Secret State

Work takes me away for a few days and then on the weekend I shall be talking at the TUC summer School in Bradford. Maybe see some of you there.

In the meantime some thoughts for you to consider.

We are all now sadly familiar with the role of Off-shore tax havens. They allow companies to avoid having to pay tax. They also allow companies to hide any dealings they may not want scrutinized by prying regulatory authorities. Tax havens are, as Nicholas Shaxson in his wonderful book Treasure Islands has suggested, better thought of as ‘secrecy jurisdictions’. They are purpose built for shrouding in impenetrable and legally protected secrecy any  morally dubious financial arrangements which might be embarrassing or costly if revealed to regulators or governments. The world of Off-shore provides a legal and moral nul-space in where most things can be arranged for a price.

But that nul-space is growing and more than simply growing it is maturing.

Recently Off-shore havens have added to financial secrecy another valuable service – data and communications secrecy. There are now companies based in off-shore havens which offer to protect emails and data caches from prying regulatory or legal scrutiny. Take this company for example – Private layer. Private Layer operates out of Panama and Switzerland. It’s purpose?  This is from its web site.

In the recent years, the amount of frivolous litigation that companies face has grown exponentially,…In many of these cases, companies are irreparably damaged when their private communications and company data is exposed to competitors and the public by frivolous blanket subpoenas. This problem can be easily circumvented by locating your communications and data in a jurisdiction that protects that corporate privacy and by choosing a hosting company that actually cares about your privacy.

If News International had used their services there would be no phone hacking scandal and certainly no Leveson enquiry. An enquiry would have been impossible for the simple reason that Leveson would have got zero compliance. Private layer would have got their lawyers to write to Mr Leveson pointing out that he had no jurisdiction whatsoever over data held in Panama and that Panama had no treaty with the UK, or anyone else for that matter, obliging them to hand over data or to cooperate with any other nation’s enquiries. And that would have been the summary end of that.

All News International would have had to have done – all they need to do in future – is have the server that handles the emails of their more senior execs, be located in Panama, on a server belonging to a company in Panama. News International journalists and editors would be able to type emails about phone hacking from their desks in London, but the email server and thus the data itself would, legally, be in Panama and thus subject to Panamanian not UK jurisdiction. With the speed and bandwidth now available this is an entirely workable solution.

Suddenly not only is it possible for corporate finances to be moved beyond the reach of national  oversight and regulation, but now corporate emails and other data can also be removed from national democratic and legal oversight. Corporation can now operate within any nation, making their profits there. but  without the elected government, the tax officials, financial regulators, courts or police having any power to see what the corporation is doing. The police could not force the disclosure of emails because those emails would not be under UK jurisdiction. It would be entirely possible for a company to be breaking the law, exactly as News International did, but now most if not all (depending on how careful they were)  the evidence required to bring their illegal activities to light, would be beyond the reach of any authority in this country.

Now let’s add in one more recent development which might seem at first glance to be somewhat unconnected.

In the week of May 21st of this year in Tampa Florida, Special Operations Forces from 90 countries got together at a Special Forces Convention. You can see a video of what they got up to here.

The purpose of convention, which is a regular thing now, is (the link to their web site no longer works but this article is a good intro),

The International Conference objective will be that U.S. and International SOF leaders recognize USSOCOM as a Global Command and gain a better understanding on how to become active partners in that partnership.

Who is USSOCOM?  It is the umbrella US military command for all US Special forces. So here we have a programme the purpose of which is to integrate the operations and even the command structure with the US at the top, for the Special Forces of 90 nations. Is this anything to be concerned about? Well  on one level, if you have Special forces why not have them work together well? Seems sensible. Except that Special Forces are by design the part of any nation’s armed forces which operate routinely and as a matter of course, outside of the law and beyond democratic oversight. Did you know, for instance that elements of the British SAS operated as a virtually freelance force in South America during the Dirty Wars?  Did anyone ask you if you thought that was OK?

Special Forces are quite unlike the rest of the military. They work far more closely with the Intelligence agencies than they do with the regular army and its command structure. While there is some democratic oversight of the regular military there is very little for Special forces. Their operations are covered by Intelligence secrecy and most parts of a civilian government, even those parts which might be privy to most other military operations, would not have any knowledge of, nor oversight of, Special forces operations.  Who knew that certain elements of the SAS were on the ground in Libya long before any official admission of any military involvement, acting as spotters and target painters for all those ‘precision’ strikes? Now you might think such secrecy is necessary and even a good thing. I do not share that view. I think about rendition and torture and how the intelligence organizations coordinate and plan while the special forces provide the muscle.

I look at it and think to myself – so now we have vast financial power shielded from any national, democratic regulation or legal oversight. We have data similarly hidden away from the pesky prying eyes of civilian democratic and legal accountability and we now also have  the parts of the global military that routinely operate outside of democratic oversight and who regularly break the most fundamental national and international laws, being organized to operate together under an aspiring supra-national command.

What does that International Special Forces Command do? From their web site.

SOF Core Activities

  • Direct Action: Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions taken to seize, destroy, capture or recover in denied areas.
  • Special Reconnaissance: Acquiring information concerning the capabilities, intentions and activities of an enemy.
  • Unconventional Warfare: Operations conducted by, through and with surrogate forces that are organized, trained, equipped, supported and directed by external forces.
  • Foreign Internal Defense: Providing training and other assistance to foreign governments and their militaries to enable the foreign government to provide for its country’s national security.
  • Civil Affairs Operations: Activities that establish, maintain or influence relations between U.S. forces and foreign civil authorities and civilian populations to facilitate U.S. military operations.
  • Counterterrorism: Measures taken to prevent, deter and respond to terrorism.
  • Psychological Operations: Operations that provide truthful information to foreign audiences that influence behavior in support of U.S. military operations.
  • Information Operations: Operations designed to achieve information superiority by adversely affecting enemy information and systems while protecting U.S. information and systems.
  • Counter-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Actions taken to locate, seize, destroy or capture, recover and render such weapons safe.
  • Security Force Assistance: Unified action by joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational community to sustain and assist host nation or regional security forces in support of a legitimate authority.
  • Counterinsurgency Operations: Those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.
  • Activities Specified by the President or SECDEF

What this this and other documents now clearly indicate is that through this command and others the US can now commit troops to hostile actions without the Congress having to give its consent or even be informed. Now of course we all know this happens. SO what is new. In a sense nothing. In another sense it clearly shows how our governments, or at least elements within them, are keen to follow global finance’s lead in being able to operate outside of democratic oversight, outside its own laws and outside of any democratic accountability.  This I think is, if not a new desire, a new maturation of the capability.

There is a clear disdain for democracy being voiced among those who run and own global finance, who make up the supra-national world of the IMF, the WTO and other non-national, non-democratic global technocratic bodies. We all know what disdain the global financial and media companies have for the laws which ‘regulate them’. We know how far outside their own laws and international law our governments have gone in rendition and torture of civilians.

It seems to me you don’t have to subscribe to any conspiracy theory to find this enough to worry about.

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159 Responses to Secret State

  1. Michael Wozceik June 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    And here’s a plan to restructure the British army with more emphasis on special forces: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/revealed-plan-to-split-army-into-two-forces-7858842.html

    • shaun s June 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      So the British Army is to become a unit of the USSOCOM – but under whose orders? OK, Nominally the US. But as there are 90 “special forces” involved this seems a way to get the IDF (Israel) into a pan Western command structure. Something they theoretically cannot do with NATO (But they do participate in manoeuvres etc.)

      Already NATO is “subject” to defense Ministers whims and not directly to Governments, (They can and do buy US made weapons EVEN if against their own Governmental policy,) – so USSOCOM will put even more of the worlds’ destructive capacity under the control of a totally uncontrollable military-industrial religion.

  2. English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    David,

    Your faith in the State to “regulate”, “oversee”, or in any other way produce positive outcomes flies in the face of millenia of democide and violence. Your advocacy of state-sponsored theft and coercion for the nonsensical “public good” is immoral, and it taints everything that you say or write.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and OVER again and hoping for different results! ARE YOU INSANE DAVID?!

    The violence of the state will NEVER solve these problems or produce the results that you desire. Justice can not be achieved from the barrel of the gun, nor can any just or moral act other than the act of self-defense against those who initiate force against YOU.

    I’d love to see you write an article intellectually and philosophically defending the existence, morality, and LOGIC of HOW a gang of ARMED THUGS who POINT GUNS AT US and TELL US HOW TO LIVE OUR LIVES is going to IMPROVE OUR WORLD.

    Riddle me that, Batman, and I’d love to join the conversation. Until then, you’re just another broken, deluded statist spinning his wheels in the shit-heap of violent coercion.

    • Gary June 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      English Memorial

      I can’t speak for him, but I am sure that David means well.

      But I do share you disgust with the state. They are the armed thug that has his jackboot on our windpipe. Our salvation lies in the rejection of the state, and all its tyrannical institutions. We have to wean ourselves from our dependence on the state and reject their welfare. It is a false elixir that is used to entrap us into serfdom. The state works with the bankers, the state requires the bankers to issue, purchase and rig its bond market. The state and the bankers are one in our debt slavery. The ballot is rigged , the candidates are installed sock puppets.

      We have to peacefully reject this tyranny. Our salvation lies in truly free markets where the rules are that nobody gets preferential treatment, where bad businesses fail, where endeavour is rewarded and sloth is punished, where we trust the goodness of our fellow man to help the downtrodden. Not the fascist favours system that we now have, where the lobbyists and the favoured insiders thrive and the rest suffer. The free market IS faith in humanity. We have no other option. If we cannot trust humanity, we certainly cannot trust politicians and power brokers. For the life of me I cannot understand why people don’t trust other people , but feel they can trust a person that is installed into a voting system. The people who are attracted to power are often the most depraved in society. Like moths to a flame of power ,they often fit the profile of the psychopath : charming, intelligent, remorseless, calculating, desperate, cold and ruthless.

      Stop trying to reform a system that cannot be reformed. Trust in yourself and your fellow man. The solution is not top down, but bottom up. The solution is the free market. Get rid of govt tyranny !

      • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

        Thank you so much for your support Gary, and I already regret my harshness here and below towards David. I just see him stuck in this paradigm and taking us AWAY from where we need to go, which I view as an utter tragedy as I have read his blog for years now and he in fact helped me begin my awakening process. He is such a smart and articulate guy who obviously genuinely wants these problems to get better as we ALL do, but he is blinded to the paradigm of the state and of violent coercion as we are all propagandized to be. Having gone through my own personal awakening, and having witnessed its seeds just peeking through in those around me, I know firsthand how freeing and EMPOWERING it can be to seek and apply the TRUTH! Understanding the malignant and state-sponsered banking system is only the first step in pursuit of the truth, and to stop there is to end the journey before the destination is reached!

        When you blow away all the propaganda and opinions masquerading as facts, violent coercion is the problem and voluntarism is the solution.

        • inthemix96 June 20, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

          English.

          As much as I would like to agree with you, the time is too late. It has been for quite a while. Do you think that the PTB wont use violence on you?? Then you are naive. The time for talking is done, it has long passed. Debate is over, period, it is them or us, and it realy as simple as that. I just thought a long time lurker should point this out.

          Prepare accordingly, I have, I wish you the best, but please, we are not dealing with rational people here. If you think voting in some other cunt will help, well ???? Not on my watch

      • Jay D June 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

        GARY

        ” The free market IS faith in humanity. ”

        Humanity has got sweet F.A to do with markets…..get a grip of yourselves the pair of you and maybe go out more.Here’s a good slogan I’ve not heard in a while……..’all property is theft’

        • Gary June 20, 2012 at 7:57 am #

          Human interaction ie the markets, have nothing to do with humanity? Is that a joke?

          • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 9:13 am #

            The markets are the commodification of humanity

    • Gar Shanley June 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      The use of CAPITAL letters does little to help an argument or convince others of your own SANITY!

      In other news: Like states, up to now, free market proponents seem to have had little problem with enforcing ideas via guns.

      • Gary June 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

        There is nothing in a free market society to prevent common law being used to make gun owning illegal. Free markets are not the wild-west. Another myth. Free markets are governed by laws set in courts built on precedent, adjudicated by juries of peers. Not by govt judges appointed by political fiat.

        BTW : In state sanctioned violence, where public gun ownership is banned, the state has all the guns and the people are defenceless. That is why the 2nd amendment to the US constitution ensured that the people had the means to defend themselves and their property from the state. If there is relative peace in a gun free society, it is perhaps because the people are subjugated and cowed, not because they are necessarily content or not being violated. It is said that the British don’t revolt. Maybe because they cannot ?

        • jag37777 June 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

          Oh gawd, the Austrians have arrived. It’s awwwwwwl gummints fault!!!!

          Controlled opposition, social Darwinist claptrap.

          • jag37777 June 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

            Oh, and excellent article David. It’s all interconnected. The military is increasingly under the control of/in service to the corporate oligarchy. As is government.

          • Gary June 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

            Yes, you mock and then tell us the govt is in bed with the corporates. Do, how are you going to solve this problem ? More govt ? More regulation. Those are your only options, if you don’t believe in free markets. Good luck with those plans. Repeatedly doing more of what has failed is brain dead , but don’t let that deter you.

          • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

            People like jag37777 and Gar Shanley have absolutely no ability to argue or rationalize or THINK (I like emphasizing words sometimes, deal with it) – all they can do is ad-hominem and attack syntax, not provide rational counter-arguments.

            So sad.

        • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

          Gary – a point of disagreement between us. There is no such thing as a “law” – just an opinion with a gun, whether that opinion is supported by the majority or a “free market” is irrelevent.

          No, in a free society, the Non-Agression Principle will be the be the ONLY law, and that includes agression via force or fraud.

          The NAP is where the moral underpinnings of all of this reside, and the philosophy, which goes back to Socrates (who was forced to drink hemlock by the state, of course) is well established and continues to evolve.

          People who prevaricate on philosophical and moral issues who have NO UNDERSTANDING or history, philosophy, or morality, are just sophists wasting everybody’s time.

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

            EM

            How about a “Non agression policy” in relation to conversation and comments?

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

            EM

            Or, more importantly. How does one enforce a “non-agression policy” in the first place?

            For instance, the West (especially USA) is very good at using aggression to enforce a “non-agression policy” (e.g. Hiroshima, Bosnia, Afganistan, Iraq and the recent jungle drums over Iran).

  3. English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    “prying eyes of civilian democratic and legal accountability”
    “routinely operate outside of democratic oversight”

    The naïveté demonstrated here is astounding, David. On what planet do you live? “Democratic Oversight” is an oxymoron. How can you “oversee” or “hold accountable” a gang of armed thugs with an annual vote for a handful of conniving figureheads? A nice trick on their part to convince you of this, but on its face preposterous.

    Laws are just opinions with guns, and EVERY THINKING PERSON is right to recognize them for the immoral coercive NONSENSE that they are. I wish you could take your focus off of the constant banker-hate for two seconds to recognize that.

    The world must be a confusing and bewildering place to you, David. I hope you wake up soon. We could use a bright mind like yours on the side of truth and freedom.

  4. Ken Lorp June 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    David,

    While I have some sympathy for your thoughts on secretive tax havens, I do feel that efforts should be focused less on punitive measures against them and more on asking why they left in the first place and addressing those issues.

    There are often cases where firms move not because they are engaged in something dodgy but because the levels of taxation and regulation are too onerous. If we deal with the issues that force legitimate companies away then we will eliminate many of the issues associated with offshore havens. That means that we will largely be left with those engaged in nefarious activities.

    Ken.

  5. Gordon Donald June 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I’m sure that David does not need me to defend him from the rather silly postings above. However, I would just like to note that Thomas L Friedman, a proponent of free-market capitalism, has astutely (and candidly) observed that:

    “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_L._Friedman

    Violence was required to establish capitalist markets and violence, or the threat of it, is still required to maintain it. Mostly, but not exclusively, by the state.

    • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Yes, and wives need to be beaten to learn, children need to be punished and abused to behave, and slaves need to be slaves to become “civilized”. Your argument is the lie people tell themselves to justify and deal with the actual, physical/emotional/sexual violence perpetrated against THEM.

      Who hurt you, Gordon?

      It’s not your fault.

      • inthemix96 June 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

        It is not very often english, and I mean this in the best possible way to get me riled. I lurk and never post. But you have popped up here and made the heckles stick, now that is odd. What is your agenda???

        Now just incase you may be genuine let me tell you this. Why in gods name should you go to work, pay your bills, while paying rediculous tax rates, live in a good and decent way to find out that the top tier of banking who provide fuck all to society skim our labour? And then not expect anger or rage?

        You mate, dont know what your talking about. I will give you rage, I will give you anger, I will give you something I did not know I was capable of until I woke up. Now heed this, people are waking up, by the droves and I play my part believe you me. Your bollocks on here points you out mate.

        And if you got me to respond, not once but twice, be aware, we are watching, we know the score, and we will deserve justice. You could have stopped at me, fair play, I might be a bit dim or slow, but you didnt, you involved my children. I will die for my children, will you

    • Gary June 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      Thomas Friedman is a paid up neocon warmonger, who never saw a war he did not like. I prefer not to take my lead from such people.

      • Gordon Donald June 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

        “Thomas Friedman is a paid up neocon warmonger”
        Well, at least we can agree on that, if perhaps not much else.

  6. shaun s June 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Hmmm… English memorial, Democracy is a consensual process whereby you give others the right to govern (not rule) in your stead. (in place of yourself.)

    The confusion that you seem to be in is between the “real” democracy with accountability – and what it has become recently. So “Our salvation lies in the rejection of the state, and all its tyrannical institutions. We have to wean ourselves from our dependence on the state and reject their welfare” is pure right wing rant – and if I may say so US right-wing.

    The States’ “welfare” is not a gift – but an obligation, as pensions, unemployment benefits and health were all paid for – by the taxpayer first.
    The “Social security” cash was accepted (ie, subtracted from wages), put in Government coffers and then SPENT, by the Governments. and now they do not want to pay it back. Avoiding the question whether Govs. CAN still pay their dues – it is now the idea of criminalising the “beneficaires” who are only trying to get their money back – that is being used.

    OK, a pure anarchist state in the best sense of the term – individual responsibility, is excellent. Problem is that it won’t work – as David is indirectly pointing out. At the moment we are seeing the “creation” of a nanny state outside the competences of democracy. What do you think all those “security” people are for? Where are the decisions made? Can you take a photograph in a shopping Mall without being stopped by the new “ExDemocracy” state – the private sphere? (example only)

    Davids point – seems to be that ALL the functions of a state are being taken over by a small group who are under no control or obligation to think of their fellow mens wellbeing. They are substituting themselves FOR the State – not reducing it. In fact it is getting more and more intrusive (and violent). Some examples;
    Policy; Billionaires and lobbyists choice of Politicians charged with carrying out desired policy.
    Army; External; Billionaires’ open cheque for instant profit. Useful for extending control outside immediate area and also commodity and asset theft.
    Internal ; Second open cheque, this time with the added benefit of personalized control of rowdy elements (read resistance). Cheap form of sexual agression on innocent victims.
    Finance; license to print money at the taxpayers expense. (While avoiding it themselves.) Fun game of musical chairs for controlling positions in Banks and Financial circles.
    Judiciary; cheque book facilitators. Provides immunity for those with a net worth of a billion or plus – and their sbires. Provides “exemplary” punishment for those who steal a bottle of water. (In the 17th century you only risked hanging if the “value” was over that of a sheep or 13 shillings – otherwise it was deportation. A bottle of water is worth….?)

    I use “billionaire” advisedly – in fact some of the major crooks are “corporations”. Things that have no head and are immortal.

    One thing to add to David’s excellent post is that one real problem is the loss of trust by ordinary people, and that is being used to lever the functions of state into private hands.
    _______

    What comes next? – As in the Middle Ages with “knights” and “lords”, we are starting to get Oligarchs and Corporations fighting over territory and assets. Is this is the beginning of a new Dark Ages? As no one group can do any more than take an immediate “profit” at the expense of their rivals.

    • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      I stopped reading after your first horribly illogical and FALSE sentence:

      “Hmmm… English memorial, Democracy is a consensual process whereby you give others the right to govern (not rule) in your stead. (in place of yourself.)”

      Wow… Stockholm ain’t just a city in Sweden no more! (feel free to use that one).

      I DO NOT GIVE MY CONSENT. I DID NOT SIGN ANY FUCKING “SOCIAL” CONTRACT” You cannot make me a party to a contract that I DID NOT AGREE OR CONSENT TO!

      This is the Big Lie, friend. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but wake the FUCK up.

      • shaun s June 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

        “A contract” depends on the Judicial setup. Democracy is simply a way to get over the animal instincts of having a “pack” leader doing all the decision making. I can take BACK the “rights” I lent to others (morally at least). Which you cannot do if we are all in a “pack”.

        I didn’t sign up for any security straight-jacket either – but that is what is being forced on the Worlds’ population. Consent or not

      • Phil June 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

        “I stopped reading after your first horribly illogical and FALSE sentence”

        I think that’s all we need to know about your receptivity to ideas which are not your own.

      • Vasper85 June 27, 2012 at 5:57 am #

        Are you a citizen of a country? Do the rights of being a citizen not also come with responsibilities?

    • English Memorial June 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Also, when you accept their fabricated left-wing/right-wing us/them red/blue 1%/99% paradigm, you reveal your utter propagandization.

      The only two groups are those that advocate the use of VIOLENT COERCION to SOLVE SOCIAL PROBLEMS vs. those that want UNIVERSALLY VOLUNTARY INTERACTIONS!

      Get on board the freedom train, or be left to the condemnation of history along with all the slave owners, wife beaters, religious zealots, mercenaries (“soldiers”), politicians, and ALL the other assholes who advocated and actually committed violence to enrich themselves.

      • jag37777 June 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        No. There is capital and there is labour. Your “free market” is merely a misconception of what is the capitalist class.

        And believe me, you ain’t in it.

        • Gary June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

          Oh God, spare us from another rehash of Karl Marx. 50 million dead souls for the greater good of the proletariat, and utter economic collapse, and you are still not sated ? Go back to sleep and spare us your nightmares.

          • jag37777 June 20, 2012 at 12:44 am #

            I’ve read Marx but I’m not a Marxist. And if you’d read Marx, you’d know that the USSR was a state capitalist project.

            Your imagined divisions are illusions my friend. You need to accept that there are paradoxes between macro and micro.

            Slogans just aren’t going to build a better world.

          • rkka June 20, 2012 at 12:47 am #

            “Oh God, spare us from another rehash of Karl Marx. 50 million dead souls for the greater good of the proletariat, and utter economic collapse, and you are still not sated ?”

            When “Soviet genocide” ended, there were 52 million people in Ukraine. There are now 45.5 million, and deaths exceed births there by ~150,000/year.

            When “Soviet genocide” ended, there were 2.7 million people in Latvia. There are now 2 million, and deaths exceed births there by over 1.5 to 1.

            When “Soviet genocide” ended, there were 148 million people in Russia. There are now 143 million. In 2000, deaths exceeded births in Russia by almost a million. Now births and deaths are about even. The methods by which Russia ended her demographic death spiral have upset the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy far more than Russia’s demographic death spiral itself ever did.

            The Soviet successor state in Europe that has seen the least population decline since 1991 is the one that “reformed” the least, Belarus.

      • Jay D June 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

        ” Get on board the freedom train ”

        Dear English Memorial (whatever that’s meant to mean)…..sorry but that train of yours just seems a little too angry to climb aboard…..so much testosterone!

        • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

          Jay, I apologize if I am misrepresenting PASSION as ANGER!

          I assure you, the only thing that makes me angry is VIOLENCE. Please do not let my writing style prevent you from hearing the message. I understand disliking personal communication styles, but what about the IDEAS? Maybe you are using my style as an excuse to not THINK about ideas whose implications are FRIGHTENING?

          Just a though. Freedom starts in the mind.

          Peace and love!
          English

          • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

            ANGRY and CONDESCENDING…….a lonely train!
            Spectacular Times

      • steviefinn June 20, 2012 at 12:30 am #

        We were having voluntary interactions, are there only certain ones allowed in your ideal little World , What do you propose should be done with those who don’t agree with you, Isn’t your ranting & language a form of violence & not really a good example to set for your proposed world of UNIVERSAL VOLUNTARY INTERACTIONS ?

        I am wasting my time I know, may as well try & reason with a block of granite, please stay under your stone, but thanks for making me laugh, I bet you chew carpets too.

        • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

          “We were having voluntary interactions, are there only certain ones allowed in your ideal little World”

          ALL interactions should be voluntary, NOT only certain ones! Universalizing morality to ALL humans is the idea here friend! NO EXCEPTIONS!

          “What do you propose should be done with those who don’t agree with you?”

          ANYONE is free to disagree with me, as long as they don’t point guns at me and tell me what to do! If I disagree with you on moral or philosophical grounds, the obvious and historically effective solution is MARKET OSTRICIZATION! You DO NOT do business with those who offend you, easy peasy! Check out Stefan Molyneux for details on how a free society would work in practical terms.

          “Isn’t your ranting & language a form of violence & not really a good example to set for your proposed world of UNIVERSAL VOLUNTARY INTERACTIONS ?”

          Uh… WHAT?!? We are here using technology to communicate and try to convince each other of the merits of our arguments INSTEAD OF pointing guns at each other and ordering each other around (the solution of STATISTS)! THIS is the very DEFINITION of voluntaryism! Everyone on this board who argues against voluntarism has already lost the argument, because by coming on this board and arguing for coercive force, they are EXPOSING their PREFERENCE for voluntary interaction and convincing via ARGUMENTATION rather than COERCION!

          Capital letter are not violence, friend; I know that we live in a world where violence is all around us, but if you cannot identify it you will never, ever be free.

          “I am wasting my time I know, may as well try & reason with a block of granite, please stay under your stone, but thanks for making me laugh, I bet you chew carpets too.”

          This offends me, sir. Reason, logic and evidence are my highest ideals. Your stooping to childish name-calling and taunting reveals your lack of intellectual curiosity.

          • John G June 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

            Oh, the “civility” tactic? After you, sir.

          • Mike June 25, 2012 at 10:05 am #

            English M, it’s a little rich talking about “childish name-calling” and ad hominem attacks when, not six inches up the page, you called everyone who didn’t agree with you “assholes”.

            If reason, logic and evidence are your highest ideals, let me lay some evidence on you.

            Here’s your Stefan Molyneux – http://www.molyneuxrevealed.com/2012/05/end-of-defoo.html – who I got into for about six months many years ago until I found out that he preys on idealists and separates them from their families.

            As for reason and logic, I’d say that Golem does a pretty damn good job of pointing out serious problems in the current system and suggesting ways to resolve those problems. There are other ways to at least fix the grosser inequities within the system we have while trying to build and transition to a better one more fully designed for the human experience.

            Humans in community have functioned for thousands of years, and the irony of the majority of so-called “free market” solutions is that those communities thrived up until the advent of private property ownership. Once there was private property, there were vested interests using violence to protect that property and a power structure to govern, administrate and guarantee the ownership of said property. This, in evolutionary terms, came out of our move to agriculture from hunting and gathering. Some agricultural commons communities survived for a while, but in the end, a central authority issuing currency and credit in lieu of self-sufficiency took over, by a pretty even split of violence and the promise of protection from violence. Mafia tactics for sure, you won’t get any argument from me here. But as H.L. Mencken said, “an idealist is one who, upon observing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, assumes that it will make better soup”.

            In a state-less market system, we will simply have the predation of wealth on the masses without the at least nominal oversight of supposedly democratic institutions. As Adam Smith himself said, captains of industry rarely get together in private without the result being a conspiracy against the public. I’ve seen first-hand evidence of cartel behaviour in pharmaceuticals and banking, to name two serial offenders, and I’m deeply unconvinced that that sort of behaviour would improve without some sort of sovereign regulation to keep it in check.

            It was private enterprise which decried the end of child labour in this country as the end of profitable business, much as now it calls environmentalism the enemy or unionised labour.

            The sad truth of the matter is that in a world of 7 billion (headed for 9 billion by 2050) very few of our social and personal interactions are voluntary, on a direct level or a representational level. I didn’t choose where I was born, what the history of that place was, who my parents were, whether they signed my birth certificate, where they sent me to school…the list goes on and on.

            The central challenge of what Desmond Morris calls the “super-tribal” society, which is to say an agglomeration of individuals not directly related to one another or having personal knowledge of each other, is to protect the weak from the predation of the strong, reward those who perform unsavoury but necessary tasks and to provide a safety net for those who are ill equipped by birth or circumstance to fend for themselves in the system we have ended up with.

            It is true that governments behave abominably and use (and have used, from time immemorial) violence and the threat of it to get what they want. It is however also true that big business behaves in exactly the same way as big government. The gun of one is not preferable to the gun of the other. What I take to be the aim of Golem’s work, of my own work and of the work of other well-intentioned seekers, is to find a path between Scylla and Charybdis where we can be as free and as happy as possible as peacefully as possible.

            The opposite of what we have is not market rather than state but compassion and co-operation rather than brutality and competition.

          • Vasper85 June 27, 2012 at 6:03 am #

            Can market ostracization break transnational corporations? If so what are some examples?

    • Gary June 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

      ” The confusion that you seem to be in is between the “real” democracy with accountability – and what it has become recently. ”

      There will never be democracy with accountability because the sociopaths, psychopaths, call them what you will, come out of the woodwork for a piece of the action, and then they stitch it all up. You are fighting a losing battle. Have faith in humanity, not some Dear Leader.

      • shaun s June 20, 2012 at 9:45 am #

        Good lord gary, I’m not fighting for a “dear leader”. The centralisation of power is the last thing that I would consider necessary for the world.

        It is “Democracy” that has become the plaything of despots. The “thrill” of being able to vote for “Obamawar” or “Romneywar” as the only two candidates in the US – and who will have almost unlimited powers, is ridiculous (proviso; if their handlers let them use it). What is the difference between Ghengis Khan or a “leader with the power of life and death over peasants”, and the power now held by the “President” of the US to make war, kill at a distance or indefinitely imprison his subjects? None.

        On the other hand I do agree that corruption in the ratholes of Governments do not make them a valuable alternative – without some sort of fundamental change. So we come down to “accountability” in democracies, which implies regulation and “regulators”, but if they are corrupted in turn….

        • Gary June 20, 2012 at 10:54 am #

          “So we come down to “accountability” in democracies, which implies regulation and “regulators”, but if they are corrupted in turn….”

          And therein lies the problem. The regulators ALWAYS become corrupted, because power attracts the corrupt. So, what to do ? Hand the power to the people, let them be free to make their own choices for their own lives without interference as long as they respect the property of others. That is a free market.

          • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

            “All property is theft”…..discuss

    • Jason June 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      Maybe I have one quibble though the social security or welfare is being on the whole claimed by those who have not contributed to the system. Again, this is Labours fault up until the mid-seventies you were not entitled to claim unemployment, etc until you could demonstrate a certian level of contributions this was changed and the result is we have inter-generational benefits class who have never worked and on the current showing never will. The people who are paying for this will find there is nothing left in the pot by the time they come to draw on the system.

  7. DvK June 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    English Memorial, am I right to conclude that you are an anarchist?

    Unless you have a proposition of a non-utopian form of government, since you seem to so despise democracy.

    I’d like you to show us how you think a government should work.

    The problem with “banning” weapon possession by “consent” is that once you do it within your peer group, here comes another peer group with guns and enslaves all of you and extracts all wealth for their selfish selves. Or they outright kill you and take your women & land. That’s a historical fact and I hope we can agree on that without pointing fingers on specific homicides.

    So first we would have to establish on what kind of level governance should be done. Should it be a tribal network of closely-aligned people (kinsmen and akin), or perhaps nation-states, like we do have now? Or perhaps you advocate supra-national beings like the EU?

    You comment about not signing any social contract seems on the surface quite silly. Tell me how did you get your education, how come you safely walk the streets without worrying about robbery every second, how come you use public roads if not for a social contract? You either live in a society and abide by its rules and perhaps try to change the contract, or you simply go away.

    The social contract was “signed” by a majority, though not by every single person, which in the case of US had been done by enacting the federal constitution by all of the states (if my understanding of US history is correct).

    • jag37777 June 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      I’m guessing anarcho-capitalist. Ron Paul style.

      Followers of Mises et al.

      They are being used as a form of controlled opposition. The con is that they are doing the work of the very beast they think they oppose.

    • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply, DvK, would love to take a (non-violent!) stab at it! I will even try to minimize the use of capitalized words, as some seem to have a problem with that…?

      “English Memorial, am I right to conclude that you are an anarchist?”

      You could say that, though “anarchist” and “anarchism” have been corrupted over the years. I think it would be more accurate to say that I am a “voluntarist”, but really what it all comes down to is that I am for the UNIVERSAL application of the Non-Agression Principle. What that means is that it is immoral to initiate the use of force against another human – NO exceptions. Note the use of the word “initiate” – there is no problem with arming yourself for self-defense, and using violence to protect yourself from those who are ACTIVELY aggressing against you.

      “Unless you have a proposition of a non-utopian form of government, since you seem to so despise democracy.”

      I LOVE that people get that eliminating violence from our lives would be Utopian – I agree! But is it Utopian to have a world without institutionalized slavery? If so, we are living in utopia now friend! All I am suggesting is that we take the moral argument against slavery (you know – pointing guns at people and telling them what to do, making them work for “free” as I do for > 25% of the year, etc.!), and apply it UNIVERSALLY, as moral rules must ALWAYS be applied!

      “I’d like you to show us how you think a government should work.”

      Well, if we define government as a monopoly on the initiation of the use of force in a geographical area, which I think is 100% accurate, then my obvious answer is that governments DON’T WORK NOW (have you been paying attention recently?!) and we DON’T NEED THEM and NEVER DID!

      If what you’re really wondering is how a FREE society would work, then the first thing I would caution you against is asking the WRONG QUESTION. The NAP is a MORAL argument first and foremost, as was the argument against slavery, so this question is akin to asking “But but but… HOW oh lordy HOW will the cotton get picked if we don’t have slaves?!” The answer is, IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER! What matters is taking the guns out of the room, and ceasing pointing it at people to get them to comply. After that, how will services be provided that typically are monopolized by the state? Simple; HOWEVER THE FUCK PEOPLE WANT THEM TO!! Private security firms, arbitration firms (ever heard of “Mandatory Arbitration” in contract dispute? Works a hell of a lot better than our “Justice” system!), volunteer fire departments, etc. etc. But in the end it DOESN’T MATTER how we get things done once we stop pointing guns at people, and this is the WRONG QUESTION.

      If you want to go more in-depth on the practical answers to your question, check out Stefan Molyneux’s free books, particularly Practical Anarchy, here:

      http://www.freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx

      “The problem with “banning” weapon possession by “consent” is that once you do it within your peer group, here comes another peer group with guns and enslaves all of you and extracts all wealth for their selfish selves. Or they outright kill you and take your women & land. That’s a historical fact and I hope we can agree on that without pointing fingers on specific homicides.”

      Who said anything about banning weapon possession by consent? You’ll get my many firearms from me when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers! A well-armed populace is the best defense, followed by private security firms. Again, check out Stef’s books on this, particularly Universally Preferable Behavior, but the short answer is that it is in everyone’s best interests to cooperate rather than initiate force, and market ostricization can be a VERY POWERFUL tool. So, for example, sure you could go attack Apple HQ and get a bunch of iPad3s… but then NOBODY will do business with you, you will have to subsist off the land due to your treachery, and also, who will develop the iPad4?!

      As another point, how many examples of state-sponsored slavery do you see these days? Not very many. The moral argument WORKS, and it works FOR GOOD!

      Finally, here is an argument from Stef that I think goes to what you are asking that might help ease your fears:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxYom8_WkpY&feature=youtube_gdata

      “So first we would have to establish on what kind of level governance should be done. Should it be a tribal network of closely-aligned people (kinsmen and akin), or perhaps nation-states, like we do have now? Or perhaps you advocate supra-national beings like the EU?”

      You just cannot wrap your head around freedom, eh friend? NO level of governance should be done. NONE! Why is this so hard for people?! We don’t need people pointing guns at us to make good decisions! Look at the market in, say, spouses – who is “governing” that market? Who tells you who to marry, who helps you find a spouse, who sets it all up? THE FREE MARKET! (Except, obviously, arranged marriages, which is the “statist” flip side to the relatively free market of human relationships and, fortunately, relatively rare these days).

      “You comment about not signing any social contract seems on the surface quite silly. Tell me how did you get your education, how come you safely walk the streets without worrying about robbery every second, how come you use public roads if not for a social contract? You either live in a society and abide by its rules and perhaps try to change the contract, or you simply go away.”

      My “education” (indoctrination) was provided by state workers who forcibly extracted their salary from my parents, who were also forced at the point of a gun to hand me over to the state “schools” for thirteen years. My true education did not begin until I escaped the gulag of State indoctrination centers (“public schools”), and was achieved mostly for free online. My children’s education will be provided by a network of like-minded parents who do not abandon their children for the sake of their “career” (paying taxes!) and help the child discover and learn about what interests and motivates THEM! (the child, not the parent!)

      When I walk the streets the only people that worry me are the cops. For everyone else, I’m PERFECTLY capable of protecting myself, but most people I have met would NEVER initiate violence against a stranger. If there were no cops around, would you start mugging people, friend?! I certainly hope not!

      I use public roads because the cost for their construction and maintenance was forcibly extracted from me at gunpoint, not because of any mythical contract. In a free society, private roads, paid for by tolls, work perfectly well and exist all over the world as we type.

      You say I live by the rules, or go away – GREAT! Where is the free society that I can go to?! Your violent state has set up protection rackets on every corner of the globe, and they only get away with it because so many people, just like you, think this is “right”.

      “The social contract was “signed” by a majority, though not by every single person, which in the case of US had been done by enacting the federal constitution by all of the states (if my understanding of US history is correct).”

      So a bunch of slave owners, over two centuries ago, signed a contract that applied, without their consent, to unborn generations, in perpetuity? Do you really believe that that makes any sense at all? A helpful definition reminder:

      Contract:
      “A formal writing which contains the agreement of parties, with the terms and conditions, and which serves as a proof of the obligation.” [1913 Webster]

      note AGREEMENT OF PARTIES, and PROOF OF THE OBLIGATION!

      All right, I’ve answered each and every one of your points, albeit I failed at minimizing capitalization – I hope you do not take offense. Now perhaps you could return the favor and respond to my points in turn, or concede them?

      Either way – I appreciate the non-abusive and seemingly curious way in which you put forth your questions, and I am always happy to talk about FREEDOM and hepl people FREE THEIR MINDS!

      Peace & Love,
      English

      • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

        “Free society,private roads….tolls”……now my head really is spinning….to be condescending back English……so close,but no biscuits!

  8. Wirplit June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Ok this is a little off topic.. Should be with the Spanish Banks post but its one way to fight back Seville style that just got sent me from Spain… Spanish anarchists getting their point across Flamenco style! HERE
    You’ll love it

  9. yakima canutt June 20, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Sounds like if we could only use the special forces on the offshore corporates, we might make some progress.
    Remember, the rule of law barely exists anymore; we are heading for a free-for-all, where might is right.
    All the voter needs to do is come up with candidates to replace just over half of 635 sitting muppets, then at least weu can sort out our own country.

  10. Roger June 20, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    tyranny of state tyranny of global corporation whats the difference?

    The wide awake pomposity of English memorial is fairly common all over the net its just aniother form of evangelical fundamentalism and every one else is wrong unless of course they are completely agreeing, even then they don’t really understand the wide awake club struggle but happily most get over themselves eventually.

    Personally I come from the Anarcho syndacalist perspective, I had to laugh hearing Alex Jones calling Noam Chomsky a CIA schill for suggesting that the right to bear arms was a little more complicated than th’e Texan ? Jones would permit.

    Bo0th Gary and English memorial are mistaken in my opinion calling David a statist no doubt he will respond when back in the breach from his trip away.

    • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      “tyranny of state tyranny of global corporation whats the difference?”

      THE STATE HAS ALL THE FUCKING GUNS

      “The wide awake pomposity of English memorial is fairly common all over the net its just aniother form of evangelical fundamentalism and every one else is wrong unless of course they are completely agreeing, even then they don’t really understand the wide awake club struggle but happily most get over themselves eventually.”

      That’s because the digital Gutenberg called the net is WAKING PEOPLE UP! Join us, friend! You have no idea what a FIREHOSE of TRUTH the internet is for those who choose to seek it and are not buried under their own biases and scar tissue!

      “Personally I come from the Anarcho syndacalist perspective, I had to laugh hearing Alex Jones calling Noam Chomsky a CIA schill for suggesting that the right to bear arms was a little more complicated than th’e Texan ? Jones would permit.”

      I have no idea what this means.

      “Both Gary and English memorial are mistaken in my opinion calling David a statist no doubt he will respond when back in the breach from his trip away.”

      From the About Me section:

      “My name is David Malone. I am a second generation documentary film-maker. My father made The Ascent of Man with Bronowski, The Age of Uncertainy with Galbraith and Cosmos with Sagan.

      I learned my craft at the BBC science department where I worked for 9 years, ending up on Horizon. Since then I have made films for C4, BBC2 and more recently BBC4.”

      THE GUY WORKS FOR THE FUCKING STATE. You don’t think he’s a statist?!? Have you read ANYTHING he’s written?

      Oy, why do I bother…

      • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

        OH MY GOD ENGLISH YOU WENT TO A STATIST SKOOL WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE BETTER GO SHOOT YOURSELF WITH YOUR ‘COLD DEAD HANDS’ YOU SCHILL…Do you represent some neo-nazi wing of Anarchism. Truly Spectacular Times!!

  11. Michael Fish June 20, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Am I imagining things, or have the nut-trolls taken over the comments section of your otherwise invaluable website…….?

    Otherwise thank you for the excellent article on the Panamanian situation and the inexplicable acceptance by all governments of the existence of tax havens that are more and more negating even the myth of democracy and justice for any but the wealthiest in the world. They are nothing but cancers on us all.

    It would be easy for the home countries of both citizens and corporations which use havens to end their existence if they had the will.

    Michael Fish, Canada

    • Gary June 20, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      “inexplicable acceptance by all governments of the existence of tax havens”

      Why is this inexplicable ? These tax havens are usually set up by the govt. We have one in the heart of Britain called The City. You think the central govt did not have a say in that ?! In our central govt the person who occupies the prime position opposite the Speaker is the Remembrancer, and he represents the City in the govt.

      Who are the nutjobs ? I would say they are the people who support central govt.

      • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

        This “nut-troll” has a psychological theory about those like Mr. Fish who engage in ad-hominem attacks on message boards, are completely unable to see or acknowledge the violence of the state, yet cast all blame and ire on the tyrannical corporation (which, of course, is defined and made liable for its actions by – of course – the state):

        They were abused by their siblings.

        In their minds, the state is their parents (“Motherland”, “Founding Father”, etc.) and the corporations are their (often elder) siblings who abused them as children. It’s been shown that sibling abuse is MORE COMMON than abuse by parents. What often happens is that the elder sibling observes and learns the methods of subjugation employed by the parents and uses them to control the younger sibling.

        People who were abused by their siblings as children cannot face the fact that ultimately, the responsibility for the abuse was the parents. They spend their whole lives trying to control (“regulate”) and seek justice for the wrongs committed against them by their siblings, projecting their emotional childhood trauma into their social and political lives.

        Just a theory, and one that I’m sure people will find offensive. But one cannot deny the parallels to the state and to parents, and the obsession of many (on this board) with regulating corporations, who only exist, are defined by, and have their liability limited by THE STATE.

        You cannot possibly hope to understand, let alone solve, these issues, until and unless you begin to understand the human brain.

        • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

          Another offensive suggestion: what portion, if any, of the author of this blog’s income has come from the state over the course of his career? From the “About Me” section of this blog:

          I learned my craft at the BBC science department where I worked for 9 years, ending up on Horizon. Since then I have made films for C4, BBC2 and more recently BBC4.

          So, David’s income for his ENTIRE LIFE has come from the state. Do you think that might make him a little bit biased? Do you think that might make him INCAPABLE of CONFRONTING the VIOLENCE of the STATE, and the fact that HIS LIFE’S WORK has been PAID FOR by THEFT?!

          Are you starting to put things together, folks?

          I like you David, I really do, but I think you might not be saveable.

          Perhaps it is time to engage in some triage and move on. I don’t think my ideas will ever be welcome here.

          • Jay D June 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

            Bye

  12. Hawkeye June 20, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I think all of us share a common concern about the concentration of power. No matter what form it takes, whether a dictator, a State (Gvt) or large scale Corporations.

    The danger for our discussions is when we seem to be taking sides and thus end up in-fighting (classic symptom of “divide and conquer”).

    This blog has been taken as expousing an “anti-corporation” stance, the interpretation therefore that all powers must be handed to the state. That is perhaps an incorrect and over simplification of the message.

    The “Anti-state” view on the other hand, has some legitimate complaints about Gvt. But again this shouldn’t be taken to extremis. Especially in the light of the fact that “anti-state” leanings within the public have (since the 1980s) been used as a method for dismantling many of the State’s social welfare and equiality promoting achievements.

    The actual problem we have at present is the merging of Corporate & State powers to promote wealth concentration and avoid uncomfortable democratic oversight. When in fact we need appropriate checks and balances (democratic principles where this is most appropriate, and market forces where appropriate).

    I recommend that those from either side look at James Galbraiths Predator State, a summary is below:

    http://forensicstatistician.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/a-predator-state-the-worst-bits-of-capitalism-communism-and-feudalism/

  13. John Souter June 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    True anarchism is a concept only the human mind can visualise and aim for – but as some of these post indicate we, as a species, are a long way off even in darwinian terms from having the capability to contemplate its introduction as a pragmatic solution.

    So for now I’ll continue to fight the present deconstruction of democracy in the hope we can get it back on track and pulling in the right direction.

    In our world power and corruption are synonymous and therefore systemic from parish level to international in politics; and the same system has been adopted and adapted by the capitalists to such a degree they are now manoeuvring the political corruption to extend their control over nations and continents.

    Human rights, morality, conscience, even the sustainability of the planet and its resources do not come into it, they have created a surreal myth over a surreal commodity, whispered it as ‘Armageddon’ and are buying the planet at fire-sale prices without even having to bother with offering any outline of an eventual solution.

    Marxist, communist, socialists or even small time dyed in wool conservative capitalist where do you reckon you will figure in their eventual balance sheet of assets and liabilities?

  14. Gary June 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    On the continuum from 100% state(communism) to 100% state-free(absolute free market), we can quibble where we should optimally lie. One thing is for sure , 100% state has never worked, but 100% state-free has worked for almost our entire existence as humans. The state is a relatively new development, and I submit it is the perfect vehicle for control ,corruption, and looting of the people. The state facilitates the sociopath to fulfill his desire of ultimate malevolent control and present a chimera of choice that actually does not exist except to himself or themselves. The more dependent on the state they can make us, the more complete their control.

    I don’t believe it is possible to permanently reform the state.

    • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Gary want to agree with you on a point you’ve made several times:

      “The state facilitates the sociopath to fulfill his desire of ultimate malevolent control”

      This concept is KEY. It is said that power corrupts, but I do not believe that – Power ATTRACTS corruption. If you set up a system where some people point guns at other people and tell them what to do (“power”), this system will INEVITABLY attract those who wish to exercise power over others for their own, selfish ends. This is why 100% not state is the ONLY solution, because when you allow ANY exceptions to the NAP, those abused souls among us who desire to exploit others will inevitably be drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

    • Phil June 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Forgive me if I am projecting Gary but why is the State synonymous only with the Left in your mind? A cursory look at history should reveal that the State developed out of feudalism – i.e. the armies and tax collection created by monarchs and aristocracies. How much destruction of the social safety net – and the still existing coercive arm of the state – would it take for you to see that the State has nothing in of itself to do with the Left? The progessive aspects of the State developed as democracy widened. And they are shrinking as it narrows.

      • Gary June 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

        I am not sure that I used the left-right distinction. I don’t really like to make that distinction. I just noted that the extreme state, where the state owns everything, can be referred to as communism, and the extreme where the state owns nothing and so practically does not exist , can be referred to as a free market.

        I also don’t agree that democracy is necessarily the facilitator of the widening of the state. I see free markets as the most democratic form of organization you can have. In a market you vote with your custom. ie you put your money where your mouth is and freely and daily accept or reject what is offered. Under this system , what is offered disappears for good if it does not cater for what people want. No ifs or buts,no revolving doors.

        The main distinction between those who want a larger state and those who want a smaller state, IMO, is that the former, call them socialists, think the state is a safety net without which life would be nasty , brutal and short, while those the latter think there is an inherent goodness in man that can be relied on to help those less fortunate, without coercion.

        Given that distinction , I conclude that socialists have no faith in their fellow man nor themselves, by definition, and that is a sad point of departure.

        BTW : the conundrum of socialism is that if we require a state to do what we don’t trust ourselves or our fellow man to do voluntarily, how do we trust those in the state to do the job for us ?

        • jag37777 June 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

          “Free market” in reality is a term equal to God, Jehova or Allah. There is no such beasty.

          What you are proposing is social and economic Darwinism.

          Who controls the money supply in your free market nirvana?

          • Gary June 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

            “Who controls the money supply in your free market nirvana?”

            The free market.

            eg : Real Bills as money in a free market

            http://www.goldstandardinstitute.net/2010/06/what-is-a-real-bill/

          • jag37777 June 22, 2012 at 12:13 am #

            Markets are social constructs. They are constructed by men. You seem unable to see your path leads straight back to where we are now. Monopolies, oligarchs and banana republics.

            The current fiat money system is borne of the gold standard. The gold standard operated (and at least in part) brought about the 2 world wars and the great depression.

            A gold standard is not the solution to the problem of corrupt money supply and arbitrage we have now.

            You are pointed in the wrong direction. Bank credit is the driver, not government printed money. That comes later.

          • Gary June 22, 2012 at 10:05 am #

            jag37777

            You never read the link, you only saw the url. The article did not mention gold once. It is about discounting bills or factoring of invoices.

  15. ConfederateH June 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    So let me get this straight. Taxes good, tax evasion bad, government good, government created SOF bad. Sounds like the doublethink that only true leftists can understand.

    How about this logic: If the entire planet was made up of taxhavens then governments would have no money for SOF’s and secret wars. Ahh but then Golem would have to forgo punishing those who work hard and earn success with high taxes and draconian tax laws.

    • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      DING DING DING DING DING

    • Hawkeye June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      CH

      This article by Ha-Joon Chang explains things succinctly, and uses evidence to make his argument:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/04/austerity-policy-eurozone-crisis

      What we have at present is a system where taxes are enforced, but only against the “little guy”. In other words PAYE & VAT. Tax burdens that would normally fall on the very wealthy (such as higher bracket income tax, Capital Gains, Corporate Tax etc) are either reduced or circumvented by wealthy individuals as they can afford to appoint lawyers to help them “shift” their income and assets to lower tax locations.

      Don’t worry. They will always find the money to fund the military. If taxing the little guy doesn’t cover the cost, then the bounty / plunder from your international excursions will do the job for you (e.g. Afganistan / Iraq / Libya).

      • ConfederateH June 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

        Sorry Hawkeye, that Chang article is a joke. When was the last time a government really decimated its civil service and tore up the majority of its fascist special interest laws? Certainly in none of the cases Chang describes.

        Besides, as long as the fiat-fractional reserve system can continue to cheat, steal and redistribute the music keeps playing. Until the entire house of cards collapses, that is. So perhaps the western worlds fascist ruling-elite club can dodge the bullet a few more times, but eventually the devil is going to demand his comeuppance, and likely the tax loving redistributionalist parasites like Golem will end up destroying civilization.

  16. Synopticist June 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    David, your idea about a political party has been shown as absurd.

    If you havent got the balls to bar a couple of retatrded libertarian fu*kwits, why would anyone in their right minds follow your leadership or inspiration?

    Your site has been ruined by your idiotic “grand coalition of the dis-affected” idea. It was never going to work, because most intyelligent people despise no-holds barred libertarianism even more than the present situation. We have no more shared ground with them than we do with advocates of Sharia, Trotskyites or fascists.

    Sorry, but thats why very few people bother posting here any longer. Grow somer balls, or you’re off my favourites bar.

    • English Memorial June 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      Why exactly do you “despise no-holds barred libertarianism”? Can your articulate your position in any way, shape or form, or is ad-hominem the only bullet you’ve got?

      Let me guess, you’ve already made all of your insightful, logical and persuasive arguments for the need for the state elsewhere, and cannot be bothered to recreate them here.

      Why do you bother arguing? What do you hope to accomplish? Perhaps you should spend some time furthering your understanding of the facts prior to engaging in verbal diarrhea next time?

      Just a suggestion.

    • Gary June 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      You want arguments that you oppose censored. Sums you up. You cannot stand on your own two feet. What’s wrong with you, no ideas and no spine? Maybe you should get some balls ?

      • synopticist June 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

        Fuck off the both of you, cretins.

        • Gary June 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

          You are a disgrace. You don’t have the morals or the brains to construct a coherent argument. So, you resort to this.

          • English Memorial June 21, 2012 at 7:43 am #

            Gary: when advocating freedom, you have to do triage.

            Identify those who cannot be saved, and move on.

            People demonstrate very clearly whether they can think or not. If someone cannot think, they cannot be saved. Many can, and we should reserve our efforts for them.

            Maybe some who read but do not post will recognize that the only responses to the ideas we put forth are vacuous, angry, and empty. logic WORKS, and people connect to it innately.

            Fight on, brother of freedom.

            Peace & Love,
            English

          • Hawkeye June 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

            EM

            Can you define “Freedom” ?

            My understanding of the Libertarian Right (e.g. Austrian) is the notion that everyone of us should be completely free to enter into contractural relations with others.

            In other words, completely free to sign away one’s freedom.

            Freedom in my mind is to escape from contractural obligations. The free market mantra has been the very lodestar of the current Kleptocracy:

            http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2011/02/guest-post-by-hawkeye-sell-freedom-buy-control/

          • Gary June 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

            Hawkeye

            “everyone of us should be completely free to enter into contractural relations with others.”

            That is what any relationship in life is. It is a contract of mutually agreed benefits and penalties, even if it is not formally written down. You are also free to walk away before you enter into it. Unlike state debt, where, without choice, you are contracted into it from the first day that you are born.

            In a free market, you are also free to engage in that smallest subset of choice where you sign away all your freedom to someone else, but that is a choice that is not imposed on you. You make it yourself , but you cannot make it on behalf of anyone else without their consent. A bit like suicide, the ultimate act that removes all your earthly freedom, you should be free to commit it.

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 9:34 am #

            Gary

            “That is what any relationship in life is. It is a contract of mutually agreed benefits and penalties, even if it is not formally written down. ”

            I don’t agree with this. I don’t have a mutually agreed contract with my children, that I will look after them while they are young, and they will take care of me when I am old. They will likely remain in debt to me, just as I am indebted to my parents. How could they have been empowered to enter freely into this contract anyway, when I chose to bring to them into this life. The choice was not theirs to make. They were not free to into this contract.

            Equally, I am immensely indebted to many people who have touched my lives, family friends and teachers who have “invested” time and effort in my upbringing. I would never wish to “repay” these debts to them, much as they aren’t seeking or expecting me to. Even if I desired to, how would I go about it? Society is a collection of unpayable debts. Not a collection of mutually cancelling contracts.

            To engage in a contract of mutually equivalent values is to both attempt to put a value to everything, and to declare to each party that following delivery of said obligation each party is free to walk away from one another. I still don’t get how the enforcement of contracts through absolute individualism can be the very basis of social cohension, such as you expouse.

            David Graeber’s “Debt: The first 5000 years” explains this very well.

          • Gary June 22, 2012 at 10:32 am #

            Hawkeye

            If you wanted to formally indebt your children to yourself , that is your problem. A bit harsh, and in a libertarian society I am not sure what jury would uphold your demand. However, the state has certainly indebted all our children to the state. No question. That is everybody’s problem.

            It is so ironic that people cite the state as being the benevolent entity that rescued children from child labour, yet they conveniently omit this debt burden the state has put on all our children. Debt that they will never be able to work off.

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 11:21 am #

            Gary

            We both agree that the state has indebted ourselves and our children. (In a pure monetary sense). And it has done this in a covert manner (not a true contractural obligation, as such).

            I think that we both share a common diagnosis of the situation / circumstances that we are in.

            We just merely disagree on the solutions.

            I would specify that I haven’t yet fully concluded what the correct course of action is. I wouldn’t want to arrive at this unilaterally anyway. I think the nation’s problem is one of a lack of understanding about what is actually happening. Only through correct diagnosis, can we then discuss what the correct solution is.

            But there is a danger is wrapping up a diagnosis & prescription in dogma. Your dogma says that a “state” is evil, and we should all be free to have contractural commitments to each other, for that is what all relationships are, in essence.

            My comment above was to challenge your fundamental dogma: that all relationships are contractural. This is because your dogma appears to be clouding your diagnosis and choice of prescription.

            You have not responded on that specific point, but taken a further pop at the state (but which as I said above, I agree with).

          • Gary June 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

            Hawkeye

            All relationships are contractual in that when people interact they do so on mutually agreed terms. This is mostly implied and not legally contractual, but it could be. In fact there is a branch of psychology called transactional analysis that defines every interaction as a transaction. This was an offshoot of Feud’s ego, id and superego theory. Berne and Thomas popularized it as transactional analysis.

            We are always in a market place when we interact with others, since we always have terms and rules of engagement. When we formalized these in law we have a formal contract, when we don’t we have an implied contract. When we interact to swap goods and services we do so by first agreeing a price. That is the marker which puts a numerical value on the contract. Govt and central banks interfering in the market (eg by setting rates) distort prices and so cause people to be misled into making contracts that apparently have a perceived value , but in fact have a different value. That is called malinvestment and that is the seed for boom and bust. This is the basis of the Austrian School economic theory.

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

            Gary

            We can have de-centralisation without recourse to an infinity of contractural obligations and a “price for everything” mentality:

            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-solution-concentrated-power-triple-ds

            In your “free market” model, would I be free to engage in relationships with people that did not involve a contract, or the setting of a price? If I am not free to engage in this (even if I consent, or it is mutually consented), then I am not truly free, am I?

            As David Graeber, Karl Polanyi (Great Transformation) and Findlay & O’Rouke (Power & Plenty) note, the implementation of “free markets” and “free trade” was implemented via centralised state power (i.e. through the barrel of a gun).

    • Golem XIV June 22, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      Synopticist,

      Not you as well. Where does all this anger come from?

      I said at the top pof the post thats I would be away. When I am away I am busy. Too busy to read the blog let alone log on and do things.

      I am back now for just two hours or so before I have to do something else taht urgently needs doing (private life things) and then I am away again till Sunday when I have some writing I have to do for someone else.

      So I have little time at the moment to engage with the rather agressive and shouty “I’ve-seen-the-light!-Listen-to-me-all-you blind,-state-paid-people” AKA English Memorial.

      I am sorry you think the political idea was idiotic. You may well be right that it will be shown to be exactly that. Does it make me stupid for wanting to try?

      As for the state of my reproductive organs I just checked and they are still there.

      I will post something more down at the current bottom.

  17. Andrea June 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    One of the underlying problems here is that one can easily have, create, free movement of capital, or any abstract value. Or information, for that matter, see the post. This is contradictory with the movement of labor (which is regulated, or frowned upon, or in any case not malleable in the same way) and resources such as oil, copper, silicon, water, sunlight, arable earth, etc. which are all geographically fixed.

    This is one of the reasons for the disconnect between what ppl call the ‘real economy’ and ‘finance.’ This point tends to get lost, but the only remedy, as far as I can see, is to severely curtail, prohibit in some measure, the free movement of capital. (Not to tax it such as Tobin tax, that is completely useless.)

    The secret, offshore climes, locations, exist thru history, tradition (e.g banking secrecy, Switzerland), particular incorporation / tax laws (Delaware), outsider status and unclear jurisdiction (Jersey), the list could go on, opportunism (everyone)..

    While one might wish to impose new strictures and legislation on these places, still geographically and nationally defined, the problem is that the PTB, EU Gvmts and the like, and the 1% (which I prefer to call the 10%) make a lot of noise to the electorate or elsewhere but is in fact is opposed to any change.

    Down below, confusedly, a similar reaction exists. IKEA, for ex. uses the double Dutch-Irish sandwich, and is a huge employer – so workers are confusedly against regulation. Ppl who live in ‘tax havens’ get ‘tax revenue from them’, sometimes.

    In any case it can’t be done, barring extraordinary events.

  18. backwardsevolution June 21, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    Nigel Farage: “Listen, the whole thing is a giant Ponzi scheme.” Another great Farage interview!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTN7hL5fgWo&feature=player_embedded#!

  19. backwardsevolution June 21, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    I don’t exactly agree with everything said by Farage and the interviewer. Farage refers to what’s going on in Europe as communism, and the interviewer calls it “European socialism”.

    Bailing out bankers is socialism? I can see where Farage is coming from (a group of unelected officials forcing their will on sovereign nations), and he asks where democracy is. Well, how well is democracy working at the present time, especially when governments seem to be captured by corporate interests? In fact, the President of the United States is nothing more than sock puppet, and a limp one at that. The leaders are chosen ahead of time by the elite, and then we get to choose from one of the bad choices. How democratic is that?

    Let’s call it what it is – not communism, socialism, capitalism – FASCISM or CORPORATISM (a merger of state and corporate power).

  20. BobRocket June 21, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Little Englander (see what I did there)

    Your posts interest me (and again, this is so easy)

    people band together to protect themselves from the wolves (herd mentality) ie. create a state.
    Some people (the brighter) can subvert that state for their own predatory means.
    Once the Status Quo is established, and the predation is residual, the herd will allow and defend that state. (this creates the hegemony of the progeny of the brighter)

    External predators (the brightest) cannot attack that state directly (herd defence) and must undermine the Status Quo by separating mothers from calves, old from young etc.

    Once the current predatory leadership is shown not only to not protect the herd but also be feeding upon the herd to a detrimental degree, the herd will rebel and the opportunity for a new predator, offering a new stability, at a lessor degree of predation initially (but at compound rates) will rise to the fore.

    English Memorial, you throw words like sociopath around and yet you have no idea as to what we are capable of, you are the little people, the sheep.

    Don’t look to Gary for support, he at least has independent thought.

    EM, I have some rope, it is very cheap but is of the highest quality, do you have dollars, I might take Euros if you are desperate.

  21. Phil June 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    I’m afraid the Libertarians are doing nothing to persuade anyone but themselves with the kind of postings listed above. Are you paid by someone to flood this blog?

  22. Phil June 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    May I ask the Libertarians why they advance the same solutions as those who stand behind our largest banks? I.e. the removal of any form of regulation or social welfare.

    Is the name of the game to get rid of all that and then it will be too late to do anything about the coercive elements which remain?

    • Gary June 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      “May I ask the Libertarians why they advance the same solutions as those who stand behind our largest banks?”

      They don’t. You misunderstand. Those who stand behind our banks want the state to bail them out. Libertarians say they should go bankrupt, and where applicable, be tried in court. Preferably both.

      The views of the bankers and the libertarians are diametrically opposite.

  23. keekster June 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    David, another good thought provoking post, much appreciated
    Bobrocket,
    A good post, I think you capture the issue well. I have decided to avoid ‘engaging’. Its clear it will do no good anyway. Listening to ones own voice in a vacume soon becomes dull and so one moves on. I have plenty of patience.

  24. Roger June 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Very Funny forom a french freind

    http://i417.photobucket.com/albums/pp254/pippy59/LesIndignes.jpg

  25. wasinga June 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Is this the Mad Hatter’s Teaparty? Poor Alice…..!

  26. Nell June 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Just read this fascinating article by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan (Israel and York University, Canada) called the The asymptotes of power.
    It argues that the power of capitalists have now asymptoted and they know that we are facing systemic risk.

    “When capitalists expect their power to increase, capitalization rises: more power equals positive accumulation. And when the outlook inverts and capitalists expect their power to decrease, accumulation goes into reverse: less power equals decumulation.
    From this viewpoint, an ordinary capitalist crisis means that capitalists expect a significant decrease in their power – but that they also expect their power to recover eventually. By contrast, a systemic crisis means that capitalists fear that their power is about to drop precipitously, or even disintegrate, and that this disintegration might be irreversible – at least within the existing parameters of capitalism.”

    They finish the article off with a troubling chart which shows the tight coupling between the income share of the top 10% in the US, and the correctional population as a proportion of the labour force. The chart suggests that the power that capitalists have accumulated since the 1980′s has required more force to quell resistance from the labouring population.

    http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-chart-that-scares-the-1-the-most/

    • Phil June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      Thanks for this very interesting post Nell, more and more data is coming out about the link between sky-rocketing inequality and financial / economic crises.

      • nell June 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

        You are welcome. I have only just discovered the real world economics blog. They have an online journal which has contributions from Steve Keen, Roubini, James Galbraith and more. Not everyone is an economist, so you get divergent views. I am just beginning to trawl through it. Yesterday I read a good argument re ethics in economics. The authors suggestion was that at the very least economists should aim to do no harm!

        • Phil June 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

          Cheers, I’ll add it to my list.

  27. nell June 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    May have to stop visiting the comments section here for a while, until those unpleasant shouty people have moved on. Will keep checking in.

    • steviefinn June 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      Matt Taibi getting stuck in to those guys who have managed to arrange it so they have become like the Mob, but are also Untouchables :

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-scam-wall-street-learned-from-the-mafia-20120620#ixzz1ySCEgqjl

      • backwardsevolution June 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

        steviefinn – that’s a good article. Thanks for posting it. Matt Taibbi is always a great read. His writing is excellent, and if you’re featured in one of his articles and he doesn’t like what you’ve done, you’re pretty much shredded. He does a lot of research and obviously has a lot of friends in the financial industry who secretly advise him. Great writer.

    • Jim M. June 22, 2012 at 12:35 am #

      Might take a while, nell. They haven’t even got to the Admiralty Law and Freeman on the Land bit yet!

      Chin up!

      • Nell June 22, 2012 at 10:28 am #

        Thanks Jim M, you have just added to my misery – now I have had to go and look up what Admiralty Law and Freeman on the Land mean in relation to libertarianism!
        Not your fault,really, its my compulsion.

        I think one of them did indirectly refer to Freeman of the Land. Certainly they were shouting something about not having signed any contracts with the government.

        Thanks for the support – and same to keester below.

        • Gary June 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

          Look up Corporations and Legal Fiction. A state created legal construction to enable the law to deal with corporations as people. Then look up the City of London Corporation and Washington DC as a corporation.

  28. keekster June 22, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Thanks for the article Nell. Capitalism seems inevitably to trend towards chaos due to over accumulation of wealth into fewer and fewer hands. This then reduces overall demand and a depression is created. The fact that neo-classical economics ignores the distribution of wealth and the role of debt in assisting the over accumulation process, means that conventional theory actually encourages the chaos rather than preventing it. Keep posting, and turn a blind eye to the nonsense.

    • Nell June 22, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Absolutely. I was reading David Harvey’s Enigma of Capital a few weeks ago. I am not familiar with marxist economic analysis and found his descriptions and arguments very compelling. Certainly the descriptions about the destructive nature of a capitalist system seem apt for someone living up North.
      On an optimistic note, I am buoyed up by the scale and depth of alternative economic theories. Rather than feeling that there is no alternative and our species is doomed to ‘Easter Island’ the planet in the wake of capitalism, I am more optimistic now that alternative economic systems will develop as this crisis plays out.

      • Gordon Donald June 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        What I find most impressive about David Harvey is not just that he obviously has a deep understanding of Marx’s ideas and writings, but that he endeavours to use these to analyse the dynamics of actually existing capitalism rather then present abstract economic or philosophical models. Perhaps this comes from the fact that his academic background is geography rather than economics. I am currently reading his latest collection of essays ‘Rebel Cities’ in which he looks at how cities can be reorganised in more socially just and ecologically sane ways.

        If you want Marxist economics in the style of a New York stand-up comedian, you could try Richard Wolff. On his web site he posts videos of his monthly reviews of global capitalism. The June one includes his assessment of the Basque Mondragon cooperative project, and how it has fared in comparison to the rest of the Spanish economy.

        http://www.rdwolff.com/content/global-capitalism-june-2012-monthly-update

        Some grounds for optimism there at any rate.

        • nell June 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

          Thanks will check it out.

    • Gary June 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

      “Capitalism seems inevitably to trend towards chaos due to over accumulation of wealth into fewer and fewer hands.”

      That is the state and state enabled enterprises.

      • Gordon Donald June 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

        No, that is the process of market competition concentrating and centralising capital to form monopoly capitalism, plus the dramatic increases in wealth and income inequalities since the triumph of neo-liberalism in the 1980s. It has been well documented and is easily observable in everyday life (Microsoft, News International, Exxon, CEO remuneration, bankers’ bonus, etc. etc.).

        • Gary June 23, 2012 at 10:56 am #

          Government and Microsoft:
          a Libertarian View on Monopolies

          “Abstract: We hereby clarify the radical libertarian stance about Microsoft and government, and more generally about monopolies. We explain how the original evil behind Microsoft’s monopoly is government intervention in the form of intellectual property privileges, and how any solution should begin by abolishing these privileges.”

          http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/microsoft_monopoly.html

          Exxon Mobil Dodges the Tax Man
          Exxon Pays a Lower Effective Tax Rate than the Average American

          http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/05/tax_man.html

          Bankers…..well we know about them and the taxpayer.

          Monopolies are created by the state.

          • Gordon Donald June 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

            Well, if you are going to extend the definition of state enterprise to include corporations such as Microsoft and Exxon then of course we can all be shocked by how huge and powerful states have become! But I suspect that’s not what you believe.
            Thanks for the links (and I agree that the role of the state deserves serious consideration), but you have not really addressed my point. This is that monopoly/oligopoly comes about inevitably from the coercive laws of competition, resulting in concentration – growth of capital is a necessary condition for its survival and stronger firms drive out the weaker, and centralisation – firms seek market advantage by taking over competitors (mergers and acquisitions – a booming activity under neo-liberalism). I imagine most people would see this as an uncontroversial observation of market activity.

          • Gary June 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

            Gordon

            “This is that monopoly/oligopoly comes about inevitably from the coercive laws of competition”

            I think there is conflict of terms in your statement. Competition is the antithesis of monopoly, by definition, not the facilitator.

            I and other libertarians happen to believe that monopoly is impossible without the state, because it is impossible to stop innovation. Not all innovations can be produced by the dominant player, and so the dominant player will always be under threat if there is a level regulatory playing field. Also, not all innovators will allow themselves to be sold out to the dominant player. eg Apple vs Microsoft vs Linux.

            I think there are natural resources where there can only ever be one supply, and then maybe a co-op or mutual ownership is the best arrangement. eg a single river to supply water for a town. Even then a free market may work well.

  29. Golem XIV June 22, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Wow! What a stormof ill-tempered holier-than-thou certainty peddlars have descended on us.

    It is one of the perils of posting blogs that you have to be careful of the title you choose. I learned this when I posted “How to destroy the web of debt”. WIthin minutes I had US Airforce, Army, Navy and Dod information centre on line. I hadn’t thought that “How to destroy the…” is very likely to be one of those sentences that is routinely scanned for and flagged.

    It seems “Secret State” came to the notice of readers of this web site:

    http://www.the-spearhead.com/2012/06/20/how-racial-politics-will-subordinate-feminism/

    As far as I can see it is greatly concerned with the threats to White male power posed by women and black people. A large number of people, mostly from America, have come from this site to read Secret State. Some of them may have commented.

    Now English Memorial –

    I am hoping he has taken his own advice and left for pastures more receptive to his ideas.

    But if he hasn’t I will have to ban him if he cannot engage in a civil manner. I am sure he won’t like such an arbitrary and high handed action on my part. But you see this isn’t a democracy. This is my blog in the free market. Which means I am ultimately in charge and there is no democratic recourse nor voting andm sadly I can make it so that all are not equal here. Which is what worries me about free markets untrammeled by democratic process. And is why I try hard to not ban people and to keep this an open and thoughful place. I readliy admit I do not always succeed and that there are costs in terms of occasional outbreaks of incivility.

    I will try to respond to some of the many points made. But I hope all, English Memorial in particular, will understand that apart from my psychological problems with sibling abuse and father land worship, being paid by the state and thus brainwashed by it – apart from all these things and apparently many others besides, I also just don’t have time today to respond to all the accusations EM has levelled at me, at democracy at the notion or workability of the state and the opinions of other people here.

    I thought that for the sake of politeness and so that I am not accused of hiding I would make at least a token response.

    I look at the state of ‘the state’ and of those who have wormed their way to power within it and am angered. But I do not respond to this by thinking that this means the idea of the state is a completely rotten one incapable of doing some good. That makes me blind as far as EM is concerned. I know.

    On that point – actually I have been paid by the free market for quite a number of years now – since the mid 90′s in fact. I don’t know what that does to EM’s thesis that because I was paid by ‘the state’ (the BBC) therefore I must be blind to and in thrall to the state and all its works. Just thought I’d add some actual data.

    If I have read the many comments correctly EM says the state and governments can never work nor do good because sociopaths or psychopaths – will always be attracted to the possibility of power and pervert any good intentions to serve their own ends. My first question is where do those people go if there is no state? I see such people already in market doing exactly to the market what EM sees them doing in government. They will always be such people always at work for thesmselves. Getting rid of the state won’t get rid fo those people nor their efforts to turn everything to their advantage. Who says such people are attracted only to the state?

    I do not think the universal voluntary assembly of people in the market will be free of the people EM dsilikes. I think there is a good argument to say they will be even more at their mercy.

    Similarly who says the state is the only one with guns? There are companies with guns and with thugs happy to use them. The state can be the one to give lisence to such people it can also enforce the lawe to stop them. I don’t think either option is written into human anture or the physical universe.

    Talking of human nature, EM is keen to say we should trust human nature. At one point EM seems to say statists are defined by distrusting human nature whereas those of his views trust it. Yet this trust seems only to exist if people are in ‘the market’. The same human nature if it choses to exist in or participate in ‘the state’ then aparently that human nature cannot be trusted at all. I find this a conundrum.

    The talk about how one votes with one’s custom in the market – Yes I understand the argument. It has always seemed to me to gloss over the fact that exercising ones views in the market place is by definition One Dollar, One Vote.

    I do not think this is a good, fair, efficient or morally just distribution of power. I also think it inneviatbly leads to the concentration of power in the hands of large companies who then make the market anything but free and fair. I think ‘free markets and perfect states are as utopian and unlikely as each other. Reality, in my view, is a messy compromising affair.

    A world were everyone must be a fox is as silly as one where everyone must be a rabbit.

    I prefer to have a one person one vote system – with all its many problems – to divide power and make sure it is not all in the market.

    Now on a personal note Mr EM. You talk about how people would be better off freely associating (my term but I think it repersents what you said fairly) – but the manner i which you yourself interact makes me wonder about how it would be in reality.

    You see here, in my prefered world, the idea is that people form a commuity. That community evolves, by unwritten mutual consent and practice, certain codes of conduct certain habits and customs. The polite person would recognze that community and its customs and respect them. In this community it is customary not to shout. Not to be rude. Not to make personal attacks and above all to listen. This place is not a place to enter in to combat with those you disagree with. It is a place to lsten to those you disagree with, try to understand what lies behind their views, and see if it is possible to find a way of talking about those fears and hopes you might still share. If there are none, fine people can agree to disagree.

    But you arrived and, when someone said -” please stop SHOUTING”, you said I like to emphasixe certain words’ “live with it.” And there is the reality of your free assocaition. Whatever you may say about it, when you practise it, you chose to aggressively ignore any cutoms the community has , and tell one and all they’ll just have to live with your way of doing things. You put your personal individual right to act as you see fit above any consideration for a community of people in whose midst you thrust yourself.

    You talk of free experssion but in practise it is a SHOUTED bar room brawl of he who shouts loudest wins.

    BY example you convice me to not join with your vision.

    The you make aggressive personal attacks. You may veil them in “I wonder if’ someone was abused – “Who abused you?” you asked someone. That is a very aggressive and unpleasant thing to write. You may protest taht it was not, it was a question etc. It was an aggressive and somewhat repulsive rhetorical ploy.

    You obvioulsy feel you have seen the light. Good for you. What is not good is the selfish way you chose to disrupt a long estabished community and their on-pgoing conversation and try to insist it change to discuss you and your vision. You did not contribute a well tempered suggestion and then sit back and let others talk. You chose to dominate. That dies not speak well of your motives or your manners.

    I suggest you should start your own blog where people can come and see your light if they so chose.

    • Ian Cropper June 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Great response. I was starting to wonder whether these infiltrators were actually more ‘professional’ agitators, but maybe it’s a sign that you are presenting arguments and ideas that worry certain people which I would take as a vote of confidence. I think your are right to be so reasonable but willing to take action if required. Hope it hasn’t put anyone off, and I think the ‘regulars’ should stay strong, particularly if this has been an attempt at deliberate disruption of the site.

      • Golem XIV June 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

        Thank You Ian,

      • Nell June 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

        Thanks David. I wonder whether we should have a consensus on how to respond to invasions from ‘shouty’ people in the future? I usually avoid engagement as I see little point in entering into a dialogue with people who have already made their mind up. Although, I confess that my mind is pretty much made up regarding the ‘free market’. Its a utopian ideal based on false logic. My opinion is based on Keen’s critique that the current model of free markets is a scaled up version of a market with a single agent and a single commodity, and the maths doesn’t work (let alone the ridiculous assumptions). Its ‘utopian’ nature is also nicely dealt with by Ha Joon Chang’s 23 things they don’t tell you about capitalism, and David Graeber’s Debt:The first 5,000 years. (This doesn’t mean that I am against markets per se, just our current understanding on how they operate).

        I like this site, and the usual commentors as it encourages people to engage with new ideas about current problems. I would like to support this continued endeavour.

        • Gary June 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

          Nell

          The problem with Steve Keen is that he works from an assumption that you cannot make economic aggregation assumptions , and yet he does mathematical modeling , which entirely based on aggregation assumptions ! Keen is a walking confusion.

          Listen to this interview where he states that you cannot aggregate(starting at 5:15 min in he prefaces it, at at 9 min he states it ) :

          ttp://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sat/sat-20120526-0815-steve_keen_economic_crisis-048.mp3

          He then contradicts himself again and says , oh but you can aggregate for CERTAIN groups ! So what good is that ?

          This is why the Austrian School says that you cannot do Economic Calculation ie you cannot even try to model the economy, and it is not clever to do so, it is ignorant because it is impossible. The Keynesians are still dazzled and blinded by mathematics , the more complicated , the better they think the model.

          • Hawkeye June 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

            Gary

            His point about aggregation is that one can’t take a series of supply & demand curves that appear sensible and rational at an individual level, and then aggregate up assuming that the same structure will hold. His book shows that you actually get demand curves with squiggly lines and no single intersection point. Hence his criticism of aggregation.

            Besides, I think you may have missed the key point that Keen makes.

            Keen agrees that mathematisation of economics is potentially flawed.

            His fundamental critique (drawn from Minksy and the Post-Keynesian school) is that one cannot assume equilibrium and rationality. Hence he uses non-linear dynamics to model the economy.

            He also points out that current macro-economics ignores the role of banks, debt & money !!

            Hence, his models include banks, money & debt (i.e. double entry book-keeping).

            You must surely admit that Keen is considerably better placed to be diagnosing this crisis than the current crop of Neo-Classical economists?

    • Gordon Donald June 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      I am not convinced that EM is in fact a real person. The contents of its comments are so bizarre and nonsensical that I suspect it could simply be a malevolent algorithm putting together random blocks of text. Not worth wasting time on.

  30. johnm33 June 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    SOF is bad enough but take a look at TPP http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article35265.html
    coming down the road, and whos idea it is,
    http://planetsave.com/2011/08/28/who-runs-the-world-network-analysis-reveals-super-entity-of-global-corporate-control/ amazing what you can do with all the money in the world, almost.

    • Ian Cropper June 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      very interesting stuff, and it all fits in with so much that I see or read about. Don’t know whether to be very afraid or optimistic that the cat is out of the bag!

  31. CrazyCollie June 23, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    What the f*** is going on with the irregular jumps in the date and time of the comments posted here?

  32. StevieFinn June 23, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    A few days of turbulence caused by the sudden arrival of a malignant monolith. At the end of the day a relatively small irritation compared with the possible consequences of an attempt to ” Speak truth to power ” – although :

    speak truth to power

    I don’t agree with the slogan [speak truth to power]. First of all, you don’t have to speak truth to power, because they know it already. And secondly, you don’t speak truth to anybody, that’s too arrogant. What you do is join with people and try to find the truth, so you listen to them and tell them what you think and so on, and you try to encourage people to think for themselves.

    Noam Chomsky

    I expect there will be more of these disrupting aggressive intrusions & as was pointed out, the more David hits home with his poking of the hornets nest, the reprisals will be inevitable.

    Nell – Please do not back off, it would be a victory for the ” Shouty People “.

    Synoptiscist – I hope you stay too.

    I thought I had to reply to EM because of what I considered to be an open assault on the blog, perhaps it was ill advised, but to me it was the blog equivalent of being in my face, & I did not not want to just back off & stay quiet.

    It is obvious there is a mountain to climb & it is often hard to stay positive.When it all gets on top of me, I play this video at full blast – the combination of Eddie Vedder’s red raw vocals & Bob Dylan’s words seems to me to sum up the reason why we do what we do. In my opinion, this song so delivered, is an expression of a passion for justice & the desire to end tyranny :

    Masters of war :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2fugBkJ7UnQ

    • Roger June 23, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Just a point on Minskys instability theory, Minsky always shunned Mathematical modeling and just did not do it this lead to mainstream knockabout of his theories citing mathematical illiteracy as a further reason why Minsky should not and could not be taken seriously. Keen who was very committed to Minsky’s instability theory decided to do some modeling on it to show how it would work and counter the innumeracy charges leveled against it . It seems to me that Misnky and Keen have been upsetting some long held hobby horse Beliefs, and good for them I say, and hopefully for the rest of us.
      Steve keen has an article about all of this on ‘Debt Watch’ his Blog. I read it a few years back, but if memory serves the above is broadly correct.

    • backwardsevolution June 23, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      I wouldn’t take too much offence to English Memorial. Wherever there is anger, there is always fear. He’s fearful of his future, his children’s future, as are we all. There are a lot of people suffering out there. They’ve lost jobs, homes. Families are broken, values and morals are in a steady decline. Whole industries have packed up and moved off shore. Do countries even exist anymore? Tax havens, global warming, over-population, nuclear disasters…..on and on and on. There is a lot of stress on people.

      I don’t mind anger (as long as it doesn’t get personal) because anger often gets right to the heart of the matter. In fact, I can’t for the life of me understand why people aren’t a whole lot angrier, like knocking-the-roof-off angry. Until that happens, people will cling to the status quo (the devil they know), and they won’t move off of it until there is something better to jump onto.

      Come on back, English Memorial. We need many differing opinions to learn from.

      Thanks, David, for another great post!

      • 24K June 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        Totally agree 3volution

      • Synopticicst June 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

        We really don’t need more ranting libertarians on these boards. We have nothing tolearn from people like English memorial, anymore than we have from fascists or religious fanatics.

        Their solutions would make the world an even uglier place than it already is.

        There are plenty of places on the net to find that sort of bollocks. I deliberatelly avoid them, because I know their ideals are worthless. By contrast, this is a site I come to for ideas and solutions which have genuine worth.

  33. Pat Flannery June 23, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Now that EM has moved on to disrupt other sites, which seems to be how he gets his kicks, we need to get back to figuring out a solution to our present debt crisis. That is why most people come here, to get an understanding of what is happening to our generation. We are indeed “The Debt Generation”.

    It appears that the Euro has weathered an important storm. It now looks like the Euro Zone is not going to melt away. How will the Anglosphere deal with that? A stable Euro is a threat to WS/City hegemony. Has Germany scored an important victory in persuading the Irish and the Greeks to stick with the austerity program?

    BTW have you seen the “Merkel Flag” a bunch of young Irish soccer fans displayed at Poznan and then sold for charity? “Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work”. Apparently even Angela thought it was funny.

    So, the discussion must go on, even with a sense of humor, until we find a common solution. Personally I believe in “localization” as an antidote to “globalization”. A bit like using “high touch” to mitigate the dehumanizing effects of “high-tech”.

  34. Oelsen June 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Funny thing is, without a global infrastructure, those without access will reorganize on a local level or deported into a gas chamber, the elites will choose. The latter happened already and I don’t think that in a culturally mixed world with hundreds of different interests this will be possible. Where sanity reigns, the state will be much, much more powerful, as a way of organizing social interaction with Police, transfer of wealth (sorry, lads, but there ain’t no workforce in the foreseeable future, you ignorant social darwinists, there isn’t any work left whatsoever with nanotech miniaturization and decline in population due to changing family values (one child, maybe two), pollution and – hopefully not – corporate and state sancitoned castration!)

    It doesn’t have to be the state itself! Just transparent incorporated agencies and semi-progressive taxes with a clear and effective strategy to deliver what a city and the grid needs. Nothing more. Efficient laws and effective judiciary branch will be enough.

    • Roger June 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Oelsen have you ever seen the dystopian movie Solgen Green with Charlton heston. what you describe as a funny thing strikes me as something of a nightmare. ALl this talk of Elites deciding corporate or state there is no such thing as an Elite Elites are also Human constructs and control mechanisms. Localisation and Cooperativism and Yes for me Anarcho Sydicalism is a mch more sustaionable way of going on I was struck by the comments of the Norweigan Prime minister quoted today on the BBC news web site.

      • Speaking to BBC News in Rio, she reflected on the lack of real progress since then.

      “Obviously when you look back 25 years now, less than one would have expected has happened – that’s clear – but you can’t think you can turn the world round in 25 years,” she said.

      She said there were “complex reasons” why governments had been unable to take the vision further – including the power of corporations.

      “I think [the allegation] is justified – it’s not the whole truth but it certainly is a big part of it,” she said.

      “In our political system, corporations, businesses and people who have economic power influence political decision-makers – that’s a fact, and so it’s part of the analysis.”

      The next key date on the sustainable development journey is 2015.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18561223

      • BobRocket June 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

        Roger,

        this is interesting

        ‘The Leaderless Revolution
        How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century’

        http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/audio/data/000639

        • Phil June 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

          Read it, quite interesting and well written by a former senior British diplomat. Very anti-state but with a decent rational. And mercifully free from paeons to the market.

          Essentially a plea for more mass movements of people organising for themselves.

        • Roger June 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

          This is a great link Thanks Bob. I tried to post 3 times yesterday saying so but for some reason could not. Anyway it is wonderful and right up my street I am also very contrarian to the Hummeian view of human nature and the darwanist apologia for the dog eat dog murder engendered by the present Fascist Capitalism. I have gone slightlly further with my own thinking and have followed a lot of what TOby writes over at Econosophy
          his series on the campaign by Ralph Boes against Hartz 4. Is worth a read and also his analysis or summary of Charles Eisenstein.

          I have turned my back on Capitalism having once been an enthusiastic participator like Chinese food it left me feeling strangely empty not but shortly after I sold a business for several Million Pounds and retired. Since I have stepped outside the MAtrix as it were I have marvelled at how the system takes as much back as it can as soon as possible.Like with the MAfia leaving is not considered good form.

          Epictitus has been helpful here ´´ DO not say that you have lost ssomething only that you have returned it” I do actually feel that way about it and I am enjoying life and feeling very positive about the future
          keeping a Vegtable patch helps as does studying lots of interesting stuff. Knowledge Freedom and a safe environment for my Children I prize above all else I have found that here in Sweden and wish and hope that the UK turns around from its plunge into Fascism.( Europe too of course.)

  35. Bardo June 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    Bob, this is a very interesting article indeed. Thanks for posting it! Even though I supported David (Golem XIV) in his thinking about the way forward, this is a brilliant reminder how representative democracy has failed us and offers insight on how we can individually and collectively move forward. David, the importance and influence of your blog cannot be underestimated. There’s enough good will and intelligence here to make obvious in a kindly way those who are not even aware of their delusions.

  36. Phil June 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Ahhhh David, the logic of your reply was a joy to behold!!

    “This is my blog in the free market. Which means I am ultimately in charge and there is no democratic recourse nor voting andm sadly I can make it so that all are not equal here. Which is what worries me about free markets untrammeled by democratic process.”

    Brilliant.

  37. Phil June 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Actually one thing occured to me the other day as I pondered our Libertarian invasion. The political Right is known for its suspicion of human nature is it not? Do they not chide as naive those of us who think that mankind can be something better? I would be tempted to describe that as psychological projection on their part but none-the-less I was most taken with Gary and English Memorial’s belief in the goodness of their fellow man. Pity it didn’t last long into the discussion.

    Another thing which occured is that the State isn’t some impersonal entity – it may have big buildings and laws and computers but it is nothing without the people who run it and those people can leave the State’s employ and enter the ‘free market’ and vice versa.

    And finally who in their right mind thinks they are going to overturn the State? Even Anarchists accept that it would take an enormous mass movement not a few bitter Libertarians sitting behind laptops.

    • Gary June 24, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      What are you saying here , Phil ? Are you saying that you agree that the state is the antithesis of trust in your fellow man ? If so, I agree with you.

      The market is the most democratic, most human interaction possible. What is more natural than the voluntary interaction of people with freedom of choice ?

      I put it to you that you are a Trojan Horse for the abrogation of this freedom and would rather take the standpoint that people require a third party , that claims to know better that they do, to organize their lives for them. That is tyranny.

  38. Phil June 24, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    Nick Shaxon on the anti-Statists:

    “Offshore attitudes are characterised by amazing similarities of argument, of approach and of method, and some striking psychological affinities in a geographically diverse but like-minded global cultural community. A peculiar mixture of characters populates this world: castle-owning members of ancient continental European aristocracies, fanatical supporters of American libertarian writer Ayn Rand, members of the world’s intelligence services, global criminals, British public schoolboys, assorted lords and ladies and BANKERS [my emphasis] galore. Its bugbears are government, laws and taxes, and its slogan is freedom.”

    Gary, I put it to you that you are a trojan horse of the Von Mises variety. Utterly disengenuous.

  39. steviefinn June 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Having purposely extricated myself from the influence of the MSM after my gradual discovery of this place in particular. I find myself working in an environment where it is impossible to avoid the constant drivel that is spewed out through the radio, courtesy of radio 1.

    I know it’s aimed at kids & I am an old fart, but surely the standard has slipped dramatically. I could not believe my ears at what passes as a news bulletin, made up of mostly soundbites – l have been told that the G20 will solve the Euro crisis – that this crisis is the reason the UK is struggling – UK banks have been downgraded but we are OK unlike Spain ( no mention of course that UK banks have already had 850 billion ) – it is a good thing that the Greeks have voted for more austerity,etc.

    I have never been a fan, but in the past there always seemed to be some good stuff, but the music now just seems to consist of catchy jingles that no matter what you do, get stuck in your head & make it hard to think. Add to this the moronic djs who for whom everything is ” Awesome “, as in the jubilee, which to them was the most incredible thing that ever happened ever . The aged 20 something men advising 15 year old girls on their love life, then replaying the interview with the bit where one girl said her boyfriend thought R1 crap, edited out, & something called ” Innuendo Bingo ” which consists of grown adults shrieking hysterically mainly at the suggestion of fellatio.

    I know I sound like a grumpy old git, but people talk about the ” Circuses ” used by the Romans in reference to the X factor etc, this too is surely an example of ” Dumbing Down “with basic propaganda thrown in, that is being pumped into young impressionable minds. These clowns are also constantly frothing at the mouth over the ” Awesome ” opportunities to be had at the Hackney academy. I sincerely hope they are right, but of course the fact that recently there was a march of teachers & pupils protesting cuts, I’m sure has never been mentioned:

    http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2012/06/09/teachers-students-march-protest-hackney-community-college-cuts/

    There is one piece of music that they play, with no attached ” Awesomes ” that I personally like. It has an incredible video which I think illustrates what they will get if they do not also supply the bread to go with the already plentiful supply of circuses :

    http://www.naplyrics.com/jay-z/no-church-in-the-wild-ft-kanye-west-video_e4e934daf.html

    Apologies for OT rant 3 wks of R1 is my only excuse.

    • Roger June 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Stevie, yes you are right

      It is sadly evident on radio 2 and also on Radio 4. I pick and cjhoose from the I Player today and feel very smug when I watch live with the help of FoXy Proxy.
      I have the guilty pleasure of having followed the Voice, my mum was at school with Tom Jones, and I do love a good voice but those forma’ts of the Judges and the Judged are really perpetuating a very heierarchical message. Ben Eltons spoof novel was quite funny Pop idol factor or something.
      The grumpy old men series is quite entertaining it is on Swedish TV here, we do not have a television and watch everything on line courtesy of 20 mB Broadband which is the minimum standard in sweden where the Government obviously ensured investment in the infrastructure as opposed to Gordon browns Game theory inspired public auctions.

      I really like Sue Supriano who interviews of KBOO community radio in Oregan there are some fascination interviews Steppin out of Babylon heres a link.

      http://www.suesupriano.com/default1.asp

  40. Ozzie June 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    The normally civil discourse on this site went out the window on this post.

    The way I see it everyone has a little bit of “libertarian” in them and that’s ok. I just don’t think it can work as a whole.
    We all rely on others in one way or another. The idea that ALL things can be solved by the market is a pipe dream.

    Here’s a couple of examples right off the top of my head:

    If a large crater opened up in the road outside your house, do you want to spend all your savings or take out a loan to get it fixed?

    What about if you or your child were hit by a car and needed major emergency surgery and months of rehabilitation to get better?

    There are so many examples that you can give where even the most strident anti sate libertarian would have to concede that leaving it to the market and their own abilities just wouldn’t be enough.

    Life can throw us a many, curve balls, we DO need a cooperative society. A just, fair social contract is one of the most valuable gifts we can bestow on all citizens.

    Everyone knows that democracy and the “market” in many countries is broken or close too it. It is still the best system that we have at our disposal, but it needs to be taken outside and be given a thorough shaking and left to hang in the sunlight for a while to kill off all the germs.

    I could go on but I should have been in bed about two hours ago, I shouldn’t have clicked on the bloody bookmark.

    All the best

  41. deepgreenpuddock June 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Seems to me that some of the comments arguing in favour or against libertarianism/the market etc are both missing the point, that these ideas exist within a wider context of ideas and historical events and ongoing processes, some of which are quite obscure and difficult to follow the effects of.
    Economic libertarianism is often associated with quite extreme social authoritarianism and militarism. In other words libertarianism apparently cherry picks what is free to the market. At least Ron Paul recognises that the US state is hypocritical in maintaining a huge public service provided military to apparently enforce the free market. The association with deregulation would suggest that alongside freedom of action there is to be permissiveness by us all of the use of serendipitous advantage for undue benefit. We detach then from the idea of merit, and that goes against one of the fundamental tenets of libertarianism, since striving for advantage is an accepted route (merit) to advantage within the ‘free’ world. So if there are few rules, those with the advantage of (say) insider trading are just the lucky ones who held the right hand at the time. The situation is rather more complex however. Banking companies for instance use technology to further enhance their advantage so they can simply suggest that there is merit now involved, even if, in reality there was never any possibility of a genuine free market becoming established because so many potential participants in this market were excluded by circumstance or design. The ‘free market’ has drifted into what seems remarkably like a cartel, or what might be argued by the players, to be a stable division of the market into an efficient equilibrium.
    The aphorism -’oh well life isn’t fair’ comes to mind. Underlying this thinking is the idea that in the great game of cards of life your turn will come round. In effect libertarianism is a form of fatalism and is another form of the idea of pre-destination.
    Aphorisms such as the one given always have the appearance of being correct, because they are like broken clocks pointed at, just at the time they have stopped and they have, apparently, predictive value.
    There is another problem, that the attempt to skew the market, or control the markets in some supposedly socially equable way-the attempts at Communism have become hopelessly corrupt and become discredited because of the impossibility of making a planned economy serviceable. Such an approach has been catastrophic in many ways and has also been enforceable only by severe oppressive measures. In effect it drifts into error in the form of a decadent elite cabal of dysfunctional detached individuals.
    The state of the Post Brezhnev USSR is a case in point. Gorbachev only emerged after a period of almost laughably (tragic) attempts to shore up the existing ‘looking glass’ world and Gorbachev had to, in effect, sacrifice the social and economic equilibrium of his country in order to allow some access to economic activity.

    All that dysfunction simply fuels the idea of ‘free markets’ as an intellectual antidote to the kind of process that developed in the USSR. Free markets are mistakenly viewed as right by contrast, to that experience, as it is rhetorically positioned as strictly utilitarian or detached from ideology . If there is a ‘profit’ to be made by filling in the hole in the road then the market will dictate its filling in. The notion of profit however is an ideology of sorts.
    That utilitarianism is however quite flawed in other ways as corporations and individuals are endlessly duplicitous in acquiring undue advantage. Advantage is gained while minimising outlay or benefit to the customer since the free market and pricing mechanism is unregulated and must be free.
    The final point is that the idea of the cards going the way of all in turn(eventually) since the market is ‘free’ is fatally flawed by the discontinuous availability of resources and the changing valuation of resources by whatever technological system is dominant. Techniques and technology are not freely available. Availability declines before the turn of some of the players comes round. Resources are stockpiled, destroyed, guarded or made inaccessible, according to the ability of particular dominant players to control these key assets and resources.

    We have to face up to the real position that there is no guiding ideology that is serviceable in the current context. The die is cast.

  42. Joe Taylor June 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I’ve followed this blog since reading Debt Generation and hearing David speak to an Equality Trust gathering in Manchester. David subsequently accepted an invitation to be a keynote speaker at the community activists network national conference in Preston. He’s got a following who beyond the blog’s regular contributors.

    I’ve learned a lot by following the comments and often tweet the appropriate links.

    It was quite disturbing when the blog was invaded by trolls who threatened to ruin it for everyone.

    Everyone has the right to an opinion as everyone equally has the right not to listen to it, especially when it’s delivered so inappropriately.

    I’ve learned from David and those who contribute regularly to the blog that the world economy is in a dreadful mess and that there are varying opinions on how this came to be.

    What I was hoping to learn is what activists can do about it.

    Those two blogs a short time back – ‘A Way Forward. A modest proposal’ & ‘The Way Forward – Next Steps’ were very encouraging. Like so many, I have no faith in the political system as it stands or the parties that dominate it but I don’t believe that change can come without political willpower and clout.

    The logistics of forming a viable political party alternative in the UK seem insurmountable.

    David’s idea of getting like-minded people into the European Parliament from every county in the Union does seem achievable and I’ve floated that idea with my own peer group.

    Another idea that just came to my attention via LinkedIn is that of ‘Civil Society Politics’.

    I contacted the originator and he kindly posted the concept as a discussion on NatCAN yesterday.

    http://nationalcan.ning.com/forum/topics/civil-society-politics-power-to-the-people

    I’d love to have a comment or two from people who post here regularly.

    Cheers – Joe

    • John Souter June 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Joe – I don’t think David’s blog was in any danger – the argument of trolls are easily spotted by their vacuous inelegance.

      On the wider issues and purpose we have to be realistic and to this end we have to accept the provenance and strengths of the evils we face and be pragmatic in the manner and methods we adopt to counter them.

      To my mind the first ‘evil’ we have to accept as fact is that our democracy is a sham. A mere label used as a euphemism for control and the husbandry of the bewildered herd of humanity.

      This ‘bewilderment’ is a tool of great art and artifice when it’s used within a single species; especially so when that species has the ability to conceive and initiate abstract thoughts. One development of abstract thought is the struggle for power when its aimed towards rewards of bling or the satisfaction of ego it, by definition, inexorably leads to corruption. We can’t help it, like moths to a flame and in the belief our ‘power’ has somehow or other earned us the right we will corrupt the use of that power.

      Some will say this is part of our human nature. Patently true, but the bottom line is there has been little emphasis on removing this trait from our human nurture. Instead the emphasis has been one of subjugation to those who aspire to practice and profit from the division. So for this reason I have neither desire or use for the acquisition of power – by now history should have made us aware, while humanity can be fooled it cannot be governed without the legitimacy of the common herds majority approval. And this cannot happen when the political circus is engineered and gerrymandered in order to protect the system and detract from the purpose.

      My argument is, do not create a cancer in order to a destroy an existing cancer – by the time it has any chance of being effective it will be as toxic as the cancer it set out to destroy. In this respect the Occupy strategy has got it right – it’s a movement which can gradually agitate into a groundswell and go on to have the fluid dynamics of a tsunami. It has no damming restrictions, no formulaic objectives, no timetables where responses can be countered by the lies of authority and above all it claims no political purpose or ideology. Its only strategy is to get across the message – We do not like what you have done -where your going or how you’re going about it. Our message is simple. We don’t want you to change; we want you out.

      This is the tide that pumps terror into their shrivelled hearts.

  43. Pat Flannery June 27, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Joe,

    How about the “PeepNet” replacing the “Internet”?

    I followed your link and read “Civil Society Politics – Power to the People” by Vern Hughes and the comments it evoked. There is no shortage of ideas; the problem seems to be implementation.

    The key to the breakthrough we all seek is how we communicate. Yes, we have the Internet but it is mediated through government-licensed corporate ISPs. Until we achieve control of the Internet we will remain under the control of the MNCs and the governments they now own.

    Each community should, completely independently of corporate-controlled governments, finance and install its own fiber-to-the-home network and become its own ISP. Each community would quickly find that only a small fraction of its network traffic would need to use a gateway to the Internet. People are hungry for local content. It is how we evolved as a species – in small groups.

    Each community would create its own “cloud” by sharing sophisticated network software instead of individually installed personal software and build locally-hosted storage arrays on hard drives. Local advertising would replace much of the MNC advertising. People would get to know each other again.

    An international network of “CommunityNet”s would quickly emerge to create the world-wide “PeepNet”.

    • Joe Taylor June 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Thanks John & Pat for your responses here and thanks Roger for posting in the NatCAN discussion. It’s really taking off.

      Will look into that idea of yours Pat, it’s a new one on me.

      Just finished ‘Endgame’ – a different perspective coming from an insider, interesting

      Cheers, Joe

      • Roger June 28, 2012 at 7:38 am #

        Hi Jo
        I wrote a response here yesterday buit I think quite of few of my responses over the past few weeks have been tangled up in the spam filter.

        I was saying I had found since starting to become actively interested in these matters 3 years ago my own view had changed considerably and the signposts to a critical analysis of the current system seem more in evidence now. Whether this is because my own framework of understanding is more developed or because I am now just fonding what I am looking for because I have a predisposed bias to finding what I want to find I don’t know I was involved in an online discussion about House prices on the Motley fool web site back in Feb 2009, My thinking has changed hugely and its an interesting read both the CLiff Dárcy article and the discussion that follows.

        http://www.lovemoney.com/news/property-and-mortgages/house-prices/2325/why-house-prices-will-fall-this-year

        I am optimistic that peoples openness to hearing alternative views is increasing, I think people sense something is badly up and although the current culture is for quick solutions in a 2 minute sound bite 101 and thats all you need to know Fox News sort of way. But I think we can provide some of that and I thing Satire needs to be directed at the subject and some poking fun in the great tradition of Radical Etchings and Pamphlets. I suspect these days Americans and Brits alike would struggle to get through Thomas Paine’s Common Sense in one sitting but remember that a lot of people would have got through it or introduced to it by group readings and discussions and that sort of thing whilst difficult to re introduce into modern life can be done through social media. I have tried to do it with a few original songs and poems and by writing to people I am in regular contact with and who I care about.

        The idea of Community approaches is well put by Robert Moore in this two part interview with Sue Supriano on her Steppin out of Babylon series. This series helped me to seek out a lot of information I did not have the tools to search out before as my framework of understanding in many of the areas simply didn’t exist.

        I posted a link in a Linked in discussion on the Economist, a place I try to provide the other view to the main stream economics and free market exponents some of whom are happy to discuss things and some of who are still pretty shouty, part of what we do does involve kissing a lot of frogs to find our princes though.

        I have just read this interesting Blog regarding the true nature of democracy and indeed if it has indeed existed anywhere in the past 6000 years.

        http://harmonization.blogspot.se/

        The Author gives an interesting interview here to Sue Supriano of Steppin out of Babylon

        http://www.suesupriano.com/article.php?&id=111

        there are two parts to the interview with Richard Moore the first an analysis of the present trend towards global corporate fascism the second an analysis of dispute resolution type approaches to local community problem solving and bottom up policy formulation.

        My take on these things In Music and Poetry,

        Illuminati and Glitterati

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skx2oiVT3TE

        Let Them Eat Cake

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFqmyz2aC5Y

        Democracy 2011

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4F-fCiw_Ls

        99%

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we7146EvS8s

        Baards of Wales Speak Out

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNjeBOgGus4

  44. sheepshagger June 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    I go away for a fortnight and return to see English Memorial hogging the limelight.
    He does like to use the upper case. Could he be Thesystemworks?
    I think ‘The State’ especially in the form of the welfare state is a valid concept.
    Those who argue for a smaller state only want to take over the running of those
    functions that the state has invested time,money and effort in without the initial risk
    involved in the start up of those services.
    Some of our representitives swallow the lie that “The private sector is more efficient”
    and hand over whole sections of our economy to spivs.
    Now that so much has gone into private hands there are only the police and militiiary
    functions left to privatise.
    God help us all should they go into the corporate sector.

  45. Trudi December 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you happen to
    be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will often come
    back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

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