The title sounds fascinating Michael. the text would be even better, if we could see it. People writing prose that eyes never shareNoone dareDisturb the sound of silence(a music day, for sure!)
Yes it is fascinating. Are the differences perverse or are the perverse different?
The red highlighted title is the link.
Several comments:1. I think you should post the draft as a PDF rather than a word (doc) file. The free Open Office software will import doc files and save as PDF, if you don't have any other software available.Word files have been known to contain viruses and this make some reluctant to download them. There is no need for readers to be able to edit either.2. Historical analysis is all the vogue these days, but it leaves one open to being derailed. All the authorities you cited, for example, postulate idealized prior societies. None are accurate, and thus one can easily get into a discussion as to whether, say, Rome was really as depicted. This is a distraction.3. I assume that you are writing as an economist, rather than as a historian, and thus your objective is to make (or imply) some proposed course of action to be undertaken now. If your recommendations are going to be helpful they should be able to stand on their own merit and not have to rely on appeals to prior authorities. This is a standard approach for ideologues (especially those who refer to specific key writings), but has no place in science (either physical or social). A good idea is a good idea.4. The issue of the day is one of a looming resource shortage (or conversely overpopulation). You treat this at the end of your paper. I think you don't give it enough emphasis. It will be defining factor of the 21st Century. The industrial revolution allowed mankind to produce more than could be consumed by those running the machines. This led to the rise of capitalism and consumerism. Creating demand for unneeded products is one of the triumphs of 20th Century. Does one really need an avocado knife?My hobby horse is trying to find a replacement for capitalism/consumerism which will lead to a sustainable society. I'm not having much success in getting those who appreciate the problems to focus on solutions. Perhaps this paper isn't the place for such discussions, but as you allude to non-renewable resource depletion you might consider writing about this in the future.
Thank you very much, Robert.
An interesting paper. You have two 20th century authors who wrote about cities combined with several 19th students of economics and agronomy. I guess one question is, have any more modern economists written about the city-country problem? If not, this might be mentioned. And should people like Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson be mentioned? I think the point of your paper is, the relationship of city to country is a core problem and we need to solve it is order to survive. Is this said in so many words? It ought to be. Sustainable agriculture is apparently labor intensive, which means people have to be moved back into the country. Fuel costs may well mean that we will have to move back to locally produced food; and there is probably no better way to get rid of many urban waste products than to recycle them into fertilizer. Urban sprawl has to go. We can't afford the energy cost or the loss of farm land. I just read an article by Richard Levins on Cuba's agriculture. It's an interesting vision of what might be our future. There are several essays on agriculture in the new Lewontin-Levins collection from the MR Press. Not long. They might be worth checking. I realize this is a paper, not a book, and you probably don't want to extend the length. But maybe a few small references, or maybe simply some restructuring. Take my comments for what they may be worth. I am working outside all my areas of competence.
Robert,I'd suggest that you've not found a solution to the "problem" of capitalilsm/consumerism because ideologies are never the problem. It is the behavior of those who preach and/or practice an ideologythat lies at the roots of inhumanity. Whatever systemic architecture is constructed for the purpose conducting economic activity, it is still a human artifact and subject to the human characteristic of avaricious greed.Not that all of a population may be so characterized, but a sufficient percentage has shown the truth of the old adage, "There is nothing humane about human behavior."
Do you know how I can tell that you are a heterodox economist? You release your preprints as Word documents, and not as PDFs (which is what the theory of rational expectations dictates.)
Next time I write something as long as the above, I'll put in paragraphs.On reflection, I think the paper simply needs a little restructing or maybe a simple statement, made very clearly, because people miss things if you don't say them clearly and more than once: the relationship between city and country is problematic. Here is what some people have said about it. And also, this needs futher discussion and study.I also think of the Mike Davis book, Planet of Slums. But the last thing you need is a reading list, until you start the book on this topic.
Jack:I don't want to hijack this thread with a discussion of my ideas, so I'll just refer you to my web site:EssaysMy point is that capitalism is based upon growth (needed because capital must be repaid with interest) and that this conflicts with the idea of a steady-state economy.However, without the ability to generate profits from using non-renewable resources there is no way for people to "invest" for the future. Imagine no compound interest and you can see what a change this would require in current social norms.
Robert D FeinmanI think you are wrong about capital implying "GROWTH". It depends what you mean by growth and what you mean by capital. The return of capital investment can be in savings in costs (think of insulating your home for instance). And the need for compound interest comes from a credit economy not from accumulating capital itself. And not all growth (same example) involves more resource use. I've said it before, there is nothing INHERENT in capitalism that makes it incompatible with a no or low growth economy. I suggest you stop thinking of capitalism as the problem and just start thinking about what a sustainable economy might look like institutionally.
Engels' tightened circumstances had disastrous consequences for Marx's finances , whose ??? Marx's tenuous relationship with the New York Tribune was finally severed in that year.
OK having read it all, and quite enjoyed it, I was left wondering how it all ties together and whether it fits with the title. It could be of course that the title is given (presumably it is announced in advance). But while town and country were addressed, I didn't feel there was an adequate explaination for the perverse bit. I also find that the various bits of history of economic thought, intermingled with your own thought lacked logical development. There were lots of ideas there, but not a coherent effort to tie them all together in a single narrative.Yes I understand, that you are interpreting the perversity as a problem with resource management, partly resulting from the breaking of the bond of awareness that the country dweller has for the environment.But having read Jane Jacobs, I find her argument that the very concentration of the problems that are dispersed on the land, in the cities, increases the effort expended on their solution. That cities today (and their inhabitants) are often HEALTHIER than the land is. Environmental consciousness is greater, not lesser than it was.If you have read Tim Flannery you will be aware of the argument that even the Australian Aborigines, who eventually reached almost a steady state existance for thousands of years, were initially very destructive.I would be interested to read your discussion, by the way, on the paradox of the reason why development of the cities ends up being associated with rural impoverishment (the farmworker paradox). There is no active link in the paper.
No Robert, focusing on the human element in regards to the distortion of resources acquisition, distribution and depletion is not to hijack this thread. I'd suggest that economists spend too much time and words focused on concepts and ideologies as though they were somehow independent of human activity. In fact they are only constructions, after the fact, which seek to describe human behavior, but in a way that is devoid of human content. Does greed occur without human interaction? Is an economic system independent of a human element? It would be more constructive if economists would begin to focus on the role of human behavior in economic affairs. Possibly that might lead to a shedding of light on the reasons for the many inadequacies that are the phenomenon of economic systems. Perelman notes in his conclusion, "Finding ways to both preserve and share the resources equitably is perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind." That must be the oldest insight in all of human documented history. How many times does that goal have to be restated to be recognized as the hackneyed concept that it is? No, it's not an inappropriate goal. It's reiteration simply emphasizes its illusory character. Is town and country a euphemism for rich and poor or owners and workers? What part of the historical record, which is replete with dire warnings of doom, suggests that mankind, as a whole, has the foresight to consider a best path ideology. The history of mankind is to seek power and wealth as a means to security, but the result is that mankind reverse power and wealth in the name of security. "Putting a stop to this squandering of human potential..." How will that occur? What is squandered is spent. What is spent had value. To squander and spend is to transfer that value. That is economics in a nut shell. Human potential is squandered in the name of someone's wealth and power.It's all about human interaction. It's not at all about ideologies. Social change does not occur by consensus. It occurs by the interaction of many disparate reactions to the squandering of human potential. Action and reaction is the only historically evidenced option for change. Philosophy and ideology have nothing to do with it.
Won't - and can't - download doc files so am left to guess about content.And will guess that the old Lewis model might have application, though only after modifications which take capital deepening and expansion into account, i.e. that the former's relative diminishment of living labor within capitalist production process cannot always be offset via more growth but, contrary to Lewis' assumption, result in a growing and permanent mass of semi-proletarians and expanding moreless subsistance informal sector. The Lewis model then becomes one of interacting modes of production, capitalist and not-capitalist, a symbiotic relation in which the latter simultaneously subsidizes and retards the former.NB the 'not-capitalist' is both rural and urban but, with migration, increasingly the latter, and in a sense might be seen as capital's negating of itself, a realizing of limits.Sorry, this needs more development but hopefully you see what I mean beyond the normally considered 'reserve army of labor'.
Post a Comment