The 2008 financial crisis spread from Wall Street to the world almost overnight, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions, even though its causes had nothing to do with the production and distribution of any of the basic necessities of life. Instead, the crisis erupted because the financial system had become unhinged from its real function: supplying credit to productive enterprises. Finance capital increasingly made its money from complex “derivatives,” which are not claims on a company’s proﬁt (as shares are) but on debts packaged and sold as investments. Immense profits were made, which provided the incentive to create more derivatives, causing debts to be piled on debts, all sold with guaranteed returns. Many of these derivatives involved American mortgages. Since these were backed by a physical asset (the house), they were advertised to institutional investors as highly secure, but the models assumed that housing prices would continue to rise. As it turned out, the housing market was a bad-mortgage fuelled bubble. When it burst, the “mortgage backed securities” became worthless, and banks from Athens to Iceland collapsed. Instead of having to foot the bill for their recklessness and greed, major banks were bailed out with hundreds of billions of dollars of public money. Workers lost their jobs, housings, and savings; Wall Street bankers paid themselves bonuses for the greatest failure of the financial system since 1929.
“Monogamy” means, literally, “one marriage.” But it would be wrong to suppose that this phrase tells us much about our particular species of official wedlock. The greatest obstacle to the adequate understanding of our monogamy institution has been the failure to identify clearly and systematically the full complex of principles it involves. There are four such principles, each carrying enormous restrictive force and together constituting a massive social control mechanism that has never, so far as I know, been fully schematized.
What is missing in the vast history of ideas about love, from Plato’s Symposium to Irving Singer’s recent three-volume study, The Nature of Love, is any philosophical grounding in the biological and the social structural conditions within which love and choices of love take place. Critical consideration of love as a relationship of perilous disease possibilities, of sexist power and dominion, or of proprietary control and repression is by and large absent from 2500 years of inquiry. What is also missing, in consequence, is the development of any adequately cognizant principle of value by means of which we can tell the good from the bad in love in the face of these problems.
In this analysis, I will begin by accepting as love whatever linguistic practice recognizes as love. Usage confers legitimacy on wholly different and incompatible meanings of love, from “altruistic devotion” to “bodily addiction,” from universal concern to private obsession. If there is a unifying sense to these meanings, I will not seek it. The evaluation here will not be in terms of what is and is not love, but in terms of what it is for love in any of its varieties to be good or of value, and what it is for love to be bad or of disvalue.
Aeron Davis(ed), THE DEATH OF PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE? How Free Markets Destroy the General Intellect. London: Goldsmiths Press, University of London, 2017 (i-xi, 262 pages with Index)
By John McMurtry
The title and subtitle of this book tell the untold story of the neo-liberal era – a cumulative destruction of foundational institutions of public knowledge. This ‘free markets destruction of the general intellect’ (subtitle) is described in 15 chapters by 20 authors. Its method is empirical and copiously referenced, but with no second order level of theory to join the dots. Yet every chapter provides a significant substantiation for a yes answer to the title’s arresting question.
The degeneration of ‘the general intellect’ of society across borders does not delve into what draws increasing attention concern today and supports the book’s case – the growing incapacitation of the millennial generation to perform operations of thinking through on their own. While research increasingly indicates that the wireless generation are cognitively/affectively locked into their i-phones, facebook, twitter, computer games, and ever more non-stop exchanges and hits from separated life places – oxymoronically called ‘social media’ – this is not an issue of this study. That attention spans measurably decline in substance and length by electronic-screen captivity is certainly relevant to the decline of ‘the general intellect’ of society, but is only a silent background to what is examined case by case in this collection – the destruction of institutional public knowledge. The authors refer to the “privileging of speed, technology and homogeneity – – [in] recycling journalistic content on BBC online services”, for example (p. 55). Yet the electronic revolution itself is only glancingly taken into account. The question is thus not posed of whether the electronic-media revolution itself has propelled the marketizing degradation of public knowledge.
One might argue on the work’s behalf, however, that market totalization has selected forever more velocities and volumes of commodities and commodifications with no limit, and so the electronic media revolution has fitted like a glove to the marketing invasions everywhere in the public sector – which is the book’s main concern. But this underlying line of inquiry does not arise. Nor, relatedly, does the issue that hard copy foundations themselves disappear in the pervasive marketing electrification. Most profoundly, as the commodification of society’s civil commons advances – even of language as commercial property – any common life-ground is eliminated. As social communication becomes more dominated by advertising and corporate sellers invading ever more of society’s policy discussions, information sources, sports, arts and news as marketing sites, citizens are reduced to atomic consumers rather than joint participants in understanding and effecting the common life good. Beneath notice, the very bases of public choice are erased.
The destruction of public knowledge on which this study is focused is not, however, on system-structural abolition of the public world itself. Nor does it conceive of the marketing elimination of any common life ground at all. More specifically, the degraded downstream effects are addressed in regard to instituted public knowledge. The privately-owned communications technology enabling super speeds and volumes of messages and data to spellbind higher public offices themselves is not a causal mechanism that is examined – even as it advances into control of citizens’ every move and decision. For example, my Apple i-phone (just given to me by my children) travels by publicly owned electro-magnetic spectrum and bandwidths, but locks on me again and again demanding it “can only help you if you choose home apps”. One must connect to some marketing repertoire, or the phone turns off – until a fuss is made. The future here shows itself at another level of the ‘market destruction of the general intellect’ – a total market-computerization of citizens in which every life choice and function is reduced to commercial-machine control, changing prices, and one-dimensional options.
While most people may sense that capitalist marketing lies behind the systemic loss of social and planetary life bearings on many levels, this dissolution of shared life coordinates through time is heretical to examine at its base. The ‘general intellect’ is blocked across siloes, expertises and narratives ruling out any comprehensive life frame of reference. The notion of any unifying meaning is has come to be repelled within even the academy as an oppressive thought. Marxism remains essentially stuck inside industrial mechanics with no determining life-ground or life capital base. What this book’s analyses show is the pervasive drivers of total marketing and privatization destroy the public institutional environment so that all reliable public bearings are lost. What is destroyed is the once sovereign state upon whose facts, findings and evolved public-policy parameters were once authoritatively available, reliable and above private-interest selection, slanting and erasure.
This study examines the system-deciding principle of economic rationality for its logical soundness and effects in global practice. Analysis demonstrates the fallacious structure of the underlying assumptions of homo economicus across theories and institutions, and explains how cumulative destruction of global economic, social, and ecological life systems follows from its life-blind mechanism. Higher-order concepts of life-capital, life-value efficiency, and life-good supply and demand are then defined to bring economic rationality into coherence with terrestrial and human life requirements. Read More
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Excerpt reproduced from: https://projectsanity.online/life-capital/ The primary act is the act of understanding. — Dr. John McMurtry, Author: The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure “Sanity means health in its etymology and its current use, applied to the mind, the healthy mind. What is most of all needed for the healthy mind of society is… Read More
Reproduced from: http://www.worldfinancialreview.com/?p=4270 Collective Life Capital: The Lost Ground of the Economy July 30, 2015 • GLOBAL ECONOMY, EMERGING TRENDS, CRITICAL ANALYSIS, SPECIAL FEATURES, Capitalism in the 21st Century, In-depth, Unprotected Post, World Development By John McMurtry In this analysis, the author definitively explains collective life capital as the missing base of the economy under systemic… Read More
But knowledge is not knowledge if it is not life coherent. To be life coherent, it must speak to the felt side of being, of which emotions are key, or it is inconsistent and life-blind. But emotions alone mislead us all over the place unless they are moored in life coherent action too – mainly with words that distinguish… Read More
3. See the tracking of the pattern McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure . Pluto Press. Kindle Edition. The following is extracted from McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure. Pluto Press. Kindle Edition where the concept of the “The Social Immune System” is introduced. “THE SOCIAL IMMUNE… Read More