Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Please contribute public feedback.  Feel free to say whatever you like, positive or negative. General public feedback will be posted here. I may or may not reply to it here as well. Send general feedback for public display to feedback@rationalrevolution.net.

You can also provide feedback on specific articles by using the "View/Provide feedback on this article" feature at the bottom of every article, which will allow you to post a blog comment for that specific article.


 
From: Dan
Date:
October 4, 2005

Comments:

Greetings,

Without taking much time, just wanted to show my appreciation for your site.  Hands down, you have the best argued researched and documented site I have ever come across.  You're world analysis is right on and your rational-moral perspective is to be commended.  Keep it up, the world needs more of us.

Peace, Dan

 

From: Rob
Date:
September 30, 2005

Comments:

I have been reading slowly through your main article and have enjoyed it thus far. Coming across your trickle down economics I had a problem with the description of what the true problem is; namely the devaluation of money.

I agree that the changing "value" of the dollar is actually a significant problem especially for the poorer citizens of an economy. Lending for business/wealth expansion when the dollar equals X% of the total wealth of an economy and then having to repay that dept when the dollar now equals <X% of the total wealth can bankrupt people and businesses but I'm not sure how it applies to you analogy of the people in the room.

If the Total Value of the room is $10.00 and the government is taxing whatever income [at years end] Jim, Susan, ..., and Bill made/have that taxed money is wealth of the government to save or spend. The total value of the room is still $10.00 there is just another entity called "Government" that has some percentage of that wealth.

If the government decides to repeal taxes then it essentially decreases its own wealth at the expense of its citizens [Jim, Susan, ..., and Bill.] If the US government repeals taxes [or decreases them] it isn't as though they have printed more money to put into circulation but rather took less of the citizen's wealth for their own needs.

I assume that Sam is supposed to represent the government in your analogy and that he is giving everyone [but mostly Jim] money in the way of tax refunds, or whatever. The US Government isn't outside the room, they don't just make up money to give to the market, they live within the market and either have savings or debt like any other citizen. Or am I wrong on this account? Are they somehow like Sam in your analogy and I just don't understand?

I agree with everything else [though not being an economist or really knowing anything about economics might not mean a lot] like the benefit of supply side economics benefits mostly the wealthy. My confusion is that if one gave only minor refunds to the wealthy and huge tax relief to the poor couldn't you shift the "unfair" advantage on the poor? Give Bill $6.00, and everyone else $1.00. Bill end up owning 30% of the wealth and Jim would only own 25% of the wealth. I thank you if you could clarify this for me because I'm not a fan of the "trickle down" economic policies of Regan and Bush(es) but from a theoretical level I don't have a grasp to argue against it in all [or even most] cases.

Thanks, Rob


Reply:

Thanks for the feedback. One of the biggest problems with discussions of economics in this country is that it focuses almost exclusively on taxes. For the most part there is an assumption that the system by which people "get money" is perfectly fair. The reality, however, is that you can't address taxation until you first address income.

Take all of the flat-tax arguments for example. All of the arguments in favor of flat-tax based on fairness make the assumption that the means by which everyone receives an income is 100% fair in the first place.

Not only can this assumption not be made, but the flat-tax proponents typically refuse to even engage in a discussion of incomes, typically calling anyone a communist if they even question the underlying economic structure. Without going into too much detail here on this subject I will just point you to the series I did on capitalism:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/capitalism_economy.htm

As for the room example, I would just say that the example I gave is meant to illustrate the argument used to convince lower income people to go along with the large tax cuts for higher income people. The argument was basically that if everyone gets something then it doesn't matter if one group gets more than another, because its still better for everyone. The reality, however, is that all wealth really is relative, which ironically is something that we learn from market theory. It was meant to illustrate that even if everyone gets a tax cut (or money back), the fact that one cut (or money back) is larger than another can actually decrease the value of the other cut (or money back).

The claim that "just because the rich get richer at a higher rate doesn't have any negative affect on the rest of us" simply is not true on a wide variety of levels.  Its not true on a purely economic level, because value is relative. If you go to an auction and you have $100 and everyone else has $10,000, then you aren't going to be able to outbid anyone unless they simply choose not to try to outbid you. On the other hand, if you go to the same auction and you have $100 and everyone else has $10, then you can outbid everyone.

In addition, on a social level there are a wide variety of implications. Many studies have shown that relative wealth has a greater influence on happiness than absolute wealth. For example, if a person has an income of $30,000 a year, but everyone in their family and their friends have incomes of $100,000 then they will more likely be unhappy, while if someone has an income of $30,000 but their friends and family have incomes of $15,000 then they will tend to be happy.

This says nothing of the political and social implications that come with dramatic differences in access that arise with disparities of wealth. The more disposable wealth that people have the more influence they have on politics, etc, and can therefore influence society in favor of their interests, both through politics and private means.

From:Torsten
Date:
September 23, 2005

Comments:

Hi, I just came over your website and read the "Understanding Capitalism Part IV: Capitalism and Culture". Very well written and great information presented. I am wondering how do you find the time to gather all the data and write those essays? Well, keep on going - I will stop by every once in a while. :-)

Best regards from NJ, Torsten :)


Reply:

Hi Torsten,

Thank you for the feedback. It certainly takes a lot of time to research and write, but I find the time. I read and write fast, and I don't watch tv much, plus I have studied these issues for years.

Thank you for the feedback

From:Jun
Date:
September 12, 2005

Comments:

Damn! That's heavy! I have just read one page and I have to get back to work, but I have bookmarked it so I can continue reading as soon as I take my next break. Keep up the good work!

 

From: C. Bride
Date:
September 3, 2005

Comments:

Having just read your May 3, 2005 'blog' with the heading 'Congratulations to the People of Iraq', I felt compelled to write you, and let me first say that I both greatly admire and appreciate your work, so that I may cut to the chase:

Isn't it a little bit disingenuous, perhaps even naive, to suggest that these elections are some kind of positive hallmark moment for the Iraqi people?

Your statement of congratulations seemed to my mind to be in the vein of a lot of the back-pedalling, meet-them-halfway peace offering statements I've been hearing lately from some left-ish people I know. If not purposefully misleading, then just a white lie told to oneself in the name of reaching out to the 62 million Americans who voted for Bush2.

It seems to be an attitude of 'well, I didn't want us in Iraq, but we're there now, so let's make the best of it.' An effort to 'reach out' to right-wingers in an effort to find common ground.

This attitude seems to consist of giving Bush2 et al some kind of 'credit' for 'accomplishments' in Iraq (for example, these recent Iraqi elections).

I realize you were giving credit to the Iraqi people directly, but since the election itself is a byproduct of the Bush2 Iraq plan, by doing so you also give credit indirectly to Bush2.

So I guess my question is, is it wise to validate what Bush2 has done in Iraq by recognizing and even applauding the Iraqi elections? Or more to the point, do you truly find validity in the Iraqi elections that transpired? Considering that said elections were orchestrated by self-interested capitalists (Bush2 and the people/interests he represents), how can this lead to anything resembling 'freedom' or independance or sovereignty? How can this lead to anything positive for Iraq and its people? Won't Iraq simply become another example of our master/slave capitalist relationship with other countries, like Indonesia?

After all, when in history has power or freedom ever been *given* to people? Surely this election is just an illusion of power, created in an attempt to sedate the people of Iraq?

Forgive me if this all seems harsh, I promise you I am really looking for a response here rather than trying to hog the soapbox. As I said, I have great respect for you and in fact, I consider your site to be the best on the internet as far as political analysis. I have learned much from this site and appreciate your listing of sources. I recommend this site to people all the time. I thank you for your work, and I look forward to a response from you at your convenience.

C. Bride


Reply:

You bring up good points, and believe me I am not one who gives any credit to Bush, but one can only hope that something good will come of this. I think that one can congratulate the Iraqis and still maintain, as I do, that war was not the best way to achieve this goal, and that this timeline and this approach is not the best approach.

I also like to point out that the right-wingers (the public citizens) didn't support going into Iraqi to bring freedom to people, they supported it out of fear and hate, etc.

I would have supported a war of liberation led by an honest and altruistic leader, but I know that the Republicans would not have.

I hope the best for Iraqis, but it looks like they are going to go into a theocracy and women will have fewer rights. Perhaps in the long run, however, it will be beneficial that they have at least some kind of democratic framework established, even though its corrupt and backwards, its better than dictatorship in that it has better long term potential.

This is no easy subject for sure. I certainly don't have all the answers.

I think that the Bush approach was #1 not the best way to achieve the results and #2 it was deceptive regardless and his deceptions can never be defended no mater what the outcome is, because if the outcome is good then he should have been able to make a case based on the truth, which he did not do.

No matter what happens, his lies will stand as lies and his abuse of the American people will always be a source of criticism.

Thank you

From: Fren
Date:
August 19, 2005

Comments:

Greetings,

Just came across your site about 45 min. ago and will admit, at first glance, the appearance, format, structure had the characteristics of a potentially qualified, informative blog/opinion website, and my curiosity was tweaked.

I began, as you suggested, with the "Forward", proceeded through the "Intro" and then halfway through the "Lies" sections. After reading the Forward, my initial hope for the above mentioned qualities, diminished rather quickly. However, I pride myself on giving time to, and learning all sides of an issue (only makes for a legit and intelligent person, not to mention fair and honest, .....at least that's what I think) and continued on without ease, through the Intro, and like I said, half way through the Lies section when I just had to stop and give some quick and short feedback. Please understand that I have every intention of returning to your site and finish reading it in its entirety. However, I'm not going to commit to taking the time to give any more feedback in the future. I may or may not.

Right from the start, I made notes etc. on a tablet as I read. The 21/2 sections read, produced over 3 pages of notes. Notes that had very legitimate questions about your "theories, rhetoric, ( well written and disguised rhetoric I might add) and points to challenge a number of your "facts". A number of which were facts, yet your interpretation and ability to so carefully bend and shape them to fit your beliefs was of concern.

I may or may not come back and provide some of these questions/explanations I have for you. For taking up your time and making you read this brief feedback, I should be fair and come back and provide my opinion. But, I'm sorry I cant commit to that either.

Reason I cant is that I am so damn exhausted of listening to the constant rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and downright almost hysterical dribble from those, who, for whatever reason don't approve of our President Bush. I am tired of responding to it over and over is what I am trying to say. It's pointless. But in short, that is exactly what I got out of simply reading just 21/2 sections-again cleverly written yet disguised rhetoric, the twisting of facts, and conspiracies. I intend, before I return to finish reading what you have written to jot down some points or thoughts where I think you are going to go next regarding Bush etc. Hopefully you will prove me wrong but my experience tells me otherwise.

For the record, I am a registered independent. I was a Democrat for nearly all of my voting years. (43 y/o now) and I voted for Clinton both terms. Without getting into that, entirely different issue, I did vote for Bush the second time around only. There are probably more issues that I am not satisfied or disagree with Bush than those that i agree with. But I feel those issues, are or will be irrelevant should Radical Islamic Fundamentalism continues to spread like it has, and the "TERROR" that appears to go along with it grows.

Feel free to reply to me via my email if you care too.

Peace to you and God Bless America

fren.
 


Reply:

First of all, in relation to This War In About So Much More, keep in mind that I wrote the entire piece over a period of about 1 month starting on the day that the war started. I followed-up, edited it and added some content over time, but the basic content was done and reflects my views during the first month of the war on Iraq. I’ve made sure not to change anything that relates to Iraq in the piece since I first wrote it.

Having said that, what do you believe is the more accurate presentation of the issues revolving around the war in Iraq at that time: My presentation of information, President Bush’s presentation of the information, or the major news media’s presentation of the information?

Basically, going back to March 2003 what has proven to be more accurate: What I said in 2003, what Bush said in 2003, or the coverage that you got from the news media in 2003?

I would challenge anyone to deny that my presentation of the situation in 2003 was not the most accurate from among those options.

That being the case, why?

Incidentally, I ask you why George Bush was so determined to have John Bolton as the US Ambassador to the UN?

You may have noticed from reading this website that John Bolton was a member of the Project for the New American Century, the PNAC.

Now, the question is, why is it that during the yearlong lead-up to the war with Iraq that not one single major news organization even mentioned the PNAC? Why is it that since the start of the war no major news organization has mentioned the PNAC? Why is that during the long dragged out Bolton nomination process, when President Bush clung to Bolton for no reasonable explanation, with even many members of his own party opposing Bolton, that the PNAC still wasn’t mentioned in the news?

Is this information completely not relevant? Did the press not report it because it wasn’t even noteworthy? I don’t think that anyone would agree that the fact that virtually every major member of the Bush administration was a member of an organization that had developed plans for the invasion of Iraq back in 1998 is not at least newsworthy as a mention.

Doesn’t that seem like it’s at least worth a mention by the press at a time when the Bush administration was presenting highly dubious information to support its plan for war?

What This War Is About So Much More is really about is the American press and popular American perceptions and why it was so easy for the Bush administration to lie to the American people and get support for a war based on deception.

The fact that Bush entered into this war on false premises is a forgone conclusion, that was clear to anyone paying attention before the war even started. Every single claim made by the Bush administration during the lead-up to war had been proven false by the time the war started, every single one.

But, more than anything else, what the war in Iraq really was, was the most dramatic example of the Bush administration’s “faith based” policy. Yes, it was faith based all right, because it sure wasn’t based on facts.

I think the Bush administration really did believe a lot of their own hype. They really did believe that they could win the war and win the peace in less than 6 months.

How wrong and bind can a group of people be, and why in hell are these people still leading our country? They are obviously completely out of touch with reality. It’s a proven fact at this point that either A) the Bush administration is 100% out of touch with reality, B) the Bush administration knowingly deceived the American people and lied about everything they said just to get into the fight, without actually believing that we could win the peace in 6 months, or C) All of the above.

Two major claims made by the Bush administration leading up to the war were: We “know” where the Weapons of Mass Destruction “are”, and: The war and occupation will take 6 months at the longest.

Did they lie, or were they really that insane? Choose your poison.

In any case, on the day that the war in Iraq started I had already recorded the facts as they were known at the time, and at the time the war started it was already known that every major claim of the Bush administration was false, and I knew good and well that it wasn’t going to be a 6 month win. I had to sit in this country every day and listen to the most vile lies and propaganda coming out of my television day after day for months, and it sickened me to the core, it upset and it made me fear for the future of my country.

When an average person who simply pays attention is more correct than the President of the United States of America and presents better facts than the major news media, then yeah, you know that something is wrong.

As I have said on this website, you are free to interpret the facts that I present in ways completely differently than me of course, but the biggest point is that most of these facts aren’t exposed at all, one way or the other, in the news or in general society.

Now, as for the war itself, I’m not inherently opposed to it, and in fact I now support staying in Iraq for as long as it takes to establish stability. I think it was a mistake to start the war, but now that it’s started we have an obligation to the Iraqis to see it through, and all the Americans who were so gung-ho to go romping and killing people overseas need to see their obligation through. So many Americans were waving flags and in love with the idea of going and bombing Iraqis and killing people, now it’s time to make the real commitment to war. War isn’t a game, it’s not fun, and not something you go into on a whim, but yet that’s exactly the attitude that the majority of this country had in 2003 and I remember it very well. Where is the party now? Every flag waving American that supported this war should be forced to send their children to go fight in it.

People should have done more thinking two years ago. If people had paid attention to the “lefties” in the first place, who were basically right about everything, then we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

I certainly could have supported a war of some kind if it had a valid purpose, an important objective, was focused on individuals who were actively a threat to the United States, and more importantly, if we had been led into it honestly. I’m in favor of wars of liberation in fact, the problem is that these types of wars have to be led by sincere and progressive leaders who really have altruistic motives, and they have to be fully supported by the public for what they really are.

That’s where so-called Operation Iraqi Freedom went horribly wrong. The American support for this war was based on fear and hate, trumped up by lies from the administration, and then, about one week before the war started, they started playing up the “liberation” angle. That was never a main focus of the American public though. The support for the war was based on nationalism and aggression and bloodlust. People thought it was going to be cool to see the American military in action “f*ing people up”.

Now, however, it’s a real war, where Americans are getting killed, and the only objective is to try and help protect the formation of a new democracy. Not so exciting is it? Do we really want to make sacrifices to help other people? Most Americans don’t. The war was only fun when it was “Shock and Awe”.

Another point of interest: every major act of terrorism since 9/11 has been perpetrated by citizens of American allies. The 9/11 bombers were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The bombing in Spain was by people from Morocco and other places. The bombings in London were from British citizens of Pakistani descent who had recently visited Pakistan.

Has anyone from Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan engaged in a terrorist attack against the West? Nope. Arguably you can make the case for Afghanistan, but still.

This whole war and campaign is so ill conceived that its mind blowing, and why is it that everyone on CNN, FOX News, ABC, NBC, etc, were so gung-ho behind the President in the lead up to war when he was spouting lies left and right? I think that Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! said it best when she said, “If this were State media, how would it be any different?”

So, that’s what This War Is About So Much More is really about, it's about the American media and the American public, and why it is that the American public is so easy to be deceived and manipulated.

I agree with you about combating Islamic terrorism and religious fundamentalism, however I think that its completely impossible to have a religious fundamentalist leader, such as President Bush, lead a war again religious extremism. I also think that the Islamic terrorism of today is rooted in real problems that have been caused in the Middle East by Western powers over the past 100 years. This is a reaction to real forms of aggression that the US and Europe have perpetrated on the people of the Middle East, and until we come to grips with that and acknowledge it publicly, and work at this from that perspective, there will never be any solution. And furthermore, Iraq was never a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism or terrorism until we launched the war in Iraq.

On another note, I have since moved on well past the topic of the war in Iraq and have written many different articles, which are actually better sourced and perhaps also better thought out. You can view these in the Articles section.

Thank you
From: Biggles
Date:
April 12, 2005

Comments:

Have been browsing your site, top class work so far then I came to the bit about economics.

There is a great deal of truth in what you have to say but you're missing the major part of the puzzle. The true reason for the growing gap between the rich and poor is not "supply side" per se, which is a flawed system for certain but was never really used anyway, but inflation.

There's a reason the founding fathers wanted a gold standard, to prevent your country doing exactly what it did when it dumped the standard (31 and 77 I believe).

Inflation is NOT a natural part of a capitalist system, it is an entirely artificial creation, created by increasing the money supply via the federal (fractional) reserve bank.

It is a form of tax. You nearly got it right with your (absurdly simple) example of people in a room. 2 points:

1. It is NOT your "share" that counts, it is your purchasing power! It need not impoverish you if the rich are very rich, likewise making the rich poor does not enrich you.

All that matters is what you can buy and afford. In that sense reducing the tax on the wealthy can indeed "trickle down" but in reality the problem is freshly produced money going to politically connected people first, at full value, then trickling down to you and me, by which time is has shed much value. Likewise your savings and current income have lost much value.

They tax you by sucking the purchasing power of your money away by printing more money, to put it crudely.

This allows foreign adventures and other boondoogles while retaining the claim of "low taxation".

When you see Greenspan or some other liar talking about "tackling inflation" just remember there IS no inflation without the government producing it! Think about it, all prices in a free market economy go DOWN as efficiency and technology advance. Fast moving industries do indeed move fast, so fast that even the government's theft fails to hide this fact. Can you imagine a world where computer power was going UP in price? Yet we accept that for baked beans or autos the price is "naturally" going up?

It's THE biggest lie of the state by far.

That's the whole point of the gold standard, to prevent the state from doing that.

When you say there is no school of thought that really works, I must disagree. The Austrian school, very politically incorrect and much hated by the government, is true economics. Yes it's free market - REAL free market, condemning pretty much anything the government does, because anything the government does is harming the economy - and invariably in ways that benefit the rich and politically connected. The Austrian school predicted the 30's crash, while other schools still argue over something they failed to predict.

Likewise a major part of Austrian School economics is that you CANNOT use any form of "scientific method" because you are not dealing with science, you are dealing with people, who cannot be predicted.

This was explained in intense depth in Mises 1000 page book "Human Action", arguably the best book on economics ever written (if a hard-to-read book can be best..)

To give you an idea of how you cannot use "science" when dealing with human fads, fancies, fears and so on, consider the fact you can put the same person in the same situation twice and get 2 different results, depending on their mood that day.

No hard science can cope with it and even if somehow a magic science could, it cannot do what economics should do, improve the human condition. If I WANT cheese then no model that gives me peanut butter is working, is it?

Also consider this, you give graphs showing "1997 dollars".

There's no such thing as a measurable "1997 dollar".

How do you measure it? Spose you say "in 1997 you could buy 1 pound of cheese for $1". Great, so then you say "Today a pound of cheese costs $1.26, thus the rate of inflation is.."

False.

There may be more cheese on the market or more cheese lovers buying it or more cattle/milk available or a cheaper way of making cheese or cheaper transportation or cheaper advertising or more expensive packaging..

1997 cheese is not 2005 cheese.

Likewise if cheese is $1.26 what does that say about a $1000 computer that is now $599? Has the dollar gone down.. or up?

Again, HOW do you measure it? Take cheese again, you're measuring the SAME AMOUNT OF CHEESE! "But I gave the price.." you might say. OK, what's the price? The price is the AMOUNT OF MONEY, IE DOLLARS.

How on Earth can you measure dollars with.. money?

As one Austrian school economist put it, "that's like taking the thermometer with a temperature"!

Inflation is by far the biggest con job of governments and America, having the reserve currency (for now) is the biggest offender.

You can see this is a detailed subject that cannot be covered in a page or two of a website, so allow me to make a suggestion?

Remove the economics section completely, skip it.

For a start you will find yourself dealing with ideology and people wont change their views just on your site. Republicans claim to be in favor of the free market - few things are further from the truth! But that page will kill your credibility with soft republicans who fail to understand the Bush and indeed all administrations are strongly anti the free market.

Seriously, I LOVE your website but skip the economics bit, it's your weak spot and it's un-necessary.

Just whack em with the truth, there's plenty of it!

Best regards

http://www.biggly.com/bigglyblog/Wiggly/


Reply:

Hi Biggles,

Thanks for the feedback.

Actually, the "gold standard" has nothing to do with the founding fathers. In fact, the Continental currency wasn't backed by anything, and was fiat currency. This led to huge inflation problems during the Revolutionary War with rates of inflation of hundreds of percent.

States also issued currency as well, which also had major inflation problems.

Due to this, almost all of the early banks in America failed. America used mostly Spanish gold coins, other foreign money, gold and tobacco for currency for the first 100 years. Barter was also common.

The "gold standard" was adopted as a part of the creation of the Federal Reserve. Prior to that, there were many different forms of money, issued by different types of banks, that had different types of backing, or no backing at all.

The US economy was plagued by currency inflation throughout its early history until the creation of the Federal Reserve.

Secondly, the Gold Standard simply makes no economic sense. The idea was a holdover from the old British mercantile days. Gold itself is just another form of currency. There are many problems with using gold as a currency, but the biggest problem with a gold standard is that it is an arbitrary limitation on the size of the economy. Basically, your money supply becomes limited by the amount of gold that your country can obtain.

This is an arbitrary measure.

The only reason that the US was able to use the gold standard at all was because the US had the largest supply of gold in the world during the late 1800s and early 1900s because of gold finds in the newly discovered territories. Those were one time finds, that just happened to be large enough to correspond to the size of the US economy at that time.

Eventually, though, the US economy outgrew the gold supply and the standard became impossible to maintain.

Money is just a representative of value. Gold, when it is used to back money, then also becomes a representative of other value. If you don't have enough gold to represent all of the value in the system, then you have a constraint on the economy.

The only "real" value is in the actual goods and services that exist.

In addition, there are many forms if inflation, and not all forms of inflation are related to the money supply.

There is cost/push inflation, demand/pull inflation, and there is monetary inflation. Monetary inflation results from the "over printing" of money. However, demand/pull inflation  results when demand increases at a rate faster than supply. Cost/push inflation results when the cost of production increases.

Share is extremely important in an economy because all value is relative. All value is relative to other goods and services. The more equal shares in an economy are, the more "democratic" the market is, and thus the more "free" the market is. A "free market" is truly only a theoretical concept. A 100% free market would only exist if every individual in a market had a completely equal share of resources. Any disparity of resources creates market pressures, which, by definition, disrupt the free market condition by influencing prices via extraneous factors.

What you can "afford to buy" depends on what other people can afford to buy. If you go to an auction with $100 and everyone else at the auction has $1,000,000, then you aren't going to be able to afford to buy anything that the other people want to buy. If, however, you go to an auction with $100 and the other people all have $10, then you can afford to buy any item of your choice at the auction. The balance of the market is dependent upon relative shares of actors in the market.

The more unequal the shares, the "less free" the market.

Hence the reason that capitalism naturally destroys free markets due to capital concentration. This is a part of the paradox of capitalism. The functioning of the system is dependant upon conditions that the system itself undermines.

All prices do not go down in a "free market" because #1 free markets don't really exist, and #2 prices can go up, as I said, when demand exceeds supply or when the cost of production increases, which can be for a variety of reasons.

 

From: Mary
Date:
April 6, 2005

Comments:

Dear Rational Revolution, I came upon your site when researching the detrimental effects of capitalism on the environment and must say that I was immediately interested. My favorite part is the "rational" in the title. So often people, revolutionaries, dissidents, whoever... go crazy with it (which is easy to do when one is passionate about something) and buy into the same propaganda they're against with the only difference being the side that the propaganda is on. But here is a site where the articles are clear, well supported and researched, and are most about presenting the actual facts than shoving phrases and slogans down people's throats. It's very effective. If you have any plans or suggestions for mobilization...count me in. -Mary
 

Reply:

Thanks for the feedback Mary. I don't have any plans for anything at the moment other than just trying to continue to educate, spread information, and challenge people's assumptions. Something I can certainly recommend though is to just get out there and at least try to meet likeminded people, if its through local clubs, or through things like Meetup.com, it does good to make contacts and build a community.

 

From: Jussi
Date:
February 25, 2005

Comments:

Thank you for your excellent articles on capitalism and its effects. So much information packed in a clear style.

It's a shame you don't apply academic tools of exact source references. These would make your articles more useful for students (and even for scholars) at least in the field of literary and cultural studies, where I come from.

By the way, there's a short description at your feedback site, cited below, which I find informative (even if it's a little messy). I realize it is a synthesis of many sources (as your articles tend to be), but is there any you would especially mention? (Well, I think there's several hundred pages of Marx implied...)

All the best,
Jussi


Reply:

Thanks for the feedback. As for sources, I have had several people bring up this point. So far I have to plead laziness. I will get around to using a formal bibliography eventually.

As for the description of capitalism, I believe you are referring to my reply to the September 17th post by Jeff. Yes, it was an off the cuff reply, and thus a little messy, and yes there are shades of Marx in the analysis, but that history of the development of capitalism isn't refuted by anyone. Exact "definitions" of capitalism do very between people, and there are typically political motivations behind the definitions. The Marxist view recognizes capitalism to have developed a bit later than some other views, which associate capitalism more with the trading practices of the Dutch. I find that highly misleading, because, first of all, the term "capitalism" was really brought into use by Karl Marx in the first place. Marx wasn't THE first person to ever use the term, but it was not used by anyone until the 1800s and it was always used in a negative way, by people who opposed the system. This is an irony, because the term "capitalism" was really made popular by Marx and other anti-capitalists. The term capitalism, when used by its original developers, was used to describe a system based on the private ownership and consolidation of capital. 

Many neoclassical  economists downplay that aspect of capitalism and focus on "free trade" saying that the defining feature of our system is "free markets" and trade. The problem here is that one can easily have free trade without having "capitalism". In fact, Karl Marx spoke often in favor of free trade. Free trade isn't a distinguishing factor of any economic system. In fact, as Marx pointed out, it is often capitalists (consolidators of capital) who oppose "free trade". Free trade, in the capitalist system, is opposed or promoted by different individuals based on how it impacts their interests. Capitalists who have a lot invested in domestic production often support tariffs and regulation of trade in order to promote their interests, while those that can't get a foot hold in the domestic production market, often go outside the country to find "cheaper" places to produce in undeveloped labor markets and then promote "free trade" in order to leverage their position. So, the issue of trade is a matter of how capitalists compete with each other, its not a defining feature of the system.

Free trade is also opposed by nationalists, who seek to maintain national superiority over other countries. This is another reason why Marxists support free trade, because Marxists seek global unification and equality, and thus want free trade to break down national boundaries.

In regard to my analysis and description of economics, I rely on a knowledge of many schools of economics, including Classical, Marxist, Keynesian and Neoclassical economics. There are strengths and weaknesses in all of these schools of thought, and I do pull from all of them for my interpretation of economics. I also think that all of these schools of economics are insufficient given our current knowledge of biology and behavioral evolution. All of these economic system of philosophically based social studies, and its time to move on to science based analysis.

 

From: Michael
Date:
February 11, 2005

Comments:

Excellent work.  I have read all of the articles on your site and they are outstanding.  Your opinions are right on and you do an incredible job backing up your points with facts.  I really enjoyed the articles on FDR and fascism.  Its helpful I think, to take a look back throughout the 20th century to get an idea of where this country may be heading(though exactly where we are heading I am still not sure).  Your articles on Bush, Iraq, and the Project for the New American Century were very informative.  I went to the PNAC website www.NewAmericanCentury.org and downloaded their Sept. 2000 publication Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century.  In it I read this about American global military domination, "The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor". This was one year before 9-11 and Bush immediately used the situation to start implementing the plans of the PNAC.  It is amazing to me that no one have mentioned PNAC to has ever heard of them.  Why is this? I have a couple questions for you.  First off you are highly critical of capitalism but what system of government do you think would be best, socialism?  Second, where do you think this country is going and where will it be in coming decades.  It doesn't look too bright to me.  I don't see how our way of life will be maintained.  Is there anything I am missing?  What would you recommend for this country?  And finally do you have any right-wing people in your family?  How do you deal with them?  I am constantly subjected to the ignorant, hate filled, right-wing propaganda spewed by my in-laws.  How do you possible argue with people who make outrageously ignorant statements such as Iraq attacked us first(9-11) and sit around quoting Bush("Stay the course", "Fight them there so we don't fight them here").  How does an intelligent guy like you deal with living in one of the most politically ignorant countries in the world? Anyway I love your site, I recommended it to my friends and they love it as well.  Thank you for the work you are doing, it is greatly appreciated.

Michael, Boston MA

From: Jarrod
Date:
January 10, 2005

Comments:

Hello,

I stumbled across your site a while ago looking for information about disparity in income of America, and have since found your articles to be extremely engrossing and informative on a level that has not shown itself anywhere else.  Therefore, I would like to point you to an article that a conservative person I know has claimed is a product of the "damned liberals".  Perhaps in the next article you write you might want to shed more light on this subject than this article did. Again, thank you for writing such enjoyable and informative articles. It is practically cathartic to read these ideas I have floating in my head combined into a cohesive argument.

this is the link: http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100330


Reply:

I wouldn't be too concerned with that article one way or another. The Heritage Foundation is an ultra-libertarian, "free market", type foundation that defines "economic freedom" in its own specific way, that many other people may not agree with. In actuality it would be considered by most people in common political language to be a "right-wing" institution, so its definitely not a product of the "liberal media".

The whole analysis from beginning to end has problems with it, so its kind of hard to discuss. One of the interesting points is that they talk about how other countries are "throwing off the shackles of big government spending", and of course these countries have a huge advantage because they are not superpowers.

There is an inherent cost to being a "superpower", which is something that Americans need to realize.

Its funny because "conservatives" are the ones who WANT to be a "superpower" and they also complain about taxes and government spending. Well, guess what, I'd be willing to bet that the cost of being the world's only "superpower" alone accounts for a 10% tax burden on the public. The military, diplomatic, humanitarian, financial costs, etc of being #1 isn't small. The question is, of course, is the benefit worth more than the cost?

When you look at their top 5 "countries" (Hong Kong is not a country, its a city inside a country) you notice that none of them are even close to having to deal with the kinds of issues that America has to deal with, few of them even have militaries.

The other thing you notice is that most of the countries ranked as "free" are far more "liberal" than America, and most are what is called "welfare states".

Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Canada, Finland, and Netherlands are all welfare state systems.

The UK, and Australia are both semi-comparable to the US, and both have much more liberal economic policy, liberal in the American sense of the word. Aside from the war issue, the UK's Labor Party is left of the American Democrats.

Hong Kong and Luxembourg don't really count because both of those places are so small. Their economies are only made possible because they simply serve as brokers for foreign capital. They are small dependant regions that set themselves up as places where international business can be easily conducted, thereby generating a high volume of traffic within their boarders, which enables them to use lower taxes to generate high government income. These are not self-sufficient systems, or systems that can be modeled by other large countries.

If we set up our system like Hong Kong it would be a nightmare, and besides, Hong Kong regulates the prices of a lot of commodities, including the cost of housing.

What places like Hong Kong and Luxembourg actually do is hurt the normal economies and allow international businessmen to make huge profits at a cost to the working classes in producer countries by diverting large volumes of economic traffic away from producer countries.

Hong Kong is a city, so for example, if they can attract 10 times more foreign capital into their region than the inhabitants have, then they can reduce their taxes by 9 times and then still collect more taxes than if they didn't have these "low burden" policies. It only works though because they can attract a huge amount of capital from China, Europe, America, etc. into one tiny little region. If the whole world followed Hong Kong's lead, the effect wouldn't be even remotely the same as what we see in Hong Kong, it would be a disaster.

From: John
Date:
December 30, 2005

Comments:

I really like your site, particularly about the New Deal and fascism, and your discussion about political categories, and the Nolan chart specifically.   I learned a lot.  It's good to know that someone is taking Libertarianism seriously, particularly as a challenge to an accurate understanding of reality. I mean that there are a lot of people who are accepting the Libertarian chart as an accurate representation of political positions. It's difficult trying to convince them that communism and fascism are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.  Your article might work on
them, or at least give them something to think about.

I just read your article about the Red and Blue states, and found it illuminating.


Reply:

Thank you for the feedback. The biggest problem that people have with understanding the difference between communism and fascism is the overly simplistic American view that all government action is inherently the same, which of course is nonsense. Stalinism itself created many other problems, since Stalinism abandoned so many of the fundamental principles of the Communist movement. I would agree, however, that in practice the system of the U.S.S.R. did resemble fascism in many superficial ways.

From: Jeff
Date:
September 17, 2004

Comments:

Your ignorence on economics is overwhelming.  I can only assume that you consider yourself to be an academic; smarter than the greedy bastards who only strive for money.  It is evident that you do not have any concept of economics; the generation of wealth, the reinvestment of that wealth, the distribution of income, the rate of unemployment and the correlation between the growth of investment capital and the capability enhancement that comes with with such growth of capital.  In order to explain your econimical theory, especially considering the "trickle down' effect, one must travel back in time to the pre-Renaissance merchantile economic thought and even then it was the trickle down of the ruling European nations through the purchase f luxury goods, not food, that enabled the rising merchant class to provide for the employment of the society once the capital investment of the
Catholic Church ceased.  The growth of capital is imperative to enhancement of mankind's growth of capability enhancements and substantive freedoms here and around the world and when the capital is tied up in the distribution channels (ie-tax).  The fall of monarchies is directly related to the reliance of the people on the promises of governments who then in turn tie up all growth capital into social safety-nets thus elimating the ability to provide their subjects with the "freedoms" that the state had promised.  In your essesment of trickle down you come to the assumption that all "rich" people hide their money under their beds (like most "poor" people) thus hoarding the income and distorting the income distribution.  Consider this: "those with incomes over $200k have 18% less cash on hand than those with incomes between $25-100k.  The reinvestment of capital by the top 2% provides in excess of $20 trillion to the GDP.  If the top 2% locked up their capital in self-interest like the other class I mentioned, unemployment would stand at close to 20% and the beta of incomes could go to 18-20.  This is something that's not taught in philosophy or history." -Greenspan.  I am glad that you have taken the liberty of self exploration of your intellectual capabiltiies but once you believe in conspiracy, your bias towards rebellion distorts your view of the true facts that often go both ways.  Please, on account of all who get it, don't try to explain something that you have no training in.  Incorrect information and uneducated opinions poison the spread of the truth.

Dr. J


Reply:

I suggest you read this before commenting on my knowledge of economics, or lack thereof:

The Economy Web- Understanding Capitalism

I think that I know a little something of capitalism and the role of capital.

Regarding the history of capitalism: Merchants are people who exchange commodities and are involved in trade. That's not capitalism. Merchants don't own capital. Capital is the tools and machinery that are used to create products, i.e. property that is used to produce value ("the means of production").

In the feudal system the merchants didn't own the means of production, the craftsmen did. The craftsman produced goods, and then sold the goods to the merchants, who then traded the goods with different regions and sold the goods from foreign regions.

The mercantile economy was one in which individuals still owned and operated the means of production.

The Merchant class did evolve into the capitalist class because merchants acquired wealth and then used that wealth to begin buying, owning, and controlling the full chain of production so that instead of simply buying
goods from different craftsman from different regions and then selling those goods for profit, they were able to maximize profits by owning the entire chain of production itself so instead of paying a premium to craftsmen for
their independent labor, they instead acquired the products at production costs instead of the marked up cost of the craftsman.

The craftsman produced goods and then sold them for his own profit.

The merchant had to pay this profit margin for the craftsman.

As merchants became capitalists they instead employed workers to create products for them directly, paying them a wage instead of buying products from them, they instead bought their labor power, and were able to get the
products produced at a lower cost.

This was the first step in the development of capitalism.

Then, the capitalists began to use their money to create factories and such to increase efficiency and make the cost of production increasingly cheaper.

Capitalists then owned major means of production and employed thousands of workers each.

This is what a capitalist is, and how capitalism formed.

The fall of monarchies had nothing at all to do with social safety nets. The "socially conscious" state didn't develop until the 20th century, in both fascist and socialist forms. The monarchies were overthrown by liberals at a time when there was also lesser need for social safety nets in the first place. The American founders certainly didn't institute any social safety nets, and they continued to practice slavery as well. Napoleon did institute some minor social safety nets, but nothing major at all. The establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy in Britain didn't see the rise of social programs either. The Germans were the first to develop a modern social security system, well after the monarchs had been cast aside.

Monarchies were thrown over by liberalism and lassiez-fair practices.

I certainly don't insinuate that the wealthy hide their money under the bed, I specifically discuss the role of capital gains income, and for your information, poor people don't hide money under the bed, they spend it as fast as it hits their pockets. If and when they do hide it under the bed they get no return on it.

Your statements about the top 2% are a really funny joke though, because you make it sound like investing is a charity! LOL! Investing IS DONE in self interest, which is... ummm... the whole point behind the system so says the developers of the system...

Secondly though, "poor people" certainly aren't "locking their money up", they are spending it.  As evidenced by  this Depart of the Treasury information:

Income Class -            Expenditure to Income Ratio
Less than $10,000 -     2.07
$10,000 to $20,000 -  1.31
$20,000 to $30,000 -  1.08
$30,000 to $40,000 -   0.91
$40,000 to $50,000 -   0.85
$50,000 to $75,000 -   0.80
$75,000 to $100,000 -  0.70
$100,000 or More -      0.67

Thirdly, the GDP doesn't measure anything other than activity. Both positive and negative activity register the same in the GDP figures, so that when a hurricane hits a state and destroys a lot of property GDP measures everything as a gain and ignores the loss. Likewise, as the divorce rates in America go up this results in more economic activity, and thus a rise in the GDP. As more people suffer from mental illness, depression, and anxiety, guess what, this causes the GDP to go up due to more use or prescription drugs, therapists, doctors, etc.

GDP simply measures activity, it doesn't measure progress. Its like the difference between measuring the miles a car puts on its odometer (GDP) vs. the distance a car has traveled towards a destination (progress). One car may travel 100 miles going around in a circle and another car may travel 20 miles in the direction of its destination. The car that went 20 miles in the right direction is better off than the one that traveled around the block over and over again for 100 miles.

GDP is a nonsense measure that was developed for use during the FDR administration to measure how the state-directed economy was functioning. It made limited sense then because the economy was being directed in a  certain way, thus by inference they assumed that GDP was also measuring progress in the direction that they were directing. Now there is much less direction and GDP is increasingly useless.

Cash on hand is a useless measure as well. Wealthy people use American Express, Money Market accounts, etc. Why you or Greenspan would even bring up this statistic I am not sure.

The top 2% couldn't "lock up their capital in self interest" because it isn't in their self interest to do so. "Locked up capital" isn't making money, in fact its technically not even capital unless it is making money. The whole point of investing is to get a return on investment. If they pull their money out of markets they stop receiving income from it. Likewise, if the working class stops working the wealthy also stop receiving an income from it, because all "investment income" is a tax on labor. Money does not make money, only labor creates new value, which is then represented by money, which is then transferred from the workers to the property owners. That's simply how it works, and is, in fact, why it is completely impossible for wealth to "Trickle Down". Wealth trickles up. All wealthy are dependant on those below them to do work, which all ultimately supports the wealthiest members of society, who are completely dependant on the working class for their existence.

"Who" invests is somewhat meaningless from the perspective of industry. If the money invested in "the markets" come from the top 2% or it comes from the bottom 90% it makes no difference, $20 trillion is $20 trillion. By your accounting, if one man in America comes to own 90% of all the wealth in the country, and of this wealth he has 99% of it invested, you will stand up and defend this situation by telling everyone to be thankful that this one person who owns and controls everything is allowing us all to use his money.

You have fallen into the very trap of the situation, and have bought into the fear mongering of the right. The problem is, just as I stated in my article on Trickle Down economics, that the more wealthy the wealthy become, the more our economy is dependant upon them, and the more a few people control the economy, and then the more leverage those few people have on our entire society. You've already simply accepted this fact. "Well, the top 2% have all the leverage, so... we better get out of their way!"

The way the system is going, it won't be long until the top 1% controls that $20 trillion, and then the top 0.5%, and then the top 0.1%, etc. Ownership of industry is becoming increasingly consolidated, people are becoming increasingly disenfranchised, and you are just the first line of defense for the oligarchs. The only thing that has made the system appear to work has been the trade deficit with China, India and Mexico etc. Its just basically selling America out, using the wealth that was built up in this country between WWII and the 1970s as a reserve from which to fuel massive consumerism in a non-producing society, but we are basically just living off the seed corn. We aren't planting much, and what we do plant we consume immediately.

Between WWII and the early 80s hard work was being done and people were living off the crops that were grown and putting aside some seed corn to boot. Then came Reaganomics and the rich got their eyes on that big store of seed corn. Well, of course deficit spending went into effect, outsourcing went into full swing, and the rich have opened up the silos and flooded the streets with the seed corn. Oh yeah, it all seems great, more corn, less work, what's not to love. And while everyone is busy gobbling up the seed corn, the rich are busy buying up their farms, erecting barbed wires fences, and consolidating power. Of course they want increased globalization, but not because they are cosmopolitan minded humanists, but because they know good and well they are screwing America and they need to get their base of capital out of the country and they need to establish new markets because this one is about to turn to shit when the seed corn is all eaten up (which isn't too far off BTW).

Over the past 20 years we have begun the program of forfeiting this country's future in order to make a few people super rich today.

And BTW, Greenspan also said that capitalism is falling apart from too much corporate corruption too, so don't forget that :p

From: Doug Johnson
Date:
August 24, 2004

Comments:

 Congratulations on your site and efforts to establish Professional Democracy in the United States.  More and more Americans need to be visible on Labor Day weekend in demonstrations asserting a third party voice in our American political affairs.  We cannot continually be dragged down by the immorality, incompetence and expensive mediocrity that our two parties have brought upon us.  Americans can communicate directly to their civil servants and establish national forums with ideas for a cost efficient government that works.  We do not need to surrender our authority to biased representatives.  If third parties and independent political activists unite, the voice if perhaps seventeen million Americans (estimate of voters who do not like the two party oligarchy)  can introduce progressive change, like a Bull Moose party or other third party movements of the past.   Our politics are obsolete and they cost blood and money, perhaps greater social and economic dangers lie ahead without our compassionate and creative participation in a broader democracy.  Let logic and love for humanity prevail.

 


Reply:

Third parties have certainly played a more progressive role in America in the past: prior to WWII. After WWII American politics was greatly homogenized, however the American political system is effectively incapable of supporting any kind of serious third party because of how it is setup. Though there are some good aspects of the American political system, such as the scheduled elections every 4 years, there are also many many problems, some of which are just a product of our old and outdated political model and some of which are intentional constructs of the ruling parties. It would surprise many Americans to know that there are a great number of countries in the world with much more open democratic system than America. These democracies were all created after America of course, but because of that they also have more modern practices and rules that encourage more fairness and openness. This is why so many democracies around the world don't just have three major parties, but in fact many democracies have a dozen or more major parties who regularly win major elections.

From: Hiphee
Date:
June 27, 2004

Comments:

Dear Mr. Geoff:

I want to acknowledge that I appreciate your articles and your perspective. 

I commend your efforts and am thankful that you have written and researched your work.  Please do not be discouraged by the many in the world who simply cannot respect what you have written.  It is the balance of
views, evidence, and perspective that help maintain truth, and help weed out mediocrity, complacency, and
evil which overwhelmingly consumes the majority in blinding and lightening fast fashion.

Many of your articles confirm views that I have gathered, experienced, and studied.  It is mind boggling at how accurate most of your analyses is. Many people who are not from the region where you and I live and who have not traveled and lived around North America and abroad as extensively as us may have become blind to the reality of self-evident and evidence-based truths, that are simply too shocking for them to accept in their closed-minded idealized, less informed perspective of things.

I hope you gain all the strength in the world to continue in your endeavors.  Your efforts are noble and worthy.  Your contribution is substantial and worthy of an éclat! 

You help bring us back to a time of revolutionary and fundamental democratic principles, proselytized by the
great philosophers, thinkers, and founders of this nation of Thomas Paine, John Locke, and others.

I am confident I speak for many. 

Carry on, dear chap!


Reply:

Thank you for the feedback. Don't worry about me, I'm not discouraged by much :p Living in the South certainly provides a valuable perspective on American culture I think, but I also like to make it clear that I am from the South to dispel Southern stereotypes as well, and so that other progressive people from the South can know that they aren't the only ones down here. 

I'm actually currently working as a research assistant on a book with award winning author Edwin Black about Iraq, which is due to be out soon. I will have more info on that when the book comes out.

I also have an article planned that will discuss John Locke and how many of the ideologies of John Locke and Adam Smith have been greatly twisted by so-called "conservative" thinkers. Its amazing how many people claim that their views are shared by John Locke, I wonder if half of them have even read anything from him. 

Thanks again.

From: Eric
Date:
June 8, 2004

Comments:

Hey I liked your article on American Tax. I thought it was well written fairly balanced, a hint of distain for republicans, but overall intresting. The rest of the articles I read were horribly biased, if you are going to claim that you are merely presenting facts you should find someone with generally opposing views to you and have them help keep you rational as your website implies! I couldn't read all your articles some were just too much like a "rant". I found it strange that you out of hand dismiss anyones opinion if this person is a person of faith. I think you called it "religious escapism" and anyone who has a belief stemming from religion is in a fantasy world. I am not a person of faith myself but I think that people of faith are just as rational as anyone in their views. Next topic, how come there is almost zero bashing for democratic politicians? There really should be. You know they are just as big a part of the "ruling elite" in america as any republican. The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism was somewhat intresting except I think your blame of capitalism was misplaced. The fact that division of labor has become so specialized is due to the sheer amount of technology out there now. There has always been a BUTCHER, a BAKER, a CANDELSTICK MAKER(this is division of labor) but during these times you weren't also expected to be a sowtware engineer, certified electritian, account, auto-mechanic just to be self sufficient. Again, the Tax paper was intresting read, the rest of what I read was WAY to opinionated to hold any weight. Maybe you could hire an editor, OMG no not more division of labor!


Reply:

Thanks for the feedback Eric. There is of course general distain for Republican politicians in my articles, because Republican politicians are certainly a big part of the problems facing America and the world today. While you may not have read my comments about Democrats I have certainly been critical of them as well, mostly President Clinton who simply continued the Supply-Side policies of the Reagan era. Also, I plan on getting around to bashing the Democrats more, in fact I do so in a piece I am currently working on. This website was started as a reaction to the Bush administration and thus that was the primary initial direction.

"Bias" is a somewhat subjective term. I consider essentially everything in the major media to be extremely biased. You are only seeing my so-called bias in relation to the more accepted popular biases of our society. If you can point out anything that is factually incorrect then please do so. The fact that many of the facts that I present on this website are not a part of our common culture and common knowledge is only representative of the popular bias in our society. My discussion of thee facts is not my bias, the lack of discussion of these facts is our society's bias. 

Some of my articles are rants. There is a mix of opinion pieces and more journalistic pieces.

If religious views were just as rational as non-religious views then why aren't you religious? Certainly you are not a person of faith because of some level of rationality that goes above and beyond that of "believers."

As for the division of labor, the whole point of that article was pointing out the paradox of the situation. Division of labor is increasing and cannot but increase as society becomes more complex. Socialists attempt to counter the negative effects that division of labor has on society with education and cultural programs. These may be of some value, but I didn't discuss those considerations in that piece; its mostly a piece to get people thinking on their own.

From: anonymous
Date: May 2004

Comments:

Wow. Your article did not address any of the statements brought up by Mr. O'Neil. You just tried to slime him by saying he does business with a country that is trying to rebuild itself. Is that the best you can do? Pretty pathetic. Maybe you should try another venture like actually creating something tangible that helps people or the environment. But I guess that kind of work might get your pale white hands dirty. Sadly, Julie Freeman Beverly Hills, CA


Reply:

I am not sure what you are talking about, because I only address an "O'Neil" (Paul O'Neill) in one place on this website and that is in the "Introducing the Bush Admin" page that is a part of "This War is About So Much More" That page was written in April of 2003 and was just a quick listing of people in the Bush cabinet and a few quick facts about them. I have left that page essentially "as is" since the time it was written for historical purposes. Other than that the only references to an "O'Neil" that I made to Paul O'Neill are in references made to his comments when he came out against the Bush administration, though I never discuss O'Neill himself in any way, generally because there is too much else to write about. So... as with many of the other comments left here, I'm at a loss as to what to make of this comment. I assume you are talking about Paul O'Neill. If so, the brief comments I made about him don't say anything about him trying to do business with other countries anyway, so I'm not even entirely sure what you are talking about.

From: Jim Stone
Date: May 2004

Comments:

Pretty much everything , from the ultimate truth to the most outrageous lie has been written . What we believe is what makes us what we are. Readers, don't believe any of this bull shit.


Reply:

What you believe may "make you who you are", but what you believe does not make reality what it is. If you don't believe in reality then who "you are" is someone who does not believe in reality. 

From: Steve
Date: May 2004

Comments:

How in the hell can you put out so much bull shit? What is wrong with you? Where are you from? Why do you hate the US?

From: poochie
Date: 2004

Comments:

do u wanna be in our bored movie!!!!!!!!!!! Cos that fully describes your CRUDDY ESSAY!!!!!!!

From: anonymous
Date:2004

Comments:

How do you define "casualty"? Is it death or wounded? In Putting American Casualties in Perspective, World War I has 7.8 million Military personnel for Austria. However, the number of deaths (1.2 M and Military casualties of 7.02 M, total 8.2 M) exceeds the number of military. How can you have more military fatalities than you have in the military?


Reply:

Deaths are a subset of casualties. Casualties include all dead and wounded. The 1.2M is a part of the 7.02M.

From: Patrick 
Date: March 2004

Comments:

Hey,

I came across a link to your site on IIDB.

I must say, I'm really amazed at the sheer amount of original, well thought out content. What I've read so far I've enjoyed a lot. Thanks for your efforts!

From: John
Date: 2004

Comments:

Why the Hell are you using websites, which is pretty much a pro-North Korean agency set up in South Korean, and therefore backed by the dictator there who OPPRESSES THE PEOPLE as "legitamite sources". I read your articles, even with some belief, until I read your sources. You people - for all your intents and purposes - abhore one side for being extremist and irrational, while quickly using facts directly supported by the other. A "rational revolution" this is not! I cannot believe you on what you right anymore because I doubt the legitamacy of some of your sources which you claim. I cannot accept that you would use some form of hypocricy to justify you actions. I do not feel that what you are doing is any more right then the extremist idealogues that we see taking over the Republican party.


Reply:

I have no idea where the above comment is coming from, as I have no articles at all on this website even dealing with North or South Korea, though I probably should. I am certainly not pro-Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Jong, and I have no idea what was read on this website that would give that impression, or what websites are being referred to. As for the articles listed on my articles page, I have many listed there which present opinions that I am opposed to, I am simply presenting them because I think they are important. I'm still curious as to what "pro-North Korea" links I have on this website. As far as I know, I have none, and if I do, I will remove them. Please identify them for me if you would.

From: anonymous
Date: 2004

Comments:

Very impressive expansion/improvement to this site since I last visited - bravo! How are the impeachment proceedings going? Oh, and a note to rude poo-poohers that trash this site on the comments board: you are ill and afraid - I hope you get well! Pick a point or two on which you disagree, and REFUTE it using EVIDENCE, LOGIC, and REASON. And then, provide a SOUND ARGUMENT to support YOUR position. If you are not willing to do that, you are just farting in the wind and embarrassing America even more than it already is! GP is right, the time has come when civilized people should refuse to tolerate lies, stupidities, and the stupidity of the liars' cheerleaders who do not adhere to the most BASIC principles of 2-way communication.


Reply:

Thanks

From: anonymous
Date: 2004

Comments:

The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Marxism

I suggest you read a book called "The God of the Machine" by Isabel Paterson. Aside from the few references to God that are scattered through the book, which can be safely ignored, this book is a perfect logical and historical refutation of nearly everything you believe. Marxism is dead. Learn why, and get your head into this century.


Reply:

Ehh... there are thousands of so-called refutations of Marxism, and I have a number of criticisms of Marxism myself. I'm not going to mount a defense of Marxism here so I guess there is nothing more to say.

From: Elijah Craig
Date: 2003

Comments:

You wrote: It’s important to note that communism and Marxism are not the same things. Communism is based on Marxist ideology, but the two are not the same thing. It’s important to make this distinction because Marxist ideology is extremely significant and useful in understanding the human condition, history, and the geopolitical situation. 

My comments: What does this mean? I don't understand why you say "communism" and "marxism" are not the same.


Reply:

"Marxism" is a system of analysis, a philosophy, a way to view the world. Communism is a social and economic system that is based on the idea of cooperative organization of people for the mutual benefit of all mankind. Not all communists are Marxists, not all Marxists are communists. So for example the difference between Marxism and Communism could be said to be similar to the difference between "Post-Modernism" and "Capitalism". Post-Modernism is a way to view things, Capitalism is an implementation of an economic system.

From: Carol Seaton
Date: 2003

Comments:

What you have done is excellent, however, you are missing vitally important information about military technology and its relationship to the 1958 National Defense Education Act that began preparing us for the New World Order. Without this information your opinion of education is lacking knowledge of what means to defend our democracy in the classroom, by preparing every individual citizen to do so, and thereby making the present police impossible. 

I hold a copy of the 1917 National Education Association Conference and I can blow your mind with the information that is in it and my old books on German history. We have adopted the bureaucracy and education of the New World Order, and I would do anything to get this information to you if you think you can use it. Industry, National Defense and Education sat on the same board for the first time when we mobilized for the first world war, but not until the military technology of second world war, did our national defense depend on an economy supporting a very expensive military force capable of dominating the world, instead of national defense depending on patroitic citizens. We have been educating for the New World Order since the 1958 National Defense Education Act, but have known this is 1915... 

Taken from "The Anglo German Problem" by Charles Sarolea, 1915. Sarolea is quoting Dr. Friedrich Naumann: 

"The war of the future is a problem of economic organization of the most difficult nature and the highest technical achievement, such as has never been hitherto demanded from any army. The old military qualities must give way to the organizing qualities. No doubt the courage and endurance of the individual soldier must remain for all times the foundation of military power, but organizing genius is required in order not to waste that courage and endurance. This is clearly shown from a mere examination of the colossal numbers engaged. To transport, to locate, and to feed these masses of men is the daily preoccupation of the military authorities. 

That they rightly understand the nature or the problem is certain, but it is very doubtful wether the problem can ever be adequately solved by commanders who are recruited from the Junkertum. Mere military capacity does not suffice here. Both enemies and friends admit that our corps of officers possess such military capacity. Anxiety only arises with regard to their other qualifications. 

We know that our nation possesses in its industries successful organizers, brains accustomed to direct great quantities of material and "personnel"- men who create new conditions of life for whole economic districts without having to appeal to any mystical authority. As democratic politicians we may often have to oppose bitterly those captains of industry, but if it comes to war we shall be willing to be led by them, because we know that they have the brains. It is true that they must not meddle with the technical duties of the officers, but the administration of the war material must be their province. And even with regard to the technique of war, it becomes from year to year more questionable whether this can be managed more efficiently by a corps of noblemen than by the representatives of middle-class technique. However much we may value the moral qualities of the old ruling class- and, with all political differences of opinion, we shall not minimize those qualities- we must admit that we are witnessing a transformation of methods of attack and defence which in addition to the old question of iron discipline raises the modern question: how far shall we be able on the battlefield to replace the human unit through machinery? 

It is obvious that this will never succeed completely, for there does not exist a machine which does not need a human soul to work it. At the same time it is doubtless that in this direction mighty changes are at hand. We can see here a repetition of the process which we notice in nearly all industries- the subordination and displacement of human labour in mines, machines, and means of transportation. If you examine a weaving mill you shall find comparatively few men: the whole place is already full of the produce of labour which has been accomplished elsewhere. Even so in war: the front ranks must be supplied with human units in as limited quantity as possible; but those units must have the mechanical ability in the blood. 

Those conditions do already exist to a large extent in naval warfare. Ships are built and equipped with an insignificant number of men compared to their fighting power. But those men must work like animated machines. Even so the air fleet of tomorrow will demand a large amount of technical application and technical ability, but very few military units. War is becoming impersonal, and is becoming reduced to a rivalry of money and economics. That even here military members of the nobility may achieve great results is shown by the admirable example of Count Zeppelin. But the impression remains that there still survive in the army the traditions of the pre- industrial age- traditions not only loyalty and discipline, but also of technical ignorance. We have still too much of parade soldier whose knees are more pliable than his fingers of his brain. 

It begins with the artillery, but it ends at the cavalry. We have still failed fully to realize that under a system of universal service a nations pays and labours in order that weapons shall be absolutely of the first class. The nation which can put the best technique into the military service will probably, in the altered conditions of modern warfare achieve victory." 

At the 1917 National Education Conference J. A. Sinclair, Surgeon, United States Navy, Portland Oregon Recruiting Station, Portland, Oregon, said: 

"The German military organization is the world's model, at least from the standpoint of immediate accomplishment of results, and therefore we can hardly do better than to emulate it in its perfect working. It was effected in its minutest detail by the very essence of scientific thought and application In that organization every tongue fitted its groove, every tooth its socket. We have seen how the Kaiser's marvelous soldiers carried their banner to the very outskirts of Paris in August and September, 1914. It is the Great God efficiency, to which the Germans were required by their commanders to pay the homage of worship- and it behooves us either to effect a thing that will operate as well or to copy theirs. The fact of the world at war has silenct the erring lips that declared against the necessity for preparation against disaster, like that of Belgium and Serva." 

In 1899 William James explained the differences between English and German education in his book "Talks to Teachers on Psychology: and to Students on some of Life's Ideals". "If we reflect upon the various ideals of education that are prevalent in the different countries, we see that what they all aim at is to organize capacities for conduct. This is most immediately obvious in Germany, where the explicitly avowed aim of the higher education is to turn the student into an instrument for advancing scientific discovery. The German universities are proud of the number of young specialists whom they turn out every year,- not necessarily men of any original force of intellect, but men so trained to research that when their professor gives them an historical or philological theses to prepare, or a bit of laboratory work to do, with a general indication as to the best method, they can go off by themselves and use apparatus and consult sources in such a way as to grind out in the requite number of months some little pepper-corn of new truth worthy of being added to the store of extant human information on that subject. Little else is recognized in Germany as a man's title to academic advancement than his ability thus to show himself an efficient instrument of research". 

The mentality for all this is Prussian. What has been happening in the US is what happened in Germany following the Prussian take over. The Prussians lived for military might as we lived for God, and now we are educated to live for military might and you are so right about this change in our culture occuring in secret!!! Right down to the destruction of our heros and praising of efficiency this is exactly what the Prussians did to Germany, and the result is national paranoia- excessive need to be superior and in control. We did not experience a normal generation gap, but a cultural gap. Some good things have happened since the 1958 National Defense Education Act began preparing us for a technological society with unknown values- but our democracy was not an unknown value, and we stand to loose that for which stood for 200 years, if we do not immediately become aware of the take over of public education and return to defending democracy in the classroom by teaching the history you have noted we are teaching.


Reply:

Thanks for the feedback and information, very interesting. I need your e-mail address in order to get any information from you. (Her comments were submitted under an old system of direct feedback without the use of e-mail) 

As for the Germans, the Germans actually did a lot of good and productive things. German history is quite complicated. The Germans were among the most progressive of the European cultures and were among the first to implement universal education, which was why the Germans so strongly dominated the sciences during the early part of the 20th century. Germany also has a bad reputation because of WWI and WWII, but there was n fact large internal opposition to these actions by the German Left in both cases, somewhat similar to what is going on in America with the Bush admin and the opposition to Bush today. Its not fair to characterize all of German culture by the actions of the Nazis or the imperialist Bismarck regime.

But to be sure, you are correct that there was a lot of cooperation between Americans and Germans throughout the 20th century precisely because the Germans were so advanced knowledgeable.

Interestingly though we haven't developed nearly the education system in America as what the Germans had. What we did in America was to acquire German and other foreign scientists to do a lot of our research and development for us. The result is much worse than the German result because the Germans themselves largely understood their own technology and the science behind it, but in America we have acquired the technology and the German attitude, but in a society without the German knowledge, so its more like chimps wielding dynamite than the German case which was more like scientists wielding dynamite. Ignorance has its own follies as well.

From: Kams
Date: 2003

Comments:

Cool site- check mine out at www.geocities.com/krop_speakyamind there is some political stuff there. email me what u think at krop_speakyamind@yahoo.com

From: anonymous
Date: May 2003

Comments:

Interesting document. Although I don't agree with a lot of the conclusions, being more of a believer in European-type 'social democracy' than in anything resembling Marxism, your paper makes some very interesting points:

1) I strongly agree with your conclusions about the social liberalism that started up in the 1960's!!! I agree that it is a 'bourgeois' type of development and that real _economic_ reform hasn't been attempted since the 1930's.

2) Notes regarding the years from 1933-1940 are interesting. I would recommend that you create a bibliography and do some further research in the area. Suggest using, as a minimum, at least 15 secondary sources, such as books by Wm. Shirer, Joachim Fest, Edwin Black, and others. Also suggest doing some background reading about Roosevelt's cabinet and progressives such as Harold Ickes as well as depression era projects such as the WPA and CCC.

a. Specifically, in addition to the material from Ambassador Dodd, I would recommend a book by Edwin Black called _IBM and the Holocaust_. Your argument would be presented much more strongly if you used a reference work such as this book, which is based on a lot of primary sources, rather than the two citations that seem to have a vested interest in hemp.

b.The Nazis were fundamentally of German origin, and were not creatures that were developed by the U.S., notwithstanding the financial and ideological support they received from Ford, Lindbergh, Prescott B., et al. Although the Henry Ford book influenced them in 1927, their original ideological influences (pan-German nationalism and anti-Semitism) came earlier, from Houston Stewart Chamberlain (British), Anton Drexler, and some others. Richard Wagner (composer) was involved as well.

c. Recommend research regarding the 'Ro:hm Putsch' of 1934. The Nazis actually had socialists (who believed in German nationalism with a strong social welfare and pension system) within their ranks up until 1934, which was the reason for that part of their name. Gregor Strasser was a 'left-wing' Nazi who had 'socialist' economic ideas, who was killed in the Roh:m Putsch. After this consolidation of power in the wing of the Nazi Party that had the support of the industrialists i.e. I.G. Farben, the German rearmament began, and socialists were no more in the ranks of the Nazis.

d. Although the Nazis used 'positive Christianity' for public consumption and as sort of a way to take over the Church (they imprisoned some representatives of the 'Confessing Church'), the heart of Nazi religious doctrine was based in a sort of paganism that held that those who sacrificed themselves for Germany would return to Valhalla.

3. There is a significant gap in the material between 1942 and the 'space race.' There should be a page that discusses things such as the partition of Germany; U.S., British, and French reaction to the advance of the Soviets to Berlin; Allen Dulles; the Marshall Plan (which I believe was a good thing); and other events of the 1950's such as McCarthyism.

4. Agree with you that the strength of the U.S. dollar has been a good thing for population of the U.S. I have some concern about its future. Hope my comments were useful.


Reply:

Yes your comments were very helpful, thank you very much.

 

 

 


Clusty
rationalrevolution.net has had Hit Counter page views since January 21, 2004
 
Copyright © 2003 - 2007  Website Launched: 5/22/2003  Last Updated: 10/20/2007  Contact: gp@rationalrevolution.net