Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Another Priority for National Security

This article about the Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) finding the mcr-1 gene in an E. coli germ in the US should be a shot across the bow for our political leadership. For me this is another example of the need to question how we prioritize the threats not only this nation faces in the coming years, but the rest of the world as well.

The aspect of how we question is basically this: Are we balancing the allocation of limited resources properly here? Are we really that much safer purchasing, for example, another carrier battle group, or another manned fighter, or putting more money into Home Land Security for anti terrorist measures, instead of a much more robust, and integrated, bio hazard identification and rapid response force? Isn't a such a force like that just as important as the rapidly expanding cyber warfare command we're now putting together?

If we are realistic we have to accept that there will be those groups, or other national interests, which would like nothing more than to do us harm by whatever approach of force of arms they can come up with. And that is just a given we will no doubt be facing for some time to come. As such we need a seamlessly integrated military ready with state of the art capabilities with which to respond, knowing the response will require constant flexibility for changing threats, and rapidly evolving contextual situations.

The problem now is that the threats we face go far beyond just other actors on the world's geopolitical front. Ecology and biology now interact to present both clear and present dangers to our people and our physical infrastructure; threats we presently give, for the most part, short shrift to. And why is that?

Obviously resources are always finite no matter how successful your economy is, or how it is organized. As such prioritization will always be difficult because all of these threats have merit for claiming out attention. I would maintain, however, that it is precisely the way our current economic operating system is organized that not only prevents proper prioritization, but also thwarts application of resource because it is considered within the context of a cost based mind set (as opposed to an effort based mind set). A mind set where "cost" must necessarily mean a zero sum game as far as "profits" are concerned because the idea used to be that all economic entities should be subject to the levies required to pay for these answers.

It is in that type of system where rigidities become institutionalized because one entity or another gets used to producing it's profit producing answer to a threat that may, or may not, be the most pressing. Where, in fact, the whole process of deciding what is a priority becomes bogged down as various entities expend significant resource simply to sell not only their answer to a threat, but an ongoing emphasis that the threat in question is the one most deserving of further allocation.

The bottom line here is simply this: If your livelihood depends on a particular threat, and the answer to that threat that your producing entity provides, you have a built in bias that, at the very least, makes it quite difficult to be objective in decisions such as these. And it is inevitable that these biases get grafted over to the public services who we charge with the responsibility to field these answers.

The fact of the matter now is that we don't have a "seamlessly integrated military ready with state of the art capabilities with which to respond, knowing the response will require constant flexibility for changing threats, and rapidly evolving contextual situations". We have instead multiple services with overlapping redundancies that compete with each other for limited resources, even while economic entities compete with each other to build things similar to what they have always been building because that's just a great deal cheaper than completely rethinking, let alone retooling, what they do. Existing services that also make thinking outside the box on what constitutes a threat in the first place extremely difficult.

And so the responses to new biological, or ecological threats, continue to go begging, for the most part, for resources commensurate with the need these new threats ought to demand. And we are the ones made to pay, in so many ways, for the shortfall.

Searching for Superbugs: The Lab Looking for the Next Big Threat

Monday, May 30, 2016

Growing Numbers of Storms, and Increasing Intensity? --Additional

This new graphic representation of past temperatures up to the present, with expected increases to come ought to scare you, and with good reason.

The thing that I have tried to emphasize with increasing average temperatures is this: More energy into a system, where transfer is a constant, ongoing process, means that those processes that mitigate transfer have more input to work with, assuming of course that there remains significant differentials around the planet. As we've yet to get rid of all of the ice at the poles, coupled with the tilt of the planet's rotation (which gives us our seasonal variations), differentials will be with us for at least a good number of decades to come.

In any case, though, with more input to work with, transfer processes (convection, evaporation, condensation, radiation, and pressure change, etc.) become bigger in their expression, and more likely to occur over given periods of time. This is why we are talking about extreme weather now; where extreme can be a great deal more than just extremes of hot; as in wetter storms, storms with more powerful winds, or longer periods of no wind or no rain, as the flows of these transfer become more chaotic with the increases.

This is real because this is physics children, no matter what some idiot of a presidential candidate may tell you just to make you feel good, and encourage you to want to vote for him. People are dying from this, homes are being destroyed, and lives disrupted in horrible ways. Sticking your head up your ass to try and ignore it will not change what that, or how much worse it is going to get. One can only hope that you will start actually thinking for a change and act accordingly.

The Best Visualization of Climate Change isn't a Graph—It's a Death Spiral

If you think you're hot right now, just wait.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

We are Poisoned and the People Who are Supposed to Protect us Do Nothing

As this N.Y. Times article reminds us, even when we get laws passed to keep corporate interests from letting their aversion to costs out weigh our right to not be poisoned, the agencies involved to enforce those laws do nothing.

In the case of the chemicals involved with the making of Teflon, PFOA and PFOS have been dumped for at least fifteen years, affecting ground water, and nothing was done to stop it. This despite the fact that not only did DuPont know the cancer risk these chemicals created, the EPA was petitioned yearly by a Pennsylvanian lawyer (Rob Bilott, a lawyer at the Cincinnati firm of Taft, Stettinius and Hollister)  to make the pollution known and the dumping stop.

And again, I ask the question: How many times must we go through this process of fighting, tooth and nail usually, just to get protection legislation in place at all, and yet, even when it does get passed, corporate interests always seem to wear the regulatory mechanics down to virtual impotency.

And why would we think those same corporate interests would do anything else in this context? Not only is changing a process to stop a poison from happening in the first place expensive, but admitting to it after the fact, is even more so, if for no other reason than because of accumulated liability. So even if they are caught, and judgments assigned, the declaration of bankruptcy not only destroys an employer, but it also creates the very real possibility that us taxpayers will still be on the hook to pay for at least some portion of the cleanup.

Again as well: why do we continue with a system that puts our neighbors into the unenviable position of having their livelihoods taken away from them, and their communities impoverished, as well as poisoned, just to punish an entity that does exactly what the economic system within which it operates, wants it to do; namely keep costs down and maximize profits. Under such contradictory circumstances, isn't it time we started questioning that system? Isn't it time we stop pretending we can fix it? Isn't it time we recognize that it had it's day, and now it is time to come up with a fundamentally new one.

If you do not see the logic in this than I guess its time that you just go suck up to the Donald and become just another Trump Chump.

The Story Behind the E.P.A’s Contaminated Water Revelation

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Growing Numbers of Storms, and Increasing Intensity?

Could there be a trend here? And if there is what should we do about it?

I know, let's stick our heads up our butts and start ripping up world climate agreements, even as we increase fossil fuel production at home. Just ask the Republican Presidential Candidate.

Missouri Gov. Nixon Declares State of Emergency Ahead of More Rain

See also:

Tropical Storm Bonnie Forms Off Carolinas as Deadly Flooding Overwhelms Texas

Debating Sanders is Appropriate the Day Before, But Now it Isn't?

Somebody in his staff probably finally got it through Mr. Trump's head that discussing facts might actually be required; especially as Mr. Sanders uses them a lot in his campaigning.

Wow. I guess he dodged a bullet there. That kind of confrontation would have really been embarrassing for him.

Trump Now Says Debate With Sanders Would Be 'Inappropriate'

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Graphic Depiction of Why Even $15 An Hour Isn't Sufficient

This is another "no comment needed post."

The Hourly Wage Needed to Rent a 2-Bedroom Apartment Is Rising

A new report maps how much the average American has to earn to comfortably afford a modest rental in every U.S. state.

What Little Progress That Has Been Made In Addressing Climate Change...

...And he wants to rip it up.

But wait. It gets even better, as he's doing that he also wants to increase home grown fossil fuels.

Yah, that will make the amount of carbon in the air so much better.

Calling him an idiot doesn't even begin to express his inability to recognize, or process, facts. And so many Americans still want to vote for him.

If ever there were ever a more glaringly obvious indication of the affect that living in a constant multi faceted fantasy that hyper marketing has brought us to, I'll be damned if I can think of it.

Donald Trump Pledges to Rip Up Paris Climate Agreement in Energy Speech

Another Long Term Term Stress Event...

...That our current economic operating system will not be able to cope with.

Sad to say certainly as we can see it coming, but just consider the Zika virus, or the Ebola outbreak in Africa, for which we saw coming as well. And this doesn't even begin to consider how different stress events can interact with each other to leverage their effect on a cost based system, and then to weaken it's ability to respond. In that vein just consider a really bad bug coupled with the right extreme weather event(s) and imagine the possible cascade of critical system element failures.

And the really sad thing here, as whatever combination started, is that you just know that Congress, and the two parties, would immediately be embroiled in their usual fight over money, and who would end up providing it; perhaps eventually coming up with a plan, but one that would likely be too little too late.

Because Capitalism has not only made human labor as a commodity obsolete, and plunged us into a multi faceted fantasy of constant marketing, but also made responding to pretty much any thing important a guaranteed cat fight over how to pay for it, it has made itself both obsolete and dangerously obstructive. As such we must begin immediately to find an alternative, and figure out how to implement it. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise.

'Nightmare Bacteria' Superbug Found for First Time in U.S

See Also:

Severe Storms Bring Flooding, Tornadoes to Nation's Middle

See Also:

Feeding Antibiotics to Farm Animals May Worsen Climate Change

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Politico Has it Wrong

The Politico article linked below is only partly correct on the change that is coming to American Politics. It may well be the end of the former "partisan alignment," but it will be a great deal more than a move to a "policy" oriented change.

What is coming is two fold: 

First will be the realization of the growing perception that the predominance of a "market organizational" approach in virtually everything we do is absolutely without any further merit. The systems view that has had us already accepting a holistic approach to ecosystems will come to bear on social interactions as well; an integrated view that will force people to recognize that Capitalism as a social operating system was rendered obsolete decades ago; precisely as Socialism is starting to make a great deal more sense to increasing numbers of people now.

Second will be the further realization that the only way to comprehensively move away from Capitalism will be to reformulate how we interact with each other to secure the attainment of our needs, now that electrified experience retrieval has made specialized  labor, and money as a translator, irrelevant. And the only way to do that, while preserving Democracy, will be to go to direct representation within a Federated group of City States. City States, as I have stated before, where we are the managers, and maintainers of productive capability, and automation is used in balance with personal involvement, to provide us with the basics to make our own end use items.

In that context political parties will fall back to being no more than advocacy groups for particular programs and initiatives they hope as many City States as possible will implement.

Elephants and Donkeys

This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like

This year, we’re seeing the end of a partisan realignment, and the beginning of a policy one — and U.S. politics is about to change big-time.

Will America's Greatest Export Become Ignorance?

A question that would be sad enough to ponder if it weren't for the fact that an argument could be made that we've perhaps already made it so. And that we've done this with marketing BS as a way of life.

Just consider this telling quote from the nbcnews.com article linked below:
"They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements but they're rattled by him — and for good reason, because a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude," Obama added.
He suggested Trump's controversial proposals were more about "getting tweets and headlines" than "actually thinking through" what's needed to keep America safe or the "world on an even keel."
Which is no more than to say we've come to live by government as "Reality TV," where PR and marketing rule as a matter of course to begin with, and made much worse as we take outlandish behavior as mere thematic embellishment (as a kind of permanent sweeps week mentality), to pump the numbers up.  In that context why wouldn't a reasonable person be made weary.

That we would now present to the rest of the world a strutting huckster as our leader is perhaps only a fitting exclamation to the depths of fantasy as a way life that we have fallen into, and the farce we have made out of governing ourselves. If this isn't collective insanity I certainly don't know what is.

Obama: Trump Candidacy Has 'Rattled' World Leaders

See Also:

Trump: I've Used 'Aliases' in Business to Save Money

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Lessons do we Learn from Faulting on Debt

Mel Magazine has an interesting conjecture on what would happen if all student debt suddenly went into default. As you might imagine, with something on the order of $1.3 trillion involved it would probably be at least an order or two of bad.

Not only do the people in debt suffer (credit ratings, legal actions etc), various institutions lose the asset represented in a promissory note of what ever type. An income generating asset that both helps fills the book value of an institution, and serves as a node in the great matrix of capital creation. When book values suddenly disappear the ability to secure notes of its own disappear, along with previously relied upon income.

Consumption and debt are part and parcel of Capitalism of course, and have always been a tricky balancing act in keeping one or the other from extremes. Debt in the consumption of education services, however, is a particularly troublesome sub set of that balancing act; especially as ever increasing competition works the double whammy of both increasing technological development, and the need for more technically skilled workers. Wherein we get the equally increasing drum beat for ongoing retraining as innovative "disruption" makes the new old faster and faster. It doesn't take precognitive ability to see the future to understand that this arrangement may lead to an ever accumulating debt load, even after the initial instructional consumption.

To say that serving the starting debt load is bad now hardly begins to cover what it might become a decade from later. And what then? If you think defaulting on the debt now might be bad, would pushing a possible default down the road a ways make it any better? Probably not, especially as it might complicate an individuals ability to service the other types of consumption based debt accumulated in the interim. And then you have to factor in the way the cost of education itself keeps increasing. Are we to suppose that's going to go away soon?

What we are describing here is just another of the contradictions of an electrified from of Capitalism. Information is money in this hybrid, and passing it along from one point of use to another, whether to impart a skill, or to utilize it in direction production, is to incur a new aspect of net gain at each point. How long do you suppose it's going to be before the cost of imparting it to humans will become quite cost ineffective, just as having humans perform direct production has already become more and more inefficient. But then, if you're not going to train humans, or use them much in production, the question comes back to who will be left capable of affording to buy any of what this ever more efficient techno-productive machine is capable of producing?

It's here where I usually fall back to the metaphor of fault lines; similar to geophysical faults, only in this case within a very large, and complex, system of human interaction. These fault lines have been building up pressure. We've tried to take measures to ameliorate, or divert, the pressures in these faults, but not remove them altogether. To do that would require starting over with an entirely new system. So the pressures build. We keep building up structural elements on top of them, despite the growing danger, and hope that a new patch, or diversion will buy us more time. The ultimate outcome, though, is inevitable.

The take away here is this. When you think about the question of default, or starting over completely for that matter, and how bad it might be, just remember: putting it off till later may well be a sure prescription for making it a hell of a lot worse.

What Would Happen If We All Stopped Paying Our Student Loans?

From personal insolvency to global financial collapse

The Zika Virus: A Tale of the Madness of Money, and Bureaucratic Ineptitude

As the nbcnews.com artticle here indicates, the spread of this virus reflects how not only poorly cost based economies handle disease prevention, but also how hard it is for the WHO to get member nations to continue to cooperate on a long term basis.

PresidentObama is still fighting the Republicans in Congress on Extra Zika funding; one assumes for reasons both connected to what it costs, but also because they simply don't want to hand him something that might make him look good in his final months as president. And then countries who may have irradiated the Zika carrier mosquito in the past, but have stopped funding the continuation of such programs. And perhaps even worse, have been dragging their feet in the monitoring and reporting of new disease developments.

One thing that I think the UN ought to consider, quite apart from whether they drop Capitalism or not, is the idea that, if you don't full participate in UN sanctioned health, or humanitarian programs, you lose the rights of membership in the world body. Conversely, if they do make serious efforts to comply, but are hampered by a lack of funds, then the more prosperous nations of the West need to step up and aid them, on, say, some kind of matching dollar basis to ensure their commitment.

What we are really talking about here has a very basic, bottom line, reality. The factors concerning world health have no borders. A disease spreading in one place is all too soon a disease spreading all over the map. As such it is in every one's interest to treat world health issues as a major priority in their national security. To do other wise is an unbelievable, as well as immoral, act of omission.

The Zika Virus Spread Is Our Own Fault, WHO Chief Says

Monday, May 23, 2016

Modularization is Another Key to How We Can Make Our Own Stuff

As I have been advocating getting rid of how we presently organize the production and distribution of all things we need, I am always looking for another example of how it can be made possible. And, ironically, it is the present system that continues to show the way; effectively innovating itself out of being relevant any more.

Case in point: Google's new modular cell phone.

I mention this now certainly not because going modular is anything new, but to merely remind you that with modularization we can balance automation with personal involvement in creating the many things we need. In that balance, if we become the managers and maintainers of semi independent city states, sharing all of the tasks that are reqired to keep it all going, we can put a great deal more creativity towards what might constitute common modular components in a host of other end use items; moving beyond electronic modules (that might be built up to any audio, visual, or computational item), to that of motors, or pumps, or power applicators of all types that might be easily constructed of common components made in automated factories. Certainly a host of construction components could also be so formulated; even those for large scale cival construction. 

The idea here is to start thinking about just how possible a new economic operating model can be. A model where we don't need to rely so much on either specialized labor, or money to translate one type of output to another. As I have been saying repeatedly, what you are really talking about here is merely the application of experience retrieval, for which the real bottom line is the availability of clean energy and the free flow of information. After that it is just equitable cooperation and ensuring that participating in the management and upkeep guarantees you a fair share of what gets produced. After which it falls to you, and your own initiative, to make the things you personally need.

It's not rocket science, its just a different way of looking at things. Any more than it is Communism, or Collectivism at the point of a gun. We have the developmental capability now to move beyond those horrible, as well as incorrect, manifestations of Socialism. The capability now to truly balance the rights of the individual with the needs of the many, all within the foundation of a true, Federated Democracy. We just need to see it, and then work from that shared vision.

A closer look at Google’s modular phone prototype

It's just an early prototype, but it works!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Bill for All of the Delayed Costs are Coming Due...

...And the collection agency is going to do more than just break a few knee caps to make us pay.

Indian health workers wring the necks of chickens during a culling operation in Thoroor village, where five chicks were found to be infected with H5N1 avian influenza. NOAH SEELAM / AFP - Getty Images

UN: Growing Environmental Threat From Animal-to-Man Diseases


See Also:


"Megafires" that cover hundreds of thousands of acres, move at hypersonic speeds, and swallow entire cities whole are now cropping up with alarming regularity. These raging infernos weren’t even on our radar until the late 1980s, but by the end of the 21st century, scientists say they could become the norm.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Greed of Big Pharma...

...Is bad enough, but to use charity programs to provide cover for the outrageous price hikes that have been happening, and for which the American tax payer foots the bill, is an example of gall of the highest order. And yet, if you believe in Capitalism, you cannot fault the new drug lords for pushing the price to what the market will bear. And obviously in medicine, where so much suffering, as well a continuing to live, is at stake, the market is primed to bear quite a bit.

And as far as the propaganda goes, pretending to be one thing when you are anything but, just how outraged can we be? After all, we have a presidential candidate who continues to do quite well with the very same kind of propaganda. Isn't it odd how we're quite willing to buy into one form of being fooled, but not another? Or that we're willing to stay with the very game that makes not only propaganda so cost effective, but greed itself so easy, and so widely accepted among the real players?

Maybe one day people will wake up and start questioning the legitimacy of the game itself, as much as those who simply take advantage of its fundamental characteristics. I certainly remain hopeful.

Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, May 23-29, 2016. Subscribe now.

How Big Pharma Uses Charity Programs to Cover for Drug Price Hikes

A billion-dollar system in which charitable giving is profitable.

Using His Brand Identity to Sell Himself in Politics...

...So that the exposure will help sell his brand in products. The self perpetuating leverage is testament to the perversity of marketing. Even worse, however, is what it says about the gullibility of the American consumer; especially when you consider how poorly his products were doing before he got his candidacy going so successfully now (the very success of which, of course, was based on lies, bluster, and sheer outlandishness).

Isn't just amazing how pandering to you own ego can be made to be so rewarding financially. Just another of the many "characteristics" of Capitalism that make it so abhorrent, warping all sense of "value" as it does... At lest to me in any case. Maybe this sort of thing seems perfectly logical to you as an example of incentives and rewards, but I'll be damned if I can see it.

Trump’s business booms as he runs for president, financial disclosures show

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Would Taking Money Out of How we Organize our Social Operating System Eliminate Corruption?

Not very likely.

If for no other reason than selfish aggrandizement has been a part of what many millennium of living with deprivation has weakened us with as a species. Just as with the lust for power, or pretty much the lust for anything in excess I guess. In all of that history of fighting over scarcity, listening to our better angels has not been exactly easy; especially when one can see that not listening can have a pretty good return probability in the whole risk to benefit equation.

One could argue, however, that making good on that elimination, within the context of an integrated approach to taking advantage of direct representation, automation, and the free flow of information, would have a good chance of limiting not only the incentives a scarcity derived, money oriented system, creates in regards to corruption, but also of making it a great deal more difficult.

Attainment, and equity for the many, in balance with the same for the individual, presupposes a social environment that will seek to move us away from the mentality of deprivation, and zero sum interactions; especially as we use cooperation to get us off the planet in a much more fundamentally significant way than the commercial ethos would have it. Initiating this journey, however will certainly not be easy, any more than growing out of the mind set of fear, that our history of scarcity has so far bequeathed to us, will happen any time soon.

It just seems to me that we have to start somewhere in seeking to be better, both as individuals, and as social groups. And to do that, as any dependency recovery program will tell you, you usually need to change the way you've been living in a big way. With the way we've all been so dependent on money, and the time factor involved, you can see that the change in the way we live will need to be commensurately large as well.

Those involved in dependency treatment also say that a person usually has to hit rock bottom before they are ready to accept the fundamental change getting better will require. I still hope that the hits we're taking now, as things continue to fall apart, will allow us to act before a social rock bottom is reached. It would only take a majority of us to see what is eventually coming and skip ahead to getting started on the recovery you know. And it would save on a lot of extra hardship to boot. We just all need to start thinking seriously about this because that rocky bottom is coming up fast.

Is Mike Hubbard the Most Corrupt Politician in America?

The speaker of the Alabama House goes on trial this month, in a case that offers a lurid glimpse into the state’s machine politics.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trump Says He isn't Stupid...

...And says very little after that to back it up. And why should he when he has a brand to do all the substantive talking for him. A brand that is probably the only really successful investment he has ever made. Any more than he has to back up claims of being a "uniter."

In point of fact, all he's really saying here is that "I'm a successful celebrity." And because of that success you can have confidence in my "confidence" game. "You can trust in the fact that I can sell anything. After all, I've sold you on being presidential haven't I? How hard can it be selling anybody else on anything I want them to buy?"

And in this it may well not be stupidity so much, that is foremost in his personality, as it is a complete and abiding delusional-ism. And in this as well we must come to modify the archetype "I think therefore I am," into "I am famous therefore I matter," where, of course, to matter means you have every justification worth mentioning to weigh in wherever you want to.

Be that as it may, one could argue that the real stupidity here lies with those who have bought this pig in a poke simply because they admire the bag so much, and how well it was crafted. But however true that assessment might be, it would also be incomplete. And this would be so because the man's delusional-ism is abetted not only by those who have bought into the brand, but by those already in various positions of power who think it pragmatic to pretend to do so. Those people in his own party especially who act as enablers mostly because they are so lacking in integrity, or honor, to risk their own positions of power to call that packaged pork what it really is, but with actions, as well as words. And they do this because they think they can hang on until this bit of madness passes, whereupon more informed minds can then retake control.

The problem in that strategy is the same shortsightedness related to the strategy implemented upon the public that made aberrations like this possible in the first place; that strategy of denying facts, questioning the validity of government, and opposing opposition on the basis of absolute religious, or cultural purity, without any consideration of compromise. It certainly made it easy to frame your enemies however darkly you desired, and to raise passions unquestioningly in your favor, but it also forged a key to opening a door not so easily shut. A door to let the crazies out of their own asylums of perceived social inappropriateness. And now that that door is open, and crazy levers of public manipulation been made acceptable, the deluded are empowered and rising up. Enabling one is going to make not enabling even more ever more difficult.

One can only wonder if the enablers will realize this before its too late.

Or maybe it's already too late.

Donald Trump to British PM David Cameron: 'I'm Not Stupid, OK?'

See also:

Majority of Republican Voters Trust Trump Over Ryan to Lead Party

See Also:
Donald Trump Changes Tune, Denies Lusting Over Princess Diana

What Chinese Communism Never Was, and What we Risk in Forgetting what Capitalism Still is

As the Chinese look to try to gloss over the passing of the 50th anniversary of the "Cultural Revolution" it is important for us to to remember a couple of things.

First and foremost is the fact that their Communism, as well as the old Soviet model, or even the Cambodian attempt at same, is not, and never was Socialism. These were efforts towards collectivism at the point of a gun, and were brutally repressive precisely because they were premised not only on "rule by force," but on the intolerance of any competitive thought.

This situation was necessitated both by the fact that these nations did not have the level of technological, or industrial, development that Marx knew would have to be in place so that Socialism would have a chance to work (see Michael Harrington's "Socialism"), but also because of the elevation of an ideology to near religious extremes.

Marx thought that, if you had that level of development in place, that all aspects of the means of production, and distribution, could be put into the hands of the many, or at least into the interests of the many, so that a commercial, commodity, specialized labor, form of organization could be made to be responsive to social equity, and efficacy in terms of continued social development.

The problem there, of course, was two fold. First, that you can't have responsive commercial operations done by bureaucracies, and secondly that controlling the factors of prices, profits, wages as well the distribution of production, cannot be done in isolation. Not at least if you also want to be able to exchange by monetary means with other commercial entities in other nations, and to do so without it being cripplingly burdensome.

All of which is no more than to say that Marx, though quite informed as to the deficiencies of Capitalism, wasn't nearly so appreciative of what had to be the fundamental aspects required to keep it a viable competitive enterprise in the first place. A fact that shouldn't surprise us as he was unaware of the one additional technological development that would make truly socially mandated production possible: the electrification of experience retrieval. This because the whole point of capital's supremacy was it's ability to translate specialized human skill, as a commodity, into other commodities.

The other thing we need to remember, in regards to the Chinese Cultural Revolution, is that Communism has always been in turmoil not only because we, in the West, have worked to actively undermine it, but also because their attempt to have state run commercialized enterprise were always going to be doomed to inefficiency and corruption, for reasons already stated. And as that two sided coin weighed heavy in the pockets of doctrinaire leaders, seducing, and/or demoralizing the rank and file, backlash of one form or another was pretty much guaranteed.

The Chinese have come back, and come back strong, at lease economically, but they have done so at the expense of mitigating once strident adherence to Communist doctrine. They can compete now economically because of this, but it in no way excuses them from the harsh realities of Capitalism's still resplendent deficiencies; bad enough to keep a lid on in countries of only a few hundred million, but in one with over a billion? And where most of those still haven't benefited very much from all of the tremendous change that has been wrought. And because of that the leadership hunkers down ever more repressively to contain the disquiet.

We in the West are tempted to gloat on this certainly but we do so at great risk. This is so not only because a nation of one billion, formed of people pushed into desperation within an interdependent world, with an equally desperate leadership, is absolutely guaranteed to effect us. But also because we in the West have gone on for decades now blithely thinking that Capitalism's deficiencies could be overlooked, or papered over with the odd reform here and there. That we could do this without those deficiencies catching up to us eventually.

This last reality is made more acute precisely because that last technological development that Marx couldn't have anticipated has been working away for years now to make matters far worse. The very thing that would allow us to form an organizational model to put production, management, and distribution into the hands of the people, without governing intermediaries, is now accelerating and warping the old operational model beyond all human ability to control or understand. Hyper competition. Hyper marketing, and decision making in the hands of machines that increasingly program themselves because we can't begin to act or think fast enough any more to even contemplate being involved. Inevitable, despite what the AI community might think, only because of the demands of commercial and competitive imperatives.

In this reality we are headed for our own cultural revolution because the doctrines of "freedom," and "Democracy," cannot hold up against the dictates of ever more competition, commodity production, controlled information flow, consumption, and increasing profit for the few. The human psyche and spirit cannot tolerate it any more than the planet we live on can.

China Is Not Celebrating Cultural Revolution's 50th Anniversary