Saturday, October 25, 2014


This statement is true because of the inherent contradictions of this economy. Those contradictions will bring it down no matter what reforms are attempted. 

The contradictions revolve around several quite absurd factors that now make up electrified Capitalism.

It is certainly true that the abundance of things that vastly more efficient production has provided allows for a bewildering array of purchase choices. 
The problem for this improved producing engine is not that it doesn't churn out lots of new things (which can do more than ever before), but that the system can't both pay enough across the board to keep consumption going, while still providing the sufficiently fat profit margins owners of capital demand. 

The global matrix of total productive potential is so large, and always growing, that it forces an insane spiral of increasing competition. A cycle played out so that the players can maintain the hope that they can win the game of market advantage. As such, pretty much the only place left to cut costs are in the area of wet ware; you either use less of it, and/or you pay what you do use less. And therein lies the rub; the impossibility of having a tremendous supply side, and an impoverished demand side at the same time.

That would be bad enough, but then you have two other factors that are also at play here. The insane, totally saturating environment of engineered message that forever screams out BUY! As well as the impossibility of having livelihoods based on jobs whose only justification for existence is to make things to be purchased. Not only does this have the already described economic contradiction, it assumes a posture of resource consumption that can be sustained indefinitely; even as that consumption rate continues to increase.

That engineered message environment is part and parcel of not only why every part of our mental life is ever more screwed with, it is also why we have made such a complete disaster out of the idea of representative Democracy. 

I mean seriously? Believable representation in the age of super virtualized facade? If that's not like the oxymoron of "Reality TV" then I don't know what is.

The bottom line here is that what we have now is not only driving us insane, it is fundamentally unstable as an objective processing system. There are so many growing contradictions, both within and without, that there is absolutely no way it can sustain itself by any other means than to become the most authoritarian, and repressive kind of enforced governance we've ever seen. There is simply no other way it can survive.

We have a choice as to how we will confront the change that is coming. That choice boils down to whether we're willing to demand an alternative to Capitalism, or just wait to see which form of really unpleasant we're going to be forced to deal with.


The Salon article:
7 facts that show the American dream is dead

Friday, October 24, 2014


I am always confronted by a significant sense of ambivalence when I see well intended organizations like "The GroundTruth Project" identify, and seek to address issues as important at this.

On the one hand, how can any sane society, or collection of societies, allow such vast swaths of their children to become an ill prepared, and thus hardly utilized, fundamental aspect of our future. This is not eating your seed corn, it is watching it get bounced out onto the road side, the rest of us not being able to stop, and so leaving it there to be ground into the mud of an increasingly mired track.

Surely we can applaud any effort to channel investment in not only education, but the infrastructure that would allow them to make use of that knowledge. And to a certain extent I can cheer this kind of effort on, but the difficulty for me to do so wholeheartedly starts in the very way such problems are discussed, even by "The GroundTruth Prodject" as this story illustrates.

You see it in the way it expresses the issue: talking about the waste in terms of lost tax revenue from the wages not earned. You also see it generally in most discussions about economic problems; that any difficulty is weighed in terms of lost potential revenues placed against the costs of whatever investments might be needed to address the difficulty. And of course, this is also where you start getting stuck in the sticky cross arguments of who should bear the solution costs.

That, certainly, is bad enough, but I can't help taking the view point back a bit to an even bigger frame of reference. As in what we're really talking about when we think of the opportunity for which we want to have all of this youthful potential applied to.

I know what the idealized notion is presented as: new scientists to discover important cures, or more efficient techniques. New engineers to design the application of those techniques... And so on.
And certainly there would be at least some of that.

The more accurate reality, however, would be to recognize that the majority of these creative minds would be pushed through the sieve of market/commodity necessity. A sieve that, given the capricious nature of value that is the hallmark of Capitalism, would punish and/or seduce their talent into process creation and maintenance that is anything but connected to who we are as human beings, and how we should be relating to each other.

What I am talking about here is the world where creativity is applied to all of the superfluous aspects of marketing; all of the manipulations of our basic nature: love, desire, status, and the fears easily stoked of not having them. All of the message engineering, product packaging and need creation inherent in working on those fears. 

And marketing is just the start because that capricious sieve also pushes talent towards whatever else is valued in the abstract; because if it sells it is good: Drugs that cure only big market diseases, and preferably if they're only easy variations of current patents; drugs that only treat life stress symptoms; drugs that only mask life stress symptoms, pleasurably or otherwise. New products that provide both killer profits as well whatever number of lethal, unintended side affects. It doesn't really matter.

And lastly, maybe even most importantly, is the idea that life has be be organized as a factory in the first place. That we have to be cut off from each other not only by arbitrary task boundaries, but by the very nature of emphasized self interest; whether that "self" is the individual process owner, or the group thus employed. A cutting off that makes cooperation and shared needs nearly impossible to establish.

It is also that factory model, and the consumption of commodities to justify production, and thus livelihoods, that puts us at such odds with the natural world we're supposed to be truly living in, as opposed to just existing; eating, working, using, procreating, and defecating.

It is in this factory model, and the shopping sprawl that surrounds it, that the wage slave, and salary drone, runs along on as an endless moving tread; a tread that never ceases to increase in speed. The only purpose being to do more for less and thus out sell the other guy; accumulate more counters as more advantage and then get bigger.

Is this truly the way to be offering a means for each new wave of children to have a chance at a better life? Should we be surprised at all that so many are flying off of the accelerating treadmill? For my part I don't thinks so. There simply has to be a better way.

This is why I am so firmly convinced that Capitalism is well past its "use by" date. It has gone more than just sour in this new electrified environment we now live in. It absolutely must be replaced. Lets use this abundant pool of talent to help us figure out what the alternative should be composed of, as well as getting it implemented. That is something I think that would be truly worthy of them. 


The story:

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Let's be clear here. Disenfranchisement of any group within a Democracy is intolerable. It is injustice pure and simple.

What concerns me, however, as the Republicans engage in this ridiculous "voter fraud" crusade (chasing a chimera of their own making), is how it diverts us from a more fundamental issue: Even if there were no impediments to everyone voting, are we really being given a meaningful choice?

"Dark Money" is becoming the game of choice these days, and even though the Republicans may a current lead, are the Democrats all that far behind? Have they been all that far behind in the last eight years or so?

You really have to ask yourselves if Big Money really cares all that much about which party is in power. Some of it might, as the Koch brothers might have you believe, but its hard to see why B.M. has had any reason to complain with the Dems these last two presidential campaigns. 

Virtually no body went to jail for the "Great Depression." Any more than most of them failed to make out like bandits when the dust finally settled. And it would also be quite difficult to argue that their hands have been tied as far as initiating another round of "speculate against the rubes" goes.

There is only one game in town. And because of the "inequality of outcomes" that electrified Capitalism ensures (money becoming the same thing as information so limiting the free flow of same), it is a game that is rigged from top to bottom.

This is why Capitalism is obsolete. This is why we must come up with an alternative. An alternative where we govern ourselves as well as take over the management of production. 

The Salon article:
GOP's maniacal new vote scheme: What wingnuts are hatching to keep the "riff-raff" away


Actually, this election is about something; what is probably the default subtext for all of them: The ability of these clowns to push how relevant they are to creating meaningful policy ever lower.

The real question is why anybody would expect anything else. This is, after all, government as "Reality TV" and, as such, it is the producers, with the hacks they employ to write the scripts, who have the last word in where the course of policy will get plotted. Where the producers, in this context, are the captains of capital who are not only ever more certain in their conceit of the value they create, but of their inherent right to be in charge of the show in the first place.

And lest you have any doubt about this fact just remember that "Dark Money" is soon to surpass ordinary influence spending. That this will also soon go over the billion dollar mark for every cycle is almost as depressing as how even that realization is becoming old news.

The bottom line here is that the fault lies with us. If we cannot find a way to take action and stop doing business as usual; stop playing the money game, this farce will continue. Just because its the only game in town doesn't mean we can't figure out a better one, and then make it happen.


The Daily Beast article:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Who will stop the reign

What reigns
in the heat
of so much
fall out?

We feel
the pressure
of so much
inter-faction but
everyone grows colder
in the transfer
of energized blame
and the game of advantage.

And that's the thing
as friction input
of ever more light
upon all of our reflections
casts a fever
of sickened passions
that can't escape.

These passions condense
in the transfer
of light to dark
in greater groups
of drops
in caring,
or loving,
or wanting to understand.
And so become
vast twisting churns
of misery
widening the flows
of fluid hate.

We become the face
of what face
in each other,
nothing to bridge
the vast gaps
in the way
everyone sees
anything, especially
as the point of
your light is to start
its rise from the dark
of another.

Where will this madness,
systematized, vent,
other than into itself,
feeding back
on ever smaller
bodies of understanding.

I would say that
there is space
and time
to ease the impact
of every contrast
we can't abide.
But you would laugh
on the edge
of that madness
not thinking
that any such raging
distinctions could ever be
But we must make
temporary space
to give time
to build a common bridge
to a place where
we will begin
to step back
from our differences even
as we step up
to reach for the stars.

We must first
give up
on the on place where
everything is a cost
we can't afford.
The deal
where we sell everything
out from under each other
and profit from the scarcity
of what we hoard.

We cannot radiate
shimmer or shine
when the bold is
to hold everything
so close, taking
than we ever want
to be responsible for
giving anything back.

If our reach
is ever to exceed
our grasp
than we must make peace
with letting go
and taking faith
that we will find a better
way to grip
a new handle from which
to pull ourselves from.
Always ready
to let go again.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


One can say this because not only are there few people who could afford them any more, nobody is manufacturing any here worth buying anyway. 

The elites could afford them certainly but they stopped thinking they needed such things a long time ago. They have sacred economic dogma to rely upon and, to the extent that it has made them a lot fatter in the last couple decades or so, you could understand their perceptive intransigence.

The real problem here is the inherent contradiction of money, commodities, and perceived value. As Mr. Dayen makes clear here commodities are deflating because demand is down. The are several reasons for this, of course, but one of the biggest is the fact that the rest of us can't afford to buy sh_t anymore. Not only that, but government can't afford to buy sh_t either because nobody want's to pay for it with taxes. And not only are the elites significant in that last factor, they also hate the idea of the government creating more money, either by direct debt, or simply by letting the Federal reserve pump more counters into the servers of banks around the nation.

Doing that, you see, puts doubt into the elite mind as to whether the counters have value any more; or at least the same value they had when their accumulations were tallied the previous quarter.

A curious mind might then ask: Well... Why don't they create jobs that would pay wages that would allow the rest of us to be able to consume important commodities? And to that you have to start scratching your head. There are, after all, some elites who do try to do this, but their numbers don't seem to be anywhere near sufficient. Why isn't a larger portion of the money elite doing the same thing (you might ask)?

The simplest answer is that it is far less risky to put accumulated wealth into financial instruments than it is to try to go the route of competitive production. So many are involved in that around the globe these days that it's hard to stand out, even if what you produce is good. And so most of the producers try to compete by being not only good, but with low cost as well and that is where we really start running into trouble. 

The people who man or woman the productive process are also the largest group that might be able to purchase it. Making it cheap and keeping significant profit margins means cutting back on either the number of actual bodies involved, and/or the amount you pay those bodies.

Thus we come back to the fact that, here in America, at least, there are not only fewer places actually making things, those that are face the limits of what they can pay their workers. If that's not a contradiction I don't know what is. The service economy expands as the manufacturing diminishes, as ever more of us live from pay check to pay check.

The clue that the elites need to buy is simply this. You have to pay workers a decent living wage no matter what the work is if you are expecting to continue with a competitive commodity economy. That means living with considerably less profit. The only other alternative is to eliminate competition via market monopoly by a few, cooperating giants, and then resorting to authoritarian governance to keep the workers working. Neither is sustainable in the long run because of greed on the one hand, or the desire for liberty on the other, won't allow it. 

This is why Capitalism is obsolete. You ignore this clue at your peril. 

The Salon article:
America's ugly economic truth: Why austerity is generating another slowdown

Saturday, October 18, 2014


The Atlantic article linked below is telling on a number of levels. Even though the artist who conducted the "performance art" project didn't didn't do enough trials, with a proper set of rigid control protocols, to really establish a strong body of proof, the mere fact that their was any success at all in this is interesting.

As the author clearly states, the assumption here is that there are patterns in the way stock prices fluctuate; patterns that the educated broker, or well trained rodent, can determine and make money on. That there may well be perceivable patterns from time to time does not change the fact, however, that this is still an irrational, and thus chaotic, system.

The problem that any found patterns present, even if they are discovered, is that they quickly become part of the feed back loop of perception and reaction; itself a process of variation as not every observer will interpret the pattern in quite the same way thus altering slightly the vector and volume of the response. All of which is simply to say that the observer affects what is observed.

More important, however, is the relationship between intrinsic value, so called "rational markets", and perception.

It has always seemed to me that the only really competitive area of Capitalism these days is that which seeks to control meaning and the formulation of perception. And the only rational thing going on here, and coldly so, is the deliberate attempt to influence meaning, and thus perception.

The main assumption of the invisible hand is that it will always reward (as in value) entities that perform well, and punish those that do not. That this axiom is stated with language that, as any lawyer knows, is subject to wide ranging interpretations, depending on more than one layer of context, isn't always appreciated as much as it should be.

And so we come to see at least one reason why lawyers have been known to be associated with vermin of one type or another. Which is also to suggest that playing the meaning game can make rats out of even the best of us. Those who have had a taste of being on top of the meaning garbage pile are especially prone to want to keep the pile growing, and keeping their place on top.

What you end up with is not only an elite who are the arbiters of what is valuable, but of who should remain the experts in control in maintaining it. Kind of like an economic supreme court, only this is a court more in the context of kings, princes and princesses.

The Atlantic article:

The Artist Who Trained Rats in Foreign Exchange Markets

Friday, October 17, 2014


What is interesting to me in this new precipice of power we will be thrown from is how we get slammed both coming and going.

It's apparently not bad enough that the people we are supposedly in charge of electing won't be appointing, or holding accountable, those who will regulate providers of services we need. No. With this new reach of insularity we, as consumers, will be left without even the ability to punish with our purchases; or lack thereof. Market control will be completed and those who are supposedly the whole point of the existence of the service in the first place will be rendered recipient slaves. 

It's pure genius really. Truly perverse genius to be sure, but still quite a triumph.

What we see here, finally, is the enshrinement of Capital's ultimate redefinition. The point of investment, and production, you see has nothing at all to do with delivering real benefit to the consumer. The consumer as both wage slave and recipient slave is merely an indentured go-between in the process to acquire profit. Just as those in the insurance business aren't really there to pay for injuries of one form or another, but for capital formulation, so now is the entire matrix of process that is Capitalism.

We are meant to be nothing more than retool-able, treadmill walkers, who make enough for ourselves to just keep us treading along, with the treadmill itself powering the generators of money. The high tiered accumulators will become the only real consumers. Those who will be able to demand, and get, the servicing they will undoubtedly believe they deserve.

The really sad thing in all of this is that we may well let them do it. Having become so inured to just shuffling along as we always have, believing what we are told, and so not seeing how much of a choice we still have here. 

An alternative is possible. We need only recognize the imperative for one, and then make the choice to stop participating in their game. Once we do that we can design an operational model that truly is "of the people, for the people."

The Daily Beast article:

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The next time you want to give some one a glimpse into what hyper consumption requires various groups to pay, point them to the BuzzFeed article linked below.

And be sure to remind them that hyper consumption is the price we all pay for having our livelihoods be dependent on jobs. There cannot be increasing amounts of jobs, after all, if things aren't consumed. And never forget that, with increasing productive capability, more is always being produced with less direct input. The glut of what can be made must be rammed down the pipeline in ever increasing rates.

So not only will vast tracks of land get gobbled up as roofed way points in the pipes, every surface of every place you go, and every means available to get there, will be beating away at your eyes, your ears and your mind. And vast sums will be spent to re-engineer the craftiest ways to get past the ever increasing, hard jaded resistance to stimuli that will ensue.

We think we know cynical indifference to everything around us now. We are fools. What is coming would frighten even the most cynical now.

The BuzzFeed article:

Warehouse Empire


There are really two issues here that the author of this article would hope to keep obscure:

1. Complex systems eventually become impossible to fix in any effort effective way.
2. Accepting that statement #1 does not automatically require giving up on addressing issues that prompted the need for a 
    particular fix in the first place.

The first point is something that folks in the IT world know only too well. Any complex piece of software can be upgraded, and/or corrected, for a few years at the most before the layers of change, on top of what was already there, begin to result in ever greater unintended problems. And the effort it takes to fix those only serves to further frustrate things on both sides of the equation. At some point, even though management goes into great fits of apoplexy at the mere mention of it, you must restate the requirements, and then redesign how to achieve them.

This is especially true for operating systems as they must not only ride heard on ever changing hardware technology, they must also be responsive to new ways to make using that tech in ways that balance efficiency with ease of use, as well as the more nebulous area of experience atmosphereics; that flash and bang and sex appeal that makes anything more sales worthy.
None of this is easy to say the least, even if the human element weren't part of the interface equation.

The view of things is applicable here precisely because Capitalism is an economic operating system. One that was originally developed with a mind set forged from technologies such as the printing press, and repeatable type characters. Now that technology has moved to the electrification of information we are moved into a different kind of mind set. Not only a different way of being able to do things, but a different way of conceiving things. Capitalism was changed a great deal even before this had full effect, and a great deal after. The overall result is something considerably worse than simply making things more complicated (though it certainly did that). This is more like irradiating genetic material and then trying to deal with the mutations.

In any case, though, Capitalism did have deleterious social consequences. Along with other things it is a system that abhors costs, craves profits, and loves scarcity. As such, it becomes quite easy for it to cut corners, shift responsibilities, and hoard. Tendencies that are most usually specific to individual self interests. The need to curb these tendencies all but demanded that there be strict rules to follow, and the bureaucracy to enforce those rules. That this system of counter weights would have costs and problems of their own should surprise no one. Acknowledging that they might have become too costly now, however, in now way negates why they were needed in the first place.

What ought to be obvious here is that the better question to be asked is whether the operating system itself is in need of a complete rethink. And if you are objective in that assessment at all you cannot have any other conclusion at all other than to say yes. It is obsolete, and glaringly so. It absolutely must be replaced. No stupidly obscuring article such as this is going to change that.

The Daily Beast Article:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vicious Thought Revolves

Too much,
ass addled,
sense angle
a dangle
of yourself,
you start a mind
context conundrum,
spiral locking
steps too emotionally
to be denied.
to cut away from
where you once stood.
Conceptualized placement
of little understanding
from which you plant
a new face of place
to throw yourself
away anew.

Emotions kicked
by the sharp points
of fevered thought
will ride you
down because
you saddled yourself
in fear based visions
and explanations devoid
of independent voice
to talk the walk
back to another way
to face an understanding.

Hold it back
to make it
stop, that
dagger dialogue
you keep stabbing
away with
to make your hated
parts so termed
and framed distasteful
even as you swallow
your pride
as fiction whole.
This voice
and the claws it forms
in the hands of letters
dipped in imaginative
bile, scrapes ever more
furrows of fertile
irritation; from which
only more destructive
digging will grow.

Do not think.
Do not filter
with this sullied sieve.
Just feel. Just
be the heart
of the beat
inside you.
Hear the air
on you skin and
what is raised
in every breath.
Taste the sound
as the leaves
in trees would have
you hear.
Picture the rivers
mighty even
in tiny tunnels
as millions of tributes
and tributaries
flowing well rooted
from the grounding
of trunks thick
with being
so slowly alive
you must be patient
as love itself
to embrace.

There is exchange and
there is power
growing all around
you, so unaware.
There is light
and there is dark
and there is movement.
Meanings far too large and
way too small for words

Questions become answers and
answers become questions
in infinite recursion.
You have heart.
You have mind.
You have choice.
Let go
reintegrate and reform
with the patience of trees.
Be the flow
and the channel.
Be the hand
that helps in reaching,
and the tactile
at the heart of touch.
You will feel.
You will know.
You will grow.
Pain and joy,
confusion and understanding,
will come
and go
each in their turn.
This is being and becoming,
never surrendering choice.
That is all there is.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The author of this article certainly implicates the congruent motivations of Capitalism and Dictatorial regimes, but it bears emphasis.

The whole point of capitalism is to control the flow of any commodity. It's very nature is the economics of scarcity, for in that is a fundamental aspect of value; at least as far as such an abstract system would deem to consider value at all.

The problem we have now that Capitalism has been electrified is that information itself becomes the primary commodity. Directly or indirectly, information is synonymous with money. This is why Capitalism is now fundamentally antithetical to Democracy. As such, it should be no surprise that the titans of capital here would embrace the crony Capitalism of China.

A lot of people fear China precisely because of its growing economic power. That this power grows in large part because our titans see greater profit from playing along with their hard ball of allowing as little corresponding access to their markets as they demand from us is infuriating enough. That they might also be so cynical to play both sides against each other with that fear, seeing ever greater profits from any new arms, or space race, or whatever else you might want to imagine, is almost enough to make you want to line them all up against the nearest wall and play target practice. 

I, for one, however, see the Chinese as potentially great allies, and partners in all sorts of endeavors. We just need to step carefully as they negotiate what will be a very difficult reintegration of culture, equity, and a social contract that has been written, torn apart, and rewritten at least several times before in the past. They are a proud people, and rightfully so. We can no more dictate to them than we can condescend; especially with hypocritical diatribes about the rule of law and democracy. 

We've got our own money fueled bit of inequality, and corruption, to worry about. What we can do in recognizing our own faults, however, is lead by example. We can see the intolerable mix of Capitalism and Democracy we now have and make the conscious choice to start over with a better system. One that, as I have said many times before, allows a better balance between individual liberty and the greater good of society as a whole. 

If we can do this. If we can show that it can be done, we might just be more than a little surprised on how inspiring that would be. Relying on the invisible hand of markets is just as absurd as the Chinese leadership relying on the sanctity of "order."

Salon article:
The dangerous truth about Wall Street's favorite new company