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

Greg, the contrast I made was between science and tradition as the source of authority for knowledge. It is, as I said, not an absolute or sharp distinction - science is largely tradition and tradition must withstand the test of the viability of its lifestyle and change when necessary. Nothing to do with structures and projects. I agree, both science and the various traditional forms of praxis are projects.

*Andy Blunden*

Greg Thompson wrote:
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...

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 5:06 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto: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 Blunden*
    http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>

    Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:


        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

        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
        The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
        www.mocombeian.com <http://www.mocombeian.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
        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
        changed the world irreversibly and if the world is still
        that is just as things should be.
        There is no such thing as "structuralist action" and "humanist
        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
        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
        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
        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
        step is a revolution. But you can't turn straight to the last
        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 Blunden*
        http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>

        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 <http://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 <mailto: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
        > attempting to achieve an actual adherence to behaviour(s)
        that their
        > society posits as arising from its guiding principles, or by
        > 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
        > 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
        > Enough already - I've gone on long enough
        > Tom
        > On 22 January 2014 15:14, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
        <pmocombe@mocombeian.com <mailto: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
        >> 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 <http://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 <mailto: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 <mailto: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
        >>> 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
        >>>      >> 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 <http://www.mocombeian.com>
        >>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
        >>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From:
        Andy Blunden <
        >>> ablunden@mira.net <mailto: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
        >>> (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
        >>> 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
        >>> already, given and transmitted from the past". There is
        >>> nothing individalist about that position, but since agency
        is not an
        >>> illusion, it does pose the serious problem of how agency
        >>> 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
        >>> 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/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>> 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
        >>>>   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
        >>>> 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
        >>>> 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 <http://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
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>,"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
        >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
        >>>> Hello,
        >>>> I am also a humanist but I still like to read Althusser.
        >>>> theory of science and social theory are very interesting
        >>>> (generalization I-III, intransitive causality [generative
        >>>> ideological state apparatus etc.). With the help of
        Giddens is
        >>>> possible to make kind of humanistic interpretation on
        >>>> 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
        >>>> critical social theory. In his book "The Nights of Labor:
        The Workers'
        >>>> Dream in Nineteenth-Century France" Ranciere claims that
        >>>> really don't care about working class, their intentions,
        >>>> 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
        >>>> party ideology.
        >>>> Rauno Huttunen
        >>>> -----Original Message-----
        >>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        >>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of Andy
        >>>> Sent: 22. tammikuuta 2014 4:34
        >>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
        >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam
        >>>> 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
        >>>>        >> "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/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>>> 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 <http://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
        >>>>> 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/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>>>> 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
        >>>>>>            >> first
        >>    >>>>>> century socialists.
        >>>>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
        >>>>>> President
        >>>>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
        >>>>>> www.mocombeian.com <http://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
        >>>>>> 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
        >>>>>>            >>
        >>    >>>>>> 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 <mailto: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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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>
        >>>>>>>>                >> <mailto:
        >>    >>>>>>>> ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>
        >>>>>>>>      But your foundation is active in combatting
        >>>>>>>>                >> through
        >>    >>>>>>>>      literacy. "Every step of real movement is
        more important
        >>>>>>>>                >> than
        >>    >>> a
        >>>      >>>>>>>>      dozen programmes," as one very serious
        theorist said.
        >>>>>>>>      Andy
        >>>>>>>>                >>
>> >>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
        >>>>>>>> ------------
        >>>>>>>>      *Andy Blunden*
        >>>>>>>>      http://home.mira.net/~andy/
        <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/> <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
        >>>>>>>>      Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
        >>>>>>>>          At 38 I am differing to my elders on this
        >>>>>>>>                >> 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> <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 |
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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.
        >>>>>>>>                >> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >> 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/> <
        >>>>>>>>                >>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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
        <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
        >>>>>>>>                >>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>> 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> <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> <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
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>,"eXtended Mind, Culture,
        >>>>>>>>                >>>> Activity"
        >>>>        >>>>>>>>          <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
        <mailto: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
        >>>>>>>>          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
        >>>>>>>>                >>> 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>
        <mailto: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
        <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
        >>>>>>>>          >> Andy, is this practical project something
        that can be
        >>>>>>>>          undertaken and completed in real-time as a
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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
        <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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >> 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
        <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
        >>>>>>>>                >> 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
        >>>>>>>>          >>> 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
        >>>>>>>>                >>>> 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