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



I think in practical terms, it equates to things like turning off the
television etc.

The hopeful thing about a connected world is that we're somewhat more able
to look out for each other which we can do irrespective of whose bank
account has the big numbers in it.

I think the ethic aspect is actually an ethical aspect.  True education is
more than fashion-ethics, such as a "work-ethic" etc.  Ethical appreciation
comes with maturity.  And, personally speaking, it is relations in
recognition of this that establish the richest kind of capital...

Best,
Huw




On 22 January 2014 00:46, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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
>>         >>>>   >>>>
>>         >>>>     >>>>       >>>>        >>>   >>>     >>>      >>
>>         >>   >>    >
>>         >
>>         >
>>         >
>>         >
>>         >
>>         >
>>
>>
>>
>