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Here is a short article on Peak Oil that I wrote recently. It might give you an idea as to where I stand in my capacity to write.
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RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:29 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts
...interesting... I hope you expand the ideas in it; there are certain bits I want to know more about, or have more background information on... I thought this was a particularly evocative sentence: "Thus far a balance has been maintained by a mixture of cunning and violence." There's a lot you could do with this piece. It has "article for news magazine" written all over it, or political blog entry, that kind of thing.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:59 pm
by Capucine • 14 Posts
Yes, I have been thinking that some of my pieces are useable. It is encouraging that you would want to know more about some aspects. The "cunning and violence" phrase refers to Kissinger and Brzezinski, while "blind violence" might be said to have occurred under George W. Bush. One might disapprove of Kissinger and Brzezinski, but they got us out of a bad spot alive. I am not so sure of the present lot's ability to avoid a disaster. I will post another short essay to clarify a bit.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:40 am
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts
Hopefully others will chime in, but I do think in this kind of writing, which is specific to the time period, I think you're better served being as specific as possible. So that if it's about specific people, or implies specific people, places, time periods, events, you're better off telling the reader precisely who they're reading about, you know what I mean?
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:33 am
by Capucine • 14 Posts
Yes, you are right that I should have been more specific. However, I have a technical problem in that the period covered lasts for some three centuries. We start in the second half of the seventeenth century with the English, Scotish and Dutch colonizers. There were many who were merely violent but for the empire to have been successful, much cunning had to be employed. How do you subdue 400 million Indians with fifty thousand colonists? (I am not sure of those figures but they give the idea of the task achieved.) I gave the examples of the most recent brains that have advanced the Anglo-Saxon domination. I suspect that the last decade has laid the foundations for the demise of that domination. Peak Oil is a challenge that can open the door to a new system of power, in both the literal sense and the political sense. This is not a time when physical violence will bring the best results. Cunning is at a premium.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:29 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts
I'm not sure what 'Anglo-Saxon domination' means? I accept what you're saying about not being more specific. Okay. However, your audience will determine how much or how little you need to say to explain background and history. They might have a lot of questions if these terms are not spelled out. It sounds like you're writing polemically, which is fine, as long as this is what your audience expects to hear (e.g., editorial writing).
...so, what audience do you intend this for?
I have never given it much thought as to for whom I am writing. I suppose, if I come right down to it, I am writing for myself, or others with much the same existing knowledge and outlook. I assume a lot of economic history as givens. Many of the technical aspects of the economy and the financial markets are also assumed. The meaning of Anglo-Saxon dominance is merely the "top dog" in the economic world at any one time. This privilege has passed from city to city over the last thousand years, but since the early eighteenth century it has been first London and then New York. The principle characteristic is the ability to issue credit within one's capacity to create useable goods and services to mirror the increase in the money supply. Succes in this endeavor allows that city to dictate to others their rate of expansion. It is the fundamental of power politics.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:13 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts
There are two schools of thought about audience awareness (or, they seem to settle down into two basic ideas). One is, your audience is crucial, it defines how you write and the way you say what you're going to say. The other, which is what you hear from a lot of fiction writers, is that they write for themselves. The danger of writing solely for yourself is ... you already know the definitions of all this stuff, and you don't need to spell it out.
But when you try to show it to someone else, they're lost, because your audience does not know what you know, and will have to have it spelled out for them. Fiction writers who say they write for themselves are going on the principle that fiction is pretty much an interior monologue we have with ourselves; but when you get to non-fiction, your audience (if you decide to show this to anyone or try to get it published) is going to want to know what you're referring to, and will have a certain amount of questions. The audience for fiction is capable of allowing the writer a lot more leeway in terms of details (as long as the plot holds together).
Publishing is not always the goal, but if it is, a non-fiction audience is going to have to be picked based on how much they already know vis-a-vis how much you want to have to spell out for them. If you don't want to have to explain most of this stuff, which is entirely understandable, you're going to aim for an audience that knows what you do, where you can assume they're on the same page with you.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:11 pm
by Capucine • 14 Posts
Thank you very much for your helpful answer. I can see now that I have so far merely been writing down my thoughts and ideas for myself. This works well as far as it goes. At least now I am writing; getting pen to paper and capturing ideas in written form.
What I am lacking is the editing function to adapt my words to the audience. I have never had to do this. At my work there were always professionals to manage this aspect of communications.
I have thought that I should make use of the 'notes' function on the Word word processor. Or I can print out the essay and modify it manually. Neither method attract me much, but I have to learn to do this so I have to test them both. I certainly find it easiest to write in response to a specific question for a specific person. I just cannot raise either the question or the person from my imagination.
Somewhere else you talk about a writer noticing everything going on around them and taking notes. I have excluded my surroundings completely and concentrated on my account books and written texts for data input in my life. I have little connection to people except through extreme politeness, which eliminates any feeling being transmitted. That is after all the purpose of politeness in the first place.
I write about financial affairs because they affect humans in a mechanical way. I do not speculate on the personal impact of the result on the individual person. My upbringing taught me that one has to make do with the circumstances that one is faced with and make the best of that. It is surprising how much one can achieve once one accepts the reality around one. Wishing for circumstances to be different only make things worse.
So I have a long way to go in learning a method of editing and opening my eyes to people around me. Then I can match my writing to my audience.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:56 pm
by Capucine • 14 Posts
A recent article on the state of the economic system:
Egalitarianism and Inflation
The egalitarianism of the likes of Rawls are the common basis of thinking as we enter the twenty-first century. The development of the Progressive Movement at the end of the nineteenth century by Dewey and James provided the American version of the sickness of Kantian/Hegelism that poisoned Germany in the twentieth century to the despair of so many millions of people. This movement was adopted by the State as its fundamental philosophy thanks to the actions of three Presidents - Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and F.D. Roosevelt. Hoover, Eisenhower and Nixon made no effort to change the philosophy. They merely offered a dual route of individualism and collectivism simultaneously - an impossibility. Any unrealistic policy has to be paid for in real coin in the long run. Initially the tribute from abroad was sufficient to fund the contradiction, but the colonial war in Vietnam destroyed the delicate balance created by the Bretton Woods agreement. Inflation followed; the devastating invasion of reality into the political realm had arrived.
The bankruptcy of the USA was admitted by Nixon in 1971 by his closure of the gold window. From this time on, economic policy was determined on the basis of avoiding upsetting the voter by giving them everything that they wanted. The cardinal rule of "time-savings-production" was thus broken, since the voters had been taught the Progressive philosophy in schools and universities since the 1920s. The Progressives discouraged production by demonizing the gain from it while favoring those who contribute nothing with an unearned means of survival. The savings were thus used for consumption at an ever increasing proportion compared to investment. The time needed for production was constantly extended by irrelevant regulation.
The cost of production rose constantly. The demands on the producer became ever more complicated as the expansion of government created "make-work" activities of social experiments. The producer did the natural thing and searched for another solution. The answer had been given in Britain after the disastrous years of the Labor government of 1945-1951. Industry in Britain exported itself. After 1980 industry in the USA also exported itself. The Anglo-Saxon producers have no desire for self-sacrifice.
Inflation has been the reality knocking at the door of the Occidental economies ever since the closure of the gold window in 1971. With ever increasing numbers of people living at the expense of those who actually produce wealth, the consumption figure has to be completed through imports at a comparable increase in the foreign debt. In the case of the USA, unlike the UK, this debt could be paid in its local currency, as the exporting countries were prepared to hold debt denominated in USD.
The Executive and Congress were no longer restrained by any reality in financial affairs other than their own understanding and conscience to resolve their bankrupt situation or to ignore it and make it worse. In fact no serious attempt was made to balance the books thereafter. Every interest group was given what it demanded, no matter how disadvantageous for the economy as a whole. In fact democracy broke down as the people's representatives became mandatories rather than independent guarantors of the best interests of those they represented. A system of special interests, both intellectual and economic, became the real beneficiaries of the power of the individual representatives.
Democracy is a middle class activity. That is the only class which can offer enough time to perform all the activities necessary to prevent abuses by the Executive. The expression "the devil is in the detail" applies so directly to all political activity. The exact wording of a treaty or statute determines the reality of the application which could have begun as a good idea. Someone has to read and understand all these texts. Certainly the author does, but a representative of a special interest only considers the impact on his interests, not the overall general interest. A majority is formed by adding sufficient gains for each of the special interests, who can live with the gains of others. No one represents the country as a whole.
The intellectuals have failed in their work of modernizing or re-inventing a system of morality to accommodate the needs of a large industrial community. The Kantian/Hegelian/Dewey system of altruism works on a small scale where the actors are known to each other. In an anonymous society it is impossible to assess the needs of others with any accuracy. That function is then granted to civil servants with powers of decision which are never truly acceptable to the people. However, the people have no time to intervene to ensure that their ideas are in fact acted on.
The opposition has regressed into a Biblical and Koranic philosophy, emphasizing the spiritual aspect to life on earth. Hence they promote topics having little to do with the physical improvement of conditions for individual people on earth. They wish to please God, by obeying His commandments no matter whom they hurt. Their disinterest in earthly affairs extends to the economic realm since they are indifferent to the fate of the earthly body. Suffering on earth only increases the chances to enter heaven, the real objective of success in this life. Any concern that they may have for conditions on this planet have to be seen as demagogic rather than sincere interest in their fellow human.
The Progressive government, as represented for the most part in the thousands of civil servants quietly doing their job, under whatever elected rulers, are applying controls over every aspect of physical living in part usurping the role of the entrepreneur. Their actions on so many fronts, all negative from the point of view of the producer-innovator, first drive up the cost and finally drive out the activity completely. The distribution of the fruits of individual producers' labor is also determined by these civil servants based on very vague principles. It is a principle of Progressivism that the 'Expert' knows best, better than the voter or his representative, let alone the recipient. Hence great power is vested indiscriminately in a semi-controlled body of well-meaning civil servants.
The result of this situation is a vast array of vested interests, each of which demands ever increasing contributions from the producers to pay for their schemes of social engineering. The budget at a national, state and local level increases without end. There is no procedure to shut down an activity once it is started.
The end explosion is in sight now. Bankruptcy is awaiting the 'Black Swan' that will break the trust that is still holding the situation together. A lower standard of living is on its way for all of us, and perhaps a disaster for those who are dependent on government subsidies, which may no longer be forth coming in any form.
RE: Economicsin Share your writing with readers Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:59 pm
by Capucine • 14 Posts
You raise interesting points. Just how much concern do our representatives in Washington have for the well-being of their constituents beyond just doing enough to get reelected? One has to ask oneself where they stand on the moral scale: do they have principles that they uphold under all circumstances? Or do their principles change with a view to getting elected? What do they plan to use their privileged position of power and influence for?
The Constitution has de facto been suspended with the passage of the Patriot Act. This has opened the door to too many exceptions to the demands of the text of the Constitution, just as the perfect Weimar Constitution had exceptions which reduced its application in those times which really count. It is telling to realize that today the crimes of Nixon whose impeachment was imminent at the time of his resignation would be perfectly legal today thanks to the Patriot Act. The Republic we think
we live in no longer exists. Freedom of speech and equality under the law are today illusions.
A democracy demands a knowledgeable citizenry, but the education system has dumbed down all too great a number of citizens now who receive their information almost exclusively from television. The mainstream media make no attempt to explain the consequences of government policy other than that which is the formal objective of the authorities. No 'unintended consequences' are discussed or even mentioned. Hence the pros and cons of any proposal are never publicly discussed.
To make matters worse, a dictatorship of the majority is applied with no protection for individual interests or rights. Democracy tends over time to debase itself into a race to grab the largest payout from the State at the expense of all other citizens - a state that we have now reached in extremis with our need to borrow 40 cents on every dollar the Federal Government pays out.
One has to ask how ecology can be taken seriously in a moral atmosphere of this nature. Nature, like the dollar and the trade deficit, does not have any votes. No politician needs to worry excessively about his selfishness vis a vis the environment. It does not add to the monetary benefit that citizens will obtain from the State. It is rather a cost that they are very reluctant, if not openly hostile, to pay. My example of the ecological cost of oil at $12 to $15 a gallon of gas should demonstrate that psychological point. No American, however in favor of ecology, will agree to pay that level of price for a substance that they have brought up to believe should be virtually free.
Currently public discourse is carried out in soundbites, which are thrown at one's conversational partner with no relevant argument to support the assertion. Hence where discussion is limited to dogma to be taken on faith, no reasoned outcome or synthesis can emerge. The polarization arises from this trend in public life. It is made worse by the expansion of passion and instinct at the expense of reason in the political forum. There is today little reasoned discussion at any level of society, but especially at the political level.
The American citizen may have the vote, but what can this achieve? It elects officials who have the capacity to decide what the State should do. However, these officials no longer have the power to act independently. Their traditional power has been gradually eroded by the rise of the unaccountable formations with no fixed political location, or as they are more commonly known – the MultiNationals. The owners and the bondholders of these corporations of no particular nationality owe no allegiance to any Nation State. In many, if not most, cases they are richer and more flexible than any traditional Nation State. Voters do not vote for the actions to be carried out by these entities, but for an intermediary level of authority which has only a limp power of persuasion to influence the actions of these MultiNationals. Is it any wonder that the latter have contempt for the individual citizen who has no power over their fortunes either in the moral or material world?
You have pretty much summed it all up into a large nut shell. I think that probably many go into politics with great intentions, but somehow they get eaten up by the systems that are in place and they get stirred up right into the patriarchal pastry. By then, it is probably too late for them to get out. Some do and some do not choose to resign. But we will probably never know the real truth being that we have what was once our main source of media, the television, being owned by five major corporations. Voting to me is just a remote function that we all (or most) do. To me, the election has the outcome before the booths even open in the morning. It is not only oil that is being used for power, our world's food supply is the next major area in that one wishes to have control. I think nature will be angry.