hiring artisans and selling the same show all over with multiple casts too.

Dyson inventing his new vacuum cleaner and building factories abroad to make it to sell to us is too.

I get your point.
The Potters of Stoke, the Mills of Lancashire, the Sugar planters of the Caribbean, Tea plantations, Opium peddlars, the Whaling Fleets…gun makers … and all the ensuing enterprises are capitalism.

It describes a economic activity that generates a ‘profit’ which does not have to be money it could be just surplus stored – like pharoah and Joseph and their stores of grain.

Remember dumb Dubya and his dissing the French about their lack by saying they don’t know entrepreneurship means!

Slavery and serfdom were the original ‘capitalism’ and exploitation of natural resources by stealing them, still are.

Using peoples savings to invest in the stock markets and making commissions out of that is capitalism.

Investing personal wealth (labour or savings) to create something that people want to buy is capitalism.

I have a problem with the semantics as I posted to Gezzah. Words are used to hide the real exploiters – these who hide behind capitalists – the creators of money – who ultimately are the major owners and backers and beneficiaries of capitalism in all its form.

Nobody wants to talk about it – their brainwashing is complete – these wizards.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 12:47 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

“Seriously, are you winding us up here D?”

No, he’s protecting his legacy of fancy stock market shoe shuffling. Wouldn’t want to be rolling over in his grave only to arrive at the great AGM (Aeon General Meeting) in the sky buttup facedown.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Mar 3, 2020 2:03 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

😁 Thanks Rob.
In my rather unacademic and non university educated way…. screw Capitalism and all the evil and greed and exploitation that flows from it.
As some woman in France said a long time ago… ‘let them eat cake’. Tho she ended up in a place I’m sure she wasn’t expecting, such is the extreme arrogance and sense of entitlement of the 0.01% and the elites and the hedge fund parasites at the very top of the hierarchical ladder.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 7:08 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

“the elites and the hedge fund parasites at the very top of the hierarchical ladder.”

You don’t have to get very far up that ladder to fit right in in a useful sort of way.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Mar 3, 2020 11:03 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

Yes. I know. Excuse my grammatical error.
It’s been a long and tough last 9 days or so. Tho nowhere near as tough as sitting in Belmarsh. Obviously.
I’m tired and angry and bloody exasperated that so many couldn’t give a fuck about anything except themselves.
As long as they have their trinkets and baubles and Nike sneakers and latest designer clothes and can boast to people they hardly know about their exotic holidays to Tanzania or Oman or Timbuktu.
And not give a hogs hoot that so many are sleeping in the streets or in their cars, or about sweatshops in Bangladesh or Indonesia or the sanctions against Venezuela that have killed 40000 or the depleted uranium in Fallujah or 9 year old kiddies shot dead in Palestine or mass murdering war criminals like Tony Blair walking the streets or the many other examples I could give you.
And most don’t even bat an eyelid.
So yeah, you’re right Rob. It’s not only those at the very top of the hierarchical ladder.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
Mar 2, 2020 12:35 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

It’s worth bearing in mind Michael Hudson’s distinguishing between industrial capitalism (largely of a former era), and financial capitalism (what mostly happens now).

Not that the financial capitalists were angels, but at least they produced something (or their workers did).

It’s always worth reading Michael Hudson in any case.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
Mar 2, 2020 12:36 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

Oops “Not that the industrial capitalists were angels…”, I meant, of course. Sorry.

paul
paul
Mar 2, 2020 1:58 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford and Co. did at least leave things like steel mills, railroads, oil refineries and car plants behind them.
The Blankfeins, the Dimonds, the Soroses and all the other bloodsucking, rent seeking parasites produce nothing of value. Just worthless bits of paper for Wall Street Wide Boys to shuffle around and pretend are worth billions.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 11:30 PM
Reply to  paul

Paul you need to look at exactly who these people were funded by.

paul
paul
Mar 3, 2020 12:24 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Old Ford had a lot to say about that in the Dearborn Independent.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 4:46 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

Agreed

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 8:44 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

I agreed with Mike. No one else.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 1:03 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“I agreed with Mike. No one else.”

Bugger.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 4:41 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Capitalists actually create wealth and profit to get their money

So the aim of the capitalists is to “get their money”? So the money must exist before you can have capitalism? But money is created by bankers – therefore capitalists depend on bankers?

Or do the capitalists create “wealth and profit” prior to money? Was there a “pure” phase of capitalism that did not depend on money? If so, how was “wealth and profit” measured? And it must have been measured some way otherwise you can’t have profit which is defined as incremented value.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 4:58 PM
Reply to  George Mc

So the money must exist before you can have capitalism?

No.

We have been here not long ago George, haven’t we?

‘Wealth’ is REAL stuff – like axes, furniture, produce, shoes, jewellery, knowledge etc

Money is just a means of valuing it.
—–
Here is another mental exercise to help with understanding that concept if you have ever been a house owner for example:-

How much is the house worth?
What is it’s value?

Give me your answer to that and I will give you mine.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 5:44 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“Wealth” can be anything. You are talking here about use values and that depends on what is needed under specific circumstances. And that cannot be quantified. On the other hand capitalism depends on profit. Profit depends on quantification. Quantification can only be achieved through money.

As for how much my house is “worth”? Well considered as use value, the very notion of “worth” is meaningless. How many people need the house? What facilities does the house need to serve? My son is disabled therefore I need a hoist etc. The concept of “worth” depends on a system of measurement i.e. quantification. For which, see above.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 7:44 PM
Reply to  George Mc

So you agree that your house is your ‘wealth’ – a real thing and for what value it represents you may consider it ‘priceless’ you

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 7:50 PM
Reply to  George Mc

…you wouldn’t part with it for any price even! For whatever personal reasons.

If and when it is sold – it may return more money than you spent buying it, improving it, inflation adjusted even and you may make a ‘profit’ on all that ‘investment’ does that mean you would still consider yoursel as ‘not a capitalist’? When someone does it purely to sell it for more than they paid for it and spent on improving it as ‘capitalist’?
On paper you both made the same profit.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 8:10 PM
Reply to  George Mc

And the answer to ‘what your house is worth in terms of money’ what you call quantification is –

What someone is prepared to pay you for it!

Which is why bartering exists and is known as ‘price discovery’.
It may go up or down, not, just up.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 8:49 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

I haven’t agreed on anything. I’ve said that the my house has a use value i.e. I need it to live in. And the nature of my house e.g. size, shape, devices contained therein has to fit my requirements. At this point, I’m not even thinking about “price”.

As for – possibly – making a profit when selling (and it’s curious that, for you, there’s always a profit and never a loss) well that comes under buying cheap and selling dear – and no, that is not capitalism. Nothing like it. With capitalism, the production is geared entirely towards making a profit. And what this proves is that the old matter of money serving as a medium between commodities is inverted so that the commodity becomes a medium between money flows.

What my house is worth in terms of money is a tautology i.e. when you talk about “worth” you are talking about money. And bartering never comes into it. Bartering, by definition, does not involve money.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 2, 2020 11:41 PM
Reply to  George Mc

George

for you, there’s always a profit and never a loss

Me

It may go up or down, not, just up.

But you have me bang to rights about my mispoke ‘bartering’ – I of course meant ‘haggling’ – I tend to get words mixed up at times. Sorry.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=51_Qs8tq5c8

It is how all souks work.

I’ll take it further tomorrow – good night George.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 1:09 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“I’ll take it further tomorrow…”

And I was going to get up tomorrow. How do I cancel my alarm call?

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin
Mar 3, 2020 1:05 AM
Reply to  Dungroanin

“Give me your answer to that and I will give you mine.”

Now now boys. There are ladies present here too.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Mar 2, 2020 7:58 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Capitalists produce NOTHING-working people do. Capitalists steal and accumulate, like cancer metastases.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
Mar 3, 2020 6:57 PM

Bankers do that Richard.

They do it to capitalists of all shapes and sizes.

THEY are the ultimate predators.
But they have convinced everyone that its ‘capitalists’ who are by buying up education and creating absurd economic religion.

George Mc
George Mc
Mar 2, 2020 8:04 AM

The Gervais speech has been censored but you can read the transcript here:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/transcript-ricky-gervais-golden-globes-2020-opening-monologue-1266516

Americans can bomb whoever they want but no-one must be allowed to hear about Judi Dench’s “ass”.

TheThinker
TheThinker
Mar 2, 2020 3:48 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Link to video still on Gervais own twitter, albeit a couple of rude words are now censored.

https://mobile.twitter.com/rickygervais/status/1224822231647313922

Hugh O'Neill
Hugh O'Neill
Mar 2, 2020 5:47 AM

I have just followed up 2 of the many links in the 3rd story. The first one was in Footnote (2) and Ricky Gervais throwing truth around at the Golden Globes. The 2nd link was the final link to the Arbuthnot story in “Declassified UK” at the bottom of which was 1 comment from 6 days ago (for what its worth, I have redacted the name of the troll, Don Corleone):

“Looks like a lot of dots which don’t quite connect. Suggestions and repetition of facts which may or may not justify the insinuations. No mention of anything Assange may have done to contribute to his predicament. Remember, Assange was wanted in Sweden where two women had filed sexual assault charges against him. His claim that he was resisting extradition to Sweden for fear of being further extradited to the US was specious because extradition to the US from Sweden would require the agreement of both Sweden and the UK. i.e. It now only requires a decision in the UK. He was helped with bail and accommodation in the UK, and then skipped bail (costing his benefactor), and hid in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Ecuadorians put up with him for seven years and in return he filed a complaint against them alleging mistreatment. The complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was rejected, and the Ecuadorians eventually revoked his asylum and expelled him citing his “discourteous and aggressive behaviour”.Assange hides behind the right of free speech, and claims to be a journalist being persecuted for revealing criminal behaviour on the part of the US military, among other things. (Actually the indictment is for hacking Pentagon computers). Any legitimate journalist/news organisation carefully considers the risks associated with publishing a story. This would include redacting the names of people in the field who may be endangered by the revelation of their roles in the story. None of that was done before Wikileaks dumped their mother lode of revelations into the public domaine, revealing the names of Afghan informants who had been working with the US.This is not by way of defending any of the terrible things which were revealed. That is another matter, the consequences of which will continue to play out, as they must, but lets not buy into the myth of Assange as innocent political prisoner being unfairly railroaded by a corrupt British legal system.

Patently, the troll/commenter did not make the effort to read Craig Murray’s blog where he would have learned of the complete destruction of every slanderous lie. However, there an implicit threat within his text: “Any legitimate journalist/news organisation carefully considers the risks associated with publishing a story”. The risk of waking up in bed with a horse’s head must be huuuuge.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts
Mar 2, 2020 4:47 AM

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation. Most government is by the rich for the rich. Government comprises a large part of the organized injustice in any society, ancient or modern.Civil government, insofar as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, and for the defence of those who have property against those who have none. Adam Smith

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Mar 2, 2020 6:29 AM

Capitalism IS organised crime. ‘Crime’ is disorganised capitalism.