Browsing Posts in Political Economy

Alex Knight, a writer, teacher and social activist based in Philadelphia, recently asked me to republish the first two parts of an interview he did with Michael Carriere regarding his construct of what he calls The End of Capitalism. While it is not my desire to re-publish other works of original content by writers other than myself, I made an exception in this case as Alex Knight’s writings on the subject are not only articulate, concise and well-constructed, they are also of grave concern to me (and hopefully everyone) as the Imperialist and exploitative system of Capitalism/Corporatism has been plundering the natural and human resources of the earth for far too long. Mr. Knight’s words are needed more than ever right now, and so is our call to action to stand up to the moneyed interests that control our democratic process and alienate us from our own interests and each other. I re-published the first part of Alex’s interview on my other site, The Pigeon Post, which you can find here. So here is part two (a) of Alex Knight on The End of Capitalism:

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The following exchange between Michael Carriere and Alex Knight occurred via email, July 2010. Alex Knight was questioned about the End of Capitalism Theory, which states that the global capitalist system is breaking down due to ecological and social limits to growth and that a paradigm shift toward a non-capitalist future is underway. This is the second part of a four-part interview.

Part 2A. Capitalism and Ecological Limits

MC: Capitalism has faced many moments of crisis over time. Is there something different about the present crisis? What makes the end of capitalism a possibility now?

AK: This is such an important question, and it’s vital to think and talk about the crisis in this way, with a view toward history. It’s not immediately obvious why this crisis began and why, two years later, it’s not getting better. Making sense of this is challenging. Especially since knowledge of economics has become so enclosed within academic and professional channels where it’s off-limits to the majority of the population. Even progressive intellectuals, who aim to translate and explain the crisis to regular folks, too often fall into the trap of accepting elite explanations as the starting point and then injecting their politics around the edges. This is why there is such an abundance of essays and videos analyzing “credit default swaps”, “collateralized debt obligations,” etc., as if this crisis is about nothing more than greedy speculators overstepping their bounds. continue reading…

Men of Good Fortune…

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Often Cause Empires to Fall. While men of poor beginnings, often can’t do anything at all. (L. Reed)

This is my second attempt at an article that I wrote yesterday; an article that the Gods of technology felt did not deserve to be published. So they ripped it from my hard drive, never to be recovered. It is my hope that the Tech Gods are resting or have forgiven me for blaspheming their convoluted systems and will allow this second attempt to go through unimpeded. So here we go…

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William Randolph Hearst

It is the men of good fortune that have historically and currently dominate the apparatus’ of functioning democracy. Perhaps the single greatest victory of imperialist interests throughout the past one hundred years has been the domination of the media complex that shapes our schema of our surroundings and the world at large.

Through the control of the information that is received and ultimately processed by us, the mass consumers of such information; this media monopoly has succeeded quite substantially by limiting our perceptions of the systemic failures that perpetuate our own alienation and exploitation for the benefit of the larger corporate structure that thrives as long as we remain in fear, divided and in a reactionary state in perpetuity.

It was around the turn of the century that publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst would begin his meteoric rise to the top of the information hegemony food chain. Hearst was not necessarily unique or pioneering in any particular sense, but it was his ruthless monopolization of an industry supposedly designed to spread information for the public well being that has cemented his legacy in the annals of American History. Through limiting competition and providing a constant stream of what we would later know as tabloid journalism, Hearst amassed a media monopoly that stifled legitimate systemic critique and propagated and invented the information he saw fit for mass consumption. continue reading…

What is Lady Liberty to do? Stuck in the middle of two parties that represent the same corporate interests while giving her platitudes about our rights and our liberties. No wonder she is covering her face.

When Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America in 1835, little did he know how the quintessential concept of American Democracy — with all of the good and all of the bad — would shape the course of global events for the next 175 years. But de Tocqueville did however, predict that Democracy can quite easily turn into despotism under the guise of liberty and freedom.

Alexis de Tocqueville had quite a quaint and romantic notion — though wholly realistic — of the potential of the Democracy he saw in America for the greater good of the human condition, though he framed it within the greater context of historical notions of freedom and liberty, determining that American Democracy does not have a patent on freedom, but rather was one of many systems of rule where freedom prospered.

Freedom has appeared in the world at different times and under various forms; it has not been exclusively bound to any social condition, and it is not confined to democracies. Freedom cannot, therefore, form the distinguishing characteristic of democratic ages. The peculiar and preponderant fact that marks those ages as its own is the equality of condition; the ruling passion of men in those periods is the love of this equality. Do not ask what singular charm the men of democratic ages find in being equal, or what special reasons they may have for clinging so tenaciously to equality rather than to the other advantages that society holds out to them: equality is the distinguishing characteristic of the age they live in; that of itself is enough to explain that they prefer it to all the rest…

Democratic nations are at all times fond of equality, but there are certain epochs at which the passion they entertain for it swells to the height of fury. This occurs at the moment when the old social system, long menaced, is overthrown after a severe internal struggle, and the barriers of rank are at length thrown down. At such times men pounce upon equality as their booty, and they cling to it as to some precious treasure which they fear to lose. [1] continue reading…

As Carl Sagan would say; there are billions and billions and billions of stars. Throughout human history, men and women and children have looked to the sky with amazement and curiosity. I know I was one of them… and still am.

My first experience with modern space exploration came when I was about 7 years old. That is when I watched The Right Stuff. Much of the movie was above my head, but it gave me a firm grasp on our nation’s path toward space, both historically and within the context of modern space exploration.

About a year later, I was home sick from school watching the Price is Right, as was customary for me in 3rd grade, when Bob Barker was interrupted by breaking news: the Challenger Space Shuttle had blown up shortly after launch. I suppose I was somewhat devastated to hear the news as I was always mesmerized by space and space exploration. I would later go on to read the books and watch the television series The Cosmos by Carl Sagan at the age of 12 and later graduate to the more palatable writings of Stephen Hawking and Buckminster Fuller.

My curiosity of space and space exploration has never waned. However, I have had grave reservations about the course of our nation’s space ambitions for many years as the outdated Shuttle program has continued to prove to be little more than an exercise in futility as the cost of the bloated NASA budget, funded by taxpayer money, has produced little tangible successes and many, many failures resulting in the deaths of the Astronauts aboard the Challenger and later, Columbia. continue reading…

On May 27, 2010, President Obama held a press conference for the first time in 10 months to address the BP Oil Spill which continues to rage in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the livelihood of thousands of fishermen as well as devastating the ocean for years to come.

Obama actually took responsibility for the blatant corruption in the Government Agencies which have been wined and dined by Big Oil, resulting in a complete lack of oversight to the practices which have allowed BP and other Oil giants to evade proper regulations which ultimately are designed to prevent catastrophes like this from happening.

I have to applaud the President for actually admitting that his administration bares some culpability in perpetuating and continuing the practice of allowing our tax-funded agencies to be unduly influenced by the same industries that they are paid to regulate.

For too long, for a decade or more, there’s been a cosy relationship between the federal agency that permits them to drill, it seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore.

I am somewhat skeptical however. I am fully aware that the Bush Administration (and to a lesser extent, the Clinton Admin. before that) made coziness with industry an art-form, yet Obama ran a campaign two years ago that promised to clean up the corrupt practices of W, yet he perpetuated the same practices up until the BP Oil Spill catastrophe brought it to the forefront. continue reading…

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