Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 70 total)
  • Author
  • in reply to: Capital as Power: A New Theory of Capitalism #248111
    Rowan Pryor
      • Topics started: 18
      • Total posts: 88

      In other words, my short question is this. Can we already see differentially improved profits and capitalisations accruing to a sub-set of corporations  (mainly but not only pharma and medical) as most of the economy worsens from the chronic and ever-widening economic and human damage of the COVID-19 pandemic?

      in reply to: Capital as Power: A New Theory of Capitalism #248087
      Rowan Pryor
        • Topics started: 18
        • Total posts: 88

        Is there no CasP analysis/research yet of the intersection of the Covid-19 pandemic and capital as power? Or have I missed it?

        Eric Topol has asked:

        “How can you go from sequence of a novel virus to 2 vaccines with 95% efficacy and safety (>75,000 participants in RCT trials) in 10 months and not, in 2.5 years, go after pan-β-coronavirus and nasal vaccines with the same aggressive (OWS) template?” – Eric Topol, Twitter.

        (Eric Topal bio from his own site – “Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Professor of Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research. As a researcher, he has published over 1200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 290,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine. His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.”)

        It’s a very good question he asks. We can look at possible answers from non-CasP and rather mundane perspectives to more CasP-type explanations (and research?) about corporate Big Pharma motivations. Thus:

        1. Initial serendipity. A lot of groundwork research pre-existed as a jumping off point. Progress is now slower.

        2. The new requirements are technically harder or even biologically impossible.

        3. Not enough funding now by Pharma &/or Govt.

        4. Big Pharma are happy where they are. Endless boosters for endless infections will be a continuing money spinner. They have no incentive to find a full cure. Only new state action and state funding will work.


        Technical and biological hurdles (impossibilities) may be an issue of course. One, not in the know, can’t be sure. However, it seems to me Marx and Veblen would have recognized immediately the key possibilities of class-based, capital-based exploitation and sabotage being involved. Can CasP theory and research methods address this and extract any insights and findings? That is my question. Tell me if I am off-target in raising this and I will stop harping on it.

        in reply to: Capital as Power: A New Theory of Capitalism #248077
        Rowan Pryor
          • Topics started: 18
          • Total posts: 88

          I think (very strongly now) that capitalism will be destroyed when and because it destroys the biosphere and the people. The physical feed-back will destroy capitalism. I include biological feed-back under “physical”. This is the same as saying capitalism has an exogenous contradiction with the natural world. Capitalism also has internal contradictions continually, of course, but it has always proven capable of overcoming internal contradictions by looting and destroying more of the biosphere and exploiting new populations. Climate change, the sixth mass extinction and exceeding other planetary boundaries are now among our main dangers. We are now well into overshoot. We are like someone living on their capital and depleting it rapidly. I am talking of  natural capital of course. All of this is known scientifically. None of it is original. I am saying nothing original. All of us here who do not subscribe to the religion of capitalist cornucopianism and who follow the science understand this.

          The novel zoonosis pandemic caused by SARS-Cov-2, which I find CasP theoreticians strangely unexercised about, is really the latest phenomenon of destructive capitalism. Not fully sustainable any more by merely plundering and destroying nature, capitalism perforce turns to catabolically mining people, not just for their labour with ill health and deaths from industrial diseases as side effects, but directly mining their health for profit and in the process spreading more disease. Capitalism everywhere mines order and turns it into (net) disorder. When there is not enough order left in nature for all manifestations of the profit drive, the order or complexity built up in large human populations must itself be mined for profit and leave disease disorders and death in its wake. If it is unfair to say CasP theoreticians are strangely unexercised by the COVID-19 pandemic I am open to correction on that point.

          It is not an accident that the COVID-19 pandemic has minted new billionaires at a record rate.

          “Covid-19 hasn’t stopped the spread of billionaires, who multiplied at an astounding rate over the past year. A record 493 people joined Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list this year—meaning the world on average gained a new billionaire every 17 hours since Forbes last took a snapshot of billionaire wealth on March 18, 2020. The previous record for most new billionaires in a year was 290 in 2015.” – Forbes.

          There have been paths to “billionaire-dom” other than the COVID-19 pandemic in the pandemic period. However,

          “Forbes found 61 new billionaires from the healthcare field this year (for year 2021)—and at least 40 join the ranks thanks to their involvement in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.” – Forbes.

          No doubt some join the ranks of billionaires because inflation makes it easier to reach that status.

          “COVID-19 highlighted inequalities in our societies. Half the global population lost income during the pandemic (1). By 2022, global unemployment will exceed 200 million workers (2) and 150 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty (3). Low-income and low-skilled workers shouldered the brunt of job and income losses (4). Meanwhile, the 2,365 world’s billionaires, enjoyed a 54% boost in their wealth during the pandemic, equivalent to an increase of 5 trillion dollars (5). To put these numbers into perspective, the wealth increase of the 10 richest men over the pandemic ($540 billion) could pay for everyone’s vaccines globally.” – Seven Pillars Insitute.

          The pharmaceutical and other corporations have no incentive to end the pandemic. Indeed, they have every incentive to prolong the pandemic, make everyone as sick as possible and ensure that the endless profit-producing, non-sterilizing vaccines which permit endless reinfection remain the only “control” method. This is a strategy (“leaky-vaccines-only”) which will ensure, intentionally or not, the forced evolution of more and more contagious and lethal variants. Virology and epidemiology are clear on these points.

          One would have thought that enough capitalists, in the competition of capitals, would have considered that having a fit and healthy workforce would lift their profits and capitalizations in the mid to long term. This hasn’t seemed to be the case. Short-termism has completely ruled the roost. Like a householder burning the furniture and then dismantling the internal walls to burn and keep warm in winter, the capitalists have been content to burn out labour by burning the bodies and minds of workers with COVID-19, a pulmonary and vascular disease which attacks every organ in the body and leaves serious long-term sequalae (long covid) where it does not kill. Already 2 million to 3 million people in the UK have varying degrees of long covid, for example. The leaky, non-sterilizing vaccines are progressively failing and each booster generates less protection for a lesser time span. The end point of this process, without a radical circuit-breaker, is clear. It will be interesting. in a grim way, to see how capitalism and broader society perform when a large mass of the population is too sick to work and too sick to consume anything except health care up until the point of complete impoverishment.

          Either capitalism in its rituals and calculations is very short-term biased or else the major capital “players”, not just pharmaceuticals, consider that lost labour is going to be indefinitely replaceable, either by new recruits such as immigrants or by automation. (Is the health and pharmaceutical sector now showing higher differential profits (as a ratio) and/or higher differential  growth which latter could, I assume, yield higher absolute profits with higher differential profit ratios?

          Getting back to the original point, neither of these main trends, specifically the mass destruction of the environment and the mass destruction of human health, all for profit, are sustainable. The external contradictions will sink capitalism, unless there is a very dystopian alternative which dialectically becomes utopian for a self-chosen few. The “traditional” left view of the future has been of the necessity of either socialism or barbarism. A third possibility would seem to be a highly automated economy, abolishing the need for all labour other than the most highly skilled techs and crafts. If most labour is to be abolished, most humans (about 90%) will become surplus. In that case it makes sense to slowly kill them for profit during the transition. Single and repeated SARS-Cov-2 infections will kill more and more people, fast or slow, and the high mortality rates and decline in life expectancy are already showing up in the data.

          I think it is important to assume bad faith on the part of the elites, or villainy if one wants to term it that, not just incompetence or short-sightedness. The capitalist elites have to be assumed to be deliberately engaging in social murder or democide for the purposes of differential profit at least and for the purposes of depopulation and an automated tech “utopia” at most. Along with fighting for sustainability and democratically managed housing and pensions (very good ideas), we also need to fight for public and social preventative medicine instead of the current pharma-dominated model which is to deliberately infect and physically and mentally degrade the health of the entire population for profit from the current endlessly administered, leaky, non-sterilizing vaccines.

          For the record, I do support the use  of these mRNA vaccines but as part of a global effort to vaccinate the world AND the use of all other measures to eliminate COVID-19. This means TTIMQ (Test, trace, isolate, mask, quarantine). This is sometimes called the Vaccines Plus strategy. The vaccines and the Pharmas that make them need to be socialized. The state paid for much of the precursor research and then the pharmas got handed the IP for free and proceeded to deny vaccines to the third and second worlds and to inadequately supply the first world. To my mind they are deliberately killing people: 25 million excess deaths globally and counting. Plus long covid cases are now in the hundreds of millions, maybe half a billion already. It’s a totally unsustainable model for running any kind of civilization.

          • This reply was modified 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Rowan Pryor.
          in reply to: The Pandemic Keeps Getting Worse #248069
          Rowan Pryor
            • Topics started: 18
            • Total posts: 88

            It might be time to revive this thread if possible. I wonder how Michael Alexander’s optimism is proceeding now? In this thread I will mostly make assertions with only some references. If I pique any interest or opposition, I will provide more “analysis” (if I can call what I do analysis) and references. I recently deleted the text of another new thread of mine. I decided I had gone a little too conspiracy-theoretic. This post, believe it or not, is toned down.


            The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to spiral out of control. Our current measures function as if they were designed to make the pandemic as bad as possible and perhaps interminable. What I am saying is that we could scarcely design a worse policy if our intention had been to harm ourselves and humanity as much as possible.

            Our policy is the deliberate spread of COVID-19 as widely as possible while relying only on an incomplete vaccination program to arrest its spread. It gets worse. The virus, with the assistance of wide spread, indeed near-ubiquitous spread except in mainland China, is rapidly evolving to immune escape and vaccine escape. Unchecked spread met by a leaky vaccine, with no updates for variants as yet, is the perfect recipe to assist the virus to evolve to vaccine escape and greater lethality. The correct strategy would have been:

            1. To make vaccination near universal by mandates and assist the 2nd and 3rd world fully.

            2. To use other strong control measures to precede and then supplement what is an imperfect vaccine. It is probably an unavoidably imperfect vaccine given the empirical facts still emerging about the virus, the vaccine and the human immune systems’ (plural for many humans) as they encounter this pathogen.

            Since we have not followed that path, we are in a dilemma which could lead the human race into a situation resembling Marek’s disease in chickens. The salient points about Marek’s disease and its COVID-19 parallels are as follows (while remembering the two viruses are quite different from each other in classification terms, transmission and hosts):

            (1) Marek’s disease is a disease of chickens jammed together in the massed conditions of industrial farming. Modern human cities mean humans are jammed together in the industrially massed conditions of modern mass housing and mass transit. COVID-19 thrives in these conditions without  adequate controls.

            (2) Vaccination does not prevent infection of chickens with the Marek’s virus. Marek’s disease is still transmissible from vaccinated birds to other birds. This is exactly the position for humans with COVID-19 vaccination as it does not prevent continued infections and transmission.

            (3) Early strains of Marek’s were genuinely mild. The first Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2 by comparison was not mild nor was it low on the contagion scale. Marek’s evolved to greater and greater lethality under the evolutionary pressure of an infection-leaking vaccine. SARS-CoV-2 has evolved to greater contagiousness under an incompletely administered and infection-leaking vaccine. It has also evolved to a greater product of lethality times contagiousness. Its intrinsic lethality is increasing too: meaning without vaccination the latest strains are more dangerous. The claimed intrinsic mildness of Omicron’s variants has now been demonstrated to be a myth: one of the many deliberate lies and myths pushed during this pandemic.

            What this means for humans is illustrated by the following, written about Marek’s disease:

            “Under normal (natural) conditions, highly virulent strains of the virus are not selected for by evolution. This is because such a severe strain would kill the host before the virus would have an opportunity to transmit to other potential hosts and replicate. Thus, less virulent strains are selected. These strains are virulent enough to induce symptoms but not enough to kill the host, allowing further transmission. However, the leaky vaccine changes this evolutionary pressure and permits the evolution of highly virulent strains. The vaccine’s inability to prevent infection and transmission allows the spread of highly virulent strains among vaccinated chickens. The fitness of the more virulent strains is increased by the vaccine.” – Wikipedia.

            We are now in this Marek’s disease position with COVID-19 disease. SARS-CoV-2’s ability to spread asymptomatically and well before the host faces any possible lethal danger, PLUS the vaccine’s inability to prevent infection / transmission, allows the spread of highly virulent strains among vaccinated and unvaccinated humans. New immune-escape and vaccine-escape variants are arising faster than any production of variant-targeted vaccines. In fact, we have not yet seen a single variant-targeted vaccine in the face of at least a dozen serious variants and serious sub-variants.

            Boosting by third and fourth vaccines is destined to progressively fail in the medium run (not even in the long run) on current trends. There is no official mention of a fifth vaccine and no serious mention or appearance of any further vaccine breakthrough. This looks like a chess end-game where the opponent has King and pawn vs. King and also has “the opposition” (of kings) as it is called. In such a situation, a win is guaranteed by following the correct heuristics and look-ahead algorithms of play. We are in this situation, in the clearly losing position and destined to axiomatically lose against the virus unless we bring new pieces onto the board as it were. Playing the game only with a failing vaccine will axiomatically lead to massive losses in human and economic terms. The virus will “brute force” a win against us by naturally exploring myriad mutational lines and finding the winning, or thriving, lines (for the virus). If we keep “playing” in this way we lose for certain.

            Basically, we refuse to change for four reasons:

            (A) The economic reason is related to the “algorithms of capital” which can also be called “the rituals of capital”. These rules can be regarded as rituals because they are prescriptively specified, in neoliberal economics, as exclusively teleologically necessary (involving even the ignoring of empirical outcomes) for progress to prosperity measured in the numeraire. Under neoliberalism, the application of these prescriptions as algorithms has in fact lead to higher and higher inequality and to two now near-runaway disasters: climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. These rules are ritually maintained and instantiated as algorithms by the pseudo-rational application of the process of capitalization. That is my interpretation based on the highly original insights and discoveries of Capital as Power theory.

            These inflexible algorithms continue to be applied in the same manner no matter what the real systems (the biosphere and human populations) are doing or are having done to them. Feed-backs from real systems are ignored or fallaciously valued in the numeraire (a social fictive dimension) rather than being quantified in real scientific dimensions and then used for scientific and ethical decision making. Almost all decisions under neoliberal capitalism are money calculated and mediated and are not real dimension, scientifically, calculated and mediated. Following Blair Fix  in “The Aggregation Problem”.

            (B) The “Manufactured Consensus” problem. See Noam Chomsky’s work. Essentially outright lies, anti-science, anti-logic and other extensive FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) propaganda is utilized to propagandize and mislead the population.

            (C) The “Governance Capture” and “Regulatory Capture” problems which mean our nominal democracies are not democracies at all. The tiny majority of the super rich get most of the governance decisions they want. See “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” – Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page.

            (D) The “dopamine reward system” problem posed by rampant consumerism. It is clear people have become so addicted to consumer rewards that they cannot and/or will not abstain from them even when their immediate satiation is contra-indicated by serious emerging real system dangers including continuous climate change and continuous pandemic spread.

            The final question is will we change in time? There is probably a point at which even the biggest (non-suicidal) idiot will stop accelerating straight towards the edge of a high precipice. The issue then is whether the momentum can be arrested in the space and time left for action.

            in reply to: Movies #248030
            Rowan Pryor
              • Topics started: 18
              • Total posts: 88


              Thanks for the reply. I will follow up on ideas and suggestions. The whole Russian issue is quite vexed now as you suggest. A significant proportion of Russian cinema and literature (historically) could remain acceptable (for want of a better term) in that it presents critiques  variously of bourgeois and petty bourgeois morality, as well as more direct critiques of capitalism, imperialism, monarchism, fuedalism etc. etc.  Artists seem always in rebellion, at least at some level, against the extant social and political mores and systems in which they find themselves, and very often with good reasons. The true artist (I hold) is not one-with-the-system though “bought” artists certainly sell their soul and their art to the system. Nevertheless, they often have to work in systems or they never work at all: they often cannot live on their art otherwise.

              The Bergman “beast” I may yet suggest to my “financial comptroller” (aka my wife) as a combination Birthday/Xmas present. Currently, I am getting sick of Aussie based Netflix and Disney Plus subsscriptions. So much rubbish, so little worth watching. Any suggestions on how to find the genuinely good stuff (gems in the mud) on Netflix and Disney Plus would be much appreciated too.

              However, “Dopesick”, on Disney Plus of all places, is well worth watching and right within the ambit of the “mode of power” and “capital as power” narratives.  I would add the two series called “Pandemics”, I think, which refer to USA’s Maryland Government Lab near-miss of nearly putting Ebola into the US population and the other series dealing with the Anthrax Mailer. Quite riveting.

              No doubt Netflix’s “Power of the Dog” has its fans. I found it interesting but finally unsatisfying at a number of levels.

              in reply to: Movies #247991
              Rowan Pryor
                • Topics started: 18
                • Total posts: 88

                Not sure if this is the right forum for such questions.

                To set the scene: It is possible to watch a movie on Youtube on your internet connected TV these days. One worth watching I think is,

                “Beethoven’s Eroica” – A film by Simon Cellan Jones – BBC 2003.

                Q1. This is on Youtube at a reasonable quality (to an old guy without perfect eyes or perfect ears). One annoying thing is Youtube now adds a poor quality sub-title translation. The movie is in English. I don’t need it. How to turn this off?

                Q2. Is there a good visual quality set of copies of Sergei Bondarchuk’ s films of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” on Youtube? I can find a poor quality one equal to a very old download I have.

                Q3. How concerned (morally) should a Marxian / CasPian be about creative copyright? I mean stuff Hollywood, stars and studios, but what about Indies, talent that needs enough pay to work, live on and so on? Interested on opinions about this.

                Also, I am open to any other suggestions of Youtubed movies to watch if you regard this as an okay thing to do.

                • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by Rowan Pryor.
                • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by jmc.
                in reply to: Bichler and Nitzan, the new Foucaulvians #247822
                Rowan Pryor
                  • Topics started: 18
                  • Total posts: 88

                  The commentator is “Jargon”. The site is obscure and the commentator’s argument is “not even wrong”. It is so confused it cannot be understood let alone refuted. I wouldn’t waste any time on it.

                  But I have to disagree with Scott on one point. Labor (and production machinery) create products and services not “value”. The products and services usually have “use-values” though I am sure we have all paid for products and services which we subsequently and angrily declared to be useless. I know I have. Nature also creates and/or presents things of use value to humans, like clean, potable water or edible wild berries to name two. In other words, these are the so-called “free gifts from nature” which are free until enclosed and claimed by a “property owner”. It is worth noting the Lauderdale Paradox in this context. The free gifts of nature are free (apart from the self-labor of gathering them) until enclosed by a so-called property owner. Ownership is simply a social and legal fiction backed (usually) by fences, walls and force.

                  We have to be really careful when talking about “value”. Which “value” do we mean? If we mean use-value (to humans) then it is clear nature, labor and machine production can all provide goods and services with use-value to humans. Consider the humble apple. Nature provided the wild stock or ancestral apple. People bred varieties but nature still provided the soil and water to grow the cultivated apple. People and/or machinery picked it, shipped it, wholesaled it and retailed it. Markets or other operations (like administered prices) put a numeraire price value on it. But how can we hypothetically or practicably allocate what proportions of its use-value or price-value are really due to free gifts of nature, people work and machinery work? We cannot. Yet the contribution of all is real. Without the free gifts of nature, humans would not exist let alone anything that they consume. The artificiality and arbitrariness of property holding and the market pricing system comes to the fore to solve this terrible  dilemma that otherwise every human in society ought to have an equal birthright to the free gifts of nature. That view is anathema to possessing or acquiring large, private holdings. The developed capitalist system deems (price) value to exist only when a human holds something as property, the land, the tree or the apple for sale, and the system limits its calculations to those humanly controllable parameters. What is not controllable, not encloseable, is deemed to make no contribution until such time as it can be controlled and enclosed. Then, voila! It ipso facto makes a contribution which is capitalised and entered into the book-keeping of the system.

                  in reply to: Does CasP Really Have a Theory of Value? Does It Need One? #247635
                  Rowan Pryor
                    • Topics started: 18
                    • Total posts: 88

                    The following is just my interpretation.  As I see it, CasP has a theory of value in the following sense(s):

                    (1) Values can be subjective or objective.

                    (2) Objective values must be quantities measured in real dimensions, specifically the real dimensions of the SI (International System of Units).

                    (3) It is only valid to aggregate in these real dimensions. For example, we can add up the mass of objects.

                    (4) The money dimension (the numeraire) is not real but “social-fictive” (the term I use) and its unit (the dollar say) has no objective value definition. We can never reliably say that x money measures, precisely and always, y quantity of anything.

                    (5) Aggregating in a fictional dimension is an invalid procedure.


                    Once we reject the notion that money measures value in any objective sense including rejecting the notions that utils, snalts or RDEU (sorting via markets) measure values in any objective sense, then we must reassess what money and finance are. They are quantities which instantiate social power in our political economy system, as it is constructed. The quantities of money people obtain bear no relation to any value (objective or subjective) they may have added to society or the political economy. The quantities of money people have and use bear a direct relation to the power they have to “create formations against resistance” (Ulf Martin’s phrase) in our society, political economy and indeed the physical world.

                    My further interpolation is that values which are not objective (in the strict scientific sense as in the weight of a given apple being 200 grams) are all values in moral philosophy: ethics, morals. Thus, the fact that we create and maintain the current rules of political economy and permit monied people to create the formations of our society is purely a moral choice, at least where we have a choice. Where we do not have choice then choice has already been removed by the very system we co-create and accede to. Insofar as human agency reaches, only mental revolutions followed by physical revolutions can change facts on the ground. Revolutions need not be endogenously violent. Indeed, the escalation to violence is usually initiated by those who defend and extend the inequalities of the status quo. They become reactionarily violent when threatened by any movement to fairness and equality.

                    “The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the state is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley.

                    in reply to: The Economist’s Power to Influence Policy #247438
                    Rowan Pryor
                      • Topics started: 18
                      • Total posts: 88

                      I think economists are like any technicians and any workers. They do what they are paid to do by capital (by the owners of large amounts of capital). They are paid to set up systems that favour the owners of capital. They are paid to issue the propaganda that justifies the operations of capital and the actions of owners of capital. John Ralston Saul said “Economics should not lead society. It is a fourth order discipline.” This is if I recall his words correctly. I agree with J.R.S. that there are disciplines more important than economics. I would nominate moral philosophy or ethics, democracy, science and history, at least. However, his assumption that conventional or bourgeoise economics “leads” society is wrong I think. The possessors of large amounts of capital lead our society with the power of capital. Economics provides the signal and switching system (and the window dressing).

                      in reply to: The Pandemic Keeps Getting Worse #247420
                      Rowan Pryor
                        • Topics started: 18
                        • Total posts: 88

                        A former Australian politician, Gough Whitlam once said “maintain the rage”. This was in relation to “The Dismissal” also known as the 1975 Australian Constitutional Crisis. A decent summary is available on Wikipedia. Admittedly, in context, he said “Maintain your rage and enthusiasm for the campaign for the election now to be held and until polling day.” There is a fairly plausible theory of CIA interference in Australia’s politics at that time. I would say that while the outrage persists the rage against it must persist. I say this today in relation to COVID-19.

                        The capitalist countries have deliberately ignored and indeed spread COVID-19 in their own countries and around the world everywhere their influences reaches, which apparently is everywhere except China. This needs some clarifications They ignored it initially, permitting free passenger airline movements around the world until the virus was seeded everywhere. Then there were some belated, inadequate and unmaintained restrictions. When it could no longer be ignored, it was minimised. “It’s only a flu.” It became non-permissible, as it were, to implement cordons sanitaire or any other measures which restricted the ability of capitalists and small proprietors to continue trade and make money. The distinction between essential goods and services and non-essential, discretionary consumer activity was lost. Basic foods are essential to life. The services offered by pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, sports, gambling and tourism are not. But Western capitalism, now basing most of its economy on service industries for frivolous, non-essential and climate-wrecking consumption, found itself both unable to close the non-essential activities spreading contagion and to fund the newly essential activities, as in greater quarantine, medical services and so on. The entire strategy was based on vaccination which is now progressively failing as the virus effects vaccine escape. Relying on vaccinations alone, during an RNA virus pandemic, simply encourages the mutation and evolution of vaccine escape: supercharges it in fact. Israel is up to its 4th round of vaccinations against COVID-19.

                        In Queensland, Australia, Qld. Chief Health Officer John Gerrard’s plan for COVID-19 Omicron sounds like a prescription for a state-wide Pox Party. Pox parties are a really bad idea even for measles. Times that by a hundred for COVID-19.

                        “Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary. In order for us to go from the pandemic phase to an endemic phase, the virus has to be widespread. We all have to have immunity, you will all have to develop immunity and there’s two ways you can do that: by being vaccinated or getting infected.” – Qld. Chief Health Officer John Gerrard quoted by the ABC.

                        These statements are astonishing and a complete abrogation of the responsibilities of a medical professional and Chief Health Officer. Let us unpack these statements.

                        1. The spread of the virus has been made inevitable by deliberate acts (and refusals to act) of public policy. There was nothing intrinsically inevitable about it. China has contained until now. The spread of the virus in Australia now is the result of a set of policy choices by Australia’s governments and officials and the foolish actions and lobbying of two indulged sections of the population, the rednecks and the rich. The rich demanded opening-up (they donate to both major political parties just as in the USA) and the rednecks obligingly demonstrated for that and refused to wear masks etc.

                        2. To claim that it is necessary to spread a dangerous disease to go from pandemic to endemic is to turn upside down all the precepts of public and preventative medicine developed from about 1800 onwards. What next? Are we going to apply these principles to malaria, TB, cholera and so on? Should we in the past have applied those principles to smallpox and polio or was it in fact the right call to supress and eradicate them? (Earlier, smallpox was deliberately spread to the native populations of the Americas and Australia and accurate, non-revisionist, history has recorded the results of that.)

                        3. We all do have to acquire some immunity (realistically it will only be partial and waning immunity), if we can, and preferably by vaccination, not by infection. Omicron evades natural immunity even better than it evades vaccination immunity. The complete or near complete acquisition of immunity, by all, is impossible with this type of RNA coronavirus. There are many immune-compromised people in our Australian community as in any nation. Co-morbidities which increase the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 number in the millions, from a population of 25 million. Here are few examples: 1.2 million people with diabetes in Australia, an estimated 600,000 people with coronary heart diseases and 1.7 million with biomedical signs of chronic kidney disease. Then there is the immuno-senescence afflicting the elderly. Also, here are the people who can’t be vaccinated at all for medical reasons or who develop no immunity from vaccination. The spread of the infection is NOT necessary. The suppression and eradication of COVID019 was and still is necessary. The new variant(s) are making natural immunity and vaccination immunity seriously leaky. Indeed, it is looking like COVID-19 might acquire extensive immunity evasion capabilities unless there are further vaccine and medicine developments. This is a watershed moment. Late-stage capitalism has given up on public and preventative medicine. It leaves vulnerable people to die.

                        Referencing the Chief Health Officer’s specific statement “Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary.” This is pure neoliberalism. Canadian social and political economy philosopher, John Ralston Saul, commented on the TINA (There Is No Alternative) mantra at the base of  neoliberalism, globalism and managerialism. Policy choices which create (usually) disasters for the poor, minorities and increasingly now for the middle class are deemed to be inevitable and necessary. This is pure neoliberal method. As JRS joked years ago when addressing the issue of globalism, “If everything is inevitable and there is no alternative, why bother with democracy? Let’s just go to the beach.” He was giving a talk in Australia at the time. JRS’s prescient joke is becoming true before our eyes, Trump attempted a self coup or auto coup in the USA and plans Auto Coup 2.0 in the next incumbency cycle.

                        This is a watershed moment where we see plutocratic capitalism moving on to the cannibalization and catabolization of its own workforce and people. But people now have neither the scientific nor the historical literacy with which to confront this real world and its realpolitik, but as it were they have a post Christmas dinner sleep, dreaming of I know not what, binge-series superheroes probably. False consciousness has made its masterpiece in this pandemic.

                        • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                        in reply to: The Pandemic Keeps Getting Worse #247393
                        Rowan Pryor
                          • Topics started: 18
                          • Total posts: 88

                          Pieter de Beer (and other readers of this thread),

                          Yes, I have read Pieter’s comments and perhaps inadvertently gave the impression I had totally ignored them. I have a propensity to hare off on my theories.

                          1(a). mRNA Vaccine research languished for about 5 decades on Pieter’s telling. I had not been aware of that. I was aware that coronavirus research (into a common cold coronavirus) had languished after being begun and then abandoned about 5 decades ago. This is part of a common picture concerning R&D under capitalism. Noam Chomsky referred to this issue in a short video interview long available on Youtube. Chomsky has possibly referred to this in his written work too. The gist of what Chomsky said was that (military and other, including academic) R&D built certain key modern technologies from the transistor chip to the early internet. All of this R&D was government funded. Various capitalist enterprises then obtained the copyright or IP and proceeded to make products and profits on it. The story is the same with the mRNA vaccines of course. Government money paid for the fundamental research, early and recent. Then the capitalist corporations get the rights and billions are made by a select few while Africa (for example) faces the pandemic largely without vaccines.

                          1(b) Yes warnings of pandemic disease outbreak have been made for decades. This includes warnings about zoonotic disease outbreaks: outbreaks of new pathogens which jump from wild animal reservoirs to humans. I read. in about 1995, “The Coming Plague” by Laurie Garret, published in 1994. I don’t recall, off the top of my head, if it had a section on coronaviruses. But the basic thesis was clear: overpopulation, poor spending on preventative medicine and on medical research and vaccination programs plus the continued incursions of man into the wilds and the use of bush meat and wet markets leads to great dangers of these spillovers of zoonotic diseases. Writers over at the Monthly Review (Marxian) have written several excellent articles on how the capitalist food system and the ever-expansion of that system (and other systems of capitalism) into wilderness excpose humans to these continuous spill-overs of novel zoonoses into humans.

                          Capitalism, as a system, is completely impervious to warnings that it is unsustainable on a number of fronts. Climate change is the “poster child” of this unsustainable reality (and rightly so in a lot of ways) but the novel zoonosis threats are also very significant. They will play a role in the degrading or attrition of the capitalist system. In a way we can say capitalism is programmed to overshoot and collapse. Now that is not the express intention. It is programmed to grow indefinitely. This is so because capitalists believe in magic, specifically alchemy I would say. Everything in the world can be transformed into wealth in an endless growth process and yet the world at the same time can persist intact or intact enough to support us forever in forever increasing numbers. But to program endless growth is to program collapse. Wilful ignorance of that clear fact, when the science is conclusive, is no defence.

                          1(c) The policy rollout was mismatched and counterproductive because it was designed by neoliberal, market fundamentalist capitalists. That is the short, glib and yet correct answer. Their goals are endless growth (as alluded to above) and the endless transfer of wealth to the tiny, super-rich class; some new members of this class being made in the process. Throughout the crisis capitalism has done what it is programmed to do. I don’t know if CasP theorists talk about programming much but the basic theory of a strand of CasP is one pointing out the pseudo-rational programmed nature of capitalism and its endless replication of modules of itself. This is the “Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudo-Rational Mastery” alluded to by Ulf Martin.

                          “The world is increasingly governed by the SIS of rational mastery, the autocatalytic sprawl of bureaucracy. To the latter we can add the equally autocatalytic growth of capitalization.  But there is a problem for the process of ever-increasing rational mastery. Throughout its history, rational mastery has always been challenged by the autonomy project,” – Ulf Martin.

                          Now, I could write several philosophical chapters unpacking the concept of “the autonomy project” and its various historical guises, including a critique of humanity’s assumption of autonomy against its own biological nature (another kind of false consciousness) but this is not the place and I am in sympathy with the feelings and actions for autonomy against the inhuman programming of capitalism.

                          What I am more interested in at this point, is the notion of programming itself. A program is nothing more than a set of prescribed actions to execute a task. We can contrast blind programming and feedback-guided programming. Blind programming says to execute certain tasks without deviation, no matter what. Feedback programming takes notice of the environment in which the agent (human or machine) is acting and it takes note of larger concerns and even the telos. Look for obstacles and circumnavigate or circumvent them. Don’t proceed with current instructions and directions if you will destroy what you are trying to preserve or achieve. And so on. But capitalism doesn’t have these levels to its programming. It’s a blind program which takes no notice of environment or the good of the mass of its micro-agents (the masses, the public, the workers). A program which takes notice of the environment would not be destroying the climate and other earth systems. A program which took notice of its “micro-agents” would not be sacrificing them to a virus for upper percentile incomes. The empirical evidence of capitalism to date permits us to say this; that capitalism takes no or greatly inadequate notice of the environment and its “micro-agents” who are micro-agents to capitalism but persons to themselves and indeed persons in social and community matrices.

                          I am struggling to voice my profound unease and indeed existential terror at the machinations of late stage capitalism in a time of pandemic without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. I follow Gore Vidal in this. If you think everything is a conspiracy you are crazy. If you think nothing is a conspiracy you are naïve. The imposition of capitalism is a conspiracy. As Adam Smith reputedly said, every profession is a conspiracy against the public. In late stage capitalism two “professions”, namely rich persons and politicians, are very much in a closed door conspiracy against the public and masses. Just as there are competing capitals there are competing conspiracists and “Robespierres” can end up guillotined by their own party.

                          This is to say that conspiracies are not neat and they have shifting and permeable boundaries; players can move from “out” to “in” and vice versa. The conspiracy “amoeba” blobs and grows and shrinks by absorption and expulsion but always its pseudopods reach out for victims. The sign of my struggle is that I create a metonymy of mixed metaphors. We can also regard capitalism as a virus. Does it not inject its code into cells (humans) which congregate in and as organs (communities in a nation or super-community) and the capitalist code then hijacks the activities of the humans and gets them to make what it (capitalism) wants them to make, not necessarily what the people themselves want to make.

                          The capitalist conspiracy has a look-ahead routine just like a chess program. It can plan moves only so far ahead. It does not plan a pandemic by creating the virus, it does not generate the whole game. The virus has moves too like an opponent. The virus has its mutational autonomy. But capitalism plans certain moves. It is clear that the long term goal (since the start of the pandemic) of the Australian Federal government, acting at the behest of big business and using small business proprietors as “useful fools” and “stalking horses” and consumers as consumption addicts has been to re-open the economy by infecting the entire population with a dangerous disease whose mutations mean we don’t know where the pandemic will end up. Each new mutation of this extremely mutable and subtle virus has surpassed expectations, in a bad way, and has taken even most experienced virologists and epidemiologists by surprise.

                          In the face of that emerging environmental feedback (the virus as part of our environment) the response of capitalism, via its bought and suborned governments, has been to change nothing, to change no plans. The plan is to open up in a scarcely disguised social Darwinist, ageist and ableist manner. The aged, the sick, the halt and lame may die. The provision of an ultimately highly “leaky” vaccine is a new fact (the leakiness of the vaccine in relation to Omicron that is) that has been swept under the carpet. To a denizen of Australia it has been obvious that the Federal Government’s plan has always been to completely open up, relying only on vaccines. The Federal Government steadfastly refused, and still does, to implement a proper quarantine system and stick with suppression of the virus (to eradication).

                          Some socialist countries (China being the exemplar) did not and still have not given up on suppression. Of course, when the USA and Europe refuse to suppress and permit wholesale spread to Africa, South America etc. and deny patent-free vaccines then virus suppression in one country becomes even harder than socialism in one country. When tubes of infection are permitted to criss-cross the skies (passenger airplanes of course) what hope is there of contagion repression? The capitulation to allow the full spread of the virus spreads as nations and peoples simply give up. You can’t fight capitalism’s prescriptions easily. It’s hard work and involves sacrifices. Easier to give up and eat a packet of crisps. It’s significant that only leftist and socialist thinkers and outlets still decry this public health capitulation and this social Darwinism of capitalism which is in stark contrast to its claims to care about diversity, minorities and identity politics. Too bad if you are part of the genetic diversity or one of the excluded minorities which handles COVID-19 infection badly, even after (leaky) vaccination. You have permission to crawl away and die. We are too busy “getting and spending” to give a rat’s a*** about you.

                          Often it seems that people envisage conspiracies as requiring full foreknowledge and power in the form of omniscient planning and omnipotent execution. Conspiracies do not require these absolutes. Conspiracies require only an adequate knowledge differential and power differential. As Casp-ian thinkers (if we may partially call ourselves that) this ought perhaps to be clear to us. Conspiracies excel in opportunism not in absolute knowledge and omniscient planning. Being a few moves ahead in planning and being able to execute is like being a few percentage points ahead in differential accumulation. In game of the exponentializing accumulation of advantages, the conspirators (whose central power actually lies in making and gaming the rules of the game they play and make us play) rapidly draw ahead and trounce their opponents (workers and the masses) just as Magnus Carlson would trounce a social chess player.

                          So yes, I do think there is a conspiracy but it is an on-going opportunistic conspiracy with differential “look-ahead” and execution capabilities. The Australian Government (I am most familiar with this example) played a long game to defeat doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, state governments and that portion of the public with “commonwealth” meaning “common weal” meaning “common good” ideals and goals even if held within a mixed economy setting with elements of democratic socialism or welfarism and not in a pure socialist setting. The Federal Government  played wedge politics by wedging off small business owners and “red-necks” and giving them subsidies in the first instance and nod-and-wink encouragement in the second instance. The red-necks are the white “lumpenproletariat” of modern times with their strong tendencies to neo-fascism and white supremacy.

                          The Federal Government (of Australia) made cause with their corporate donors and always intended to open up the entire economy: open up in the capitalist sense. The main donors to and sources of the corruption of the Australian parliamentary political system are resource companies (fossil fuels and minerals), the tourism “industry”, the airlines duopoly and the gaming and entertainment “industries”. How consumption activities like tourism, racing, gambling and entertainment get called “industries” is a little beyond me. It’s a trick of the discourse I guess. I thought industries made stuff, especially long-lasting, perennially useful (and now sustainable) stuff. Australia rips raw stuff out of the ground, drinks, gambles, tours and generally indulges itself. But nations too need to mature, especially in an over-populated and resource constrained world.

                          The corporates always wanted Australia to “open up”. A leaky quarantine system (pretty much intended to be leaky at least by the federal govt who refused to take on its constitutional responsibility for quarantine and shovelled that off on the states) and then a vaccine that wasn’t intended to be leaky but turned out (rather predictably) to be leaky, have both contributed to an Australia that opens up at the worst possible time: at the outset of the Omicron pandemic. We are not even waiting for the full data on Omicron. They want to push through the opening up and make it a fait accompli before the full and now almost completely predictable terrible data on Omicron are known. Our PM, Scott Morrison is making a mistake at this point that makes Boris Johnson look a paragon of care, concern and calculative foresight. This will be a medical and social disaster of course for a significant minority if not he majority of Australians. But of course minorities don’t count and this is what the capitalists want:  not the coming medical and social disaster for the middle class and the poor but the continuation of the circuits of capital which make them rich. The victims of this strategy are collateral damage, sacrificial peons and chattering class bleeding-hearts who matter nothing to the masters of capital.

                          I haven’t even touched on your other points. I will try to get there. Does anyone read my walls of text though? I do wonder. I don’t feel that political economy can be a mere academic exercise. Without outrage where are we? Sometimes it may be a mistake to remain continually cool and analytic. The walls of ivory towers are cold to the touch are they not?

                          • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                          in reply to: The Pandemic Keeps Getting Worse #247385
                          Rowan Pryor
                            • Topics started: 18
                            • Total posts: 88

                            To my mind, the behaviour of dominant capital, during the ongoing and escalating COVID-19 crisis, as during the ongoing and escalating climate crisis, illustrates the entirely and profoundly maladaptive nature of capitalism in all its forms. The only permitted approach to the pandemic (an approach prescribed by dominant capital, especially dominant pharmaceutical capital and their captured governments) has been to spread the pandemic as far as possible and then battle it, after the fact of spread, by expensive pharmaceuticals only supplied to first world countries.

                            A Machiavellian theory, which perhaps ascribes more foresight to the neoliberal capitalists than they have, suggests that the course of the pandemic to date is entirely desired. What better way to entrench the power of dominant pharmaceutical capital than to have an endless pandemic which requires the population to have endless vaccinations and boosters? An elite which holds the vaccine phial and has placed their population in a position of “get vaccinated or die” has a complete hold over the population. It sounds like a dystopian scenario worthy of a Cory Doctorow novel. Is it almost coming true now? I would suggest it is.

                            The latest research from Imperial College London shows;

                            1. Omicron largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses. “This level of immune evasion means that Omicron poses a major, imminent threat to public health.” – Prof Neil Ferguson.

                            2. The proportion of Omicron among all COVID cases (in Britain) was doubling every 2 days up to December 11th. Based on these results… estimate that the reproduction number (R) of Omicron was above 3 over the period studied.

                            3. The study finds no evidence of Omicron having lower severity than Delta.

                            Omicron is evading immunity and vaccines with startling capability. Of course, this can be put down to the powers of evolution of this novel coronavirus and the vast and wide open evolutionary landscape available to it. There can be no suggestion that this precisely was planned or predicted by the “Machiavellians”.  But it might be a case of a plan working too well. Some mutation and vaccine escape was predicted. The rapidity and severity of the vaccine escape is startling and is now suggesting an open-ended situation where up to four boosters a year will be required for everyone and that this will be required indefinitely. One wonders how long this scenario will be sustainable technically, logistically and socially.

                            With regards to “a plan working too well”, the basic plan of capital and its obedient, lap-dog governments was to “stay open’ for business, keep all corporate revenue streams running and/or start them up again and also run a vast vaccination program which added new revenue streams for capital. A virus which “behaved itself” would mutate at a moderate rate, not beyond the capacity of Big Pharma to make vaccines for the first world, and not beyond the capacity of the population to immunologically tolerate the continued insult of ongoing boosters without developing various syndromes. However, the virus is not playing ball. It is mutating far too fast and effectively for the high-tech plan.

                            The high-tech / hi-consumption plan, the plan for capitalist hi-tech solutions for everything without making any concomitant voluntary reductions in excess production and consumption of non-essential goods and services, will be found to be wholly inadequate to combat this crisis. The correct, and coincidentally more socialist path, is a great reduction in an all non-essential and frivolous economic activity and the resort to human-scale, yet mass human solutions, the central of which would be self-imposed and community imposed semi-isolation, restraint and consumer boycotts of non-essential goods and services processes which are spreading the virus. This action almost certainly won’t happen of course. Neither the system nor the population (propagandized as it is into a false consciousness about the necessity  for endless self-indulgent excess consumption) are likely to behave in this self-disciplining way.

                            Instead, we will continue down this failed path where in an escalation of the technology – evolution arms race, evolution (of virions in this case) will easily win the race. Evolution is a superior technology, precisely because it operates in the real space and not in a virtual or mathematical space. It runs through possibilities in real space and in real parameters with real fundamental laws governing outcomes. This real space is almost infinitely more complex (and capable of emergent phenomena) than our virtual and mathematical modelling space. No amount of conscious intelligent modelling and mathematical-algorithmic modelling can match the full complexity of reality. Reality is a much bigger finite (or possibly even infinite) state machine than our sets of models.

                            We can “look forward” to this crisis becoming ever worse while the pandemic is permitted to rip and we use mere technology in an attempt to avoid the reality that changes in human behaviour and political economy prescriptions are required to get off this self-destructive path. We cannot continue to behave the same way, destroying the natural world and humans and then expect machines and technology to make good the damage. It’s like smashing your arm with a hammer because doctors can set broken bones.

                            • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                            in reply to: Regulation as support structure for the Power of Capital #247373
                            Rowan Pryor
                              • Topics started: 18
                              • Total posts: 88

                              The history, practice and effects of the legal fiction of corporate personhood might be worth researching. Also political donations from the early days right up to the SuperPacs. And, the rising practice of think tanks and lobby groups writing legislation for legislatures. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was formed in 1973, 48 years ago. That’s about at the time of the early rise of neoliberalism.

                              ALEC Type: Tax-exempt non-profit organization. Legal status 501(c)(3). Revenue (2017) $10,352,239 Expenses (2017) $10,237,195. Formerly called Conservative Caucus of State Legislators.

                              If you want to look at how power is embedded in the Democratic Party and The Council on Foreign Relations and how this goes right back to the “Boston Brahmins” look at the Monthly Review Online for “The Council on Foreign Relations, the Biden Team, and Key Policy Outcomes – Climate and China” by Laurence H. Shoup.

                              But how you “follow the money” and “plot the differentials” in the CasP-ian method I do not know. My analyses seem to be informed only by broad Marxian considerations, undisciplined speculative philosophy, some readings of history and general outrage at the current system: not because I have suffered in political economy or class terms (I haven’t) but because squeezing vulnerable people for more and more just seems so unnecessary. There would be plenty for everyone if equitably shared: enough for need, just not enough for greed.

                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                              • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                              Rowan Pryor
                                • Topics started: 18
                                • Total posts: 88

                                Scot Griffin,

                                You say “only capitalists are “citizens” of the State of Capital and everyone else in the political economy exists to be consumed by the State of Capital.” Precisely. That is what we are trending towards. Indeed, we are just about there. I only wish I had formulated it so well myself. I think you also previously wrote that the entire (Western neoliberal capitalist) political economy is now a “company town”. Our society is now their company town. Again, an extremely apt analogy. Of course, Mumford’s “megamachine” is also an apt analogy. It draws everything into itself in a totalising and hierarchical control system fashion. Nietzsche criticised (the old?) philosophy (including I guess social philosophy) as follows;

                                “What therefore is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms: in short a sum of human relations which became poetically and rhetorically intensified, metamorphosed, adorned, and after long usage seem to (become) a notion fixed, canonic, and binding; truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions; worn-out metaphors which have become powerless to affect the senses; coins which have their obverse effaced and now are no longer of account as coins but merely as metal.”

                                We might appear to be falling afoul of Nietzsche’s criticism, employing “megamachines” and “company towns” as metaphors, analogies, metonyms. I think the difference is in whether the analogy is apt, radical and critical and points to the deeper truth as opposed to the received canonic “truths” or rather the illusions that the system promotes about itself. Company towns historically were and are today where they still exist are a sub-unit of the modern, capitalist mega-machine, thus partaking of the general “autocatalytical sprawl” nature of the entire megamachine where every module bears a “mandelbrot” or fractal relation to the whole: repeating the whole in minutiae and adding to the extension of the whole maintining the same structural manner of extension by sprawl of modules. Ulf Martin and Jonathan Nitzan can express these autocatalytical sprawl concepts better than I.

                                Capitalism has “sacrifice zones” and “sacrifice populations”. This is not to say it is the first empire to do this but it is doing in a more totalising fashion, engulfing the entire globe, including its domestic populations (who now are also colonised in a sense) and in a manner in which the pseudo-rational and the virtual parasitise on the real and in the process destroy it.

                                “A sacrifice zone or sacrifice area (often termed a national sacrifice zone or national sacrifice area) is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by heavy environmental alterations or economic disinvestment, often through locally unwanted land use (LULU). These zones most commonly exist in low-income and minority communities.[1] Commentators including Chris Hedges, Joe Sacco, and Stephen Lerner have argued that corporate business practices contribute to producing sacrifice zones.” – Wikipedia.

                                Late stage capitalism is now re-introducing the consumption of sacrifice populations into its domestic population. Workers were consumed in early industrial capitalism (at home and abroad) but the bourgeoise, petty bourgeoise and even the “aristocracy of labor” (skilled labor which could be accommodated with good wages because of colonial exploitation) had been exempt. That exemption has now been effectively rescinded except for the very rich. The rest of the population (or the weaker segments thereof) are to be consumed by unleashing (accidently or sort of accidently on  purpose) a consuming, continually mutating pandemic. The wedge used is the hagiographical depiction of the petty bourgeoise. People who own such “essential” businesses as coffee shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars must be permitted to trade no matter what and spread dangerous new variants of the pandemic into the population. The baby boomer generation set up this system or voted continually for those who did. Now that ageing generation is to be consumed by the system they enabled. It is very ironic. Of course, things are worse in the third world.

                                The refusal to eradicate the virus and to promote what has turned into leaky vaccine endless pandemic indicated and indicates the refusal to;

                                (a) Suspend the circuits of capital which suit the plutocrats no matter what else is happening;

                                (b) consider anything but immediate profits;

                                (c) consider the human, social and medical concerns of the vulnerable population (which is very large).

                                The neoliberal system is sacrificing everything now, climate, environment, other earth systems and the entire non-rich and the not perfectly immune-able population of the globe. To those who felt society was about community and cooperation the spectacle is bizarre.

                                Rowan Pryor
                                  • Topics started: 18
                                  • Total posts: 88

                                  Scot Griffin,

                                  I agree. I have written, on other blogs if not here, of “my” thesis that modern capitalism has dual circuits of capital, to some considerable extent. There is the worker-consumer circuit and that part of productive business which uses productive workers and supplies consumers (while in a sense parasitising on the whole process by exploiting workers and consumers both). There is also the debt-asset circuit which functions mainly to create debt money for the purchase of assets and the concomitant process of generating asset inflation (relative to wages and the consumer items workers buy on a weekly to annual basis). The cross-over is perhaps fairly limited (though I have no data on this). The circuits are kept mainly separate and the two different sets of inflation are able to be kept apart and “differentialed”, as a verb. Q.E. (Quantitative Easing) is perfect to run this set up. It’s a brilliant scheme. The innovators of it have stolen a march, and many billions, on everyone else.

                                  One could, I am guessing, construct a hydraulic model of this. The hydraulic model would use the analogy of thermohaline currents and boundaries (since we are talking of stocks and flows of a quantity). Every water molecule is created equal (apart from rare exceptions like heavy water). However, bodies and flows of water can involve internal currents and layers which remain somewhat discrete and maintain somewhat discrete boundaries because (in water’s case) of thermal, saline and other gradients.

                                  Note: Cheesy video removed. The popularised “science” of the “two oceans” may be junk science. Best to avoid that analogy. But the thermohaline currents analogy seems fine, if speculative, to me.

                                  The thing is this. How can bodies and/or flows of dollars be different for purposes of flow and mixing? The thermohaline analogy is not transferrable simplistically. Dollars are notional, not real and they don’t in theory have real gradients of any substance or quantity/quality “inhered” or dissolved in them (what one might call a field of values and/or vectors and/or tensors). I can’t do any of that kind of maths by the way. But if we look at money we can see it is constructed differently depending on amounts (the quanta sizes). There is often a minimum quantity of money (and/or of purchased item) which is permitted in trades and staking and thus conditions the “play” of the “game”. There can be “permissible quantity” gradients across the economy. Wholesale and retail show this on the commodity and goods side. In gambling and in investment there are often minimum money stakes or even minimum wealth conditions to permit you to enter the “game”. If one does not have a liquid million dollars for example or an equally acceptable asset to stake one cannot enter a “game” where the minimum stake or investment is one million dollars. Flows and circuits may be kept discrete, albeit with small leaks and osmoses, by “stake” size.

                                  Though ordinary consumers dispose of billions and even trillions of dollars collectively, they do not typically make individual purchases over a “mere” million dollars except perhaps rarely in buying a house. Some of their monies are aggregated in funds like retirement funds but this aggregation already changes the game, as it were. The funds no longer make consumer purchases, at least in the short to mid term, but make aggregated asset purchases managed by the funds’ managers. The funds are out of the consumer circuit for a long time, typically a generation, like 20 0r 30 years minimum. A lot can happen in a generation. Assets can be inflated, funds embezzled, governments rise and fall, some nations default, others be destroyed and global pandemics begin. The conditions where the funds are released (if they are still existent and are released) are very different and time removed from the earlier times of consumer activity at investment time. This time gradient matters I believe but how it might matter is beyond me, I admit, except in this kind of undisciplined mental speculation.

                                  But I think overall, we can see perhaps how the circuits or flows can be kept separate and asset inflation proceed apace while not causing consumer inflation, except perhaps of luxury goods. Billionaires don’t give a damn about the price of champagne or anything except perhaps a super yacht which will cause a mere single-billion billionaire to wince but a deca- or centi-billionaire to snap it up for the conspicuous consumption value.

                                  • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                                  • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                                  • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Rowan Pryor.
                                Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 70 total)