Wednesday, January 19, 2011


(1) One pivotal question of our time is whether we shall commit ourselves to protecting variants of the human species whose technological will-to-power is modest from variants whose powers are great. The fact that we have chosen to idolize a Darwinian form of economics would suggest otherwise.

(2) The First World suburban Progressive with the “COEXIST” bumper sticker on his Prius may indulge fantasies of solidarity with the oppressed billions in the Third World, but the raw daily-average horsepower which undergirds his secure and comfortable way of life places him in an entirely different league. Empire is his father; Growth Capitalism is the hand that has woven the world-wide-web of extraction which daily brings hitherto-inconceivable material abundance to his quiet tree-lined neighborhood.

(3) It is much easier for those of us with secure income flows to contemplate these things. The insecure will naturally be more inclined to heed those who promise a quarter-million new jobs.

(4) If you do not grasp the ramifications of #1 in the abstract, try to exercise your right to ride a bicycle on one of Dane County’s “rural” arterial highways at rush hour.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shovel-Ready versus Soldier-Ready

There really isn’t any serious debate in Washington over Keynesianism. Or there won’t be when the Tea Party freshmen get over their delusions of independence. When money has done the talking for you, it expects you to do the talking for it.

Here is the “split”.

Some of them want to throw money at “shovel-ready” highway projects…and their good friends in the road-building, car-manufacturing, and fuel-pumping businesses.

The others want to throw money at “soldier-ready” military adventures…and all their defense-contractor pals.

Whether you drop money from helicopters or “forget” to include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the budget comes down to the same thing.

The handful of real peaceniks and budget hawks in Washington have no idea what they’d do with the staggering unemployment which would result from a 50% cut in defense spending. Somehow the prospects for renewed frenzy in McMansion-building, Escalade-manufacturing, and imported-TV-selling don’t seem all that plausible right now. As always there are a lot more jobs to be had in making stuff and then blowing it up.

What to do about it? Hmm…what would happen if we-the-people began to behave as though we valued dignified, fulfilling jobs for one-another over the lowest prices and the highest rates of return? What would happen if we stopped outsourcing so much responsibility?

To be continued…