This is Noni Mausa's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Noni Mausa's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Noni Mausa
Recent Activity
It isn't "money" versus "racism, sexism, and xenophobia." Rather, they are all shades of each other. Look at American racism, and most forms of sexism, and increasingly lower-classism. They consist of three parts: contempt for the class, a willingness to use violence against the class, and a demand that the class be industrious and of service - not to themselves, but to those who exert the force and express the contempt, while experiencing neither violence or contempt in return. That lower and middle class, working Americans scramble to find someone to blame is no surprise. But the controllers who have rigged the game against them, don't let any blame stick to their Teflon carapaces. However women, lower class men and people of colour don't have access to the financial Teflon. Even though they are all companions in suffering, through similar shared mechanisms, no one is handy to take the blame except themselves. So they end up trying to exert the elite power of contempt and violence on each other, as drowning sailors might climb up each other's shoulders to stay above water. Yet no level of status - man versus woman, native versus immigrant, working versus unemployed -- is sufficient anymore to provide more than an inch more or less above the waves. Men traditionally don't want to do women's work because women get a raw deal doing that work. Ditto native born Americans don't want immigrant jobs for the same reason. But what has happened to a great many Americans in one generation is their mass demotion to casual labour, scut jobs, "women's work," and their common experience of the violence and contempt which formerly affected "only" women and migrants and slaves. (Not that this makes any of it any better.) Where does cold, neutral money come into this? Money is the tool whereby one person may enlist others to do his/her bidding, when needed and without further obligation. But when all the cash is in a few hands, none of it is flowing at a grassroots level. Poor people today, lacking land and hunting and skill resources, and also lacking money, have neither personal nor impersonal claim on each other's aid. Anyone who could make the situation crystal clear to the populace, might bring on a revolution, but most Americans are like the giant Antaeus, helpless when held off the earth, and it's hard to see how such a revolution could be effective. Noni
1 reply
Plus, people treat inanimate items as animate all the time, for fun. Dolls' tea parties, cars with names, obstinate refrigerators, religious icons, all are capable of becoming our companions, albeit silent ones. How much more natural that we do so with our computers, as responsive and ornery as cats? Noni Napping with cat and computer.
1 reply
I have long been skeptical of contrived psych experiments, like prisoners dilemma, sharing versus hoarding, and so on. Some give results I find understandable, like the one where one person will forego a chance for $2 because the other is keeping $8 for himself. Outrage is a much underrated economic driver. But how can the behaviour of well fed, young college kids playing a game in a safe, warm basement lab, be held to say anything about the choices of a forty-something single parent trying to decide between groceries, a cell phone bill, or a tank of gas? (Or a bottle of wine, always a temptation, and not always a bad idea.) Really, an economist would do far better to devise a theory and then assemble a panel of experienced laypeople who have actually made, or seen others make, those decisions. Such a "senate" might be made up of retired cops, grandmothers, bartenders, political flunkies, car salesmen, schoolteachers, con artists, and farmers. And me too; keep me on your list. I viewed with dread such policies as Clinton's re-jigging of AFDC, mass offshoring of manufacturing, and the US shift to 401k's from traditional pensions. My only failure was in underestimating the amount of damage that would be allowed to be done. Noni Senator-in-waiting
1 reply
I once heard poverty defined as "the inability to prevent others from saddling one with their byproducts," or words to that effect. ( Anyone know the original?) The corollary, I believe, is "the inability to prevent others from appropriating ones previously disregarded resources.."
1 reply
JohnF, Sure, let's talk about wages. Because usable wages today compared to the 70s are, by my measure, a quarter to a sixth what they were. Then, a single worker could support a house-spouse and several children, pay into a pension, put the kids through college, and have spare time for charities, sports leagues, reading and vacations. Today, it takes two American working spouses to sustain themselves and 1-2 kids, without the "frills" of charity work, vacations, pensions, or college for the kids, and far less security. Oddly, there are nations where the 70s still rule. But not the US.
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2016 on 'Less Work, More Leisure' at Economist's View
1 reply
Um ... who exactly would this clinic serve? People coming for shots or checkups maybe, but anything worse than a twisted ankle would cost the patient hundreds or thousands of dollars. Seeing as how most Americans have low or negative liquid assets (that is, not in 401k's or property) I think such a cash-clinic would close down quickly.
1 reply
Feel free, Julio.
1 reply
I never thought otherwise, Cher Raison. Cheers.
1 reply
Whereas we get to vote for one of two rich men who have the cash and skill to make us resent each other instead of them. See "Mouseland." http://youtu.be/EWKsR0gugww
1 reply
This is what it really means to "run the government like a business." The US is witnessing what it looks like to downsize a whole nation. A business lays off people when it doesn't need them, and only trains them to the level needed for them to fit their job. A business doesn't hire someone for a position who has skills higher than that position needs. A business that needs large numbers of people on an occasional basis (to fight a war, for instance, or pick tomatoes) depends on a large population who are already worse off than they would be if they were picking tomatoes or invading Iraq. The cover of a recent issue of The Economist featured a photo of Mitt Romney, with the headline "America's Next CEO?" God help us all. Noni
1 reply
"almost all of us share in the gains" No, not really. If I save $100 a month at the Walmart, but gain a son or parent living in my spare bedroom, if the sales in my shop drop so much due to layoffs that I too lose my job (and my health coverage), all the cheap shoes in the world won't keep bread on my table. Or shoes, for that matter. And then there's the cost of the anti-depressants...
1 reply
"Has anyone actually made a case about why income inequality is bad in the first place?" If everyone in the country could count on making $1L (i.e., a "living") or a multiple of L, then your argument might have some bearing. But even if that was the case, the inequality would tend to grow, "L" would be eroded, and we would head into the same positive-feedback situation we are in now. People making a fraction of L have little leverage and can be manipulated easily by people with plenty of L's to throw around. Everyone tries to alter the world to suit their desires (it's what being human is all about), so if you possess hundreds of L's, then spending a handful to ensure the L's keep rolling your way is merely the cost of Living. Conversely, if you are earning only 0.5L, you face three choices -- demise, dependency, or crime. But secondly, as the wealth of the wealthy grows to a certain size, they literally become a separate culture -- one which is both dependent upon and controlling of the fractional-L majority. This makes democracy impossible. Noni
1 reply
Thank you for the reference to the Robert Paxton paper, which I had not seen. It helped me put my finger on defining fascism, especially in this passage: "Much existing scholarship traits fascism as if it were of the same nature as the great political doctrines of the long 19th century, like conservatism, liberalism and socialism... ...Fascism is a political practice appropriate to the mass politics of the 20th century. Moreover, it bears a different relationship to thought then do the 19th-century isms. Unlike them, fascism does not let rest on formal philosophical positions... there was no Fascist manifesto, no founding fascist thinker. Fascism does not base its claims to validity on their truth. Fascists despise thought and reason, abandon intellectual positions casually, and cast aside many intellectual fellow travelers. They subordinate thought and reason not to faith, as did the traditional right, but to the promptings of the blood and the historic destiny of the group. Their only moral yardstick is the prowess of the race, of the nation, of the community...Fascists deny any legitimacy to universal principles to such a point that they even neglect proselytism. Authentic fascism is not for export." I would add to this that it's probably not "prowess" in the classic sense being pushed by the fascistic elements in the US, that is: "1 : distinguished bravery; especially : military valor and skill; 2 : extraordinary ability." Bravery, skill and valour are pushed off the right-wing bus the instant they conflict with the script. The race, nation and community are all fodder for the profit-takers. Would they knowingly push the US over into a true fascistic state? I am not sure they can, and retain the sort of profit levels they would like. But I imagine it might easily happen by accident. Noni
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2009 on It's Evil, Alright at Obsidian Wings
1 reply