Economy And Politics Quotes

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Education is a system of imposed ignorance.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Ronald Reagan
It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.
Karl Marx (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)
THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
The real satanist is not quite so easily recognized as such
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
Until you realize how easy it is for your mind to be manipulated, you remain the puppet of someone else's game.
Evita Ochel
There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
Satan has certainly been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America Volume 2)
Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.
Karl Marx (Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy)
You know what's truly weird about any financial crisis? We made it up. Currency, money, finance, they're all social inventions. When the sun comes up in the morning it's shining on the same physical landscape, all the atoms are in place.
Bruce Sterling
Zamanism is about creating power and private resources for all in society by destroying bureaucratic and monopolistic control on society.
Zaman Ali (ZAMANISM Wealth of the People)
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.
Karl Marx (The German Ideology / Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy)
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
John Stuart Mill (Principles of Political Economy)
And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy. In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers... Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed? The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, Taxation is Robbery.
Murray N. Rothbard
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade...
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Political Economy means that everybody except politicians must be economical.
G.K. Chesterton
The fact that, in the United States, there are people serving ten-year prison terms for growing marijuana plants in their backyards while Wall Street racketeers, who have defrauded millions of people and destroyed the global economy, walk free is a kind of bizarre hypocrisy that boggles my mind.
Mark Haskell Smith (Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup)
A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members - among them the need to need one another. The answer to the present alignment of political power with wealth is the restoration of the identity of community and economy. (pg. 63, "Racism and the Economy")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
Karl Marx (The German Ideology / Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy)
Money is the alienated essence of man's labor and life; and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
The present convergence of crises––in money, energy, education, health, water, soil, climate, politics, the environment, and more––is a birth crisis, expelling us from the old world into a new.
Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition)
No government of the left has done as much for the poor as capitalism has. Even when it comes to the redistribution of income, the left talks the talk but the free market walks the walk. What do the poor most need? They need to stop being poor. And how can that be done, on a mass scale, except by an economy that creates vastly more wealth? Yet the political left has long had a remarkable lack of interest in how wealth is created. As far as they are concerned, wealth exists somehow and the only interesting question is how to redistribute it.
Thomas Sowell (Controversial Essays)
The beauty of the system, however, is that such dissent and inconvenient information are kept within bounds and at the margins, so that while their presence shows that the system is not monolithic, they are not large enough to interfere unduly with the domination of the official agenda.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Moments are the elements of profit
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
If gold has been prized because it is the most inert element, changeless and incorruptible, water is prized for the opposite reason -- its fluidity, mobility, changeability that make it a necessity and a metaphor for life itself. To value gold over water is to value economy over ecology, that which can be locked up over that which connects all things.
Rebecca Solnit (Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics)
Serial killers ruin families,’ shrugged Bob. ‘Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.
Jon Ronson (The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry)
As individuals express their life, so they are.
Karl Marx (The German Ideology / Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy)
Economy is the bone, politics is the flesh, watch who they beat and who they eat.
Marge Piercy
The problem is politics is made a sport, almost as much a sport as football or baseball. When it comes to politics, adults and politicians do more finger-pointing and play more games than children ever do. Too often are we rooting for the pride of a team rather than the good of the nation.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Women - why aren't you running the world yet? Frankly I'm disappointed in you. Men are still far too dominant for their own good, and consequently we've made a testosterone-sodden pig's ear of just about everything: politics, the economy, religion, the environment ... you name it, it's in a gigantic man-wrought mess.
Charlie Brooker
E eu pergunto aos economistas políticos, aos moralistas, se já calcularam o número de indivíduos que é forçoso condenar à miséria, ao trabalho desproporcionado, à desmoralização, à infâmia, à ignorância crapulosa, à desgraça invencível, à penúria absoluta, para produzir um rico?
Almeida Garrett
Right now, the economy is a whole lot like a fairly good-looking brain-dead chick in a persistent vegetative coma. You can't really wake her up, but there's things she's still good for.
Cintra Wilson (Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny)
It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes. If individuals do not know their own interests in many cases, they are free to turn to private experts for guidance. It is absurd to say that they will be served better by a coercive, demagogic apparatus.
Murray N. Rothbard (Power and Market: Government and the Economy)
Genua had once controlled the river mouth and taxed its traffic in a way that couldn't be called piracy because it was done by the city government, and therefore sound economics and perfectly all right.
Terry Pratchett (Witches Abroad (Discworld, #12; Witches #3))
Beauty' is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West is is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact.
Naomi Wolf
In a perfect world what poor countries at the lowest rungs of economic development need is not a multi-party democracy, but in fact a decisive benevolent dictator to push through the reforms required to get the economy moving
Dambisa Moyo (Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa)
What we are dealing with here is another version of the Lacanian 'il n'y a pas de rapport ...': if, for Lacan, there is no sexual relationship, then, for Marxism proper, there is no relationship between economy and politics, no 'meta-language' enabling us to grasp the two levels from the same neutral standpoint, although—or, rather, because—these two levels are inextricably intertwined.
Slavoj Žižek (The Parallax View)
And more than the quality of its institutions, what distinguishes a developed country from a developing one is the degree of consensus in its politics, and thus its ability to take actions to secure a better future despite short-term pain.
Raghuram G. Rajan (Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy)
It is precisely democracy which is destroying the American political structure, American law, and the American economy.
Rose Wilder Lane
Momma, a welfare cheater. A criminal who couldn't stand to se her kids go hungry, or grow up in slumbs and end up mugging people in dar corners. I guess the system didn't want her to get off relief, the way it kept sending social workers around to be sure Momma wasn't trying to make things better.
Dick Gregory
Where there is society, there is no need for charity.
Heather Marsh (Binding Chaos)
Between reaction and revolution there is nothing to choose. Neither leave the track, they just allow different people to drive while the same people are run over.
Heather Marsh (Binding Chaos)
This story is the ultimate example of American’s biggest political problem. We no longer have the attention span to deal with any twenty-first century crisis. We live in an economy that is immensely complex and we are completely at the mercy of the small group of people who understand it – who incidentally often happen to be the same people who built these wildly complex economic systems. We have to trust these people to do the right thing, but we can’t, because, well, they’re scum. Which is kind of a big problem, when you think about it.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
Since the state must necessarily provide subsistence for the criminal poor while undergoing punishment, not to do the same for the poor who have not offended is to give a premium on crime.
John Stuart Mill (Principles of Political Economy)
I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
… what I’m saying is that if we and all the other species on earth are the only life forms in the universe and if there are no gods and let’s face it apart from a few tired scrolls written 300 years after the death of Jesus and his disciples there is no actual proof of a God or gods then we, the humans, who are meant to be at the height of the evolutionary tree, are in fact at the bottom because no other species on this planet is enslaved to the economy. Every other species is born free and lives free. We humans are born into economic slavery and life crippling debt.
Arun D. Ellis (Corpalism)
Language is as old as consciousness, language is practical, real consciousness that exists for other men as well, and only therefore does it also exist for me; language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men.
Karl Marx (The German Ideology / Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy)
When anyone studies a little or pays a little attention to the rules of Islamic government, Islamic politics, Islamic society and Islamic economy he will realize that Islam is a very political religion. Anyone who will say that religion is separate from politics is a fool; he does not know Islam or politics.
سید روح الله خمینی
Markets weed out inefficient practices, but only when no one has sufficient power to manipulate them.
Ha-Joon Chang (23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism)
Ponzi schemes don’t trickle down, they siphon up.
Heather Marsh (Binding Chaos)
Large corporate advertisers on television will rarely sponsor programs that engage in serious criticisms of corporate activities, such as the problem of environmental degradation, the workings of the military-industrial complex, or corporate support of and benefits from Third World tyrannies.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
If economics were only about profit maximization, it would be just another name for business administration. It is a social discipline, and society has other means of cost accounting besides market prices.
Dani Rodrik (The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy)
Genocide" is an invidious word that officials apply readily to cases of victimization in enemy states, but rarely if ever to similar or worse cases of victimization by the United States itself or allied regimes.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Our economic order is tightly woven around the exploitation of animals, and while it may seem easy to dismiss concern about animals as the soft-headed mental masturbation of people who really don't understand oppression and the depths of actual human misery, I hope to get you to think differently about suffering and pain, to convince you that animals matter, and to argue that anyone serious about ending domination and hierarchy needs to think critically about bringing animals into consideration.
Bob Torres (Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights)
I saw America's economy last night, people raiding dumpsters at a higher rate than normal in my home town. Digging through garbage shouldn't be a career. Thanks Democrats. Thanks Republicans.
Carroll Bryant
Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science; there are no objective truths in economics that can be established independently of political, and frequently moral, judgements. Therefore, when faced with an economic argument, you must ask the age-old question ‘Cui bono?’ (Who benefits?), first made famous by the Roman statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Ha-Joon Chang (Economics: The User's Guide)
Nowadays, of course, just about our only solvent industry is the merchandising of death, bankrolled by our grandchildren, so that the message of our principal art forms, movies and television and political speeches and newspaper columns, for the sake of the economy, simply has to be this: War is hell, all right, but the only way a boy can become a man is in a shoot-out of some kind, preferably, but by no means necessarily, on a battlefield.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
What has made men good is neither nature nor reason but tradition.
Friedrich A. Hayek (Law, Legislation and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy)
Without anarchy, there would be chaos.
Jeffrey Tucker
Scientific knowledge is as much an understanding of the diversity of situations for which a theory or its models are relevant as an understanding of its limits.
Elinor Ostrom (Governing the Commons (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions))
Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy.
Allan Bloom (The Closing of the American Mind)
The world has a very serious problem, my friend' Shiva went on. 'Poor children still die by their millions. Westerners and the global rich -- like me -- live in post-scarcity society, while a billion people struggle to get enough to eat. And we're pushing the planet towards a tipping point, where the corals die and the forests burn and life becomes much, much harder. We have the resources to solve those problems, even now, but politics and economics and nationalism all get in the way. If we could access all those minds, though...
Ramez Naam (Crux (Nexus, #2))
We have come to discover what we suspect is a new political mindset emerging among a younger generation of political leaders socialized on Internet communications. Their politics are less about right versus left and more about centralized and authoritarian versus distributed and collaborative.
Jeremy Rifkin (The The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World)
Both political parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period. Today’s New Democrats are pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for, rightly, would not have greatly surprised Dwight Eisenhower. The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the minimum wage—which sets a floor for other wages—tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then, the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today, it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.
Noam Chomsky
Cuanto más codiciado por el mercado mundial, mayor es la desgracia que un producto trae consigo al pueblo latinoamericano que, con su sacrificio, lo crea.
Eduardo Galeano (Las venas abiertas de América Latina (La creación literaria))
War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.
Ludwig von Mises (Nation, State, and Economy: Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time)
Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate 'relationship' involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the 'married' couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other. The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family, and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere. There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other, and to their children. What they have they have in common, and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, 'mine' is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as 'ours.' This sort of marriage usually has at its heart a household that is to some extent productive. The couple, that is, makes around itself a household economy that involves the work of both wife and husband, that gives them a measure of economic independence and self-employment, a measure of freedom, as well as a common ground and a common satisfaction. (From "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
But surely stock-market psychopaths can’t be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths,’ I said. ‘Serial killers ruin families,’ shrugged Bob. ‘Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.
Jon Ronson (The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry)
So my mind keeps coming back to the question: what is wrong with us? What is really preventing us from putting out the fire that is threatening to burn down our collective house? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy. It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders. It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers. It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulates riches.
Ludwig von Mises (Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays)
Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion.
Giannina Braschi
Cuando el Estado se hace dueño de la principal riqueza de un país, corresponde preguntarse quién es el dueño del Estado.
Eduardo Galeano (Las venas abiertas de América Latina (La creación literaria))
Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.
Christopher Hitchens (The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens)
We are living in an era of woke capitalism in which companies pretend to care about social justice to sell products to people who pretend to hate capitalism.
Clay Routledge
Experience cannot beat logic, and interpretations of observational evidence which are not in line with the laws of logical reasoning are no refutation of these but the sign of a muddled mind (or would one accept someone’s observational report that he had seen a bird that was red and non-red all over at the same time as a refutation of the law of contradiction rather than the pronouncement of an idiot?).
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy)
¿Qué decir de la gratitud que América Latina debe a la Coca-Cola, que cobra carísimas licencias industriales para proporcionarles una pasta que se disuelve en agua y se mezcla con azúcar y gas?
Eduardo Galeano
One reads the truer deeper facts of Reconstruction with a great despair. It is at once so simple and human, and yet so futile. There is no villain, no idiot, no saint. There are just men; men who crave ease and power, men who know want and hunger, men who have crawled. They all dream and strive with ecstasy of fear and strain of effort, balked of hope and hate. Yet the rich world is wide enough for all, wants all, needs all. So slight a gesture, a word, might set the strife in order, not with full content, but with growing dawn of fulfillment. Instead roars the crash of hell...
W.E.B. Du Bois (Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880)
It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.
Andrew Jackson
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages.24 Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Hitherto men have always formed wrong ideas about themselves, about what they are and what they ought to be. They have arranged their relations according to their ideas of God, of normal man, etc. The products of their brains have got out of their hands. They, the creators, have bowed down before their creations.
Karl Marx (The German Ideology / Theses on Feuerbach / Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy)
76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract 78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy 79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations 80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace 81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography 82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D. 83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry) 84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers 85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions 86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth 87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat 88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History 89. William Wordsworth – Poems 90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria 91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma 92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War 93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love 94. Lord Byron – Don Juan 95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism 96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity 97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology 98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy 99. Honoré de Balzac – Père Goriot; Eugenie Grandet 100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal 101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter 102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America 103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography 104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography 105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times 106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine 107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden 108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto 109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch 110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd 111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov 112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories 113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays 114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales 115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger 116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism 117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors 118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power 119. Jules Henri Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method 120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
Without "the people," there is no country.
John David (The Carrot and The Stick: A Call to Action)
Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative.
David Fleming (Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It)
History is not like some individual person, which uses men to achieve its ends. History is nothing but the actions of men in pursuit of their ends.
Karl Marx
Robert Owen’s was a true insight: market economy if left to evolve according to its own laws would create great and permanent evils.
Karl Polanyi (The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time)
Convenient mythologies require neither evidence nor logic.
Edward S. Herman (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Political economy tends to see work in capitalist societies as divided between two spheres: wage labor, for which the paradigm is always factories, and domestic labor – housework, childcare – relegated mainly to women. The first is seen primarily as a matter of creating and maintaining physical objects. The second is probably best seen as a matter of creating and maintaining people and social relations. [...] This makes it easier to see the two as fundamentally different sorts of activity, making it hard for us to recognize interpretive labor, for example, or most of what we usually think of as women’s work, as labor at all. To my mind it would probably be better to recognize it as the primary form of labor. Insofar as a clear distinction can be made here, it’s the care, energy, and labor directed at human beings that should be considered fundamental. The things we care most about – our loves, passions, rivalries, obsessions – are always other people; and in most societies that are not capitalist, it’s taken for granted that the manufacture of material goods is a subordinate moment in a larger process of fashioning people. In fact, I would argue that one of the most alienating aspects of capitalism is the fact that it forces us to pretend that it is the other way around, and that societies exist primarily to increase their output of things.
David Graeber (Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination)
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.
Karl Marx (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)
If we're all led to believe that poverty is just a matter of laziness or stupidity or whatever other justifications we can come up with, then we're not likely to be in a real position to do much about it when it comes to attacking the root cause of the problem. Instead of demanding a more equitable system for the distribution of social and economic goods, we blame the victim. This is insidious, because ideology is something we carry around with us in our heads; it forms the basis of our day-to-day understanding of the world.
Bob Torres (Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights)
The form of association, however, which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and work-people without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers elected and removable by themselves.
John Stuart Mill (Principles of Political Economy: And Chapters on Socialism)
If race or class war divides us into hostile camps, changing political argument into blind hate, one side or the other may overturn the hustings with the rule of the sword. If our economy of freedom fails to distribute wealth as ably as it has created it, the road to dictatorship will be open to any man who can persuasively promise security to all; and a martial government, under whatever charming phrases, will engulf the democratic world.
Will Durant (The Lessons of History)
The freer an economy is, the more this human diversity of knowledge will be manifested. By contrast, political power originates in top-down processes-governments, monopolies, regulators, and elite institutions-all attempting to quell human diversity and impose order. Thus power always seeks centralization.
George Gilder (Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World)
From cradle to grave this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through multiplicity, has always been, and must always be, the task of education, as it is the moral of religion, philosophy, science, art, politics and economy; but a boy's will is his life, and he dies when it is broken, as the colt dies in harness, taking a new nature in becoming tame...
Henry Adams
A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. 
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
A politician who represents the interests primarily of economic elites must find other means of appealing to the masses. Such alternatives are provided by the politics of nationalism, sectarianism, and identity.
Dani Rodrik (Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy)
U.S. military spending, which consumes half of all discretionary spending, has had a profound social and political cost. Bridges and levees collapse. Schools decay. Domestic manufacturing declines. Trillions in debt threaten the viability of the currency and the economy. The poor, the mentally ill, the sick, and the unemployed are abandoned. Human suffering is the price for victory, which is never finally defined or attainable.
Chris Hedges (The Death of the Liberal Class)
The hope is that a fundamental flaw in our current political economy may be surmounted, without confronting any serious political–economic questions. Psychology is very often how societies avoid looking in the mirror.
William Davies (The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being)
Men follow their sentiments and their self-interest, but it pleases them to imagine that they follow reason. And so they look for, and always find, some theory which, a posteriori, makes their actions appear to be logical.
Vilfredo Pareto (Manual of Political Economy: A Critical and Variorum Edition)
These are tough times for state governments. Huge deficits loom almost everywhere, from California to New York, from New Jersey to Texas. Wait—Texas? Wasn't Texas supposed to be thriving even as the rest of America suffered? Didn't its governor declare, during his re-election campaign, that 'we have billions in surplus'? Yes, it was, and yes, he did. But reality has now intruded, in the form of a deficit expected to run as high as $25 billion over the next two years. And that reality has implications for the nation as a whole. For Texas is where the modern conservative theory of budgeting—the belief that you should never raise taxes under any circumstances, that you can always balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending—has been implemented most completely. If the theory can't make it there, it can't make it anywhere.
Paul Krugman
If your quest is for a truth that defies rhetoric, perhaps you ought to study political economy or systems analysis and abandon Shakespeare to the aesthetes and the groundlings, who combined to elevate him in the first place.
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon)
The fact that labour is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself.
Karl Marx (Essential Writings of Karl Marx: Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, Communist Manifesto, Wage Labor and Capital, Critique of the Gotha Program)
The slow cancellation of the future has been accompanied by a deflation of expectations. There can be few who believe that in the coming year a record as great as, say, the Stooges’ Funhouse or Sly Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On will be released. Still less do we expect the kind of ruptures brought about by The Beatles or disco. The feeling of belatedness, of living after the gold rush, is as omnipresent as it is disavowed. Compare the fallow terrain of the current moment with the fecundity of previous periods and you will quickly be accused of ‘nostalgia’. But the reliance of current artists on styles that were established long ago suggests that the current moment is in the grip of a formal nostalgia, of which more shortly. It is not that nothing happened in the period when the slow cancellation of the future set in. On the contrary, those thirty years has been a time of massive, traumatic change. In the UK, the election of Margaret Thatcher had brought to an end the uneasy compromises of the so-called postwar social consensus. Thatcher’s neoliberal programme in politics was reinforced by a transnational restructuring of the capitalist economy. The shift into so-called Post-Fordism – with globalization, ubiquitous computerization and the casualisation of labour – resulted in a complete transformation in the way that work and leisure were organised. In the last ten to fifteen years, meanwhile, the internet and mobile telecommunications technology have altered the texture of everyday experience beyond all recognition. Yet, perhaps because of all this, there’s an increasing sense that culture has lost the ability to grasp and articulate the present. Or it could be that, in one very important sense, there is no present to grasp and articulate anymore.
Mark Fisher (Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures)
Hindutava's nationalism ignores the rationalist traditions of India, a country in which some of the earliest steps in algebra, geometry, and astronomy were taken, where the decimal system emerged, where early philosophy — secular as well as religious — achieved exceptional sophistication, where people invented games like chess, pioneered sex education, and began the first systematic study of political economy. The Hindu militant chooses instead to present India — explicitly or implicitly — as a country of unquestioning idolaters, delirious fanatics, belligerent devotees, and religious murderers
Amartya Sen
A propaganda model has a certain initial plausibility on guided free-market assumptions that are not particularly controversial. In essence, the private media are major corporations selling a product (readers and audiences) to other businesses (advertisers). The national media typically target and serve elite opinion, groups that, on the one hand, provide an optimal “profile” for advertising purposes, and, on the other, play a role in decision-making in the private and public spheres. The national media would be failing to meet their elite audience’s needs if they did not present a tolerably realistic portrayal of the world. But their “societal purpose” also requires that the media’s interpretation of the world reflect the interests and concerns of the sellers, the buyers, and the governmental and private institutions dominated by these groups.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
And with a practice of writing comes a certain important integrity. A culture filled with bloggers thinks differently about politics or public affairs, if only because more have been forced through the discipline of showing in writing why A leads to B.
Lawrence Lessig (Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy)
I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “Let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying 'Cheerio.' Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.
P.J. O'Rourke (Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny about This?")
Without exception all political parties promise their supporters a higher real income. There is no difference in this respect between nationalists and internationalists and between the supporters of a market economy and the advocates of either socialism or interventionism. If a party asks its supporters to make sacrifices for its cause, it always explains these sacrifices as the necessary temporary means for the attainment of the ultimate goal, the improvement of the material well-being of its members. Each party considers it as an insidious plot against its prestige and its survival if somebody ventures to question the capacity of its projects to make the group members more prosperous. Each party regards with a deadly hatred the economists embarking upon such a critique.
Ludwig von Mises (Human Action: A Treatise on Economics)
If children of 5 are not taught to obey orders, sit still for 7 hours a day, respect their teacher, and raise their hands when they have to go to the bathroom, how will they learn (after 17 more years of education) to become the respectful clerks, technicians and soldiers who keep our society free, our economy strong, and such inspiring men as Richard Nixon and Deane Davis in political office.
Bernie Sanders
The sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders … I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.
Harry Leslie Smith
We must change life,' the poet [Rimbaud] had written, and so the Situationists set out to transform everyday life in the modern world through a comprehensive program that included above all else the construction of 'situations' -- defined in 1958 as moments of life 'concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a play of events' -- but that also necessary entailed the supersession of philosophy, the realization of art, the abolition of politics, and the fall of the 'spectacle-commodity economy.
Tom McDonough (The Situationists and the City: A Reader)
Inevitably, people tell me that poor folks are lazy or unintelligent, that they are somehow deserving of their poverty. However, if you begin to look at the sociological literature on poverty, a more complex picture emerges. Poverty and unemployment are part and parcel of our economic order. Without them, capitalism would cease to function effectively, and in order to continue to function, the system itself must produce poverty and an army of underemployed or unemployed people.
Bob Torres (Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights)
I am a patriot. I have always sought to serve my country, in theory a Republic. Learning that secrecy was evil rather than good was my first step. From there it was a steady march toward open-source everything. Now I see all the evil that secrecy enables in a corrupt Congress, a corrupt Executive, a corrupt economy, and a corrupt society. I see that the greatest service I or any other person can render to the Republic is to march firmly, non-violently, toward open-source everything.
Robert David Steele (The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, and Trust)
Many, but by no means all of us, have been shielded until now from the worst effects of his pathologies by a stable economy and a lack of serious crises. But the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of an economic depression, deepening social divides along political lines thanks to Donald’s penchant for division, and devastating uncertainty about our country’s future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage. Doing
Mary L. Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man)
Each and every one of us has been born into a given historical reality, ruled by particular norms and values, and managed by a unique economic and political system. We take this reality for granted, thinking it is natural, inevitable and immutable. We forget that our world was created by an accidental chain of events, and that history shaped not only our technology, politics and society, but also our thoughts, fears and dreams. The cold hand of the past emerges from the grave of our ancestors, grips us by the neck and directs our gaze towards a single future. We have felt that grip from the moment we were born, so we assume that it is a natural and inescapable part of who we are. Therefore we seldom try to shake ourselves free, and envision alternative futures.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
[Obamacare] was almost the perfect example of politics in the Bubble Era, where the time horizon for anyone with real power is always close to zero, long-term thinking is an alien concept, and even the most massive and ambitious undertakings are motivated entirely by short-term rewards. A radical reshaping of the entire economy, for two election cycles’ worth of campaign cash – that was what this bill meant. It sounds absurdly reductive to say so, but there’s no other explanation that makes any sense.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
The economic structure of capitalist society has grown out of the economic structure of feudal society. The dissolution of the latter set free the elements of the former ... [T]he historical movement which changes the producers into wage-workers, appears, on the one hand, as their emancipation from serfdom and from the fetters of the guilds, and this side alone exists for our bourgeois historians. But, on the other hand, these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
The capitalist world-economy needs the states, needs the interstate system, and needs the periodic appearance of hegemonic powers. But the priority of capitalists is never the maintenance, much less the glorification, of any of these structures. The priority remains always the endless accumulation of capital, and this is best achieved by an ever-shifting set of political and cultural dominances within which capitalist firms maneuver, obtaining their support from the states but seeking to escape their dominance.
Immanuel Wallerstein (World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction)
Beauty” is a currency system like the gold standard. Like any economy, it is determined by politics, and in the modern age in the West it is the last, best belief system that keeps male dominance intact. In assigning value to women in a vertical hierarchy according to a culturally imposed physical standard, it is an expression of power relations in which women must unnaturally compete for resources that men have appropriated for themselves.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women)
Driven by a concern with institutions, we re-enter the world of the behavioralists. But we do so not in protest against the notion of rational choice, but rather in an effort to understand how rationality on the part of individuals leads to coherence at the level of society. (Bates 1988, p. 399)
Elinor Ostrom (Governing the Commons (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions))
— Aye, Charlene's fucked off. She's goat this boyfriend. He's just gittin back oot the jail. Renton taps up a vein in his wrist. — Well that ain't gonna help. — It isnae aboot helping, it's aboot being. If being Scottish is about one thing, it's aboot gittin fucked up, Renton explains, working the needle slowly into his flesh. — Tae us intoxication isnae just a huge laugh, or even a basic human right. It's a way ay life, a political philosophy. Rabbie burns said it: whisky and freedom gang thegither. Whatever happens in the future tae the economy, whatever fucking government's in power, rest assured we'll still be pissin it up and shootin shit intae ourselves, he announces, pulsing with glorious anticipation as he sucks his dark blood back into the barrel, then lets his ravenous veins drink the concoction.
Irvine Welsh (Skagboys (Mark Renton #1))
Finally, as 9/11 fell on December 7, 1941, America entered World War II, and wouldn’t you know it, the US actually recovered from the Depression. It turned out that with state control of production and jobs for all, a nation could spend its way out of misery. Of course, this proof of concept of planned economies was instead interpreted as a reason to constantly go to war.
Chapo Trap House (The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason)
In the half-century 1879–1929, Western societies developed into close-knit units, in which powerful disruptive strains were latent. The more immediate source of this development was the impaired self-regulation of market economy. Since society was made to conform to the needs of the market mechanism, imperfections in the functioning of that mechanism created cumulative strains in the body social. Impaired self-regulation was an effect of protectionism.
Karl Polanyi (The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time)
within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labour are brought about at the cost of the individual labourer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the labourer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hated toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power; they distort the conditions under which he works, subject him during the labour process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness; they transform his life-time into working-time, and drag his wife and child beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of capital. But all methods for the production of surplus-value are at the same time methods of accumulation; and every extension of accumulation becomes again a means for the development of those methods. It follows therefore that in proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low, must grow worse. The law, finally, that always equilibrates the relative surplus population, or industrial reserve army, to the extent and energy of accumulation, this law rivets the labourer to capital more firmly than the wedges of Vulcan did Prometheus to the rock. It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
In other words, our constitution was designed by people who were idealistic but not ideological. There's a big difference. You can have a philosophy that tends to be liberal or conservative but still be open to evidence, experience, and argument. That enables people with honest differences to find practical, principled compromise. On the other hand, fervent insistence on an ideology makes evidence, experience, and arguments irrelevant: If you possess the absolute truth, those who disagree are by definition wrong, and evidence of success or failure is irrelevant. There is nothing to learn from the experience of other countries. Respectful arguments are a waste of time. Compromise is weakness. And if your policies fail, you don't abandon them; instead, you double down, asserting that they would have worked if only they had been carried to their logical extreme.
Bill Clinton (Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy)
It is not enough that the conditions of labour are concentrated at one pole of society in the shape of capital, while at the other pole are grouped masses of men who have nothing to sell but their labour-power. Nor is it enough that they are compelled to sell themselves voluntarily. The advance of capitalist production develops a working class which by education, tradition and habit looks upon the requirements of that mode of production as self-evident natural laws. The organization of the capitalist process of production, once it is fully developed, breaks down all resistance.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
[Ron Paul's politics] is just savagery, and it goes across the board; in fact, this holds for the whole libertarian ideology. I mean, it may sound nice on the surface, but when you think it through, it's just a call for corporate tyranny; takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny. Its a step towards the worst... but its all academic 'cause the business world would never permit it to happen, since it would destroy the economy. I mean, they can't live without a powerful 'nanny-state'. They know it.
Noam Chomsky
Women have always had to be #creative about making limited resources work to sustain themselves and their families. They understand what it means to make the hard decisions and to just get on with it. That is why it is imperative for women not just to be the ones dusting off the table but, crafting its legs for our world to stand on.
Sandra Sealy (Chronicles Of A Seawoman: A Collection Of Poems)
Every student of political science, every student of political economy, every student of economics knows that the race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation; that the race can only be saved through political independence. Take away industry from a race, take away political freedom from a race and you have a slave race.
Marcus Garvey (Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey)
What about the contacts your mum had?” his dad asked. “I rang and spoke to four very polite computers who gave me all these options and then cut out on me. Then I tried the post office, because they were advertising, and I spoke to another computer. Very rude, that one. Don’t think it recognized ‘Are you shitting me?’ as an option.” “You know why that is?” “Why is that, Dominic?” Tom had asked drolly, because he knew he was going to be told why. “Because we don’t live in a society anymore, Tom. We live in an economy. We’re not citizens. We’re customers. That’s what this government’s done to us.
Melina Marchetta (The Piper's Son)
They were and are children of privilege... the privilege taught, learned, and imbibed, in a "liberal arts education" is the privilege to indict. These children have, in the main, never worked, learned to obey, command, construct, amend, or complete - to actually contribute to the society. They have learned to be shrill, and that their indictment, on the economy, on sex, on race, on the environment, though based on no experience other than hearsay, must trump any discourse, let alone opposition. It occurred to me that I had seen this behavior elsewhere, where it was called developmental difficulty.
David Mamet (The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture)
The most damning and hypocritical critiques of his allegedly aristocratic economic system emanated from the most aristocratic southern slaveholders, who deflected attention from their own nefarious deeds by posing as populist champions and assailing the northern financial and mercantile interests aligned with Hamilton. As will be seen, the national consensus that the slavery issue should be tabled to preserve the union meant that the southern plantation economy was effectively ruled off-limits to political discussion, while Hamilton’s system, by default, underwent the most searching scrutiny. Few,
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
Those who seek to suppress voting today are either ignorant of the history or are, as I suspect is more often the case, malevolently choosing to ignore it... To suppress the vote is to make a mockery of democracy. And those who do so are essentially acknowledging that their policies are unpopular. If you can't convince a majority of voters that your ideas are worthy, you try to limit the pool of voters. This reveals a certain irony: Many who are most vocal in championing a free, open, and dynamic economy are the same political factions that suppress these principles when it comes to the currency of ideas.
Dan Rather (What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism)
However, not only external expansion of state power is brought about by the ideology of nationalism. War as the natural outgrowth of nationalism is also the means of strengthening the state’s internal powers of exploitation and expropriation. Each war is also an internal emergency situation, and an emergency requires and seems to justify the acceptance of the state’s increasing its control over its own population. Such increased control gained through the creation of emergencies is reduced during peacetime, but it never sinks back to its pre-war levels. Rather, each successfully ended war (and only successful governments can survive) is used by the government and its intellectuals to propagate the idea that it was only because of nationalistic vigilance and expanded governmental powers that the “foreign aggressors” were crushed and one’s own country saved, and that this successful recipe must then be retained in order to be prepared for the next emergency. Led by the just proven “dominant” nationalism, each successful war ends with the attainment of a new peacetime high of governmental controls and thereby further strengthens a government’s appetite for implementing the next winnable international emergency.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy)
The crash did not cause the Depression: that was part of a far broader malaise. What it did was expose the weaknesses that underpinned the confidence and optimism of the 1920s - poor distribution of income, a weak banking structure and insufficient regulations, the economy's dependence on new consumer goods, the over-extension of industry and the Government's blind belief that promoting business interests would make America uniformly prosperous.
Lucy Moore (Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties)
But the problem is this: I can’t stay out here forever, neither physically nor mentally. As much as I might want to live in the woods where my phone doesn’t work, or shun newspapers with Michael Weiss at his cabin in the Catskills, or devote my life to contemplating potatoes in Epicurus’s garden, total renunciation would be a mistake. The story of the communes teaches me that there is no escaping the political fabric of the world [...] The world needs my participation now more than ever. Again it is not a question of whether, but how.
Jenny Odell (How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy)
Although Adam Smith is today often regarded as a “conservative” figure, he in fact attacked some of the dominant ideas and interests of his own times. Moreover, the idea of a spontaneously self-equilibrating system—the market economy—first developed by the Physiocrats and later made part of the tradition of classical economics by Adam Smith, represented a radically new departure, not only in analysis of social causation but also in seeing a reduced role for political, intellectual, or other elites as guides or controllers of the masses.
Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy)
In the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution created new conditions and problems that none of the existing social, economic, and political models could cope with. Feudalism, monarchism, and traditional religions were not adapted to managing industrial metropolises, millions of uprooted workers, or the constantly changing nature of the modern economy. Consequently, humankind had to develop completely new models—liberal democracies, communist dictatorships, and fascist regimes—and it took more than a century of terrible wars and revolutions to experiment with these models, separate the wheat from the chaff, and implement the best solutions. Child labor in Dickensian coal mines, the First World War, and the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932–33 constituted just a small part of the tuition fees humankind had to pay.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Structural factors are those such as ownership and control, dependence on other major funding sources (notably, advertisers), and mutual interests and relationships between the media and those who make the news and have the power to define it and explain what it means. The propaganda model also incorporates other closely related factors such as the ability to complain about the media’s treatment of news (that is, produce “flak”), to provide “experts” to confirm the official slant on the news, and to fix the basic principles and ideologies that are taken for granted by media personnel and the elite, but are often resisted by the general population.1 In our view, the same underlying power sources that own the media and fund them as advertisers, that serve as primary definers of the news, and that produce flak and proper-thinking experts, also play a key role in fixing basic principles and the dominant ideologies. We believe that what journalists do, what they see as newsworthy, and what they take for granted as premises of their work are frequently well explained by the incentives, pressures, and constraints incorporated into such a structural analysis. These structural factors that dominate media operations are not allcontrolling and do not always produce simple and homogeneous results.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
If we think in term of months, we had probably focus on immediate problems such as the turmoil in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the slowing of the Chinese economy. If we think in terms of decades, then global warming, growing inequality and the disruption of the job market loom large. Yet if we take the really grand view of life, all other problems and developments are overshadowed by three interlinked processes: 1.​Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing. 2.​Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness. 3.​Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves. These three processes raise three key questions, which I hope will stick in your mind long after you have finished this book: 1.​Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing? 2.​What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness? 3.​What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Most people find the word Apocalypse, to be a terrifying concept. Checked in the dictionary, it means only revelation, although it obviously has also come to mean end of the world. As to what the end of the world means, I would say that probably depends on what we mean by world. I don’t think this means the planet, or even the life forms upon the planet. I think the world is purely a construction of ideas, and not just the physical structures, but the mental structures, the ideologies that we’ve erected, that is what I would call the world. Our political structures, philosophical structures, ideological frameworks, economies. These are actually imaginary things, and yet that is the framework that we have built our entire world upon. It strikes me that a strong enough wave of information could completely overturn and destroy all of that. A sudden realization that would change our entire perspective upon who we are and how we exist.
Alan Moore
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
Barack Obama
This is what the bourgeois political economists have done: they have treated value as a fact of nature, not a social construction arising out of a particular mode of production. What Marx is interested in is a revolutionary transformation of society, and that means an overthrow of the capitalist value-form, the construction of an alternative value-structure, an alternative value-system that does not have the specific character of that achieved under capitalism. I cannot overemphasize this point, because the value theory in Marx is frequently interpreted as a universal norm with which we should comply. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people complain that the problem with Marx is that he believes the only valid notion of value derives from labor inputs. It is not that at all; it is a historical social product. The problem, therefore, for socialist, communist, revolutionary, anarchist or whatever, is to find an alternative value-form that will work in terms of the social reproduction of society in a different image. By introducing the concept of fetishism, Marx shows how the naturalized value of classical political economy dictates a norm; we foreclose on revolutionary possibilities if we blindly follow that norm and replicate commodity fetishism. Our task is to question it.
David Harvey (A Companion to Marx's Capital)
Imagine if organized religion organized billions of people and trillions of dollars to tackle the challenges that our economic and political systems are afraid or unwilling to tackle—a planet ravaged by unsustainable human behavior and an out-of-control consumptive economy, the growing gap between the rich minority and the poor majority, and the proliferation of weapons of all kinds—including weapons of mass destruction. “Wow,” people frequently say when I propose these possibilities. “If they did that, I might become religious again.” Some quickly add, “But I won’t hold my breath. It’ll never happen.
Brian D. McLaren (Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World)
We must be polite, Syen,” he says. He’s still smiling, but he’s furious; she can tell because he’s flashing too many teeth. “We’re only orogenes, after all. And this is a member of the Stillness’s most esteemed use-caste. We are merely here to wield powers greater than she can comprehend in order to save her region’s economy, while she—” He waggles a finger at the woman, not even trying to hide his sarcasm. “She is a pedantic minor bureaucrat. But I’m sure she’s a very important pedantic minor bureaucrat.
N.K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1))
In the market economy the consumers are supreme. Consumers determine, by their buying or abstention from buying, what should be produced, by whom and how, of what quality and in what quantity. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners who fail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not yet satisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business and forfeit their preferred position. In business offices and in laboratories the keenest minds are busy fructifying the most complex achievements of scientific research for the production of ever better implements and gadgets for people who have no inkling of the scientific theories that make the fabrication of such things possible. The bigger an enterprise is, the more it is forced to adjust its production activities to the changing whims and fancies of the masses, its masters. The fundamental principle of capitalism is mass production to supply the masses. It is the patronage of the masses that makes enterprises grow into bigness. The common man is supreme in the market economy. He is the customer “who is always right.
Ludwig von Mises (Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays)
A network can be destroyed by noises that attack and transform it, if the codes in place are unable to normalize and repress them. Although the new order is not contained in the structure of the old, it is nonetheless not a product of chance. It is created by the substitution of new differences for the old differences. Noise is the source of these mutations in the structuring codes. For despite the death it contains, noise carries order within itself; it carries new information. This may seem strange. But noise does in fact create a meaning: first, because the interruption of a message signifies the interdiction of the transmitted meaning, signifies censorship and rarity; and second, because the very absence of meaning in pure noise or in the meaningless repetition of a message, by unchanneling auditory sensations, frees the listener’s imagination. The absence of meaning is in this case the presence of all meanings, absolute ambiguity, a construction outside meaning. The presence of noise makes sense, makes meaning. It makes possible the creation of a new order on another level of organization, of a new code in another network.
Jacques Attali (Noise: The Political Economy of Music)
One simple answer is that there has been a massive rise in the incidence of sanctimony and smugness among the successful that has nothing to do with any change in the underlying reality. Rather, it has been stimulated by politicians who have realized that it is possible to win power by recruiting the most economically successful forty per cent or so of the population in a crusade to roll back the gains made by their fellow citizens in the previous forty years. And how better to rationalize this than to tell people that they deserve the incomes that the market generates?
Brian M. Barry (Political Argument (California Series on Social Choice and Political Economy))
Whereas during the primitive stage of capitalist accumulation “political economy considers the proletarian only as a worker,” who only needs to be allotted the indispensable minimum for maintaining his labor power, and never considers him “in his leisure and humanity,” this ruling-class perspective is revised as soon as commodity abundance reaches a level that requires an additional collaboration from him. Once his workday is over, the worker is suddenly redeemed from the total contempt toward him that is so clearly implied by every aspect of the organization and surveillance of production, and finds himself seemingly treated like a grownup, with a great show of politeness, in his new role as a consumer.
Guy Debord (The Society of the Spectacle)
When other countries run sustained trade deficits, they must finance these by selling off domestic assets or running into debt — debt which they actually are obliged to pay. It seems that only the Americans are so bold as to say “Screw the world. We’re going to do whatever we want.” Other countries simply cannot afford the chaos from which the U.S. economy is positioned to withstand as a result of the fact that foreign trade plays a smaller role in its economy than in those of nearly all other nations in today’s interdependent world. Using debtor leverage to set the terms on which it will refrain from causing monetary chaos, America has turned seeming financial weakness into strength. U.S. Government debt has reached so large a magnitude that any attempt to replace it will entail an interregnum of financial chaos and political instability. American diplomats have learned that they are well positioned to come out on top in such grab-bags.
Michael Hudson (The Bubble and Beyond)
If Americans actually understood the structure of our taxes, they would not only become angry, they might also find our economic and political systems intolerable because they are the cause of our unjust tax codes ... We could revolutionize the financial conditions of every American city and town—solve all or most of its tax revenue problems—if the property tax system were simply extended from tangible property to also include intangible property. If you want some quick solutions to our nation's fiscal problems, that would be one. Even on the simple basis of fairness, how can we justify having a property tax system that exempts the intangible property owned mostly by the richest amongst us? What a prime example of the Occupy movement's central point about the economic injustice perpetrated by the 1 percent against the 99 percent.
Richard D. Wolff (Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism)
Economic inequality has long been a signature issue of the left, and it rose in prominence after the Great Recession began in 2007. It ignited the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 and the presidential candidacy of the self-described socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016, who proclaimed that “a nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much, while so many have so little.” 2 But in that year the revolution devoured its children and propelled the candidacy of Donald Trump, who claimed that the United States had become “a third-world country” and blamed the declining fortunes of the working class not on Wall Street and the one percent but on immigration and foreign trade. The left and right ends of the political spectrum, incensed by economic inequality for their different reasons, curled around to meet each other, and their shared cynicism about the modern economy helped elect the most radical American president in recent times.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
I happen to believe that the deepest value of fiction is that, in its very fictiveness, it is the one arena where we can, at least temporarily, take apart and refuse to compete within the terms that the rest of existence insists on. Market value may come to drive out all other human values, except, perhaps, in the country of invented currency, the completely barter-driven economy of the imagination. Fiction, when it remembers its innate priority over other human transactions, can deal not in price but in worth. And that seems to me an act filled with political potential, as well as with pleasure.
Richard Powers
There are members of our body politic who tell us that the public interest is best served when government action is reduced to a minimum and especially when it is kept negative in character. But just now, the nation as a whole seems to be moving rather swiftly and decisively—as is the world as a whole—in the opposite direction. More and more, we Americans are initiating new forms of positive government action for the common good. Between these two tendencies the struggle becomes every day more open and more intense. And as we wage that conflict it is well to remember that the logic of the Constitution gives no backing to either of the two combatants, as against the other. We are left free, as any self-governing people must leave itself free, to determine by specific decisions what our economy shall be. It would be ludicrous to say that we are committed by the Constitution to the economic cooperations of socialism. But equally ludicrous are those appeals by which, in current debate, we are called upon to defend the practices of capitalism, of "free enterprise," so-called, as essential to the freedom of the American Way of Life. The American Way of Life is free because it is what we Americans freely choose—from time to time—that it shall be.
Alexander Meiklejohn (Political Freedom: The Constitutional Powers of the People)
In the coming decades, it is likely that we will see more Internet-like revolutions, in which technology steals a march on politics. Artificial intelligence and biotechnology might soon overhaul our societies and economies – and our bodies and minds too – but they are hardly a blip on our political radar. Our current democratic structures just cannot collect and process the relevant data fast enough, and most voters don’t understand biology and cybernetics well enough to form any pertinent opinions. Hence traditional democratic politics loses control of events, and fails to provide us with meaningful visions for the future. That
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
There are always problems in the world, and the world has always been there, and the world will remain there. If you start trying to work it out—changing circumstances, changing people, thinking of a utopian world, changing the government, the structure, the economy, the politics, the education—you will be lost. That is the trap known as politics. That’s how many people waste their own lives. Be very clear about it: The only person you can help right now is you yourself. Right now you cannot help anybody. This may be just a distraction, just a trick of the mind. See your own problems, see your own anxieties, see your own mind, and first try to change that. It happens to many people: The moment they become interested in some sort of religion, meditation, prayer, immediately the mind tells them, “What are you doing sitting here silently? The world needs you; there are so many poor people. There is much conflict, violence, aggression. What are you doing praying in the temple? Go and help people.” How can you help those people? You are just like them. You may create even more problems for them, but you cannot help. That’s how all the revolutions have always failed. No revolution has yet succeeded because the revolutionaries are in the same boat. The religious person is one who understands that “I am very tiny, I am very limited. If with this limited energy, even if I can change myself, that will be a miracle.” And if you can change yourself, if you are a totally different being with new life shining in your eyes and a new song in your heart, then maybe you can be helpful to others also, because then you will have something to share.
Osho (Living on Your Own Terms: What Is Real Rebellion?)
Finally, there came a time when everything that men had considered as inalienable became an object of exchange, of traffic and could be alienated. This is the time when the very things which till then had been communicated, but never exchanged; given, but never sold; acquired, but never bought – virtue, love, conviction, knowledge, conscience, etc. – when everything, in short, passed into commerce. It is the time of general corruption, of universal venality, or, to speak in terms of political economy, the time when everything, moral or physical, having become a marketable value, is brought to the market to be assessed at its truest value.
Karl Marx (The Poverty of Philosophy)
Radical change is scary. It’s terrifying, actually. And the feminism I support is a full-on revolution. Where women are not simply allowed to participate in the world as it already exists—an inherently corrupt world, designed by a patriarchy to subjugate and control and destroy all challengers—but are actively able to re-shapeit. Where women do not simply knock on the doors of churches, of governments, of capitalist marketplaces and politely ask for admittance, but create their own religious systems, governments, and economies. My feminism is not one of incremental change, revealed in the end to be The Same As Ever, But More So. It is a cleansing fire.
Jessa Crispin (Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto)
Almost as an article of faith, some individuals believe that conspiracies are either kooky fantasies or unimportant aberrations. To be sure, wacko conspiracy theories do exist. There are people who believe that the United States has been invaded by a secret United Nations army equipped with black helicopters, or that the country is secretly controlled by Jews or gays or feminists or black nationalists or communists or extraterrestrial aliens. But it does not logically follow that all conspiracies are imaginary. Conspiracy is a legitimate concept in law: the collusion of two or more people pursuing illegal means to effect some illegal or immoral end. People go to jail for committing conspiratorial acts. Conspiracies are a matter of public record, and some are of real political significance. The Watergate break-in was a conspiracy, as was the Watergate cover-up, which led to Nixon’s downfall. Iran-contra was a conspiracy of immense scope, much of it still uncovered. The savings and loan scandal was described by the Justice Department as “a thousand conspiracies of fraud, theft, and bribery,” the greatest financial crime in history. Often the term “conspiracy” is applied dismissively whenever one suggests that people who occupy positions of political and economic power are consciously dedicated to advancing their elite interests. Even when they openly profess their designs, there are those who deny that intent is involved. In 1994, the officers of the Federal Reserve announced they would pursue monetary policies designed to maintain a high level of unemployment in order to safeguard against “overheating” the economy. Like any creditor class, they preferred a deflationary course. When an acquaintance of mine mentioned this to friends, he was greeted skeptically, “Do you think the Fed bankers are deliberately trying to keep people unemployed?” In fact, not only did he think it, it was announced on the financial pages of the press. Still, his friends assumed he was imagining a conspiracy because he ascribed self-interested collusion to powerful people. At a World Affairs Council meeting in San Francisco, I remarked to a participant that U.S. leaders were pushing hard for the reinstatement of capitalism in the former communist countries. He said, “Do you really think they carry it to that level of conscious intent?” I pointed out it was not a conjecture on my part. They have repeatedly announced their commitment to seeing that “free-market reforms” are introduced in Eastern Europe. Their economic aid is channeled almost exclusively into the private sector. The same policy holds for the monies intended for other countries. Thus, as of the end of 1995, “more than $4.5 million U.S. aid to Haiti has been put on hold because the Aristide government has failed to make progress on a program to privatize state-owned companies” (New York Times 11/25/95). Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: “Do you actually think there’s a group of people sitting around in a room plotting things?” For some reason that image is assumed to be so patently absurd as to invite only disclaimers. But where else would people of power get together – on park benches or carousels? Indeed, they meet in rooms: corporate boardrooms, Pentagon command rooms, at the Bohemian Grove, in the choice dining rooms at the best restaurants, resorts, hotels, and estates, in the many conference rooms at the White House, the NSA, the CIA, or wherever. And, yes, they consciously plot – though they call it “planning” and “strategizing” – and they do so in great secrecy, often resisting all efforts at public disclosure. No one confabulates and plans more than political and corporate elites and their hired specialists. To make the world safe for those who own it, politically active elements of the owning class have created a national security state that expends billions of dollars and enlists the efforts of vast numbers of people.
Michael Parenti (Dirty Truths)
People who have acquired academic degrees, without acquiring many economically meaningful skills, not only face personal disappointment and disaffection with society, but also have often become negative factors in the economy and even sources of danger, especially when they lash out at economically successful minorities and ethnically polarize the whole society they live in. . . . . In many places and times, soft-subject students and intellectuals have inflamed hostility, and sometimes violence, against many other successful groups.
Thomas Sowell (Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective)
The conventional public opposition of 'liberal' and 'conservative' is, here as elsewhere, perfectly useless. The 'conservatives' promote the family as a sort of public icon, but they will not promote the economic integrity of the household or the community, which are the mainstays of family life. Under the sponsorship of 'conservative' presidencies, the economy of the modern household, which once required the father to work away from home - a development that was bad enough - now requires the mother to work away from home, as well. And this development has the wholehearted endorsement of 'liberals,' who see the mother thus forced to spend her days away from her home and children as 'liberated' - though nobody has yet seen the fathers thus forced away as 'liberated.' Some feminists are thus in the curious position of opposing the mistreatment of women and yet advocating their participation in an economy in which everything is mistreated.
Wendell Berry (Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays)
Europe, it is true, is a geographical and, within certain limits, an historical cultural conception. But the idea of Europe as an economic unit contradicts capitalist development in two ways. First of all there exist within Europe among the capitalist States – and will so long as these exist – the most violent struggles of competition and antagonisms, and secondly the European States can no longer get along economically without the non-European countries. ... At the present stage of development of the world market and of world economy, the conception of Europe as an isolated economic unit is a sterile concoction of the brain. ... And if the idea of a European union in the economic sense has long been outstripped, this is no less the case in the political sense. .... Only were one suddenly to lose sight of all these happenings and manoeuvres, and to transfer oneself back to the blissful times of the European concert of powers, could one say, for instance, that for forty years we have had uninterrupted peace. This conception, which considers only events on the European continent, does not notice that the very reason why we have had no war in Europe for decades is the fact that international antagonisms have grown infinitely beyond the narrow confines of the European continent, and that European problems and interests are now fought out on the world seas and in the by-corners of Europe.
Rosa Luxemburg (Rosa Luxemburg Speaks)
True progress begins with something no knowledge economy can produce: wisdom about what it means to live well. We have to do what great thinkers like John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and John Maynard Keynes were already advocating 100 years ago: to “value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful.” We have to direct our minds to the future. To stop consuming our own discontent through polls and the relentlessly bad news media. To consider alternatives and form new collectives. To transcend this confining zeitgeist and recognize our shared idealism.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World)
Among the many symbols used to frighten and manipulate the populace of the democratic states, few have been more important than "terror" and "terrorism." These terms have generally been confined to the use of violence by individuals and marginal groups. Official violence, which is far more extensive in both scale and destructiveness, is placed in a different category altogether. This usage has nothing to do with justice, causal sequence, or numbers abused. Whatever the actual sequence of cause and effect, official violence is described as responsive or provoked ("retaliation," "protective reaction," etc.), not as the active and initiating source of abuse. Similarly, the massive long-term violence inherent in the oppressive social structures that U.S. power has supported or imposed is typically disregarded. The numbers tormented and killed by official violence-wholesale as opposed to retail terror-during recent decades have exceeded those of unofficial terrorists by a factor running into the thousands. But this is not "terror," [...] "security forces" only retaliate and engage in "police action." These terminological devices serve important functions. They help to justify the far more extensive violence of (friendly) state authorities by interpreting them as "reactive" and they implicitly sanction the suppression of information on the methods and scale of official violence by removing it from the category of "terrorism." [...] Thus the language is well-designed for apologetics for wholesale terror.
Noam Chomsky (The Washington Connection & Third World Fascism (Political Economy of Human Rights, #1))
In effect, the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become "routine" news sources have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers. It should also be noted that in the case of the largesse of the Pentagon and the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, the subsidy is at the taxpayers' expense, so that, in effect, the citizenry pays to be propagandized in the interest of powerful groups such as military contractors and other sponsors of state terrorism.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
How do tyrants hold on to power for so long? For that matter, why is the tenure of successful democratic leaders so brief? How can countries with such misguided and corrupt economic policies survive for so long? Why are countries that are prone to natural disasters so often unprepared when they happen? And how can lands rich with natural resources at the same time support populations stricken with poverty? Equally, we may well wonder: Why are Wall Street executives so politically tone-deaf that they dole out billions in bonuses while plunging the global economy into recession? Why is the leadership of a corporation, on whose shoulders so much responsibility rests, decided by so few people? Why are failed CEOs retained and paid handsomely even as their company’s shareholders lose their shirts? In
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics)
I’m riding a tram and, as is my habit, slowly absorbing every detail of the people around me. By ‘detail’ I mean things, voices, words. In the dress of the girl directly in front of me, for example, I see the material it’s made of, the work involved in making it – since it’s a dress and not just material – and I see in the delicate embroidery around the neck the silk thread with which it was embroidered and all the work that went into that. And immediately, as if in a primer on political economy, I see before me the factories and all the different jobs: the factory where the material was made; the factory that made the darker coloured thread that ornaments with curlicues the neck of the dress’ and I see the different workshops in the factories, the machines, the workmen, the seamstresses. My eyes’ inward gaze even penetrates into the offices, where I see the managers trying to keep calm and the figures set out in the account books, but that’s not all: beyond that I see into the domestic lives of all those who spend their working hours in these factories and offices...A whole world unfolds before my eyes all because the regularly irregular dark green edging to a pale green dress worn by the girl in front of me of whom I see only her brown neck. ‘A whole way of life lies before me. I sense the loves, the secrets, the souls of all those who worked just so that this woman in front of me on the tram should wear around her mortal neck the sinuous banality of a thread of dark green silk on a background of light green cloth. I grow dizzy. The seats on the tram, of fine, strong cane, carry me to distant regions, divide into industries, workmen, houses, lives, realities, everything. I leave the tram exhausted, like a sleepwalker, having lived a whole life.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
The president, the secretary of state, the businessman, the preacher, the vendor, the spies, the clients and managers—all walking around Wall Street like chickens with their heads cut off—rushing to escape bankruptcy—plotting to melt down the Statue of Liberty—to press more copper pennies—to breed more headless chickens—to put more feathers in their caps—medals, diplomas, stock certificates, honorary doctorates—eggs and eggs of headless chickens—multitaskers—system hackers—who never know where they’re heading--northward, backward, eastward, forward, and never homeward—(where is home)—home is in the head—(but the head is cut off)—and the nest is full of banking forms and Easter eggs with coins inside. Beheaded chickens, how do you breed chickens with their heads cut off? By teaching them how to bankrupt creativity.
Giannina Braschi
All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. War and war only can set a goal for mass movements on the largest scale while respecting the traditional property system. This is the political formula for the situation. The technological formula may be stated as follows: Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system. It goes without saying that the Fascist apotheosis of war does not employ such arguments.
Walter Benjamin (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)
As I see it today, Hitler and Goebbels were in fact molded by the mob itself, guided by its yearnings and its daydreams. Of course, Goebbels and Hitler knew how to penetrate through to the instincts of their audiences; but in the deeper sense they derived their whole existence from these audiences. Certainly the masses roared to the beat set by Hitler's and Goebbels' baton; yet they were not the true conductors. The mob determined the theme. To compensate for misery, insecurity, unemployment, and hopelessness, this anonymous assemblage wallowed for hours at a time in obsessions, savagery and license. The personal unhappiness caused by the breakdown of the economy was replaced by a frenzy that demanded victims. By lashing out at their opponents and vilifying the Jews, they gave expression and direction to fierce primal passions.
Albert Speer (Inside the Third Reich)
China the Communist Party still pays lip service to traditional Marxist–Leninist ideals, but in practice it is guided by Deng Xiaoping’s famous maxims that ‘development is the only hard truth’ and that ‘it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice’. Which means, in plain language: do anything it takes to promote economic growth, even if Marx and Lenin wouldn’t have been happy with it. In Singapore, as befits that no-nonsense city state, they followed this line of thinking even further, and pegged ministerial salaries to the national GDP. When the Singaporean economy grows, ministers get a raise, as if that is what their job is all about
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Therefore it is not arrogance or narrow-mindedness that leads the economist to discuss these things from the standpoint of economics. No one, who is not able to form an independent opinion about the admittedly difficult and highly technical problem of calculation in the socialist economy, should take sides in the question of socialism versus capitalism. No one should speak about interventionism who has not examined the economic consequences of interventionism. An end should be put to the common practice of discussing these problems from the standpoint of the prevailing errors, fallacies, and prejudices. It might be more entertaining to avoid the real issues and merely to use popular catchwords and emotional slogans. But politics is a serious matter. Those who do not want to think its problems through to the end should keep away from it.
Ludwig von Mises (Interventionism: An Economic Analysis)
We are on the edge of economic collapse unless we wake up and forcibly take back control of our government and economy. Over the past 100 years, the game has been rigged, slowly and piecemeal at first, always in the name of serving the greater good, preventing the next bubble or providing greater transparency and security. It is as if the American people are suffering from battered spouse syndrome; the politicians, the greedy bankers, and the Fed all lie to us while they steal our wealth and our liberty. Every time we call them on it, they promise to never do it again if we’ll just give them one more chance. So we let it slide and then act shocked when they do it to us again. Maybe we should have our collective head examined.
Ziad K. Abdelnour (Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics)
This book is about how to hold open that place in the sun. It is a field guide to doing nothing as an act of political resistance to the attention economy, with all the stubbornness of a Chinese “nail house” blocking a major highway. I want this not only for artists and writers, but for any person who perceives life to be more than an instrument and therefore something that cannot be optimized. A simple refusal motivates my argument: refusal to believe that the present time and place, and the people who are here with us, are somehow not enough. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram act like dams that capitalize on our natural interest in others and an ageless need for community, hijacking and frustrating our most innate desires, and profiting from them. Solitude, observation, and simple conviviality should be recognized not only as ends in and of themselves, but inalienable rights belonging to anyone lucky enough to be alive. —
Jenny Odell (How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy)
These contradictions, of course, lead to explosions, crises, in which momentary suspension of all labour and annihilation of a great part of the capital violently lead it back to the point where it is enabled [to go on] fully employing its productive powers without committing suicide. Yet, these regularly recurring catastrophes lead to their repetition on a higher scale, and finally to its violent overthrow. There are moments in the developed movement of capital which delay this movement other than by crises; such as e.g. the constant devaluation of a part of the existing capital: the transformation of a great part of capital into fixed capital which does not serve as agency of direct production; unproductive waste of a great portion of capital etc.
Karl Marx (Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy)
manufacturing false hierarchies based on race and gender in order to enforce a brutal class system is a very long story. Our modern capitalist economy was born thanks to two very large subsidies: stolen Indigenous land ​and stolen African people. Both required the creation of intellectual theories that ranked the relative value of human lives and labor, placing white men at the top. These church and state–sanctioned theories of white (and Christian) supremacy are what allowed Indigenous civilizations to be actively “unseen” by European explorers—visually perceived and yet not acknowledged to have preexisting rights to the land—and entire richly populated continents to be legally classified as unoccupied and therefore fair game on an absurd “finders keepers” basis.
Naomi Klein (No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need)
Conservatism and conservation are two aspects of a single long-term policy, which is that of husbanding resources and ensuring their renewal. These resources include the social capital embodied in laws, customs and institutions; they also include the material capital contained in the environment, and the economic capital contained in a free but law-governed economy. According to this view, the purpose of politics is not to rearrange society in the interests of some over-arching vision or ideal, such as equality, liberty or fraternity. It is to maintain a vigilant resistance to the entropic forces that threaten our social and ecological equilibrium. The goal is to pass on to future generations, and meanwhile to maintain and enhance, the order of which we are the temporary trustees.
Roger Scruton (Green Philosophy: How to think seriously about the planet)
But a progressive policy needs more than just a bigger break with the economic and moral assumptions of the past 30 years. It needs a return to the conviction that economic growth and the affluence it brings is a means and not an end. The end is what it does to the lives, life-chances and hopes of people. Look at London. Of course it matters to all of us that London's economy flourishes. But the test of the enormous wealth generated in patches of the capital is not that it contributed 20%-30% to Britain's GDP but how it affects the lives of the millions who live and work there. What kind of lives are available to them? Can they afford to live there? If they can't, it is not compensation that London is also a paradise for the ultra-rich. Can they get decently paid jobs or jobs at all? If they can't, don't brag about all those Michelin-starred restaurants and their self-dramatising chefs. Or schooling for children? Inadequate schools are not offset by the fact that London universities could field a football team of Nobel prize winners.
Eric J. Hobsbawm
So what? Why should an a priori proof of the libertarian property theory make any difference? Why not engage in aggression anyway?” Why indeed?! But then, why should the proof that 1+1=2 make any difference? One certainly can still act on the belief that 1+1=3. The obvious answer is “because a propositional justification exists for doing one thing, but not for doing another.” But why should we be reasonable, is the next come-back. Again, the answer is obvious. For one, because it would be impossible to argue against it; and further, because the proponent raising this question would already affirm the use of reason in his act of questioning it. This still might not suffice and everyone knows that it would not, for even if the libertarian ethic and argumentative reasoning must be regarded as ultimately justified, this still does not preclude that people will act on the basis of unjustified beliefs either because they don’t know, they don’t care, or they prefer not to know. I fail to see why this should be surprising or make the proof somehow defective.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy)
That was an ordinary way for a patriotic American to talk back then. It's hard to believe how sick of war we used to be.[...]We used to call armaments manufacturers "Merchants of Death." Can you imagine that? Nowadays, of course, just about our only solvent industry is the merchandising of death, bankrolled by our grandchildren, so that the message of our principal art forms, movies and television and political speeches and newspaper columns, for the sake of the economy, simply has to be this: War is hell, all right, but the only way a boy can become a man is in a shoot-out of some kind, preferably, but by no means necessarily, on a battlefield.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The world THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business. Yet we have no other world to live in. And actually, when we really look closely, the world of stuff and advertising is not really life. Life is the other stuff. Life is what is left when you take all that crap away, or at least ignore it for a while. Life is the people who love you. No one will ever choose to stay alive for an iPhone. It’s the people we reach via the iPhone that matter. And once we begin to recover, and to live again, we do so with new eyes. Things become clearer, and we are aware of things we weren’t aware of before.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
What imperialists actually wanted was expansion of political power without the foundation of the body politic. Imperialist expansion had been touched off by a curious kind of economic crisis, the overproduction of capital and the emergence of "superfluous" money, the result of oversaving, which could no longer find productive investment within national borders. For the first time, investment of power did not pave the way for investment of money, since uncontrollable investments in distant countries threatened to transform large strata of society into gamblers, to change the whole capitalist economy from a system of production to a system of financial speculation, and to replace the profits of production with profits in commissions. The decade immediately before the imperialist era, the seventies of the last century, witnessed an unparalleled increase in swindles, financial scandals, and gambling in the stock market.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
New Rule: Republicans must stop pitting the American people against the government. Last week, we heard a speech from Republican leader Bobby Jindal--and he began it with the story that every immigrant tells about going to an American grocery store for the first time and being overwhelmed with the "endless variety on the shelves." And this was just a 7-Eleven--wait till he sees a Safeway. The thing is, that "endless variety"exists only because Americans pay taxes to a government, which maintains roads, irrigates fields, oversees the electrical grid, and everything else that enables the modern American supermarket to carry forty-seven varieties of frozen breakfast pastry.Of course, it's easy to tear government down--Ronald Reagan used to say the nine most terrifying words in the Englishlanguage were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." But that was before "I'm Sarah Palin, now show me the launch codes."The stimulus package was attacked as typical "tax and spend"--like repairing bridges is left-wing stuff. "There the liberals go again, always wanting to get across the river." Folks, the people are the government--the first responders who put out fires--that's your government. The ranger who shoos pedophiles out of the park restroom, the postman who delivers your porn.How stupid is it when people say, "That's all we need: the federal government telling Detroit how to make cars or Wells Fargo how to run a bank. You want them to look like the post office?"You mean the place that takes a note that's in my hand in L.A. on Monday and gives it to my sister in New Jersey on Wednesday, for 44 cents? Let me be the first to say, I would be thrilled if America's health-care system was anywhere near as functional as the post office.Truth is, recent years have made me much more wary of government stepping aside and letting unregulated private enterprise run things it plainly is too greedy to trust with. Like Wall Street. Like rebuilding Iraq.Like the way Republicans always frame the health-care debate by saying, "Health-care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not government bureaucrats," leaving out the fact that health-care decisions aren't made by doctors, patients, or bureaucrats; they're made by insurance companies. Which are a lot like hospital gowns--chances are your gas isn't covered.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
I know the South claims that it has spent millions for the education of the blacks, and that it has of its own free will shouldered this awful burden. It seems to be forgetful of the fact that these millions have been taken from the public tax funds for education, and that the law of political economy which recognizes the land owner as the one who really pays the taxes is not tenable. It would be just as reasonable for the relatively few land owners of Manhattan to complain that they had to stand the financial burden of the education of the thousands and thousands of children whose parents pay rent for tenements and flats. Let the millions of producing and consuming Negroes be taken out of the South, and it would be quickly seen how much less of public funds there would be to appropriate for education or any other purpose.
James Weldon Johnson (The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man)
Bradley Headstone, in his decent black coat and waistcoat, and decent white shirt, and decent formal black tie, and decent pantaloons of pepper and salt, with his decent silver watch in his pocket and its decent hair-guard round his neck, looked a thoroughly decent young man of six-and-twenty. He was never seen in any other dress, and yet there was a certain stiffness in his manner of wearing this, as if there were a want of adaptation between him and it, recalling some mechanics in their holiday clothes. He had acquired mechanically a great store of teacher's knowledge. He could do mental arithmetic mechanically, sing at sight mechanically, blow various wind instruments mechanically, even play the great church organ mechanically. From his early childhood up, his mind had been a place of mechanical stowage. The arrangement of his wholesale warehouse, so that it might be always ready to meet the demands of retail dealers history here, geography there, astronomy to the right, political economy to the left—natural history, the physical sciences, figures, music, the lower mathematics, and what not, all in their several places—this care had imparted to his countenance a look of care; while the habit of questioning and being questioned had given him a suspicious manner, or a manner that would be better described as one of lying in wait. There was a kind of settled trouble in the face. It was the face belonging to a naturally slow or inattentive intellect that had toiled hard to get what it had won, and that had to hold it now that it was gotten. He always seemed to be uneasy lest anything should be missing from his mental warehouse, and taking stock to assure himself.
Charles Dickens (Our Mutual Friend)
Incidentally, the same logic that would force one to accept the idea of the production of security by private business as economically the best solution to the problem of consumer satisfaction also forces one, so far as moral-ideological positions are concerned, to abandon the political theory of classical liberalism and take the small but nevertheless decisive step (from there) to the theory of libertarianism, or private property anarchism. Classical liberalism, with Ludwig von Mises as its foremost representative in the twentieth century, advocates a social system based on the nonaggression principle. And this is also what libertarianism advocates. But classical liberalism then wants to have this principle enforced by a monopolistic agency (the government, the state)—an organization, that is, which is not exclusively dependent on voluntary, contractual support by the consumers of its respective services, but instead has the right to unilaterally determine its own income, i.e., the taxes to be imposed on consumers in order to do its job in the area of security production. Now, however plausible this might sound, it should be clear that it is inconsistent. Either the principle of nonaggression is valid, in which case the state as a privileged monopolist is immoral, or business built on and around aggression—the use of force and of noncontractual means of acquiring resources—is valid, in which case one must toss out the first theory. It is impossible to sustain both contentions and not to be inconsistent unless, of course, one could provide a principle that is more fundamental than both the nonaggression principle and the states’ right to aggressive violence and from which both, with the respective limitations regarding the domains in which they are valid, can be logically derived. However, liberalism never provided any such principle, nor will it ever be able to do so, since, to argue in favor of anything presupposes one’s right to be free of aggression. Given the fact then that the principle of nonaggression cannot be argumentatively contested as morally valid without implicitly acknowledging its validity, by force of logic one is committed to abandoning liberalism and accepting instead its more radical child: libertarianism, the philosophy of pure capitalism, which demands that the production of security be undertaken by private business too.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy)
Meanwhile, two other great currents in political thought, had a decisive significance on the development of socialist ideas: Liberalism, which had powerfully stimulated advanced minds in the Anglo-Saxon countries, Holland and Spain in particular, and Democracy in the sense. to which Rousseau gave expression in his Social Contract, and which found its most influential representatives in the leaders of French Jacobinism. While Liberalism in its social theories started off from the individual and wished to limit the state's activities to a minimum, Democracy took its stand on an abstract collective concept, Rousseau's general will, which it sought to fix in the national state. Liberalism and Democracy were pre-eminently political concepts, and since most of the original adherents of both did scarcely consider the economic conditions of society, the further development of these conditions could not be practically reconciled with the original principles of Democracy, and still less with those of Liberalism. Democracy with its motto of equality of all citizens before the law, and Liberalism with its right of man over his own person, both were wrecked on the realities of capitalist economy. As long as millions of human beings in every country have to sell their labour to a small minority of owners, and sink into the most wretched misery if they can find no buyers, the so-called equality before the law remains merely a pious fraud, since the laws are made by those who find themselves in possession of the social wealth. But in the same way there can be no talk of a right over one's own person, for that right ends when one is compelled to submit to the economic dictation of another if one does not want to starve.
Rudolf Rocker (Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism)
The hypothesis advanced by the propaganda model, excluded from debate as unthinkable, is that in dealing with the American wars in Indochina, the media were "unmindful", but highly "patriotic" in the special and misleading sense that they kept -- and keep -- closely to the perspective of official Washington and the closely related corporate elite, in conformity to the general "journalistic-literary-political culture" from which "the left" (meaning dissident opinion that questions jingoist assumptions) is virtually excluded. The propaganda model predicts that this should be generally true not only of the choice of topics covered and the way they are covered, but also, and far more crucially, of the general background of the presuppositions within which the issues are framed and the news presented. Insofar as there is debate among dominant elites, it will be reflected within the media, which in this narrow sense, may adopt an "adversarial stance" with regard to those holding office, reflecting elite dissatisfaction with current policy. Otherwise the media will depart from elite consensus only rarely and in limited ways. Even when large parts of the general public break free of the premises of the doctrinal system, as finally happened during the Indochina wars, real understanding based upon an alternative conception of the evolving history can be developed only with considerable effort by the most diligent and skeptical. And such understanding as can be reached through serious and often individual effort will be difficult to sustain or apply elsewhere, an extremely important matter for those who are truly concerned with democracy at home and "the influence of democracy abroad," in the real sense of these words.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its political weapon, democracy. After a long triumph of world-city economy and its interests over political creative force, the political side of life manifests itself after all as the stronger of the two. The sword is victorious over the money, the master-will subdues again the plunderer-will. If we call these money-powers 'Capitalism,' then we may designate as Socialism the will to call into life a mighty politico-economic order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the battle of money and law. The private powers of the economy want free paths for their acquisition of great resources. No legislation must stand in their way. They want to make the laws themselves, in their interests, and to that end they make use of the tool they have made for themselves, democracy, the subsidized party. Law needs, in order to resist this onslaught, a high tradition and an ambition of strong families that finds its satisfaction not in the heaping-up of riches, but in the tasks of true rulership, above and beyond all money-advantage. A power can be overthrown only by another power, not by a principle, and no power that can confront money is left but this one. Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood. Life is alpha and omega, the cosmic stream in microcosmic form. It is the fact of facts within the world-as-history. Before the irresistible rhythm of the generation-sequence, everything built up by the waking-consciousness in its intellectual world vanishes at the last. Ever in History it is life and life only race-quality, the triumph of the will-to-power and not the victory of truths, discoveries, or money that signifies. World-history is the world court, and it has ever decided in favour of the stronger, fuller, and more self-assured life decreed to it, namely, the right to exist, regardless of whether its right would hold before a tribunal of waking-consciousness.
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
If the secret core of potlatch is the reciprocity of exchange, why is this reciprocity not asserted directly, why does it assume the “mystified” form of two consecutive acts each of which is staged as a free voluntary display of generosity? Here we encounter the paradoxes of forced choice, of freedom to do what is necessary, at its most elementary: I have to do freely what I am expected to do. (If, upon receiving a gift, I immediately return it to the giver, this direct circulation would amount to an extremely aggressive gesture of humiliation, it would signal that I refused the other’s gifts — recall those embarrassing moments when elderly people forget and give us last year’s present once again … ) …the reciprocity of exchange is in itself thoroughly ambiguous; at its most fundamental, it is destructive of the social bond, it is the logic of revenge, tit for tat. To cover this aspect of exchange, to make it benevolent and pacific, one has to pretend that each person’s gift is free and stands on its own. This brings us to potlatch as the “pre-economy of the economy,” its zero-level, that is, exchange as the reciprocal relation of two non-productive expenditures. If the gift belongs to Master and exchange to the Servant, potlatch is the paradoxical exchange between Masters. Potlach is simultaneously the zero-level of civility, the paradoxical point at which restrained civility and obscene consumption overlap, the point at which it is polite to behave impolitely.
Slavoj Žižek (In Defense of Lost Causes)
Since the very beginning of the Communist regime, I had carefully studied books on Marxism and pronouncements by Chinese Communist Party leaders. It seemed to me that socialism in China was still very much an experiment nad had no fixed course of development for the country had yet been decided upon. This, I thought, was why the government's policy was always changing, like a pendulum swinging from left to right and back again. When things went to extremes and problems emerged. Beijing would take corrective measures. Then these very corrective measures went too far and had to be corrected. The real difficulty was, of course, that a state-controlled economy only stifled productivity, and economic planning from Beijing ignored local conditions and killed incentive. When a policy changed from above, the standards of values changed with it. What was right yesterday became wrong today, and visa versa. Thus the words and actions of a Communist Party official at the lower level were valid for a limited time only... The Cultural Revolution seemed to me to be a swing to the left. Sooner or later, when it had gone too far, corrective measures would be taken. The people would have a few months or a few years of respite until the next political campaign. Mao Zedong believed that political campaigns were the motivating force for progress. So I thought the Proletarian Cultural Revolution was just one of an endless series of upheavals the Chinese people must learn to put up with.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
We find the same situation in the economy. On the one hand, the battered remnants of production and the real economy; on the other, the circulation of gigantic amounts of virtual capital. But the two are so disconnected that the misfortunes which beset that capital – stock market crashes and other financial debacles – do not bring about the collapse of real economies any more. It is the same in the political sphere: scandals, corruption and the general decline in standards have no decisive effects in a split society, where responsibility (the possibility that the two parties may respond to each other) is no longer part of the game. This paradoxical situation is in a sense beneficial: it protects civil society (what remains of it) from the vicissitudes of the political sphere, just as it protects the economy (what remains of it) from the random fluctuations of the Stock Exchange and international finance. The immunity of the one creates a reciprocal immunity in the other – a mirror indifference. Better: real society is losing interest in the political class, while nonetheless availing itself of the spectacle. At last, then, the media have some use, and the ‘society of the spectacle’ assumes its full meaning in this fierce irony: the masses availing themselves of the spectacle of the dysfunctionings of representation through the random twists in the story of the political class’s corruption. All that remains now to the politicians is the obligation to sacrifice themselves to provide the requisite spectacle for the entertainment of the people.
Jean Baudrillard (Screened Out)
A disdain for the practical swept the ancient world. Plato urged astronomers to think about the heavens, but not to waste their time observing them. Aristotle believed that: “The lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.… The slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery.” Plutarch wrote: “It does not of necessity follow that, if the work delight you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of esteem.” Xenophon’s opinion was: “What are called the mechanical arts carry a social stigma and are rightly dishonoured in our cities.” As a result of such attitudes, the brilliant and promising Ionian experimental method was largely abandoned for two thousand years. Without experiment, there is no way to choose among contending hypotheses, no way for science to advance. The anti-empirical taint of the Pythagoreans survives to this day. But why? Where did this distaste for experiment come from? An explanation for the decline of ancient science has been put forward by the historian of science, Benjamin Farrington: The mercantile tradition, which led to Ionian science, also led to a slave economy. The owning of slaves was the road to wealth and power. Polycrates’ fortifications were built by slaves. Athens in the time of Pericles, Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All the brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. What slaves characteristically perform is manual labor. But scientific experimentation is manual labor, from which the slaveholders are preferentially distanced; while it is only the slaveholders—politely called “gentle-men” in some societies—who have the leisure to do science. Accordingly, almost no one did science. The Ionians were perfectly able to make machines of some elegance. But the availability of slaves undermined the economic motive for the development of technology. Thus the mercantile tradition contributed to the great Ionian awakening around 600 B.C., and, through slavery, may have been the cause of its decline some two centuries later. There are great ironies here.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
New Rule: Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism. That's right, the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poorer one...just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers. Green Bay, Wisconsin, has a population of one hundred thousand. Yet this sleepy little town on the banks of the Fuck-if-I-know River has just as much of a chance of making it to the Super Bowl as the New York Jets--who next year need to just shut the hell up and play. Now, me personally, I haven't watched a Super Bowl since 2004, when Janet Jackson's nipple popped out during halftime. and that split-second glimpse of an unrestrained black titty burned by eyes and offended me as a Christian. But I get it--who doesn't love the spectacle of juiced-up millionaires giving one another brain damage on a giant flatscreen TV with a picture so real it feels like Ben Roethlisberger is in your living room, grabbing your sister? It's no surprise that some one hundred million Americans will watch the Super Bowl--that's forty million more than go to church on Christmas--suck on that, Jesus! It's also eighty-five million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You have to be a rich bitch just to play. The Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila. Anyone can get in. Or to put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they'd like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their dad gets them into Harvard. Because when that happens, "achieving the American dream" is easy for some and just a fantasy for others. That's why the NFL literally shares the wealth--TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it thirty-two ways. Because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl picks last in the next draft. Or what the Republicans would call "punishing success." Baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans, and I don't just mean it's incredibly boring. I mean their economic theory is every man for himself. The small-market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody--but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. Their payroll is $40 million; the Yankees' is $206 million. The Pirates have about as much chance as getting in the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton. So you kind of have to laugh--the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's "redistributing wealth" just love football, a sport that succeeds economically because it does just that. To them, the NFL is as American as hot dogs, Chevrolet, apple pie, and a second, giant helping of apple pie.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Technological innovation is not what is hammering down working peoples’ share of what the country earns; technological innovation is the excuse for this development. Inno is a fable that persuades us to accept economic arrangements we would otherwise regard as unpleasant or intolerable—that convinces us that the very particular configuration of economic power we inhabit is in fact a neutral matter of science, of nature, of the way God wants things to be. Every time we describe the economy as an “ecosystem” we accept this point of view. Every time we write off the situation of workers as a matter of unalterable “reality” we resign ourselves to it. In truth, we have been hearing some version of all this inno-talk since the 1970s—a snarling Republican iteration, which demands our submission before the almighty entrepreneur; and a friendly and caring Democratic one, which promises to patch us up with job training and student loans. What each version brushes under the rug is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Economies aren’t ecosystems. They aren’t naturally occurring phenomena to which we must learn to acclimate. Their rules are made by humans. They are, in a word, political. In a democracy we can set the economic table however we choose. “Amazon is not happening to bookselling,” Jeff Bezos of Amazon likes to say. “The future is happening to bookselling.” And what the future wants just happens to be exactly what Amazon wants. What an amazing coincidence.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
The cultural Left has contributed to the formation of this politically useless unconscious not only by adopting “power” as the name of an invisible, ubiquitous, and malevolent presence, but by adopting ideals which nobody is yet able to imagine being actualized. Among these ideals are participatory democracy and the end of capitalism. Power will pass to the people, the Sixties Left believed only when decisions are made by all those who may be affected by the results. This means, for example, that economic decisions will be made by stakeholders rather than by shareholders, and that entrepreneurship and markets will cease to play their present role. When they do, capitalism as we know it will have ended, and something new will have taken its place. […] Sixties leftists skipped lightly over all the questions which had been raised by the experience of non market economies in the so-called socialist countries. They seemed to be suggesting that once we were rid of both bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, “the people” would know how to handle competition from steel mills or textile factories in the developing world, price hikes on imported oil, and so on. But they never told us how “the people” would learn how to do this. The cultural Left still skips over such questions. Doing so is a consequence of its preference for talking about “the system” rather than about specific social practices and specific changes in those practices. The rhetoric of this Left remains revolutionary rather than reformist and pragmatic. Its insouciant use of terms like “late capitalism” suggests that we can just wait for capitalism to collapse, rather than figuring out what, in the absence of markets, will set prices and regulate distribution. The voting public, the public which must be won over if the Left is to emerge from the academy into the public square, sensibly wants to be told the details. It wants to know how things are going to work after markets are put behind us. It wants to know how participatory democracy is supposed to function. The cultural Left offers no answers to such demands for further information, but until it confronts them it will not be able to be a political Left. The public, sensibly, has no interest in getting rid of capitalism until it is offered details about the alternatives. Nor should it be interested in participatory democracy –– the liberation of the people from the power of technocrats –– until it is told how deliberative assemblies will acquire the same know-how which only the technocrats presently possess. […] The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups, people who have somehow come into possession of more foresight and imagination than the selfish suburbanites. These formerly oppressed and newly powerful people are expected to be as angelic as the straight white males were diabolical. If I shared this expectation, I too would want to live under this new dispensation. Since I see no reason to share it, I think that the left should get back into the business of piecemeal reform within the framework of a market economy. This was the business the American Left was in during the first two-thirds of the century. Someday, perhaps, cumulative piecemeal reforms will be found to have brought about revolutionary change. Such reforms might someday produce a presently unimaginable non market economy, and much more widely distributed powers of decision making. […] But in the meantime, we should not let the abstractly described best be the enemy of the better. We should not let speculation about a totally changed system, and a totally different way of thinking about human life and affairs, replace step-by-step reform of the system we presently have.
Richard M. Rorty (Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America)
Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God. My beloved brethren and sisters, I accept this opportunity in humility. I pray that I may be guided by the Spirit of the Lord in that which I say. I have just been handed a note that says that a U.S. missile attack is under way. I need not remind you that we live in perilous times. I desire to speak concerning these times and our circumstances as members of this Church. You are acutely aware of the events of September 11, less than a month ago. Out of that vicious and ugly attack we are plunged into a state of war. It is the first war of the 21st century. The last century has been described as the most war-torn in human history. Now we are off on another dangerous undertaking, the unfolding of which and the end thereof we do not know. For the first time since we became a nation, the United States has been seriously attacked on its mainland soil. But this was not an attack on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere. It was well planned, boldly executed, and the results were disastrous. It is estimated that more than 5,000 innocent people died. Among these were many from other nations. It was cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil. Recently, in company with a few national religious leaders, I was invited to the White House to meet with the president. In talking to us he was frank and straightforward. That same evening he spoke to the Congress and the nation in unmistakable language concerning the resolve of America and its friends to hunt down the terrorists who were responsible for the planning of this terrible thing and any who harbored such. Now we are at war. Great forces have been mobilized and will continue to be. Political alliances are being forged. We do not know how long this conflict will last. We do not know what it will cost in lives and treasure. We do not know the manner in which it will be carried out. It could impact the work of the Church in various ways. Our national economy has been made to suffer. It was already in trouble, and this has compounded the problem. Many are losing their employment. Among our own people, this could affect welfare needs and also the tithing of the Church. It could affect our missionary program. We are now a global organization. We have members in more than 150 nations. Administering this vast worldwide program could conceivably become more difficult. Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions. This is not a matter of Christian against Muslim. I am pleased that food is being dropped to the hungry people of a targeted nation. We value our Muslim neighbors across the world and hope that those who live by the tenets of their faith will not suffer. I ask particularly that our own people do not become a party in any way to the persecution of the innocent. Rather, let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.
Gordon B. Hinckley