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Elite Concern

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John Lennon sang "We all want to change the world" and now, after a bit of hesitation, this includes the alpha elite. Confused John believed the answer was to "free your mind". The Davos crowd rally under the banner of "do good AND do well", as evidenced by the 2018 "Change the World issue of Fortune Magazine (Sept.) Titled Make the World Great Again ( remember these folks are transnational) How to Profit While Fixing the Planet, the cover article highlights the greenwashing efforts of "concerned companies" and how their share prices have risen; "profit for progress" the editor calls it.

A few slightly less optimistic voices can be heard at Davos, such as billionaire investor Seth Klarman who warns: "social cohesion is essential for those who have capital to invest." Not to worry says Fortune, with some snazzy incubators and lots of amazing technology, those with a high tolerance for risk will make a world that works for everyone. (The entrepreneur/ saviors will need lots of massage to maintain a "mind-body-spirit connection", vacations on the corporate yacht don't hurt...)

Slowing emissions, pulling plastic from the ocean, fighting cancer, connecting people to the internet, ethical fashion products, hunger relief, it is all "corporate social responsibility" and "solving problems through the only sustainable and scalable problem solving machine we know of: business." The one thing that seems to escape them, that is never asked: after all these years of industrial capitalism, why are all these problems so acute, so massive, converging into such an existential crisis? A classic example is a piece on the Dutch corporation DSM; "a company with roots in coal mining and chemicals re-invents itself as a planetary problem solver..." What a business model! "It's stock price has climbed 63% in the past five years." How? Aquaculture to replace the natural, wild fish stocks they murdered. The GAP hires "at-risk teens" giving them their first "opportunity" to be exploited, and they probably send a free pair of shoes to Congolese cobalt miners with every purchase over $1000 !

"If you go carryin pictures of Chairman Mao, you aint gonna make it with anyone anyhow". If you want to make it, you're going to want that MBA and a firm belief in this cultural capitalism. If you had a degree in public relations you could work for one of these companies needing an image make-over. What I find curious is the fact that this optimistic, high tech propaganda isn't just in Time Magazine or NPR but in the elites own rag. Do they believe this shit? Do they need to believe it?

Discussion 26 Comments

  • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019

    according to reports compiled and outlined by the PLANSOC project, we would require 3-8 planet earths to bring the global population to European living standards. the planet has doubled in human population since the 70's, while populations of fish have been cut in half in that same timespan.

    and yet, while this indicates over-consumption of planetary resources by more "developed" regions, the fertility rates in those regions are generally the lowest (less than 2, which would bring population levels down), while the poorest, less "developed" nations typically have the highest fertility rates.





    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019


      "Children are also a form of safety net as aging parents struggle to support themselves in the absence of retirement savings and pension funds."


      "That gives you the answer - the world's average salary is $1,480 (£928) a month, which is just less than $18,000 (£11,291) a year."


      "In his early years as China's leader, Mao Zedong was actually in favor of people having lots of babies, to provide soldiers for its army and workers for its factory."


      "While much of China remains poor, some cities are now on par with EU levels."


      "Coal exports in the US are surging in part because China has been shutting down its less efficient coal mines,"


      "China is still investing massively in coal projects outside its shores, notably in places linked to the Belt and Road project."


      "Mr. Xi has said only that China will stick to its pledges. But even if every country meets its Paris pledges, the planet is expected to heat up 3 degrees Celsius or more. That would not be enough to stave off the most catastrophic effects of climate change."

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019


      "We are people who do not resign ourselves to the fate we are so often told is inevitable. We are people who refuse to continue as slaves. We are people who are remembering how to be human beings. We are people who are ready to take back our own lives, and to defend our lives and the lives of those we love, including the land."

    • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019

      Top* quotes at Davos

      "The Chinese and US economies are mutually indispensable."
      — Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan amid a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

      "Capitalism is not immoral, it's amoral."
      — U2 frontman Bono, a Davos regular, providing his usual dose of rock-n-roll rebellion to the forum's jet set at a panel with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

      "Sovereignty belongs to the people."
      — The only sentence spoken in Italian by Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte during a speech in English, in which he defended his populist government's economic policies, which are worrying the markets and European Union.

      "The way you can describe Davos is that it is an attempt to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic while humanity is sinking."
      — Amnesty International secretary general Kumi Naidoo in an interview with AFP, echoing the doubts of critics about the rationale for the WEF.

      "By coming to Davos, you don't have to kiss the golden calf. I don't do that."
      — EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici pushes back on talk that attending the forum is to celebrate the rich and powerful.

      "I don't think there is any other get-together more powerful than Davos, and more inclusive than Davos."
      — Abdullah Abdullah, the de facto prime minister of Afghanistan, defending the WEF in an AFP interview as he pitched for investment in his war-torn country.

    • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019

  • Boulder Dash 23rd Jan 2019

    "The poor are most definitely not poor because the rich are rich," he said in a 2015 op-ed he wrote for the Wall Street Journal. "Nor are the rich undeserving. Most of them have contributed brilliant innovations or managerial expertise to America's well-being. We all live far better because of Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton and the like."

    I think both. They believe it and need to believe it. Game of Thrones shit.

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019

      on the other hand.. as much as Ford was a Jew-hater, he had actually sought to use dividends to reduce the price of the Model T and redistribute surplus through increased worker-wages. that urked a couple of his large investors, the Dodge bros who were counting on that moula to invest in their own shit, who then took it to court and won, which set the early precedent for shareholder primacy, what would be a standard of legalize to pressure or eject CEO's and other board members in corporations for do-gooder policy that can't show maximization of profit for shareholders. if i recall correctly.

      remains that, people wanted cars and still do, just as they want fish. even if all global income is equal, we have a consumption problem. so, who's to blame? are the billionaires murdering the fish?

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019


    • Boulder Dash 23rd Jan 2019

      The system is.

      And yeah, you say it’s a consumption problem, but Ford did what he did because he needed to sell cars. In some ways it’s a confirmation of Marx and inherent contradictions within market capitalism. You can’t go too far or it all collapses. The big eat each other. So there are cycles. Have to be. Like cleaning out bugs...that’s what a basic income does too...allows for the thing to keep going because there are no all REAL alternatives, not the kind of self emergent over time change ones or ideas, but actual new economies and allocation systems out there for people to embrace or even consider...twentieth century revolutionary socialism nailed shut the alternative coffin and turned change into a step by step program. Probably twelve in all.

      But as far as consumption...it’s an access and allocation problem. It needs to be accounted for and the only new system I have seen that at least attempts to make it completely participatory is Parecon. A mutually cooperative allocation system that accounts for ins and outs quantitatively and qualitatively. And rewards in a way that, in my opinion, is fair...effort and sacrifice. Workplaces that attempt to deal with hierarchical disempowering issues.

      Life is a consumption problem. It was for the first people’s who decided to run herds of animals over cliffs because it’s easier in some ways.

      The rich are rich because economic evolution allowed for it and markets institutionalised it in a way that said you don’t just need a bigger gun. Made it less personal. Then you rationalise away all the acute problems because you can because no one knows how to do shit differently. For one hundred and fifty or so years, longer, coops have not been able to bust through...markets reign supreme.

      Alperovitz’s fear, concern or distrust of Parecon’s allocation system is completely ridiculous to me. It’s just an idea but a fucking nifty one that deals with shit in a way that says we don’t need markets and deals with consumption AND alllocation. It should be embraced, not as THE system, but as ONE that does what no other has so far...and it just isn’t absurd or over the top. Alperovitz and the NSP with anchor institutions and P2P with their stigmergy, are all good and worthy ideas, but they are fishing for shit...fishing around markets, hoping for some self emergent property. That’s ok, but by fuck, so what that Albert and Hahnel have kind of pushed the notion to the end and said the only way we think we can get around markets in a world with billions of people is this...what do you have? Well, we got anchor institution, participatory budgeting which really isn’t participatory and we got stigmergy and a lot of hope. It implies a liking of markets or that they may play some role in the future, market socialism (which maintains disparities in people’s access to the social pie as does Mondragon and other coops), even though they are fucked by nature and for some historians, gave rise to what we call modern capitalism, or a reluctance to push the logic of stigmergy or anchor institutions further and further to see if indeed, a non market economy is possible. Why would anyone want to do that...push the logic? Because they can and it’s a worthy pursuit. Why would anyone want to keep market allocation on some level when it is a known that they are fucked by nature on so many levels.

      And I reckon, but I’m just a fuckin’ idiot, that because the Left, or many on it or whatever is considered the left, pussyfoot around markets and don’t come out hard against them, fucking hard, like even the Richard Wolffs of the world, the people who really run the fucking world always have leverage in the argument and create huge doubt in the minds of most folk...real change, a real new economy gets compromised by bullshit talk around markets and allocation...because as we know markets maintain consumption autonomy, individual choice and of course diversity...but the truth is all three of those things are complete and total bullshit...

      Sorry,...ranting and off topic

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019

      "Ford did what he did because he needed to sell cars."

      not sure what you mean. ya create a thing. people want it. you make more.. unless you have some system that tells you there can only be so many cars. but, i don't think ecological limits were being talked about the same way then and climate change wasn't a thing. the car would have been more available, as people wanted, and his workers would have made more money, as i'm sure they wanted.

      still, that some people profit more from all that, tells us nothing about the limits on resources. just sayin, they could have been a cooperative and people still want the car. yes, of course big money has more influence in this world. i don't care for that. and i don't think their efforts are so much more awesome that they should reap so much reward compared to others.

      but, this comes back around to the questions i was asking on my Banana-Blog. just what kind of snapshot do we have when it comes to what fair global allocation would look like without collapsing say, fish populations, or furthering CO2 levels? being as, we don't currently live in Parecon-world and the population is close to 8 billion with expectations to increase a few billion more in the coming decades.

      why did populations stay lower before? less medical tech, less access to basic needs? so, more struggle to survive and lower life expectancy?

      so now, for many, a fish is just something you can go pick up at the store. is that better living? would it even be an option for most people to get a fish any other way now that the population has exploded in these past couple centuries?

      see, i feel like there is this idea i hear sometimes.. like post-scarcity after we seize the means of automation or production. the idea that without the billionaires, our quality of life will naturally go up. the poor won't be so poor, so we'll all have a little more. or work less.

      isn't the tech and convenience we have in developed nations, even as working class, something the global population is after as well? when everything is allocated more evenly, what would we actually have, given the population levels? are we simply overpopulated? beyond our landbase? how many fish would we get, or what will we be eating? global transport? is the internet sustainable? what does a global parecon require? will people need to migrate?

      right wingers want to build walls, and some are farting about white culture being wiped out. not really my mindset.. but, developed nations are choosing to have less babies. if people choose to have 7 babies on average in an already impoverished region, is the globe then responsible for making sure they have equal access and allocation? just keep lowering the global standard with each billion people? open the doors for migration as they flee and try to rework systems to create enough work?

      short of a Parecon, would you seek international allocation agreements through existing governments? what's it look like? what are the closest models? are they worth striving for? and how? at least as interim political pursuits?

      so yes, i agree the system is a problem. we haven't really placed ecological limits. shit is way more convenient with industrial tech/mass-injection of petrol, so the population went up real fuckin fast. and other regions seem to want more of it as well, even if their class system is different.

      it's Jensen's notion that it will go back down without the oil and tech. we'll have fish, but no cars.

      what's the Parecon argument when it comes to global living standards and population?

    • Alex of... 23rd Jan 2019

      and just to note, while the population did boom since industrial developments, it also seems to lead to having less babies by choice where it's most present. so wrap around that too.

      and i'm off to work of course.

    • Boulder Dash 23rd Jan 2019

      Ford sold cars to make a profit...capital accumulation. He wanted them at a price for his workers to buy. Nice move. Makes sense. Good business sense. I’m not trying to complicate the thing...just reiterating what I read. I don’t know.

      Market allocation.

      Parecon says here’s a different way to allocate...quantitatively and qualitatively. Sounds like a good idea to me, in long run. Nothing else says anything about future allocation because everything else is so now orientated. Fine. Probably have to be.

      Climate and population add to the problem. If we are ovrepopulated as you say re consumption at x level, then I don’t really know what to do in the near transitional future...maybe that’s what catastrophe is for...rupture...cause a situation whereby millions, billions die. Some primmies want that. So many different ideas from primmies to simplicity folk to NSP/commons transition to Mondragon to market socialists...re the problem of overpop...some don’t mention it...

      Maybe we are just fucked then...just need more people to stick their fingers in the hole in the dyke...bit by bit. Stop drinking pod coffee at home and using plastic bags...take your own cup to the cafe. Boycott the local coffee shop. Stop eating meat. Meditate more. Grow your own chickens. Stop living in high rise housing. Just don’t go anywhere. Not even to the Invasion Day rally unless you walk, ride an ecologically sound bike, and are completely vegan, otherwise your part of the problem. Got start playing catgut string guitars.

      I got nothing.

      Coops, NSP/commonstransition, simplicity folk, anarchists, Marxists, activists, identify folk, whoever, all gotta start getting together as soon as possible and perhaps stop getting all excited over yellow vested angry people and writing about hope for change.

      This place in some ways killed any real hope I may have had. People just couldn’t hang around here like you and Dave and Irie. Even just to talk, like some therapy session, which it is for me.

      Nah, let’s just go somewhere else and start something else and then something else and then again and again...anywhere but here...

      You, Dave, Irie kind of help me at least offloadcoz I got nothing...

    • Boulder Dash 23rd Jan 2019

      I got nothing other than the shit I read written by people with better minds than I...a possibly better dispositions.

  • Boulder Dash 23rd Jan 2019

    I don’t think there is a “Parecon” argument re those issues per se. Maybe if you pressed Hahnel and Albert on population they’d tell you what they think.

    As far as living standards I think the Parecon position is fairly clear...it’s about the allocation system, the participatory planning procedure...we, the people, decide mutually, with all the information, as opposed to advertising, possible, both quantitative and qualitative, what will be consumed and produced, the indicative prices determined by that process carrying that information, but, the information re resources and shit,and work conditions is available for anyone to access...but along with that there are or would be political pressure to be applied by people, activists even, due to new information or changing circumstances that would always occur to make sure bad shit, or prospective bad shit, re ecology in particular, re population perhaps, is diminished or eliminated...I’ve read a Hahnel speak of this...I’ll try and find it...

    Maybe it’s just an aspect of the imperfection of all systems, a recognition that any system is not beyond critique or improvement. Which I do not think Albert or Hahnel have ever not felt. At least with Parecon I get a sense of how a system using something other than markets can work, while with just about everything else I am left to hope or to wait to see it self emerge. Parecon provides for me, at the very least, a position whereby you can kind of answer the question and maybe even, as Hahnel does when debating Eric Olin Wright and others, concede Parecon hasn’t got all the answers. Plus it is just an economic system, but one that could lessen pressure on certain political decision making surrounding workplace practice and consumption and production and maybe other things. You still need some kind of polity and one that is as participatory as possible...no one really touches that shit...even Stephen Shalom had to be motivated by his friend Albert to have a go.

  • Dave Jones 23rd Jan 2019

    I'm just guessing that those leftists you mention Boulder, hang onto markets in a sentimental, nostalgic, actually romantic way, picturing the sweet lady who sells her garden squash at the farmers market so she has a little something to give her grandson when he goes to the fair. All very idyllic. Remember when. And you are right that Albert and Hahnel stuck their necks out and proposed something solid, yet flexible, at a time when everyone was decrying "blueprints" or being too specific.

    Thing is, The price of Mabel's squash is distorted and in no way reflects actual "social or ecological cost". So the price becomes a perverse incentive for folks to plunck down a buck not knowing ( or caring really) what happened to the soil or the water or the atmosphere or the Mexicans or whatever. Kill em all and let the Market sort it out. Anyway, many still see "local" markets as this efficient aggregator and whatever, I'm totally willing to concede the point for some unity, right? and they see the iteration process ( what to allocate and produce and remunerate) as sucking up too much time that people could be spending gaming or watching porn or the cooking channel.

    Fine. Let artificial intelligence handle it, the main thing is to stop these Fortune 500 bastards, 26 of them own more wealth that 3 billion of us, what is the end game? One Mega Winner owns the whole fucking pile? What then?

    As for the population thing Alex, while I agree with Sartre that People Are Hell, a very small population has a very large footprint so that's where I start ( mine could stand a little shrinkage I'm sure).

    • Boulder Dash 24th Jan 2019

      Yeah, the sucking up of time. I like that in the end it’s a trade off...well, what do you want...a little of your time taken up, maybe even more than you would like, for true participatory decision making or some kind of slacker approximation so you can do your thang...at some point, for real participatory decision making structures to function, yeah, time will be lost...big deal...

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2019

    this is indeed a revolution!

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2019

    sweet song at the end.. should give you an idea of what life's like in Seattle..

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2019

    Planet Starbucks

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2019

    "Dave needs the car every day for business" :)

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2019

    movie night?

    • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019

      Movie night it is.. 20 more minutes.. EUROPE only Fords too..

    • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019

      Ford Escort Mk II & Ford Capri Mk III

  • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019

    Fortune teller: "Why just make billions, when you could make TRILLIONS?"

    No. 2: "Dr. Evil, if we shift our resources away from evil empires.. and t'wards Starbukkks we can increase our profits five fold."
    Dr. Evil:
    "I make the decisions here, okay.. I demand a little respect."

    No. 2: "Uh.. Dr Evil.."
    Dr. Evil: "SILENCE! I will not tolerate your insolence!"

  • Irie Zen 24th Jan 2019