Thursday, September 19, 2019

Country Music

I have been watching Ken Burns's "Country Music"  series on PBS.  May not watch too much more of it as I am not that interested in more recent country music, although I like some of it.

So the big story of this series is how much of supposedly "white music" is of African-American origin.  I had long been aware of how the banjo was of African origin, the core country instrument beside the "fiddle," aka "violin," which is of European origin.  But it shows that most of the important early Country music people had serious interactions with black musicians, relying on them for finding music as well as helping them developing their own styles.  These figures include A.P. Carter, the founder of the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Johnnie Cash, and others.

All of this clearly rebukes the Country Music Association's rejection of this year's massive hit, "Old Country Road," as being officially "country music."  Despite the fantasies of ignorant current racists, country music and rhythm and blues and, jazz, not to mention rock and  roll, have always been curiously hybrid forms of music.

This also extends to rock and roll, with Elvis Presley coming originally out of hillbilly music with his sidemen of that origin.  His borrowing from Rhythm and Blues was nothing new.  Indeed, it was only in 1949 that Billboard shifted to calling what had been labeled "Race Music" to "Rhythm and Blues" and what had been "Hillbilly Music" to "Country and Western," with people like Bob Wills adding Latino and cowboy themes to whhat had earlier come out of southwestern Virginia with Carter family, later tied up with Johnie Cash, and Billie Rodgers out of Mississippi.  Both of these had African-American influences.

The earliest of these performers was arguably John Carson, recorded initially in 1923, who had been a textile worker in Atlanta.  Among those he performed for included both the KKK and the US Communist Party.  While originally an urban worker, he later moved to the rural Tennessee.

An ongoing theme involved class, with even Burns not showing this fully. Thus in the 1950s Patsy Cline was a big hit, with her song by Willie Nelson, "Crazy," one of the biggest selling songs of all time.  But the show did not depict how she was mistreated in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia, with this continuing until long after her death in a 1963 plane crash to the point that it was only quite recently that this city not too far from where I live finally figured out that they should overcome the longstanding disdain held by local elites against her and her "wrong side of town" background to honor her and her home, with much of this amounting to taking advantage of her popularity as a local girl made good and popular with tourists, even as the local elites continued to disdain her.

Anyway, the bottom line is that all of them: country, R&B, and rock and roll were racial hybrids with people from both Euripean traditions such as fiddlers as well as Africans with their banjos, and other influences as well, all drawing on each other.  Current country music rulers out of Nashville ruling out "Old Town Road" from being a country song because its singer is a black rapper, are simply ignoring hard history, as are those going the other way, ignoring European influences on supposedly "black music"

\Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...

Aside: These last few days there are reports from Ukraine that expressly fascist remembrances that were institutionalized during the last government are being undone. We should be hopeful and encouraged.

Unknown said...

The economic principle displayed here is that professional bodies, agencies, and organizations work to provide anti-market power to reinforce the status of the stablished against the challenge of innovation from outsiders. They are most successful when they are able to enlist the government and the law on their side. There are examples of government suppression of some types of music. In the USA direct government suppression was not prevalent; although, the FBI did investigate “Louie, Louie.”

Not Trampis said...

country music is quite easily the worst type of music known to man.

Take a jihad top it. said...

I have corrected an error that was in my post. Patsy Cline's fatal airplane crash happened in 1963, not in 1959.

RW said...

...massive hit, "Old Country Road," as being officially "country music."

Think you meant "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X w/ Billy Ray Cyrus; e.g., said...

Yes. Sorry about that.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

No distraction, back to science


Economics, math, pluralism, and corruption
Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘Computable economics’

Barkley Rosser summarizes: “Regarding the Horgan piece on pluralistic math, he is not up on the deeper aspects of this, which have been around for a long time, ….” and “This actually has spilled over into economics with the group calling themselves ‘computable economists’ …, whose leader has long been Kumaraswamy Vela Velupillai. He and his followers think basic economics theorems should be proven using constructicist methods, …” and “This is certainly very esoteric theoretical stuff without obvious direct implications for current policy disputes. It is also true that even within the world of pure economic theory, it may well be that this constructivist computable program may simply lead to the theory being harder to do or prove.”

The simple fact of the matter is that science is about true/false but 99.9 percent of any population are not scientists but live in the swamp between true/false where “nothing is clear and everything is possible.” (Keynes) This applies, in particular, to economists. The major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and ALL got the foundational concept of the subject matter ― profit ― wrong. What we actually have is the pluralism of provably false theories.

This, of course, is absolutely at odds with the very essence of science: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

Economists do not have the true theory to this day. Because of this, the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” is plain fraud.

Economists, of course, do not admit that they are stupid or corrupt or both but simply try to redefine science: “The first distinction you draw is that the old paradigm (OPE) is anti-pluralist (as in classical physics), while the new paradigm (NPE) is pluralist (as in modern physics).” (Fullbrook)#1, #2, #3

In order to cover their scientific failure and to justify swampiness, economists love to cite stuff they do not understand like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems or the alleged pluralism of mathematics.#4

The point to grasp is that pluralism is a political principle that can be traced back to the Peace of Westphalia which ended the European wars of religion in 1648. The guiding idea is since then the peaceful coexistence of incompatible religious beliefs and the end of attempts to prove hallucinatory religious truths by victory in battle.

This laudable political principle, though, does not carry over to science where truth comes in the singular and NOT as pluralism of provably false theories. The very characteristic of science is to replace the pluralism of opinions by certain knowledge.#6 Scientific truth is well-defined: “Research is, in fact, a continuous discussion of the consistency of theories: formal consistency insofar as the discussion relates to the logical cohesion of what is asserted in joint theories; material consistency insofar as the agreement of observations with theories is concerned.” (Klant)

According to this criterion, economics is a failed science. Economists, of course, try to evade this conclusion. Since Adam Smith/Karl Marx they insist on doing science. What they have been doing, though, is political agenda-pushing in the garb of science.

The dismal scientific fact of the “dismal science” is that economists are too stupid for the elementary algebra that underlies macroeconomics. Logical consistency, as it is embodied in the corpus of mathematics has always been the weak point of economics.

See part 2

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Part 2

This weakness did not escape mathematicians: “Walras approached Poincaré for his approval. ... But Poincaré was devoutly committed to applied mathematics and did not fail to notice that utility is a nonmeasurable magnitude. ... He also wondered about the premises of Walras’s mathematics: It might be reasonable, as a first approximation, to regard men as completely self-interested, but the assumption of perfect foreknowledge ‘perhaps requires a certain reserve’.” (Porter)

Later on, von Neumann started in earnest to rectify the formalism of Walrasian economics: “You know, Oskar, if those books are unearthed sometime a few hundred years hence, people will not believe they were written in our time. Rather, they will think that they are about contemporary with Newton, so primitive is their mathematics. Economics is simply still a million miles away from the state in which an advanced science is, such as physics.” (quoted in Ingrao et al.) The final result of von Neumann’s intervention was General Equilibrium Theory. Von Neumann and others rectified the mathematical formalism, however, they retained the Walrasian axioms (methodological individualism, constrained optimization, equilibrium, etcetera).#6

Moreover, GE has been established by an existence proof. The fixpoint theorem, though, does not tell the coordinates of equilibrium nor whether and how it can be reached. This is where the critique of Kumaraswamy Velupillai and the concept of computable economics kicks in. However, as the ToC of Computable Economics shows (e.g. Computable Rationality, Adaptive Behavior, Learning in a Computable Setting, etcetera), Velupillai sticks to the old Walrasian behavioral concepts. What Velupillai does NOT realize is that economics cannot be based on behavioral microfoundations.

Standard economics is false because it is based on false microeconomic axioms. Keynesian economics is false because it is based on false macroeconomic axioms. Velupillai’s shift from set theory to recursion theory is pointless because he makes the same mistake as von Neumann, i.e. he does not realize that economics is axiomatically defective. A computable equilibrium is pointless, to begin with because equilibrium is a petitio principii since Jevons/Walras/Menger.

What is straightforwardly computable in economics is, for example, profit. Curiously, the promoter of computable economics has never computed the key variable macroeconomic profit. Worse, he has not even realized that Keynesian macroeconomics is utter algebraic garbage.

Proof: “Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income − consumption. Therefore saving = investment.” (Keynes, GT, p. 63) is false. Instead of I=S, Q=I−S holds in the most elementary case with Q as macroeconomic profit.#7, #8

The balance of the business sector, i.e. macroeconomic profit, is computable, however, the champion of computable economics failed to this day to compute the pivotal variable of all of economics. The mathematical incompetence of economists is the ultimate reason why economics is nothing more than the forever unacceptable pluralism of false theories. This, in turn, means that economic policy guidance NEVER had sound scientific foundations.#9 Computable economics has NOT rectified this lethal defect and, given promoters like Kumaraswamy Velupillai, never will.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke