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[Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International



Which means, does it not Huw, propagating a counter-ethic, so to speak, since arguments against an ethic are just words, and the maxim is always "do as I do not as I say." But an ethic is meaningful, I believe only within some collaborative endeavour. My relationship to you is meaningful only in connection of what we do, as we, together. I believe that "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is fine as far as it goes, but is inadequate to this mtulicultural, fragmented world.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.mira.net/~andy/


Huw Lloyd wrote:
Going back to reference to the bubble and social psychology, it seems to me that the "super rich" are to be pitied too. I am not sure living in a bubble is such a nice thing, especially given the immaturity required to sustain it.

I don't think it is the super rich which are to be combatted, rather it is the inane notion that this is something to be admired or desired. This, it seems to me, is a more obtainable and more rewarding exercise.

Best,
Huw



On 22 January 2014 00:07, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    But your foundation is active in combatting inequality through
    literacy. "Every step of real movement is more important than a
    dozen programmes," as one very serious theorist said.
    Andy
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/letters/75_05_05.htm

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Andy Blunden*
    http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>


    Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:

        At 38 I am differing to my elders on this one...albeit, I
        agree with Andy...too young to be pessimistic, but what I have
        seen happen to black america has really disappointed me.


        Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
        President
        The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
        www.mocombeian.com <http://www.mocombeian.com>
        www.readingroomcurriculum.com
        <http://www.readingroomcurriculum.com>

        -------- Original message --------
        From: Andy Blunden
        Date:01/21/2014 6:36 PM (GMT-05:00)
        To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
        Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

        David, you are quite correct that agreement on fundamentals of
        theory is
        by no means necessary for collaboration (though on the xmca
        list this is
        feasible). In a sense, the very meaning of "collaboration" is
        that such
        disagreement on fundamentals is suspended. Nonetheless, in
        raising the
        proposal on this list your are inviting collaboration on
        formation of
        the concept of this project, and I have accepted the invitation by
        criticising your concept of the proposal. You have propsed the
        writing
        of an article countering the narrative of Ayn Rand that "the
        ultra-wealthy are the engines of advancement and prosperity
        and the
        saviors of society" and to argue instead that "the gradual
        shift in
        political control of the economy over the past 50 years by the
        ultra-wealthy has reached a kind of tipping point in which the
        gains in
        disparity are so dramatic as to overwhelm any sense of actual
        self-interest." My response is "Well, hello!" This is hardly news,
        David. This has been argued (correctly) for several centuries. The
        wealthy have always been a class of parasites; social progress has
        always been only in the teeth of opposition from all but a few
        of that
        class. I would argue that it is better to enter some actual
        project
        aimed against capitalism and ineqaulity and participate in the
        argument
        about strategy and tactics. Being 68, after 50 years of such
        participation, I accept a somewhat arm's length participation,
        but the
        protagonists (wether real or imagined) are those actually
        engaged in
        that struggle in any formm about how best to further that
        struggle. Not
        the *generalities*, in my view. But I am pleased that you are
        taking up
        the battle and I wish you well. All I can do is offer my
        reflections on
        your object-concept, as others have and will.

        Andy
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        *Andy Blunden*
        http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>


        David H Kirshner wrote:
        >> It would appear ...
        >>    >
        > Doesn't appear that way to me.
        > In fact, it's not clear to me, contrary to Andy and Paul,
        that in a practical endeavor one has to come to terms with
        foundational issues, at all.
        > The fact that social psychology may not have the foundations
        right doesn't imply that it has no insight to offer, or that a
        make-shift frame of reference can't provide a stable enough
        foundation to move people forward (collectively and
        individually). Indeed, isn't that the necessary way forward in
        any practical endeavor, given the absence of fully worked out
        foundational perspectives (and given the need to address the
        world as we find it, without the theorist's option of
        restricting the domain of inquiry within tractable parameters)?
        > David
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
        [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of Dr.
        Paul C. Mocombe
        > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:12 AM
        > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
        >
        > Andy and david,
        >
        > It would appear that any counter - narrative would have to
        be anti-dialectical and counter-hegemonic, I.e.,
        anti-individual, anti-capitalist, anti-humanity...  Can such a
        counter - narrative come from a humanity, including us
        academics, subjectified to reproduce individual wealth, upward
        mobility, and status at the expense of the masses of poor
        around the world, paradoxically, seeking our bourgeois
        lifestyle? >
        > I ask because,  it would appear that the earth,in marxian
        terms, as a class for itself, has been begging for humanity to
        change the way it recursively reorganize and reproduce it's
        being-in-it over the last 100 years, but we consistently
        refuse.  Instead, turning to dialectical measures, fracking,
        carbon credits, neoliberalism, etc., to attempt to resolve our
        problems and maintain the protestant ethic and the spirit of
        capitalism as an "enframing" (heidegger's term) ontology.
        >
        > I am not a pessimistic person, but it appears that in this
        case we are all dead we just do not know it yet.
        >
        >
        > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
        > President
        > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
        > www.mocombeian.com <http://www.mocombeian.com>
        > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
        <http://www.readingroomcurriculum.com>
        >
        > <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From:
        David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:dkirsh@lsu.edu>>
        </div><div>Date:01/21/2014  2:50 AM  (GMT-05:00)
        </div><div>To: ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
        <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
        </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
        International </div><div>
        > </div>Andy,
        > I suppose social psychology's unitary and a-historical
        ascription of the human sense of material well-being as
        relative to other people (rather than as relative to one's own
        past) gets it wrong from the start. Still, I think it provides
        a way to understand the individual pursuit of wealth, carried
        to its limits, as anti-social and destructive; an effective
        counter-narrative to the libertarian ideal of the individual
        unfettered by societal constraints. We badly need a
        counter-narrative to regain some kind of political leverage
        for ordinary citizens.
        > If anyone would like to help pull that together in the form
        of a paper, please reply, on-line or off-.
        > Thanks.
        > David
        > dkirsh@lsu.edu <mailto:dkirsh@lsu.edu>
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
        [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of Andy
        Blunden
        > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:13 AM
        > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
        > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
        >
        > I certainly hope so, David, or at least, I hope to read and
        participate in acting out the opening chapter of that narrative.
        >
        > I do think that the "99%/1%" narrative was a project doomed
        to failure however, as it conceived of itself as a linear
        expansion which would somehow bypass social and ideological
        differences. It did not conceive of itselfr as a project at
        all. Just a mesage about the one true world which everyone had
        to come to. Truly magical realism. The plot lies implicit in
        the opening chapter, but it is always far from easy to see how
        the plot will unfold itself though the multiple story-lines
        entailed in this conundrum, Andy
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > *Andy Blunden*
        > http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >
        >
        > David H Kirshner wrote:
        >  >> The operative narrative, at least in the U.S. context,
        dictated by Ayn Rand, is that the ultra-wealthy are the
        engines of advancement and prosperity and the saviors of
        society. What is in their best interest is in all of our best
        interests. We very badly need a counter-narrative.
        >> Andy, is this practical project something that can be
        undertaken and completed in real-time as a theoretical project?
        >> David
        >>
        >>
        >> -----Original Message-----
        >> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
        >> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of Andy
        Blunden
        >> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 11:06 PM
        >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
        >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
        >>
        >> David I have plenty of experience with desparate measures
        over teh
        >> past
        >> 50 years, and I have come very late to "the broader
        theoretical project." It is absolutely essential that the
        practical project and the theoretical project are one and the
        same.
        >>
        >> Andy
        >>
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        >> --
        >> *Andy Blunden*
        >> http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>
        >>
        >> David H Kirshner wrote:
        >>   >>    >>> Andy,
        >>> Sometimes, in order to create a counter-narrative that can
        be effective in the here and now, one has to step outside of
        the broader theoretical project. I guess, for some, this would
        constitute a distraction from the real work, perhaps a
        violation of the true mission of that scholarly endeavor. For
        others, it might be a legitimate (even if imperfect) effort to
        apply what one has come to understand from the larger project.
        For others, still, perhaps simply a political activity
        undertaken with theoretical tools, but with little actual
        relation to the theoretical project.
        >>> Perhaps these are desperate measures that these desperate
        times call for.
        >>> David
        >>>
        >>>
        >>> -----Original Message-----
        >>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
        >>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of Andy
        Blunden
        >>> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 10:29 PM
        >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
        >>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
        International
        >>>
        >>> Well, that's the project I have been collaborating in
        since I was a teenager, David, but it has its challenges, too,
        you know.
        >>>
        >>> First off, these observations about social psychology and
        well-being:
        >>> The point is to have a unit of analysis and one which is
        as valid for making observations about psychology as it is for
        social theory. And in general, this is lacking for what goes
        by the name of "social psychology." People do not of course
        govern their behaviour by evidence-based investigations of the
        likely results of their behaviour.
        >>> People don't set out to "grow a bigger economy" or "have
        more wealth than someone else". The thinking of an individual
        has to be understood (I would contend) within the contexts of
        the projects to which they are committed. That is the reason
        for the relativity in the enjoyment of wealth (which is itself
        of course relative). People make judgments according to the
        norms of the project in which they are participating, and that
        means semantic, theoretical and practical norms. Understanding
        the psychology of political economy is as of one task with
        that of building a project to overthrow the existing political
        economic arrangements and build sustainable arrangements. That
        requires a multitude of projects all willikng and able to
        collaborate with one another.
        >>>
        >>> That's what I think.
        >>> Andy
        >>>
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        >>> -
        >>> --
        >>> *Andy Blunden*
        >>> http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>>
        >>>
        >>> David H Kirshner wrote:
        >>>   >>>     >>>      >>>> I've been sketching out in my
        mind, but not yet had time to research and write, a paper
        tentatively titled:
        >>>> The Psychology of Greed: Why the Ultra-wealthy are
        Despoiling the
        >>>> Planet, Tanking the Economy, and Gutting our Culture In
        the Quest
        >>>> for More
        >>>>
        >>>> The premise is that the psychological metric of our sense
        of material well-being is not accumulation, relative to our
        own past wealth, but the comparative measure of our own wealth
        in relation to that of others. (I believe this is a
        well-established principle of social psychology.) So, for
        example, instead of trying to grow a bigger economy which
        requires a large and healthy middle-class (this is what would
        provide more actual wealth for the ultra-wealthy), they are
        eroding the middle-class as quickly as they can--a strategy
        that maximizes disparity.
        >>>>
        >>>> The major thesis (in the U.S. context) is that the
        gradual shift in political control of the economy over the
        past 50 years by the ultra-wealthy has reached a kind of
        tipping point in which the gains in disparity are so dramatic
        as to overwhelm any sense of actual self-interest. Hence, we
        see increasingly irrational and self-destructive behavior by
        the ultra-wealthy (e.g., the fraudulent housing bubble that
        created what U.S. economists refer to as The Great Recession).
        The conclusion, of course, is a call to action to take back
        control of our political systems so we can set more rational
        policies for the economy.
        >>>>
        >>>> I don't know if this thesis extends so easily beyond the
        U.S. situation to the world, but if this project appeals, I
        would welcome a collaborative effort--perhaps even one that
        somehow encompasses the whole XMCA listserv as co-authors.
        >>>>
        >>>> David
        >>>>   >>>>
        >>>>     >>>>       >>>>        >>>   >>>     >>>      >>
        >>   >>    >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
>