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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Syndicalism Forever

Armed Peasants,

The Archdruid, John Michael Greer, has a post about the main forms of political economy, with which we are familiar.
Feudalism is the most stable historically, and the default system in collapse, because economic responsibilities and benefits are closely tied up and down the chain of "ownership" between king and peasant-farmer. Each link is reciprocal and subject to direct negotiation of costs and benefits.
Capitalism is inerently unstable, because all of the ownership of the means of production is held by the capitalist class, which increases profits and destroys markets, by squeezing the workers/consumers harder and harder until the system fails again. Great Depression and massive war happen.
In great depression and massive war, both socialism/communism and fascism get explored. Capitalists like fascism better; still their game.
Financial capitalists ("bankers") will fund communism/socialism if it is far enough away for their safety.
The result of all of that bloodshed last time was Democratic Socialism, what Europe has a fading form of, and the US had between FDR and Reagan.
Is there any other possible form of political economy?

Systems That Suck Less: Greer examines Democratic Socialism, what Bernie Sanders professes, and Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower manifested. He also discusses a system which was favorably viewed 100 years ago, is manifested by many established enterprises, with variations, and which has an awkward name that nobody uses, Syndicalism.
Syndicalism is the system where the workers cooperatively own and manage the means of production. Sole proprietorship is the simplest example. Family Farm is next up the food chain. Worker owned cooperatives have very tight connections between those who really know what is happening, and those who benefit and suffer from that reality. They are either the same, or there is one degree of separation. There are no perverse incentives to load a company with debt, offshore production to China, run the stock up, and sell the shares you got for destroying the means of production and the jobs it made at home.

Russia defended it's air base in Tartus, Syria from drone attack, in a similar way to how the Saudis have used Patriot missiles to defend from cheap Yemeni rocket attacks. Expensively... These cheap drones were small and carried mortar rounds about 60 miles, guided by GPS, to attack the base. Russian forces brought some down with electronic jamming, and the rest with expensive missiles that make more sense against American bombing attacks. This seems to be a new trick to bleed down defenses with cheap and shoddy mass attacks. I'm sure it is trending.

The Yemeni Army just shot down a Saudi F-15 over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. Time for Saudi Arabia to buy more, better American weapons against this "threat", right?

The last American President to Declare war with Congressional approval, constitutionally, was Franklin Roosevelt. How the hell did that happen? It's just so much easier to make war when you don't have to ask permission to kill milions of eople. Give-em-Hell-Harry got shown how to do that. It's gotten as easy as rolling off a log since then, just like borrowing the money to do it has.

James Galbraith examines the Democratic Party after 2016, the election they lost to the Joker. The party had devolved away from any actual support for labor, totally supporting and funded by financial capitalists and war-capitalists, and pandering cheaply to any grouping of identities which could get 51% of votes. The did not, and do not have a plan-b. (Oprah could have won in 2016, as could Sanders, but that is all a blind alley now.)

Paul Craig Roberts points out that shooting yourself in the foot with a 50-caliber machine gun should be telling us something about our deep state rulers about now. Thanks Eleni:
The orchestration “Russiagate” proves that the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI are so corrupt and unaccountable that they comprise the greatest threat to the American people in the entire history of America. The only solution is to break these agencies into a thousand splinters, as President John F. Kennedy intended, and rebuild them from scratch with total transparency. No more protecting their vast crimes under the cloak of “national security.” No classification of any so-called intelligence unless it can pass a unanamous vote of Congress and the ACLU.

Chinese ultrasonic missiles are very impressive, and they are building hard on that lead to make American power-projection assets, like fleets and bombers, completely vulnerable.

The Golden Rule of Technological progress: Innovation doesn't solve problems, it creates them. (Now, for our next act...)

Gail Tverberg points out an underlying dynamic of our current global capitalist imbalance. Actual wealth depends on current production, which depends upon energy from fossil fuels, and other mineral wealth. These fuels and ores have gone up in real cost for over 15 years. The gap between cost increase and the lack of increase in wages, which allow purchases, has been papered over with increasing amounts of debt, promises for everybody to pay everybody nicely in the future. These are impossible, because future wealth production will continue gradually declining (What's a $1000 iPhone "worth"?), until it collapses, because it's capitalism, and capitalism does that periodically. The rebuild will be in a world of expensive energy and expensive ores, which pollute massively, due to extracting from low purity left-overs. She observes that our current global human population cannot be supported. We are among the most unsupportable.  The very-most unsupportable population is making all the decisions. How is this going to work?

Using a Shovel

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