Highlights for Radical Markets

Private property would become public to a significant extent and the possessions of those around you would, in a sense, become partly yours.
Although at first blush you might assume that the auction would allow the rich to buy up everything of value, reflect for a moment. What do you mean by “the rich”? People who own lots of businesses, land, and so forth. But, if everything were up for auction all the time, no person would own such assets.
George was more concerned about inequality than were the conservative followers of Smith, and he recognized that private property could stand in the way of truly free markets.
That paper was published in 1961. Its title, “Counterspeculation, Auctions, and Competitive Sealed Tenders,”
We were promised economic dynamism in exchange for inequality. We got the inequality, but dynamism is actually declining.
Because of these limitations, moral economies can feel constraining and antiquated when confronted with large-scale market societies. Unable to account for the needs of those far away, they may become hostile to outsiders and intolerant of internal diversity, fearing it will erode group values.
The economic wisdom of left and right did not cut to the core of the tensions in the basic structure of capitalism and democracy. Private property inherently conferred market power, a problem that ballooned along with inequality and that constantly mutated in ways that frustrated efforts by governments to solve it. One-person-one-vote gave majorities the power to tyrannize minorities. Checks, balances, and judicial intervention limited such tyranny, but did so by handing power to elites and special interest groups. In international relations, efforts to enhance cooperation and cross-border economic activity empowered an international capitalist elite that disproportionately benefited from international cooperation and faced nationalist backlash from the working class.
Joan Robinson
Beatrice Webb
the common ownership self-assessed tax
That is why governments often take the lead, using the power of eminent domain to create new commercial or residential districts. But eminent domain is often unfair and always politically controversial.
The wealthy were rewarded for doing nothing. Poor people who needed land had to pay vast prices to obtain it or else starve. Critics attacked these circumstances as perverse, and portrayed the rich, in fiction and nonfiction alike, as parasites (sometimes literally, as in Bram Stoker’s Dracula).
Walras believed that land should be owned by the state and the rents it generated should be returned to the public as a “social dividend,” either directly or through the provision of public goods.
Socialists agreed on only one point: that traditional private property and the inequality of its ownership posed significant challenges to prosperity, well-being, and political order.
In 1942, the prominent conservative economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted that socialism would ultimately replace capitalism.21 His view was that most economic activity in capitalist economies took place in corporations and that a corporation is just a bureaucracy in which “management” at the center issues orders to various workers. From this vantage point, it was a small step to an economy in which each industry was dominated by one or two gigantic corporations, with government regulation to ensure that they do not abuse their monopoly power, an outcome not much different from the central planning of socialism.
Most mainstream economists even today continue to assume that bargaining eliminates the monopoly problem.
Most of us think of the liturgy as the words chanted by members of a religious community. But the term originated in ancient Athens where it meant roughly “public works” and referred to the responsibility of the roughly 1,000 wealthiest citizens to fund the operations of the state, particularly the army and navy. How did the Athenians determine which citizens were the wealthiest? According to Demosthenes, any member of the liturgical class could challenge any other citizen he believed was wealthier to antidosis or “exchange.”36 The person being challenged would have to either assume the liturgical responsibility or exchange all possessions with the challenger. The system gives everyone an incentive to be honest despite the burdens of the liturgy. If you falsely claimed to be poorer than the top 1,000 so as to avoid the liturgical burdens, then you could end up being forced to exchange your possessions with someone who is poorer than you are.
Furthermore, control of everything would be radically decentralized; a COST thus combines extreme decentralization of power with partial socialization of ownership, showing that they are, perhaps surprisingly, two sides of the same coin.
As previously noted, our proposal would redistribute roughly one-third of the return on capital and thus would reduce the income share of the top 1% by 4 percentage points, or roughly half the difference between recent levels and the low points in the 1970s.
One cannot develop an attachment to a car that one uses for a few hours, and no one seems the worse for this. Fetishistic attachment to a privately owned automobile—an extremely expensive durable asset, which even enthusiasts seldom drive for more than an hour or two per day—is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.
As the economy grows, the revenues generated by the COST would be redistributed back to citizens, just as employees who own stock in their employers benefit when the employer’s profits increase. From Friedrich Engels to George W. Bush, commentators and politicians have argued that owning a share in the national capital stock, usually through the stock market or a home, could help stabilize politics and enhance support for policies that raise the value of the capital stock, a position supported by some research.
Building on Samuelson’s ideas, economist and political scientist Mancur Olson argued that small groups of well-organized special interests can use expenditures, lobbying, and other forms of political action to persuade the government to act in their interest rather than for the
public good.29 Much of the public ignores complex issues, like bank regulation, while the banks who can profit from government fund lobbying organizations that control the agenda. Many economists are cynical about collective decision-making because it seems so easy to manipulate. But not all of them view it this way. Again, enter our hero
First, a passionate minority can outvote an indifferent majority, solving the problem of the tyranny of the majority. Second, the outcome of the vote should maximize the well-being of the entire group, not the well-being of one subset at the expense of that of another.
Despite centuries of progress, markets for public goods are hopelessly deficient. If we are right about QV, then it should bring markets for public goods in line with markets for private goods, with incalculable benefits for all citizens.
QV would offer citizens the chance to feel their voice had been more fully heard, both helping them win on the issue most important to them and reconciling them to the losses they suffer. These features are much like the social effects of market economies for private goods. Because citizens tend to resent and feel coerced by rationing in planned economies, they experience the abandonment of planning as a blossoming of freedom, as was so clear with the collapse of communism in the 1980s and 1990s. When people have the freedom to choose what to spend their money on, they are afforded a sense of dignity and responsibility for the things they have and choose to forgo. A political culture based on such a market mentality could give people a stronger sense of dignity and responsibility in politics.
Yet such large-scale services at present are either provided by monopolistic corporations or by dysfunctional public authorities. Fear of the failures of these providers often leads us to wastefully retreat from public life behind the walls of our homes, our gated communities, our private servers, and our individual cars.
Wealthy countries, by definition, have a greater relative abundance of capital as compared to labor than do poor countries. It is thus natural that trade and migration should both benefit capitalists in wealthy countries and laborers in poor countries at the expense of laborers in wealthy countries and capitalists in poor countries.
Often it is in the rural and economically depressed regions where few migrants reside that opposition to migration is strongest.28 Workers in such areas see migration adding to economic vibrancy in other communities, but not in their own. They gain none of the ancillary social and cultural benefits that dynamic city-dwellers gain from migration, of increased variety in food, color in urban life, or exposure to other cultures that can expand career opportunities. Instead, they see the rest of their country moving in directions that distance it from their experience in ways that increase their isolation and consignment to the cultural periphery.
While migration offers enormous advantages to the migrants themselves and their families back home, to employers and owners of capital, and to the high-skilled workers who they complement and live among, migration offers few benefits to and imposes some costs on most workers in wealthy countries, who are already left behind by the forces of trade, automation, and the rising power of concentrated finance.
A political backlash against massive migration is not inevitable. Even in closed societies, migration receives political support as long as its benefits are widely distributed in a visible way.
Many of the sophisticated cultural elites most likely to object to this sort of unequal relationship should contemplate their own relationships to migrants. In our experience, most people living in wealthy cities who consider themselves sympathetic to the plight of migrants know little or nothing of the language, cultures, aspirations, and values of those they claim to sympathize with. They benefit greatly from the cheap services these migrants offer and rarely concern themselves with the poverty in which they live. The solidarity of such cosmopolitan elites is thus skin deep. But it is better than the open hostility many ordinary citizens of wealthy countries feel toward migrants.
Yet economic research suggests that diversified institutional investors have harmed a wide range of industries, raising prices for consumers, reducing investment and innovation, and potentially lowering wages.
A law firm that sued institutional investors, on the other hand, would be bringing a case against capital as a class.
The primary difference between the scenario we describe above and present practice, other than some advances in chat capacities, is that in the world we imagine, Facebook is open and honest about how it uses data and pays for the value it receives with money. The user’s role as a vital cog in the information economy—as data producer and seller—is highlighted.
The inability to earn money in these environments undercuts the possibility of developing skills or careers around digital contributions, as technoserfs know any investment they make will be expropriated by the platforms.
However, they have attracted only a few users with an ideological attachment to the idea. Most users prefer a network that is used by most of their friends and that offers higher quality services.
Unlike traditional unions, they combine labor stoppages and consumer boycotts—because, as noted, data laborers are simultaneously consumers. During a strike, Facebook would lose not only access to data (on the labor side) but access to ad revenues (on the consumer side). It’s as if autoworkers could pressure GM or Ford not only by stopping production but also by refusing to purchase cars. Also unlike traditional unions, which must struggle to maintain solidarity during strikes, the data unions could enforce the “picket line” electronically.
She realized, too, that in many ways her new cause, fighting to get her old life back, had given her more meaning and not just greater wealth than the past she idealized. She started to wonder what else might supply that meaning and whether her whole movement was not ultimately some sort of self-serving charade.
A COST on human capital might turn out to be politically popular because it penalizes the highly resented educated class and lazy people of all types, while rewarding ordinary workers for their labor.
It would be a mistake, however, to think that the current system is not coercive. In our current system, there is a wide gulf between educated elites whose native or acquired talents are highly marketable and those who have been left behind by changes sweeping the economy. The talented enjoy a kind of freedom, as they can select from among a variety of appealing jobs. These jobs allow them to quickly accumulate capital that they can depend on as they age, if they do not like the jobs that are available, or pick and choose among different levels of labor (part-time, enjoyable or rewarding but low-paying jobs in the nonprofit sector, etc.). Those with fewer marketable skills are given a stark choice: undergo harsh labor conditions for low pay, starve, or submit to the many indignities of life on welfare. Yet the waste of social resources when a talented person fails to realize her potential are far greater, and arguably their failure to work should be punished more harshly.
By giving every citizen a share of national wealth, a COST could make voters attend to the consequences of policies for a nation’s wealth and create a more cooperative spirit across class lines.
Moreover, some scholars have argued that by encouraging selfishness, markets undermine the trust that is necessary for markets to function.
Shalizi considers an estimate by Soviet planners that, at the height of Soviet economic power in the 1950s, there were about 12 million commodities tracked in Soviet economic plans. To make matters worse, this figure does not even account for the fact that a ripe banana in Moscow is not the same as a ripe banana in Leningrad, and moving it from one place to the other must also be part of the plan. But even were there “merely” 12 million commodities, the most efficient known algorithms for optimization, running on the most efficient computers available today, would take roughly a thousand years to solve such a problem exactly once. It can even be proven that a modern computer could not achieve even a reasonably “approximate” solution
But if robots can drive cars, they can also make purchase orders, accept deliveries, gauge consumer sentiment, plan economic operations, and coordinate this activity at the level of the economy. At this macro level, the role of artificial intelligence in reshaping social organization has—bizarrely—received little attention.

The truth about cryptocurrencies.

Marijn Bolhuis sums up the devastating effects that a decade of Rutte government has in the Netherlands but people keep electing him. It follows from this that Dutch people are a bunch of piggies.

But on the other hand, it becomes a society where all the assets are in the hands of one group of people. And that group of people transmits these assets to the next generation. So I think it becomes a very interesting question, to ask whether current trends might not lead to an even more segmented and stratified society than the one we have now.


https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/global-capitalism-inequality-branko-milanovic-interview

De organisatiestructuur is sowieso een kwetsbaarheid van Nederland crisisland, verzucht Arjen Boin. Allereerst is het probleem dat onze ministeries niet meer de capaciteiten in huis hebben om zelf het heft in handen te nemen. Den Haag heeft steeds meer een monitorende en coördinerende functie gekregen. Ambtenaren zijn in veel gevallen geen specialisten meer op de dossiers die ze beheren – hun specialiteit is vergaderen en managen en ze rouleren door de organisatie.Grofweg kun je als bestuur in tijden van crisis twee dingen doen: optie één is overschakelen op een crisisstructuur, zegt Boin. Daarbij centraliseer je de macht en breng je het aantal mensen dat mag meepraten terug. Dan kiezen we de mensen die namens ons de belangrijkste beslissingen nemen. Na afloop rekenen we af. Een crisisorganisatie is georganiseerd in een trechter. Aan het eind van die trechter zit de persoon die zich goed laat adviseren en op een gegeven moment zegt: ‘We gaan naar links of naar rechts.’
Uiteindelijk komt het bij de aanpak van zo’n crisis voor een groot deel aan op het politiek leiderschap

https://www.groene.nl/artikel/we-moeten-een-coronageneraal-hebben

Highlights for The Provos

He believed that the ‘blood sacrifice’ of a few would regenerate the national consciousness and lead, by force of Irish arms, to the eventual withdrawal of Britain from Ireland.
MacSwiney took his place in history not just because of his sacrifice but because of his portentous words. ‘It is not those who can inflict the most,’ he warned, ‘but those who can suffer the most who will conquer.’
Eight months earlier, Lloyd George had likened the prospect of meeting Collins to that of meeting a murderer and had described the IRA as ‘a small body of assassins, a real murder gang, dominating the country and terrorizing it’. Now he described its commander as ‘one of the most courageous leaders ever produced by a valiant race’.
An armed struggle on its own was getting nowhere unless you had the political support of the population.
weeks. There were twenty-seven of us at the beginning. The recruiting officer was very resolute and he put the fear of God into you. He told you that if you’re joining the IRA, it was a total and absolute commitment. It required sacrifice and it required dedication and it required honour above all. He told us everything that was bad about joining: imprisonment, death, very little money in your pocket, very few friends; it was going to be a hard slog, and a long hard road ahead of us. So gradually people st
It’s a situation somewhat analogous to Israel’s West Bank. We’re part of a state which we never wanted to be part of.
The ultimate aim of the Irish nation will never emerge from the political or constitutional platform. Indeed one is now expected to be more conversant with the teaching of Chairman Mao than those of our dead patriots.
You’re all asking me to get the army in?’ And they all said yes. So I picked up the phone and rang him. I said, ‘I’m pleading with you, Jim. Send in the army.’ And I’ll never forget his reply. ‘Gerry,’ he says, ‘I can get the army in but it’s going to be a devil of a job to get it out.’
Seeing British soldiers on the street, I got this sense that there’s someone there now to protect us, to defend us against these incursions into our area.
he had never fully embraced Goulding’s policy of taking the IRA ‘into the never-never land of theoretical Marxism and parliamentary politics’.
We realized that the Dublin crowd and the Dublin leadership were nothing other than con-men. They were only using the North as a base, a springboard to help them in their left-wing political field.
Although republicans could stand in elections to the parliaments at Westminster, Stormont and Dublin, no successful candidate ever took his or her seat since to do so would be to recognize the legitimacy of these institutions. The IRA’s whole existence and self-styled legitimacy rested on its refusal to recognize these parliaments which, to republicans, had no moral or legal authority.
But the people who defended the street stood their ground. The following morning there was just sheer elation and relief that the IRA were there to deal with that situation.
The army had done exactly as the Unionists’ Security Committee had demanded four days earlier – it had got tough. The result was summed up by Gerry Adams. ‘Thousands of people who had never been republicans now gave their active support to the IRA; others, who had never had any time for physical force now accepted it as a practical necessity.’
They are terrorists and that’s the end of the story. No rank, no glamour. They are terrorists. What did we do in Kenya? We didn’t call them Colonels or Majors or Brigadiers. We called them terrorists and they were hung. Same thing in Palestine. Terrorists there were caught and they were executed. No glory. Nobody cries over a dead body too long. A couple of days and they forget all about it.
If any young men had previously held back because they felt morally uncomfortable about killing, ‘Bloody Sunday’ removed any lingering restraint.
Every day they passed the office as they passed by in a black taxi [the ‘People’s Taxis’ that provided cheap transport] up and down the Falls Road and people would say, ‘there’s the Sinn Fein office’. The incident centres gave the party a physical presence.
Scant progress was being made. The British were offering the release of more prisoners but this did not ‘begin to meet the minimum of requirements’.
But the Provisionals were not interested in public relations. They wanted to talk about the declaration of intent which, to them, was the whole point of the truce. Allan and ‘HM’ said the Government could not now give this for three reasons: the Convention ‘must be given a chance publicly’; the Government was waiting for ‘a consensus of opinion to emerge in Britain’; and there was the danger of ‘a Congo-type situation resulting’.
How they fight is a matter of tactics and conditions, but fight they must. There can be no question of that. The enemy allows us no choice. It is an armed struggle because the enemy is armed. Because he establishes and protects his vested interests by force of arms. The cabinet ministers, the politicians, the warlords, the business interests, the profit makers – the Establishment – have all agreed on their objects and the course they will follow. They are armed mercenaries. We must be armed revolutionaries. We must be Active Republicans.
The warning, it said, ‘proved totally inadequate given the disastrous consequences. We accept condemnation and criticism from only two sources: from the relatives and friends of those who were accidentally killed, and from our supporters who have rightly and severely criticized us.’
If you could, you saved a bit of margarine or butter from your breakfast that morning and took it with you when you were brought out of the cell. They took you up to a small room at the top of the wing and all the uniforms were lined up there. As soon as you got the trousers on, you ripped the bottom off them to expose your back-end. Before you went out to the visit, you rubbed a bit of the margarine or butter on your rear-end. So when you got the parcel on the visit, you had to get your hand in between your legs and pass the thing up your rear-end. That’s how most things came in. Radios came in that way. Everything came in that way. It took a wee bit of skill and sleight of hand to do it. And you had to be quick.
The hatred prison officers and prisoners felt for each other was mutual and lasting. Nothing brought it home to me more forcefully than a production of Bobby Sands’ epic ‘The Crime of Castlereagh’ which I watched in a parochial hall in West Belfast. It was staged by former prisoners and prisoners out on parole or home leave. One scene depicted a prisoner being turned upside down whilst a prison officer with rubber gloves gloatingly searched his anus. As the officer was walking off stage, a shot rang out and he fell down dead. It was a dramatic piece of theatre. The packed audience, among whom were many of the Republican Movement’s most prominent figures, including members of the leadership, broke out in spontaneous applause and cheering. It was a chilling moment.
Furthermore, by the mid-eighties, the intelligence on which such interceptions and ambushes were mounted was far more precise, with sophisticated electronic surveillance supplementing the information supplied by agents and informers within the IRA’s ranks.
Such operations were, on the whole, difficult to carry out in urban areas like Belfast and Derry because of the risk to civilians and extremely difficult in South Armagh where the locals knew every suspicious-looking hedge, barn and ditch. Under the right circumstances rural areas like Tyrone offered a perfect killing field.
The IRA took hostage the family of Patsy Gillespie, strapped him into a car loaded with a thousand pounds of explosives and told him to drive to the checkpoint. The IRA told his family he would be released when he had carried out their orders. Patsy Gillespie became a ‘human bomb’ and when he arrived at the checkpoint the IRA detonated the explosives by remote control, killing him and five soldiers.
Because I totally distrust the British Government. I’ve had too many experiences in the past to be so naive as to trust the British Government.
The final solution is union. It is going to happen anyway. The historical train – Europe – determines that. We are committed to Europe. Unionists will have to change. This island will be as one.