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



Greg,

What is so unique about haitian culture is how protean the traditional is...During slavery you had 4 distinct types (rada, nago, petwo, and ginen) of vodou cultures existing on the island...following bois caiman they were fused, all of the lwaes are greeted in ceremonies.  In fact, jeans jacques dessalines (San jak) became a lwae, a manifestation of ogou, in the pantheon.  Today they operate under one organization (knva) led by Max beauvoir...In fact, I am working on a book now titled, "vodou, contemporary quantum physics, and phenomenological structuralism"...i highlight the parallels between vodou, modern physics, and a social ontology I am calling phenomenological structuralism as representing both the phenomenal and noumenal world's of Immanuel kant.  This is my attempt to demonstrate how "modern" vodou really is.

Lastly, why is it that people doubt communalism as being problematic for a future global politics.  We can universalize individualism via capitalism and neoliberalism, but we can not universalize communalism?  We better because if we continue down the path we are heading we are on the verges of a clash of civilizations (huntington' s term...)...what the castro brothers and Hugo Chavez have done (free training of haitian doctors; building of hospitals, homes, and schools on the island) for haiti is on the verge of this communal principle I envision global politics must take.  They have done all they do with respect for our sovereignty,  the people, and culture....it is base on reciprocity. ..they are grateful for what we did for their own revolutionary struggles of the nineteenth century.


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

<div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> </div><div>Date:01/23/2014  2:19 PM  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International </div><div>
</div>Sorry to jump in sideways here, but Andy, isn't your notion of "tradition"
a bit too reified? That is, a bit too much like structure (which you aptly
criticize)?
Aren't traditions just the projects of a community of people?

Changes in tradition don't change nearly as quickly as science (seldom will
you see such changes that are shorter than a lifetime). But to say that
traditions are not always up for the testing and failing in practice seems
to ignore tens of thousands of years of human history in which precisely
this process has been happening. Over and over and over again...

The sacred may be "sacred" in theory/ideology, but that doesn't mean that
it is unchangeable in practice.

And to Paul, following Andy, I wonder if your approach leaves room for the
transformation of tradition into the future, that is, allowing for it to
change into something completely different altogether? Or is there some
essence to tradition (e.g., of Haitian vodou) that must remain?
(and I suspect that might get to Andy's question of process and
processualism - processualists don't like essences...).

And one last note, the communalism that you describe Paul, is a common
feature of traditional cultures around the globe. Sharing resources for the
common good might indeed be the hallmark of humanity (were it not for late
industrial capitalism!). It is an admirable one. Yet, going forward, I have
my doubts about it as a global politics b.c. it is almost always a bounded
notion - i.e. the "community" is bounded. One shares in community with kin
and ancestors or clan members, but one has no debt to outsiders. This seems
like it would present some difficulties in terms of global politics. I
think this is where Marx is sharpest - he proposed that in the future, we
will come to recognize a community of humankind that has no such
boundaries, such that you (we!) recognize a kinship to the Hmong woman
suffering in southern China under local as well as global forms of
oppression as well as the Inuit man doing the same in northern Alaska and
as the child in Paraguay. I think Marx offers a way of imagining such a
kinship of humanity - and he says that it turns out that it is capitalism
that accomplishes this! Capitalism provides a means by which we Americans
come into a kind intercourse with others around the globe. Granted most of
us are blind to the hands the touched the clothes that lay against our skin
right now as we speak.

Quick object lesson, take a look at your shirt label and imagine the hands
of the person who was sewing this garment. Suddenly the collapse of a
garment factory in Bangladesh becomes a great deal more intimate than it
ever could have been a hundred or so years ago. The person who made the
very sweater that warms you could have died in that collapse.

And this point of Marx's makes me quite a bit more agnostic about Wendell
Barry's point about avoiding complicated technologies. I agree the we need
to avoid dependence upon them. But why not hack it for your/our ends?

But I ramble...
-greg


On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 5:06 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Paul, you make a true point, which perhaps I have overlooked. You make a
> distinction between an ethic and a praxis. By ethic I mean the deontology
> which specifies for you what is the right thing to do. By praxis I mean a
> unity of theory and practice which guides you as someone who seeks, in
> collaboration with others, some end. Now for me the two are identical, but
> it has taken a lot of work to get to a point where my praxis is equally
> ethical as scientific. There cannot be a sharp line between the two. But
> the distinction you make clarifies what you are saying. It is not necessary
> that someone is able to justify what they are doing by saying "... so that
> ..." I just do this because it is the right thing to do. That is fine.
>
> So you have embaced, not just Western Marxism, but a specific strand of
> Western Marxism which lays its emphasis on structure. This is not the only
> brand of Western Marxism.
> As David Preiss remarked, my comments were descriptive "not only of
> politics but also of citizenship." Making projects the key concept of my
> ethical and theoretical thinking is not only about how the world changes,
> but how it is. That is, I do not see the world made up of either srtuctures
> or individuals, but processes, in particular (us being human beings)
> *projects*. But if you embrace the anti-dialectical view that the world is
> individuals on one side and structures on the other, then it is blindingly
> obvious that if you were to ask which is the really determining factor, the
> really powerful one, it is obviously the social structures (ideologies,
> etc.). But why make this dichotomy in the first place? The answer is: to do
> science. The idea of structures gives one a powerful lens in which to
> describe and explain the world, in particular how is reproduces and
> maintains itself, how it "works." But the down side is that structures
> *cannot* explain how those structures (really) change, how they come to be
> broken. But you are a human being. When you put down your books and go into
> the world you act like a human being, not a machine. You try, you
> endeavour, you struggle. Because you are human.
>
> One last point. The difference between science (whether Marxist or
> positivist) and tradition is that while both change over time and both have
> tendencies within them which resist change, it is in the very essence of
> science that its theories are always up for testing and of failing the test
> of practice - nothing is sacred. This is not true of tradition. As you say,
> Marxism is a science, in the best sense of the word. What proved right last
> week may be thrown out next week if it fails the test of practice.
> Structural Marxism has failed.
> If anything unites the people on this list at all, it is an interest in
> CHAT - Cultural Historical Activity Theory. Although originating in the
> USSR it is not "Soviet Marxism." In fact it was brutally suppressed in the
> Soviet Union. Some people still take an "Activity" to be a system or a
> structure, but others, myself included, take it as a "project", that which
> challenges and changes structures. "Ontological" speaking, the world is not
> structures. That is just a way of seeing the world, as structures. As
> static and absolutely resistant to change. But you can see it differently,
> more humanly, as processes. The glass is half full.
>
> Andy
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>
>
> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
>
>> Andy,
>>
>> I am a product of an alternative structuring than that of the protestant
>> ethic and the spirit of capitalism.  I was raised in a small province of
>> Haiti, Le borgne, by my grandparents who served the lwaes of my ancestors
>> and country...i am a product of the haitian/african "vodou ethic and the
>> spirit of communism" of that province.  It is from that practical
>> consciousness that my teaching and activism stems.  The women, like blacks
>> in america, of the 70s, 80s, 90s...did not change the world...they sought
>> to participate in it as constituted by rich, white, protestant,
>> heterosexual men...Prior to her death my grandmother, who could not read
>> and write, "could not understand why women wanted to wear pant suits and
>> act like men..."
>>
>> In my 3rd year in grad school my grandmother sat me down and said,
>>
>> "Poh (her nickname for me)...the universe blessed you with tremendous
>> intelligence do not use it for personal wealth or to benefit yourself
>> because there are countless people who sacrificed their own education so
>> that you can have yours.  Your life work belongs to their service and the
>> poor you have left behind in haiti. .."  she went on to say, "I know all
>> the stuff the white people in the university have taught you have made you
>> an atheist, but you are not white, you are haitian/african, you owe your
>> freedom to no man, but to the lwaes of your ancestors who blessed you with
>> your intelligence to serve them and the poor...never abandon them, pray
>> daily, and always remember that the universe is and must be your frame of
>> reference...no matter what the white people say"
>> I am a Marxist in the western tradition because that is the only
>> tradition I came across in the West that is in line with the African
>> communal ethic my grandparents instilled in me.  It is from my vodou ethic
>> and the spirit of communism that i see the destruction wrought on by
>> Western practical consciousness,  and it is from that ethic that I seek to
>> change the world.
>> We must not fight and protest to recursively reorganize and reproduce and
>> participate in a practical consciousness that is bent on raping the earth
>> and it's resources, and exploiting and starving the masses of people while
>> a few drive automobiles...that is absurd and insane!
>>
>>
>>
>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
>> President
>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
>> www.mocombeian.com www.readingroomcurriculum.com
>>
>> -------- Original message --------
>> From: Andy Blunden
>> Date:01/22/2014 7:16 PM (GMT-05:00)
>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>> Subject: [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.
>
>


-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson