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Total number of comments: 4 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:24)

Kevin Carson

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  • Paul, Santorum and the Sixth War (on Iran)
    • You forgot to throw in the "pot-smoking Republican" cliche. You might also cite Lawrence O'Donnell on how libertarians like Radley Balko never cover police abuses. If a right-winger made such a stupid over-generalization, you'd be all over it.

      "A catchphrase or two"? That seems to describe your thought as much as anyone else's.

    • As to whether I fall under the heading of "intelligent people," I'm probably not the best judge. But I came to believe it through extensive historical reading.

      The claim that the Gilded Age was some sort of proxy for a laissez-faire society is a cliche often repeated in the comment threads at Daily Kos, but I confess I'm a bit more surprised to see it from the keyboard of a college professor.

      The "most laissez-faire societies" were not very laissez-faire at all. Historical capitalism has had very little to do with actual free markets.

      I think Immanuel Wallerstein and Christopher Hill, who stressed the continuities of capitalism with late feudalism, had it right. Early capitalism preserved -- and built on, through Enclosures and other nullifications of customary peasant land tenure rights -- the monopolies of the feudal period. Contrary to the myth of abstemious master craftsmen funding industrialization out of their own savings, most of them had Whig landed oligarchs or mercantilist plutocrats as their silent partners.

      The early industrial revolution occurred in a police state atmosphere with the Laws of Settlement functioning as an internal passport system, and Poor Law commissioners auctioning off the destitute surplus population from London to work in the industrial mill towns. The Combination Laws, laws against friendly societies, and Riot Act made free association by workers a crime. The Combination Laws were enforced by administrative tribuinals unlimited by ordinary common law standards of due process.

      The allowance of a market-clearing price mechanism within the interstices of a system DEFINED by state-enforced monopoly was nowhere even remotely "laissez-faire."

      As for the Second Industrial Revolution, the emergence of the American mass-production economy depended on things like the railroad land grants to artificially lower the cost of distribution, artificially increase typical firm size and market area, and unify the American economy into a single market.

      That central, massive subsidy was the foundation for everything described by Alfred Chandler. It probably tipped the balance toward a mass-production economy of expensive, product-specific machinery using large batch production, and push distribution techniques and other forms of social control to guarantee full utilization of capacity. The alternative would have been the industrial district model of integrating electrical power into craft production with general-purpose machinery, operating on a demand-pull basis and frequently switching between small runs of different products. Without the alliance between the state and the paleotechnic model of industry, America would probably have industrialized as a hundred Emilia-Romagnas.

      Patents -- and particularly the pooling or exchange of patents -- were the primary means for cartelizing industry.

      And as for the real effect of twentieth century big government on reinforcing the power of big business -- as opposed to the goo-goo Arthur Schlesinger version -- I leave you to Gabriel Kolko, G. William Domhoff and Thomas Ferguson. I suppose they qualify as intelligent people?

  • Kolin: How the US Became a Police State
    • I think his main fault lies in treating "colonial elites" as some sort of monolithic entity.

      It makes a lot more sense to treat revolutions as contested terrain. For example, the main force behind the Glorious Revolution was the great Whig magnates. But it was also claimed by veterans of the "Good Old Cause" with sea-green banners, who did their best to recuperate the Revolution for themselves.

      The American Revolution on the ground was as much about farmers on local committees of public safety and committees of correspondence out in Podunk, Mass., as it was about Samuel Adams. I think there's a lot of virtue to Merrill Jensen's treatment of the Federalist movement as a counter-revolution against the main grass-roots body of the Revolution, and Shay's Rebellion as a direct continuation of the real thing.

      Today we see the same thing in the so-called Color Revolutions. In the end they may be coopted by the IRI/NED/Soros Foundation, and bring in rule by the IMF and World Bank with Havel or Mandela as a brand-name image. But that doesn't alter the fact that such revolutions are actually fought by real people doing their heroic best to overthrow Apartheid or Ceaucescu.

  • Wikileaks and the New McCarthyism: Maybe we Just Need a More Open Government
    • Daniel Ellsberg is openly calling on Amazon employees to leak documentation of the company's communications with Holy Joe Lieberman. If there's any karma in the universe, ol' Droopy Dog will be howling even more loudly in impotent rage before this is over.

      The dotted number IP addresses of Wikileaks' servers, which are still accessible despite the domain names being shut down by ICANN, are being blogged and Tweeted across the Internet in an act of defiance comparable to the DeCSS uprising several years ago.

      One of the cofounders of The Pirate Bay has an open-source domain name system in the works to compete with ICANN.

      And I've also seen proposals to distribute documents via numerous torrent sites at once, so they'd have to shut down the entire Internet to stop it.

      The more the dinosaurs thrash around, the faster they sink themselves into the quicksand.

      This is Armageddon in the networks vs. hierarchies war, and we'll have their bleeding heads on our battlements.

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