Aeon -- Can you have self-worth without self-love? by Simon Blackburn
'The proud person might take pleasure in having done something that deserves to be admired, but to the vain person the admiration itself becomes the goal. Vanity is greedy for the admiration of others, regardless of whether the admiration is deserved: the vain person enjoys being flattered, even if the flattery is hollow. Vanity is often the consequence of a fragile self-esteem – a fear of falling short in the eyes of others that results in a constant demand for reassurance. As such, it is often a better target for sympathy or pity than for censure. -- If vanity is overly concerned with the admiration of others, and often arises from a more fundamental insecurity, conceit takes us in the other direction. It means having a sufficiently high opinion of oneself to have no need of the applause of other people. The conceited person is so sure of himself that reassurance from others become irrelevant. It is annoying in a way that vanity is not since, by ignoring the voices of others, the conceited person tells them that they do not count; they are as nothing to him. Arrogance, pig-headedness, and overweening self-confidence and hubris mark the path of conceit. It is the typical vice of politicians, surrounded by courtiers, constantly flattered, and all too often self-deceived by their own claims to leadership, wisdom, insight and ability.'
psychology  shame  narcissism  selfesteem 
2 days ago
NYTimes.com -- When a Robot Is a Caregiver
'...The robots proposed as “caring machines” fool us into thinking they care about us. Maintaining eye contact, remembering our names, responding to verbal cues — these are things that robots do to simulate care and understanding. -- So, Miriam — a woman who had lost a child — was trying to make sense of her loss with a machine that had no understanding or experience of a human life. That robot put on a good show. And we’re vulnerable: People experience even pretend empathy as the real thing. But robots can’t empathize. They don’t face death or know life. So when this woman took comfort in her robot companion, I didn’t find it amazing. I felt we had abandoned Miriam.'
relationalobjects  simulacra  SherryTurkle 
2 days ago
The Progress Report -- As Robots do the Jobs, Should We Own the Robots?
'Ed. Notes: If you want to live in the privacy of your own home, won’t you need that right and to own the house? And what about the land beneath it? And the land beneath the factories? And the land above those resources? And the locations in the EM spectrum? Somebody does and will own all those valuable aspects of nature. Which is fine. But should they keep the rents for those valuable locations or pay them? -- By analogy, you may have a child, but do you own that child’s labor? Even after paying so much for the child’s upbringing? A better example. You park downtown or at a park in the country, because space is limited and the people excluded by your presence deserve compensation. Similarly, you as an owner of land would not keep the rent from your community but pay it to your neighbors, just as they would pay you. -- Everyone would pay land dues (like land taxes) into the public treasury and get rent dividends back (like Singapore does). Plus, extra awesome is this: as technology progresses, it pushes up site values; look at Silicon Valley. So if your society is recovering and sharing those values, then the farther hi-tech advances, the fatter your dividend check grows. Finally, it would not matter at all how many jobs disappear — and property rights could stay the same.'
economics  geoism  land  rent 
2 days ago
The Progress Report -- New York Times: Perhaps a Land Value Tax?
'Ed. Notes: Brave of him to cite land as a tax base (once again). Of course he had to cover his butt and add “perhaps”. Which is the difference between mainstream media, constantly catering to fear, and alternative media, always trying to lay it on the line. -- Bear in mind that “land” here refers to location, not just downtowns but also sites above oil fields and the oil itself. And not just tangible land but also the intangible, such as the EM spectrum (a frequency is a location there). And not just land, the good, but also ecosystem, the service. Finally, what the tax or fee or lease or dues falls on is not land, the stock, but its rent, the flow.'

This flow of money that we spend for the nature we use need not fund government; government can get by charging fees for its services. Instead, all those rents for all those locations could be disbursed as dividends to citizens. Receiving a fair share, citizens could get by with much less government, making the whole taxation question much more tolerable.
economics  land  rent  geoism 
2 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- UPDATE of the Latest US Government Hoax
'The anti-Russian propaganda campaign being conducted by Washington follows in the footsteps of the campaigns conducted against Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, and Iran. Washington’s campaign of lies against Russia proves the absence of integrity in the US government and is reckless as it can lead to war. -- Peter Duveen, who commented on my article exposing the State Department hoax, explained that having foreknowledge of news events that Washington orchestrates allows Washington to control the explanation before any evidence is available. By the time evidence is gathered, the narrative is established and the evidence ignored: -- “Part of the US propaganda mill’s effort is into forming the conversation. Once certain narratives take hold, true or untrue, they edge out other narratives. So the effort is to get control of the narrative, to form the conversation with whatever materials, usually false, are available. Then, of course, the false information will be referenced as true, and the direction of the narrative will be fixed. The narrative being lowered into place, for example, is that Russia was somehow responsible for the downing of Flight 17. With the help of the media, the hope is that the narrative will gain momentum. Eventually, if it catches properly, it will be impossible to question, just as people are considered freaks who question the official narrative of 9-11. That is why the narratives are introduced as quickly as possible. Thus, we saw how quickly it was announced that Flight 17 was brought down by a surface to air missile. That would lead me to believe that it was actually not brought down by a surface to air missile. So also with this incredibly amateurish effort regarding Russian shelling of Ukrainian positions. Russian reaction is never obtained in the articles about it, and it is no longer mentioned that Russian territory has been shelled by the Ukrainian military.”'
america  empire  minitrue  war  perpetualwar  1984 
2 days ago
The Daily Bell -- Washington Is Escalating the Orchestrated Ukrainian "Crisis" to War by Paul Craig Roberts
'Despite the conclusion by US intelligence that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner and all lives onboard, Washington is escalating the crisis and shepherding it toward war. -- Twenty-two US senators have introduced into the 113th Congress, Second Session, a bill, S.2277, "To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes." -- Note that prior to any evidence of any Russian aggression, there are already 22 senators lined up in behalf of preventing further Russian aggression. -- Accompanying this preparatory propaganda move to create a framework for war, hot or cold with Russia, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove announced his plan for a deployment of massive military means in Eastern Europe that would permit lightening responses against Russia in order to protect Europe from Russian aggression. -- There we have it again: Russian aggression. Repeat it enough and it becomes real. -- In its dealings with Washington Europe has grown accustomed to the efficacy of bribes, threats, and coercion. Captive nations are inured to diplomacy's impotence. Europeans see diplomacy as the weak card played by the weak party. And, of course, all the Europeans want money, which Washington prints with abandon. -- Russia and China are disadvantaged in their conflict with Washington. Russia and China have emerged from tyranny. People in both countries were influenced by American cold war propaganda. Both countries have educated people who think that America has freedom, democracy, justice, civil liberty, economic wellbeing and is a welcoming friend of other countries that want the same thing. -- This is a dangerous delusion. Washington has an agenda. Washington has put in place a police state to suppress its own population, and Washington believes that history has conveyed the right to Washington to exercise hegemony over the world. Last year President Obama declared to the world that he sincerely believes that America is the exceptional nation on whose leadership the world depends. -- In other words, all other countries and peoples are unexceptional. Their voices are unimportant. Their aspirations are best served by Washington's leadership. Those who disagree–Russia, China, Iran, and the new entity ISIL–are regarded by Washington as obstacles to history's purpose. Anything, whether an idea or a country, that is in the way of Washington is in the way of History's Purpose and must be run over. -- In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Europe faced the determination of the French Revolution to impose Liberty, Equality, Fraternity upon Europe. Today Washington's ambition is larger. The ambition is to impose Washington's hegemony on the entire world. -- Unless Russia and China submit, this means war.'
america  empire  exceptionalism  war  perpetualwar 
2 days ago
PaulCraigRoberts.org -- Government of Ukraine Collapses
'Today the Ukrainian government resigned. The prime minister Yatsenyuk, or “Yat” as affectionately called by Victoria Nuland who put Yat into office, resigned along with the entire Cabinet. The parliament refused to vote the harsh conditions demanded by the IMF. I am not sure what this means. Perhaps it is just a tactic to force the parliament to do as the IMF says. Or perhaps Yat, Washington’s stooge, has realized that IMF or no IMF, Ukraine’s economy is imploding and wants to get out of the blame. -- The point for now is that I checked the BBC, the New York Times, and CNN and there is not one word about the collapse of the government of Ukraine. -- I did notice that the BBC, now a reliable element of Washington’s Ministry of Propaganda, reported, as if it were true, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf’s claim that the Russian military is shelling Ukrainian forces. When Harf tried this out today on a roomful of journalists, they laughed her out of the room. Evidence, evidence! they demanded. Why, Harf was asked, do you think something is made true by you saying it!? -- So, as usual, real news is missing from the Western press, but fake news is reported.'
america  empire  minitrue  war  perpetualwar  1984 
2 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: 'US 'proof' so unprofessional - social media propaganda' - Frmr WSJ Editor [Paul Craig Roberts]
'The US State Department has released satellite images via email which it says act as “evidence” that Russia is firing rockets at Ukrainian troops across the border.'
america  empire  minitrue  propaganda  twominuteshate 
2 days ago
The Intercept -- Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
'“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.”'
statism  terrorism!  precrime  facecrime  1984 
7 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: British Spies Controlling the Past, Present and Future | Interview with Annie Machon
"...all these MPs are aware that they might have files on them; all of them are aware they're not allowed to see those files; and all of them are very aware that if they step out of line and don't give the spies the powers and resources that they demand, then nasty little stories could appear in the British media about them. And most MPs – most of our elected representatives – have some little guilty secrets floating around somewhere, be it expenses fiddling or kiddie fiddling or mistresses or lovers, or whatever. So they're very weary of taking on the intelligence agencies."
statism  bigbrother  surveillance  stasi  thoughtpolice  1984 
7 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: Main Scream Media: Western press pin blame for MH17 crash on Russia
His voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then maddened. At every few moments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the voice of the speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most savage yells of all came from the schoolchildren. The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia!
america  empire  minitrue  twominuteshate  duckspeak  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: CrossTalk: MH17 Spin
'Washington has a mountain of evidence but isn't disclosing it. What is Washington hiding? Will the investigation show something the West doesn't want to see? And do we hear a drumbeat of war?
CrossTalking with Vladimir Suchan, Eric Kraus and Eric Draitser.' -- How many fingers, Winston?
twominuteshate  minitrue  america  empire  war  perpetualwar  1984 
7 days ago
The Progress Report -- Vanity Fair's Michael Kinsley: a Doable Tax
'Ed. Notes: People plot to tax wealth after the rich already got it rather than redirect our spending so that no insiders could corral it and become the 1%. “Our spending” here refers to both public and private. Take public spending: we could abolish corporate welfare and disburse revenue directly to citizens as a dividend. -- Take private spending. Presently, our spending for things that nobody created — like land, natural resources, the EM spectrum, ecosystem services, and privileges that force consumers to pay “tolls” (jacked up prices) to the privilege holders — go to banks, oil companies, and other insiders, creating that 1%. Instead, we could institute land dues rather than tax buildings, purchases, and earned incomes. When the public gets those values (via the dividend), then they’re not available for the more grasping to amass into fortunes. -- We could stop worrying about how much anyone has by redirecting what everyone spends for our common heritage, which should belong to us all already. It’s called geonomics and it has worked wherever tried, to the degree tried.'
economics  geoism  rentseeking  mercantilism  corporatism  "capitalism" 
7 days ago
The Progress Report -- Thirsty Detroiters Take to the Streets After Shutoff
'Ed. Notes: Is the City charging more than the cost of delivering water? If so, are they using the profit to lower bad taxes or pay residents a dividend? And why are so many residents poor? -- Poverty has an easy economic solution, and that is geonomics. #One, don’t subsidize insiders, that only makes it easier for them beat competitors, and competitors keep prices low and wages high. #Two, don’t tax people’s efforts, that only makes it harder to hire helpers. #Three, don’t fail to recover socially-generated land rents, which merely rewards speculators; when owners pay “land dues” they put locations to best use, which attracts investment and creates employment. And #Four, disburse surplus public revenue as a dividend, which is substantial in cities where site values are higher than skyscrapers. Dividends mean people can always afford water. -- The problem is not that there isn’t any solution. The problem is that people have no interest in fundamental solutions and prefer to just blame one another: rich are greedy, poor are lazy. If humans could get over that and rekindle their innate curiosity, they’ll discover what works — geonomics.'
economics  geoism  poverty 
7 days ago
The Progress Report -- European Environment Agency: Shift Taxes Now
'Ed. Notes: Shifting taxes from wages to pollution is one of three big green tax shifts. Another is to shift from purchases (e.g., VAT) to extraction of resources. The most powerful shift is the least obvious and well known: off buildings onto exclusive use of locations. -- When owners pay land rent to their community rather than receive it from tenants or buyers, then they take no more land than they need and use that wisely. In urban areas, using land efficiently makes for compact towns that use fewer materials (the goal of the depletion tax) and less energy (the aim of the pollution tax). -- Other powerful advantages of recovering rents is that doing so grows the tax base rather than shrinks it (since owners develop their lots), raising enough revenue to afford a dividend to citizens, merging everyone’s need for money with their love for Earth. Proposing land dues challenges society to see the worth of Earth as part of the commons. And shifting the property tax off buildings, onto land is something localities can do without waiting for states or nations or unions. So get busy geonomizing now.'
economics  environmentalism  geoism  land  rent 
7 days ago
Share The Rents -- How the West Garrotes itself
'...It’s true that millions of families in the West are suffering. They can’t “make ends meet” – and so, the blame is placed on wages that are deemed to be too low. -- Really? -- Dig deeper. And what we find is that a disproportionate share of wages and salaries is devoted to the cost of accommodation. -- Immigrants are raising rents at the lower end of the property market. And eastern investors are raising property prices at the top end of the market. But what’s stopping the industrialised countries from building enough dwellings to equate supply with demand? The problem is not with the cost of building materials. Affordability is not determined by constraints in the supply of bricks and mortar. The problem relates exclusively to property rights in land (the supply of land is fixed by nature, for practical purposes, in places where people want to live and work), and with the way governments distort income distribution through their fiscal policies. -- If Indigenous wages are under pressure, it’s not because of Immigrants. It’s because of home-grown policies that are shaped to enrich the rent-seekers, at the expense of people who work for their wages.'
economics  geoism  land  rentseeking  FredHarrison 
7 days ago
The Daily Bell -- Stephan Kinsella on Libertarian Legal Theory, Self-Ownership and Drug Laws
'Daily Bell: Another major question for libertarians involves when and why agreements are legally enforceable or in other words, how rights are voluntarily transferred. Can you offer some insight? -- Stephan Kinsella: ...Contracts are just transfers of title, or ownership, to a scarce resource, by the owner, by some sufficient communication of his consent. Outside of this, actions that are crimes or torts – invasions of the borders of others' owned resources – can also be considered to be transfers of rights. For example if A attacks B, now B has a right to punch A. A has in a sense given up his right to object to this force. The right has been transferred, or forfeited. Or if A negligently harms B, now B is entitled to claim some of A's money as damages; that too results in a transfer. But notice that intentional aggression, sometimes called "crime," and torts, are all intentional actions, as are contracts. These are all basically actions human actors can take that result in some kind of change in the rights landscape. This is one reason I am not hostile to the idea of positive rights – so long as they are the result of one's action. If you push someone in a lake, you now have an obligation to rescue them even though a stranger does not. If you create a dependent child by copulation, then you have certain parental obligations to care for this child. It's a positive obligation but one that you created by your free action. Libertarians IMO are not against positive obligations — we are just against unchosen positive obligations. -- Daily Bell: Why does making a promise or agreeing or "committing" to do something result in a transfer of rights from the promisor to the promisee? To many – even to many libertarians – it seems elementary and obvious: If you promise to do something, you may be forced to do it. -- Stephan Kinsella: We are used to thinking this way because the state's legal system has characterized it this way for some time. The idea now is that promises should be binding, if they are made with the right formalities. One theory that is used to back this up is that people rely on your promises and would be harmed, would suffer damage, if you were to be free to renege. But this reasoning is circular, of course—if the law did not enforce promises it would be unreasonable for promisees to "rely" on that promise. (See notes 22-23 of my contract theory article noted previously.) So as Rothbard recognizes, the "binding promise" theory of contract is not coherent. Contract really simply means a transaction or arrangement whereby the owner of a resource exercises his ownership power to grant permission or even to transfer ownership of the resource to someone else. That is all that contracts are: title-transfers, with various conditions (triggers) attached to the transfers.'
law  contracts  StephanKinsella 
9 days ago
Libertarianism and Georgism: The Philosophical and Practical Relationship by Harold Kyriazi
'The dictionary definition of libertarian is someone who believes in freedom of thought and freedom of action. We are not going to concern ourselves today with freedom of thought. It is probably a little bit outdated, back to the time when religion was very authoritarian and oppressive. At that time the whole freedom of thought movement was a big deal. -- We are going to focus on freedom of action. It is useful to break up the universe into three different categories. Us, fellow citizens, sentient beings. The second category is 3-dimensional space. A third category is matter, that is, the stuff of the universe besides us. Freedom of action can be thought of as freedom to interact with all three of these categories. If you and I interact with each other, that is called freedom of association. If we interact with 3-dimensional space by moving around, we call that the right to travel and we travel over public right of ways. That is an important part of freedom, that we have public right of ways. -- The third category is interacting with matter. Here on earth we think of that as using the earth. This is where Georgism falls out of Libertarian philosophy. We believe in freedom of action, and part of that is the right to interact with the earth. That is where I see Georgism fitting, and of course there is the Georgist remedy of community collection of ground rent. We geo-libertarians really must avoid the word "tax" when we talk to libertarians. That is something the government levies with no real firm ties with what they are providing. Rent is something where you get what you pay for. -- From this interaction of us with matter we generate the fourth category of things in the universe, and that is our stuff. We generate private property. Libertarians tend to get confused on this issue or argumentative because they think that land should be considered private property. They don't understand that land and all the other raw matter in the universe is something we all have a right to interact with. When we do that and create things that we all need to live, we create tools, that is what we really own, and that becomes part of us. -- It is important to understand that there is a labor component to genuine property, and this goes back to John Locke and the labor based theory of property. This is not to be confused with Marx's labor theory of value. The point here is that Georgism is a part of Libertarian philosophy. -- I think when Georgism becomes part of a Libertarian campaign it really helps the candidate "sell" the philosophy more than just plain libertarianism. I had been unable to talk to working people on a meaningful level. All the run-of-the-mill Libertarian can say is, well, we want to get government out of your pocketbook. The working man really feels he is being oppressed, and now I realize he is being oppressed. He is not perhaps being oppressed by the people he thinks he is being oppressed by; he doesn't see that the real villain in this case is the landlord as landlord. It really allows a Libertarian to make a much more effective campaign if he can say, "Yes, I understand you are having to struggle hard to survive." -- But government isn't the only problem, as most libertarians think. Working people tend to think of government as their friend and someone they need to help them. -- Another way Georgism can help a Libertarian campaign is by saying we won't need big government as much when we have community collection of ground rent. If we institute Land Value Taxation it will free up land by ending the incentive for speculation in land. That will allow more efficient creation of wealth. We will have more competition for labor, and with more competition for labor we will have higher wages. That is where the traditional Libertarian element comes in -- you will be able to keep all your wages. How will we pay for government? Well, that will come out of land rent that we collect. Georgism can help Libertarians run more effective campaigns.'
economics  land  geoism  libertarianism  minarchism  politics 
9 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- What Happened to the Malaysian Airliner?
'...In my previous article http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/17/sanctions-airliners-paul-craig-roberts/ I reported on the BBC news report which I heard and which was obviously primed to place all blame on Russia. The program ended with a BBC correspondent breathlessly reporting that he has just seen the youtube video and that the video is the smoking gun that proved Russia did it. There is no longer any doubt, he said. Somehow the information got on a video and on youtube before it reached the Ukrainian government or Washington. -- The evidence that Putin did it is a video made prior to the attack on the airliner. The entire BBC report aired over National Public Radio was orchestrated for the sole purpose of establishing prior to any evidence that Russia was responsible. -- Indeed the entire Western media spoke as one: Russia did it. And the presstitutes are still speaking the same way. -- Possibly, this uniform opinion merely reflects the pavlovian training of the Western media to automatically line up with Washington. No media source wants to be subject to criticism for being unamerican or to find itself isolated by majority opinion, which carries the day, and earn black marks for being wrong. As a former journalist for, and contributor to, America’s most important news publications, I know how this works. -- On the other hand, if we discount the pavlovian conditioning, the only conclusion is that the entire news cycle pertaining to the downing of the Malaysian airliner is orchestrated in order to lay the blame on Putin. -- Romesh Ratnesar, deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, provides convincing evidence for orchestration in his own remarks of July 17. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-17/the-malaysia-airlines-shootdown-spells-disaster-for-putin?campaign_id=DN071814 Ratnesar’s opinion title is: “The Malaysia Airlines Shootdown Spells Disaster for Putin.” Ratnesar does not mean that Putin is being framed-up. He means that prior to Putin having the Malaysian airliner shot down, “to the vast majority of Americans, Russia’s meddling in Ukraine has largely seemed of peripheral importance to U.S. interests. That calculus has changed. . . . It may take months, even years, but Putin’s recklessness is bound to catch up to him. When it does, the downing of MH 17 may be seen as the beginning of his undoing.” -- As a former Wall Street Journal editor, anyone who handed me a piece of shit like Ratnesar published would have been fired. Look at the insinuations when there is no evidence to support them. Look at the lie that Washington’s coup is “Russia’s meddling in Ukraine.” What we are witnessing is the total corruption of Western journalism by Washington’s imperial agenda. Journalists have to get on board with the lies or get run over. -- The flaw in Putin’s diplomacy is that Putin’s diplomacy relies on good will and on truth prevailing. However, the West has no good will, and Washington is not interested in truth prevailing but in Washington prevailing. What Putin confronts is not reasonable “partners,” but a propaganda ministry aimed at him.'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  minitrue 
9 days ago
The Daily Bell -- What the Media Won’t Report About Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by Ron Paul
'While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report. -- They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and US-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Without US-sponsored "regime change," it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened. -- The media has reported that the plane must have been shot down by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatists, because the missile that reportedly brought down the plane was Russian made. But they will not report that the Ukrainian government also uses the exact same Russian-made weapons. -- They will not report that the post-coup government in Kiev has, according to OSCE monitors, killed 250 people in the breakaway Lugansk region since June, including 20 killed as government forces bombed the city center the day after the plane crash! Most of these are civilians and together they roughly equal the number killed in the plane crash. By contrast, Russia has killed no one in Ukraine, and the separatists have struck largely military, not civilian, targets. -- They will not report that the US has strongly backed the Ukrainian government in these attacks on civilians, which a State Department spokeswoman called "measured and moderate." -- They will not report that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain but everything to lose by shooting down a passenger liner full of civilians. -- They will not report that the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia, and that the Ukrainian prime minister has already expressed his pleasure that Russia is being blamed for the attack. -- They will not report that the missile that apparently shot down the plane was from a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that requires a good deal of training that the separatists do not have. -- They will not report that the separatists in eastern Ukraine have inflicted considerable losses on the Ukrainian government in the week before the plane was downed. -- They will not report how similar this is to last summer's US claim that the Assad government in Syria had used poison gas against civilians in Ghouta. Assad was also gaining the upper hand in his struggle with US-backed rebels and the US claimed that the attack came from Syrian government positions. Then, US claims led us to the brink of another war in the Middle East. At the last minute public opposition forced Obama to back down – and we have learned since then that US claims about the gas attack were false. -- Of course, it is entirely possible that the Obama administration and the US media has it right this time, and Russia or the separatists in eastern Ukraine either purposely or inadvertently shot down this aircraft. The real point is, it's very difficult to get accurate information so everybody engages in propaganda. At this point it would be unwise to say the Russians did it, the Ukrainian government did it, or the rebels did it. Is it so hard to simply demand a real investigation?'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  minitrue 
9 days ago
Paul Craig Roberts -- Sanctions and Airliners
'Washington’s empire is beginning to crack, a circumstances that will bring desperate action from Washington. Today (July 17) I heard a BBC news report on National Public Radio about a Malaysian airliner being shot down in Ukraine. The reporting might have been honest, but it sounded like a frame-up of Russia and the Ukrainian “separatists.” As the BBC solicited more biased opinions, the broadcast ended with a report from social media that separatists had brought down the airliner with a Russian weapon system. -- No one on the program wondered what the separatists had to gain by shooting down an airliner. Instead, the discussion was whether once Russian responsibility was established, would this force the EU to endorse tougher US sanctions against Russia. The BBC was following Washington’s script and heading the story where Washington wanted it to go. -- The appearance of a Washington operation is present. All the warmongers were ready on cue. US Vice President Joe Biden declared that the airliner was “blown out of the sky.” It was “not an accident.” Why would a person without an agenda be so declarative prior to having any information? Clearly, Biden was not implying that it was Kiev that blew the airliner out of the sky. Biden was at work in advance of the evidence blaming Russia. Indeed, the way Washington operates, it will pile on blame until it needs no evidence. -- Senator John McCain jumped on the supposition that there were US citizens aboard to call for punitive actions against Russia before the passenger list and the cause of the airliner’s fate are known. -- The “investigation” is being conducted by Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev. I think we already know what the conclusion will be. -- The probability is high that we are going to have more fabricated evidence, such as the fabricated evidence presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN “proving” the existence of the non-existent Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.” Washington has succeeded with so many lies, deceptions and crimes that it believes that it can always succeed again. -- At this time as I write, we have no reliable information about the airliner, but the Roman question always pertains: “Who benefits?” There is no conceivable motive for separatists to shoot down an airliner, but Washington did have a motive–to frame-up Russia–and possibly a second motive. Among the reports or rumors there is one that says Putin’s presidential plane flew a similar route to that of the Malaysian airliner within 37 minutes of one another. This report has led to speculation that Washington decided to rid itself of Putin and mistook the Malaysian airliner for Putin’s jet. -- RT reports that the two airplanes are similar in appearance. http://rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/ -- Before you say Washington is too sophisticated to mistake one airliner for another, keep in mind that when Washington shot down an Iranian airliner over Iranian air space, the US Navy claimed that it thought the 290 civilians that it murdered were in an Iranian fighter jet, a F-14 Tomcat fighter, a US-made fighter that was a mainstay of the US Navy. If the US Navy cannot tell its own workhorse fighter aircraft from an Iranian airliner, clearly the US can confuse two airliners that the RT report shows appear very similar. -- During the entire BBC frame-up of Russia, no one mentioned the Iranian passenger airliner that the US “blew out of the sky.” No one put sanctions on Washington.'
america  war  perpetualwar 
12 days ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: The Truthseeker: 'Genocide' in Eastern Ukraine (E43)
''Degeneration into genocide' as President Poroshenko calls for the murder of 'hundreds' of rebels for each of his troops killed - more than Nazi Germany ordered as punitive reprisals in World War Two; eyewitnesses report Kiev death squads going 'house to house' executing all men under 35 on the spot, 'crucifying' babies and forcing their mothers to watch - unspeakable atrocities under a complete mainstream media blackout. On Sunday Ukraine's missiles killed and injured civilians in the Rostov region, the latest bombing on Russia.'
america  empire  puppetry  perpetualwar  war 
17 days ago
The Progress Report -- New York Land Prices High From Global Dirty Money
'Ed. Notes: Real estate in New York is like oil in Texas. Wherever land costs a lot (and pays off a lot), and wherever oil is deposited, you find bullies hurting people and raking in fortunes. Easy money always attracts loose morals. -- It does so inside and outside government, both the bribe givers and the bribe takers. (What’s the difference between a bribe and a campaign contribution of millions? Time’s up.) The real state is real estate and always has been, from the days lords and kings to the present day of landlords and bank lenders. -- The only antidote is realize natural rents belong to us all, to share them a la Singapore, and to keep promulgating that realization.'
geoism  economics  land  rentseeking  landlordism  statism 
18 days ago
The Progress Report -- Canadians Pushing for Basic Income Guarantee
'Ed. Notes: It’s ironic to me that the proponents of BI use the word “guarantee”, presupposing that’s something governments can do, yet don’t breathe a word about from where would come the money? -- I’d rather see proponents focus on our common wealth, which by its nature (being common property), is something we should share, something that all of us are already entitled to a share. -- Indeed, it is immoral that the vast majority of us do not receive our share while a small handful of people capture the shares of millions of fellow citizens. However, eventho’ this situation is not ethical, nobody’s behavior is unethical. To behave badly, one must first know what’s right and wrong and most people are not even aware that common wealth exists, so how could they realize that hogging it is wrong? -- What is our common wealth? It is the worth of Earth. Nobody made land and resources and all of us make them valuable, by our demand for usage of various locations. Each of us has a right to land and to compensation when we’re excluded from land. Plus, each of has the duty to compensate those whom we exclude from our land. -- Economic value in practice is spending, herein our spending for all the locations and ecosystem services that we use. This flow is a surplus since it does not reward anybody’s labor or capital; Earth was created by whatever created us. This surplus is social since it is society’s recognition of property rights that makes it possible to use and exchange use of locations. -- If society did institute land dues, then it could do away with counterproductive taxes. If society did institute rent dividends,then it could do away with addictive subsidies. Minus the interference of taxes and subsidies – both of which distort prices and thus behavior – economies could operate at peak efficiency and government bureaucracies could shrink. -- Dues and dividends are the policy of geonomics. Wherever tried, to the degree tried, it has always worked. So rather than propose an unfunded BIG, propose a Citizen’s Dividend. Dividends by definition are shares of surplus, so the details of the proposal are built in.'
geoism  economics  land  rent 
18 days ago
Designing Behavior -- Delayed Social Development: The Cost of Texting Instead of Talking?
'...Traditionally, we received such instantaneous feedback in the social realm. Poor or rude behavior was met with a sneer or furrowed brow, while charming and kind words were met with a smile and, perhaps, a reciprocated compliment. The feedback loops for our social behaviors were tight, and so we grew and matured as civic beings with a staggering speed. Our less than desirable behaviors were shunned while our good behaviors were nurtured. -- Today, this development still occurs. However, we have also introduced a large time gap into our social maturation with the advent and frequent usage of asynchronous communication mediums like text messaging, email, etc. While it’s easy to tell whether or not a joke went over well in a face to face interaction, texts are often left unanswered for hours – leaving us to wonder: “Did I say something wrong?”. If that text goes unanswered, we get no true feedback. We can take the lack of a response as a signal that the joke was bad or inappropriate. However, it may have actually been quite terrific, garnering a large chuckle when read; but, in the middle of a busy day, the other person just didn’t remember to respond. Without a positive response, it’s unlikely that we’ll continue to say similar jokes in similar future contexts. Though, this would be a mistake – a mistake created by a newly introduced feedback delay we’ve created in a newly created communication medium.'
literaryculturevsoralculture  communication  asynchronous  latency  shame 
19 days ago
Melting Asphalt -- Personhood: A Game for Two or More Players
'#Reasonable-ness or use of reasons: The society of persons runs on the "currency" of reasons. This isn't a real currency, of course, just a metaphorical one — but the metaphor is fairly strong. We give each other reasons, accept or reject the reasons of others. Reasons, like money, can be good/bad/sound/etc., and we are always (like a shopkeeper being handed a suspicious-looking bill) evaluating the reasons of others, testing them for soundness. Sometimes we're called upon to give an account of our behavior, i.e., to show our reasons as we might open our books to an auditor. In fact we're auditing each other so frequently that we've created a strong incentive to produce counterfeit reasons: pretexts, confabulations, rationalizations, justifications, etc. We even dabble in credit, as in giving credit to a friend when he behaves strangely, but when we don't know the full story, or in giving someone the "benefit of the doubt," though his reasons may seem a bit fishy. -- But(!) however tricky it is to peddle in reasons — however prone such a currency is to inflation, debasement, and Gresham's Law — it beats the knickers off the alternative: violence. Threats, counter-threats, shoving or shouting matches. If you want one of your fellow humans to undertake a specific action, it's far more civilized to ply him with reasons than coerce him with fists. -- So the criterion of 'reasonable-ness' actually devolves into two related criteria: Giving reasons i.e. legibility. Accepting reasons i.e. amenability. -- #Standing: This one's a little weird, but extremely important. In order for others to do business with you — accept your reasons and promises on credit — you need to have something to lose; you need some table stakes or collateral. Let's call this standing. -- You need some 'skin in the game' before anyone will be willing to trust you. If you have nothing to lose — if you just drifted into town, for example, and have no reputational capital here — what incentive do you have not to lie and make false promises, or otherwise violate the contract of personhood? Society can't trust you unless it has you by the short hairs. -- When conservatives emphasize the importance of personal responsibility, I think this is what they're talking about. The less we hold ourselves responsible for our actions (ex ante), the less we can be trusted to act properly. And an important corollary of this: The more lenient society is with its members, the weaker the social contract, and the harder it is for everyone to interact with each other — a sobering thought.'
self  masks  status  reputation 
19 days ago
The New Inquiry -- No Life Stories
'Big Data benefits by persuading us that we are the least trustworthy processors of data about ourselves. The degree to which we believe our own life stories are unreliable, to others and to ourselves, is the degree we will volunteer more information about ourselves to data miners for processing. -- As the recent Facebok mood-manipulation study shows, social-media platforms aim to reshape our experience of the self in terms of what Andrejevic describes as “statistical proxies for affective intensities.” Correlations in data sets are used to shape user experiences (ostensibly to make their use more satisfying), which in turn feedback the behavior model- ing led the administrators to expect. You may never know that you have been affected by the discovery that, to use a speculative example Andrejevic offers, “someone who purchased a particular car in a particular place and buys a certain brand of toothpaste may be more likely to be late in paying off credit card debt.” But it will dictate your economic opportunities and thereby reinforce it’s “truth.” And because the members of these groups don’t even know they have been put together for purposes of control, they can’t form the sort of solidarity necessary to object to this mechanism of administration. -- ...the algorithm becomes responsible for our political impotence, an alibi for it that lets us enjoy its dubious fruits. By trading narratives for Big Data, emotions are left with no basis in any belief system. You won’t need a reason to feel anything, and feeling can’t serve as a reliable guide to action. Instead we will experience the fluctuation of feeling passively, a spectator to the spectacle of our own emotional life, which is now contained in an elaborate spreadsheet and updated as the data changes. You can’t know yourself through introspection or social engagement, but only by finding technological mirrors, whose reflection is systematically distorted in real time by their administrators.'
data  soma  malgorithms 
19 days ago
Relief of Impediment by Donald L. Nathanson (PDF)
'The evolved function of shame affect is to act as an analogic amplifier of whatever was the impediment and to focus our attention on that impediment. It is only when we refuse to focus on the impediment that we move to the Compass of Shame, which is really not about shame as affect but about our scripted responses to moments of shame affect in which we don't obey the call of the spotlight. The moment we pay attention to the spotlight, shame dwindles and then disappears. All is right with the world when we obey the call of the innate affects. -- The complete relief of ANY negative affect triggers enjoyment-joy, and the degree of that resulting positive affect is directly proportional to the preceding degree of negative affect (or pain).'
psychology  shame 
20 days ago
Sometimes It's Wrong to be Right by Vernon C. Kelly (PDF)
'Whenever the shields are up and access to our partner's inmost self prevented, whatever interest in that partner is maintained must be rewarded by shame. These two people were, therefore, triggering and retriggering shame in one another but neither identifying nor solacing it. With each repetition of such a scene, the possibility of intimacy decreases, intensifying the pain of relatedness and therefore magnifying defenses from the Withdrawal pole of the compass of shame. As he withdrew physically from the relationship to spend more time with his friends, she became more and more jealous of him and what he was doing. He insisted that he was not having an affair – a fact he reiterated quite believably during individual sessions. She wanted to believe him also but could not get it out of her mind that she was probably a fool (Attack Self) if she did not follow his moves closely. -- he absence of one partner creates an impediment to intimacy in any relationship; when the partner has decided to escape the relationship because it is troubled, the impediment triggers more shame for several reasons. First of all, any old unresolved feelings of inadequacy and unloveability will resonate with the current shame and produce an affect loop between past and present and a mood that can dominate one's thinking and become very difficult to modulate. -- Secondly, the intensity of initial interest-excitement diminishes naturally in successful intimate relationships as the partners learn that they can depend on one another to be there and to be close; novelty must decrease over time. Recall, too, the process Tomkins (1992) defined as habituation – the learned capacity to perform daily repetitive actions with such skill that they require little conscious attention. These are the actions that he described as occupying the "valley of perceptual skill" because what we do works without further "thinking." The advantage of habituation is that it keeps our limited channel of consciousness relatively free of the mundane, allowing attention to be more easily directed toward stimuli that might carry important messages about survival. When the troubles in a relationship become prominent and the possibility of a breakup is near, habituation is reduced as one pays more and more attention to each and every little detail in the interactions with the other, looking for clues about where one stands with the other and where the relationship is headed. The resulting increase in stimulus acquisition is experienced as interest-excitement, and fear-terror if the increase is too great. Since the intensity of a shame reaction will be directly proportional to the intensity of the interest-excitement impeded, intense shame is triggered under these conditions.'
psychology  shame  relationships 
20 days ago
Stress and Tension by Donald L. Nathanson (PDF)
'[The] difference between gradient and density triggers for affect is important. If you look at the derivation of the word "fear," you note roots that convey the sense of danger, ambush, or sudden calamity; "anxiety" derives from the root for choking. These are gradient triggers because something new is happening, and it is happening at a rate that is too much for the organism. Nothing new is involved in the steady stimulation that triggers distress or anger. Some "anxiety disorders" involve the biology and the psychology of the affect fear- terror (the sense of onrushing danger) while the sort of "constant anxiety" or "tension" physicians treat with benzodiazepines such as Xanax or low dose phenothiazines like Stelazine is more properly understood as distress-anguish. Syndromes involving fear require strategies for the assessment of danger, while syndromes involving distress demand search for and reduction of sources of chronic overload. Distinctions of this sort are essential to competent cognitive therapy, in which much precision is required in order to decrease the morbidity associated with whatever symptoms have brought someone into treatment. -- his brings up an additional difference between the traditional language of our field and that of affect theory: It is unlikely that there would be any serious or life-threatening endocrinologic sequelae of affect that was permitted expression. A situation that triggers affect is not likely to become noxious as long as the affect can be expressed freely. It is only when conditions of nurturance preclude affective expression in the developing child, or sociopolitical forces suppress the cry of distress and the roar of rage that the response to stress becomes deadly in the medical sense. Tomkins suggested that "much of what is called 'stress' is indeed backed-up affect and that many of the (reported) endocrine changes . . . are the consequence of backed-up affect as of affect per se. It seems at the very least that substantial psychosomatic disease might be one of the prices of such systematic suppression and transformation of the affective responses" (AIC III p. 14.) -- Go back to the paragraph quoted from DSM-IV in order to verify these assertions. For each of the "stressors" indicated in our manual, try to imagine which of the six negative affects might be involved. Check out whether your clinical skills are improved when you look for fear-terror, distress-anguish, anger-rage, dissmell, disgust, and shame-humiliation alone or in their various combinations. See if your understanding of the specific psychosocial and biological triggers postulated for each of these affects can lead to the development of treatment strategies more sophisticated than the search for methods of "stress reduction." Watch your patients perk up when you teach them how to partition their emotional discomfort into easily recognizable categories that permit highly specific systems of solace. And smile with contentment as the work of psychotherapy is made just a little bit easier by this new approach.'
psychology  emotion  stress  anxiety  health  repression  psychotherapy 
21 days ago
The Case Against Depression by Donald L. Nathanson (PDF)
'Our awareness that an affect has been triggered is called by Basch a feeling (this is the moment that the biology of affect turns into psychology), and the association of an affect with previous experiences of that affect is called an emotion (this is the interface between biology and biography.) We use the term mood to speak of the internal loops through which affect and memory reinforce each other to produce the relatively continuous experience of any emotion. Through this mechanism, any negative affect may be experienced over a considerable period. -- Persistent distress-anguish is often called sadness, persistent fear-terror is known as steady anxiety, persistent mild anger-rage is irritability or annoyance, persistent anger-rage at a higher density is thought of as being in a bad temper. Persistence of the affect shame-humiliation, when experienced at the withdrawal pole of the compass of shame, is a state of loneliness, hurt feelings, and bad thoughts about the self; when admixed with fear-terror it may be called guilt. -- The bad moods associated with dissmell and disgust make us keep others at a distance and promote a wide range of interpersonal styles when paired with other negative affects. There are, then, six families of bad mood, each of which when dense is likely to be described by its subject as depression. -- To those trained in affect theory, the persistent experience of shame is treated quite differently from the persistent experience of distress; for shame we investigate impediments to the positive affects of interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy, while for distress we try to reduce steady-state stimulus load. Both treatments are "antidepressant." If I am correct that the steady experience of any negative affect will be described as depression by anyone naive to the nomenclature of innate affect, then attention to the nature and source of any negative affect is antidepressant.'
psychology  depression  emotion  mood  affectregulation 
21 days ago
On Boredom by Donald L. Nathanson (PDF)
'I recalled that Basch proposed that another affect may exist – boredom. He thought that boredom was an affect resulting from below-optimal levels of stimulation. What opinions/comments do you, Don, Vick, or anyone have about this proposition? -- There can be no such thing as a stimulus too soft to trigger affect – as long as something can be called a stimulus (because it has set off the neurological apparatus of some sensor or other), that stimulus comes in at a gradient or a level and triggers an affect. -- What, then, is boredom? It can't be an affect because it doesn't have a specific or unique pattern of facial muscle contraction and relaxation. Most of the time when you look at the face of someone who is bored, you see the downturned lips of distress-anguish. It seems really clear to me that boredom is that special case of distress in which we have been left with our own thoughts (many of which are indeed unwanted) and have no distraction from the outside world that can spirit our concentration/consciousness/attention away. -- Boredom is nothing more than the name we give to the situation in which we are unable to "amuse" ourselves and are stuck with thoughts we've gone over time and again and for which we still have no answer. No optimal gradient to trigger interest-excitement; no faster than optimal gradient to trigger fear-terror; nothing going on at a steady level to trigger anger-rage. Only the steady buzz of our own thoughts humming along at a low level while we hope for something from the outside world to let the spotlight of affect distract us elsewhere.' -- Ruminatory autoregulation
psychology  affectregulation  boredom 
22 days ago
Prologue: Affect Imagery Consciousness by Donald Nathanson (PDF)
'My own studies suggest that shame is the dominant negative affect of everyday life, far more varied in its triggers and presentation than any other displeasure. Most of the problems of interpersonal life can be traced to shame-based issues; the majority of advertising and marketing campaigns are designed to deal with issues of self-esteem and the valence of personal identity. Just as each of us longs for pleasurable excitement and reasonable amounts of joy, the ubiquity of situations that interfere with the experience of positive affect makes shame – no matter how disguised – our constant companion. One of the factors that made shame so difficult to study until Tomkins offered this realm of explanation is the reality that each of us has different interests and a history of enjoying different scenes, the incomplete interruption of which triggered our own shame experiences. So deeply personal and uniquely individual are our own scenes of shame that (sadly) nobody else ever seems to “know” exactly what shame means to us. I dealt with this puzzle in the 1991 book Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self, which Tomkins regarded as the logical extension of his theoretical work on shame affect into the lived world of scripts.'
psychology  shame 
23 days ago
Dr Katrina Wood Podcast: Donald Nathanson
"[Shame is the result of a brief or ongoing] impediment to positive affect – to joy or excitement, to anything pleasurable. It's very rare that life allows us to enjoy anything for very long because our joy can annoy somebody else, or [someone will inevitably interrupt our being interested in something.] And we are interrupted constantly all our lives when we're in the throes of positive affect. Therefore shame affect (which is an amplified analogue of the impediment to positive affect) only occurs when we're having a good scene – when something wonderful is happening. And [shame 'feels'] different for every one of us because we're interested in different things. Since the experience of positive affect is the thing we most want in life, we're always looking for the good scene, the good time – and since we're often impeded as we're having a good time, then the affect shame is the most commonly experienced unpleasant emotion in human life."
psychology  shame 
24 days ago
A Primer of Affect Psychology by Vernon C. Kelly, Jr., M.D (PDF)
Shame-Humiliation is the result of an 'impediment to ongoing positive affect. -- When an impediment blocks our interest in something, the resulting shame can feel like: frustration or disappointment (I can’t do what I want to do); rejection (my interest in my lover is blocked because she doesn’t want me anymore); loneliness (my interest in people being interested in me is blocked because I’m all by myself and cannot find a date); feeling ashamed or embarrassed (my interest in people seeing me as perfect and loving me is blocked because I said a stupid thing or did something awful or have a blemish on my face and everyone will find out); and at its most intensely negative, mortification (what happened is so awful that my interest in living is blocked). -- It is somewhat ironic that in order to be aware we are missing something that feels good we have to feel bad, but it makes sense when you think about it. Would we pay attention to the thing that initially felt good but was then blocked if the feeling that replaced it was another good feeling? I do not think so. Evolution has provided us with a very effective mechanism. Without the information that something is preventing us from feeling good, we would be unable to either achieve or maintain a healthy balance between positive and negative emotion. -- Shame affect provides the motivating information for the uncovering and removal of impediments to our interests. The intensity of the negative feeling is in direct proportion to how interested you were.'
psychology  shame  emotion 
24 days ago
The Name of the Game is Shame by Donald L. Nathanson, M.D. (PDF)
'Let's define some terms: 1) We use the term "affect" to represent any of the nine families of physiological mechanisms that underlie all emotion. The affects are a group of highly patterned muscular and circulatory actions primarily displayed as "facial expressions" but also as certain odors, postures, and vocalizations. It is the evolved role of the affect system to add meaning to information derived from other systems. 2) When we accept or pay attention to the affect that has been triggered by one of the mechanisms I'll describe below, it becomes what we conventionally call a "feeling." 3) The combination of an affect with our memory of previous experiences of that affect is given the formal name of an "emotion." I've suggested that affect is always biology, whereas emotion always represents biography. Each of us has the same nine innate affects, but our life experience makes our emotions quite different. -- In order for any of us to really know the other person we have to know something about the history of that individual's affective life. 4) Just as each time an affect is triggered we delve into memory to check our previous experiences of that affect, we can spend a variable amount of time reliving these past experiences brought to consciousness as "associations" to that affect. When we get stuck in those reminiscences, a "mood" is brought into play because rather than the operation of innate affect, which normally lasts only a second or so, we continue to think of situations that trigger only that one affect. Any fresh source of affect can turn off normal mood, but normal mood can last a long time. 5) Yet there are people who cannot turn off their moods no matter what they do, and if there is no psychological reason for them to remain preoccupied with the history of their affects, it often turns out that there is something wrong with the biology of their affect mechanisms. These "disorders of mood" are what the psychiatrist treats with medication; the purpose of psychiatric medication is not to produce a constant experience of any affect (that's why people take recreational or street drugs), but to return the affect system to its normal plasticity or capacity for immediate shift to whatever might need attention. -- What, then are these innate affects, and what do they "mean"? Each affect is set in motion not by a perception as such, but by the way information enters the central nervous system. Thus, the range of affective experience characterized by the range from surprise to startle (in the language of Tomkins called surprise-startle) is triggered by any stimulus that has a sudden onset and a sudden offset, like a pistol shot, hand clap, or automotive backfire. The function of this particular affect is as a reset button for the affect system; it cancels anything we had been thinking about or concentrating on at the moment and prepares us for what might come next. The affect is expressed by raised eyebrows, a blink, and the lip formation with sudden intake of breath we come to imitate as the vocalization "OH!" As you can see in the example of the very sudden and brief character of the affect surprise-startle, each innate affect is both an analogue of its stimulus characteristics and (in that an affect calls attention to its triggering stimulus) an amplifier of that stimulus. In general, affects are expressed on the display board of the face long before they are experienced anywhere else; innate affect is seen clearly on the face of an infant much too young to have "perceived" anything in the way we normally consider necessary for the formation of an adult emotion. Again, the evolved function of each affect is to call our attention to its triggering stimulus. A stimulus that involves information that comes into the system as "too much, too fast" triggers affect over the range from fear to terror (fear-terror), with blanched cheeks, furrowed brow, stiff body, face and eyes averted from the now frightening stimulus; pulse and respiration will increase to an unpleasant speed. Any stimulus that enters the system at an optimally rising gradient, as in any pleasant situation we experience as novel, triggers the affect interest-excitement, characterized by the facial display of "track, look, listen" with the characteristic frown of interest (or what we sometimes call "deep thought"), slightly open mouth, head tilted a bit to the side (we laugh when we see this in dogs, but it is the same affect even though we don't have a tail to wag as part of the affect display.) Any time a stimulus of any sort decreases in intensity and/or frequency, this decreasing gradient of stimulation triggers the affect enjoyment-joy, with mouth widened, the corners of the lips turned slightly up, eyes shining, and the general look of pleasure. If the decreasing gradient is rather rapid, a laugh is triggered; in general, this is the mechanism responsible for the pleasant feeling of contentment. -- When a stimulus is relatively constant and above a certain level of density, it triggers the affect distress-anguish, with sobbing (obviously an analogue of constant density stimulation because of its constant characteristic), the corners of the lips characteristically turned down, arched eyebrows, and flailing limbs. Any stimulus that is both constant and much higher density than that required to trigger distress becomes a trigger for anger-rage, with the roar of anger, reddened cheeks, flailing limbs, and a characteristic steady state of muscular tension. These six innate mechanisms are triggered by nothing more than the densities and gradients of neural stimulation. It is only after an affect has been triggered that we are motivated to pay attention to whatever triggered it. I have described these innate affects as something like a bank of spotlights, each of a different "color," each flicked on by a different mechanism, each calling our attention to its triggering stimulus and thus making us use our best neocortical thinking apparatus in a style controlled by that affect. In the infant, a constant density stimulus like hunger or cold or fatigue or loneliness or mild pain will always trigger sobbing for which the mothering caregiver will have to decode the triggering cause from other data. Affect highlights the source, brings it into consciousness, and allows our best attempt for solution of the problem represented. No stimulus can possibly get our attention until and unless it triggers an affect, and affect is the only doorway to consciousness. Finally, despite that an older psychology claimed that each stimulus is followed by a response (what has been called Stimulus-Response Pairs), no stimulus can achieve a response of any kind unless it first triggers an affect. Life really is a matter of stimulus-affect-response sequences, and any time we need to figure out behavior that seems strange or dangerous to us, we must first learn what affect preceded it. Although we tend to say that children model their "behavior" on what they see at home, it is the affect part of the stimulus-affect-response sequence that needs our attention rather than the response behavior as such. -- There are three other innate mechanisms that have evolved from other sources but have become incorporated into the affect system: bad odors quite naturally trigger an innate mechanism as the result of which the upper lip is raised, the nose wrinkled, the head drawn back and away from the offending odor, and the sound "eeoo" emitted; for this instrument Tomkins coined the name dissmell. Dissmell comes to operate as a metaphor and involve any situation in which we reject something before sampling, and therefore is the affect mechanism underlying prejudice; coupled with anger it becomes the sneer of contempt. For some chemical substance that affects the taste buds outside a predetermined range of possibilities, the lower lip is automatically pushed out and downward, the tongue and head thrust forward, and the sound "yucch" emitted; this is the pre-wired mechanism called disgust. Disgust is the affect of rejection after taking something into our system; like dissmell, it comes to operate as a metaphor in interpersonal relationships and account for our rejection of people we once loved and now find “unpalatable.” When coupled with the affect of anger, this becomes the predominant emotionality seen in divorce. The final innate mechanism involved in the human emotion system is responsible for the shame family of emotions. The physiological mechanism is triggered only when we have been in the throes of one of the two positive affects (the only ones that feel good), interest-excitement or enjoyment-joy. As I mentioned above, an affect is both analogous to its trigger and calls attention to that trigger. Thus, whenever anything interrupts one of these two pleasant types of feeling, the interruption itself is amplified as an affective reaction through which the head and neck slump, the eyes droop and are turned away, the upper body goes limp, the face (and sometimes neck and upper chest) become red, and all communication with the other person is lost for a moment. The mechanism produces what I have called a "cognitive shock," honoring comments by sages such as Darwin and Sartre that no one can think clearly in the moment of shame. Almost everything we call "hurt feelings" comes from this affect mechanism. It is the quintessential affect of feeling shorn from the herd, of being alone and rejected. As if that weren't bad enough, this kind of rejection comes to join with the affective experiences of self-dissmell and self-disgust to make shame truly awful in some situations. Most likely the experience of shame is toxic in direct relation to the intensity of those latter components. -- I have categorized the eight types of experience in which shame affect will be triggered; save for the condition in which a biological glitch makes us feel shame on a more or less constant basis even when nothing has happened to trigger the affect, any moment of shame may be traced to one of these … [more]
psychology  emotion  affectregulation  shame  sociology  * 
24 days ago
Behavior Online -- A Conversation with Donald Nathanson
'...the affect Tomkins calls shame-humiliation starts out as a mechanism triggered whenever one of the good feelings is impeded. Even the slightest impediment to the experience of interest, or the mildest interference with the experience of laughter, whether during an interpersonal interchange or when we are by ourselves, will trigger shame affect. -- We say that each affect is an analogue of whatever triggered it (the moaning or sobbing of distress-anguish is steady-state, like its trigger; the action of startle is as sharp and brief as its trigger, etc.) and by calling the trigger to our attention, therefore an analogic amplifier of its trigger. Well, the affect of shame-humiliation is an analogic amplifier of an impediment by making the impediment all the more salient. Whatever has caused a momentary interference with our interest in something will now be experienced as a very significant interference with it. (Naturally, the interest-excitement that powered our attention to a television program is turned off completely when the electricity goes off, thus removing the video information as a possible source of interest; that situation does not trigger shame affect.) -- But as Tomkins was so fond of saying, shame affect is recruited any time desire outruns fulfilment. Any time we reach higher than our grasp and are “disappointed,” that failure, that impediment to the positive affect that had powered our reach will now trigger shame affect. It is experienced by the organism as an amplification of impediment, and therefore an intensification of impediment. Whatever affect had been powering or motivating our attention is now turned off, and with it, the kind of neocortical activity associated with that attention. Remember—in higher organisms, only through amplification by affect can any source of information that causes a neural event move from background to foreground and become the subject of conscious activity by higher neocortical centers. This is so for all the affects: Even though we pay strict attention to something that frightens or disgusts or enrages or amuses us, most of what we call “normal attention” is neocortical activity on data made into a source of attention by the affect interest-excitement. It is for this reason that I have commented so often that “Attention Deficit Disorder” is not a defect in neocortical processing mechanisms but a defect in the maintenance of the affect interest- excitement probably related to the mechanism for shame affect as triggered when any episode of interest is impeded. -- At the WITHDRAWAL pole lie all the ways we obey the physiological action of shame affect itself. We withdraw when we turn away from the offending stimulus, hide, act shy, run away, grow silent in a therapy session. Each script library contains a full range of behaviors from the most mild and normal to the most seriously pathological. We use scripts from the withdrawal library when, as little kids, we hide behind mother’s leg while trying to scope out a stranger, just as when in the throes of a morbid depression we may not be able to meet the eyes of another person for years. You have heard me say for years that I am the sole member of an international commission devoted to stamping out the use of the term “depression,” and it is for reasons like this that I take this position. Everything we call depression is actually the stable experience of one or another of the six negative affects. Prolonged shame is what we call “atypical depression,” while the specific coassembly of shame affect with fear of reprisal is what we call guilt and therefore typical of “classical depression.” The term “depression” is far less useful for the patient than a careful survey of the actual affects being displayed. -- Little as any of us likes the Withdrawal pole of the compass of shame, there are those among us (again because of scripts formed as the result of life experience) for whom the moment of withdrawal produces a literally terrifying period of isolation and the feeling of abandonment. In such situations, every moment of shame is dangerous and must be handled in such a way as to prevent isolation. It is in these moments when any of us (all of us some of the time, some of us all of the time) react by addressing others as if they were much, much bigger and more powerful than we, and to put ourselves down in order to curry favor with them. The normal range of the ATTACK SELF pole of the compass includes all the ways we are deferential to others (“Yes, officer, thank you. Yes, sir, of course I’ll be more careful next time. Thank you for the advice, sir.”) when to do otherwise would be dangerous. But it also includes ways we demean ourselves in order to curry favor from truly monstrous others in the mode we call masochistic. I’ve never seen any benefit from calling people masochistic—they quite rightly take that as a shaming assault. But it has proved very useful to explain to people that this system of trading loneliness for dangerous safety can be altered when its basis in shame is understood. -- Ah, but there are other times for all of us, and a lifetime for some of us, when any moment of shame is unbearable. Anything we do to make the feeling go away without dealing with its causes can be subsumed under the rubric of AVOIDANCE, the third pole of the compass of shame. Shame is soluble in alcohol and boiled away by cocaine and the amphetamines. When we distract the eye of the shaming other toward whatever brings us pride (“Hey, look at my new car! Look at these great pectoral muscles! Lookie here, lookie there, but don’t look where I can’t stand to see myself.”) we have used scripts from the avoidance pole of the compass. Drugs, hedonism, disavowal, and machismo are all examples of this system; the assignment of degree of pathology is directly proportional to the fraction of the self being so disguised. It does little or no good to inform a patient that they are narcissistic, because that is too shaming. Freud was right when he talked about the “stone wall of narcissism.” Those who are already overdosed on negative self-images cannot stand any new insight because it can only bring more shame. Treatment works far better when we explain the nature of shame, indicate that it is a universal and inevitable physiological experience, and demonstrate ways of handling it that are not so toxic to interpersonal life. -- Finally, there are all those moments when by our own hand we can do nothing to increase our own self-esteem, periods in our life when everything that happens serves only to prove that we are inferior. You’ve had them, I’ve had them, and they are awful moments. It is at such a time that we act according to the Chinese proverb “He who lands the first blow was the first to run out of arguments.” We use ATTACK OTHER scripts when we can feel better only by reducing the self-worth of another person, and we accomplish this reduction by put downs, banter, physical abuse, contempt, character assassination, calumny, blackmail, and sexual sadism. Any time we define a shaming remark as an insult or an example of disrespect, and respond by attacking with words or harmful actions, we are involved in an attack other script. -- In fact, everything we have earlier called sadistic behavior is only action undertaken to reduce shame—a fact that makes treatment much more approachable. It will, of course, be obvious to this readership that people with attack self and attack other scripts hang together because they need each other; this is quite an upgrade on the concept of sadomasochism because the latter is based entirely on sexual drive language, and the new system is based on what we now know about the nine innate affects and makes the clinical situation far more accessible to treatment. -- Even the most cursory study of social and political history must suggest to a psychotherapist that in our civilization, over the past 40-50 years, the dominant, culturally expected, normative response to shame has shifted from Withdrawal and Attack Self to Avoidance and Attack Other. We have gone from a culture of politeness and deference to a culture of narcissism and violence, all of which must be understood as alterations in scripted reactions to shame affect. -- There is no such thing as shame, no unitary definition of an emotion called shame, embarrassment, mortification, etc. There are four shames, four patterns of response to a physiological affect mechanism that must be triggered any time there is an impediment to the wonderful feeling of positive affect. And our concept of human emotion must be upgraded to accept that each moment of emotion, no matter how intense or how mild, is a gestalt phenomenon—for every emotion there must be a triggering source, a physiological affect, a scan of previous experiences stored as scripts, and a pattern of response directed by those scripts. -- An emotion is the entire gestalt of Stimulus-Affect-Response, and emotion is best capable of understanding and perhaps alteration when seen as nested within the entire life experience of the individual. Through the action of the affect Tomkins called shame-humiliation and our complex responses to it, we learn about the nature of our self and the range of our limitations. The study of shame teaches much about everything that is beautiful and everything that is ugly within the human soul; this study is central to the development of competence as a contemporary psychotherapist.'
psychology  emotion  affectregulation  shame  ADHD  defencemechanisms  narcissim  depression 
24 days ago
The Effect of Affect on Reading - The Compass of Shame and Learning to Read - Dr. Donald Nathanson
'#Ambiguity, Shame, and Cognitive Shock: ...there’s nothing natural about learning to read. In a sense, we trick the child into paying attention to words on a page as if he or she is going to be able to understand those words. Oh sure, we can say C-A-T spells cat, see Dick run, or look at the dog, and those words are probably pretty easy for the kid to decipher. But just as soon as the child runs into words that are more ambiguous, that a child can’t figure out immediately, that child goes through a process that’s been poorly understood until recently. -- What happens as you look at something that because of your interest and attention you think you’re going to understand, but you can’t understand it? The amount of interest that you’ve put into that moment of study is impeded because something has become so ambiguous, so problematic that it interferes with the emotion that was powering attention at that moment. -- Any acute interruption in the affect we call interest, (in a situation when it is logical for that interest to continue), triggers another physiologic mechanism that we call the physiology of shame or shame affect. Now this is not trivial because just as soon as shame affect is triggered it brings about in the mind of the child what we call a cognitive shock. -- Scholars all through history have noted that the moment of shame makes them unable to think clearly. And this moment of cognitive shock is followed by other physiologic mechanisms: shoulders slump, the face is turned away from what a moment ago seemed interesting, and then we begin to reflect on other experiences we’ve had of this shame happening. Experiences of inefficacy, inadequacy, unpreparedness; all of a sudden our mind, our consciousness is flooded not with the printed material on the page, but flooded with a whole bunch of experiences that have to do with our worst possible self. -- ... the acute experience of shame during the process of failing to decode what’s on the page is a feed forward mechanism because it prevents us from understanding what we might have been able to understand and it makes the whole reading experience unpleasant, more difficult, challenging. -- That might be acceptable if we’re sitting by ourselves trying to read something. But when we’re in a classroom situation, that moment of shame is multiplied by how we feel because we’re in the eyes of everybody around us. There’s a big difference, for instance, teaching a child to learn one-on-one at home, tutoring, because then if we’re in the presence of someone we know loves us, if we feel safe, that moment of shame is brief and not very toxic. But when we’re in school and every other kid there is constantly at risk of shame, if every other kid, like the young reader we’re making the subject of this discussion, is afraid of what embarrassment he or she might experience then all of them are happy that ha ha, he can’t get it, he didn’t do it, and they feel better because they can put down or diminish somebody else. -- If a great many times that we’re reading the ambiguity triggers a moment of shame and we begin to associate reading with the pain of shame, then wouldn’t we be stupid to keep reading? What happens is that the child says I can’t read or I don’t want to do this or you can’t make me do this or reacts in a number of ways that frustrate the intent of the teacher. -- This business of being unable to decipher what’s on the printed page has huge consequences for a child’s self esteem. That is the child’s general concept of who he or she is has huge consequences for how we see ourselves relative to our peers and forces us to defend against this bad feeling in a number of ways that I call the Compass of Shame. -- The four poles of the Compass of Shame: Withdrawal (hiding), Attack Self (deference), Avoidance (look where I want you to look) and Attack Other (put down]). -- #Shame is a Learning Prompt: If there’s too much shame then we can’t think. But if we feel loved and safe, which the school environment usually isn’t, if we feel loved and safe then we can go from the moment of shame to focus again, come on Billy, you’re going to do it. -- Maybe the easiest way to understand the effect of shame on the learning process is the difference between the words can’t and won’t. Can’t is something that happens to us when we’re trying to figure out a code that doesn’t make any sense. Won’t is what happens when we decide since I have this awful feeling of failure every time I try then I’m not going to do it. And all learning is dependent on this difference between “difficulty with,” which is at the edge of can’t, and “the decision to avoid,” which is won’t. And at that border between can’t and won’t is learning.'
psychology  affectregulation  shame  defencemechanisms  ADHD  learning  teaching  parenting 
24 days ago
YouTube -- [Donald Nathanson]: The Compass of Shame
'In this clip from the DVD "Managing Shame - Preventing Violence" Dr. Donald Nathanson, a pioneering leader in the development of our understanding of affect theory and affect script theory, describes his "Compass of Shame" model.'
psychology  shame  defencemechanisms 
24 days ago
Psychology Today -- Shame as Unrequited Love
#Still Face Experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzXGEbZht0 -- 'This early experience of mis-attunement, of the mother's failure to empathize with her baby's emotions and to mirror them back (perhaps because she's depressed, self-absorbed or overwhelmed by her own emotional difficulties) -- this misattunement produces shame. Shame as the result of unrequited love, if you will. It's not the kind of shame caused by social messaging but something more basic and fundamental. If that baby's experience were to be repeated, if the attachment relationship failed to develop normally and the mother consistently fell short on an empathic level, it would deform the baby's developing self and lead to a kind of structural affliction I refer to as basic shame.'
psychology  attachment  affectregulation  shame 
24 days ago
Proof of Position
'Proof of Position stores your real-world geographic location in the Bitcoin block chain. Who you are (Twitter handle) and where you were (lat / long) accessible to all future generations.'
bitcoin  location  sousveillance  equiveillance  anonequiveillance 
25 days ago
Swarm -- Real crowdfunding
'Using the power of the Bitcoin 2.0 technology, Swarm enables unprecedented and ongoing possibilities of interactions between investors and investees. Create a project on Swarm, issue your own coin, raise funds with it and then - when the project is successful - share the upside with your backers.'
bitcoin  investing 
25 days ago
The New Inquiry -- Free to Choose A or B
'...the main thing seems to be that Facebook distorts what users see for its own ends, as if users can’t be trusted to have their own emotional responses to what their putative friends post. That Facebook seemed to have been caught by surprise by the anger some have expressed — that people were not pleased to discover that their social lives are being treated as a petri dish by Facebook so that it can make its product more profitable — shows how thoroughly companies like Facebook see their users’ emotional reactions as their work product. How you feel using Facebook is, in the view of the company’s engineers, something they made, something that has little to do with your unique emotional sensitivities or perspective. From Facebook’s point of view, you are susceptible to coding, just like its interface. Getting you to be a more profitable user for the company is only a matter of affective optimization, a matter of tweaking your programming to get you pay more attention, spend more time on site, share more, etc. -- Facebook’s excuse for filtering our feed is that users can’t handle the unfiltered flow of all their friends updates. Essentially, we took social media and massified it, then we needed Facebook to rescue us, restore the order we have always counted on editors, film and TV producers, A&R professionals and the like to provide for us. Our aggregate behavior, from the point of view of a massive network like Facebook’s, suggests we want to consume a distilled average out of our friends’ promiscuous sharing; that’s because from a data-analysis perspective, we have no particularities or specificity — we are just a set of relations, of likely matches and correspondences to some set of the billion other users.' -- If you're using it, it's for you.
facebook  algorithms  malgorithms  affectivelabour  soma  themediumisthemassage 
25 days ago
The Progress Report -- 4th of July Goal: Independence from All Rulers
'Ed. Notes: Except there is no political solution in the sense of stronger laws and better politicians. There is only an economic solution, and that is to share the common wealth. It is our failure to share the common wealth that allows the most grasping among us to gather up for themselves that which belongs to everyone, in the process making themselves into an upper class many times richer and more powerful. We can not continue to leave trillions of dollars on the table each year and expect results any different from what we now endure. To win your political independence you must first demand your economic independence, generated by everybody getting a fair share of society’s surplus, of the values of land, natural resources, EM spectrum, and other aspects of nature that our demands and technologies have given economic value. Once we all start paying in land dues and getting back rent dividends, the problem of power, class, and hierarchy will be solved once and for all.'
26 days ago
The Progress Report -- When You Don't Pay to Park Upfront, You Pay Big Later
'Ed. Notes: It’s not just drivers who should pay to park — it’s all land users should pay to use land. Every time you displace others who want to use the same spot, then you should compensate them, just as they would compensate you. -- You buy or build a house, you pay for the underlying land, but not to an individual seller who’s departing the land but rather to your surrounding community. No individual seller made the land nor made it valuable. The community creates the land’s value (by creating demand for locations) and it’s the members of the community who get excluded. -- In effect, we’d rent from our neighbors as they’d rent from us. Continually paying rent would spur us to take no more than we need and to use that wisely. Society would get to enjoy the most efficient land use possible and the healthiest environment. Plus, the land dues could replace counterproductive taxes and the rent dividends (the compensation) could replace addictive subsidies. We could streamline government and save vaults of money. Just adopt the geonomic principle of pay for what you take, not what you make.'
economics  geoism  land 
26 days ago
ROUGH TYPE -- The soma cloud
'I for one am looking forward to Facebook’s Oculus Rift experiments. Once the company is able to manipulate “entire experiences and adventures,” rather than just bits and pieces of text, the realtime engineering of a more harmonious and stabilized emotional climate may well become possible. I predict that the next great opportunity in wearables lies in finger-mountables — in particular, the Oculus Networked Mood Ring. We’ll all wear them, as essential Rift peripherals, and they’ll all change color simultaneously, depending on the setting that Zuck dials into the Facebook Soma Cloud.'
facebook  soma  penfieldmoodorgan  PKD 
27 days ago
Telegraph -- The coming digital anarchy
'Bitcoin is giving banks a run for their money. Now the same technology threatens to eradicate social networks, stock markets, even national governments. Are we heading towards an anarchic future where centralised power of any kind will dissolve?'
cryptoanarchism  decentralisation  bitcoin 
27 days ago
The Progress Report -- Corporations Own Judges, too, Not Just Lawmakers
'Ed. Notes: The money that corporations spend on office holders is not to persuade anybody, since they all have the same values and worldview, but to keep flow of public money to each player flowing ever faster. There is no political solution. Reformers want electoral campaigns to be publicly funded, but the nations already doing that still wage war and waste public revenue. -- But there is an economic solution. That is, let citizens spend public money by having government disburse a dividend. And don’t let government tax whatever it wants but only recover socially generated values (don’t tax earnings, purchases, or buildings but rather charge polluters, resource depleters, and land displacers). -- Once politicians can’t grant favors, nobody will want to lobby them. Then we can abolish corporate welfare and deny rent-seeking. There won’t be anyone unduly rich to try to influence the power structure left. Such geonomic reform begins not by focusing on one’s opponents but on a vision of how to run things right. Share the common wealth!'
geoism  rentseeking  "capitalism"  corporatism  statism  cronyism  corruption 
27 days ago
The Art of Manliness -- Communities Vs. Networks: To Which Do You Belong?
'Networks are typically artificial; they rarely form organically. And they’re invariably created, and then governed, in a top-down fashion. Policies and regulations are decreed from on high with little or no input from the majority of the people who make up the network. Because those at the top are so removed physically and psychologically from those at the bottom, the solutions ultimately proffered are often out of touch and highly ineffective. -- Because networks are so large, anonymity reigns. Members do not meet face-to-face, do not know if the people they interact with digitally are even who they say they are, and may have no idea who also belongs to the network. Because of the lack of physical intimacy, a culture of honor and shame cannot function, necessitating the erection of numerous rules and regulations to check and control members’ behavior. -- If a community gets too big, people get overlooked. And because members no longer face the social scrutiny of their peers, they can opt out of contributing without shame or consequence. Once that disengagement happens, community life slowly begins to crumble. -- Because there are so many people in a network, members assume someone else will take care of problems that arise. But because that’s what everyone else is thinking, nothing gets done. People will step around someone in distress on the street in a big city, or pass the collection plate at a giant church, figuring other people will help. The anonymity of the crowd allows the passive bystander to escape shame. -- Networks not only breed passivity, but encourage consumption. They’re all about what you can get, rather than what you must give. Oftentimes you can buy your way into networks, and because you’re paying for the service, you don’t feel obligated to offer any other form of contribution. The network doesn’t ask for anything either. It’s a business transaction. -- In contrast, in communities you get and you give; you can take from the collective pot, but you’re required to add to it too. There’s a sense of duty and obligation on this point. In a community, the group is small enough that people know who is and who isn’t being taken care of, and who is and who isn’t stepping in to help. If you don’t pull your weight and you’re perfectly capable of doing so, you face social repercussions. -- For most of human history we ran in small, intimate tribes. We’re social animals, and our brains are evolved for life in close groups. We crave the bonds and sense of belonging and stability that communities provide. In the modern age, these vital communities have disappeared, so we have turned to networks to fulfill our social needs. -- But networks can never be a fully satisfying replacement for communities. They’re not designed for social intimacy and fulfillment — they’re designed for efficiency and growth. And yet we continue to hold out hope that networks can perform a function for which they are fundamentally unsuited. -- Gatto describes the sad, shallow nature of networked life: “With a network, what you get at the beginning is all you ever get. Networks don’t get better or worse; their limited purpose keeps them pretty much the same all the time, as there just isn’t much development possible. The pathological state which eventually develops out of these constant repetitions of thin human contact is a feeling that your “friends” and “colleagues” don’t really care about you beyond what you can do for them, that they have no curiosity about the way you manage your life, no curiosity about your hopes, fears, victories, defeats. The real truth is that the “friends” falsely mourned for their indifference were never friends, just fellow networkers from whom in fairness little should be expected beyond attention to the common interest.”'
communities  networks  retribalization 
28 days ago
PaulCraigRoberts.org -- US War Against Russia Is Already Underway - PCR Interviewed by Voice of Russia
PCR: "...the Chinese have said that it is time to de-americanize the world. And the Russians said recently that we need to de-dollarize the payment system. And so, we have this agreement with Russia and China on the large energy deal which is going to be outside the dollar payment system. -- We see the BRICS, the five countries – India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa – and they are talking about settling their trade imbalances in their own currencies. And they are even talking about creating a bank between themselves, like an IMF or a World Bank. -- So, those are the developments that come from America’s misuse of the dollar as world reserve currency. Washington uses the dollar to bully, they use it to sanction, they use it give their financial institutions hegemony over others. And over time, all of this creates animosity, worries. -- ...We already know that the US has announced a pivot to Asia, reallocating 60% of the American navy to the South China Sea to control the flow of resources on which China depends. The US is contracting to build a series of new air and naval bases running from the Philippines to Vietnam in order to block China. -- We have witnessed this century the US withdraw from the ABM treaty with Russia. We witnessed the US construct an ABM system and began deploying it on Russia’s borders. The purpose of an ABM is to neutralize the strategic deterrent of the other country. -- We’ve seen the US change its war doctrine, nuclear weapons are no longer to be used only in retaliation to an attack. They are now a preemptive first-strike force. This is clearly directed at Russia. The Ukraine is directed at Russia. So, the war is already started, it is underway. That’s what the Ukraine is about. It is the war against Russia. -- And the war against China is in preparation. The US takes the side of every country that gets into a dispute with China, even over small things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the US. -- The US is surrounding both countries with military bases. The US wants to put Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin that was part of Russia for two or three hundred years, they want to put that into NATO. They are going to put Ukraine into NATO. -- Washington broke all the agreements that Reagan and Gorbachev had about not taking NATO into eastern Europe. NATO is now in the Baltics. It is all across eastern Europe. The former members of the Warsaw pact are now members of NATO. -- So, the war is already underway, it is clear. The US has been preparing for years. And the Russians, they must be aware of this. If they are not, they are in really deep trouble. -- VOR: Can the US afford it? -- PCR: Of course! Sure! The reserve currency can pay its bills by printing money. And that’s what Washington does. Washington prints the money. -- VOR: But like you said, that creates a lot of risks. -- PCR: Until the reserve currency role is lost, there is no limit. Recently I read that one of the advisors to Putin said that Russia needs to form some kind of alliance with other countries and bring down the dollar as the world reserve currency, that this is the only way to stop Washington’s military aggression. Of course, he is completely right. But the question is – can they organize something that quick enough that succeeds – because Europe is an American puppet state. Those European governments are not independent. They are no more independent than Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Poland were of the Soviet Communist Party. And Japan is a puppet state, it is not an independent country. -- So, if you have the euro backing the dollar and you have the yen backing the dollar, that’s a fairly strong position to be in. And so, it is going to be difficult for Russia and China or whoever is interested to make inroads in any sort of a rapid way. -- ...What does the State Department tell people – do what we say or we will bomb you into the Stone Age. Remember? They told that to the Pakistani leader. Do what we say. Now! -- So, if you have that type of attitude, it doesn’t matter whether you tell the truth or tell lies, because you are the ruler, you are the one, you are the Caesar. And what you say goes, true or false. And so, it is not important to you that it is true, because you are not working on a diplomatic level. -- This is something that Putin and Lavrov – the Foreign Minister – don’t seem to understand. They keep thinking that they can work something out with Washington, if the Russian government is just reasonable enough and shows enough good will. -- This is a Russian delusion. Washington has no good will. -- VOR: Are there any unintended consequences to that strategy, the way you see it? -- PCR: Only if people catch on and see at some point the reality–and this is what Putin is relying on. At some point, what happens in Germany and France? Will they realize and say – hey, look, the Americans are driving us into a mess. What do we gain from the American hegemony over the world? How do we gain from a conflict with Russia or China? Let’s stop this. Let’s pull out. -- If some country were to pull out of NATO or pull out of the EU, then the cover up of Washington’s war crimes by “the coalition of the willing” would have dissenters. Washington has actually told the Congress that if the White House has NATO’s backing, the president doesn’t need the permission of Congress to go to war. The old quote – ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is attributed to Lord Acton. It is safe to conclude that Washington has been corrupted by power. -- I think one unintended consequence of Washington’s brutal use of power is that it causes the NATO countries to realize that they are being driven towards a conflict by a government that is essentially insane and taking a fantastic risk with everyone’s life and with the planet. -- So, perhaps, the realization by others of Washington’s danger to life is what Putin is hoping for. He is hoping that the more Russia is reasonable and not provocative, and doesn’t take provocative actions, the greater the chance that the German Government or the French Government will realize that Washington’s agenda does not serve mankind, and that Europe will take some steps to extract themselves and their countries, and their people from Washington’s control, in which case the American empire falls apart. -- So, I think that’s what Putin is betting on. He is not a fool, certainly not, and he realizes the threat of a war, he can see it. And so, this is probably why he’s asked the Russian Duma to rescind the permission to use the Russian forces in Ukraine. He is trying to show the Germans, the French – look, it is not me, it is not us. -- I hope he succeeds. The future of the world really depends on whether Putin’s use of diplomacy can prevail over Washington’s use of force."
history  america  empire  dollar  metastasis 
29 days ago
Forbes -- Facebook Doesn't Understand The Fuss About Its Emotion Manipulation Study
'One usable takeaway in the study was that taking all emotional content out of a person’s feed caused a “withdrawal effect.” Thus Facebook now knows it should subject you to emotional steroids to keep you coming back.'
facebook  soma  addiction 
4 weeks ago
Ribbonfarm -- Portals and Flags
'You cannot win over everybody, only the adventurous. But winning over an adventurous minority that joins you in passing through a portal, on a journey of discovery is enough. It allows you to eventually overwhelm those who prefer to plant a flag on a conquered hill of browbeaten minds, and sit around by it awarding each other medals of honor. Because adventures tend to yield riches that make whatever was originally being contested seem worthless by comparison.'
philosophy  rhetoric  persuasion  * 
4 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Central Banks Should Not Invest in Stocks by Fred Foldvary
'...It is even worse for central banks to invest in private financial markets because they are creating the money they use for these purchases. This inflation of the money supply is not for stabilizing the currency or helping the banking system, but just to get stock market yield. That monetary inflation will eventually cause price inflation and fuel an even bigger real estate bubble than that which ended in the Crash of 2008. -- The ultimate remedy for such asset distortion is the elimination of all central banks. Since that’s not about to happen, we will have to witness a coming financial tragic horror. Just as in the years prior to 2008, we are sitting in boats on a river whose current will take us ever faster the financial waterfall. The most likely year of the next crash will be in 2026, as the 18-year real estate cycle has been the leading cause of the business or interventionist cycle for the past two centuries. -- Last time around, government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae helped stoke the boom by packaging and selling real estate mortgages. The financial reforms after 2007 did nothing to stop the basic causes of the real estate cycle. Now, the massive purchases of stocks, in addition to bonds and real-estate related assets, will help make the Crash of 2026 the biggest ever.'
economics  geoism  centralbanking  rentseeking  malspeculation  greatestdepression  FredFoldvary 
4 weeks ago
The Onion -- Humanity Surprised It Still Hasn’t Figured Out Better Alternative To Letting Power-Hungry Assholes Decide Everything
'When pressed for further comment, however, every member of humanity agreed that the current system, though deeply flawed, remains far better than one in which they actually have to make decisions for themselves.'
TheOnion  statism  slavery  slavespeak  satire 
4 weeks ago
Guardian -- Who is behind Isis's terrifying online propaganda operation?
'When Isis stormed Iraq's second city of Mosul earlier this month, analysts say their propaganda made the fighting easier. In wars gone by, advancing armies smoothed their path with missiles. Isis did it with tweets and a movie. Thousands of their Twitter followers installed an app – called the Dawn of Glad Tidings – that allows Isis to use their accounts to send out centrally written updates. Released simultaneously, the messages swamp social media, giving Isis a far larger online reach than their own accounts would otherwise allow. The Dawn app pumps out news of Isis advances, gory images, or frightening videos like Swords IV – creating the impression of a rampant and unstoppable force.'
war  militaryentertainmentcomplex  spectacle 
5 weeks ago
The Daily Bell -- The Advent of Sunni ISIS/ISIL: Directed History Marches On ...
'This is an old power elite trick, one intended to increase sociopolitical control. "War is the health of the state," after all. The more political and military tensions exist, the more governments have justifications for increased authoritarian measures. -- The creation of a radicalized Islamic crescent is almost complete. -- We are told, of course, that the ISIL is a variant of Al Qaeda and thus implacably opposed to Western interests. Yet the CIA virtually created Al Qaeda in the 1980s and more recently, Al Qaeda has been fighting on the side of Western interests in both Libya and Syria. -- Saudi Arabia's leadership is also intimately tied to the radical Sunni Wahhabist movement. This too makes sense if one grants that Anglosphere leadership is determined to spread a polarized form of radical Sunni Islam throughout the Middle East and are thus tacitly encouraging Wahhabism. -- Yes, the circle (crescent) is nearly complete. There are some outlying states like Jordan that remain secular but once (if) the fall of Syria is accomplished, Western intel will have succeeded in emplacing Sunni Islamic governments throughout the Middle East. -- Such a development will be portrayed to the West as an implacable advance of radical Islam. And it will certainly serve a purpose, in that the bogeyman of radical Islam can justify further incursions into what is left of Western civil rights. The more authoritarian the outcomes, the more Western internationalism expands its control.'
history  empire  america  war  perpetualwar  terrorism! 
5 weeks ago
Experimental Existential Psychology: Coping with the Facts of Life Tom Pyszczynski et al.
'#No One Here Gets Out Alive: ...awareness of the inevitability of death in an animal biologically predisposed to live creates the potential for terror, which would seriously impede goal-directed behavior unless managed in some way. Humankind “solved” the problem of terror by using the same intellectual abilities that gave rise to it, to infuse emerging cultural world views with meanings that provided the potential for humans to have value and gave them hope of transcending death. Explanations for life and the universe that helped manage the potential for terror were especially appealing and likely to be communicated to and accepted by others. Buying into such death-denying world views enabled people to manage existential terror, as well as providing social cohesion and a means of coordinating and controlling individual behavior. What better way of controlling people than convincing them that only certain beliefs, values, and behavior would qualify them for immortality? -- Cultures provide two types of immortality: literal and symbolic. Literal immortality refers to beliefs that life continues after physical death, typically in the form of beliefs about heaven, reincarnation, or other forms of afterlife. Symbolic immortality entails continuing on as part of something greater and longer lasting than oneself, such as a family or nation; leaving a lasting mark on the world, in the form of children, achievements, monuments, or ideas is another route to symbolic immorality. Qualification for either form of immortality is reserved for those who believe in the culture’s worldview and live up to its standards. Doing so bestows self-esteem, the sense of being a valuable participant in a meaningful and eternal reality. Thus self-esteem is intimately connected to the cultural worldview from which it is derived. -- What provides feelings of value in one culture might provide feelings of shame and guilt in another. For example, while self-promoting behavior provides self-esteem for many residents of individualist cultures, such behavior might bring shame to members of collectivist cultures, where cooperative, communal, and modest behavior is more likely to provide self-esteem. Although self-esteem is a universal human need, the way it is obtained varies considerably from culture to culture. -- From the perspective of TMT [terror management theory], then, people are protected from the potential for terror produced by death awareness by ideas, which are inherently fragile bases of security. Effective terror management requires certainty of the absolute validity of these ideas, even though there is no real way of knowing whether any particular belief or value is ultimately correct. To obtain this certitude people rely on consensual validation from others. Those who share one’s world view imply that it is an accurate reflection of reality, but those with different world views undermine this faith, by raising the possibility that one’s worldview might be wrong. This leads people to react favorably to those who share their world views and unfavorably to those with different world views. Consensual validation is also needed to maintain a sense of personal value – people find it hard to believe that they are good persons if most others belittle them. Thus, because of the protection that self-esteem affords, people react favorably to those who value them and unfavorably toward those who do not. -- TMT provides the following answers to the questions it was designed to address: People need self-esteem and faith in their world views to manage the potential for existential anxiety that results from awareness of the inevitability of death. Because confidence in one’s worldview and self-esteem depends on consensual validation from others, people react positively to those who support these structures and negatively to those who threaten them. Much human discord results from people’s relentless pursuit of self-esteem and faith in their world views to buffer the fear of death. The terror-driven pursuit of meaning, self-esteem, and connections to others affect many forms of human social behavior that, on the surface, appear unrelated to each other. -- #Self-Narratives: A number of theorists (e.g., McAdams, 2001) have posited that people are motivated to integrate diverse experiences across time into unified and temporally continuous self-narratives with overarching pattern and purpose. These self-narratives explain to both ourselves and others how the person we were in the past became the person of today, and what path our lives will take in the future. In our self-narrative, each of us is the protagonist in a continuously unfolding drama of life, complete with characters, settings, plot, motivation, conflicts, and their resolutions: This is what I was, how I've come to be, who I am, and what I am becoming. In constructing self-narratives we edit out certain scenes from our experience and piece the rest together in a way that seems coherent but may not be accurate. To create these narratives people write journals and autobiographies, amass trivia and souvenirs of their experiences, track their genealogy, struggle to make sense of painful or unresolved memories, and plan their short-term and long-term futures. As Graham Swift put it in his novel Waterland (1983), "Man is a storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories. He has to go on telling stories... As long as there's a story, it's all right." -- But why do people need a narrative understanding of themselves over time? For one, a clear self-narrative provides a basis for effective action, helping us gauge what we should and should not attempt and what future challenges and obstacles might arise. But making sense of experience does more than facilitate action – it also provides psychological security by helping people view themselves as valuable individuals living meaningful, coherent, and lasting lives. Consistent with this view, McAdams (2001) found that people tell two distinct types of autobiographical stories. Those not doing well in their lives tell “woe is me” contamination stories in which their lives were going along swimmingly before disaster struck, such as a love done dying which led them to spiral into alcoholism or other drug addiction. Most people, however, tell redemption stories in which tough times and struggles lead to a much better life. -- Self-narratives that provide a coherent organization of personal experience over time can also serve a terror management function (Landau, Greenberg, & Solomon, 2008). Without a higher-level structure within which elements of our personal history can be integrated, people are left with the disturbing view of life as an ephemeral, chaotic succession of isolated moments, each never to be repeated and soon to be forgotten. For example, an author’s activities could be viewed as pointless pecking at a keyboard by a creature that is now one hour closer to death; but authors are more likely to view their activity as meaningfully advancing human knowledge. This fits the person into a coherent narrative that gives meaning and significance to life.'
psychology  existentialism  narrative  storytelling  culture  ideology  mythology  religion  death  consensusreality  identification 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #10: Paradise and the Parasite
'We treat society as the subordinated servant of atomised individuals. Yet we derive our identities – and our pathologies – from both nature and nurture. Self-fulfilment cannot be achieved if the potential of the whole population is not realised. So the first step towards paradise begins by striking the correct balance between the needs of the individual with the collective rights of all citizens. -- The pre-histories of early humans is encouraging. There were cul-de-sacs episodes, but our ancestors re-orientated themselves back onto the path of evolutionary development. Ominously, this time may be different. -- Our central problem was identified by Cambridge University sociologist Gary Runciman (3rd Viscount Runciman of Doxford). Social evolution, he notes, can be constrained “by a parasitical practice which reproduces itself at others’ expense” (2009: 184). As we have explained in the Ten Theses, European cultures were deformed by a parasitic virus known as rent-seeking. That virus has now pushed our civilisation to the point where the characteristics of parasitism are analytically inadequate. -- In nature, a balance is maintained between parasites and their hosts. Parasites do not devour their hosts, for that would extinguish the means of their existence. Early humans developed immune systems within their cultures to ensure the sustainability of their biological units. This enabled them to expand demographically into ever-larger societies. That process of growth could continue for so long as the immune system was kept in good working order. Switch it off and anarchy reigns. That is what happens when we permit rent-seeking to corrupt responsible behaviour. -- Urban civilisations became possible when people learnt how to produce a net income (economic rent). That income was required to create the cultural and material infrastructures that sustain complex settlements. When the ratio of predators to producers reaches critical levels – when too many people want to live off the labour of others – civilisations tip into depletion mode. For a while, they survive by devouring the accumulated capital, or by displacing some costs of living onto future generations. Eventually, the system becomes too heavy a burden for the producers, and it implodes. -- A responsible society, one that treated the rental income of all natural and social resources as public revenue, would enjoy an unmatchable reputation for integrity. Risks would be the lowest anywhere, and returns from working and investing in a tax-free regime would be high (Thesis #4). Confidence in the currency would be rock-solid, because it would be guaranteed by the best collateral of all – a nation’s rents (ask any banker). The cost of borrowing money would be very low, and the scope for creating new enterprises and funding culture-enriching services high. -- The net effect: as the first steps were taken in shifting taxes off the working population, people would embark on the thousand and one experiments in new ways of living. The choice on how to redesign their lives would be theirs, in association with their fellow citizens. -- Local communities would flourish. Compact development would conserve green fields. High streets would be revived, the charity shops replaced by self-help initiatives meeting the needs of a newly confident citizenry. #Production would be de-centralised. Low-cost capital would enable people to create self-employment enterprises to compete with the conglomerates, leading to a break-down in corporate monopolies (Box 5). #Local media networks would spring up to serve people’s need to communicate, stimulating the regeneration of decaying neighbourhoods. #Politics would become participative, reversing Democracy in Retreat (Kurlantzick 2013). New kinds of institutions would emerge to transform nation-states. #Self-determination would become meaningful for indigenous peoples as they defined the terms under which they adapted their cultures to the opportunities of our world. #The arts would receive the support they need to help us visualise the components of the symbolic space we need to inclusively reintegrate our material and moral worlds. -- The list of creative possibilities is open-ended. But while embarking on this new voyage of discovery, we should never forget the risk of the rent-seeking virus re-incubating itself. -- The gains from reform of the public’s finances would be enormous, and they would become a temptation to those who would like to claim the privileges associated with the rent-seeking lifestyle. People would need to be ever alert to this risk. One way to strengthen society’s immune system would be to institute a Citizen’s Rent Dividend. -- As work-life experiences are re-balanced in people-centred neighbourhoods, these locations would become increasingly attractive as living spaces. More people would register their approval in the form of the willingness to pay higher rents for the benefit of locating in those areas. And as those rents are recycled back into the arts and education, the human condition is further elevated. The cumulative effects would be reflected in rises in the index of rent, enabling an increase in the Citizen’s Rent Dividend.'
geoism  land  economics  rent  civility  FredHarrison 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #9: Induced Ignorance & Social Change
'Traditional communities are shattered when they lose their commons. The impact is transmitted inter-generationally. Hunger, crime and violence result from the erosion of life-affirming cultural norms and practices. Around the world, many people are committed to alleviating such suffering. Offended by the atrocities of poverty, homelessness and ecocide, reform activists seek change. And yet, their efforts have failed to erase the blights on the human landscape. There is a reason for the disappointing outcome of all their work. They apply palliatives to symptoms. Flaws in the foundations of society are left free to run riot over each new generation. -- Defects in the structure of society automatically reproduce poverty in all of its manifestations. These are symptoms of a distressed society (Harrison 2012). Despite all the strenuous efforts of non-governmental organisations, hundreds of millions of people remain in poverty, alienated from their birthright – the natural right of access to the riches of both nature and society, the value of which is synthesised into a single stream of revenue: rent. Meanwhile, the internal dynamics of the life-wrecking system go unchallenged. -- People do protest against bogeymen like bankers and their bonuses. Politicians are censured for not keeping their word. Corporations are attacked for trampling on eco-systems. But the structural flaws that permissively encourage these forms of anti-social behaviour remain cloaked in mystery. The institutionalised nature of that process of exploitation is a matter of historical record. So why do governments continue to disregard that knowledge when they promote their “evidence-based reforms”? -- In the 19th century an English judge introduced the concept of “wilful blindness”. He instructed a jury on how someone could “wilfully shut his eyes” to an illegal act (Heffernan 2011: 2). That principle was most recently applied in the Enron case. Two men at the top of that commodity-trading corporation claimed to be innocent of the frauds that cost thousands of Americans their life’s savings. They were convicted after Judge Simeon Lake explained to the jury: “Knowledge can be inferred if the defendant deliberately blinded himself to the existence of a fact”. -- To assert that politicians are wilfully blind is to accuse them of dishonesty. In fairness, most of them genuinely want to improve the lives of their constituents. To account for the failures of governance, therefore, we must conclude that they really do not know what they are doing. This, however, requires explanation. The best theory may be labelled induced ignorance. Politicians (indeed, all of us) are victims of a process of misinformation that shuts minds to a dishonourable part of European history (but see Box 2). How do we account for this pathological state? -- Over the centuries, most people understood that they were being deprived of an equal share of their nation’s riches. They repeatedly registered their discontent. To meet this challenge, a cost-effective way of containing dissent had to be developed. The cheapest method (one that conserved rents for consumption by the rent-seekers) was to school each new generation into a set of beliefs that deluded people into accepting their lot in life. This was achieved by moulding language in ways that mangled minds, and therefore people’s behaviour. -- Is it possible for people to buy back their ancestral land? That could be one way to view the “property owning democracy” heralded by Margaret Thatcher’s “right to buy” policy of the 1980s. Low-income families were encouraged to purchase social housing at big discounts. They reaped big capital gains and joined the rent-seeking class. But the exercise has failed: the numbers owning their homes in the UK are now declining. Nor could it work. For if we all become rent-seekers, who would work to create the rents? -- The way in which the people of Britain were lured into accepting the culture of greed is illuminated by the “the Englishman’s castle” metaphor. That castle is the semi-detached family dwelling. The purchase of real estate is promoted as virtuous. People burden themselves with mortgages to “get on the property ladder”. This is prudent, because homes have been converted into financial assets. This, in turn, has pushed acquisitiveness to the point where the rent-seeking culture is itself in jeopardy. Examination of the housing market illuminates the way in which the viability of the state is being eroded. The starting point is people’s attitudes towards the way government raises revenue to fund public services. -- This is what families pay to access the public services they need: #taxes to government, plus #location values to vendors of dwellings. -- The irrational basis of the public’s collective consciousness is displayed when they attack taxation. They complain about direct payments to their elected governments, but remain silent about the indirect payments which are levied by property owners. This difference is explained by the way people are coached to attack “big government” and its powers of taxation. Vitriol is never directed at vendors who charge families that want to live in the catchment area of the public services they need. -- Economists encourage these lop-sided prejudices by remaining mute on the sociology of fiscal policy. An example is the work of distinguished American economist Martin Feldstein. He has emphasised the damage caused by conventional taxes, but he fails to explain that governments would not distort people’s lives if they collected revenue direct from rents (Feldstein 1996). -- All of this explains why people do not challenge the vendors of dwellings with this kind of question: “Why have you included in the price of this home the value of public amenities that you do not own and which you do not provide?” On the contrary, we celebrate the success of those who reap capital gains from their properties. -- The emphasis on palliative action derives from the entitlement culture, which seeks to distract people from root causes. When writ large, we see whole populations subjected to the Stockholm syndrome: hostages come to identify with the cause of their kidnappers. -- The net effect is that the palliative approach, far from mitigating crimes against the people, permit income inequality to grow. That inequality is now at an all-time high in countries on both sides of the Atlantic. The mechanism that deepens this financial injustice can be viewed by shifting attention away from an exclusive consideration of income. We need to take into account capital gains from land-based assets. -- The land market redistributes value away from those who work, to those who do not enhance the value of the locations they occupy. The “good fortune” of home owners is neither accidental nor random. Their capital gains are the logical result of laws that enabled a minority to extract community-created rents for their private benefit. -- Money-lenders battened on to the rent-seeking mission of the aristocrats. Result: today, bankers are legally empowered to fabricate “money” out of thin air. Then, through mortgages, they oblige people to yield up to 25% of the value they create over their working lives. Bankers create nothing and give nothing, but they claim title to the real value created by working people. -- Because of this history, Britain became the archetype of a weak form of governance. We define a weak state as one in which the law-making powers cannot be used to treat all citizens as equals. The weak state is servile to rent-seekers.'
geoism  history  economics  land  rentseeking  "capitalism"  parasitism  FredHarrison 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #8: Just Prices and the Riches of Nature
'...The value of nature’s services and resources are measured as economic rent. If governments had levied rents – which are not taxes – for the use of those resources, the world would not have endured 200 years of systematic abuse of natural habitats. But rent pricing was not applied because the law-makers were the land-owners. -- From Day 1 of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, technology was shaped to maximise landlord interests. Engineer-inventors settled for “dirty” technologies (spewing waste into the atmosphere and damaging people’s health) because there was no financial incentive to invent clean technologies. Users of fossil fuels were not required to pay rent for the right to emit toxic waste into the atmosphere, where nature would absorb it. Why were they not charged? Because that would have left them with less net income to hand over as rent to the owners of the coal seams – the policy-makers in Parliament. There was no reason for the early inventors to develop clean technologies when cheaper versions of the steam engine yielded higher rents for the aristocratic landowners. Today, governments are failing because their efforts are confined within that rent-seeking paradigm. -- Winston Churchill understood the wrecking dynamics of rent seeking. During his early career as a Liberal Member of Parliament, he declared in a speech in Edinburgh: "A portion, in some cases the whole, of every benefit which is laboriously acquired by the community is represented in the land value. If the opening of a new railway or a new tramway, or the institution of an improved service of workmen’s trams, or a lowering of fares, or a new invention, or any other public convenience affords a benefit to the workers in any particular district, it becomes easier for them to live, and therefore the landlord and the ground landlord, one on top of the other, are able to charge them more for the privilege of living there." -- ... Eco-cide is legalised and institutionalised. Corrective knowledge exists to guide policy, but it will not be coherently applied if language is not cleaned up. Policy failures arise when governments refuse to distinguish between an arbitrary tax and a price that is symmetrical to the benefit that is received. The difference is evident in private markets. When we visit a supermarket to select a basket of goods, we are not “taxed” by the lady at the check-out desk! So why talk about “taxing” people when they select for their private use a basket of nature’s services at the locations where they choose to live or work? -- ... Politicians have appropriated the concept of sustainability from ecologists to control the debate. But academics must accept some of the blame for policy errors. This is illustrated by the notion of “tragedy of the commons”, coined by American ecologist Garrett Hardin. His article in the journal Science in 1968 went viral. The case against common rights to land was implied by the notion that the ancient commons (on which people grazed their cattle) were over-exploited. Without private property rights, there was no way to regulate the use of land. The Right used this narrative to propagate the privatisation of nature’s resources. An urban equivalent is Hernando de Soto’s claim (in The Mystery of Capital) that, to eradicate poverty, slum dwellers must be given ownership of the land occupied by their shacks. -- Hardin’s concept was not an honest representation of how communities managed their commons. Traditionally, people did regulate the use of resources to sustain their household economies over inter-generational timescales. When this was pointed out to Hardin, he agreed that he ought to have qualified the title of his essay with the word “unmanaged” (Hardin 1991). -- Since the publication of his correction, however, Hardin’s original use of the idea that the commons were betrayed by reckless users has continued to be exploited by right-wing ideologues. The beneficiaries are people and corporations that get rich by arbitraging the gap between the rents of nature’s resources, and the taxes charged by governments for their use. That gap is very wide, which is why the world continues to spawn more natural resource billionaires every year.'
geoism  economics  commons  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  "capitalism"  parasitism  FredHarrison 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #7: The Woman's Lot
'Their formative role in the evolution of the human species was secured by customs and practices that guaranteed to females the right of access to the resources of nature. This enabled women to fulfil their functions at the heart of the family hearth. Their rights were degraded when the sacred status of land was profaned. A culture of violence replaced society’s nurturing, life-affirming processes. Re-allotting the right to share in nature’s and society’s riches is the pre-condition for resolving the war between the sexes. -- The status of women was eroded during the late medieval period which historians call “bastard feudalism”. Women’s status and rights were at risk once the aristocracy sensed that its social function was becoming obsolete. The modern nation-state was being defined by the emergence of a professional standing army, professional judges and professional civil servants. These specialists had to be trained, and the roles were becoming full-time commitments. Feudalism was decaying through obsolescence. The rents of the community would need to be redirected, to fund the new employees of the state. The barons and knights would have to disappear into history. Right? Wrong! -- The knights were not going to go down without a fight. The chivalry of yore went out of the window: survival meant that they would have to challenge the authority of the monarchical state if they were to grab the nation’s rents. They could preserve their social status by transforming the status of land. But to privatise the rents as their exclusive income, they had to deny the social character of land as, ultimately, the property of the whole community. They had to separate possession from social responsibility. This was achieved by a protracted coup d’état against the monarchical state. Parliament, and the “rule of law”, became subservient to class interest. -- Private tenure could only be achieved by assaulting the community. One device for extending the financial power of the aristocracy was that of appropriating land from the people who lived on the commons. This was followed by all the legally sanctioned abuses directed at the dispossessed, to contain their discontent. By privatising the land, the aristocracy necessarily prejudiced the status of women. Women were annexed as property. This was a logical outcome of the re-definition of the status of land, as we see in its most virulent expression – the law of primogeniture. -- To secure their absolute control, the aristocracy enforced ownership of land in perpetuity through the male line. Daughters became dependent on their eldest brother. Gone was the chivalry towards the fairer sex. Now, it was a matter of crude contract. Men held the trump cards. Women no longer had equal rights of access to land. This exposed them to the potential abuses which became custom and practise once the social status of land had been erased. Women were now chattels. -- Clawing back the dignities of womanhood has been a long, painful and still incomplete process. In the West, the campaign began at the beginning of the 20th century with the demand for the right to vote in elections. This route to equality could not deliver its full promise because change is negotiated within the terms of the prevailing social paradigm. Thus, the dominant culture would never agree to more than changes in appearance. The private status of land, and rent, would necessarily perpetuate violence in all its forms. -- Legal concessions have been made that formally recognise women as equal to men. But the violence continues, disguised. Today, the primary tool for degrading freedom is the tax regime that was incubated as the substitute for funding public services out of land rents. -- Formal concessions achieved by human rights campaigners cannot be consummated while the majority of people are still deprived of their equal rights of access to land (or, to state this proposition in a way that is appropriate for current socio-economic conditions, their equal right to enjoy the benefits of the rental income from the land). -- Women carry the responsibilities of their gender without the matching rights. Universal declarations about human rights abound, but what matters is what actually happens to individuals in their communities. The abuse of women, from the mildest to the most virulent forms, remains a routine process. Only by making rights meaningful will women achieve the respect that embodies something that approximates to the notion of normality. -- We cannot retreat to the past. Nonetheless, we can abstract the universal principles that guided our species through evolutionary timescales. The indelible principle that enabled our species to navigate through time and space was the one that prohibited the treatment of land as a weapon. Nature’s resources were available for the “common good”. Possessory rights were enshrined in particular individuals; but possession was conditional. Land had to be used to support families. Otherwise, holdings would be transferred to others. The “dog in the manger” motive (wilfully depriving others of what they needed to enhance their lives) was not countenanced by traditional societies. Thus was nature and society able to work in partnership to emancipate human creativity, without discrimination. -- Today, the ancient wisdom could find its appropriate expression through a finely tuned system of public prices. If people personally paid for the benefits they received from the public sector, as they now do for goods and services which they receive from the private sector, the rent of the land they occupied would be paid into the public purse. The obligation to pay that rent, for all the services derived from the “commons” (those of nature and society), would result in the self-discipline that would surface as respect for other people, respect for the community and respect for the natural habitat.'
geoism  history  economics  land  rent  rentseeking  feudalism  landlordism  statism  "capitalism"  FredHarrison 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #6: The Art of Political Rip-offs
'Culture is a composite of two elements. #The software consists of the customs and practices into which each new generation is schooled. Children are inducted into their community’s language, belief system, moral code and “manners”. #The hardware consists of physical amenities like the highways, water and energy utilities, monumental structures (administrative and spiritual centres). These are public in nature, distinct from the assets owned for the private use of individuals. -- Friction arises when the boundary that divides private from public assets is not respected. That boundary was eviscerated after Europe’s States were privatised some five centuries ago. A perverse model of statecraft was incubated that was then embedded (through colonialism) across the rest of the world. -- Two hundred years ago, the infrastructure that supported Britain’s Industrial Revolution accelerated the debasement of culture’s software. Decisions were made to accommodate the appetites of those who dedicated themselves to the art of living off their community’s rents. Those people used infrastructure (like mass transit systems) to short-change fellow citizens by engaging in a psycho-drama. The trick was to persuade others to fund the infrastructure that would increase the rents going into their pockets. -- The lead role in facilitating that trick was played by those who manipulated the statecraft of greed (Thesis #1). The drama, in the form of multiple rip-offs, illuminates how the public’s finances served as a malevolent force, one that now disrupts communities across planet Earth.'
geoism  economics  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  mercantilism  "capitalism"  parasitism  FredHarrison 
5 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #5: The Pathology of Money: Learn, or Lament?
'Debts are eating deeper into the body politic. Some social activists propose debt cancellation, “a Biblical-style Jubilee: one that would affect both international debt and consumer debt” (Graeber 2011: 390). -- By itself, debt cancellation would not be sufficient. Relief from debt would become a money-making opportunity for dealers in the land market, which functions like a sponge, soaking up the economy’s net income (Thesis #4). #Governments would relapse back into debt. -- Why? Because the collateral damage inflicted by their taxes would continue to impose a ceiling on economic activity. Tax revenue would continue to fall short of needs. The State’s welfare obligations would continue to out-pace growth. The deficit would be funded by once again borrowing from the banks. #Citizens would relapse back into personal indebtedness. -- Why? Because the economics of apartheid outcasts about 30% of the populations of Western nations. They live on no or inadequate wages. They borrow to survive. In the USA, one in eight households relies on tax-funded food stamps. Following the 2008 crisis, spending on food stamps more than doubled to about $80bn a year. -- Nor would the transfer of credit creation to the State be sufficient to resolve the pathologies of capitalism. Why? Its institutional structures and values were designed to serve the addiction to rent-seeking. Agents of the power structure, who directly or indirectly live off rents, would continue with their old habits: deploying state-created credit to the advantage of rent-seekers (example: subsidies to the owners of farmland under the cover of helping low-income farmers). -- The need for a holistic reform of finance is attested by the way in which, in 2013, Britain’s Coalition government encouraged the adoption of Sharia-compliant forms of finance. Sharia law is popularly assumed to be based on ethical economics. Charging interest on loans is outlawed. Moslems are not allowed to make money merely by lending money. So why would the British government welcome Sharia-compliant financing for the City of London? Answer: Sharia does not outlaw the making of money out of land! Privatised rents are at the heart of the poverty that locks tens of millions of Moslems into the state of degradation in territories that are rich in rent-yielding resources. -- Reformers argue that a root-and-branch reform is needed. These include Margrit Kennedy in Germany, James Robertson in the UK and Michael Hudson in the US They advocate a simultaneous transformation in the laws and institutions that govern the land and money markets (Kennedy 1989; Robertson 2012; Hudson 2012). -- But change will not occur if the demand for reform is narrowly focused on fiscal or confined to broader financial issues. Critics need to develop visions of a culture-wide evolution. Change would acknowledge the private interests of the individual, but also the rights of society, and the rights of natural habitats. That paradigm will not emerge without first eliminating the culture of cheating on which perverse power now depends for its existence.'
geoism  land  landlordism  statism  history  rentseeking  "capitalism"  credit  debt  banking  centralbanking  malspeculation  FredHarrison 
6 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #5: The Pathology of Money
'WHEN people allow their social income (rents) to be privately appropriated, a slow-motion catastrophe is triggered. Trauma is transmitted throughout the living space. Society’s foundations are undermined, culture is contorted and the collective consciousness is ruptured. The initial damage is then compounded when people are tempted by the emerging culture of cheating. This is why “money” came to assume a hostile role in modern society. A tool that is inert, with no intrinsic moral status, is exploited by those who find that it can be used to enable them to grab a share of rents. Once this is understood, the perception of money as a menace begins to dissolve. -- If we follow the money trail, we are driven to an examination of the circumstances that formed the modern State. We discover that, at its heart, the political project of the State was one of income redistribution: resources of value were redistributed from those who created them to those who commanded privileged power. -- #The Origins of Perverse Debts: Credit assumed pathological characteristics when cheating was converted into a social practice. #Sovereign Debt: The primary steps were taken in the 16th century. Monarchs abused their power by transgressing people’s common rights to land. -- Land grabs and credit creation were linked when kings embarked on dynastic and territorial wars. They needed money “upfront”. The ensuing debts could be repaid out of future streams of Land Tax revenue. -- Previously, kings borrowed from goldsmiths who were willing to risk the profit they earned from trade. For the new era, this arrangement was too tenuous. Monarchical ambitions grew beyond the means of merchants in Amsterdam and the City of London. A mechanism was needed that could provide sovereigns with an open-ended source of credit. That credit would be most easily secured by mortgaging the lands of their kingdoms. The lead was taken in England. The turning point was Henry VIII’s appropriation of monastic lands. #Personal Debt: Building on Henry’s monastic land grab, aristocrats initiated the buying and selling of land into a commercial business. To create their petty princedoms, they also needed upfront money, first to buy land, and then to build palatial monuments in their rural retreats. -- Debts incurred to construct what are now called “heritage” homes were serviced by the rents squeezed out of peasants. The mortgaging of land began to flourish. This created the opportunity for merchants to cream off a slice of the rents. Mortgages transformed land from its natural status into a commercial asset. -- Previously, merchants had funded sovereign and private deals out of the profits they made from trade. Their money was earned. By lending their capital, they were entitled to compensation for the risks they took. But with the advent of land as a commodity, the money-lenders learnt how to share in the cannibalisation of the kingdom’s rents. -- Initially, although the money they advanced as mortgages was earned, the interest which they charged came from individuals who did not earn their money. By the middle of the 17th century, imaginative schemes were devised that linked what pamphleteers described as “imaginary money” to the extraction of rents through “land banks”. Land, they emphasised, was better than gold or silver as security, and should be the basis of credit (Richards 1965: 98-100). -- The emerging financial architecture was corrupted at the outset by its association with the land market. As one City operator noted: “Securities on lands are capable of being made money” (Richards 1965: 117). Charlatans sensed the opportunities, and moved in. They created land banks to dupe speculators who were seeking easy profits. This was possible for one reason only: rents had been cut loose from their social moorings and became vulnerable to the “artifice” of scam artists. -- But something was missing: a mechanism for bringing order to the business of milking the nation’s rents. Something special was needed, like a bank that was privileged by the State, backed by the law of the land. -- ... The creation of the Bank of England was a political act that was designed to accelerate the redistribution of the nation’s rents from those who created that value to those who exercised privileged power to appropriate rent for their personal benefit. -- #16th c.: King Grabs Monastic Lands #Aristocrats create market in land #Merchants supply Mortgages #17th c.: Gentrification of Government #Rent-seekers create Bank of England #18th c.: Privatisation of the commons #National Debt formalised in politics to facilitate rent privatisation'
geoism  land  landlordism  statism  history  rentseeking  "capitalism"  credit  debt  banking  centralbanking  malspeculation  FredHarrison 
6 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #4: Mortal Taxes or a Life of Liberty
'The confusion over taxation is not an accident. It serves the rent-seeking culture that relies on property rights that privilege one section of the community. Preserving those rights depends on the ability of rent-seekers to retain control of the State’s law-making functions (see Thesis ♯1). In that State, democracy is nominal. People are neutralised to prevent them from demanding the reform that would emancipate everyone: scrap the bad taxes and raise revenue from rents that people are willing to pay to use the services provided by nature and society. -- ... More than 300 years ago, English philosopher John Locke explained in Some Considerations of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money (1691) that it would be “in vain” for a country to lay taxes on anything other than land, for “there at least it will terminate”. The merchant won’t bear taxes, and the labourer cannot bear it. So they pass taxes on in higher prices. But someone must pay: who? Locke was emphatic: taxes ultimately come out of a nation’s rents (Locke’s reasoning appears in full in Harrison 2012: 184). #Taxes, when added to wages and profits, reduce what is left: the net income is then paid as rent. #The reciprocal relationship between rent and the tax burden does not diminish rent; rather, a proportion of total rent is disguised. -- Land owning patricians and gentry who controlled tax policy in the parliaments of old did not welcome Locke’s insight. They wanted to believe that, by cutting the rate of Land Tax and imposing new taxes (such as the one on salt), they could reduce the share of rent paid to the State. And so they could. But, at the same time, the amount of rent they could extract from tenants was diminished, in the process causing social chaos (Box 2). -- Box 2 - The Elizabethan Poor Law: When Henry VIII and his successors began to negate common rights to land, the dispossessed took to the English lanes as vagabonds. To ameliorate the trauma, the Poor Law was introduced in 1572. This was a charge on land. Instead of allowing people to work for their incomes, land owners preferred to dole out subsistence charity at the expense of “their” rents. -- This manipulation of the public’s finances inflicted grotesque distortions on the economy. Example: people channel energy into dodging taxes that ought to be devoted to serving their customers. -- Today, Locke’s thesis is most thoroughly documented by Mason Gaffney, the American professor who devoted a lifetime’s teaching to exposing renegade economists who brought shame on their discipline. Gaffney deployed an acronym for the Lockean thesis: ATCOR. All taxes come out of rent... -- Taxpayers are intuitively aware that there is something fundamentally wrong with public finances. In England a thousand years ago, the State’s revenue was exclusively from rent; 500 years ago, the land grabbers got to work. The chart that records the reduction of rent as a proportion of public revenue tracks the making of a weak, dishonest State. Evidence of this weakness surfaces at many levels. Some examples: #Rent seekers exercise the power to manipulate governments to secure preferences that enhance their privileges. #The fiscal State is ultimately responsible for creating problems like mass unemployment which creates funding obligations that cannot be met out of current revenue. Budgets cannot be balanced, so the State has to borrow, rendering it vulnerable to creditors. Today, the US Federal government is in dangerous debt to China. #Distress caused by land speculation is addressed with palliatives. This fosters social chaos, which appeared most visibly among the southern members of the European Union after the financial crisis of 2008. -- Box 3 - The Money-soaking Sponge: Taxes that can be avoided will be dodged by those with the resources to conceal their incomes. What happened when the Italian government announced an amnesty for people who repatriated income back from tax havens is revealing. Land owners in the Veneto region captured a significant slice of the inflow of funds. The price of property soared, which at the time was celebrated as evidence of a vibrant economy. Why did the money end up in the land market? Unlike labour and capital, land is fixed in supply. Its owners exercise extraordinary bargaining power. The land market works like a sponge: it soaks up the rents that governments fail to collect for the public purse. -- Critics have good cause to feel aggrieved about the State. Its taxes are mortal: they diminish the creative spirit and deprive people of the liberties they need to realise their full potential. But “small government”, as demanded by Tea Party activists in America, is not the answer. Given the sponge effect of the land market (Box 3), tax cuts morph into Lockean increases in rents that travel into private pockets. This, in turn, impoverishes the community, and drives governments deeper into debt. Good governance rests not on how much revenue is raised by the State, but how that revenue is raised.'
geoism  land  landlordism  statism  history  rentseeking  "capitalism"  FredHarrison 
6 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #3: Divine Right & Betrayal of the Covenant
'European migrants dreamed of a new beginning in the New World. Was this a new chance to develop a viable way of life based on a new metaphysics? It was not to be. Settlers were granted a secular contract which gave them qualified right to life and liberty. This deprivation was achieved by negating the Covenant with God. Each person’s equal right of access to nature was replaced by the right to happiness. The central figure in this misuse of the Covenant and the Epicurean philosophy was Thomas Jefferson, the land and slave owner from Virginia. -- Jefferson was an Epicurean. He owned five Latin editions of On the Nature of Things. When he crafted the declaration that sealed the break with Britain, he ensured that the people of an independent America would enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Greenblatt 2012: 262-263). This trilogy of rights merged – one might say twisted – the doctrines of John Locke and Epicurus. -- Locke’s formula for freedom in civil society was based on the natural rights doctrine of “life, liberty, and estate”. The word estate was the English term for land. Jefferson dropped it in favour of “happiness”. So the first comers, the English aristocrats who established their landed estates in Virginia, retained control of their properties along with the power to make the laws of the land. The peasants driven out of their homelands in Europe by the enclosures that dispossessed them of their traditional access to common land would have to submit to the laws of the land lords. Outcome: a population atomised, individuals alienated in the pursuit of an elusive happiness, coerced by secular myths that cynically exploited the language of the divine to secure compliance with a declaration of independence and a constitution that incubated the pathologies that blighted the Old World. -- It could have been different, if the spirit of the Covenant was written into the foundation texts of the new republic. But Jefferson was acting in the best interests of the land lords. His attitude was revealed some years later when, while in Paris, he unsuccessfully tried to have deleted the word property from the list of inalienable rights in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (Miller 1988: 201, n.140). -- While Jefferson and the patrician land owners of America were embedding Henrician pathologies in the New World, something exciting was emerging in the Old World. Moral philosophers were integrating scientific rigour with the values derived from the theology of the land in a new social discipline: political economy. The French Physiocrats and Adam Smith explained that rent ought to be paid to the state that provided benefits to those who occupied land. -- Elaboration of the rent thesis was undertaken in the 19th century by David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill in England, Johann von Thünen in Germany and Henry George in America. Their work became a threat to the rent-seekers. Something had to be done, because Henry George was equipping the masses around the world with the knowledge of political economy. -- A number of Catholic bishops mobilised themselves against George. He had successfully combined the science of economics with Christian beliefs. The bishops wanted the Vatican to ban his book. The Inquisition subjected Progress and Poverty (1879) to critical study. On February 6, 1889, the Holy Office deemed the book: “worthy of condemnation. The members of the Congregation…decided to abstain from making known publicly their disapproval. But they are confident that all local bishops, as far as land is concerned, will stick to the perpetual Catholic doctrine on private property, as defined repeatedly and as stressed most recently in the encyclical letters Qui pluribus of Pope Pius IX and Quod Apostolici muneris of Pope Leo XIII. They are confident, too, that the local bishops will beware of the wrong theories which Henry George tries to sell thereon”.[1]'
geoism  land  landlordism  statism  history  rentseeking  "capitalism"  FredHarrison 
6 weeks ago
Share the Rents -- Thesis Number #2: Landlords and the Appropriation of Wealth
'Most people who benefit from income transfers in the form of rents are not criminals. They are co-opted into cheating by a statecraft that sponsors greed. One victim of the institutionalised process is Martin Wolf, the chief economic commentator of the Financial Times. He computed the gains he made out of the labours of others and explained how he has been enriched to the tune of nearly a million pounds for doing precisely nothing: "In 1984, I bought my London house. I estimate that the land on which it sits was worth £100,000 in today’s prices. Today, the value is perhaps ten times as great. All of that vast increment is the fruit of no effort of mine. It is the reward of owning a location that the efforts of others made valuable, reinforced by a restrictive planning regime and generous tax treatment – property taxes are low and gains tax-free" (Wolf 2010). -- Wolf’s case illustrates what has happened to most households. How did this state of affairs arise? -- The post-war social settlement known as the Welfare State was the price that the culture of greed was willing to pay to preserve itself. Europe faced a dangerous period of transition. The deferential values of the feudal aristocracy were buried in the trenches of the First World War. By the 1940s, the people of Europe wanted a new way of living. The Welfare State provided the political cover that was necessary if the transfer of income to land owners was to be preserved. A second strand to the survival of the culture of the aristocracy was the expansion of the rent-seeking class. -- ...Social psychology is tainted by the something-for-nothing culture. People bias their choices in favour of the quick buck instead of the total satisfaction from creative activity. New generations are schooled into believing that the private appropriation of rent is “normal”. Politicians accept the advice of post-classical economists, that rent must not be treated as a unique flow of income in the nation’s accounts. -- Thus, individuals behave rationally when conform to the incentives provided by the law of the land. So: I may withhold my parcel of land from use, to constrict the supply and raise its price. This may have grievous effects on others (unemployment, unaffordable housing, waste of capital invested in urban sprawl), but my behaviour is driven by incentives sanctioned by the law of the land. We are all consequently trapped in a state of dependency: dependent either on rents from land, or income transfers from the Welfare State. -- ... In the West, value-adding enterprises are becoming survivals from a bygone age. The quest for profits is now largely focused on land-based activities that maximise yield from the rents extracted from nature and society. Distortions arising from fiscal incentives reduce the returns to labour and capital and render the economy vulnerable to foreign competition. But foreigners are not to blame: the enemy is within.'
geoism  land  landlordism  statism  history  FredHarrison  rentseeking 
6 weeks ago
Share The Rents -- Thesis Number #1: Dynamics of the Statecraft of Greed
'The doctrine that rationalised the statecraft of greed was called the social contract. This philosophical device was constructed to argue that when people came out of the “state of nature” they consented to a particular kind of authority. The arch exponents of this myth were the philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Their discourses justified the violent re-distribution of land by monarchs and their courtiers. In Britain, the aristocracy used Parliament to justify the enclosure of the commons. Comparable trends occurred in most parts of Europe. People’s authentic cultures were ruptured as an alien order was imposed on them. The social creation myth legitimised and sanctified the power of the aristocracy. -- The erosion of liberties was directly related to the erasure of people’s rights of access to land. The monarchs silenced opposition by claiming that they ruled by divine right. Their courtiers then employed devices like “the rule of law” to secure their monopolisation of land. They executed coups against kings in a struggle over the power to tax. It was imperative for the barons and knights to control taxation, so that the Land Tax could be reduced and the fiscal burden shifted onto peasants. They succeeded. The outcome was the statecraft of greed.'
geoism  land  history  civilization  civility  FredHarrison  landlordism  statism 
6 weeks ago
The Washington Post -- Where your ideology says you should live
'Liberals like living in urban areas, within walking distance of shops and neighbors. Conservatives prefer the wide-open spaces outside the city that puts more distance between themselves and the next-closest house.' -- Anxious Attachment ("clingy") [If I take care of you, you'll take care of me.] vs Avoidant Attachment ("aloof") [If I don't bother you, you won't bother me.]
nearfar  ideology  attachment 
6 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: Danger Here: UK fails in blanket anti-terror trial blackout bid
'Waving aside the right to an open court hearing, the UK is trying to sneak through its first secret criminal trial.' -- Are you or have you ever been?
uk  unperson  1984 
6 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Less Food, More Pollution as Investors Grab Farmland
'Ed. Notes: If investors could not keep the rental value of land, would they still want to own it? Is the profit from harvests enough to attract investors? Or is it the subsidies not just to big farms but also to big shippers and big truckers? And factory farms do not have to pay for the damage they do to the environment, such as the dead zones in the ocean from fertilizer runoff. If they had to buy insurance and pay compensation, how eager would outside investors be? Is agri-business another of those industries that’s unable to profit unless it can pollute, free of charge? -- Not only should government quit its subsidies and charge our polluters but it should also quit taxing wages. Gardening and small farming is labor intensive while factory farming is capital intensive. Hence taxes on labor and deductions for capital shift profit from small farms to big. -- Government should also charge land dues and pay rent dividends. Since land value is low in the country and high in the city, and the dividend would be equal for all citizens, farmers would come out ahead while wealthy investors, who typically live on locations of sky-high site value, would pay more. These two shifts — of profit and of location value — are all the help farmers need. But it’s is up to us to declare that all land — not just farmland — is not a usual source of profit but also our common heritage, to be shared and conserved. Land dues and Citizen’s Dividends make that claim loud and clear.'
economics  geoism  land 
6 weeks ago
YouTube -- RussiaToday: The Truthseeker: NATO's 'Gladio' army in Ukraine (E41)
'The openly Nazi core of Kiev's new army; WikiLeaked cables set Ukraine 'nationalists' in NATO 'dirty wars' abroad; and the 'psychopaths' who run CIA special operations.'
america  empire  war  perpetualwar  pathocracy 
6 weeks ago
YouTube -- Freedomain Radio: The Truth About Domestic Violence - You'll Never Believe...
'Stefan Molyneux breaks down the unspoken truth about domestic violence, including: dating violence statistics, gender related statistical breakdowns, emergency room reports, perpetration, physiological aggression, chivalry, injuries and much much more. The facts will surprise you... A massive thank you to Dr. Martin S. Fiebert for his incredible work in documenting this information on Domestic Violence. For a full reference of sources, go to: http://www.fdrurl.com/dvsources'
men  women  violence  StefanMolyneux 
6 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- C. Cashmore: Democracy is a Casualty on Speculated Land
'The most damaging of rent seeking behaviour, and the one that yields the most gains, is trading the economic rent of land. An increase in the market price of land is an expected result when economies are improving along with capital investment in infrastructure. Therefore, of all rent seeking behaviour, owning a plot of land in path of this progress yields not only the greatest windfall of passive gains, but is also used as a significant source of territorial and political power. -- Our oil, natural gas, timber, coal, and water reserves are the product of it. We travel on it, work on it, party on it, sleep on it, and bury our dead in it. Wi-fi, airplanes, all forms of technology need it. -- However, the flow of income that comes from owning land over and above the value of building on it feeds speculation, attracting a cabal of banking and finance interests and concentrating the vast proportion of a country’s wealth in the hands of a few, above the very real needs of many. -- Whilst rich land-‘lords’ and mining magnets grow wealthy, collecting their unearned windfall in economic rent – they ironically tell the young tenant saddled with student debt “so you think the world owes you a living?” and command the low waged worker to “pull their weight.” -- Economist Michael Hudson points out in USA studies, how the magnitude of land-price gains are brushed under the carpet to hide the massive unearned profits reaped by those who hoard it. -- When you appreciate how lucrative rent-seeking is to those in power, it is very easy to see how democracy fails us – working tirelessly to silence voices by politically reinforcing faulty economic theories, while strenuously working against efforts to liberalise them.'
geoism  economics  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  "capitalism" 
6 weeks ago
The Progress Report -- Singapore, a Geonomic City with an Identity Crisis
'Ed. Notes: Most reporters leave out that Singapore, like other Asian Tigers, could keep taxes low by keeping public recovery of socially-generated land rent high. Citizens paid a good portion of the rental value of their land into the public treasury (usually as a tax but as a lease premium in Hong Kong) but the taxes they paid on their buildings, purchases, and earnings was low. This formula worked so well in Singapore that they not only could afford classy public housing but also pay their citizens a dividend from surplus public revenue. Nowhere else can make such a claim. But the business press overlooks geonomics, unfortunately.'
6 weeks ago
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