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



Paul, I think Tom's points in his last email are spot on.
I have been a wage worker all my life, and so far as I am concerned that is not "the same system" as slavery or subsistent farming. And that difference matters to me. Likewise, women who participated in the "second wave" feminist movement are doubtless disappointed that every woman who today enjoys the benefits of the rights won by feminists in the 70s, 80s and 90s do not always identify as a feminist, but they changed the world irreversibly and if the world is still unsatisfactory, that is just as things should be. There is no such thing as "structuralist action" and "humanist action." These terms are applicable to theories, and oftentimes theory does not correspond well to practice. Although you run a literacy project in your real life (so to speak) Paul, in your written contributions on this list you have been a consistent structuralist, and no-one could guess, from what you write, that outside the discussion of theory you actually struggle to make a difference. It is not comprehensible because nothing in what you say in theoretical discussions is consistent with making any effort to make the world a better place. Here is now it works (as I see it, modeled on Hegel's Logic). You see a problem. Others in similar a social position also see the problem and you begin to collaborate. (It is no longer a personal problem). You develop and act upon solutions, but mostly they fail. But eventually you hit upon some course of (collaborative) action which gets some momentum and seems to make a difference. (It is no longer subjective.) You all become self-conscious of this new project and name it. It develops its own self-concept, rules and norms of belief, action and meaning. (It is now a new concept entering into the existing culture, changing and being changed). After resisting it almost to the death, the existing culture responds by co-opting it (albeit in some modified form) and the project becomes mainstreamed. Whether this leads to a qualitative collapse of the former social formation and an entirely new identity, or simply a modification remains to be seen. It is not given in advance. But things have changed and things go on quite differently now. New problems arise and new solutions are possible. The total overthrow of all existing social conditions are events which are separated by centuries, but it is only by means of efforts to resolve particular problems manifested in a social formation that in the end the root cause in the foundations of the social formation itself are exposed and transformed. Every little step is a revolution. But you can't turn straight to the last chapter when you open the book. And if the hero has not triumphed by the end of the first chapter it would be a mistake to declare the whole chapter a waste of time. Yes?

Andy

------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.mira.net/~andy/


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
Tom,

I hear what you are saying...i would disagree with that...toussaint louverture
During the haitian revolution maintained haiti as a french plantation colony with wage-labor.  To him that was a change from slave labor, but to Macaya and Sans Souci and the newly arrived africans on the island, who wanted to practice their vodou and have their own plot of land to grow their own crops and practice peasant farming as they did in Africa, it was the same system.  In fact, Macaya and Sans Souci and many of the maroons on the island fought against toussaint, christophe, petion, etc. because they felt they had become white men by attempting to reproduce their ways under a different name.

Similarly, the black american in order to convict the society of not identifying with their christian values and liberalism had to behave like liberal christians to highlight the hypocrisy and contradictions of the state...i very much doubt it had King protested to practice vodou and peasant farming america would have integrated blacks into its discourse...however, the latter position would have presented an alternative way of organizing and reproducing society against the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism of the American social structure.



Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com www.readingroomcurriculum.com
<div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Tom Richardson <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com> </div><div>Date:01/22/2014  5:36 PM  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International </div><div>
</div>Hello again Paul
Re-reading your reservation/explanation I can see that I have not answered
your assertion that no new structural concept was proposed. I think that
the thought behind my answer is that to bring about a functional change in
a concept whose behavioural demands are not  actually met / practised is,
effectively to have posited a structural concept - or am I getting too
sophisticated (pejorative sense intended) here -
I'm not sure what the problem is, since change, of whatever sort, can only
come about either by the efforts of those within any given society
attempting to achieve an actual adherence to behaviour(s) that their
society posits as arising from its guiding principles, or by suggesting
that certain forms (social/economic/political or all of the above ) that
that society already has, could be more beneficial / productive / moral by
changing them in certain ways that are presently resisted by interest
groups within their society, even if those proposing such change are not
themselves practising or able to do so, under present conditions (hence the
necessity of Andy B.'s 'collaborative effort/actions in order to get to
where the change-wishers want to be); i.e the proposers are not themselves
able at the moment of proposing change to constitute a changed entity That
state of affairs seems unavoidable and so, not a question for analysis, to
me, but I have no philosophical training, despite some inclination
Enough already - I've gone on long enough
Tom


On 22 January 2014 15:14, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com>wrote:

Tom,

I would agree with your yes...but for me their actions were
structural/humanist.  That is, as adorno points out in identitarian
logic...the thing (human) convicting the society of not identifying with
itself....is identical with the thing it is convicting...so the black
american leaders, like king, remained the thing they were against.  They
were americans simply convicting the society of not fully implementing its
structural concepts...they were not asking for new structural concepts...


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com
www.readingroomcurriculum.com



-------- Original message --------
From: Tom Richardson <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com>
Date:01/22/2014  9:52 AM  (GMT-05:00)
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

Dear Paul
At the risk of being facetious, and I am actually serious, the answer to
all three questions must be yes. But you didn't ask me and I'm looking
forward to Andy B.'s answer(s).
Tom Richardson
Middlesbrough UK


On 22 January 2014 14:47, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <pmocombe@mocombeian.com
wrote:
Within the logic of
"Men make their
own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it
under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing
already, given and transmitted from the past", how is it people come to
change the world?  Dialectically (negative)? Based on your logic, andy,
would you say that the leaders of the black american civil rights
movement
changed the world?... if so, was that a humanist act or a structural one?

Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com
www.readingroomcurriculum.com

<div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Andy Blunden <
ablunden@mira.net> </div><div>Date:01/22/2014  8:50 AM  (GMT-05:00)
</div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
</div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
International
</div><div>
</div>Humanism and individualism (either methodological or ethical) are
two
quite different things. Humanism is an extremely broad category, and I
think that very broadly humanism on one side, and structuralism
(together with functionalism and poststructuralism) on the other is one
way of viewing the social theoretical and ethical matrix. I identify as
a humanist because I do *not* see people (individually or collectively)
as prisoners of structures and functions, "interpellated" and
"subjectified" by great social powers, but rather that "Men make their
own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it
under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing
already, given and transmitted from the past". There is absolutely
nothing individalist about that position, but since agency is not an
illusion, it does pose the serious problem of how agency exists.
This is an important ethical and scientific question. If you stand on
the side of structuralism, you may be able to describe and even explain
how societies reproduce themselves, and how people betray each other,
make wars, waste their time in fruitless struggles, and in general show
themselves to be subjectified and interpellated, but it can never tell
you how a social formation at a certain point failed to reproduce itself
and was overthrow in favour of another, how people act in solidarity
with others, how people stop a war, how struggles turn out sometimes to
not be fruitless and in general how people change the world.
Science is always for a purpose.
Structuralism is for the purpose of interpreting the world; humanism is
for the purpose of both understanding and changing it.

Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.mira.net/~andy/


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
I have a problem with this notion of humanism being thrown around.
  How is your humanism any different from althusser's "humanism"?
  Althusser, for me, represents an aspect of our being in the world
which highlights our unreflective acceptance of rules and ideas as the
nature of our being in the world...Whereas the humanist claim Andy and
rauno point to speaks to a sort of cartesian rational or
self-conscious individual being.  The latter two want to establish
society based on such an individual, I.e., subject...whereas,
althusser is suggesting that not only is there no such individual, but
"there is no subject but by and for their subjection.."   So it
appears as though you humanists are attempting to do what capitalists
have done, manufacture subjects...will your humanist subjects be
better than the laborers and consumers of capitalism?  In what sense?
  How will you reproduce them?  How will they be defined?


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com
www.readingroomcurriculum.com


-------- Original message --------
From: Rauno Huttunen
Date:01/22/2014 5:13 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: ablunden@mira.net,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

Hello,

I am also a humanist but I still like to read Althusser. Althusser's
theory of science and social theory are very interesting
(generalization I-III, intransitive causality [generative causality?],
ideological state apparatus etc.). With the help of Giddens is
possible to make kind of humanistic interpretation on Althusser's
social theory.

Althusser's former student (many famous French thinker were
Althusser's students; Foucault, Derrida, Bourdieu, Badiou, Debray...)
Jacques Ranciere is also very interesting. He break away from
Althusser's school in 1970th and started his own kind of humanistic
critical social theory. In his book "The Nights of Labor: The Workers'
Dream in Nineteenth-Century France" Ranciere claims that Althusserians
really don't care about working class, their intentions, their
feelings, their thought, their dreams etc.. Althusserians say that
they represents the objective interests of working class but actually
they are telling to working class how workers should think and feel.
For Ranciere Alhusserianism is just another form of ruling elite's
ideology; ruling class ideology is just replaced with Althusserian
party ideology.

Rauno Huttunen

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: 22. tammikuuta 2014 4:34
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

I don't know how you claim to be an optimist, Paul. For my part, I am
deeply hostile to Althusser's entire project. Structuralism is itself
the paradigm of the ideology of modern capitalism. I am a humanist.
"Who
will take that self-conscious act?" you ask. Obviously the answer is
that the agent will be a collaborative project, itself the product of
many collaborative projects, and yes, organic intellectuals have a role
to play it that project. But "a gramscian organic intellectual" is not
a
serious answer, as if it were a case of one person. But "The majority"
(or intellectuals I presume you mean) is an empirical abstraction. So
what? Who is counting? As if intellectual act as a unity according to
majority votes of all intellectuals? Abstractions!

Andy

------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.mira.net/~andy/


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
But your position, andy, begs the question who will take that
self-conscious act...a gramscian organic intellectual?  Where are
they?  They are not in africa for instance...evo morales in latin
america?  I am with althusser on this one.  The majority have been
interpellated by and through ideological apparatuses that present
capitalism as the nature of reality as such.  The masses think they
can all be and live like Mike (michael jordan), the atlanta
housewives, and basketball wives.  They love capitalism more than the
capitalists....


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com
www.readingroomcurriculum.com



-------- Original message --------
From: Andy Blunden
Date:01/21/2014 9:00 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

Which brings us back to what on Earth is meant by "mind," Paul, but
no,
it is not my understanding at all that capitalism exists irrespective
of
the armed bodies of men and their political off-shoots which protect
those relations. Unlike you though, Paul, I do not ascribe a
personality
to "the Earth," or "humanity," "the poor," or "us academics." What I
am
saying however is that the overthrow of capitalist social relations
and
thus the state which protects it, is a self-conscious act, a
collaborative project, not something which emerges mindlessly out of
the
social process.

Andy

------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.mira.net/~andy/


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
Bill,

You speak of capitalism as though it has a mind of its own, I.e.,
the
free market.  No such thing as  Karl polanyi demonstrates in "the
great transformation...The state has kept capitalism alive and
going
amidst it's crises.  The question becomes can we have a humanist
capitalism somewhere between adam smith's "theory of moral
sentiments"
and his "wealth of nations." Revisionist Marxists such as Bernstein
grappled with this question, and it continues to plague twenty
first
century socialists.


Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
President
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
www.mocombeian.com
www.readingroomcurriculum.com


-------- Original message --------
From: Bill Kerr
Date:01/21/2014 8:15 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Andy Blunden ,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International

My contention is that capitalism has these economic
characteristics:
1) General increase in standard of living
2) Increasing gap b/w rich and poor
3) Instability: periodic economic crises

If you only talk about (2) without mentioning (1) then it is hard
to
grasp
why people put up with capitalism. Bill and Melinda Gates just talk
about
(1) and ignore the other aspects. See

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579324530112590864
If you can't stomach Bill and Melinda there are other version of
this
narrative. This video (Hans Rosling, GapMinder) is interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo

The historical record suggests to me that provided (1) is
maintained
then
people will continue to tolerate capitalism. Whether capitalism can
maintain (1) depends on (3). The crisis of 2008 and the Occupy Wall
Street
movement suggested to me that it was time to do some serious study
of
Marx's unfinished project or alternatively other economic theories
such as
Post Keynesian (Hyman Minsky, Steve Keen et al) which recognise the
inherent instability of capitalism. My tentative conclusion is that
we
just
don't understand capitalism and it is very hard to understand. eg.
if
capitalists can muddle through the downturns by printing more money
and the
very serious economic downturns can be delayed by 70 years (Great
Depression to 2008) then that might be a formula for survival (?)
Absurd
simplification on my part.




On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM, 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
         >>>>   >>>>
         >>>>     >>>>       >>>>        >>>   >>>     >>>
>> >> >
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