Who Rules America?

Who Rules America?
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Posted Aug 7, 2011 - 8:13 AM:

Legion wrote:
However, I also believe it is morally repuganant to try to sieze the wealth of the wealthy and give it to the poor. This would abrogate private property which I think is a critical right.

This right is an incredibly immaterial one. It also doesn't just come in black and white.

Property/possession/owning hasn't changed a bit, at base, throughout history. It is backed by force, whether directly as in primitive domination, or indirectly through some kind of system of laws and police/military. It simply states that "If you use 'this thing' without my permission, I have the force to punish you for doing so". Property is a deterrent with absolutely zero connection between the owner and that which is owned. There is no material link whatsoever.

Once fear of force is instilled, it is as though there were a link - and this is a positive thing for those who would not otherwise have sufficient force to claim anything as their own.

But the story doesn't end here, the solution to your problem lies in a huge variance in the conditions of owning. For example:

Say you have a company that attracts a wide customer base, such that the company attracts lots of income. What is the link between money going into the company and it then being owned by anyone at all in the company? It is a purely ideological arrangement based on an immaterial arrangement with the authorities of law and force.

How can it be said that this is property? If this were altered to another of the many agreements that could be made over property or lack of property, what would be being violated? Just one particular arranged immaterial agreement of many is being violated - and nothing real or entrenched in the workings of the material world. All that can be placed in the ideology of private property is a kind of faith that it "works", which is just the opinion of one person over another. If many don't agree then there is no law of nature that says we must hold onto this particular ideology of many anyway.

 

Further, if we are to agree on some kind of private property, it does not necessarily need to be applied to capital. I like having my own possessions and am willing to share them with those I trust. A reliable home that is not interfered with by others is comforting. But it is not simply a case of "either I have this private property or there can be no private property anywhere". Most people share the appreciation of the ideology of private personal possessions. But we can keep this and ditch the notion of privately owned capital.

It is privately owned capital that allows company "owners" to agree an unrepresentative wage with any workers, such that money flows towards capitalists and away from workers. The "Free Market" works with this ability in order to provide an excuse to pay workers less wages when they provide less rare contributions etc.

If is solely the two immaterial ideologies of Capitalism and the "Free Market" that cause "the same moral repugnance that many of you here have for the kind of wealth disparity we see in America". You cannot have private property in the workplace and "best help the poor to help themselves". Private property at home and in leisure time? - Sure. You don't have to give that up in giving up the current immaterial agreement over privately owned capital in the workplace.

If you desire private property even in the workplace, and you want less wealth disparity, you are asking to have your cake and eat it. This just does not and cannot work.

Maw
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Posted Aug 7, 2011 - 8:40 AM:

keda wrote:
I offer you the cure and hope that you will listen to reason.


Reason? The insane, incredible unequal distribution of wealth is reason to you? This reminds me of what Peter Kropotkin wrote in On Order, a short work describing what Anarchism stands for and doesn't stand for. Anti-anarchists, wrote Kropotkin, believed that anarchists were against Order. But what was order at the time? Order was:

"nine-tenths of mankind working to provide luxury, pleasure and the satisfaction of the most disgusting passions for a handful of idlers....Order is nine-tenths being deprived of everything which is a necessary condition for a decent life, for the reasonable development of intellectual faculties....Order is an infinitesimal minority raised to positions of power, which for this reason imposes itself on the majority and which raises children to occupy the same positions later so as to maintain the same privileges by trickery, corruption, violence and butchery...Order is the continuous warfare of man against man, trade against trade, class against class, country against country...Order is slavery, thought in chains, the degradation of the human race maintained by sword and lash."

And so than what was "disorder"? What was the "chaos" that the anarchists tried to bring?

"And disorder - what *they* call disorder?

It is the rising of the people against this shameful order, bursting their bonds, shattering their fetters and moving towards a better future. It is the most glorious deeds in the history of humanity."


The era might have changed, but the principles remain largely the same. So is the uneven distribution of wealth that Bittercrank described in detail reasonable in any way? What exactly is reasonable about having the wealth and power concentrated in such an small minority? This is does not make for a healthy society, nor is it the type of society I would like to see continue. How to change it? Perhaps expropriation as Bittercrank suggests. Perhaps a non-forced social movement? Either way we clearly need a paradigm change.
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#33 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Aug 7, 2011 - 9:07 AM:

Maw wrote:

Reason? The insane, incredible unequal distribution of wealth is reason to you?

I neither argued for nor against "incredible unequal distribution of wealth".
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Posted Aug 7, 2011 - 11:57 AM:

This is from today's New York Times:

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Posted Aug 20, 2011 - 4:20 PM:

RE: "Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts so far. If you went to the link above or previously know of Domhoff, then what are your thoughts here?"

I went to the link above to learn about mr Domhoff for the first time and read some of his stuff. He's an eloquent, reasonable sort of fellow as you should expect from a trained professor. After reading a little bit more of what he and his colleagues(on his supplied links) write, it seems that they have it all work out, in thier own worlds anyway!

I especially like the way they can see the shared delusional thinking that occurs within organisational/social movements/groups in a historical context. But it seems that mr Domhoff and his fellows clearly believe they are immune to delusional thinking themselves(as do all of us that are deluded [by definition?!]). Another likelihood is that Prof Domhoff may be exhibiting behaviours similar to those men described by Upton Sinclair here:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

OK. Sorry. What exactly am I talking about?
To be more precise, I am referring to his page entitled "There are no conspiracies" (Read the stereotypical picture he paints [it's disgraceful] here: sociology.ucsc.edu/whorules...ica/theory/conspiracy.html)


For all the "virtues" this guy may have he has no credibility as far as I am concerned. I recommend readiing something more credible: like Carroll Quigley(e.g. Tragedy and Hope) or Edward Bernays (propaganda) [if you haven't already]. This may motivate you to towards more critical research that will help you to find the answers to the questions you ask.

However, If I were to suppose(as I should) you posted your questions for interesting discussion (as is the typical purpose of forums in general...der?) then all I choose to contibute is this:

RE Legion's question: "Increasingly here I am thinking about the poor. How can we best help them to help themselves? How can we maximize their opportunities for gaining economic and social clout?"

Ideally, just give them money. But that's too simple. So simple that it is too hard. How about some contrived social/economic engineering? :train the poor to be more motivated towards earning money, create more jobs: We need more wage slaves to prop up the ponzi scheme. Sounds naive to me. Realistcally...we can do nothing. Talk here is cheap.

All indications I see are that America civilisation is, by design (or incompetence), on its way down now[ever so slowly]. I don't really know, I live over here in the peripheral civilization of Australia.

Frankly: I believe we all care about the poor, and we don't want there to be poor people. In this way, I empathise with you legion. The sentiments you express are old age, noble, true and right(and cliche). And any real solution does not belong in this world, no matter how much we may pretend. Now...all you have to do is prove me wrong!

Sorry for not being more positive.

Go on.... take the red pill. You just might be awed by all the lies you might believe wink
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Posted Aug 20, 2011 - 8:17 PM:


just wrote:
RE: "Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts so far. If you went to the link above or previously know of Domhoff, then what are your thoughts here?"

I went to the link above to learn about mr Domhoff for the first time and read some of his stuff. He's an eloquent, reasonable sort of fellow as you should expect from a trained professor. After reading a little bit more of what he and his colleagues(on his supplied links) write, it seems that they have it all work out, in thier own worlds anyway!

I especially like the way they can see the shared delusional thinking that occurs within organisational/social movements/groups in a historical context. But it seems that mr Domhoff and his fellows clearly believe they are immune to delusional thinking themselves(as do all of us that are deluded [by definition?!]). Another likelihood is that Prof Domhoff may be exhibiting behaviours similar to those men described by Upton Sinclair here:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

OK. Sorry. What exactly am I talking about?
To be more precise, I am referring to his page entitled "There are no conspiracies" (Read the stereotypical picture he paints [it's disgraceful] here: sociology.ucsc.edu/whorules...ica/theory/conspiracy.html)


For all the "virtues" this guy may have he has no credibility as far as I am concerned. I recommend readiing something more credible: like Carroll Quigley(e.g. Tragedy and Hope) or Edward Bernays (propaganda) [if you haven't already]. This may motivate you to towards more critical research that will help you to find the answers to the questions you ask.

What is your problem with "There are no Conspiracies"?  Are you sure you read it with just a little care?  What, do you think the country IS infested with conspiracies? 


just wrote:
However, If I were to suppose(as I should) you posted your questions for interesting discussion (as is the typical purpose of forums in general...der?) then all I choose to contibute is this:

RE Legion's question: "Increasingly here I am thinking about the poor. How can we best help them to help themselves? How can we maximize their opportunities for gaining economic and social clout?"

Ideally, just give them money. But that's too simple. So simple that it is too hard. How about some contrived social/economic engineering? :train the poor to be more motivated towards earning money, create more jobs: We need more wage slaves to prop up the ponzi scheme. Sounds naive to me. Realistcally...we can do nothing. Talk here is cheap.

All indications I see are that America civilisation is, by design (or incompetence), on its way down now[ever so slowly]. I don't really know, I live over here in the peripheral civilization of Australia.

Well, yes... we could just give them money.  That would be a good idea -- the problem with that plan is that the small proportion of people that have most of the money have it because they don't give it away."  The poor are poor because the rich are rich.  The rich don't get rich by magic.  They get rich (accumulate wealth) by taking it away from the productive working classes.  (It's called "profit".)   Actually, capitalism works the same way in Australia that it does here.  It works the same everywhere.  The USA has a larger discrepancy than you do because we have more money, in the first place, and secondly, an unchained capitalist class that is free to pillage as they see fit. 


just wrote:
Frankly: I believe we all care about the poor, and we don't want there to be poor people. In this way, I empathise with you legion. The sentiments you express are old age, noble, true and right(and cliche). And any real solution does not belong in this world, no matter how much we may pretend. Now...all you have to do is prove me wrong!

Sorry for not being more positive.

Go on.... take the red pill. You just might be awed by all the lies you might believe wink

Any real solution belongs precisely in this real world.  It's called "revolution."  Dispossess the rich of the wealth they dispossessed from everybody else.  Most people do not have any idea just how much wealth the wealthy rich people control.  It runs into the several trillions of dollars -- just in the United States, never mind the rest of the world. 

just
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Posted Aug 21, 2011 - 5:12 PM:

BitterCrank wrote:
What is your problem with "There are no Conspiracies"? Are you sure you read it with just a little care? What, do you think the country IS infested with conspiracies?

I wish I coud be naive enough to think "There are no conspiracies".

BitterCrank wrote:
"Any real solution belongs precisely in this real world. It's called "revolution." Dispossess the rich of the wealth they dispossessed from everybody else. Most people do not have any idea just how much wealth the wealthy rich people control. It runs into the several trillions of dollars -- just in the United States, never mind the rest of the world."

I see your "revolution" as more of a reaction, not a solution. The solution would be the plan of action after the revolution. We wouldn't want the Pigs to run the "Animal Farm" would we or would we?

Interestingly, and not suprisingly, from what I can tell so far[I know nothing], sociology tends to view conspiracism as a catalyst for revolutionary activity.



Edited by just on Aug 21, 2011 - 5:22 PM
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Posted Aug 21, 2011 - 5:38 PM:

The thing about conspiracy and who rules America, is that there has never been a conspiracy as such.  The goal of cornering the lion's share of wealth and power has always been an open and above board project.  The original accumulation of the great fortunes, in lumber, mining, refining, railroads, shipping, manufacturing, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, banking, construction, land ownership, and so on has never been conducted secretly, or hardly even in private.  Step by step, the original accumulators gathered wealth, million by million, until they were very, very rich.  They passed this on to the their successors who may or may not have continued the business.  But again, these transactions weren't conducted in secret.

"I" or "you" may not know the names of the rich because we haven't gone out of our way to find out, but if we so chose to look, we could find out.  It isn't a closely guarded secret.   That's why people have been able to write books about the rich and the superrich:  The information is public. 

That doesn't mean that you are going to get close to those with a lot of money, or me either.  The rich protect themselves as well as they can from unwelcome contacts.  Were I filthy rich, I would do the same thing.

Why is revolution reaction?  I don't think revolution is just around anybody's corner, but I also don't see change in society through force (revolution) as reactionary.  The most likely method of achieving dramatic change in social structure (dispossessing the rich of their wealth) will probably not involve violence at all -- it will be a result of pervasive social and political change.  But at some point, nobody knows where or when, some violence (use of guns) may be necessary to move the cause forward.  I don't see why that would be reactionary if it happened. 

I think radical leftists should resort to the political means at hand for change.  If, in the last analysis, change is a bullet away from happening, then shoot. 
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#39 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Oct 18, 2011 - 3:49 PM:

Bittercrank wrote: The thing about conspiracy and who rules America, is that there has never been a conspiracy as such.

Ok then. I am happy to agree to disagree with you on that one.


Bittercrank wrote: The goal of cornering the lion's share of wealth and power has always been an open and above board project. The original accumulation of the great fortunes, in lumber, mining, refining, railroads, shipping, manufacturing, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, banking, construction, land ownership, and so on has never been conducted secretly, or hardly even in private. Step by step, the original accumulators gathered wealth, million by million, until they were very, very rich. They passed this on to the their successors who may or may not have continued the business. But again, these transactions weren't conducted in secret.

Wow! No secrets even!

My goodness, where have you been? E.g.1: It is well documented that the basis of the federal reserve act was drafted in secret. E.g.2: If you were one of the victims of MK Ultra, would you feel like you have been manipulated with out you consent? you know: secretly?

It's almost as if you are responding without any knowledge with regards to my references to carroll quigley/edward bernays like you simply choose to ignore these critical points. Well, so be it.

What about my reference to the red pill? What is you understanding of the message that may convey?

Bittercrank wrote: I think radical leftists should resort to the political means at hand for change. If, in the last analysis, change is a bullet away from happening, then shoot.

Hmmm... yes... well... if you find yourself having to shoot, be careful: you wouldn't want to shoot yourself in the foot(again?).




Edited by Kamerynn on Oct 24, 2011 - 10:53 PM. Reason: capitalization
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Posted Oct 18, 2011 - 4:17 PM:

Legion wrote:
This opening post will likely lack general coherence and is probably not sufficiently philosophical. However, I was curious about who owns what the other day and went searching for "wealth distribution in America" on Google. I came across this guy named William Domhoff who appears to be a professor of sociology out of Santa Cruz.

Here's a link to his site... http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/

My thoughts and feelings about what I've been reading here are mixed. First let me say that I probably share the same moral repugnance that many of you here have for the kind of wealth disparity we see in America. It seems immediately unjust that some few have so much while so many have so little. Strangely, the wealth and largesse of people does not concern me, but then I've never really cared about having much more money than would provide for my basic needs and a few modest luxuries. What I'm trying to say is that I am not jealous of the rich. Their wealth is not the concern, their relative wealth is what brings forth concern. They prosper while others languish.

However, I also believe it is morally repuganant to try to sieze the wealth of the wealthy and give it to the poor. This would abrogate private property which I think is a critical right.

Increasingly here I am thinking about the poor. How can we best help them to help themselves? How can we maximize their opportunities for gaining economic and social clout?

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts so far. If you went to the link above or previously know of Domhoff, then what are your thoughts here?


Ah...I thought we were about to discuss The Power Elite (a book that argued that it is the Executive, Military, and Corporate Heads that rule America). Oh, well.

You help the poor help themselves by investing in their human capital - their skills, capabilities, etc. Education!

Something I read expressed beautifully what's causing America's economic woes - that businesses are investing abroad not because of taxes but because higher wages in the US are not sufficiently matched by higher skills, as they are in, say, Germany or Sweden. We are, to put it bluntly, simply uncompetitive in many industrial sectors.

Those who are...get a bigger slice of the pie from other nations who buy from us, and spend this slice on those who can buy its pieces with the most labor.
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