Saturday, November 24, 2012

We're Neither Citizens Nor Consumers, We're Tenants

In a world where the products we "consume" are designed to irreparably break (euphemistically called "planned obsolescence"), we no longer buy products, we lease their utility.

Really, what is the difference between (1) the manufacturer of a product, unbeknownst to you, rigging the product to self-destruct three years from the day you buy it, and (2) the manufacturer of that same product walking into your home three years from the day you bought it and destroying it, or simply taking it away?  In  either event, you will have to "buy" something to replace it, if you need the utility the product provided.

We're taught that when we buy something, we own it.  It is our property.  But how can it be our property when we do not control its disposition?

Set and Manage a Man's Expectations, Define His Reality

Man does not experience reality, he interprets it.  He compares what he observes to what he expects, and he acts based on the outcome of that comparison.  Reality is only a reference point, and a relatively minor one, as man will act to change the world around him (i.e., reality)  to meet his expectations before he will question those expectations.

Thus, if you set and manage a man's expectations, you define his reality.

In this sense, there are two realities.  The first is the physical world around us and is not open to debate or philosophical meanderings.  It is what it is, with or without us.  This is what I mean when I say, simply, "reality" without a modifier, e.g., "a" or "his" or "ours."  The second is our vision of what the reality ought to be, i.e., our expectations. This is what I mean when I ascribe reality as belonging to somebody, i.e., "his reality."  Generally, though, I don't think of the latter as "reality" in any sense, and I tend to refer to it as "expectations."

Mired in a Reality Somebody Else Created

That's what we are.

Ever since Plato posited "the Truth" -- a false god-- we have sought it out to the exclusion of reality.  Plato's Truth has taken many guises, but all of them comfort us, tell us that our sojourn is over.

And so we accept their propaganda as our insight, their chains as our liberty, their shit as our mana.  Eat it and be saved.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Heidegger Is Dangerous

I discovered Heidegger over the weekend. His Being and Time seems to be a long-winded and opaque version of my fractal theory of human cognition, which boils down to the very simple proposition that human beings do not experience life but interpret it by comparing what they observe to what they expected and acting according to the emotion that such comparison creates.

To put this in terms closer to Heidegger's, the Cartesian and Aristotlean view of the individual as a segregated, static thing is a failed model of humanity.  Human beings live from moment to moment, pushing off from the "reality"of their expectations towards their future actions based on how the present lives up to their expectations.  

I'm stunned that Heidegger could not explain what I just said so succinctly.  Every time I take the time to wade through so-called "philosophy," I find so much twaddle, so much bullshit, that I want to puke.  

That being said, Heidegger is very hard to find, which indicates to me that he spoke too much truth, notwithstanding the fact that it is incomprehensible to most people.  If I were in charge of the true elites, I'd be out pimping Heidegger in all his incomprehensible glory in order to make sure nobody ever took him seriously again.  Disappearing people like Heidegger, Henry George and Henry Simons (the excommunicated neoliberal) only makes their messages more valid.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Fixing" Those Things Won't Change a Thing, Mish

Mish loves to engage in Austrian-inspired, fact-free pontificating.  Today he posited the following:
What's "Really" Behind Gross Inequalities In Income Distribution?
1. Fractional Reserve Lending
2. Inflation targeting by the Fed
3. Moral hazard policies of the Fed that encourage winner-take-all speculation
4. Government interference into free markets
5. Public unions
The result of all five practices is the hollowing out of the middle class from the bottom up. The solution is sound money, elimination of the Fed, the end of public unions, and minimal government interference in the free markets, not income rules, not misguided regulation of banks, and not more debates about how to measure something that cannot be measured.
Here's reality: the gross inequalities in income distribution pre-dated the formation of the Federal Reserve and, therefore, predated items 2 and 3 above.  Furthermore, those inequalities also predated items 4 and 5, both of which started with the New Deal, which did not go into full swing until the late 1930s.  Indeed, if you scroll down to Figure 1 of this article, you will see (1) government regulation and the establishment of private and public unions correlate quite nicely with a significant REDUCTION in income inequality and (2) union-busting in the Reagan era and bank de-regulation approved by Carter but implemented during the Reagan era signaled a return to the income inequality that existed when the Fed was formed.  Make sure to look at Figure 2.

So, apparently, eliminating Mish's items 2-5 won't change a thing.  What about eliminating fractional reserve lending?  Well, that's a relatively new innovation, as well, at least with respect to the broader economy.  First, fractional reserve lending wasn't invented until the 17th century.  Second, savings banks for the common man didn't come into existence until the 19th century.  My intuition is that most lending in the 19th century and early 20th century was commercial nature, that personal home loans were rare until the New Deal in the late 1930s.

In other words, eliminating Mish's item 1 won't change a thing, either.

Fundamentally, there is a gross inequality in income distribution because labor is not voluntary.  Fuck around with money, credit and market regulation all you want, but all you're changing is the nature of life in bondage. Under the current fiat money system, the "monetary vortex" (see the commentary starting at 1:15:40) collects its rents on the back-end through inflation.  Under Mish's "sound money" system, the constrained liquidity created by private money and credit will force the payment of rents on the front-end through interest payments that seem unwarranted in an inflation-free, slow growth environment.