The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. -- Sri Aurobindo (from the message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947)

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Arundale traversed India in search of compliant priests and ordered prayers for the victory

Hitlerian Esotericism and the Tradition
Savitri Devi
I do not want to go into detail on those. That would carry the reader too far. But it is not possible for me to overlook two organizations that were founded in South India: one, the Theosophical Society in Adyar close to Madras; the other, the community that was formed in Pondicherry around wise the Bengali Aurobindo Ghosh, now deceased.
The first is a vast international institution of subversion in the deep sense of the word, as Guénon has shown extremely well in his book Theosophy, a False Religion. What they would like to pass off as "doctrines" is a farrago of arbitrary constructions of the intellect and various notions and beliefs of which the names -- karma; transmigration of souls, etc. -- are drawn from the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. These notions and beliefs are quite as arbitrary, and scarcely as orthodox, as the theories they go into -- such as, for example, the idea of the "group soul" of animals dear to Leadbeater; such as, also, everything the Theosophists teach about their various "Masters": Koot Hoomi, Rajkoski, and others. The illustrious Lokornanya Tilak, whose work I quoted above, compared Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society until her death in 1933 -- and for a time President of the Indian National Congress -- with the she-devil Putna, sent to nurse the Child-God, Krishna, in order to kill him with her poisonous milk. Tilak hoped that, like the young God who, while assimilating the poison with impunity, finally killed Putna by emptying her of all her substance, Hindu society could be defended and confound those who try to seduce it with skillfully disguised untruths...
In addition, the heads of the Theosophical Society -- according to René Guénon, Masters of counter-initiation, in spite of their claims to the contrary -- proved, during and after the Second World War, how much they hated (and hate still) the doctrines of Adolf Hitler. Arundale, then President of the Society, traversed India in search of compliant, i.e., purchasable, priests and ordered prayers for the victory of the "Crusade" against National Socialism.* And one only has to open any issue of Conscience, the official organ of Theosophy, to see displayed in black and white anti-Hitlerian propaganda that has nothing to envy in the contemporary newspapers of England or the USA, and even the press of the Soviet Union (after they heard of the rupture of the Germano-Russian Pact of 23 August 1939). It is not only to the supposed invisible "Masters" of the Theosophists, Koot Hoomi, Rajkoski, and others -- that one attributed "secret missions" for the success of the United Nations.**
[*Crusade to Europe is the title of the book of General Eisenhower on his campaign against Germany.]
[**In 1947 Gretar Fels, President of the Theosophical Society of Reykjavik, assured me that "Master Rajkoski" had "helped the Allies" to fight Nazism.]
Apart from the Theosophical Society -- even it in close connection with certain Western Masonic Lodges -- it is among the Hindus of the dissident sects, such as Brahmo Samaj, where I met the only anti-Hitlerians who crossed my path in India -- apart from, of course, the great majority of non-German Europeans and all the Communists without exception. I will cite, for example, only the open air University of Shantinikétan, which represents then and always the Brahma Samajist milieu par excellence. The poet Rabindranath Tagore, its founder, was still living when, in 1935, I spent six months at this university in order to improve my knowledge of the Bengali language and to learn Hindi there. I noticed there nothing special except the presence, as "a German professor," of a Jewess of Berlin, Margaret Spiegel, known as Amala Bhen, who had come, after two years of staying in the ashram of Gandhi, to spread her hatred of the Third Reich to the pupils who were entrusted to her and the Hindu colleagues whom she could indoctrinate. I soon knew that "Govinda," the Buddhist monk whose saffron-colored robe and beautiful Burmese parasol added a picturesque note to the landscape, was also a Jew from Germany. I was also told of the profound friendship that bound the poet to Andrews, a British former Christian missionary. But nobody expressed to me hostility towards my Hitlerian faith -- except Amala Bhen.
This one, to whom somebody thought it good to introduce to me "as European" on my arrival in Shantiniketan, was, at the end of hardly half an hour of conversation, extremely well versed on the "pan-Aryan" nature of Hitlerism such as I conceived it and always conceive it. She hastened to tell me -- she who had come to the end of the Earth "not to see the shadow of a Nazi anymore" -- that I was "worse than the whole pack rolled in one" -- of those whom she wanted to avoid so much. Indeed, she told me, they marched in the streets of the cities of the Reich singing: "Today Germany belongs to us; tomorrow, the whole world!" but they thought especially of Germany, in spite of the words of their song. While I, while insisting on the deep identity of the Hitlerian spirit and of that of orthodox Hinduism, prepared the way for future military and moral conquest and the unlimited influence of the German Reich which would extend throughout Asia.
These remarks flattered me well beyond my merits. But the hostility of Margaret Spiegel, known as Amala Bhen -- and undoubtedly that of "Govinda," which he took good care not to present to me -- appeared to me still confined to the non-Hindu element of the University of Shantinikétan.
It was surprised to learn a few months before the Second World War that the poet Rabindranath Tagore himself had sent to the Führer a telegram of protest against the invasion of "poor Czechoslovakia." Why did he interfere? -- he whom I could not help but exalt for his work as an artist. Didn't he realize that it was especially the poor Germans of the Sudetenland who had the right to be protected? Didn't he know that Czechoslovakia had never been anything but an artificial State, an assembly of elements that could not be more disparate, built of all parts to be used as permanent thorn in the side of German Reich? But what could I say? Would he have even been able to trace the map of it? Then why this indiscreet intervention? Had it been suggested to him -- or inspired -- by the foreigners, Christians or Jews, whom I have just named, and by others, all humanitarians and antiracists -- at least anti-Aryans -- who haunted Shantiniketan occasionally, or who lived there? [Image: Ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland greet their liberators (1938)]
Or wasn't I rather to admit that such an artist -- who could reveal, under his pen of genius, something luminous and musical in a neo-Sanskrit language such as Bengali -- a Brahman who rejected en bloc the caste system, could only be anti-Hitlerian? The standpoint of the poet against the Defender of the Aryan élite of Europe, in a European conflict, shocked me even more as Rabindranath Tagore had a complexion of ivory and the most traditional features of the White race -- physical signs of a relationship without mixture with those Aryan conquerors who transmitted to old India the Tradition of Hyperborea. But I could -- I would -- have thought that, if these same visible signs of Aryan nobility had not been able to prevent him from joining his voice to that of the despisers of the "Law of color and social function" -- varnashramdharma -- in India, it was not very probable that they had been able to become in him the occasion of an awakening of ancestral conscience, bound as it must with an unspecified sympathy to this European and modern form of "the Brahminic spirit" that is Hitlerism.
On the other hand, I was always agreeably struck by the comprehension that I met, as a Hitlerist, from orthodox Hindus of all castes.
I have, at the beginning of these discussions, related the episode of the Sudra youth with the beautiful historical name of Khudiram* who showed more understanding of true values -- and a more exact appreciation of the role of Adolf Hitler -- than all Democrats of Europe and America put together. I also quoted Satyananda Swami, the founder of the Hindu Mission, for whom, however, the creation of a Hindu front united against the influence of Islam, Christian missionaries, and Communism, counted much more even than the strict observance of orthodoxy. This one held our Führer to be an "incarnation of Vishnu -- the only one in the West."
[*It is the name of a young hero of Bengal, who gave his life for the independence of India]...
The preceding text is chapter 10 -- "L'ésotérisme hitlérien et la tradition" -- of Savitri Devi's Souvenirs et réflexions d'une Aryenne (Calcutta: Savitri Devi Mukherji, 1976). Trans. R.G. Fowler.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Major groups within Christianity

Christianity From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christianity began as an offshoot of Judaism,[6] and includes the Hebrew Bible (known to Christians as the Old Testament) as well as the New Testament as its canonized scriptures.[7] Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion (see also, Judeo-Christian).[8][9]
Christian divisions. An icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea
There is a diversity of doctrines and practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups are sometimes classified under denominations, though for theological reasons many groups reject this classification system.[95] Christianity may be broadly represented as being divided into three main groupings:[96]
Roman Catholicism: The Roman Catholic Church, or "Catholic Church", includes the 23 particular churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome. It is the largest single body, with more than 1 billion baptized members.[97]
Eastern Orthodoxy: Those groups in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The biggest particular churches are the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox.
Protestantism: Groups such as the the Anglican Communion, Lutherans, Reformed/Presbyterians, Congregational/United Church of Christ, Evangelical, Charismatic, Baptists, Methodists, Nazarenes, Anabaptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Waldensians and Pentecostals. The oldest of these separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century Protestant Reformation, followed in many cases by further divisions. Estimates of the total number of Protestants are very uncertain, partly because of the difficulty in determining which denominations should be placed in this category, but it seems to be unquestionable that Protestantism is the second major branch of Christianity (after Roman Catholicism) in number of followers.[97]
Some Protestants identify themselves simply as Christian, or born-again Christian; they typically distance themselves from the confessionalism of other Protestant communities[98] by calling themselves "non-denominational" — often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations. Furthermore, many members of the the Anglican Communion, a group of Anglican and Episcopal Churches that are descended from the Church of England, claim to be both Protestant and Catholic. Finally, various small communities, such as the Old Catholic and Independent Catholic Churches, are similar in name to the Roman Catholic Church, but are not in communion with the See of Rome (the Old Catholic church is in communion with the Anglican Church).The Roman Catholic Church was simply called the "Catholic Church" until other groups started considering themselves "Catholic". The term "Roman Catholic" was made to distinguish the Roman Catholics from other groups.[99][100][101]
Restorationists are historically connected to the Protestant Reformation[102] and usually describe themselves as restoring the Church that they believe was lost at some point and not as "reforming" a Christian Church continuously existing from the time of Jesus. Restorationists include Churches of Christ with 2.6 million members, Disciples of Christ with 800,000 members,[103] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 12 million members,[97] and Jehovah’s Witnesses with 6.6 million members.[104] Though Restorationists have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly.
Mainstream Christianity
Mainstream Christianity is a widely used[105] term, used to refer to collectively to the common views of major denominations of Christianity (such as Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, Orthodox Christianity) as against the particular tenets of other sects or Christian denomination. The context is dependent on the particular issues addressed, but usually contrasts the orthodox majority view against heterodox minority views. In the most common sense, "mainstream" refers to Nicene Christianity, or rather the traditions which continue to claim adherence to the Nicene Creed.[106][107]
Some groups identifying themselves as Christian deviate from the tenets considered basic by most Christian organizations. These groups are often considered heretical, or even non-Christian, by many mainstream Christians. This is particularly true of non-trinitarians. [1:53 PM 2:03 PM]

Hydro, Thermal, Nuclear and Renewable energy cannot be segregated

Er. Nagendranath Mahapatra
Electricity is a form of energy the ultimate nature of which is unknown.
Electrical Power is endowed with a few strange/ peculiar characteristics. It cannot be seen/visualized. It cannot be stored/warehoused. It can not be measured by conventional Measuring units in Kg, Ltr, Mtr etc. but its parameters like Voltage, Current, Active and Reactive power etc. can be measured in appropriate measuring Unit in an operating band of –106 to + 1012 .
It is indistinguishable as to which type of power is being used at any point of time whether Hydro, Thermal, Nuclear and Renewable energy as it cannot be segregated.
It flows as per Laws of Physics and follows path of least resistance.
Its availability and demand vary every second. The buyer has no control over what the trader supplies and the trader has no control over what the buyer draws from the inevitable Power Pool. Electrical Power is thus a Unique Product. Go from here to a very enlightening analysis by one of the most brilliant power engineers and consultants of India.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An absolute democracy could bring a democratic end to democracy; that risk is built right into democracy

In the Postmetaphysical Thinking 4 thread I posted the following from John Caputo:
“…democracy today is suffering from an auto-immune disease….Democracy today is a victim of the “strange illogical logic” by which a living thing destroys the very thing that is meant to fortify (munis) it against attack by a foreign body (V, 173)….. So democracies often think that if, as a practical matter, they are to survive, they must make themselves safe from democracy and learn how to tolerate anti-democratic forces within their own bodies. Thus, in order to make the American way of life safe against the threat of terrorists who threaten democracy, Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to abridge the democratic rights of American citizens (V, 64-65), or the rights of prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay, even as the Rehnquist court has seen fit to profoundly abridge the civil liberties of Americans to keep the streets of democracy safe….An absolute democracy could bring a democratic end to democracy; that risk is built right into democracy….The art of governing democratically is to know when democracy should suppress its own immunities to the undemocratic and attack itself (autos)—in the interests of democracy, of course.” Open Integral

Bepin Chandra Pal paid great tribute to Sri Aurobindo's fiery nationalism in 1909

The Congress Party and the UPA Government have been hectically busy trying to market the carcass of Mahatma Gandhi through what they call 'the celebration of the centenary of Satyagraha' launched by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa in 1906. The Congress party has moved away from truth in 1906 to blatant untruth in 2007. The descent from Mahatma Gandhi in 1906 to Sonia Gandhi in 2007 has been cataclysmic and catastrophic. To quote the intellectually, emotionally and rationally rapier-thrust words of N. Mohan in this context: 'Can a Hindu woman married to an Alitalia Pilot become the Prime Minister of Italy? No. Such things can happen only in our country. What has Sonia got to do with Mahatma Gandhi except for her being married to a person in the Indira Gandhi family? Mahatma Gandhi stood for truth, honesty and simplicity. Both Sonia and the Congress party have nothing to do with these golden qualities'.
What is a nation? What is true nationalism? What is our mother country? Like all great mysteries, our Hindu nationalism is also a great mystery and is a matter of faith. By any attempt at explanation, in order to make such mysteries matters of reason, we would only be injuring the soul and spirit of our nationalism. If such mysteries could be explained, they would cease to be mysteries. As all our great Hindu saints and sages through the ages have declared that a thing is not necessarily against reason because it happens to be above it. In dwelling on such divine mysteries, these great saints have always declared as follows: 'In dwelling on divine mysteries, keep thy heart humble, thy thoughts reverent, thy soul holy. Let not philosophy be ashamed to be confuted, nor logic to be confounded, nor reason to be surpassed. What thou canst not prove, approve; what thou canst not comprehend, believe; what thou canst believe, admire and love and obey. So shall thine ignorance be satisfied in their faith, and thy doubt be swallowed up in thy reverence, and thy faith be as influential as sight. Put out thine own candle, and then shall thou see clearly the sum of righteousness.'
It is in this context that the clarion call of Aurobindo Gosh on what is true nationalism becomes totally relevant. He declared all the time that our nation is not a piece of earth or a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind. It is a mighty Shakthi, composed of the Shakthis of all the millions of units that make up the nation, just as Bhavani Mahisha Mardhini sprang into being from the Shakthi of all the millions of Gods assembled in one mass force and welded into unity. That Shakthi we call India, 'Bhavani Bharathi', is the living unity of the Shakthis of over 1006 million people today. But this vibrant Bharat Mata has been reduced to the state of a corpse by the pernicious and malicious policies of minority appeasement followed by the Congress Party after independence.
Through the discriminatory and partisan policies pursued with total devotion to and focus on minority vote bank, the Congress party has been trying to divide the Indian society through false concepts. The first concept is that the Hindus being the largest community, are potentially more dangerous for the other communities. Secondly, since this community poses a potential threat to other communities, the more it could be weakened, the better it would be for the health of the nation. Thirdly, the good in other communities is the only relevant thing from the point of view of the total national good and that everything else is of no significance or importance. According to this concept, Hindus as a whole are non-entities and dead entities.
Based on these concepts, all the Congress Governments after independence have been declaring from time to time through their partisan programmes: 'Make the Hindu community as weak as we can, by creating internal divisions in it, by denigrating its culture, by inflicting insults on it, and by whatever other means you can afford'. I do not have to enumerate the various efforts that have been made during the last sixty years starting from the days of juvenile Jawaharlal Nehru to weaken us Hindus in pursuance of this theory.
Based on the above concepts, a new idea called - 'Sarva Dharma Samabhava' was propagated. It ridiculously suggested that since our 'nation' was constituted by the assemblage of several religious communities, we should regard the ideology or religion of every community as India's national heritage and hold them all with equal respect. That is, we should yield the same place to the Koran and the Bible in our thinking as we do for the 'Bhagavat Gita'. We should have the same reverence for Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and Bhagavan Buddha. We should accept Mohammed and Jesus also as part of our national pantheon and conduct ourselves accordingly. The idea of regarding alien cultures also as our own gained political currency through the convenient slogan of 'Sarva Dharma-Samabhava'. Since the distinctiveness of the largest community was 'Sanatana Dharma', it was necessary- we were made to believe, for the good of other communities to run down the 'Sanatana Dharma' as well. As far as possible, therefore, condemn the whole of Hindu culture - Hinduism is nothing more than a bundle of superstitions and castes and idolatries. Thus, a strong cult of denigrating the Sanatana Dharma was promoted, directly or indirectly by these and many other similar calumnies by the Congress party.
Aurobindo Gosh convincingly, categorically and clearly declared that Indian nationalism can be raised only on the foundation of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma. That was the view of Swami Vivekananda, Bipin Chandra Pal, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Dr Hedgewar, and Sri Guruji Golwalkar. To quote the words of Aurobindo Gosh in this context: 'This great and ancient nation was once the fountain of human life, the apex of human civilization, the exemplar of courage and humanity, the perfection of good Government and settled society, the mother of all religions, the teacher of all wisdom and philosophy. It has suffered much at the hands of inferior civilizations and more savage peoples. It has gone down into the shadow of night and tasted often of the bitterness of death. Its pride has been trampled into the dust and its glory has departed. Hunger and misery and despair have become the masters of this fair soil, these noble hills, these ancient rivers, these cities whose life story goes back into prehistoric night. But do you think that therefore God has utterly abandoned us and given us up for ever to the mere convenience for the West, the helots of commerce, and the feeders of its luxury and pride?'
No wonder, Bepin Chandra Pal (1858-1932), paid this great tribute to Aurobindo's fiery Hindu nationalism in 1909 in these inspiring words: 'The youngest in age among those who stand in the forefront of the Nationalist propaganda in India, but in endowment, education, and character, perhaps, superior to them all'. Aravinda seems distinctly marked out by Providence to play in the future of his movement a part not given to any of his colleagues and contemporaries. The other leaders of the movement have left their life behind them: Aravinda has his before him. Nationalism is their last love: it is Aravinda's first passion'.
The sham conference on 'Satyagraha' recently organized by the Congress Party with the full official backing of the UPA Government in New Delhi made me ask the question whether Satyagraha or non-violence purifies the man who practices it. When I was finding it difficult to get a clear and convincing answer, I was delighted to see the following reply given by Aurobindo Gosh to one of his devotees on 23 July, 1923: 'I believe Gandhi does not know what actually happens to the man's nature when he takes to Satyagraha or non-violence. He thinks that men get purified by it. ... When you cannot oppose the force that oppresses, you say that you will suffer. That suffering is vital and it gives strength. When the man who has thus suffered gets power, he becomes a worse oppressor. What is necessary is to transform the spirit of violence. But in this practice of Satyagraha it is not transformed. When you insist on such one-sided principle, what happens is that cant hypocrisy and dishonesty get in and there is no purification at all.'
The nationalism being promoted by the Congress Party is, to say the least, subversive. The Congress Party has become a shining and unbridled global symbol of cant, hypocrisy and dishonesty. And hence for Congress and Congressmen, 'Satyagraha' means only 'aSATYAGRAHA'.
(The writer is a retired IAS officer) e-mail the writer at vsundaram@newstodaynet.com GO TOP / HOME / OTHER SPECIAL STORIES

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tyler’s new book Discover Your Inner Economist is a blend of psychology and anthropology

The Anti-Veblen Seth’s blog
It is curious that both Thorstein Veblen and Tyler Cowen were/are economists. Judged by their interests, they might have been psychologists, sociologists, or anthropologists, especially the last. The Theory of the Leisure Class was pure anthropology. Tyler’s new book Discover Your Inner Economist is a blend of psychology and anthropology. Veblen wrote a whole book arguing what Tyler (rightly) takes as needing little support. “Cookbooks by famous chefs . . . seek to impress rather than respect our limits,” writes Tyler. Straight out of Theory of the Leisure Class except better written.
In book after book, Veblen criticized mainstream economics. The mainstream economists of his time liked to assume that everyone “maximized utility”; the point of Theory of the Leisure Class was how wrong this was — all that conspicuous waste and consumption and impracticality done to signal one’s wealth. Whereas Tyler’s theme is essentially the opposite: mainstream economic ideas, which now include Veblen’s, explain a lot about everyday life, such as which countries have the best restaurants. U. N. troops were “very good for the people who sell lobster,” a Haitian taxi driver told him.
Whereas Veblen expressed his dissatisfaction in the usual academic way — he wrote a book saying this is bad, that is bad (very creatively and thematically) — Tyler did something far less predictable and probably far more powerful: With Alex Tabarrok, he started a blog. The main theme of Marginal Revolution, as far as I can tell, is to praise stuff (usually academic economic stuff) that Tyler believes is or is likely to be under-appreciated. Greg Clark’s new book is an example. Stories teach values, and MR is a long-running serial with “recurring characters” (to quote Tyler). To criticize by creating is as old as Michaelangelo but requires a willingness to start small and deal with small things (such as a tiny restaurant) that doesn’t come easily to academics in prestigious positions. This entry was posted on Sunday, September 23rd, 2007 at 6:32 am and is filed under Books, Modern Veblen. Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen

Jews are extremely prominent in various intellectual fields and movements

The Volokh Conspiracy [David Bernstein, September 24, 2007 at 9:01am] Trackbacks Is Neoconservatism a "Jewish" Movement?
Jews, indeed, are often represented at levels above 66% in intellectual movements. Consider leading American libertarians between, say, 1950 and 1980. By common consent, the greatest libertarians of this time period were Rand, Von Mises, Hayek, and Friedman--3 out of 4 (all but Hayek) Jews. If you look at second-tier libertarians, the next group would have to include Nozick and Rothbard, and, in the 50s, perhaps Chodorov. Then you have the whole Ayn Rand circle (the Brandens, Greenspan, et al.), Israel Kirzner, Gary Becker, Richard Posner, Aaron Director, Julian Simon, Sam Peltzman, and so on.
I think it's fair to say that at least on the intellectual level, for quite some time libertarianism was virtually dominated by Jewish thinkers, and they are still well overrepresented in those circles (consider the authors of this blog). That doesn't make libertarianism a "Jewish movement."
For that matter, in the 1960s, about half of all leading activists (think Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin) were Jewish, but the peace movement wasn't a "Jewish" movement. The leadership of the ACLU has been at times overwhelmingly Jewish, but that doesn't make the ACLU a "Jewish" organization. If you look at Brian Leiter's list of the most cited law faculty, you will find that seven of the top eight are Jews. The same is true for the younger cohort of most cited scholars. Jews, in general, are well-overrepresented on the faculties of top law schools, and especially in the field of constitutional law. That doesn't make constitutional law a "Jewish" field.
One could go on in a similar vein, but the point by now should be clear: Jews are extremely prominent in various intellectual fields and movements, and the fact that they happen to constitute 2/3 of neoconservatives doesn't mean that neonconservatism is "Jewish" in the sense that as a movement its goal is advance specifically Jewish goals, any more than libertarianism, ACLUism, etc., are Jewish. Obviously, there are cultural and historical reasons why Jews are more attracted to libertarianism, or the ACLU, or neoconservatism, than they are, to say, Pat Buchanan-style conservatism, or Quaker-influenced peace movements. But to say that Jews are more likely to find a particular ideological movement intellectually and socially congenial is very different than saying that the movement is a "Jewish" one in any meaningful sense.
In short, M & W (and many others) think that because Jews are 2/3 of neoconservatives, and neoconservatives are pro-Israel, that neoconservativism as an ideology is motivated by pro-Israel sentiment. My take is that by random chance, a prominent intellectual movement like neoconservatism will have around 50% Jews among its leaders. If the movement is one that is socially and culturally congenial to Jews, as neoconservatism, among others, is, the percentage will be higher. But there is no good reason to use "neoconservative" as a synonym for "pro-Israel Jew", any more than there is good reason to use "civil libertarian" as synonym for "secularist Jew."
Caveat: One of the founders of neoconservatism, Norman Podhoretz, was clearly put off by the 60s' lefts' hostility to Israel. But he was also put off by their support of racial preferences in the guise of affirmative action, their hostility to America and sympathy with the Viet Cong, their perceived libertinism, etc. It's not that the attraction of neoconservatism has nothing to to with neoconservatives' Jewish background, any more than the attraction of ACLUism has nothing to do with leading ACLUers Jewish backgrounds. Rather, it's that the ideology itself broadly transcends any specifically Jewish concerns, has appeal to many non-Jews, is not thought of by its adherents as being a specifically Jewish movement, and would inevitably attract a large percentage of Jews even if Israel didn't exist. To put it another way, if Israel suddenly was at complete peace with its neighbors and was no longer an issue of foreign policy concern, I would bet that all of the Jewish neoconservatives would remain neoconservatives, and continue to promote neoconservative views on foreign and domestic policy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Singapore and China

The Economy of Singapore is a highly developed and successful free market economy in which the state plays a minimal role. It has an open business environment, relatively corruption-free and transparent, stable prices, and one of the highest per capita gross domestic products (GDP) in the world...
Singapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size. Upon independence in 1965, Singapore was faced with a lack of physical resources and a small domestic market. In response, the Singapore Government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment, export-oriented economic policy combined with state-directed investments in strategic government-owned corporations. Singapore's economic strategy proved a success, producing real growth that averaged 8.0% from 1960 to 1999.
During Lee Kuan Yew's term as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, his administration curbed widespread unemployment, raised the standard of living, and implemented a large-scale public housing programme. The country's economic infrastructure was developed, the threat of racial tension was curbed, and an independent national defence system, centering around compulsory male military service, was created.
As Singapore has never had a dominant culture to which immigrants could assimilate, nor a common language, together with efforts from the government and ruling party, Lee tried to create a common Singaporean identity in the 1970s and 1980s. Lee and his government stressed the importance of maintaining religious tolerance and racial harmony, and they were ready to use the law to counter any threat that might incite ethnic and religious violence. For example, Lee warned against "insensitive evangelisation", by which he referred to instances of Christian proselytising directed at Malays. In 1974, the government advised the Bible Society of Singapore to stop publishing religious materials in Malay. [1]... Economy of Singapore From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
China in Three Colors By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN NYT: September 23, 2007
For China, going from communism to its state-directed capitalism, while by no means easy, involved loosening the lid on a people who were naturally entrepreneurial, risk-taking capitalists. It was tantamount to letting a geyser erupt, and the results of all that unleashed energy are apparent everywhere.
Going from dirty capitalism to clean capitalism is much harder. Because it involves restraining that geyser — and to do that effectively requires a system with some judicial independence, so that courts can discipline government-owned factories and power plants. It requires a freer press that can report on polluters without restraint, even if they are government-owned businesses. It requires transparent laws and regulations, so citizen-activists know their rights and can feel free to confront polluters, no matter how powerful. For all those reasons, it seems to me that it will be very hard to make China greener without making it more orange. China’s Communist Party leaders are clearly wrestling with this issue. nytimes.com/2007/09/23

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Religions: Hindu 81%, Islam 13%, Christian 2%, Sikh 2% (2001)

Map of India Republic of India
National name: Bharat
President: Pratibha Patil (2007)
Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh (2004)
Current government officials
Land area: 1,147,949 sq mi (2,973,190 sq km); total area: 1,269,338 sq mi (3,287,590 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 1,129,866,154 (growth rate: 1.6%); birth rate: 22.7/1000; infant mortality rate: 34.6/1000; life expectancy: 68.6; density per sq mi: 984
Capital (2003 est.): New Delhi, 15,334,000 (metro. area), 9,817,439 (city proper)
Largest cities: Bombay (Mumbai), 18,336,000 (metro. area), 11,914,398 (city proper); Calcutta (Kolkata), 14,299,000 (metro. area), 4,760,800 (city proper); Bangalore, 4,461,100; Madras (Chennai), 4,382,100; Ahmedabad, 3,653,700; Hyderabad, 3,585,600; Kanpur, 2,631,800
Monetary unit: Rupee
Principal languages: Hindi 30%, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi (all official); Hindi/Urdu; 1,600+ dialects
Ethnicity/race: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)
Religions: Hindu 81%, Islam 13%, Christian 2%, Sikh 2% (2001)
Literacy rate: 60% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2005 est.): $3.699 trillion; per capita $3,400. Real growth rate: 7.6%. Inflation: 4.6%. Unemployment: 9.9%. Arable land: 54%. Agriculture: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish. Labor force: 496.4 million; agriculture 60%, services 23%, industry 17% (1999). Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software. Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land. Exports: $76.23 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.): textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures. Imports: $113.1 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.): crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals. Major trading partners: U.S., UAE, China, Hong Kong, UK, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium (2004).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 48.917 million (2003); mobile cellular: 26,154,400 (2003). Radio broadcast stations: AM 153, FM 91, shortwave 68 (1998). Television broadcast stations: 562 (of which 82 stations have 1 kW or greater power and 480 stations have less than 1 kW of power) (1997). Internet hosts: 86,871 (2003). Internet users: 18.481 million (2003).
Transportation: Railways: total: 63,230 km (16,693 km electrified) (2004). Highways: total: 2,525,989 km; paved: 1,448,655 km; unpaved: ,077,334 km (1999). Waterways: 14,500 km; note: 5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels (2004). Ports and harbors: Chennai, Haldia, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), New Mangalore, Vishakhapatnam. Airports: 333 (2004 est.).

Geography
One-third the area of the United States, the Republic of India occupies most of the subcontinent of India in southern Asia. It borders on China in the northeast. Other neighbors are Pakistan on the west, Nepal and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east.
The country can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Himalayan region in the north, which contains some of the highest mountains in the world, the Gangetic Plain, and the plateau region in the south and central part. Its three great river systems—the Ganges, the Indus, and the Brahmaputra—have extensive deltas and all rise in the Himalayas.
Government Federal republic.
History
One of the earliest civilizations, the Indus Valley civilization flourished on the Indian subcontinent from c. 2600 B.C. to c. 2000 B.C. It is generally accepted that the Aryans entered India c. 1500 B.C. from the northwest, finding a land that was already home to an advanced civilization. They introduced Sanskrit and the Vedic religion, a forerunner of Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th century B.C. and was spread throughout northern India, most notably by one of the great ancient kings of the Mauryan dynasty, Asoka (c. 269–232 B.C.), who also unified most of the Indian subcontinent for the first time.
In 1526, Muslim invaders founded the great Mogul Empire, centered on Delhi, which lasted, at least in name, until 1857. Akbar the Great (1542–1605) strengthened and consolidated this empire. The long reign of his great-grandson, Aurangzeb (1618–1707), represents both the greatest extent of the Mogul Empire and the beginning of its decay.
Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer, landed in India in 1498, and for the next 100 years the Portuguese had a virtual monopoly on trade with the subcontinent. Meanwhile, the English founded the East India Company, which set up its first factory at Surat in 1612 and began expanding its influence, fighting the Indian rulers and the French, Dutch, and Portuguese traders simultaneously.
Bombay, taken from the Portuguese, became the seat of English rule in 1687. The defeat of French and Mogul armies by Lord Clive in 1757 laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The East India Company continued to suppress native uprisings and extend British rule until 1858, when the administration of India was formally transferred to the British Crown following the Sepoy Mutiny of native troops in 1857–1858...

In one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern Indian history, the Indian National Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, prevailed in parliamentary elections in May 2004, prompting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resign. Although the country prospered economically under Vajpayee's rule, a substantial number of India's poor felt they had not benefitted from India's economic growth. Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, dealt a further shock to the country when she refused to become prime minister. The BJP had vociferously protested Gandhi's expected elevation to prime minister because of her foreign birth. The Congress Party instead chose former finance minister Manmohan Singh, who became India's first Sikh prime minister...

Pratibha Patil, of the governing Congress party, was elected president in July 2007, becoming the country's first woman to hold the post. She defeated Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. See also Encyclopedia: India. U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: India Registrar General (Census Information) www.censusindia.net/ ; Department of Statistics (General Statistics) http://mospi.nic.in/ . Infoplease.com

Most Americans would like to forget that the original economic system of our nation was based on slavery

In the long run Globalization is not good for the U.S. economy
americanchronicle.com Saturday, September 22, 2007 News World National State News Politics Business Technology Industry Science Medicine Sports Education Entertainment Weather Opinion Latest Articles View Topics View Authors Features Latest Articles View Topics View Authors Community Town Hall CityBlogs Join Our List Other Sections Affiliates Advertise Video

Globalization and the Evolution of American Capitalism Darrell Williams
Globalization is inevitable but is it good or bad for our nation? Capitalism and free enterprise in the United States has never been static, it has always been dynamic. The fundamental characteristics of capitalism continually inspire individuals to be creative. The effects of this individual creativity can be good and they can also be bad. They can be good in so far as they develop the nation’s economic system and increase the standard of living of the majority of the population. They can be bad if they overly exploit labor and cause environmental damage for the benefit of a few corporate owners.
Most Americans would like to forget that the original economic system of our nation was based on slavery. Throughout history, few nations have had any laws prohibiting this inhuman practice of exploiting their fellow beings. Prior to the U.S. Civil War, a large percentage of Americans continued to justify this system for many reasons. However the only real reason it existed was that slavery was the cheapest form of labor. It is pure capitalism because the labor cost is zero. Slavery is capitalism because the owners own the means of production. They own the slaves. Owners achieved maximum profit off of unpaid forced labor. When a slave was worn out, they were simply replaced. A few cruel owners lived in southern mansions while their helpless labor families lived in shacks. It took a violent revolution to end this disgraceful system.
However, American capitalism continued to evolve. After the end of the agricultural slave system in the south, a new type of exploitation developed in the north. This system could be called industrial slavery. Few people today are fully aware of the terrible conditions that existed in the early factories that developed during the industrial revolution. The conditions of the factory workers could only be described as slavery. Men, women and children worked in unsafe conditions for long hours. With absolutely no laws or restrictions on labor practices, children worked 16 hours a day for pennies. The labor costs were so small that this system could be classified as almost pure capitalism. Pure capitalism is the system in which labor costs are at a minimum and profits are at a maximum. Slavery is the cheapest possible form of labor. Cheap labor is always the goal of corporation owners.
Pure capitalism continued to grow and spread in the United States and other industrial nations until 1929. In that year, the ill effects of pure capitalism pushed the economic system to the point of collapse. The flaw in pure capitalism is that it continually takes more and more money out of the economic system. If the profits are too high and the labor wages are too small, the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. When more and more capital is going into the bank accounts of the rich, there is less and less money being circulated. Eventually the working people are not receiving enough wages to buy the products that the factories are producing. When the breaking point is reached, the system collapses. The factories and businesses are closed. The wealthy owners retire to their yachts and country clubs. The unemployed workers are forced to stand in bread lines to get food for their families. This was the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 until 1939.
Historians often describe the history of the world as a struggle between the haves and the have-nots. A struggle between the rich few and the many poor. A struggle between the Kings and the peasants. Most of the revolutions in history, such as the French Revolution, resulted when these unbalanced systems reached a breaking point. They are very often violent revolutions such as the Russian Revolution in 1917.
President Roosevelt recognized that the United States was facing exactly such a crisis. He saw that the crisis could easily get out of control and produce a violent revolution. He had to act quickly to preserve the national peace and preserve capitalism. He recognized the flaws in pure capitalism and began enacting legislation to correct some of those characteristics that had resulted in the unbalanced system. This program was called ’The New Deal’. By enacting legislation that improved the conditions of the workers, such as minimum wage, eight hour work day, unemployment insurance, social security, prohibited child labor, safe working conditions, public work programs and increased taxes on the wealthy, he helped the workers restore the economy. The working people were able to put capital back into circulation and the nation’s economy recovered.
What President Roosevelt did was obviously opposed by the wealthy owners. They are always opposed to any government regulations that reduce their profits. Because of this opposition, the corporations have always opposed all of the measures enacted by Roosevelt. However these same owners should acknowledge that it was Roosevelt that saved capitalism by putting some limits on it’s characteristics. What Roosevelt created could be called limited capitalism. Limited capitalism is better than pure capitalism because it keeps enough capital in circulation to allow the system to grow without collapsing.
It is the limited capitalism that has been the system within the United States since the 1930’s that is responsible for the successful economic growth of our nation. By giving higher wages to workers it has allowed them to buy all of the products the companies are producing. This is the best economic system and it has created the worlds highest standard of living for the American people.
But the greed of corporate owners has never, since Roosevelt, stopped trying to eliminate or evade all of the restrictions government regulations and local laws have placed on their operations. Corporations continue to have the selfish goal of maximizing profits and minimizing labor costs. These owners and managers continually fail to recognize that the most successful economic system requires that the gap between the rich and the poor be reduced not increased. The more money that consumers have to spend, the more healthy the economy is. Reducing the wages of workers has only a detrimental effect.
Now the world is facing the reality of Globalization. The ease with which corporations can establish factories in other countries is becoming very appealing to greedy owners. The primary reason for doing this is obvious. It is the same as always, to maximize profits by reducing labor costs. By moving operations to other countries, corporations can evade all of the labor laws and environmental restrictions that exist within the United States. This is the best move a company can make for the owners of the company.
Globalization may be one step forward for the company, but it is one step backward for our nation’s economy. It will temporarily increase the profits for the individual company, but by reducing workers wages, it’s long term effects will be detrimental.
  • First, it reduces the wages of working Americans because the labor is being done by foreign workers. This is a step backward toward the pre-1930’s when there were no labors laws. This increases U.S. unemployment and increases the gap between the rich and the poor. If this gap continues to grow, it can result in another breaking point in the economic system and another Great Depression and collapse.
  • Secondly, this condition cannot continue indefinitely in a foreign country. Sooner or later the workers in that nation will demand an increase in their wages and local ownership of the company. This system of having an American company in a foreign country is essentially colonial exploitation. The foreign labor is being exploited for pennies a day, while all of the profits are being taken out of the country by the American owners. This kind of colonial exploitation is little more than modern slavery.

Globalization is here to stay for better or for worse. The world’s economic systems will continue to evolve. In the near future, Globalization will probably temporarily increase the profits of American corporations, while stagnating or lowering the standard of living for the average working Americans.

The U.S. government should assume some responsibility for limiting the worst effects of this loss of American jobs. Unfortunately, Congressional lobbyists for corporations oppose all restrictions or control of foreign operations. When there is conflict between the best interests of the corporations and the best interests of the nation, Congress should support the nation and not the special interests. American owned foreign corporations should be subjected to import taxes for all products brought into the U.S. This would help redistribute some of the profits which are being made at the expense of the American workers. The U.S. government should also require that all foreign products meet the same quality standards and safety regulations as they do when manufactured within the U.S. The U.S. should also have international agreements with every nation regarding labor laws, labor working conditions and environmental protection laws. Those nations that fail to accept these agreements should be banned from importing their products to the U.S. If corporate profits are reduced, corporations may choose to remain within the U.S. In the long run Globalization is not good for the U.S. economy. americanchronicle.com

Friday, September 21, 2007

Disdain for rationality is a feature of adolescent romanticism.

The Sleep of Reason By H. E. Baber
The embrace of relativism by many leftist intellectuals in the United States, while it may not be politically very important, is a terrible admission of failure, and an excuse for not answering the claims of their political opponents. The subordination of the intellect to partisan loyalty is found across the political spectrum, but usually it takes the form of a blind insistence on the objective truth of certain supporting facts and refusal to consider evidence to the contrary. So what explains the shift, at least by a certain slice of the intellectual left, to this new form of obfuscation?
When I was an undergraduate I volunteered to go door to door for Zero Population Growth to promote the liberalization of abortion laws. I thought that, as a philosophy major, I was just the person for the job: I had read Locke on personal identity and could explain to people that even though fetuses were human beings, living organisms of species homo sapiens, they were not persons. I was prepared to expand on this in great detail.
I was told that this was not a good idea. At the training session for volunteers, we were cautioned not to get into "philosophical arguments." If a contact attempted to argue we were to repeat (as many times as it took) that abortion was simply an issue of women's rights, and that was that. If we allowed ourselves to be drawn into arguments of any kind, we were warned, we were lost.
It was the same thing whenever I tried to work for the political causes I supported--argument was out. I don't know whether this was peculiar to leftist causes (since I never supported any others) or a feature of politics as such but the idea was that sloganeering and manipulation were sophisticated while argument was, at best, naive. But it did seem especially entrenched in the Left: it was a commonplace that you couldn't dismantle the master's house with the master's tools.
When, I wondered, had rationality become a partisan issue and, in particular, when had reason, objectivity, science and all the tools of the Enlightenment come to be seen as part of the Right's kit?
Anti-intellectualism, the religion of the heart, the exaltation of rustic simplicity and old-fashioned virtue along with scorn for arid logic-chopping and rationalism broadly construed-has always been a feature of American life. Yet "only yesterday," when the Scopes Monkey Trial was in progress, the Left was the party of science and socially conservative Middle Americans were scandalized by the tough-minded rationalism of progressives. Since yesterday political polarities have shifted and, as with the magnetic field's periodic flip-flops indelibly imprinted in the geological record, we know when it happened but not exactly why.
It happened during the late '60s and '70s when the Baby Boom generation came of age. Arguably it happened then because that was when Baby Boomers, the largest American generation, came of age and, by sheer force of numbers, dominated the social landscape. Their fashions, behavior and ideologies became iconic and forged the link between the politics of the Left and the romanticism of adolescence in the American mythos.
The sources of the youth culture of the period were manifold. First, on the political side, there was Marxism, committed to the doctrine that ideology was epiphenomenal and rational reflection was escapist. This was the theme that I heard rehearsed incessantly as I participated in the anti-war movement and the politics of the Left. Rational argument was a sham, a power play by our adversaries: to respond in their terms was to fall into their trap.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there was the revolt against cultural masculinity, sparked by resistance to the Vietnam War and centering on the refusal of young men to meet the two traditional core male obligations, work and warfare. It spilled over into a distaste for everything socially coded as male, from meat-eating to contact sports. Peace, love and gentleness, fruits, nuts, grains and little herbal teas, intuition, emotion and all the stuff of stereotypical femininity were glorified; "male" rationality was, at best, suspect.
This was not feminism, indeed the second wave of feminism was largely a reaction against it. Within the Counterculture, which liberated men from the burden of traditional male role obligations without depriving them of the benefits, women were doubly cursed: while locked more firmly than ever into femininity by the earth mother cult and expected to provide sexual services to their men with no strings attached, they could no longer get the traditional compensations for meeting their role obligations: male protection and financial support. The position of women in the Movement was prone.
Finally, the national disgrace of an immoral war followed by political scandal engendered an unprecedented level of cultural self-hatred, amplifying the perennial romantic theme that the exotic Other, especially the primitive Other, was better. Undergraduates like myself consumed Margaret Mead's South Sea fantasies and innumerable books by lesser lights who had established through sociological research that American society was "sick," damaged by consumerism, conformity, and shallow, calculating, soulless rationalism.
None of it was new. Ever since adolescence became an institution-when boys were no longer apprenticed to their fathers' trades at a tender age and girls were no longer married off at puberty-adolescents have been romantics. The difference was that in 1969 there were so many of us that we were taken seriously: instead of dismissing us, middle-aged pundits hailed us as the vanguard of a new era. So theologian Harvey Cox, in his dithyramb on the resurrection of Dionysus, applauded us for ushering in a new age and celebrated the demise of the man in the gray flannel suit, "rational, Apollonian plane-catching man."(1)
Because of the war and the draft we were caught up in politics and wedded to the Left; because we were iconic our rendition of the politics of the Left became iconic. Adlai Stevenson was dead. Bertrand Russell, for decades the symbol of Leftist politics and anti-war activism, was off the radar. Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, the most progressive politicians to occupy positions of national leadership in US history, had become the Left's demons. Americans across the political spectrum began to identify the Left with our preoccupations, including our disdain for the rationality of Apollonian plane-catching man.
That disdain for rationality, skepticism about the possibility of objective truth and the unshakable conviction that Life is bigger than Logic is not peculiar to the French "intellectuals" Sokal and Bricmont exposed or to academic literati- it is a feature of popular culture and has persisted even after the collapse of the Left as we knew it because it is preeminently a feature of adolescent romanticism. I get it from students all the time. Every year the freshmen in my intro logic classes, where I devote the first 3 weeks to "critical thinking" and debunking, rehearse the theme. Many are superstitious and almost all buy some version of mellow relativism. Most don't think logic broadly construed is important--in the words of one haunting course evaluation comment: "What's the good of being logical if no one else is?"
Talking to upperclassmen, who were more articulate and reflective, I got a better idea of their views. Even though the politics of the Left had largely disappeared from the undergraduate subculture, like most Americans, students were convinced that rationality, insofar as it was important at all, was exclusively the business of business and the political right. They had learnt in their required intro econ course that rational behavior was, by definition, self-interested. Rationality was appropriate in the workplace and public life; it was irrelevant, and inappropriate, in the private sphere where relationships, "values" and beliefs were based on feelings, culture, faith and brute personal preference. The trouble with Liberals, well-meaning though they were, was that they just didn't understand this division of labor.
Conservative ideologues in my ethics classes believed that "rationality" was coextensive with the Market, which was perfectly efficient--any objections to the free operation of the Market was ipso facto irrational. Some were convinced that not only I, but Rawls and everyone on the syllabus apart from Nozick were warm-hearted sentimentalists who didn't know how the real world worked and that Sen just didn't understand economics. Most of the others believed that rationality was a matter of arbitrary convention--a matter of memorizing and following arbitrary rules. To be rational was to be blinkered and constrained, conventional, obedient, rigid, simplistic and dull.
In less than a week I'll be back to teaching after my sabbatical--I've got a lot of work to do. On the whole I'm not a great enthusiast about teaching. But I do get a kick out of it in intro logic classes when students have their satoris and realize that the stuff makes sense--and I can say (it usually gets a laugh) "Hey--that's why they call it 'logic'!"
(1)Psychology Today interview with Harvey Cox c. April 1971
H.E. Baber (PhD Johns Hopkins) is a professor of philosophy at the University of San Diego, specialising in metaphysics and philosophy of mind. An earlier version of this article appeared on her blog
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

It is unacceptable to obstruct the forces of competition from having freer play

Manmohan Singh Warned Indian Corporations Against Any Form of Cartelization Home > World News > Political Economy
May 25 (LPAC)--Faced with an increasing economic disparity between the vast number of Indian poor and a thin layer of India's skilled population benefited by a high GDP growth rate, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on May 24, sent a strong message to the India Inc.
He said: "The operation of cartels by groups of companies to keep prices high must end. It is unacceptable to obstruct the forces of competition from having freer play. It is even more distressing in a country where the poor are severely affected by rising prices."
Later in his speech, Manmohan Singh, praising the industry for sustaining a high growth rate, said that to be globally competitive, "you must work in a harmonious environment, an environment in which all citizens feel actually involved in economic growth and in which each citizen sees hope for a better future." Unless workers felt they were cared for, "we can never evolve a national consensus in favor of more flexible labor laws aimed at ensuring that our firms remain globally competitive." Among other things, industry must have a "healthy" respect for workers, and invest in their welfare, health and their children's education."

Klein has yet to lose this debate

Marginal Revolution Small steps toward a much better world.
Every claim is wrong Tyler Cowen
I wondered whether that can be said of Naomi Klein's new The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Still, at some fundamental level I liked this book. Perhaps I still had the Greenspan memoir too fresh in my mind, but at least this text is alive. Yes she refuses to admit that Chilean reforms, however horrible the accompanying atrocities, did represent a success for market economics. Yes she misstates the role of Milton Friedman in just about everything. Yes she suggests that black children in New Orleans, pre-Katrina, enjoyed equality of educational opportunity. Yes she is naive enough to think that we need only put the good people in power. Yes she repeats many timeworn fallacies about Halliburton. Yes there is a senseless conflation of torture, Iraq, and the Coase Theorem. And so on.
Still, at the heart of this book she pinpoints the discomfort that free market advocates have with democracy. You can go the non-democratic route, you can claim that markets should stand above democracy, or you can reinterpret libertarian ideas as a general framework for social analysis and a program for gradualist democratic reform. Either way, for all her mistakes, Klein has yet to lose this debate. Posted by Tyler Cowen on September 19, 2007 at 01:33 PM in Books Permalink
Comments
Tyler, What exactly is question of "this debate"?
Posted by: Will Wilkinson at Sep 19, 2007 1:54:47 PM
Isn't the question of "markets vs. democracy" a bit strange? Certainly something has to stand above democracy or it will just be dictatorship by the majority. Isn't the Constitution above democracy? And isn't basic human rights above democracy? Or should be at least.
With the same line of thought I could see an argument for markets above democracy if we by markets mean mutual voluntary exchange. Of course the Naomi Kleins are leading this debate, but in some ways it seems to me that the question is not rightly put. Of course those in power can do anything they want, but it seems to me that this question should be put in the same terms as the habeas corpus/war on terror debate.
Posted by: Lars Hvidberg at Sep 19, 2007 2:01:41 PM
At the heart I think it is still the argument between positive and negative rights. Klein believes people have the right to impose demands on others (i.e. choose economic outcomes) whereas her opponents argue that individuals have a right to choose their own outcomes, but not others.
Posted by: 8 at Sep 19, 2007 2:06:45 PM
Yes she refuses to admit that Chilean reforms, however horrible the accompanying atrocities, did represent a success for market economics. Yes she misstates the role of Milton Friedman in just about everything. Yes she suggests that black children in New Orleans, pre-Katrina, enjoyed equality of educational opportunity. Yes she is naive enough to think that we need only put the good people in power. Yes she repeats many timeworn fallacies about Halliburton. Yes there is a senseless conflation of torture, Iraq, and the Coase Theorem. And so on.
Aside from THAT Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? ;)
Posted by: Steve Horwitz at Sep 19, 2007 2:18:11 PM
Yes she suggests that black children in New Orleans, pre-Katrina, enjoyed equality of educational opportunity.
It's one thing to suggest a journalist isn't a good economist, which isn't too surprising, but if she thought the pre-Katrina schools in New Orleans presented equal educational opportunity across the city, then that suggests she isn't a very good journalist.
If the reader can't trust that the author at least gets the obvious and easy to find facts right, why should we trust her on the more abstract, distant, and interpretive matters?
Posted by: Mike Giberson at Sep 19, 2007 2:18:19 PM
I think I might phrase the debate the following way:
Given the choice between the choices below A) Free market private property economy with little safety netB) Centrally planned government property economyC) Mixed economy with some safety net and some degree of planning/efficiency-impairing interventions
People will vote with their ballots for C, with some fringe elements voting for A and B. Given a choice to vote with their feet, people will migrate to economy A or C, but not to economy B.
Posted by: Mike D at Sep 19, 2007 2:19:18 PM
I warned the readers that Tyrone is apt to show up unexpectedly.
Posted by: Alex Tabarrok at Sep 19, 2007 3:03:04 PM
I'm glad you let us know the valuable idea at the heart of this book. I would have deeply regretted having to stagger through the tripe to get to it myself.
For that valuable service, I shall click through on one of your sponsors.
Posted by: dzot at Sep 19, 2007 3:10:17 PM
If it's anything like No Logo, Klein is just preaching (very effectively) to a choir. By brushing over lots of things with little depth or analysis, she repeatedly hits on emotional keywords that hide the nonsense. How do you win a debate against that? She doesn't even engage her detractors in a discussion. For me though, the value of No Logo was (a) that it was an entertaining read and (b) it gave me all the insight I ever needed into the anti-capitalist critique. Seriously, as shallow as Klein's treatment is, it is all covering, and I've yet to see your run-of-the-mill market hater approach let along exceed her depth. The ironic genius of her writing is that nobody on the pro-market side seems able to compete at that level. Tyler, I loved Inner Economist, but I can't give it to someone who is not thoughtful, just reactive about the evil of markets. Such people are suspicious of analytical depth, no matter how patient the explainer. It's certainly not your fault.
Posted by: Brad Hutchings at Sep 19, 2007 3:26:51 PM
Brad says "By brushing over lots of things with little depth or analysis, she repeatedly hits on emotional keywords that hide the nonsense."
And then he says "the value of No Logo was (a) that it was an entertaining read and (b) it gave me all the insight I ever needed into the anti-capitalist critique. Seriously, as shallow as Klein's treatment is, it is all covering, and I've yet to see your run-of-the-mill market hater approach let along exceed her depth."
I love the comments section of this site!
Posted by: aaron_m at Sep 19, 2007 3:41:57 PM
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070914/belinda_Stronach_070914/20070914?hub=Health
Posted by: Juan at Sep 19, 2007 3:54:57 PM
Wow, I just watched the 'shock doctrine' short video on YouTube. Yup, it's official, not only is Naomi Klein a complete quack, but she's actually a blood-thirsty Stalinist!
Posted by: JAS at Sep 19, 2007 4:06:46 PM
I don't want to sound all anarchist, but isn't any form of state naturally in opposition to individual rights? With democracy, I just have to blame the people around me for my oppression rather than some autocrat. Isn't "free market" just equal to "economic anarchy"? God forbid we ever see a democratic economy -- where we'd all have more NFL jerseys than clean underwear.
Posted by: Jigga Wha? at Sep 19, 2007 4:32:08 PM
I agree with Will - what's the debate? Tension exists between democracy and any policy agenda. For example, there is a tension between believing that gay couples hav a right to get married if they chose and the democratic rejection of gay marriage, but nobody talks about how the proponents of gay marriage experience "discomfort with democracy."
Citing Bryan on it also seems odd, since his take on why democracies make bad economic decisions could just as easily apply if he were a hardcore socialist and the ignorance of the voters was of the finer points of socialist economics.
Bonus anti-Klein commment:
The argument that Chicago Schoolers have managed to hijack American foreign policy towards some nefarious hidden agenda despite having a modest at best impact on domestic policy is risable.
Posted by: MattXIV at Sep 19, 2007 4:51:06 PM
...should you be interested in reading a not-so-nutso leftist discussion, check out 'nation of rebels' or 'rebel sell' (title changes as you cross borders). It's quite amusing to see the authors critique Klein (which they do often). As I said on the Cafe, I'm going to have to go back and re-read 'rebel sell', now that I understand a bit more of the issues...but it was an incredibly interesting book first time through.
Posted by: shawn at Sep 19, 2007 5:06:25 PM
When you think about what democracy is, the right of 50% of the population to overrule the individual's decision, I doubt very many people really think democracy should stand above everything else. When you think about it that way, you realize what an arbitrary number 50% is; this is recognized in the constitution via the need for super majorities, and more to overrule certain acts. People just disagree over what arbitrary percentages of the population should be required in what situation.
Posted by: josh at Sep 19, 2007 5:09:08 PM
I'd have to concur with recommendation of 'Rebel Sell'It's a really well-written and entertaining book even though their economic analysis is debatable and they view Canada through glasses that are a touch too rosy.
IMHO it should be a required reading if you have to deal with any sort of left-wing counter-culture.
Posted by: oleg at Sep 19, 2007 6:07:37 PM
Yes she refuses to admit that Chilean reforms, however horrible the accompanying atrocities, did represent a success for market economics.
As libertarians like to remind us, you can't make an omelet without tossing some people out of helicopters.
Posted by: Kieran at Sep 19, 2007 6:08:33 PM
Aaron, the difference between my comment and Naomi Klein's screeds are measured in billions of words. But you're right, the depth of analysis is comparable.
Posted by: Brad Hutchings at Sep 19, 2007 7:15:26 PM
Tyler's open-minded approach to Klein's book makes me think of a similar open-minded approach put forth by Homer Simpson:
Please, please, kids, stop fighting. Maybe Lisa's right about America being the land of opportunity, and maybe Adil's got a point about the machinery of capitalism being oiled with the blood of the workers.
Homer - "The Crepes of Wrath"
Posted by: Bill Kaminsky at Sep 19, 2007 7:50:50 PM
This podcast has a devestating critique of Klein, as an elitist dressing as a populist. If you ever wanted to see the "no label" crowd -- with all their identity and uniqueness -- go down in flames, listen up!
Posted by: David Zetland at Sep 19, 2007 8:48:10 PM
zetland...heath and potter are the authors of 'rebel sell' :) thanks for the pointer to the podcast, that'll be fun to hear.
Posted by: shawn at Sep 19, 2007 8:51:07 PM
isn't any form of state naturally in opposition to individual rights?
No. Unless you define "individual rights" to include the right to rob, rape, or murder anyone you please.
Posted by: Bernard Yomtov at Sep 19, 2007 9:18:26 PM
We should not forget to distinguish explicitly between "Social Democracy" which is intentionally tyranny of the (somehow holy yet unwashed) masses and "Constitutional Democracy" defined by a codification of the old "one's rights end where another's rights begin" social contract. We should also note that free markets only exist in the petri dish of legal rights arising from a necessarily prior constitutional system. To suggest that markets are above (aka. prior to) democracy is simply childlike confusion. Democracy is not Klein's kind of holy.
In reality, we do live in anarchy, and efficient markets always fully express the collective wisdom (and folly) of humanity. By anarchy I mean the failure of persistent institutions to live up to the principles by which they were chartered, and those institutions which are not chartered by principle or persistent. The cited idea (supposedly belonging to the naive Naomi Klein) that a burgeoning market economy sometimes follows brutal classist tyranny is so boring I am surprised at the vitality of this comment chain. I don't think our dear author could have supplied the energy here. It's a little like BYOBeef in here.If we can't maintain topic discipline, how should we expect rigor in the books written for us? Nobody will believe we could appreciate the extra effort.
Posted by: Jeremy McMillan at Sep 19, 2007 9:54:52 PM
Arent both the market and democracy means to an ends? Many would argue that some form of democracy, usually heavily regulated by a strong constitution creates the best framework for markets to operate. So I guess they both go hand in hand however, my ideal world would have much much more market and much less democracy. The more democracy we have usually does not bode well for market efficacy.
Posted by: John Pertz at Sep 19, 2007 10:01:18 PM
Canada's National Post last week ran a series of excerpts of the Klein book, with an accompanying debunking column. It was wonderful.
Posted by: Eric Crampton at Sep 19, 2007 11:04:22 PM