Stanley Dundee welcomes readers and correspondents for wide-ranging enquiry in post-capitalist studies. New! Another book review! A Woman's Place, a review of Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas (Peter Lang, 2000) by Barbara Alice Mann. Recently updated: Macronies, featuring fresh-faced neoliberal contenders for high office. Other book reviews and enquiries. Our foundational enquiry, Getting Money Right. Newcomers may wish to start here.
2019-04-22: Updated Macronies to address the meteoric trajectory of our latest Democratic hopeful, Pete Buttigieg. Nathan Robinson has been a leader in putting Mayor Pete in his place. Here's his Macrony alert:
Do not be deceived . . . Look into the actual records of these candidates. Get their shitty books and scrutinize them closely. A lot of money is going to be flowing toward tricks like this, as frantic Democratic elites try to push someone like Buttigieg in order to prevent a Sanders nomination. They know Buttigieg is one of them; they seeMcKinseyand realize they'll come to no harm. But they hope you don't see what they see. It has been the same over and over: Hey kids, Tom Perez isn't any different from Keith Ellison! No need to do anything rash now! At every turn, bandwagon-hopping frauds are going to mouth the latest slogans. . . . Demand the evidence. Examine the record. We have got to learn to see through this stuff. You have to look at what they did and said before it was politically opportune to say what they're saying now. Five minutes ago, Pete Buttigieg wasthe management consultant making the South Bend sewers run on time.Now he's suddenly a radical who want to pack the Supreme Court. From Mitt Romney to Eugene Debs in a single news cycle. . . . [W]e can't afford to make this mistake again. No more Bright Young People with their beautiful families and flawless characters and elite educations and vacuous messages of uplift and togetherness. Give me fucked-up people with convictions and gusto. Give me real human beings, not CV-padding corporate zombies.
Most of the time, you'd be correct to believe the opposite. Especially, when all the outlets are telling you the same thing. It's always good to ask yourself cui bono: who's getting what benefit out of making you believe something? It's quite depressing how successful the big uniform lie is: even though the much-demonised Milosevic was eventually found innocent, even though Qaddafi was notbombing his own people, similar lies are believed about Assad and other Western enemies-of-the-moment. Believe the opposite unless there's very good reason not to.
I feel secure in predicting that someone, somehow, somewhere will be affronted by something I say. I beseech that person in advance to constrain the urge to slap me silent, call me names, or impugn my moral integrity. Instead I recommend the Iroquoian response of a good-natured hearing, with no limits on what a speaker might say. I know that forbearance crosses the scholarly grain. For all the lip service regarding free speech, prickly irritation and indignant interuption at the merest slip of a lip is the stance most lauded in academia today, but I confess to being weary of highly credentialed cry-babies. I much prefer the etiquette of the Iroquois, who contend that anyone old enough to enter a public forum is mature enough to have developed a seven-span skin, i.e. a skin as thick as seven thumbs together, too thick to be needled into easy outrage by the sly, wry, or satirical jabs of another Speaker. The Peacemaker, himself, set up this discourse rule in establishing the Great Law of Peace, decreeing that thethickness of your skin shall be seven spans—which is say that you shall be proof against anger, offensive actions, and criticism.Thus I don't care what they told you at the culture wars; it is important that everyone not grinning hideously and brandishing sharp implements be countenanced in the public space. It will be your turn to speak soon enough. (pp. 8-9)
2019-02-13: Apologies for neglect! Exciting activities In Real Life have predominated lately. Happy to be back and I hope I was missed! I've added summarial enquiries and reviews to help with overall site orientation.
The prospect of US withdrawal from Syria has taken the use of doublespeak by frothing neocons and their liberal interventionist fellow travellers to a new level. Here to help the confused observer is a glossary of some of the most frequently used key terms and their true meanings, along with guidance on usages deemed taboo in Western policy-making and media circles.
Thanks for reading and please know that correspondence would be hugely welcomed!
Young Beto O'Rourke casts himself as theanti-Trump. But his father-in-law, it turns out, is a billionaire property developer with a contentious relationship with non-white residents — not unlike the President. Beto's more the proto-Jared Kushner.
Beto O'Rourke: oligarch approved!
2019-01-02: Happy New Year to All! Ken Silverstein had a rough year following the loss of his mother but despite the loss his journalistic accomplishments are considerable. His conclusion is rings true for me:
So that's it for 2018. Onward to 2019 comrades, I feel optimistic about my personal and political future, and that's unlike me. I truly believe capitalism has run out of steam — it has always been evil and very good at exploiting most everyone while generating immense profits for the privileged few and their political serfs — but now our rulers have run out of ways to keep the system running. All they can do now is ratchet up the ruthless exploitation of the 99 percent; at some point this shit is going to blow, and I very much hope to see it and be part of the history we will make together.
At the first debate with Reyes, O'Rourke criticized Reyes for not offering concrete ways to cut the federal budget, and then turned to Social Security.We need to look at things like means testing,he said.We need to look at a later age at which my kids are gonna retire.
2018-12-20: Updated Macronies with some detail on Beto O'Rourke, calf-cramping New Democrat. Citing Zaid Jilani at Current Affairs, David Sirota at The Guardian, Sludge on Oil Change USA, and, of course, the infamous Beto Sex Tweet by Leah McElrath. Enjoy!
2018-12-19: Introducing Macronies, for designating youngish, good-looking, articulate neoliberals with limited public records and soothing speechifying who are meant to block the possibility of genuine reform. Been thinking about this one for quite a while but was inspired to actually write something by Benjamin Studebaker.
2018-10-31: While planning for a little essay on class war, I went looking for a provocative essay I vaguely remembered from a few years back (2012) by Michael O. Church, which has sadly disappeared from its original source. Thankfully it can be found using the Wayback Machine. Church proposed a three-ladder system of class in the US which is a bit baroque but does have lots of useful explanatory value. He also provides some excellent insights into class war strategies, although I have my doubts about his celebration of what he calls the Gentry. Here's the lede:
Typical depictions of social class in the United States posit a linear, ordered hierarchy. I've actually come to the conclusion that there are 3 distinct ladders, with approximately four social classes on each. Additionally, there is an underclass of people not connected to any of the ladders, creating an unlucky 13th social class. I'll attempt to explain how this three-ladder system works, what it means, and also why it is a source of conflict. The ladders I will assign the names Labor, Gentry, and Elite. My specific percentage estimates of each category are not derived from anything other than estimation based on what I've seen, and my limited understanding of the macroeconomics of income in the United States, so don't take them for more than an approximation. I'll assess the social role of each of these classes in order, from bottom to top.
Naked Capitalism is the first site I visit when I turn my computer on in the morning. . . . the best and most distilled guide to today's global financial malaise, the most egregious neoliberal threats from Washington, the floundering Democratic Party, the bank jungle and Wall Street scandals, scams and frauds. . . . Piercing the shell of neoliberal doublethink in today's financial End Time is an art. That is why it is so important to give what you can to keep NC thriving. Think of it as subscribing to the best daily paper.Invaluable daily resource for me; many thanks to Yves, Lambert, and all the Naked Capitalism crew. Bless the commenters too!
2018-08-28: Taxes do not fund sovereign spending. Inspired by Why I Am Not Wildly Enthusiastic about Sanders' Plan to Tax Amazon. Lambert says:
Let me now turn to the problems with Sanders' plan to have a plan... The framing reinforces the notion that Federal taxespay forFederal spending, so Sanders traps us in the austerity box... Federal taxes do not pay for Federal spending, nor do taxpayers... It is not true, as Sanders says, thatyou pay for it.You don't... Unfortunately for us all, the implications of Sanders' framing are horrific, whether for the left, or liberals of good faith, if any... Thefiscal myththat taxes pay for Federal spending is already being used to attack #MedicareForAll. When Sanders asks and answersYou know who pays for those programs? You do,he's teaching an entire constituency a falsehood that actively works to undermine working class interests in universal concrete material benefits! Why on earth would Sanders do this?
2018-07-17: Revisions to argument.
2018-06-26: Brief remarks on argument, reflecting the rather unsatisfying course which so many conversations seem to take.
2018-06-19: A brief meditation on respect, corresponding to remarks I often make to my liberal friends.
2018-04-20: Happy 4/20 to all! Over at Naked Capitalism, Lambert is fundraising for the Water Cooler. If you've got it to spare, be sure to give. Nobody works harder to bring us real news and original analysis.
2018-04-15: A short piece on lies.
2018-03-12: Greetings to our new readers, and thanks for your visits and your consideration. New material coming soon, I promise. Apologies for outages as our shoestring operation was subject to power and internet losses in the recent spate of Nor'easters. Possibly another tonight!
2018-01-24: Austerity is a policy choice (abstract).
2018-01-23: Fiat money is unbounded.
2017-12-19: Huge shout-out to Zero Anthropology on their 10th anniversary! Max Forte provides carefully researched, superbly argued challenges to conventional wisdom that have been a major influence in my ongoing program of study of indigenous cultures and neoliberalism, colonialism, imperialism, and globalization. And I really appreciate the style of posting:
[Our] current pattern of production...is very slow, very deliberate, with comparatively long articles that are as well researched as possible... our engagement withHighly recommended. Old news...social mediahas been substantially pared down in recent years and months, not to devote our free labour to inflating the value of an environment dominated/censored by US interests and US corporations -- and because most of the important realizations and understandings are not produced a dozen per second instreams,feedsandtimelines.Release early, release often,I slowly came to realize is the slogan of those who prefer instant recognition and constant gratification, likely inspired by asocial mediaenvironment dominated by the celebrity-activist-journalist type.