Bcc: contributors. ============================================================================ Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 11:48:58 -0800 (PST) From: Rob Subject: Your War on Terror Article [in New Dawn magazine] To: •••@••.••• Richard, thank you for printing this article! I am now inspired to learn more about capitalism and the anti-globalization campaign. I haven't liked this 'war' from the beginning - and have been suspicious of big business influence in the government ever since reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the US. I will try to follow up on your recommended readings and also try to figure out how to help voice my concern over who has power in this country. I would love to learn more about how to protest and influence our government, and also learn alternative forms of running this country. I do have one question (and don't feel compelled to answer this, I know you're probably swamped with messages)...could our current form of extreme capitalism been avoided while sticking to Adam Smith's ideas of market economies? Thanks again! Rob =============== Dear Rob, Capitalism is pretty much the opposite of what Adam Smith was talking about. At the core of Smith's market economy is the assumption that there are lots of small buyers and sellers, none of whom is big enough to influence the market price. In fact, every one of Smith's assumptions are grossly violated by capitalism. This is very important, because our fearless leaders always try to tell us that the only alternative to capitalism is centralized state socialism. And they try to make us believe that corporate 'free trade' is the same as Smith's market economy. It ain't so. A good source for this is Korten's "The Post Corporate World, Life After Capitalism." You might want to visit the cj website and consider joining our lists. thanks for your message, rkm http://cyberjournal.org ============================================================================ Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 22:27:43 -0800 To: •••@••.••• From: Larry Tesler <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: War on Humanity: economic front 10/28/01, Richard K. Moore wrote: > The capitalist imperative is: 'Ruling elites must prosper'. It seems to me that 'Ruling elites must prosper' is no monopoly of capitalism. Who prospered in the one-party Soviet Union? In feudal monarchies? In ancient empires? Only societies with weak ruling elites, or none at all, lack this imperative. Larry Tesler ============== Dear Larry, I agree. 'Ruling elites must prosper' has been the growing theme for past 10,000 years, particularly in the more 'advanced' societies. Indeed, the growth of civilization can be mapped by the greater scale of centralized power. But within each society, there is usually a mythology that most people buy into. In the Soviet Union, everything was being done 'for the people'. In the Middle Ages, it was done for the 'glory of God', etc. My point really is that capitalism is no different in this regard. Today we are fed two primary myths, one political and one economic. Politically we are encouraged to believe that we live in democracies, and that our opinions and votes determine public policy. Economically, we are encouraged to believe that capitalism is designed to bring prosperity to all - that it is 'for our own good'. Neither of these myths stands up to even the slightest scrutiny, and yet they are accepted, consciously or otherwise, by most people in our societies. Since we live in capitalist societies, it is the myths of capitalism that are in need of debunking for us. The frailties of other societies are debunked sufficiently already in the mainstream media. Whether capitalism was ever a good thing, on balance, is I think an open question. Nonetheless, we have followed the capitalist path for the past two centuries and are left with the good and bad it has created. In my opinion, the system has clearly reached the point of diminishing returns. Its internal requirement for growth has become substantially incompatible with human welfare and threatens even the viability of our ecosystems. If we don't make fundamental changes in our societies, we and our descendents will be paying an unacceptably high price for centuries to come. The Soviet Union did not offer a preferable alternative, nor would it be a good idea to try to revert to feudal monarchies or ancient empires. But this does not mean there are no alternatives worth pursuing. warm regards, rkm ============================================================================ Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 10:25:35 -0800 To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••> From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: Who was responsible for September 11? Dear Richard, It's a pain in the butt checking sources and I don't often do it, but on stuff this hairy I try to, where possible, before passing on. When someone else first sent me some of this stuff, I did some research on one of the sources. You might consider whether you consider this particular source -- Colonel Donn de Grand Pré -- dependable. ---<snip>--- C) I wrote to a friend who was sending me such stuff earlier, and I offer it to you, as follows: "I've seen a growing number of things like it. Frustrates me. Some excellent data and intelligent surmises, embedded in highly questionable data and a vividly biased narrative that forces me to conclude that these folks, too, are more interested in promoting their meta-narrative/worldstory than in understanding whatever multi-facetted, nuanced and incoherent reality may actually be involved. Which makes me question EVERYTHING that they're saying (e.g., I wish the bin Laden interview was real, but I smell a well-done hoax) (just as I question the statements of government). Our collective/systemic cognitive capacities are not set up to clarify BS from truth, so it is left to widespread scatterings of individuals to try to sort out the wheat from the chaff. And, in this case, I don't have the heart or stomach for it. So I'm turning increasingly toward using this crisis -- whoever its ultimate perpetrators are -- for the positive transformation of humanity. It may not be possible, and it may be misinformed, but it is where I want and choose to put my life energy. Amen to anything good that is trying to emerge from all this." Coheartedly, Tom http://www.co-intelligence.org http://www.democracyinnovations.org ====================================== Dear Tom, Thanks for your note... nice to know you're looking at the postings. The first issue you raise, about credibility of sources, is not a simple one. Where is there a fully reliable source? What writer isn't motivated by some agenda besides simply presenting the facts of a particular case? Except for paid reporters, everyone writes - and chooses their topics - because they have something bigger to say, something which the current story 'typifies'. And paid reporters come with an agenda set by their editors and media owners. Just as reality is 'multi-faceted' and 'nuanced', so is the question of interpreting sources. One thing to look at, as you point out, is other things a source has said. Hence from Chomsky we can always expect precise scholarship, and there are also definite limits as to what we can learn from him. To a first approximation, most of what he says is selected from the New York Times. That's both his strength and his limitation. If we want to investigate more controversial subjects, then we must look further afield for researchers and spokespeople, people who aren't always as precise as Chomsky. This means we need to use our own judgement, and distinguish what makes sense from what doesn't. For example, consider how you watch mainstream news. You know that it's trying to sell you lies, along with a corporate world view, and yet you look at it to learn certain basic facts, such as whether or not Kabul has fallen. The rest you take with a grain of salt. You don't refuse to look at all mainstream media, even though it is clearly one of the most unreliable sources around. On cyberjournal, I try to present a wide range of viewpoints, some of which I agree with and some I don't. I believe that one of the best ways to understand something is to look at it from several different perspectives. No one perspective is free of distortions, and no one perspective can tell the whole truth. Sometimes it's worth entertaining a perspective simply because lots of misguided people believe it, to understand how the world looks to them. One of my criteria for selecting postings is to ask the question, "Does this piece shed any new light on an important issue?" If it does, even though it includes distortions as well, then I might post it so that readers so can judge for themselves. You say you don't have the heart or stomach for sorting out the wheat from the chaff. That is quite understandable. We all need to focus on some things, and leave other things be. Pursuing the 'positive transformation of humanity' is an admirable goal, and I'm sure the folks on your lists are inspired by what you send out. I happen to share your goal, and my writings (such as the Guidebook) investigate how such a transformation might come about, and what kind of transformation makes sense. But that investigation is preceded by material about how the current system works, and how it got that way. Our ability to encourage a positive transformation of society is greatly reduced if we do not understand how the current system works, and what forces keep it in place. For example, you recently published "The Prague Declaration", and characterized it as 'important work'. The Declaration expresses very noble sentiments, yet it is totally naive from a political or economical perspective. At one point it says, "If companies are to become responsible global actors, values - in the form of moral codices, social and environmental audits etc. - should play a greater role in their behavior." And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If companies are going to be restrained by morals and audits, where are they to find the growth to keep the economy going? Not only this year, but the next, and the one after that. And if you're not going to base the economy on growth, then what are you going to base it on? And what do you do about all the vested interests - with their automated armies, deceptive media, and beholden politicians - who are determined to maintain the growth-based exploitive system at all costs? These and many other issues must be faced if there is going to be any transformation of society. If there's a short-cut, I haven't seen it yet. best regards, rkm -- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ "A Guidebook: How the world works and how we can change it" http://cyberjournal.org/cj/guide/ A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Capitalism is the relentless accumulation of capital for the acquisition of profit. Capitalism is a carnivore. It cannot be made over into a herbivore without gutting it, i.e., abolishing it. - Warren Wagar, Professor of History, State University of New York at Binghamton Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .