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Capitali$m versus Communism

"¿Was man made for the Sabbath, or was the Sabbath made for man?" (Unknown IBM Research employee)[1]

"I am not a capitalist and I am not a communist. I am a humanist."[2] (BMcC)

"In Spain, there is a saying, 'Por la plata baila el mono' -- 'Monkeys will dance for money.'" (Pope Francis, anent: annulment lawyers)


Look at the birdie! Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America. A man who seems from his published humor to have been amazingly literate, in the face of himself trying to deny any Bildung other than job skill training to all who can afford only public university education. Like Socrates before him, he gets off on being adulated by toadies for feigning ignorance when he knows more than he lets on. Inanity made flesh and dwelling among us. ~ Watch the birdie, Ron! ~ If I had the requisite computer technical skill, I would cause this picture to flip top to bottom and bottom to top, when a user mouses over it.Alfred E. Newman, write-in candidate for President of The United States of America.Bing Crosby dreaming of a White Christmas, or maybe only pretending to dream of a White Christmas to sell records.  
Mrs. Just say no: U.S. President Ronald Reagan's First Lady Nancy Reagan. ~ Picture sort of looks like a bird's nest with a big egg that just barely squeezes into it, doesn't it? But Ronnie liked to mock intellectuals, so how could he live with this goose-egghead?

(Please let me clarify myself! I do not believe all capitalists and their fellow travellers are clowns, and there are lots of not-capitalists who are clowns; clownhood is not unique to capitalism. As far as I can tell, Bill Gates does not exhibit behavioral symptoms of being a clown, neither does Michael Bloomberg or George Soros, or even Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Skilling. Insofar as the Invislble Hand of the marketplace really is ruthlessly Darwinian, few fools are likely to also be among the fittest, except in a fool's Paradise. Some of the capitalists who are not clowns are honorable and some of them are not; a person can be dishonorable and also "real.")

I have long thought that a big difference between capitali$m and Warsaw Pact/USSR style communism" is that, under communism, you have somebody to blame for the evils the mother/father/other land perpetrates on its children, whereas under capitali$m the perpetrators can plead: "The market made me do it!", and escape responsibility. Item: My wife has Obamacare. America's U.S. President Donald J. Trump wants to Make America Uninsured Again. But so far he has not been able accountably to kill Obamacare. We currently pay $651 per month for my wife's Obamacare insurance. We get a notice from the insurer that they have applied for a ca. $150 per month rate increase. Do you see the point? Obamacare can be killed with nobody to blame for it by just letting "the free market" drive up insurance rates to the point that persons can no longer afford it. Not: "We were just following orders", but "The market forced us to do it!", so that the perpetrators can paint themselves as victims too ("We really wanted to be socially responsible but we couldn't afford to; if we had been socially responsible we would have gone bankrupt and then we wouldn't even have been able to pay any workers, so they would have been out of work.... Surely you are not in favor of increased unemployment which would lead to inceased poverty, are you?"). Q.E.F.

DJT may not have a heart in any but a cardiological sense, but capitali$m's proponents are proud to brag that their whole shtick doesn't have a heart and that's what makes it great because in the long run it will drive out inefficient producers and give everybody, i.e., all the survivors, a higher standard of living (consumption -- a word which used to refer to tuberculosis) for less money but they'll be earning less so where's their gain? Everyman, woman, child does not live in the long run but the short term (oeconomica longa vita brevis?).

The mother of all losers: U.S. President Donald J. Trump. MAGA!

(U.S. President Donald J. Trump memorial token. Not legal tender. No value at any exchange rate.

Not all competitors are as ruthless/econo-myopic as U.S. President Donald J. TrumpAll trash to recycling! (right); he's maybe "the gold [plated] standard". As the price for saving capitali$m in the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt instituted some socialist or at least social welfare programs, among them Social Security. The free marketeers have not yet succeeded in privatizing Social Security so that its benefits would no longer be secure but locked into the stock market's heartless gyrations. Of course we will never again have a stock market crash or even a steep decline, so everything is, as The Don might say, perfect. As Sophocles wrote, many things are strange but strangest of all is man. And, as U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, the public universities need to dispense with some "intellectual luxuries" and get down to teaching basic job skills so nobody except the luxurious will know Sophocles existed (assuming the luxurious are interested in such things).

Will a woman who has acquired "preexisting conditions" since her husband got made redundant and thereby lost their employment-based health insurance continue to have health insurance? (But "they" were already working on deconstructing employment-based health insurance into economico-mumbo-jumbo health "savings accounts"(?) so maybe getting made redundant will only make an increasingly smaller difference for a few years?) Currently the "finish line" is age 65, when Medicare kicks in. But what are their plans for Medicare? Only the very wealthy can afford to get even middling level sick without insurance. Three weeks in the hospital runs up a > $240,000 tab. Maybe it depends on the next Presidential election. In mid-2020, the continued survival of the deJoyless United States Postal Service (USPS) has become part of the Freedom Socialist Party agenda. Ad nihil per aspera?

"But under communism there was no freedom!" "What good is freedom if one is free only to be hungry?" I think Maslow's hierarchy of needs is as immutable as Darwin's evolutionary law. I argue that a person or society's level of development can be gauged by whether they aspire to freedom of enterprise or freedom from enterprise (i.e.: freedom for pursuit of what U.S. President Ronald Reagan called "intellectual luxuries").

I think it is tragic/pathetic that the country which, at the end of World War II, a war that was won by Russian bodies and American "arms" → the country which in 1945 had maybe 2/3 of the world's productive capacity and a lot of brainpower too (we made the atomic bomb), has proven itself too poor to have such a thing as a National Health Service. Too poor? No, just heartless governance. In the end, the market cannot be blamed because it only exists and has its particular form by the grace/protection of government policies, without which we would have Hobbesian anarchy and corporate profits would not likely be secure. I don't know about you, my reader, but I find it, at best, hypocritical and disgusting. Do not forgive them, Lord, for they very well know what they do.

Aside: In capitali$t U.S.A., whenever somebody offers me a bargain, I feel disgust, because, to provide me that low price somebody has likely been "screwed". So much for lowering prices raising anything. On the other hand, I am all in favor of redesigning things to make them more resource efficient. If I recall correctly, Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, in their book "Monopoly Capital", computed that, had The Ford Moror[3] Company made only technical and never styling changes to the 1949 Ford, the improved car would have been sold for US$900 in 1964. So, $capitalists, what's your Invisible Hand up to?

Hopefully, Milton Friedman and his fellow travellers are enjoying themselves in hell, forever deregulatedly sinking down into and thereby choking on a putrifying quickmire mass of surplus value being continually extracted from their bodies (aka: "profits"), which mass thereby expands itself, eternally, by accretion -- sharing their sharashka, of course, with their "Communist" apparatchik commissar counterparts from the other side of The Iron Curtain.

As for myself, I have figured out that my preferred economic system is: humanism. If I have to join any political faction/"party", I'd pick the Kronstadt rebellion sailors.

One reason Capitali$m is a threat to all humanity in the age of computers[4][5]

When I (BMcC[18-11-46-503])first wrote this section I thought maybe it was sort of silly. The situation is far worse than I thought: Today there are blind persons who can see because of computer implants inside their eyeballs. There are persons with epilepsy who can act to help themselves before they have a seizure. There are persons paralyzed from the neck down or even worse who can do things and communicate due to computer implants inside their brains. (I would not want to be one of them.) These persons' lives have been radically changed for the better in their own opinion by these computer prostheses. But the computer prostheses are made by capitali$t enterpri$e$. These enterpri$e$ go out of busine$$. The blind become blind again. The paralyzed go back into their solipistic living tombs again. These persons are deeply hurt: not just "economically" but their whole quality of life. Why isn't this a felony? Why? Why? Why? Because of the almighty dollar. Capitali$m should be limited to people doing things that don't matter, like veterans' penny poker games in an American Legion Hall. This matter here is far worse than I thought when I originally wrote it.

You have data which is of any greater-than-zero value to you. You entrust it to a Capitali$t enterpri$e, e.g., you pay them money to keep (and maybe also process) the data.

The capitali$t enterpri$e goes bu$t, or simply decides that the part of its operation to which you entrusted your data is no longer profitable, or no longer of some other interest (NOS[6]) to it and they cancel said operation. Your data is gone. No recourse. You are $OL (Shit Out of Luck).[7]

What is needed are socially responsible institution[s] which have a fiduciary, good shepherd, not [[just] for] profit and also not just "open source"[8] mission and funding. Probably this institution should be agency of The United Nations (UN), like UNESCO.

This government institution would keep your data safe at least until some catastrophe such as wiped out the dinosaurs (The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event), or even just global warming raising sea levels by at least +500 feet over 2020 level, impacts it.

I (BMcC) do not care what kind of ideology[9] (How about humanism? Or maybe The Roman Catholic Church?) accomplishes this good service for all humanity and for myself in particular (and for yourself, too, my reader; does this interest you?), so long as it carries it out at least as long as, as MTV said when it originally launched: "Music television until the sun burns out."

The foregoing should be obvious, especially to the Leader(s) of every Nation state and their respective legislative body if they have one.

29 May 2000 New York Times: "The Book's in Print, But Its Bibliography Lives in Cyberspace" (pp. A1,A12), describes how university presses are increasingly removing the bibliographies from books they publish and making the bibliographical information available only via the Internet: "In a growing number of instances involving both trade publishers and prominent academic publishers, bibliographies -- the traditional structural support for an author's work -- have been severed from books and moved to digital outposts.... [A] note in the book gives the Web address where the bibliography can be found. The advantage, the publishers say, is a smaller, cheaper, more accessible book. Some authors, perhaps surprisingly, support the change. while others have fiercely opposed it.... 'I think it is frightening,' said Peter Lyman, a library science professor and former head of the campus library system at the University of California at Berkeley[:] 'It's more than vanity to have a bibliography. It's part of a collaboration that stretches decades and maybe centuries.'.... [Susanne Calpestri, a librarian at UC Berkeley observes:] 'We don't know how to save bytes for centuries. We know that rag paper has lasted for hundreds of years, but the digital is so ephemeral with changing platforms and equipment. Will you be able to read it 15 years from now?' [Jill Watts, Assoc. Professor of history at California State University:] 'If the academic apparatus disappears, then we're moving back to an earlier period when authors weren't citing sources and could just say whatever they wanted.'...."

A big problem with capitalism

"We never close deals; we open accounts." (Robert McCormick, house paint salesman)
"The cheapest alternative is not always the least expensive." (Wausau Insurance Co.)
"It costs less than you think." (Home health aide service, ref. lost; BMcC translate: "They get paid less than you imagine.")
"People are willing to pay anything for a free ticket." (Apocryphal airline executive)


I think I have figured out a big problem with capitalism. It's not the capitalists and it's not the workers. It's the: customersAll trash to recycling!.

One man's bargain rips another man off.
I thought Black [day of week] meant: stock market crash.

Click for a deal too good to pass up!

Those customers who lust to buy cheap get a combination of what they paid for and highway robbery, and everybody loses. On the television they advertise something called: RakutanAll trash to recycling!, which gets the [retail] customer between 3 and 8 percent rebates on their purchases. Where are those rebates coming from? The rebates do not fall from the sky. They come from the companies, be they transnational corporations or individual artisans or anything in between. So the companies are getting ripped off 3 percent to 8 percent, unless they jack up their prices to be able to give the discounts without it costing them anything (in which case they are not really discounts, of course).

There are real discounts to be had in the world of business: "2 10, net 30" (which I remember from my Museum Gift Shop Manager invoice days) means the seller values fast cash turnover, and consequently he will give you 2% discount for immediate payment in full (this is not just consumption, whether tubercular or other), and that's a fair deal in terms of the value of time and money, for both sides. For some suppliers, it was: "1 10 net 30". If just: "Net 30", I was not quite so exercised to get the invoice down to accounts payable immediately.

Of course, capitalists do not always set a good example: If a zillionaire or his most beloved daughter gets potentially fatal cancer, they don't send out an RFP (Request For Proposal) for the cheapest priced treatment, or do they? Come to think of it, does zillionaire hire himself or his daughter to be self or daughter, by lowest bid RFP?

Communism with a human face

I ordered a copy of Leon Trotsky's 1932 Copenhagen lecture: "The Russian Revolution", from a socialist bookseller (Bolerium Books). I wanted it because (1) Robert Capa's fractured photograph of Trotsky lecturing is one of my all-time favs. Also because (2) Communist witch-hunting Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his fellow travellers like lawyer Roy Cohn who later became a lawyer for Donald J. Trump, are bad people. Also because (3) I am a connoisseur and a collector, and Trotsky's lecture turned out to be something I could afford (US$5? Rich people can pay US$1,00,000+ for a urinal with "R. Mutt" signed on it; I have a quite lovely toilet seat extender, clean in excellent condition but used by a person who had to call 911 4 times because they fell and couldn't get up, waiting in the wings...).

Anyway, the book -- actually it turns out to be more like a fragile leaf fallen from an autumning tree -- arrived in the mail. It would be an exercise in poesy to describe how well and beautifully the little pamphlet was packed and wrapped! It was a joy to open. I called the bookseller to tell them how well the book had been packed. The man who answered the phone caught me off guard, so I do not remember his exact words, but they were something that flowed mellifluously and offhandedly, like: "That's what you get when Trotskyites do the work". Shape up! Man up, Frederick W. Taylorites!

My final historical assessment of U.S. President Ronald and his First Lady Nancy Reagan  God help America!

U.S. President RonaldAll trash to recycling! and his First Lady Nancy ReaganAll trash to recycling! were great ignorancizers of the American people. Mr. Ronnie, at least, was not totally ignorant, but his role in American history was to make the American people more ignorant and stupid than they were when he found them, and not only that, but to make them be proud to be stupid and ignorant. You said you knew about economics: You taught us that an economist is a man with a watch chain with a Phi Beta Kappa key on one end and no watch on the other end. Were you talking about New York Times OpEd writer Nobel laureate in economics Professor Paul Krugman? Did you mean you cut his salary to the point where he had needed to pawn his watch?

Reagan Final Solution: Zero tolerance!  God help America!

Mr. and Mrs. Reagain! Sometime Arschloch des AbendlandesAll trash to recycling! and leader(s) of a ScheißeweltAll trash to recycling!. You are soul GERD (Acid reflux) that keeps coming back and can lead to esophageal cancer of the spirit. You are our heartburns.

We need PEPSID® to try to relieve ourselves of you. You are like a noxious weed in a garden: Until you are extirpated by the root to the last molecule you keep coming back. (Not true: I had one big weed that was aiming to reach both the sky and the center of the earth; when I got down to the last few inches of root, maybe 2+1/2 feet down in the ground, that seemed to be enough to stop the damned thing.)

The solution to your problem is obvious. As you yourself urged: Zero tolerance! → Zero tolerance for First ady of The United States Nancy and her husband, president Ronald Reagan! Satan get thee hence! [No more to come here; these two items never should have wasted any of anybody's time]

Your thoughts, my Reader? bradmcc@bmccedd.org   
 
 
 

+2022.11.19 v001
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Footnotes

  1. In the present case: Was man (woman, child...) made for the economy, or was the economy made for man (woman, child...)?
  2. I am definitely not a "conservative", because I believe in conservation not retrogression. Neither am I a "Progressive" in the sense of those persons who believe moderate politicians in office are better potting soil than reactionaries for growing their movement. I believe "all lives matter", including my own life; individual personal wellbeing is more important than ideological machinations (e.g.: Party politics). All social formations (nation states, religions, political parties, economies, etc.) should serve individual persons, not individual persons serve social formations. Ideologies are replaceable; individual persons, such as myself, are not replaceable. I do not believe in freedom of enterprise; I believe in freedom from enterprise (freedom to pursue the liberal arts and sciences).
  3. OK, it's Maror. But what a wonderful typo! Maror means bitter herbs. Surely Frederick W. Taylor with his time and motion studies made assembly line work more bitter He should have eaten a lot of it.
  4. Another, related, threat is "new releases": You write a computer program/script to do something of greater-than-zero value to you or to somebody else. You get it working right. It does what it is supposed to do (or, hopefully, that and even better). A new release of software or hardware or whatever comes along and causes your program/script to no longer work. The old release is no longer available. You, and anybody/anything else that depends on your program/script, are SOL (Shit Out of Luck). "Das Bleibende im Denkens ist der Weg" (probably mis-remembering Martin Heidegger, but one should be able to get the point: What endures in thinking is the process of thinking.)
  5. Note: If you make a product like Swiss Army knives or washing machines, or something like that, the present desideratum does not apply to you. As long as you make a high quality product or service that endures for a long time, it is to be expected that it will need periodic servicing, eventually wear and need repair, and finally perhaps even wear out altogether and need to be recycled and replaced. A fair profit is just reward for a job well done. If you grow good food, you expect it to be eaten, and thereby honorably to cease to exist even without lasting a long time -- unless you are in the "loaves and fishes" business (John 6:1-14).
  6. Not Otherwise Specified
  7. In Autumn 2020, this is precisely what is happening to my personal website which I have cultivated for 23 years, and which contains the only copy on The Internet, of which I am aware, of Edmund Husserl's "Vienna lecture" (1935): "Philosophy and the crisis of European humanity". This is a culturally important document which I believe quite a few serious students consult. "Yo, shithead! You can just move it to some other URL." No I can't, because the search engine ranking and readers' expectations and maybe references on other web pages will not go with it to a new location.
  8. Open source means: Not supported by anything except the good will of well intentioned volunteers. When all else fails, have hope.
  9. As former Ohio Governor John Kasik says: "The party is my vehicle, not my master." Was man made for the Sabbath, or was the Sabbath made for man? I vote for the latter.


Unfortunate for themself, the person who lacks one; unfortunate for others, the person that is one. Don't be an a**hole!


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